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The "NEW" Premed

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jase133, Feb 6, 2002.

  1. jase133

    jase133 Senior Member
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    In the 80's and early 90's, having good grades and some kind of hospital volunteer experience made you "stood" out in the meds admissions process.

    Nowadays, if you are short of having won an Olympic gold medal or being the founder of Yahoo, you are really at a disadvantage as a premed.

    What are your thoughts my fellow SDNers?

    Oh btw, anyone else competing in the Slalom ski race @ Salt Lake besides me? :D
     
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  3. Doctora Foxy

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    I think nowadays there are many more educated people, and in turn, we are much more intellegent. So since our BIG brains are capable of doing more, we have to challenge ourselves to stick out from the others. I think it makes sense...you don't want an unmotivated / inexperienced person to be your doctor, even if he or she would do an excellent job. Med schools want dedicated interesting people, and I think we are capable of showing them that we are.

    Now I will contradict myself....it's not fair! Isn't my application good enough? I have so many interesting experiences! Where are my acceptances at?!!!!!??? <img border="0" alt="[Pissy]" title="" src="graemlins/pissy.gif" />
     
  4. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    I so agree. They hold out this hugely tall pedestal and expect us to be able to climb to the top of it, as we are sometimes expected to climb over people who are also climbing up and holding on for dear life. "You must be competitive." It almost sounds like "You must be ruthless and cutthroat." I'm referrring to questions asked of us like, "Why should we take you over those applicants in the hall?" I don't know, I don't know those people in the hall, maybe their heroes, maybe they've published life saving research, so how the heck would I know why you should take me over them.

    My pediatrician was amazed at all the things I have had to do to make sure I try and stay competitive. He went to school in the late 80's and he said he never had to do all these things. :confused:
     
  5. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    I don't think the situation is that dire. Of course the Olympic Gold winners and hi-tech entrepreneurs will stand out (as they should) as having a life outside of being pre-med, but so will a lot of other people who really threw themselves into much more "normal" EC's. There just aren't enough Olympic Gold medal winners (or other extraordinarily accomplished people) out there applying to med schools to really significantly skew the process. It may be a little bit true at the top 10 schools, but I still think a lot of normal people end up at those schools too. The reality is, there just isn't room for every qualified applicant, so trying to find the rationale for who gets in and who doesn't is basically fruitless. As much as I hate to say it, some people are always going to be disappointed in the process, because it's basically a crapshoot.
     
  6. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    I remember one of the pre-med advisors from my school talking about how GPA was not that important. His example was a female pre-med who had gotten in with a 3.0. He told us the important thing is to highlight our unique qualities. The unique qualities for this 3.0 student was: full-time worker, founded a woman's battered shelter, and fought forest fires in Montana as a fire jumper. I couldn't believe he told this to us. I was ready to cry. Unique was an understatement for that "example"
     
  7. E'01

    E'01 1K Member
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    This applies to undergraduate admissions also. I don't think I would get in if I applied to my alma mater with my high school stats from the 90s. Watching my sister go through the application process last year was amazing. I remember when I was told that breaking 1000 on the SAT was sufficient - with her generation, below 1400 is shameful. Students are taking Kaplan for SAT prep, foreign language immersion classes in the summer, serving as president of every club in school, etc. Admissions as a whole is just tougher. Standards are being raised each year.
     
  8. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    I guess by the time we are doctors, the med students will know everything we do before they even enter.
     
  9. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    OK, so maybe the baby boomer baby bubble has made things more competitive, but it's more competitive for everyone, so no one's really at a disadvantage.

    And that's my last post for the evening, I really do have to go to sleep, so I can be "competitive" or at least coherent tomorrow!! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  10. jase133

    jase133 Senior Member
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    SMW - Oh no you don't! I'm going to go to sleep BEFORE YOU DO so that I can be EVEN MORE competitive!! And while I'm asleep, I'm going to invent a new contraption to solve the problem of world hunger!
     
  11. </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Amy Beth:
    <strong>I so agree. They hold out this hugely tall pedestal and expect us to be able to climb to the top of it, as we are sometimes expected to climb over people who are also climbing up and holding on for dear life. "You must be competitive." It almost sounds like "You must be ruthless and cutthroat." I'm referrring to questions asked of us like, "Why should we take you over those applicants in the hall?" I don't know, I don't know those people in the hall, maybe their heroes, maybe they've published life saving research, so how the heck would I know why you should take me over them.

