Thoughts on having a physician (my boss) call an MD school dean on my behalf

canihazMDplease?

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So I've worked at a clinic as a doctor's assistant for over a year now, and this doctor wrote one of my letters of recommendation. He graduated from one of my possible schools about 40 years ago and has stated to me that he knows the dean personally and would be happy to call him on my behalf. They are apparently on a first name basis and he has also told me that he has done this for a few other applicants over the years as well, and they have all gotten in and been successful in medical school and beyond. Despite my doctor's track record with these calls and the school being an institution where this tactic would probably help me (political corruption in this state), I'm still worried that this would hurt my chances and reflect poorly upon me. However, I did not push this and ask for the call. It was offered to me and if it helps my chances I would happily give the physician I work for the go-ahead. Any thoughts? All comments are appreciated
 

JustAPhD

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Depending on your application package it might have a very positive impact or it might just get you a polite interview/rejection. I don't believe it would hurt you though (especially because they know each other personally).
 

summergirl

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I wish I had a nice boss like that...
 

Goro

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The best case scenario for this is that you will get a polite interview, followed by a polite spot on the wait list, followed by an even more polite rejection.

The accepts your doc refers to were in all likelihood in spite of his phone call, and not due to it.



So I've worked at a clinic as a doctor's assistant for over a year now, and this doctor wrote one of my letters of recommendation. He graduated from one of my possible schools about 40 years ago and has stated to me that he knows the dean personally and would be happy to call him on my behalf. They are apparently on a first name basis and he has also told me that he has done this for a few other applicants over the years as well, and they have all gotten in and been successful in medical school and beyond. Despite my doctor's track record with these calls and the school being an institution where this tactic would probably help me (political corruption in this state), I'm still worried that this would hurt my chances and reflect poorly upon me. However, I did not push this and ask for the call. It was offered to me and if it helps my chances I would happily give the physician I work for the go-ahead. Any thoughts? All comments are appreciated
 
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Lawper

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The best case scenario for this is that you will get a polite interview, followed by a polite spot on the wait list, followed by an even more polite rejection.

The accepts your doc refers to were in all likelihood in spite of his phone call, and not due to it.
? Why is this the best case scenario?
 

IlDestriero

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Best case scenario, they are good friends and the call gives him the nudge he needs to get the interview and then he does great and gets in.
Worst case, nothing happens. The chips fall where they fall.


--
Il Destriero
 
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Pagan FutureDoc

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If you are a fairly strong applicant for the school and you really want to attend that one it might have some impact on you getting noticed for an II. Beyond that it's gonna be up to you.
 
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canihazMDplease?

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The best case scenario for this is that you will get a polite interview, followed by a polite spot on the wait list, followed by an even more polite rejection.

The accepts your doc refers to were in all likelihood in spite of his phone call, and not due to it.
So are you saying that it would hurt me to have him call? Or just that it wouldn't help me?
If it's a possible mark against me I obviously won't do it. However, If it is only neutral if not positive I might as well take the shot knowing it won't hurt me.
 

Goro

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I don't think it will hurt, but it will annoy the admissions Dean
So are you saying that it would hurt me to have him call? Or just that it wouldn't help me?
If it's a possible mark against me I obviously won't do it. However, If it is only neutral if not positive I might as well take the shot knowing it won't hurt me.
 

Gastrapathy

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@Goro, that really depends on whether they are friends or just professional acquaintances. I recently made a similar phone call but the person I was calling is both my mentor and now a close family friend. it wasn't annoying to him. At the higher levels (fellowships, jobs, etc) these calls mean more than anything else. Maybe not for MD admissions.

OP, I'd look at it from a game theory perspective. You need one admission. This call could help or hurt or do nothing at a single school. Therefore, it's clearly worth the risk.

But...I'm on a first name basis with the president of one of our national societies and that means exactly zip. So don't count on it.
 
