Why don't schools make you prove what's on your resume?

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VeilofMaya

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What I'm reading on the SDN forums scare me. All the hard work of many seems to be nullified since it seems someone could lie there way through a resume, since no one seems to care to call you on it.

For example someone said they never got a certificate saying how many hours they volunteered at a hospital or they just take your word that your a Tae Kwon Do black belt. It is really ridiculous.

There are many things I would like to put on my resume, but don't simply because I cannot prove it without witnesses of some sort. For example, I taught my AP European History class about the turning points in WWII for two class periods when I was a sophomore. It is very odd, isn't related to medicine, etc., but this is the sort of **** people seem to be putting down on their resumes.

So my question is do schools check up on this or is it really as bad as I think it is?
 
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Aidan

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What I'm reading on the SDN forums scare me. All the hard work of many seems to be nullified since it seems someone could lie there way through a resume, since no one seems to care to call you on it.

For example someone said they never got a certificate saying how many hours they volunteered at a hospital or they just take your word that your a Tae Kwon Do black belt. It is really ridiculous.

There are many things I would like to put on my resume, but don't simply because I cannot prove it without witnesses of some sort. For example, I taught my AP European History class about the turning points in WWII for two class periods when I was a sophomore. It is very odd, isn't related to medicine, etc., but this is the sort of **** people seem to be putting down on their resumes.

So my question is do schools check up on this or is it really as bad as I think it is?

I don't think they have the numbers (or the will) it requires to do an extensive background check on thousands of people... it's just, not done. The interviewers have interviewed probably 10's, 100's, or even 1000's of people, and they get pretty good at sniffing out BS.

The ideal physician is responsible and honest.. and they usually assume that that's the way a person striving to become a physician would act. They do ask questions about your ECs in interviews, and if you hadn't actually done it, it'll probably be pretty obvious. I wouldn't say that your extracurriculars were nullified....

Most pre-meds overlook what one's supposed to take out of ECs. They should be enlightening, usually give some sense of accomplishment, and, depending on the EC, sometimes make you feel good for helping someone else out or what not. To a lot of us, it's just one more thing we didn't care about and that's going on our applications. :scared:
 

BlueElmo

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Would some schools actually do background checks on random people out of the pool?
 

airplanes

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I like to think med schools can smell BS. Who knows. fyi, high school experiences don't count and you shouldn't put them on your AMCAS.
 

EpiPEN

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MCAT scores don't lie ;). Plus you got that letter of Rec to kind of "prove" things


but honestly I think most people won't have the balls to lie on their application just on the off chance they get caught are are blacklisted from all medical schools.
 

GoSpursGo

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What I'm reading on the SDN forums scare me. All the hard work of many seems to be nullified since it seems someone could lie there way through a resume, since no one seems to care to call you on it.

For example someone said they never got a certificate saying how many hours they volunteered at a hospital or they just take your word that your a Tae Kwon Do black belt. It is really ridiculous.

There are many things I would like to put on my resume, but don't simply because I cannot prove it without witnesses of some sort. For example, I taught my AP European History class about the turning points in WWII for two class periods when I was a sophomore. It is very odd, isn't related to medicine, etc., but this is the sort of **** people seem to be putting down on their resumes.

So my question is do schools check up on this or is it really as bad as I think it is?

As the others have said, admissions offices don't have nearly the manpower to check every little thing on an application. That's part of the job of the interviewer, to ask about some of the ECs to make sure they aren't BSing it and that the interviewees actually got something out of it. Every now and then you'll hear about those people who say they're fluent in a language but can't speak it when their interviewer starts talking to them in that language, or they can't say anything about a specific EC because they made it up. Those people wind up screwed way more than they would've been if they'd just left those lies off the app.

Sure, there will be some people who don't get caught who cheat their way into med school, but I think in general the threat of getting caught and thus being auto-denied at all of their schools is sufficient deterrent to stop a lot of would-be cheaters.

In light of this, there's no reason to leave those things off your app. Just put them down, and if the schools care enough to verify them, they'll ask you about them in the interview.
 

BeardedRunner

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Would some schools actually do background checks on random people out of the pool?

Probably not.

But I do agree that many pre-meds exaggerate their ECs to make them sound more impressive.

Although, even if there were random background checks, they probably couldn't find anything to ridiculous. Pre-meds are very cautious. So they make sure to remain honest while presenting their ECs most effectively.
 

Textuality

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Well, things like publications can be verified since you have to provide the publication specifics, and lord help you if you claim you published something on a topic and then not be able to give specifics as to the research during an interview, lol. And things like going abroad should be on the transcript, etc. And if you lie about something big, like 5000 hrs of some research or service you didn't do, people are going to wonder why you didn't get a letter of rec from your PI/supervisor for this project, and you can expect to get a lot of questions about it during the interview. Nobody will really catch the little exaggerations, but then again, those things probably aren't what will make or break your application.

