UCLA Paratrooper

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Hey!

Someone at my school told me that the best way to write these "Why do you want to come to X school?" is to call up the school and ask if you could speak with a current medical student. Then proceed to ask the medical student questions about the school, why they applied to the school, what they like about the school, what they don't like about the school, what the professors are like, etc. What do you guys think? Would it work?

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Street Philosopher

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Sounds like a good plan if there are people actually willing to spend their time listening to premeds.

I don't think this question is a big deal. I tend to focus just on academic reputation, location, hospital affiliation, and... that's about it.
 
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thats a great way to get some insight- wish i thought about it earlier. doooo it. and then post us your results - so we can use the second hand information. ;)
 
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Rapid Decomposition

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Well, why are you applying to these schools? I think your honest reasons should be fine (location, good reputation, etc.) unless it's something like - I'm applying here because it's my state/safety school. In which case you refer to what you've written for other schools.
 
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UCLA Paratrooper

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Well, with my lower stats I'm applying to a bunch of schools. I don't really have specific reasons why I'm applying to some of the "easier" schools except that I REALLY want to get into any medical school and become a doctor. I don't think it would be in my best interest to tell medical schools that. I think we all agree that lower grades and lower MCAT scores aren't completely reflective of what kind of doctor someone will become. It is too bad that there is a system that functions to weed out people who aren't "competitive." I just thing I need to find a way to increase my chances to get into medical school with my lower stats...

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doepug

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Hmmm... I don't know what kind of response you'd get by calling the admissions office that way. They don't have med students sitting around to take your call. If you know someone at school X, then by all means, call/e-mail them, but I wouldn't make this request of the admissions office.

The best way to deal with this question is to go on the school's website and spend 30 minutes reading about their program. Get to know their curriculum, and get a feel for what the student body is like. Write your essays focused on what you pick up from this... that way, it's personalized to each individual school. Trust me, not all curricula are the same. Be prepared to articulate why school X has the perfect one for you, and why you'd be a perfect match for them.

This worked for me a few years ago... if you demonstrate that you've invested some of your time into understanding each school's unique characteristics, it'll pay off.

Cheers,
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xaelia

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Yeah, all the schools that require you to tell you why you're in love with their particular school are the secondaries I've been putting off forever....

Georgetown, UVA, Ohio State, etc...

For the schools higher on my list that required it, I pretty much read the Dean's message on their website and picked up on their mission statement...plus, for those schools up on my list it really was a legitimate answer to rave about the curriculum and the research opportunities. I suppose schools occasionally get something interesting out of that question, but I would imagine 90% of their responses are condensed versions of their own handbook...
 

Cydney Foote

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Originally posted by xaelia
... I would imagine 90% of their responses are condensed versions of their own handbook...
This is so true -- and it makes this essay really boring for the adcomm. So much so that I wonder why they keep this question at all!

I think that, if you can get a med student to spend time talking to you, it's a great idea.

Another approach, that requires a little more legwork, is to go the networking route. There are an amazing number of connections in academic medicine. Talk to everybody who's writing your LORs to see if they know anything about the school.

You do need to think about the things that are really important to you. Location? Cost? A supportive student body? Outstanding research programs? Use these as a framework for the question (e.g., "I grew up in Oregon but went to college on the East Coast; I want to return to the Pacific Northwest to be close to my family." Or "My own experience with cancer in my family has introduced me to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The close ties between the University of Washington and FHCRC offers opportunities for me to learn more about treating the disease.").

Good luck!
 

Bikini Princess

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Originally posted by calbears84
i say on all my secondaries that my girlfriend goes to the school. :laugh:
they might ask for her name at your interview. :p then you'll have to find a gf fast before the interview..not that calbears would have any trouble doing that. ;)
 

JBlue

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How long should these essays be? The one secondary that I have that asks this question doesn't give a word limit. How much detail should I go into? Any ideas?
 
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