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What Would You Change About the Application Process?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by md2be06, Jan 7, 2002.

  1. md2be06

    md2be06 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Just wondering what everyone would change about the application prcoess if they had a choice. They can be major things or minor things.

    Personally, I'd get rid of AMCAS to start off with or at least get a reliable organization to handle the primary app.

    Second, I'd increase the amount of communication between schools and applicants. Once your app is complete, if a school has put you in a hold pile, they should let you know. It's not that hard to fire off an e-mail to those applicants who will be considered for interviews at a later date.

    Third, I'd wish schools would make post-interview decisions faster. A lot of schools just leave ya hangin, wondering whether you'll ever hear from them again.

    Fourth, I wish schools were more accomdating when it comes to scheduling interviews. Not every applicant can be at a certain school at a set date or time. Schools should realize this and be more flexible.

    Fifth, I wish schools would stop bashing other rival schools. It gets old pretty quick. I'm there to see what that particular school has to offer, not to hear about how they score 2 points higher on the Step 1 of the USMLE than schools so and so. It's not the greatest recruiting tactic in my opinion.

    These are just some of the things I'd change about this process. I'm sure you SDN'ers have a lot more.
     
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  3. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

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    More interviewing between Dec 22nd and Jan 7th! Online and centralized secondaries. More weekend interview timeslots.
     
  4. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper 7+ Year Member

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    That's easy! I'd make the primary more inclusive and do away with the pesky secondaries. Schools only send them to make a quick buck! Any questions that NEED to be answered, above and beyond those in the AMCAS app, can be addressed at the interview.
     
  5. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Great ideas so far. I'd also add that the schools should have some thorough on-line status checking facility. There is no need to send me a postcard (or some schools like U of Nevada I've received about 10 different post cards) when they could easily put this in some on-line status checking thing. The best status check I've seen so far has been Yale's, giving line-by-line what they have received and so forth. They should just follow through and give more post-secondary complete status as well.
     
  6. Mystique

    Mystique The Procrastinator 7+ Year Member

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    Minimize the cost of applying. The cost is atrocious!

    I'd also opt for more weekend interviews.

    Get rid of (SC)AMCAS!

    I'd also get rid of secondaries that ask for no personal input...you know--the schools that have a secondary/supplemental with your name/address and nothing more. What a waste of time and money on our part!

    I'd also have a process w/in 4-6 weeks or your $$$ back guarantee.

    And, I have lots more, but I've got to go.

    Adios!
     
  7. Coalboy

    Coalboy Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    I'll second the more online status checking--I greatly appreciate the schools that have it this year.
     
  8. eagle26

    eagle26 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    AMCAS
     
  9. 1)How about all secondaries be available through an online form or downloadable document. Who the hell has a typewriter these days? Was it Hopkins who required a type written application, but would not allow youto separate the pages - hence making it impossible to run through a printer had you been inspired enough to mess with margin alignment in a word processor program.

    2)How about schools realizing that not all of their candidates are 22 and right out of school. Again Hopkins comes to mind, where I was requirted to list all my post secondary work experience (about 15 different jobs) on about 6 lines and was not allowed to attach extra sheets.

    3) A standard way of communication. Email, mail or phone but please pick one. I would be less neurotic of I only had one thing to check.
     
  10. daisygirl

    daisygirl woof 15+ Year Member

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    perpetually cranky
     
  11. gooseHC

    gooseHC Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    As frustrating as AMCAS was, I don't think we can really bash them that much. It is quite convenient to have a centralized process by which to organize everything, albeit the organization was poor. But hopefully AMCAS has learned something by way of what we dealt with this year
    online status checks is the number one thing I wish all schools have. I am sure it can't be that difficult. I am sure they have a computerized system documenting the updates to our file. It shouldn't be that difficult to make that information available to us.
    And some of the secondary fees are ridiculous. I mean a hundred dollars just so you can reject people a month later I feel is ridiculous...
    Or even just in general somehow lettins us know that we are recognized as existing by some schools...
    those are my beefs..not many really...
     