    My pediatrician was amazed at all the things I have had to do to make sure I try and stay competitive. He went to school in the late 80's and he said he never had to do all these things. :confused: </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Yeah, in a way it seems almost unfair to the people applying now. My FP had a 3.1 gpa, no volunteer work and got in. He started med school in 1978.
     
  12. matthew0126

    matthew0126 Anaheim Angels
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    hehe.

    actually, i just wanted to point out that since about 1996, the overall number of applicants has been steadily decreasing, it decreased this year too. the number is about 30% lower than 1996... so while applicants may be getting more and more competitive in terms of numbers, at least there are fewer of us for the same amount of seats
     
  13. irongirl

    irongirl Member
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    I agree that the criteria for selecting medical students has changed, but I think it's a good thing and it's leading to medical schools producing better (more well rounded, interesting, and personable) physicians.
    Personally, I'd rather be a "new" premed than an "old" premed. It's a good thing they don't just look at grades and MCAT, or we'd all have to spend enough time in the library to turn into certified nerds in order to get in. This way we can just do well in school and have an interesting life too.
    I don't think it's that hard to find an activity you really like that will both make you a better person for doing it and stand out to the admissions committee. That's just my opinion though. I'm pretty sure I can attribute my acceptances to my athletic involvement rather than my academics and medical experiences. Pretty much every interview went they same... "so tell me about triathlon...". I was always like, "don't you want to know why I want to be a doctor?".
     
  14. GatorPreMed

    GatorPreMed Junior Member
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    I'm just glad I'm applying now and not ten years from now. Things are constantly changing.
     
  15. pre-hawkdoc

    pre-hawkdoc Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Amy Beth:
    <strong>
    My pediatrician was amazed at all the things I have had to do to make sure I try and stay competitive. He went to school in the late 80's and he said he never had to do all these things. :confused: </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Yeah, nothing beats when the docs I work with (very skilled and competent physicians) say "I never would've gotten in if I were applying now." Is that supposed to boost my spirits? I'm like "yeah, I'm glad I have to work twice as hard as you did so that I can give myself a legitimate shot of getting in. Really, it makes me a better (and more crazy) person. It just wouldn't mean as much if I'd waltzed into med school like you did."
    But, that's just the general trend in society. My mom has many people working under her (not literally, of course <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> ) that are much more educated (formally at least). So, it sucks, but whadaya gonna do?
     
  16. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member
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    at two of my interviews, i interviewed with an olympic skier who was also applying. weird.
     
  17. matthew0126

    matthew0126 Anaheim Angels
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    man, at my ucsd interview, we had this olympic gymnist there... i didn't recognize her (sorry, i don't watch olympic gymnastics lol), but apparently she's famous or something, amy chang i think her name is, on that 1996 team with the girl that broke her leg :)
     
  18. idiot

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    I think many of you are exaggerating the idea of a "new" premed. If anything, it's EASIER to get in now than it was 30 years ago. Why? For one thing, 30 years ago, people did NOT reapply. You had one shot to get in - otherwise find another future.
     
  19. shimmer118

    shimmer118 Senior Member
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    matthew0126: amy chang??? wow, i'd hate to interview with her. :) she's definitely a famous, gold-medal gymnast. hmmm...I wonder if she was offered admission? <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    Why don't medical schools increase the numbers of their incoming classes? I understand why they don't....but really, I hear so much about how there's a shortage of doctors and medical personnel, but schools haven't increased the number of acceptances to match the demand. Sure, it's nice to keep it at "100 students max" just to show the world that being a doctor is "highly selective," but if the demand is larger than the supply...it just doesn't make sense.
     
  20. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel
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    I love the idea of the "NEW" premed, I think it's beneficial for many applying. For example, I think 20 years ago the trend was for the people to know what they're doing from day 1 in college and go straight from college to med school. In constrast, now we're allowed to live a life and then decide years later that we really want med school and this generally may increase our chances because of the life experience factor. This gives us all an opportunity to take a year or two off and be interesting people before applying - live in a foreign country, start a company, work in business, be fluent in another language, write a book, train for the olympics!! Whereas before, they might have looked at the application of someone who took two or three years off and discarded them because they may have not known right away what they wanted to do. I think this gives us a chance to have a little fun with our lives before committing all of that time, money and energy into our careers. :)
     
  21. Brian20

    Brian20 Member
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    i just wanted to point one thing out that i have noticed. we all have take on some EC's that we did only to get into medical school. sh%t, im doing it right now (actually its research job). but anyway, if we are to become docs and live in a hospital, wouldnt it makes sense that taking a job in a hospital or volunteering in a hospital would be something we really want to do and are really excited about.

    i worked in a hospital for about a year and loved being there (hated how some of the nurses acted toward me). i loved it because that is what i want with my life. it wasnt pulling teeth (except when i got bossed around by some caddy nurse). i hope that each and every premed loves volunteering or working in a hospital.

    i understand that some people hate research and work in the lab just for their application. lets be realistic, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do things you dont like. you sacrifice now for some ultimate goal in the future. but clinical exposure should be a good thing, a thing that you enjoy. if not, you might want to reconsider what you are getting into.
     
