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Why do I keep getting waitlisted?

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farmmd

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Hello I would appreciate any tips or suggestions.

I have a gpa of 3.8 and MCAT of 503. I am a minority student with good extracurriculars and LORs (no MD/DO letter). I have completed a post bac. program and am currently a full time EMT.

I received 4 interviews so far:

1. Sept: MD in-state interview.
-went good.
2. Oct: DO out of state interview.
- felt like I rambled a little, but overall went good.
3. Nov: MD in-state interview pending.
4. Jan: DO out of state interview pending.

I have been waitlisted at my first two interviews and did prepare for both before hand. I don't know if I am doing something or if there are any suggestions from any other premeds or accepted students. I keep hearing to "relax and just be yourself at the interview" but I don't think that's working for me. Any ideas or tips for me?

Should I try a letter of intent for the school I like the most?
 
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Goro

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I suspect it's the 503 MCAT and/or poor interview skills.

Without an accept, what leverage do you have? How would you interpret a nonbinding contact from a desperate candidate?
 
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farmmd

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I suspect it's the 503 MCAT and/or poor interview skills.

Without an accept, what leverage do you have? How would you interpret a nonbinding contact from a desperate candidate?

I could add more interview practice before my next interview. I am a bit confused on the purpose of the last two questions.
 

Med Ed

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Hello I would appreciate any tips or suggestions.

I have a gpa of 3.8 and MCAT of 503. I am a minority student with good extracurriculars and LORs (no MD/DO letter). I have completed a post bac. program and am currently a full time EMT.

I received 4 interviews so far:

1. Sept: MD in-state interview.
-went good.
2. Oct: DO out of state interview.
- felt like I rambled a little, but overall went good.
3. Nov: MD in-state interview pending.
4. Jan: DO out of state interview pending.

I have been waitlisted at my first two interviews and did prepare for both before hand. I don't know if I am doing something or if there are any suggestions from any other premeds or accepted students. I keep hearing to "relax and just be yourself at the interview" but I don't think that's working for me. Any ideas or tips for me?

Should I try a letter of intent for the school I like the most?

It was your use of the term "good" instead of "well."

But seriously, it's probably your MCAT. And you'll probably get off at least one waitlist before the cycle is over.
 
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DoctorSwagger

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I suspect it's the 503 MCAT and/or poor interview skills.

Without an accept, what leverage do you have? How would you interpret a nonbinding contact from a desperate candidate?

If an applicant receives an II doesn’t that mean mean their stats are good enough?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Troyzle

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If an applicant receives an II doesn’t that mean mean their stats are good enough?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Maybe! I think it depends on the school, but a lower than average (for an acceptance) MCAT doesn't look good at most schools. Those schools you have interviews at probably want to see what you have to offer since other parts of your application are probably strong to them. (I was in your situation 2 years ago, and I didn't get in).

You might be on the *maybe* list, and they wanted to use your interview to see if you'd push them towards an acceptance or not. But a lot of schools accept a large portion of their class off the waitlist, so you might want to look at any data on those schools to see your chances!

Sent from my SM-G950U using SDN mobile
 
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farmmd

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Maybe! I think it depends on the school, but a lower than average (for an acceptance) MCAT doesn't look good at most schools. Those schools you have interviews at probably want to see what you have to offer since other parts of your application are probably strong to them. (I was in your situation 2 years ago, and I didn't get in).

You might be on the *maybe* list, and they wanted to use your interview to see if you'd push them towards an acceptance or not. But a lot of schools accept a large portion of their class off the waitlist, so you might want to look at any data on those schools to see your chances!

Sent from my SM-G950U using SDN mobile

Could I PM you?
 

LizzyM

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You are second string... good enough to take the field if the starting line-up is exhausted or unavailable. You might get called up off the bench but there are no guarantees. I too suspect that the 503 is like batting .122.
 
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sophop

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I was waitlisted by a bunch of schools, but admitted to an even bigger bunch. It would be easy if I could tell you that the results had any correlation to the poor/amazing interview skills I thought I displayed in one vs. another - and then offer you corresponding advice, but I would be lying. I really have no clue. I think I was just a slight more formal side of myself all the way through. Having said that, it never hurts to work on your interview skills just in case that is an issue. I did read both Goro's Guide to Interviews and bluestreaks' Interview Advice. Although I can't honestly say I remembered any of their advice during the actual interviews, having read them made me feel more prepared. I also let my parents interview me - all I got from them was "slow down" and "lower your voice," but I think just being forced to verbalize the answers helped me feel more comfortable during the real things. Congratulations on the 4 IIs. That is really awesome!
 