  12. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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  13. brandonite

    brandonite Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Well, I don't think they should get rid of AMCAS! Imagine sending individual applications to every single school you applied to, complete with different essays, different formats for submitting grades, etc... It would be horrible! Just improve AMCAS. :D

    I would agree with those who suggest getting rid of secondaries. Perhaps schools could only charge the secondary fee to students they interview. That way, schools can't just charge $100 to every student that applied to them, regardless of whether they have a serious chance at getting in or not! Secondaries are a horrible waste of time. Every school I've applied to has wanted an essay of some sort, and as a result, I've got like 10 different essays sitting on my hard drive. It takes forever.
     
  14. md2be06

    md2be06 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I should've clarified. I still want to submit only 1 primary application, I just don't want AMCAS to be in charge of verifying and transmitting it to the medical schools. Some great ideas expressed thus far. I wish med schools would take these into account.
     
  15. alice

    alice Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    1. AMCAS would be free.
    2. There would be a cap on application #s. Say 10. It would make things fairer.
     
  16. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper 7+ Year Member

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    alice,

    I can't disagree with you more about that cap. I worked my butt off to pay for apps to the 21 schools I applied to (only sent secondaries to 18). Like tadpoles, success in med-school admission comes with high numbers.

    There is a guy at my school who applied to 40+ schools. He must be a rich kid because he hired a personal assistant to type them for him. Granted, this makes me sick. It is, however his right. I'll venture to say the quality of his apps is poorer than those you and I cranked out. If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself.

    Ok, I'm babbling.
     
  17. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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  18. jimjones

    jimjones Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I would get rid of AMCAS. Its totally do-able. You send off for application materials from each school. What you get is basically the secondary, as most schools send secondaries to all AMCAS applicants anyway. You include a photocopy of your transcripts, a photocopy of your MCAT score report, and an essay, plus the secondary. If they want to accept you, you get MCAT to send an official score report to the school, and get official transcripts sent also.
    That would save 1000 bucks and a hell of a lot of hassle.
     
  19. Kadyra

    Kadyra Will drive for music. 7+ Year Member

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  20. Coalboy

    Coalboy Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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  21. YBee

    YBee Member 7+ Year Member

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    Oops! I separated my Hopkins app too - I typed a few secondaries and they looked terrible in that Courier font, so I wanted to put it through the printer. Of course my printer died halfway through my Hopkins app so it looked terrible anyway :eek:

    Plus, nothing fit!
    - not enough room for all the places I've taken classes (some were non-science related but since they were on my AMCAS I had to squeeze them in somehow), not enough room for jobs (I just left out all my jobs from age 14 to 21)

    There are three things that were really aggregious though:

    1. Only three schools that I applied to had completely on-line secondaries - so even as the schools tout their top-of-the line facilities for learning - we rush out to rent typewriters. Oh - how silly they look - and unfortunately we can't tell them either! I was especially amused by the schools with the non-writeable PDF files or the non-template word files - no clue about word processing, which is pretty basic computer knowledge

    2. I rechecked my essays a zillion times for typos and elegant wording, even tho' half the apps. had grave typos/grammar/style problems! No fair, I say. USC springs to mind as the worst offender. "Please describe any jobs you've had the benefitted the undeserved." Oh how I so wanted to start my essay "I think everyone is deserving" LOL! Or, for stupid questions, also USC, "do you think you will thrive with our new curriculum" Is anyone really going to answer no?

    3. The secondary fees - schools shouldn't charge fees when they have no intention of looking at your app. further. Have you noticed that the worse the school is, the higher the fee? Oh the nobility of the medical profession blah, blah blah. One has to be a millionare or have a good $5-10000 on one's credit card in order to afford all of the interview trips (hotel, plane fare, rental car etc.) and application fees. It's obscene and at least for the fees, not necessary.

    Do I sound bitter? Sorry - I am disenchanted with this process, it's really set up to be demoralizing (and we haven't even encountered any sleep deprived residents/attendings yet!)
     
  22. Wednesday

    Wednesday Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    How about:

    1. Some way for the schools to communicate to the applicants about what type of students they are actually looking for. (ie. older or just out of undergrad, biochem major with tons of research or otherwise). There are many rumors, but they don't all seem to pan out. This would also cut down the number of schools each person has to apply to because it wouldn't seem so RANDOM!!!

    2. More communication from the schools about the time between interviews and a decision. Some are good about this and some are not. The waiting for an unknown period of time makes the waiting much worse.

    I think the whole process could be shorter. It doesn't take a whole year to apply to any other type of graduate school. Perhaps less use of waiting lists might solve this problem. They seem like a way to keep people's hopes up (and future up in the air) just so the school can keep it's options open.

