Sep 21, 2017
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I’ve been accepted to several DO schools and cancelled the rest of my IIs, as I have picked one DO to go with if I do not get any MD acceptances. I interviewed at 2 MD schools and genuinely preferred these programs overall to all the DO schools I got to visit. Both MDs placed me on their hold lists, basically stating I am a competitive applicant but that they have not made a final decision on my application. Can you explain why some applicants are put aside for later consideration? What prevents them from being accepted or rejected outright, and why?

FYI: LizzyM=67. Low science GPA (3.30) with a significant upward trend. I interview very well and felt my MD interviews went accordingly. Are they just seeing if applicants with higher sGPAs accept their offers, or is there more to it than that? How hopeful or skeptical should I be at this stage?
 

Goro

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Jun 10, 2010
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I’ve been accepted to several DO schools and cancelled the rest of my IIs, as I have picked one DO to go with if I do not get any MD acceptances. I interviewed at 2 MD schools and genuinely preferred these programs overall to all the DO schools I got to visit. Both MDs placed me on their hold lists, basically stating I am a competitive applicant but that they have not made a final decision on my application. Can you explain why some applicants are put aside for later consideration? What prevents them from being accepted or rejected outright, and why?

FYI: LizzyM=67. Low science GPA (3.30) with a significant upward trend. I interview very well and felt my MD interviews went accordingly. Are they just seeing if applicants with higher sGPAs accept their offers, or is there more to it than that? How hopeful or skeptical should I be at this stage?
Schools that do this seek to hoard their applicants until the very end of the cycle. You know that you might get an interview tomorrow, or in March. LizzyM also explained that at some schools, it has to do with the politics or niceties of not pissing off potential donors.
 
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amerepedestrian
Sep 21, 2017
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Pre-Medical
Schools that do this seek to hoard their applicants until the very end of the cycle. You know that you might get an interview tomorrow, or in March. LizzyM also explained that at some schools, it has to do with the politics or niceties of not pissing off potential donors.
Thank you, Goro!

I do want to clarify that these are post-interview deferrals, so I'm wondering what causes admissions committees to decide to put off making a decision on particular applicants. I know at least one of the schools I'm referring to does outright reject many applicants post-interview. What do these conversations about applicants sound like? Your insight would be much appreciated!
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
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Thank you, Goro!

I do want to clarify that these are post-interview deferrals, so I'm wondering what causes admissions committees to decide to put off making a decision on particular applicants. I know at least one of the schools I'm referring to does outright reject many applicants post-interview. What do these conversations about applicants sound like? Your insight would be much appreciated!
It's hard to get into the heads of schools that do this. Personally, I think it's cruel, and they should allow people to get on with their lives. But I speculate that if you're on the wait list, it's called wait list for a reason, and they could at least tell you that too,.

But as to pulling people off the wait list? That depends upon what the Dean of Admissions wants in building the class. If you've accepted too many men, for example, then you need to pull some more women off the list.

Also, some schools, knowing that their accepted candidates may very well go elsewhere when decision day arrive, may hedge their best because they they can get some decent last minute interviewees in, say Feb/Mar.

I'll send a flare up for @Med Ed, @LizzyM, @Lannister, @HomeSkool, and @gyngyn if they can further elaborate.
 
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Lannister

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May 21, 2013
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Thank you, Goro!

I do want to clarify that these are post-interview deferrals, so I'm wondering what causes admissions committees to decide to put off making a decision on particular applicants. I know at least one of the schools I'm referring to does outright reject many applicants post-interview. What do these conversations about applicants sound like? Your insight would be much appreciated!
My school puts far more people on the alternate list post-interview, rather than rejecting applicants outright. The only applicants who get rejected outright are those who have a clear red flag. Most of those who get put on the alternate list are applicants who we think would do well academically in medical school, and have something to contribute to the class, but we can only accept so many people and they just weren't quite as appealing as the other applicants we reviewed that day. I can't speak for other schools, but I'd say that people who get wait listed at my school probably shouldn't feel like we're putting off making a decision, because that's rarely the case. The exact chances of getting off the alt list depends on how the vote was divided, and obviously depends on the year.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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There is the waitlist and then there are those who are told that no decision has been made "yet". In those cases, the school may still be rank ordering applicants and waiting to see how things shake out. At the same time, making some offers early rather than holding all decisions until March lets the folks at the tip-top of the list know that they have an offer. Not putting some applicants on post-interview hold would mean rewarding some of those who interview early and then interviewing later applicants "for the waitlist" which is disheartening for everyone, particularly if the candidate interviewed in that manner turns out to be better than someone who has already received an offer from us.
 

Med Ed

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Sep 13, 2015
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I’ve been accepted to several DO schools and cancelled the rest of my IIs, as I have picked one DO to go with if I do not get any MD acceptances. I interviewed at 2 MD schools and genuinely preferred these programs overall to all the DO schools I got to visit. Both MDs placed me on their hold lists, basically stating I am a competitive applicant but that they have not made a final decision on my application. Can you explain why some applicants are put aside for later consideration? What prevents them from being accepted or rejected outright, and why?

FYI: LizzyM=67. Low science GPA (3.30) with a significant upward trend. I interview very well and felt my MD interviews went accordingly. Are they just seeing if applicants with higher sGPAs accept their offers, or is there more to it than that? How hopeful or skeptical should I be at this stage?
Every adcom has its own operating procedures, so it's somewhat difficult to divine. Offhand I can recall a few times when we deferred action for applicants who had undertaken GPA repair, and we were still waiting for the most recent semester of grades to be posted. I have also seen a couple of applicants who were so contentious that they could not get enough votes for any final action, and thus got tabled. I am certain other scenarios exist.