What causes an applicant to be waitlisted at many schools?

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FinancialBagel

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Hi all. I first want to say that I am very grateful for the acceptances I do have. I know that no matter what, I am fortunate enough to be a physician. However, it is hard not to think about what I have done wrong that has led to many more waitlists than acceptances. So far, I have heard back from ten schools post-interview, with the result being three acceptances, seven waitlists, and no rejections. I can't help but think this is a reflection of me. Is it just the luck of the entire process? Is it that I suck at interviewing? I really wanted to stay close to my family and my partner, and now that may not be happening. This reality is what stings the most. I apologize beforehand if I come off as insensitive considering that I do have acceptances, but I just want to gain some introspection and maybe see others who are in a similar situation.

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You have no rejections, which says to me you haven't done anything wrong.

Applicants sometimes see outcomes as black/white, good/bad and this seems to be what you're doing to yourself.
Consider the gray areas too. Going far away for med school doesn't mean the end of your family and relationship ties.
What is keeping your partner from moving to be nearer to you, if your school ends up far away?
 
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Honestly, outside of Cooper and Rutgers, the schools you’ve been waitlisted at are just brutal to get into. The reality is that you’re competing against like the top 1% of premeds for an acceptance at VERY coveted schools. I don’t think it’s a poor reflection of you, but instead a reflection on how insane the competition is at these schools. Good luck and congrats on your acceptances!
 
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Hi all. I first want to say that I am very grateful for the acceptances I do have. I know that no matter what, I am fortunate enough to be a physician. However, it is hard not to think about what I have done wrong that has led to many more waitlists than acceptances. ...
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CYMS is coming...
 
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My staircase analogy is in the document references by @Mr.Smile12 and that is my response to the OP. You are just more "middle of the pack" at some schools which, IMHO, clearly shows the strength of your application and the competition at those schools, plus yield protection at a couple of those on your list.
 
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I had better stats than almost everybody currently sitting at Harvard, Mayo, etc.

It's not just stats. It's also your story. And at the end of the day, it's kind of a crapshoot too. Almost every application I see is good enough to be a med student. They just might not be better than all the people we've already accepted in front of them.....

Or maybe they are more competitive, but they applied late, so we don't have any more spots to give.......
 
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I had better stats than almost everybody currently sitting at Harvard, Mayo, etc.

It's not just stats. It's also your story. And at the end of the day, it's kind of a crapshoot too. Almost every application I see is good enough to be a med student. They just might not be better than all the people we've already accepted in front of them.....

Or maybe they are more competitive, but they applied late, so we don't have any more spots to give.......
I’m curious, at your school what submission date would you say starts to count as “later” where interview slots are significantly impacted?
 
I’m curious, at your school what submission date would you say starts to count as “later” where interview slots are significantly impacted?
I'm not a screener, so I don't see when apps are submitted. I only see apps that have already been deemed competitive enough for a review to interview (we don't use score cutoffs, we have human beings screen all 5,000 apps every year, I'm just not one of them)

My advice to you would be to grind your butt off and have all your essays done the day before AMCAS (is that what it's called?) opens. I know it sucks. It is what it is.
 
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I’m curious, at your school what submission date would you say starts to count as “later” where interview slots are significantly impacted?
Listen to the verified experts when we suggest what "late" means. In general for MD, September becomes late. For DO, November becomes late. These are general rules of thumb, not laws.

And yes, the admissions team can redact the date of submission from screeners or reviewers.
 
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Late is irrelevant if you've been interviewed at a school that holds all (or almost all) of its offers until late Winter. You interview, you are placed on the staircase, you are either toward the top relative to others who interviewed, or you are in waitlist territory. Or you are sent to the bottom of the staircase and sooner or later get a letter saying you won't be admitted.
 
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Thank you all for your responses :) My partner will be attending graduate school close to home, so that is why he cannot come with me if I move far. But I am lucky that he is very supportive no matter where I go. I have come to peace with the fact that, for the schools I have been waitlisted at, I was not the best fit for their school. Either my ECs, essays, and/or interviewing skills did not seal the deal. It just shows how competitive this process is and how amazing other applicants are. I am lucky to have been accepted to a few great medical schools, and since writing this post I was accepted to one close to home. As to if I will attend this one over other higher rank ones, that is for another post.
 
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Thank you all for your responses :) My partner will be attending graduate school close to home, so that is why he cannot come with me if I move far. But I am lucky that he is very supportive no matter where I go. I have come to peace with the fact that, for the schools I have been waitlisted at, I was not the best fit for their school. Either my ECs, essays, and/or interviewing skills did not seal the deal. It just shows how competitive this process is and how amazing other applicants are. I am lucky to have been accepted to a few great medical schools, and since writing this post I was accepted to one close to home. As to if I will attend this one over other higher rank ones, that is for another post.
Hope you take the one that is close to home and to your partner…happiness is more important than “rank”.
 
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I have come to peace with the fact that, for the schools I have been waitlisted at, I was not the best fit for their school. Either my ECs, essays, and/or interviewing skills did not seal the deal. It just shows how competitive this process is and how amazing other applicants are.

We don't know if a more compelling situation that ties you to a specific geographic area would have helped. Fit is not merit.

Then again, it's not over until after matriculation. If you get off a waitlist at a school that is more convenient, would you drop the A even if you complete matriculation?
 
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Hope you take the one that is close to home and to your partner…happiness is more important than “rank”.
I definitely agree happiness is more important than rank. Although, sadly, I also have to consider things like how much debt I will be in and how much easier it is to find research and how stressful the medical school is (like if classes are mandatory or if it’s pass/fail) :(. I’m in constant turmoil over which to choose haha. Luckily, I’m still waiting to hear back from a few more schools so I have my fingers crossed an easier choice can be made.
 
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We don't know if a more compelling situation that ties you to a specific geographic area would have helped. Fit is not merit.

Then again, it's not over until after matriculation. If you get off a waitlist at a school that is more convenient, would you drop the A even if you complete matriculation?
Thank you for linking the article! For the schools in my state or close by, I tried my best to emphasize that I want to stay close to my support system. As to whether I’d drop the A, it would definitely depend on the school I get accepted off the waitlist and if there is a definitive financial aid package.
 
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