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What does a successful Medical School application package look like, at minimum.

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MacMD1334, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. MacMD1334

    MacMD1334 The Someday Doctor 2+ Year Member

    May 20, 2008
    So I was thinking, as I am wont to do from time to time, why not take one of the obsessive thoughts in my head and make a post on SDN with it!

    Here's what I'm looking for:

    I'd like people to post the stats of what they believe would be an application package that meets a minimum standard that would allow you to look at it and think to yourself, "Yea, this guy will probably be able to get into a school. I'd be surprised if he didn't get into at least one or two MD programs for sure."

    I am no expert in this area but I imagine someone coming up with say, something like this:

    "3.7+ GPA, 28+ on the MCAT, couple of summers doing undergrad. research, some time spent doing some sort of volunteering at a hospital or community based health organization, a few extracurriculars like biology club or student government, decent LORs from profs. who like you... etc etc"

    I know there's no magic formula for getting accepted to medical school, I'm just looking for your thoughts along these lines. By the way, this is NOT a "what are my chances thread" these are not my stats, I made them up, I am not starting pre-med until spring 2009. Huzzah!
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  3. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy" 5+ Year Member

    May 23, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    2 standards:

    1) "Reasonable hope of getting into a school, barring my state schools don't screw me over": 3.65+ GPA, 30 MCAT, 6 months-1 year in a clinical setting, no bad LORs, good reason to be an MD.

    2) "Spending money applying to a top 25 school is not a total waste": 3.75-3.8 GPA, 34-35 MCAT, 1 year in a clinical setting, compelling LORs, compelling reason to be an MD, 1+ years of research experience, and most importantly "a hook" that differentiates you from everyone else. What that "hook" is, you'll have to figure out on your own.

    Now, of course, there are 10+ other factors I am ignoring (on purpose), and several posters after me will probably call me an idiot for typing these things ("you're GPA is too high for standard #1!! I got in with a 3.3!!!" and the same with the MCAT and what not), but seeing has how you haven't started college yet, I wouldn't depend on that route. And things probably will change by the time you apply.

    Have fun!
  4. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod Physician 7+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    hSDN Alumni
    This isn't really an answerable question since everything in an application is viewed relative to the rest of the application. For instance, breaking down my profile we've got the "headed for the Carib" 2.94 BCPM, the "hell yes" 35 MCAT, the "he'll get in somewhere" EC's, and the "good enough to apply anywhere" LOR's (or so I'm told). The LizzyM score is probably what comes closest to describing what you're after.
  5. LikeClockWork

    LikeClockWork Guest

    Jul 23, 2007
    MD, DO, or both? That probably makes a difference.
  6. OldFolkDoc

    OldFolkDoc Future Geriatrician 2+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2007
    I completely second this, especially the "hook" aspect.

    Other things to consider: nature/difficulty of your courseload and undergrad reputation will affect the GPA ranges, and you ability to communicate your package both in writing and verbally is absolutely critical.

    Finally I'd say that research experience is really not critical at any level, unless you're after an MD/PhD or are trying to use your research as a "hook". Most of the AdCom are not full-time researchers, then tend to be clinicians who understand the value of being "just a doctor."

    Best of luck.

  7. MacMD1334

    MacMD1334 The Someday Doctor 2+ Year Member

    May 20, 2008
    Could you give me some examples of "hooks"?
  8. flip26

    flip26 2+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    Anything that separates you from the typical, run of the mill pre-med.

    Could be an interesting EC.