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Mad Jack

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Borderline app, you're a backup candidate. Might end up with an acceptance of you keep interviewing, you're not a bad candidate just not a stellar one
 
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Frogger27

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Odds are you’ll get in with 4 interviews just keep going and work on what you can in the mean time
 
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libertyyne

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MCAT is what is waitlisting you at MD school. Interview is probably holding you back at DO. I suspect the second DO will convert to an accept.
 
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the shretiology

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Prepare more for your next interview. If you can get someone who interviews to mock interview you, that would be best. Obviously, that is not always possible..

The idea of relaxing and being yourself is a good foundation, but you want to walk in the room with a consistent idea of why the admissions committee should choose you over all other qualified candidates. You want to communicate this with convincing evidence. Try to theme your interview with this “why you” idea without forcing it upon the interviewer, but rather doing so by directly answering the questions you are asked and sprinkling these ideas within (without babbling). You have a mission on the interview: be a normal, poised individual and explain why you should get the spot, building from the application the interviewer just read (if open file). The “be yourself” can be taken as emphasizing ones own unique path and strengths that would make an excellent physician.

If that only made sense in my head, I recommend researching SDN and youtube for interview threads or video lectures. I liked “Kevin Ahern’s guide to medical school interviews”. Your MCAT is what it is this cycle, and if it doesn’t work out you can retake and improve, but the fate of the post-interview decision is still in your court.

Crush those interviews.
 
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farmmd

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Yes. MCAT is likely an issue.

As for interviewing skills....What is your resting face? Is it bored? Unhappy?

My natural resting face is unhappy which is something I am aware of. During interviews though, I make sure I keep smiling and have a neutral resting face.
 
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itsalwayssunny96

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My natural resting face is unhappy which is something I am aware of. During interviews though, I make sure I keep smiling and have a neutral resting face.
to be honest I think this year most schools are waitlisting more often due to the change of traffic rules by AAMC so just something to keep in mind
 
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itsalwayssunny96

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What are some of the changes?
the big one is schools are no longer able to see where applicants have been accepted when they used to be able to see I believe in April? of each cycle. so it's much more of a blind guessing game about their yield now...Vermont talked about it explicitly at my interview day that they were gonna waitlist more people initially and pull more people off of it compared to prior years
 
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AliBabaMD

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poor interviewing, get help from a peer that can do a mock interview with you or professional help from a coach.

pm me if I can help further

AB
 
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itsalwayssunny96

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poor interviewing, get help from a peer that can do a mock interview with you or professional help from a coach.

pm me if I can help further

AB
if WL results from poor interviewing then why wouldn't an applicant be outright rejected instead?
 
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AliBabaMD

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Because you fall in the murky middle. You got invited to interview because on paper you bring value, but in person they had doubts. None of this is personal. It is just the reality of the process. I'm sure you are a very likable and good person. Feel free to PM me.
 
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itsalwayssunny96

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Because you fall in the murky middle. You got invited to interview because on paper you bring value, but in person they had doubts. None of this is personal. It is just the reality of the process. I'm sure you are a very likable and good person. Feel free to PM me.
I meant rejected post interview (not pre interview) because that's another outcome as well. I'm not the OP but I don't personally think that someone who was WL performed poorly the interview, I just think they didn't perform as well as others. If everyone who was admitted did fantastic on the interview and the person who was WL did above average but didn't do as well as others they're comparing them to, then that could lead to a WL. In my person opinion, I doesn't necessarily mean the person WL had poor interview skills, but just that they didn't interview as well as the other applicants they were compared to.
 
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AliBabaMD

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I meant rejected post interview (not pre interview) because that's another outcome as well. I'm not the OP but I don't personally think that someone who was WL performed poorly the interview, I just think they didn't perform as well as others. If everyone who was admitted did fantastic on the interview and the person who was WL did above average but didn't do as well as others they're comparing them to, then that could lead to a WL. In my person opinion, I doesn't necessarily mean the person WL had poor interview skills, but just that they didn't interview as well as the other applicants they were compared to.


I get you, and you have a point but remember we all are compared to one another in this world. We don't function as single units in our own solar systems. So yea, the OP may not have done as well as others but this is the same as that the OP needs to improve his/her interviewing. I think interviewing, public speaking, communicating are easily learn-able. A bit of coaching, confidence, and some luck in an interviewer who values your strengths and it is all good from there.
 