    Ah, if we were in charge...

    Oh, I thought of one more--more medical school seats in California!!! :D
     
  23. daisygirl

    daisygirl woof 15+ Year Member

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    Is it common to complete secondaries using typewriters? I didn't and it seems like a whole lot of people did. Uh-oh... :eek: :eek:
     
  24. md2be06

    md2be06 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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  25. brandonite

    brandonite Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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  26. Medical123

    Medical123 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    If I were going to change the application process, I would require that medical schools who KNOW FOR A FACT that they are going to reject certain applicants just go ahead and give them the bad news rather than let it drag out for months and months.
     
  27. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper 7+ Year Member

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  28. md2be06

    md2be06 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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  29.  
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  31. EC

    EC

    This would be difficult, but I wish schools could provide feedback about why they do or don't accept you.
     
  32. Mystique

    Mystique The Procrastinator 7+ Year Member

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    FYI, if you really want to know why they didn't accept you, you can call them. "Most" schools don't mind if an applicant makes a "phone appointment" to speak w/ admissions about their file. They're usually more than happy to point out the weak spots in your application and offer suggestions.
     
  33. RichardParkr

    RichardParkr 2+ Year Member

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    LORs would be incorporated into amcas. They'd be mailed to amcas only and then forwarded to all med schools. That's how the law folks do it... :sleep:
     
  34. more essays
     
  35. MollyMalone

    MollyMalone I'm a Score Quadruplet Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Holy bump, Batman. :)
     
  36. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper Duffman in Disguise 7+ Year Member

    Personally I think LORs are pretty useless but they are probably the most time consuming.
    -Dr. P.
     
  37. photo_girl07

    photo_girl07 Western Blot Queen 2+ Year Member

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    CALIFORNIA BABY!
    AGREEED!!!!!! :love:
     
  38. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search 5+ Year Member

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    Right behind you
    You guys should stop complaining about AMCAS. It's not that bad.

    You don't know how good you have it in the US with this electronic system that handles ALL primary applications for (almost)ALL the medical schools in the country.

    In other countries, you apply to each medical school INDIVIDUALLY (national application system?? What's that?...Forget it ). This limits the number of schools to which you can apply, because they tend to have the same date for the entrance exam (of which each school has its own different version, by the way...).
    On the other hand, in the US you can apply to 150 schools if you can afford it and have a brain big enough to handle it (I could never do it :eek: ).

    Plus, secondaries for the most part aren't that bad. I agree with you all that there are some bad ones out there that just pretty much ask you to rewrite amcas questions and information all over again--not the mention the ones that ask you to butter up their school by listing all their wonderful qualities they already know they have, but want to make sure you know it too--, but most of the ones I've done can be finished in a few hours, faster if they don't have an essay portion (such as Drexel, Harvard, UT-Southwestern), and many others have pretty small essays (Columbia, Stanford, Baylor, to name a few).

    Also, in the US you have the benefit of applicants being looked at in a more complete manner. Sure, the system has its leaks and people with no interest whatsoever in medicine get in, but at least your ec's, work experience, life experiences, and grades all count.
    In other countries, they only look at your grades. There's no such thing as an "interview" and let alone application "essays." This might sound like a perfect system for those with good grades, but think about the number of people who would get rejected who could have still made wonderful and caring doctors (GRADES =/= INTELLIGENCE).

    Stop whining and share the love. :love:
    Good luck on everyone's application process.
     
  39. mmmkay121

    mmmkay121 2+ Year Member

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    So true.

    "X is a great person. blah blah blah ... I highly recommend him... blah blah blah... he did well in this class.... blah blah blah... and he's nice."

    They're all the same. Makes no difference whatsoever. I guess a few people are weeded out/hurt by bad LORs, but some don't deserve it. Do you remember the kid from 2006 that got a bad LOR because he forgot to come into work one day? IMO, a "great" LOR probably has little to do with the evaluatee, but rather the writing skills of the evaluator.
     
  40. Zoom-Zoom

    Zoom-Zoom 7+ Year Member

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    Haha, I think they stopped complaining. Like four years ago! This is the oldest thread ever. :laugh:


    by the way, it's good to see AMCAS still has the same old problems. Maybe when we're all in residency we can bump this thread again and see if it's still the same way. A classic!
     
