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WAMC: Some tips for future MD applicants

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Tapepsi

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After reading multiple threads that have been posted on WAMC, I figured I’d give some advice to those applicants who are unsure about their chances for MD schools and don’t know which ones to apply to.

1. GPA and MCAT: As you have probably already guessed, these 2 factors are the best way to predict your future success during the application cycle. This link has an MCAT + GPA grid (make sure to click the right race and ethnicity): https://www.aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/157998/mcat-gpa-grid-by-selected-race-ethnicity.html

Now the question is: How good should my chances be based on MCAT + GPA alone before I apply? Unfortunately, there is no right answer as this is a matter of opinion. For me personally, if I saw that less than 45-50% of the applicants with my stats were getting in, I would probably not apply and focus on trying to raise my GPA and/or retake the MCAT (especially if any one section falls below an 8 or 9). Again though, this is your call.

To give you an example, my chances based on the grid was ~70%. I received 4 MD interviews, attended 3, and was accepted to 2 (withdrew from WL at last school). I had a friend who had a ~89% chance and received 10 interviews, and had 5 acceptances.

2. Personal Statement and Letters of Recommendation: So you’ve got the numbers, but do you have the personal attributes and motives required to become a physician? The PS and LOR’s are a way of adcoms to get to know you on paper. I’m not offering any advice on how to write a good PS/how to get good LOR’s, but obviously saying these factors can have a significant impact on your chances. If, in your PS you come across as insincere or arrogant, you can bet that your chances start dropping fast. My one friend had great stats (3.9, 32) but in his PS did nothing but brag about himself and how he would basically be a blessing to the medical field. The result? 1 interview and 0 acceptances. He had an 84% chance based on his MCAT + GPA alone so it just goes to show that numbers don’t mean everything. On the other hand, a PS that is unique and stands out compared to the thousands of “I wanna be a doc becuz I wanna help ppl…lolz”, is one that can boost your app.

Now the LORs are unfortunately one aspect of your app that you have the least amount of control over (and for me was the least reassuring aspect of my app). Just make sure to pick people who have gotten to know you on a personal level (no, not just someone you say hi to everyday before class) and who you believe can write a good LOR for you. Be warned: A bad LOR can have devastating results. I’ve seen it happen numerous times where applicants had good stats but weren’t accepted and found out the main reason was that they had a bad LOR(s).

3. Extracurricular Activities: This is the best way for adcoms to find out if you are a well-rounded applicant or not. Sure you have a 4.0 and nailed the MCAT, but if you spent all 4 years in undergrad studying in your room, your chances lower significantly. I would say that you should at least have clinical and nonclinical volunteering, physician shadowing, club involvement, and some type of activity that shows your leadership. Now while research will always benefit your app, and some schools require it, it is not necessarily essential to have in order to get into med school. I’d say having no research will most likely lower your chances, however.

4. State of Residency: Now this is where things get messy. Where you live has an impact on your chances. Do you live in West Virginia and plan on attending a school there? Well good news, your chances of getting an interview invite from WVU is greater than 50% and your chances at Marshall are greater than 70%! Are you a Cali resident hoping to get into one of your IS schools? While you have 8 MD schools, there are over 3,000 applicants from your state fighting for those in-state spots (and remember that not all of your schools have heavy IS preference). I always feel sorry for CA residents, you guys have it tough!

In terms of your chances at school x based on location alone, here’s a (very) general guideline:
Greatest chance – IS state school(s)
Good/Mediocre chance – IS private school(s)
Mediocre chance – OOS private schools
Low chance – OOS state schools

Now there are of course exceptions to this guideline and it is important to look into each school you’re interested in before making a decision. For example, the official medical school of Delaware is Jefferson, a private school located in Philadelphia, PA :)confused:)? Therefore, the greatest chance of acceptance for a Delaware resident happens to be at an OOS private school. An MSAR is also crucial in determining which schools you should apply to in terms of which ones are IS/OOS friendly.

So here are just some tips for those of you who are at a loss of where you stand and don’t know which schools (if any) you should apply to.
 
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Tapepsi

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Great post! Thanks for sharing your tips.

Thanks it isn't very thorough though. I kept it pretty short and simple just b/c I figured no one wants to read a novel on what their chances are. :laugh:
 
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