what are the chances?


7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2004
    What are the chances of getting waitlisted at Duke med school and getting flat out rejections from EVERYWHERE else, pre interview? What are the chances of getting in at Duke? or just in general off the waitlist? I know there are other threads specifically about this with numbers but any other kind of advice? I find this really nerveracking because I want to be able to plan my summer but my application is still in the balance.

    Is anyone else in this kind of situation? What do you plan on doing? What are you doing to "boost" your application status? any info would be great, even just some comforting words...:(


    Too tired to complain
    7+ Year Member
    15+ Year Member
    Apr 17, 2003
    1. Resident [Any Field]
      Hey Canada,

      I think that it really all depends on how many other schools you applied to, and what kinds of schools they were. If you applied to a bunch of "lower" private schools and your state schools, then the fact that you were interviewed and waitlisted at Duke is an excellent sign.

      Cheer up.... i'm sure you'll hear back soon with some good news. Assuming that you applied to a decent amount of schools at various tiers, you shouldn't have a problem. Also, from what i've seen on this site, Duke's waitlist gets some movement, probably because of its location.


      Hope this helps!!! Good luck!!! There are lots of people worrying about acceptances right now... you're definetely not alone :)


      Junior Member
      15+ Year Member
      Feb 2, 2004
        Originally posted by BOSSofCU
        Thanks for that post mr big. It was the most articulate and balanced I have yet read on the subject. I have always supported AA, while understanding its limitations and agitating more vocally for underlying societal changes for the problems that AA at best seeks to bandage. <snip> It seems quite likely that very few people could overcome the obstacles of a bad school, poverty and a weak support system, to make it to the upper echelon of cantidates (or even to be competitive). In such a dire situation it seems very difficult to survive, let alone begin down a long and difficult career of helping others. I would think that people of any race overcoming these obstacles, and still having competitive numbers would be highly sought after and placed. Is there evidence that this is not true? If it is, your outreach idea program makes great sense, and I think it's important to send the message that these goals are attainable, but ultimately it is the nation's imperative to improve the lot of the disadvantaged and not the adcoms.

        Precisely. I've walked in many different shoes vis-a-vis this issue, and I sympathize with the adcoms b/c they have a wickedly tough balancing act. It's funny to contemplate sometimes, but the anguish of the medical school application process is a shared agony of both the applicants themselves and the adcoms; adcom members are under tremendous pressure to make crucial decisions based on incomplete information. They're constantly stressed by their duties in addition to their non-adcom obligations, and I know of cases when bitter debates in adcom sessions have practically brought some members to tears. And one tough issue is precisely what you raise?Xhow do adcom members reconcile their need to be equitable, impartial, and dedicated to their institutions, with the inherent inequality of the experiences faced by applicant pools from so many different socioeconomic backgrounds? It??s a challenging titration, an imperfect art and not a science, and so there are myriad gray areas.

        As a white male, I have also "scaled the mountain" you spoke of and been accepted to an Ivy medical school. Though I have not started yet (and thus not yet met my class) I got was very impressed with the adcom members I met, and did not feel that they would be unduly influenced by wealth or connections.

        Your hunch is right; adcom members by and large are among the most disciplined, diligent, introspective people you'll find. They're conscious of their own predilections and foibles as people and therefore sensitive to the inevitable conflicts of their task, and the all-too-human failings of their applicants. There are some bad apples in any lot; there was an adcom officer who pretty much rejected any white male he interviewed regardless of applicant quality (although he himself was a WM), and he was expelled from the admissions committee and even reprimanded AFAIK. But the vast, vast majority of adcom members are empathetic individuals who seek to do their job professionally, soberly, and effectively.

        The issue with wealth and connections (for anybody, URM or otherwise) has to do more with the way these factors confer such a tremendous advantage in the pre-application process?Xeverything from access to and ability to afford pricier undergraduate institutions to better test-prep and CV-editing services. When AA was founded during the Nixon Administration, the raison d??etre was that because of the many deleterious effects of Jim Crow and slavery before it, there was an inevitable mismatch between the perceived potential of a candidate (for a school, a scholarship, training program, job, whatever) and their actual potential. That is, an African-American boy in a ghetto may have possessed the same level of intrinsic (however vaguely defined that is) intellectual curiosity, ambition, and discipline as the white daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate from Scarsdale, yet his numbers on paper would not reflect that since he had to spend so many of his days dodging street gangs and pushers on the way to a dilapidated school with three kids sharing each textbook. This is the time-honored notion that all the runners in a footrace don??t begin at the same starting line, and so it??s understandable if extra consideration is lent to someone commencing further back, provided that (in the judgment of an evaluator) that person possesses potential for excellence which was not immediately in evidence.

        This is how AA should function ideally, providing a second chance to those who hardly had a first. The problem with extending AA to privileged applicants, whether URM or not (and there are some cases of the latter too, of course), is that such applicants began with enough socioeconomic advantages that conferring AA preferences for them defeats the purpose for which the policy was designed in the first place. And if this sort of faux AA becomes too prevalent, it can provide society and institutions with a sort of false sense of security, a feel-good fantasy that they??re reaching out to impoverished URM??s when in reality they??re doing nothing of the sort. And many adcoms for a while did extend a preference in precisely that fashion, an automatic boost to a URM regardless of individual experience. That??s why a more flexible, carefully-designed AA with more careful focus on personal background, and an inclination to give augmented consideration chiefly to URM??s but also to non-URM??s with demonstrated socioeconomic hardships, would be far more in the spirit of what AA was designed for originally. (As one other poster noted, this is being examined better in the AMCAS.) Also, as you said, it??s up to society and not the adcoms to address the broader problems afflicting primary and secondary education in so many URM communities, which is why I like to see training and outreach programs extended.

        [This quote out of order but you make an important point here that deserves comment.]
        And I would ask, isn't the medical community and the nation somewhat at the mercy of admissions committees? Isn't it up to these committees to make the right choices, and do not the choices they make go a long way toward defining the institutions themselves?

        Yes, very much so. This is why I always advise students to place themselves in the shoes of adcom members when applying. I sometimes suggest that applicants view the adcom members like talent scouts; their first and foremost duty is to their institution, and by extension to the health care profession. If I??m on an adcom, the recurring thought coursing through my mind is, ??Will this student make my institution proud? Will he/she contribute to us while here and be a good model of our caliber of graduate upon finishing up??? The more a student can match up with the factors that an adcom is seeking, the more favorably said student will be viewed. Academic performance is of course the linchpin indicator, but the numbers don??t constitute the entire profile in and of themselves. Perhaps most importantly, you want to demonstrate to the committee your capacity for initiative, your ability to take the professional foundation that the med school will give you and run with it. The 3 factors that will most set you apart are ??VIP???Xvigor, initiative, and persistence?Xas demonstrated in your background, your essay, and interview.
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