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I agree that MCAT is the most likely thing holding you back (especially for MDs) however you did get a September interview for an MD school. Since this is pretty early, I would think this means they liked you quite a bit and didn't consider you a backup. Maybe your interview didn't go as well as you hoped?
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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How much weightage is given to the interview vs GPA + MCAT? Is it more like to make sure candidate can communicate/converse decently or they assign certain score/points?
 

Gilakend

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How much weightage is given to the interview vs GPA + MCAT? Is it more like to make sure candidate can communicate/converse decently or they assign certain score/points?

I have no idea how true this is, maybe the adcoms can say. But one of the admissions people at my UG said your app gets you to the door, the interview gets you through the door. So I'm assuming if you get an interview they have deemed you are fit for their school on paper and I would assume more weight is given to interview?
 
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ginsengreset

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I have no idea how true this is, maybe the adcoms can say. But one of the admissions people at my UG said your app gets you to the door, the interview gets you through the door. So I'm assuming if you get an interview they have deemed you are fit for their school on paper and I would assume more weight is given to interview?
I'm surprised @LizzyM 's stairway analogy hasn't been brought up yet. The idea is that going into the interview, each applicant is at a different level of the staircase. The applicant can move down, move up, or remain where they are, depending on their interview performance, and applicants who end up above a certain level will get accepted. This means that some super strong applicants (on paper) might start off already at the "accept" level on the staircase, and simply need to not bomb their interview. One the other hand, some more borderline applicants (like OP, given their MCAT) might need to knock their interviewer's socks off to climb high enough.

Based on this, I don't necessarily think OP has poor interviewing skills. It is possible that they started so far down the staircase that they would've needed mind-blowing interview skills to get the initial acceptance. Ideally, the screeners will only send II's to applicants capable (in theory) of climbing the staircase to the "accept" level. But since the screeners are not the entire admissions committee, I suspect that there might be certain cases (especially courtesy interviews) where applicants are simply interviewing for the waitlist.

And in addition, I'm guessing that some schools who draw heavily from the waitlist may use a more stringent set of criteria for the initial acceptances. It may be possible that OP has already crossed that line needed for an acceptance, but won't get it until the spring. I'm just an applicant though, so maybe an adcom can correct me if there's anything inaccurate here.
 
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Goro

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I have no idea how true this is, maybe the adcoms can say. But one of the admissions people at my UG said your app gets you to the door, the interview gets you through the door. So I'm assuming if you get an interview they have deemed you are fit for their school on paper and I would assume more weight is given to interview?
It's school-dependent. At my school, gyngyn's and Lizzym's interviews make or break people.
 
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PreMedMissteps

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to be honest I think this year most schools are waitlisting more often due to the change of traffic rules by AAMC so just something to keep in mind


Interesting. I’m noticing a lot of early acceptances this cycle. When I observed a lot more pre-Thanksgiving acceptances, I thought that maybe because of “change of traffic rules” that some schools new strategy is to accept early in hopes that those students will happily decline other interviews and enjoy the next 8 months.
 
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Master Thinker

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Interesting. I’m noticing a lot of early acceptances this cycle. When I observed a lot more pre-Thanksgiving acceptances, I thought that maybe because of “change of traffic rules” that some schools new strategy is to accept early in hopes that those students will happily decline other interviews and enjoy the next 8 months.
Yeah, I've noticed this as well from SDN and talking to others during interview days. I feel that schools that waitlist a lot of people might be disadvantaged in creating their desired class composition as people generally like schools that accept them outright more (as opposed to stringing them along).
 
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farmmd

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Out of 5 interviews, I was waitlisted in 4 and finally accepted to 1. Thank you all for your advice and words of encouragement. I believe the thing that helped me the most would have been practicing and feeling confident. Good luck to any other pre-meds out there. Stay strong because it's not over yet! #itonlytakes1
 
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LizzyM

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Yeah, I've noticed this as well from SDN and talking to others during interview days. I feel that schools that waitlist a lot of people might be disadvantaged in creating their desired class composition as people generally like schools that accept them outright more (as opposed to stringing them along).

Might be true but if you are waitlisted at your top choice and have an offer to an expensive OOS school, you'll drop the OOS school to grab the offer from the school that waitlisted you. The schools that are going to use the waitlist extensively may have a high estimate of their status among applicants and the desirability of an offer from them, even if it comes after May 1. No one says, "I'm going to Penn State because those bastards at Stanford waitlisted me before making me an offer."
 
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