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Telling an interviewer a school is your top choice

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by prettyprncss02, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. prettyprncss02

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    Okay, so one of my friends went on an interview earlier in the year to one of his bottom choice schools. However, in the interview he told his interviewer that the school was his number one choice and that he would definitely attend if accepted. He says that he wasn't trying to be deceptive, he just got caught off guard by the question and didn't know what to say. Now he recently found out that he was accepted and does not want to attend. He does not have any other acceptances yet, but he is still hoping to hear back from other schools. I told him that he should wait until May 15th and hopefully he will hear back from other schools, but he feels somewhat morally obligated to attend said school since he said that he would. Does anyone have any advice that I could pass along? :confused:
     
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  3. SuperHiro

    SuperHiro Attending
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    This subject has been discussed before. Verbal agreements aren't binding. Even if it really was his first choice, things change, financial aid occurs, family problems occur etc. He is entitled to change his mind. It's called free will. If he gets accepted into a school he would rather go to, he should do the right thing and withdraw from the school he does not like. As for morals, they differ between people so he'll have to follow his gut feeling on that one.
     
  4. JohnMadden

    JohnMadden Political Refugee
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    If they get a better acceptance, they should go there. Period.

    Residency directors screw over 4th year med students all the time by telling them they will rank them #1 when they don't intend to. They call it "gamesmanship." I heard this directly from a residency director...
     
  5. diosa428

    diosa428 SDN Angel
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    I mean, it wasn't really appropriate (which your friend obviously realizes at this point), but since he didn't put it in writing, I'd say it's not really binding. How many interviewers have told interviewees things that made them believe they would be accepted, only to find themselves rejected or waitlisted? It's kind of the same thing.
     
  6. HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    Ugh, this always happens. There's no legal recourse, but for the love of god why is it so hard for people to be honest in an interview? If it's "your friend's" first choice, tell them. If not, then just don't say anything (or for heaven's sake, don't make promises such as a promise to attend if you don't mean it). Tell "your friend" that they're full of crap - they absolutely intended to be deceptive as few people spontaneously start making false promises when "caught off guard." Then tell "your friend" that they probably don't have any other acceptances because the other schools could see through the bull and their lack of scruples and ethics probably permeated through other components of the application and other interviews, and the schools certainly don't want an unethical doctor. Finally tell your "friend" that its awfully late in the application process so they may want to take the one acceptance they have and go with it, and be thankful that one school was stupid enough to admit them.
     
  7. prettyprncss02

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    Lol, what a "humble" and caring physician you will someday be. "My friend" appreciates your powerful words of wisdom.
     
  8. soonerfan77

    soonerfan77 Rather be golfin'
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    I could see him waiting a few more days before contacting them, but May 15th is just too long. If he said it, he should honor his word. Despite the fact that it is his bottom choice, he is still going to be a doctor. It is a lot better than waiting another year. Take it from a 3rd-time applicant. If he doesn't take the acceptance, make sure he doesn't apply there next year. Oh, and come up with a good answer for, "so, have you ever been accepted anywhere? Why didn't you attend?"

    :cool:
     
  9. GreenShirt

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    According to my law school friend, verbal agreements are in fact legally binding. However, if a VA is broken you have to go to court and prove the statement was actually made. This is difficult, which is why you should always get things in writing. Of course, I don't think this really applies here, just throwing out that tidbit.

    Instead of saying a school is your first choice, you can say its a good or top choice and point out the things that you like about it. Every school wants you to show interest in their program. There's plenty of ways of doing that w/out completely lying.

    If its their only acceptance, of course they should take it. But if they get in elsewhere, then they should go where they want.
     
  10. lina123321

    lina123321 ralph: im a unitard
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    ditto..id prefer to get into my first choice med school, but being right now w/no acceptances..only wl's, i would take any school in the US
     
  11. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member
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    Are you talking about turning down said school if your friend gets another acceptance, or even if they get no other acceptance. If it is the first situation, then while shady, its definitely in said friends best interest to go to a school they like more and not suffer for 4 years because they were a dumma$$ in an interview. If its the later situation, then your friend should go. If they only got one acceptance then they aren't really super competitive anyway, and turning down an acceptance and reapplying is a blemish on an already weak application. This later situation has been discussed extensively on SDN.
     
  12. AnEyeLikeMars

    AnEyeLikeMars Member
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    I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think this is a legal issue. Even a written "if accepted, I will attend" is probably not legally enforceable. There are remedies schools can take if an applicant burns them like this (such as blacklisting, calling other schools), but I don't think a school could ever force or legally compel you to attend.

    To the OP, that was a stupid thing for your friend to say if it wasn't true. However, I don't think it means he/she should go to that school. He/she should enroll whereever he/she wants and withdraw from the other school.
     
  13. HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    If someone is going to do a gunnerish, opportunistic, unethical thing, then do it and be done with it. Of course "your friend" should take this acceptance, and if a better one comes along, then take that one. The school isn't going to pursue the action further, so they're in the clear. But they aren't allowed the freedom to say that they got in 100% ethically or believe that their lie was a "mistake." One shouldn't come to an internet forum or other friends to seek false absolution for an action they already know was unethical.

    Hopefully my patients will appreciate a doctor who didn't lie their way into or through medical school.
     
  14. sendwich

    sendwich you rock!
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    why is your friend worried about this when he hasn't gotten any other acceptance? tell him to come back with this question when he has at LEAST another acceptance. for all he knows, he won't have to "choose" w/ 1 acceptance.
     