    The truth be told, most people with "hooks" came by them naturally - it is not something I think one can strategize, at least not very easily, and not late in the process.
  9. frikarika

    frikarika RADIOHEAD 5+ Year Member

    Jun 13, 2006
    Planet Telex
  10. flaahless

    flaahless 10+ Year Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Word. OP, try examining your life experiences that are unique to you, and figure out how those experiences can enrich a med school class and the profession as a whole.
  11. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642 10+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2005
    I think that the first question that adcoms ask themselves when evaluating a candidate is whether or not that person is cut out for med school-- can he/she handle the curriculum? If the answer is yes, then I think they are asking themselves, what makes this individual unique, why would this person be a good physician? What will this person contribute to the field of medicine that the other applicants will/might not? For some it might be diverse experiences, for others it is ethnic diversity, for others raw intelligence, and others just have wonderful hearts and minds. Everyone brings something different to the table. Admission committees aren't looking to fill their classes with clones, they want a diverse class.
  12. bcat85

    bcat85 10+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2007
    Its really hard to say... It's actually a bit of fuzzy logic... kinda like trying to tell someone how to know when an egg is done. I generally agree with TheRealMD though
  13. OldFolkDoc

    OldFolkDoc Future Geriatrician 2+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2007
    Hooks will vary greatly on an individual basis. If you did the typical pre-med thing and went down the checklist of activities (Bio major, boring research, clinical exposure, not much meaningful leadership, premed clubs, boring social advocacy/volunteerism) and failed to actually follow your passions, you may have a more difficult time with this. Essentially you have to identify the common thread that runs through your academic/extra curricular choices. Then, you describe how this thread developed, what you've done to nurture it, and where you hope to take it in the future (and why MedSchool is the next logical step).

    In my case, it was an interest in combining health policy and interpersonal skills in hopes of improving Geriatrics and Palliative Care in this country. Unique, relevant, interesting, and supported by my undergraduate choices.

    It could also be an interest in research into a specific field, a passion for dance and a desire to be an ortho surgeon, a specialty for social advocacy, etc. If you have passions and articulate how they can connect to medicine and make you a better doctor, then you're all set as far as a "hook" is concerned.

    Of course, none of this matters at all if you don't have the other credentials to get the door open. Worry about those first, and then go for the bigger picture.

  14. Character

    Character 5+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2008
  15. AlexMorph

    AlexMorph 10+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    the great character is simply suggesting that being a hula-hoop champion could be your hook

    that might be tough to accomplish though, so just focus on grades and ECs, not to forget the MCAT
  16. paradocs we are

    paradocs we are In love with you 2+ Year Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    The Falls

  17. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy" 5+ Year Member

    May 23, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    Hooks usually aren't planned for. For example, I didn't PLAN to be applying to med school at 18 years old a year ago when I was in grade school. There's just NO way on Earth you plan for that kind of stuff, it just happens. Just understand that you must truly ask yourself what makes you different from the thousands of other people out there. Don't force it, it'll just come to you naturally.

    *or maybe my dad fed me brain food, who knows?*
  18. ar2388

    ar2388 rads resident 7+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    New York, NY
    can a look be something completely different from medicine? i have been dancing (ballet and ballroom) since ~age 6. can that be a hook?
  19. eeyoreDO

    eeyoreDO 2+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2007

    Maybe if you lost your leg in a ballet accident and entered medicine to be an orthopedic surgeon and develop new prosthetics... :cool:

    One lie won't hurt...
  20. WellWornLad

    WellWornLad 10+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    That helps to round out a picture of you, but it's not a hook. Most everyone has a hobby/talent that they've been honing. The hook usually ties in somehow with your reason to go into medicine.

    Hey, I'm building a pretty good fishing analogy here...
  21. nevercold

    nevercold 2+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    If you want to feel good about your chances for med school without applying to every school in the country, you should aim for the following:

    * 3.6 GPA
    * >= 10 on each section of the MCAT
    * Some experience demonstrating leadership (leadership = making an effort to steer a community, whether large or small)
    * Some experience demonstrating an understanding of medicine (shadowing, volunteering, etc)
    * Some experience demonstrating an aptitude for service (volunteering especially)
    * Some demonstration of intellectual curiosity (breadth of coursework and/or research)
    * The ability to write thoughtfully
    * The ability to speak and write genuinely about the 3rd through 6th bullet point above

    If you have each of those things, you should get admitted to medical school somewhere. People that seem to meet 1-6 but did not get in almost assuredly stumbled on the last two points.
  22. paradocs we are

    paradocs we are In love with you 2+ Year Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    The Falls
    Q F T!

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