Also, most interviewees are pretty nervous during their interview, and a little stressed about answering normal questions. I'd say few have the guts to try and keep a tangle of lies straight during the interview. So I'd agree that the fear of getting caught up on some little detail would stop you from trying, it's not worth the risk. For example if you say you shadowed on an ER floor, and then can't answer a question about your most memorable case, or confuse the names of the hospitals/physicians, or can't explain the triage, then you'd be in trouble. They do teach us interviewers to lightly probe things that sound hesitant and fishy for more details.

I'd say lying in an application is more of an issue for things like law school where there aren't any interviews, lol.
 

MedMan25

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I taught my AP European History class about the turning points in WWII for two class periods when I was a sophomore. It is very odd, isn't related to medicine, etc., but this is the sort of **** people seem to be putting down on their resumes.

So my question is do schools check up on this or is it really as bad as I think it is?

Most people aren't stupid enough to lie on their application. The ones that are probably wont make it very far in medicine. As far as putting things you did in high school on your app, I would advise against it. Its not relevant.
 

Jolie South

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A lot of schools will set you up with an interviewer that has similar interests to you. If you claim to work on X, you might find yourself face to face with the world's foremost expert on X. That would be pretty embarassing if you hadn't actually worked on it.
 

DrYoda

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Would some schools actually do background checks on random people out of the pool?

Recently business schools have begun to do this in response to the problems with cheating on the GMAT, and findings that there was lots of lying on resumes. Maybe med schools will join them on this someday, but it doesn't seem like most of them do it now.
 

rjf

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I really don't think that lying about an EC is worth the risk. Every single interview I had asked about several of my ECs, if I lied about them the interviewers would have known. However, some people can BS their way through anything so are not risking much by "stretching the truth" about their activities.

This topic is sad. I think we would all like to see our future physicians display integrity...unfortunately that is not always the case. I agree with VeilofMaya, there should be some sort of way to check this. I don't have the answers though??
 
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CarrieBad

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Because schools assume that you are a decent person who wouldn't blatantly lie on your application. It's sad that so many people misrepresent themselves or cheat, but I honestly do not think it's the norm. Luckily we don't live in Stalinist Russia and aren't all treated like criminals.
 

Lukkie

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i heard schools are putting more psychiatrists for interviewers so they can tell who is lying. is this true
 

jdandturk

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You cant really lie blatantly about something that you never did (unless you are really good). however, it is relatively easy to strech the truth (make 50 hours of volunteering into 200, 1 week of shadowing into 1 month ect.) I think the real reasons med schools dont look into these things is because they know that most EC's are BS anyway. How many applicants "meaningful clinical volunteering" consisted of nothing more than changing bedsheets or stuff like that. I know that all of my EC's were similar to that.
 

bluesnowbunny

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Schools don't have time to verify. If something looks fishy they can always ask you about it at an interview.

This is very true. On the most recent interview I went to, my interviewer said tell me about your research. Knowing the interview was only 30 minutes long, I asked him which one he would like to hear about. He said all of them, totaling 6 research projects, all completed with different PIs. So I literally started in chronological order with the first one and explained all of them up to the most recent one, while he was asking me more specific questions about each one in between.
 

bluesmd

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i agree. not only was i asked specifics about my research. one interviewer made a hypothetical research situtation and asked me what i hypothesized would happen. it was very specific. i was also asked to describe a particular situation that arose during x volunteer experience. don't lie, you will look stupid when you can't answer a question. i have also heard someone said they could speak Spanish fluently. the interviewer must have noted this because they interviewed them in spanish. they weren't that good. bad call
 

aznb0y129

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I pretty much agree with what everyone has said so far. It's time consuming as it is to review applications, who knows how long it would take if they verified every single EC? If you decide to exaggerate or outright lie about your activities, you are doing it at your own peril because it will most likely be discussed in your interview. You think the interviewers can't smell your BS from a mile away? Big mistake if you try it and get caught.
 

Chemist0157

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It takes too much time and really wouldn't be worth the effort since the majority of applicants are honest and have things to backup their accomplishments like LORs. Someone said it before, and I agree, that most medical schools count on applicants being honest because if they get caught lying, they are blacklisted forever.
 
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For example, I taught my AP European History class about the turning points in WWII for two class periods when I was a sophomore. It is very odd, isn't related to medicine, etc., but this is the sort of **** people seem to be putting down on their resumes.