  15. Mastac741

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    When I got those types of questions, I said, "Your school is definitely one of my top choices." They didn't seem bothered by that vauge comment. I was honest with them and when they asked what other schools I applied to - I again was honest and told them. Everyone knows you're applying to other schools besides them, so don't try to hide that fact. I guess it's too late.

    If you feel so bad, call them and say you said you would definitely go, but now you've changed your mind.
     
  16. Tired Pigeon

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    How on earth did you choose your user name?:laugh:
     
  17. HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    Irony.

    Although I do set humble expectations for myself in this process and am surprised when others do not. I'm also suprised that others are not as outraged when they see someone trying to call a lie anything other than a lie. Is it really so difficult to tell the truth? I mean do people have to constantly choke back lies they are just yearning to scream out? Maybe I have it even easier than I thought...
     
  18. stiffany

    stiffany Hurry up and wait...
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    Your friend should accept the acceptance since he can hold onto as many as he wants until May 15th. By May 15th, however, if he has other acceptances he needs to drop all acceptances other than the one at the school he actually wants to matriculate to. He can remain on waitlists past May 15th. While I think it's crappy to have lied to the interviewer about it (and I dont understand why he did since there are many ways to answer the "Where is our school on your list? How did you enjoy your interview day? Where else are you applying/strongly considering" type questions gracefully without lying), I believe if he'll be happier elsewhere and actually gets in elsewhere, he should go to that other school since the school in question can likely fill his slot with someone else more eager to attend. However, if he only gets into this school he should thank his stars for the acceptance and just run with it.
     
  19. Tired Pigeon

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    Agree with you on the problem of lying. It is sickening and, unfortunately, all too common. Apparently for some it really is difficult to just tell the truth.
     
  20. twick121

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    This is an ethical issue? This is really funny and directly against the interview advice i've been given by a member of the ad com at my undergrad.

    He was my senior paper advisor and during one of our meetings we were just discussing my future plans. But he asked me why my undergrad was one of my top choices (which it still is) and why i wanted to go there and I told him all the reasons. His comment was, "great, when you get an interview, make sure to tell them all that. And then when you interview at other schools, tell them the exact same thing. Every school wants to know that if they accept you, you will go there. No ad com is going to admit you if you tell them you really don't like their school."

    So, in that respect, they don't care. It is not like they have a box on their evaluation that they can check off that says "entered verbally binding contract to come here if admitted...remember to sue him if he turns us down"

    and is it really a lie to tell every school they are your top choice if you haven't been admitted to any? Because then the first school that admits you automatically becomes your top choice.....
     
  21. HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    Yes, it is a lie to tell someone they are your top choice if they are not. Reason number 2 to steer clear of MN. Reson number 1 being they elected a pro wrestler as governor.
     
  22. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Well, oral contracts are in fact binding contracts. However where performance cannot be completed in one year, the contract must be in writing to be enforceable. Since med school is generally a 4 year committment, I suspect there is no legal recourse here. Even if it were in writing, I somewhat doubt it would be worth any school's time and money to enforce it, because thanks to lengthy waitlists, a school's damages if you do not attend are basically nil.
    Adcoms are known to talk though (especially affiliated schools), so it's probably possible for you to get a bad reputation if you do this kind of thing often.
     
  23. mountainhare

    mountainhare Member
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    I'm not sure if this is really true. It *is* a lie to falsely tell someone that you will definitely go to their school if you are accepted. On the other hand, is telling someone, "At this particular moment in time, you are my favorite school" really a lie? If today I told you, "At this particular moment in time, based on the limited information I have, pasta is my favorite food" and then tomorrow I learned some new information that made me change my mind and decide that pizza is my new favorite food, I don't think that really qualifies as a lie. All depends on how you word it.
     
  24. alwaysaangel

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    This is a really sad justification. But I guess I'm glad it makes you feel better.
     
  25. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I agree. Which is why it's perhaps smarter not to have any top choices until you see where you get accepted/waitlisted.
     
  26. mountainhare

    mountainhare Member
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    Hey, I don't need to feel better. I got into med school long ago without lying. I am just trying to debate logic with you people, and I really have doubts that stating a transient preference that is true at the time is a lie. I think many philosophers would agree with me, and I think that if you were debating this issue outside of a pre-med context, you might agree with me too. There's no need to get all ad-hominem in my grill.
     
  27. alwaysaangel

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    Alright, well in that case your logic is pretty poor when applied to ethics and morality.
     
  28. HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
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    That is a very poor ethical argument.

    You are correct that the above situation is not a lie, as a "favorite" has a temporal aspect to it. However, if you'll use your scrollbar and scroll to the original post, you'll see that the poster - I mean poster's friend - knew at the time it was his "bottom choice school." Thus, they knew they were lying and tried to justify said lie with the sorry excuse of being caught off guard.

    Even though I come off as such, I'm not in denial that feelings change. Case in point, going into the application process Baylor was my first choice, and on my interview there (which happenned to be my first), I told my interviewer Baylor was my number one choice (which was the truth at the time, unlike the case of the OP). But, I didn't make some ridiculous promise to apply if accepted - I knew I wanted to keep my options open. After my interview at Penn though, Penn quickly became my favorite. Incidentally, Baylor has returned as my favorite school, but my conscious is free because I was honest throughout the process and never made a promise I didn't intend to keep.

    I'm also not trying to be some uber-pious person who doesn't acknowledge that we sometimes make false promises or let loose a lie. All I ask is that people own up to their mistakes, rather than falsely try to justify them (with really sad arguments, btw).
     

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