  22. mma

    mma Senior Member
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    I don't believe in doing ECs you don't like, nor do I believe in doing something just to get in to medical school. On the other hand, I do think one needs to know how one feels in a medical environment, so hospital or clinic experience is a must. But this is more for self-awareness than anything else.

    mma
     
  23. NuMD97

    NuMD97 Senior Member
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    Originally posted by different strokes:

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> Yeah, in a way it seems almost unfair to the people applying now. My FP had a 3.1 gpa, no volunteer work and got in. He started med school in 1978. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That's amazing. I've seen stats that indicate that the mid to late seventies were the most competitive years ever. He was one very lucky son of a gun.
     
  24. irongirl

    irongirl Member
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    I believe the gymnast's name is Amy Chow. I wouldn't have been too intimidated if interviewing with her, because have you ever seen interviews with gymanasts on t.v.? Most of them can't even say a coherent sentence... probably because they usually quit school around age five to train. Hopefully this one has managed to get a decent education, though, because here Olympic medal will probably get her accepted somewhere.
     
  25. dlc

    dlc Senior Member
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    Didn't Amy Chow do her undergrad at Stanford? I knew she was pre-med but I had no idea that she was applying this year!
     
  26. matthew0126

    matthew0126 Anaheim Angels
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    yea, amy chow/chang :) she goes to stanford so we had some nice berkeley/stanford bantering going on

    i wasn't too intimidated... prob because i had just finished my ivy-league interviewing trip and my gosh, now that was a trip. "yea, i'm a lion trainer from glasgow, i've discovered so and so gene at cambridge, and i dj on the side" (heh).
     
  27. shimmer118

    shimmer118 Senior Member
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    Oh, DUH, of course it's Amy "Chow." I typed Chang, and that didn't look right, but I couldn't figure out why. :D Thanks for posting that.

    Yes, she went to Stanford undergrad, and I think graduated in June 2001 as a bio major. She is one of the few gymnasts I know of who managed to maintain a somewhat "normal" high school life, including 4.0 gpas from both high school and college, and she is an accomplished pianist.

    Let's put it this way: if you have enough dedication, determination, and passion to train for the Olympics, *and* get a gold medal (!), you have what it takes to "survive" medical school. And to say that gymnasts can't form a coherent sentence...well, that's just plain silly. They're in the media spotlight: when they're on t.v., they must be careful about what they say and how they say it, or risk destroying this "little girl image." Besides, answering questions from a television reporter while you're in the midst of a competition being broadcast on national t.v. is a tiny bit different than sitting in a room with one other medical school interviewer. I'd take the medical school interview over national television any day! :p

    Sorry to turn this into a gymnast post.... :)
     
  28. irongirl

    irongirl Member
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    You're right, I'm guilty of stereotyping, it sounds like Amy Chow has managed to get a great education. However, I was a gymnast for eleven years, I trained with a lot of people who were home schooled for the purpose of there gymnastics training and they were a bit behind to say the least. Not that home schooling is always a bad thing, it can be done well, it just wasn't for these gymnasts on my team. And I still think that they come off particularly bad in t.v. interviews compared to most other athletes. I was always embarassed to be a gymnast when I saw most of the famous gymnasts being interviewed.
     
  29. irongirl

    irongirl Member
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    Okay, now I feel like a dumb gymnast for using the "there" instead of "their" in my last post.
     
  30. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member
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    I would say the premed has evolved. The number of applicants, for the most part, tends to be the same. What's happened over the past 20 years? You have premeds trying to 'outdo' one another. So, the first couple years in the evolutionary process you get some standouts. Then, as the years go on, premeds start looking at the stats and backgrounds of matriculants and think, "Oh boy, I better kick it into high gear" and begin to do more and more. This eventually becomes a necessity for all applicants and so schools are getting such a high caliber of students. Now people have to work even harder to stand out amongst their peers. Then, many rejectants sit around and wonder, "Where did I go wrong?" When in fact its that you didn't do anything wrong, it's that you can only do so much.
     