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Lawper

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I don't think it will hurt, but it will annoy the admissions Dean
@Goro, that really depends on whether they are friends or just professional acquaintances. I recently made a similar phone call but the person I was calling is both my mentor and now a close family friend. it wasn't annoying to him. At the higher levels (fellowships, jobs, etc) these calls mean more than anything else. Maybe not for MD admissions.

OP, I'd look at it from a game theory perspective. You need one admission. This call could help or hurt or do nothing at a single school. Therefore, it's clearly worth the risk.

But...I'm on a first name basis with the president of one of our national societies and that means exactly zip. So don't count on it.
Wait, does having someone call the admissions dean really hurt the applicant to the point of being politely waitlisted and later politely rejected? It's just a single call that OP's mentor had offered, so it's not like OP is trying to harass the dean into accepting them.

Really, the best case is it works out and OP gets interviewed and later accepted. The worst case is the call does nothing (as @IlDestriero had stated).
 

Gastrapathy

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Well, I did hear a story once about a phone call from a Congresscritter that was so aggressive and annoying that it was harmful. That said, I don't think there's much risk. What I meant to say was that, even accepting that there is risk (which seems unlikely), its a risk that is 100% worth taking.
 
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The best case scenario for this is that you will get a polite interview, followed by a polite spot on the wait list, followed by an even more polite rejection.

The accepts your doc refers to were in all likelihood in spite of his phone call, and not due to it.
Wouldn't the best case scenario be that OP gets accepted? I know a handful of people with below to average stats who had someone that was friends with higher ups at their respective schools (like hang out at least once a week friends). All of them got early interviews and early acceptance. If Dr. John Doe is best friends with the dean, and he only calls for a few select people, I would think his word would be worth a lot.
 
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Goro

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These are all interesting points, but I think overall, while they may be helpful in garnering an II, it's the candidate who has to win over the interviewers and the Adcom. Legacies do exist and THE dean usually has the final say at schools (like at mine). But in my experience, and from the wise @gyngyn as well, these candidates usually don't get the acceptance. As a reminder, Nobel laureates, governors, US senators and congresspeople also call on behalf of candidates, and the most common result is that the Admissions dean gets annoyed.

So the take home:

Can it hurt: no
Can it help? unusually not.

@Goro, that really depends on whether they are friends or just professional acquaintances. I recently made a similar phone call but the person I was calling is both my mentor and now a close family friend. it wasn't annoying to him. At the higher levels (fellowships, jobs, etc) these calls mean more than anything else. Maybe not for MD admissions.

OP, I'd look at it from a game theory perspective. You need one admission. This call could help or hurt or do nothing at a single school. Therefore, it's clearly worth the risk.

But...I'm on a first name basis with the president of one of our national societies and that means exactly zip. So don't count on it.
Wait, does having someone call the admissions dean really hurt the applicant to the point of being politely waitlisted and later politely rejected? It's just a single call that OP's mentor had offered, so it's not like OP is trying to harass the dean into accepting them.

Really, the best case is it works out and OP gets interviewed and later accepted. The worst case is the call does nothing (as @IlDestriero had stated).
Wouldn't the best case scenario be that OP gets accepted? I know a handful of people with below to average stats who had someone that was friends with higher ups at their respective schools (like hang out at least once a week friends). All of them got early interviews and early acceptance. If Dr. John Doe is best friends with the dean, and he only calls for a few select people, I would think his word would be worth a lot.
 
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canihazMDplease?

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I don't think it will hurt, but it will annoy the admissions Dean
I should have clarified. The dean he would be calling is not the dean of admissions, but the dean of the medical school.
 
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canihazMDplease?

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The admissions dean really dislikes this.
So I shouldn't bother and tell him not to worry about it? I have no problem with not having him call, just would hate to say no to an opportunity that may help me. If it'll only piss off admissions then I guess it's not worth it.

Are the MD School Deans not involved with admissions at all? I would think that they have a lot of pull. If they tell admissions to look closer or pass along a positive recommendation from a well known colleague about an applicant then wouldn't that applicant have an advantage?
 