  41. GujuMD

    GujuMD 1K member 5+ Year Member

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    I would minimize the cost- by getting rid of the secondaries. instead I would add more essays in the primary application.
    I would decrease the amount of waiting time between each step. also all the waitlisted people should automatically get an interview for the next application cycle if not accepted.
     
  42. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search 5+ Year Member

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    Right behind you
    Wow, I can't believe I didn't notice that!!! Classic. :laugh:

    Still, quit whining. :D
     
  43. MSTP?

    MSTP? Senior Member 2+ Year Member

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    my only true annoyance is secondaries that ask for the information in AMCAS in a slightly different format. i'll do the essays for them, but please don't ask me to list xyz activities again with the dates. i hate all of those little boxes and filling out the dates AGAIN - so time consuming. also for md/phd - do schools really need to ask me again to describe my research experience? the only thing that changes is the character count - which is a pain in the arse - trying to figure out what to cut and what to keep after i worked so hard on that 10,000 char tome for AMCAS.
     
  44. defrunner

    defrunner I'm Greased Up 7+ Year Member

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    Yeah that was the first thing I noticed when I started reading this thread -- how old it was. People from 2002 complaining about typewritten applications? That's like the comparatively dark days of electronics and computers (obviously 1992 was worse). Like in that time, 10 gigabytes of memory was considered a lot, Windows 2000 was still in vogue, the dot-com's were still popular, AOL was a giant, etc. Wow, things have really progressed in such a short time.

    and yet, there are still many of the same problems plaguing us today. Interesting.

    I agree that we should stop complaining. The application process isn't THAT bad if you can manage your time effectively. We have to pay our dues and this is part of it. Suck it up and just remember that med schools are trying to get the whole picture about you and how you fit with in their school, your capabilities of handling the coursework and your ability to become a 'good' physician. Yeah, it's going to be thoroughly done, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I trust the US med schools' judgment and know that the vast majority of the doctors they produce will be top-notch internationally. There is a reason why they are held in such high esteem and why their doctors are responsible for the lives of so many other people.

    Man up and do what you can. Don't screw things up now, after all those years of hard work.
     
  45. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student 7+ Year Member

    Alot of the suggestions on here are good stuff and I hope some of the adcoms who comes onto the forums will see this. However, many of the complaints are the result of teh high demand for medical school seats. AMCAS doesn't have to change, and neither does med schools because they know people are going to jump through the hoops with minimal complaints no matter what they put in front of us. Once we'll in med school, we don't think twice about the process (only to be thankful we got in).

    I also think the fees are too dang high for apps. I mean, what's the point of primaries and secondaries any? Why not just cut it down to one fee? Or only charge those they are going to interview for the secondary fee? At least then, you know you are not shelling out $100 for a two minute glance at your secondary. The profession may talk about its noble goals, but they really know how to screw their students over.
     
  46. Haemulon

    Haemulon Slippery When Wet Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    I really don't have much to complain about with the application process. AMCAS has been great for me, with no real glitches. Similarly the secondary applciations have all gone more or less smoothly. I think this process should be long, difficult, and even a little cumbersome because it needs to weed out those that wouldn't really cut it in med school or that don't have the good motiveation for it. If it were an easy and low cost process, imagine how many more applicants there would be. Now that would suck all around.
     
  47. 35m

    35m New Member 2+ Year Member

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    Instead of rejecting applicants, I would accept everyone and then fail out all but the top students. This way the school gets more money and all of the best students get through.
     
  48. Trismegistus4

    Trismegistus4 Worried Wellologist Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I can't believe how many people are suggesting changes to the secondaries, and/or getting rid of AMCAS, rather than getting rid of the damn secondaries! They totally defeat the purpose of AMCAS. According to my uncle, who applied in about '81 or '82, there were no secondaries back then... which means schools have gradually introduced them in an effort to get money out of us and make us jump through more hoops. Worse, this state of affairs, where we all have to fill out a unique application for each school, is a reversion to the pre-AMCAS state, which AMCAS was created to solve!

    I'm sitting here wracking my brain over one of those "why do you want to come to our school in particular" questions, browsing the school's website to find fodder for some BS statement about how I find their curriculum so impressive, when the real answer is simply that I want to be a doctor and they are a medical school.
     

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