  31. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member
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    i interviewed along with amy chow at UC Davis. i didn't realizet that it was her until like 5 hours later. oh well.
     
  32. USeF

    USeF sunny L.A.
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by matthew0126:
    <strong>man, at my ucsd interview, we had this olympic gymnist there... i didn't recognize her (sorry, i don't watch olympic gymnastics lol)</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">weird. the only famous person I ever met was a gymnast that also went to Stanford. It was the one that actually hurt her ankle, Kerri Strug. (had to look for her pic online to make sure it was the right one). Had my younger sister not been obsessed with gymnastics, probably wouldn't have recognized her either. I was flying out of Ontario airport across LA to LAX to make a connecting flight. Being a mini jet, it was like 10 people total and we talked on the shuttle to the terminal. She really DOES have the super high pitched voice that you hear on TV! She even told me a little about Stanford since I was interested in applying there for med school. Except for her anxious/hurried tone, she seemed like a fairly nice person... When she told me she wanted to do communications, specifically a news broadcaster or something of the like, I had this image of a high-pitched 5ft lady speaking 100mph. Must've had the biggest silliest smile on my face :D
     
  33. NuMD97

    NuMD97 Senior Member
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    Originally posted by Amy Beth:

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> I'm referrring to questions asked of us like, "Why should we take you over those applicants in the hall?" I don't know, I don't know those people in the hall, maybe their heroes, maybe they've published life saving research, so how the heck would I know why you should take me over them. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That's the funniest thing I've heard all day. Thanks for the laugh. :)

    Nu
     
  34. USeF

    USeF sunny L.A.
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    back to topic though...
    The book that Ms. Sullivan (Georgetown) recommended, 'Time to Heal: from the turn of the century to managed care' does a great job discussing the social/political changes that caused the shift from numbers to numbers+activities.
    There is little doubt in my head that IDEALLY this is good, just wondering if this is being done well. Since the % of doctors in practice from this new-wave is so few, it'll be hard to tell for sometime.

    What I wonder is if other professional/grad schools are seeing the same thing? I know dental school is hard as shiznut to get into at UF because there is only that one public schoolin Florida. But what about english, sociology, foreign language and the like? Are these grad programs increasing in competitiveness or changing in their criteria?
     
  35. lilycat

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    Amy Chow was in one of my organic chem classes -- she, along with five other people, had done so well on the midterms that they didn't need to take the final. She also took a year off of school to do research while she was training for Sydney. Olympic medal or not, I'm sure she is accomplished enough to fully deserve all of her acceptances. She's extremely intelligent and she definitely didn't seem to be relying on the athlete card to get her into med school.

    Examples of Olympic athletes, All-Americans, AIDS hospice workers in Botswana, etc., stand out because relatively, there are very few of them compared to the applicant pool as a whole. However, it seems like for every Olympic athlete that is admitted, there are at least 5 people admitted who are more "traditional" in their background.
     
  36. jase133

    jase133 Senior Member
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    It is about this time that I say what I have always heard from my mother. Behind every successful person such as Amy Chow, there are numerous (most likely uncountable) persons who have attributed to her success. With this as well is the fact that she was fortunate to live the life she has been able to live, with the opportunities that have been afforded to her.

    Let's face it people, we can't ALL be Olympic gymnasts. But it sounds as though she has had a very blessed life, whereas some of us have had to work while in school to afford it, needed to take care of our sick family members, and have had other hardships.

    And I can't believe this thread has gone on for this long when I firsted started it!
     
  37. Elysium

    Elysium Not Really An Old Beaver
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    I know where you guys are coming from. When my dad went to med school in 1969 at UTMB the only thing he did was make A's in school and work as an orderly one summer. I asked him "Well, what clubs were you in? What research did you do? What clinical experience did you have? What leadership role did you take on? Did you study abroad? Were you a published poet/artist/internet billionare?" The answer, of course was no. He still doesn't understand why I'm killing myself to add more clinical/volunteer experience to my application. "But you worked for a year at Planned Parenthood" "I know Dad, but that's just the tip of the iceberg!"
    Sometimes I stay up nights thinking of things that make me "unique". I actually am a little unique, I guess, but then there's so much else!

    Grrrr!
     
  38. I still can't believe that my physician got in with a 3.0 gpa and no volunteer work. I have met several doc's whom graduated in the seventies and eighties that often say that it was not difficult to get into med school with a 3.0, 3.1.
     

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