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So I shouldn't bother and tell him not to worry about it? I have no problem with not having him call, just would hate to say no to an opportunity that may help me. If it'll only piss off admissions then I guess it's not worth it.

Are the MD School Deans not involved with admissions at all? I would think that they have a lot of pull. If they tell admissions to look closer or pass along a positive recommendation from a well known colleague about an applicant then wouldn't that applicant have an advantage?
I'm not an adcom, but a handful of people I know were family friends/family with individuals who were very close with the dean of admissions of their respective schools. They put in a good word with them, and they ended up doing well at the school. The point is, that if the person that's calling dean is very close to him (the people that my friends knew hung out with the deans in social circles all the time) and doesn't recommend just anyone, IMO it can help. But that's just me.

Also, like gyngyn said, her dean dislikes it, so certain schools may be adverse to it.
 

Goro

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At my school, the Dean is the ultimate decider. He has at times overruled the Adcom in changing wait listed people to accepted, or has waitlisted people we've accepted.

At other schools, the Dean may stay out of the admissions process, allowing the Adcom and possibly also the Admission Dean to have all the say.


So I shouldn't bother and tell him not to worry about it? I have no problem with not having him call, just would hate to say no to an opportunity that may help me. If it'll only piss off admissions then I guess it's not worth it.

Are the MD School Deans not involved with admissions at all? I would think that they have a lot of pull. If they tell admissions to look closer or pass along a positive recommendation from a well known colleague about an applicant then wouldn't that applicant have an advantage?
 
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At my school, the Dean is the ultimate decider. He has at times overruled the Adcom in changing wait listed people to accepted, or has waitlisted people we've accepted.

At other schools, the Dean may stay out of the admissions process, allowing the Adcom and possibly also the Admission Dean to have all the say.
Oh wow. What's the point of the ADCOM then if the dean can overrule?
Crazy how different schools are in the admission process!
 

Goro

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We wonder that ourselves. To his credit, he doesn't alter our decisions that often.


Oh wow. What's the point of the ADCOM then if the dean can overrule?
Crazy how different schools are in the admission process!
 

gyngyn

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So I shouldn't bother and tell him not to worry about it? I have no problem with not having him call, just would hate to say no to an opportunity that may help me. If it'll only piss off admissions then I guess it's not worth it.

Are the MD School Deans not involved with admissions at all? I would think that they have a lot of pull. If they tell admissions to look closer or pass along a positive recommendation from a well known colleague about an applicant then wouldn't that applicant have an advantage?
The LCME requires that the only body with the authority to grant an acceptance is the admissions committee. There is a specific admonition against the use of political or financial influence.
Recommendations do not cross this line, but any further pressure could result in sanctions.


"10.2 FINAL AUTHORITY OF ADMISSION COMMITTEE

The final responsibility for accepting students to a medical school rests with a formally constituted admission committee. The authority and composition of the committee and the rules for its operation, including voting privileges and the definition of a quorum, are specified in bylaws or other medical school policies. Faculty members constitute the majority of voting members at all meetings. The selection of individual medical students for admission is not influenced by any political or financial factors."
LCME DCI 10.2 italics, mine
 
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freak7

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The LCME requires that the only body with the authority to grant an acceptance is the admissions committee. There is a specific admonition against the use of political or financial influence.
Recommendations do not cross this line, but any further pressure could result in sanctions.


10.2 FINAL AUTHORITY OF ADMISSION COMMITTEE

The final responsibility for accepting students to a medical school rests with a formally constituted admission committee. The authority and composition of the committee and the rules for its operation, including voting privileges and the definition of a quorum, are specified in bylaws or other medical school policies. Faculty members constitute the majority of voting members at all meetings. The selection of individual medical students for admission is not influenced by any political or financial factors.
Would that imply that Goro's dean isn't acting within the rules? If he sits on the admissions committee, I could see it working out though.

Edit: Dumb
 

starspells

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The LCME requires that the only body with the authority to grant an acceptance is the admissions committee. There is a specific admonition against the use of political or financial influence.
Recommendations do not cross this line, but any further pressure could result in sanctions.


"10.2 FINAL AUTHORITY OF ADMISSION COMMITTEE

The final responsibility for accepting students to a medical school rests with a formally constituted admission committee. The authority and composition of the committee and the rules for its operation, including voting privileges and the definition of a quorum, are specified in bylaws or other medical school policies. Faculty members constitute the majority of voting members at all meetings. The selection of individual medical students for admission is not influenced by any political or financial factors."
LCME DCI 10.2 italics, mine
Isn't the Dean also technically part of the admissions committee? Do they vote on applications?
 

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my experience with calls to the dean or adcom chair is mostly negative. The reason is that most of these calls come from those who have either little or connection to anyone at the school, are political in nature, or just wholly innappropriate. Thus it brings a bad name to any call on an applicant's behalf. While this applicant's caller has a connection, I would be hesitant in having the call made.

btw, most of the calls I have be informed about
have been from political types or large donor connections.
 
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Med Ed

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So I've worked at a clinic as a doctor's assistant for over a year now, and this doctor wrote one of my letters of recommendation. He graduated from one of my possible schools about 40 years ago and has stated to me that he knows the dean personally and would be happy to call him on my behalf. They are apparently on a first name basis and he has also told me that he has done this for a few other applicants over the years as well, and they have all gotten in and been successful in medical school and beyond. Despite my doctor's track record with these calls and the school being an institution where this tactic would probably help me (political corruption in this state), I'm still worried that this would hurt my chances and reflect poorly upon me. However, I did not push this and ask for the call. It was offered to me and if it helps my chances I would happily give the physician I work for the go-ahead. Any thoughts? All comments are appreciated
Is your boss writing a LOR for you? Are you a decent fit for this school, stats-wise?
 
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starspells

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Nope. Standing committees report to the dean, but the one committee that is not advisory to the dean is admissions.
I meant the Dean of Admissions. They are part of the committee as well, right?
 

Med Ed

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I meant the Dean of Admissions. They are part of the committee as well, right?
You will be hard pressed to find an admissions dean at a domestic allopathic program that is not an ex officio (non voting) member of the committee. That said, depending on the school the admissions dean can wield varying amounts of influence on the process. Most I know participate directly in screening, for instance, so they can push applicants into the interview pool (assuming they meet baseline criteria). They can also speak up during committee meetings, which might sway the vote on a particular applicant.

The general problem for such things, however, is that most administrators have a limited amount of credibility capital they can expend before others start pushing back. They also don't want to find themselves in the admissions nightmare scenario, which is where you cajole the committee to admit someone who later turns out to be a disaster of a student.
 
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canihazMDplease?

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I appreciate all the comments, but I'm still on the fence about this! I'm thinking about letting the cards fall where they may and if I get waitlisted using this opportunity at that point.
 
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I'd tell him, "I appreciate you asking, but you know more about how these things work so I would appreciate it more if you did what you feel is best."

There's no way him calling and mentioning that this was from his own volition could hurt you. Best case is that you get accepted. Worst case is that the Dean thinks one of their alumni is a little pushy, but its not like your boss is calling every application cycle so the dean has to ask himself/herself that you must be pretty awesome if your boss is making the extra effort.

Either way, there's no way that it makes you look bad unless it comes across/feels like its coming from you or a family member. If your boss isn't a smooth talker he might accidentally make that tone come across--so there is some risk, but I'd let him choose.
 

Med Ed

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I appreciate all the comments, but I'm still on the fence about this! I'm thinking about letting the cards fall where they may and if I get waitlisted using this opportunity at that point.
At my institution the admissions dean could make sure someone receives and interview invite, and could speak up during adcom deliberations, but once the waitlist is set there is very little room to maneuver without strong reason. If you want to allow this bit of networking to (possibly) play in your favor, the optimal time is before an admissions decision is rendered, not after.
 
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