This is like saying "i raised my hand and said something insightful in class once"
 
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jdandturk

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I pretty much agree with what everyone has said so far. It's time consuming as it is to review applications, who knows how long it would take if they verified every single EC? If you decide to exaggerate or outright lie about your activities, you are doing it at your own peril because it will most likely be discussed in your interview. You think the interviewers can't smell your BS from a mile away? Big mistake if you try it and get caught.

at least one school has apparantly not smelled out my BS
 

jdandturk

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I'm not sure that one extra EC make or breaks receiving an interview invitation; same to embellishing the experience. I like to believe that your personal statement and recommendation letters play a more significant piece than tacking on a silly volunteer of the year award, etc. Just my two cents.

letters of rec can also be crap. Many of them come from Dr. family friend or from the lazy professor who tells you to write your own and they will sign it.
 

aznb0y129

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at least one school has apparantly not smelled out my BS

Well, congrats to you for beating the system. Hopefully, it won't have any impact on your ability as a future doctor.
 

LizzyM

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letters of rec can also be crap. Many of them come from Dr. family friend

A proper letter always begins with a statement about how the writer knows the applicant and the duration of the aquaintance. The family friend ones are usually pretty obvious.

or from the lazy professor who tells you to write your own and they will sign it.

The really good ones say "call me if you have any questions about the applicant."

I've never heard of random checks of resumes but I've known of some phone calls made for cause... if the interviewer thinks something is fishy, the director or dean of admissions will call the school or supervisor of the activity to get more information.
 
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alibai3ah

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I don't think people outright lie on their appilcations about EC's, but I feel as though a good majority of people embellish on their experiences a bit. Like many kids have co authored papers/have publications, but a vast majority of people doing research probably did data entry, read medical records, and did trivial tasks that clinical research coordinators or PI's did not want to do. Same thing with being a volunteer. Honestly, I don't think medical schools care so much about the number of publications or hours, they just want to see you immerse yourself in some medical environment and show some interest. Thats it. As long as you show a genuine interest, it won't matter how large your role was, it shows that u cared and tried....
 

jdandturk

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A proper letter always begins with a statement about how the writer knows the applicant and the duration of the aquaintance. The family friend ones are usually pretty obvious.



The really good ones say "call me if you have any questions about the applicant."

I've never heard of random checks of resumes but I've known of some phone calls made for cause... if the interviewer things something is fishy, the director or dean of admissions will call the school or supervisor of the activity to get more information.

well he did not write "his dad and I go way back" in the rec.
 

fahimaz7

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i heard schools are putting more psychiatrists for interviewers so they can tell who is lying. is this true

My school has ~10 (out of 26 members) psychiatrists on their committee.
 

mkitty09

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also, dont forget that most applicants have largely the same extracurriculars. they expect almost everyone to have some amount of research experience and some amount of clinical volunteering. so unless you write down "found a cure for cancer" as one of your extracurriculars, i dont think theyre going to check up on it. i have extensive research experience, however, i worked more as a research tech - performing surgeries and collecting data - than thinking up the project and analyzing results. When asked about my role, I didnt try to bs that i masterminded the project, i knew i wouldnt be able to get away with it, and just said i worked as a research tech under a grad student's project. i dont think they check everyones volunteering hours because as many of the above posters said, it would be too tedious, and frankly, its expected that everyone has them.
 

fizzle

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also, dont forget that most applicants have largely the same extracurriculars. they expect almost everyone to have some amount of research experience and some amount of clinical volunteering. so unless you write down "found a cure for cancer" as one of your extracurriculars, i dont think theyre going to check up on it. i have extensive research experience, however, i worked more as a research tech - performing surgeries and collecting data - than thinking up the project and analyzing results. When asked about my role, I didnt try to bs that i masterminded the project, i knew i wouldnt be able to get away with it, and just said i worked as a research tech under a grad student's project. i dont think they check everyones volunteering hours because as many of the above posters said, it would be too tedious, and frankly, its expected that everyone has them.

From my own experiences, I get the impression that interviews are sometimes offered on the basis of a short passage, an interesting reply to one of the essay questions. All of my numbers and ECs just put me in as one of the crowd, but that couple of sentences somehow just makes the application notable in some way, maybe?
 

VeilofMaya

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When asked about my role, I didnt try to bs that i masterminded the project, i knew i wouldnt be able to get away with it, and just said i worked as a research tech under a grad student's project.

That's odd because masterminding something comes naturally to me. IMO, the research tech would be the harder task.
 
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majahops

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In my opinion, the medical profession... the profession of DOCTOR specifically, requires physicians to emit a sort of "better than the common man" type of facade (and this is very unfortunate). Of course none of us are perfect people, and none of us have it completely "together." However, through our premedical schooling, the application and interview processes, we have been pressured more and more to paint ourselves as "perfect people" - turning even real human challenges and otherwise imperfections into "opportunities to demonstrate strength" and such [in most cases] nonsense.

To an extent, then, the admissions members must know that we are painting better pictures of ourselves than we really are. In fact, the ability to do so convincingly would appear to be one of the prerequisites for success in the American medical establishment.

I could be wrong on this, but it's the way I see it. I've tried to remain as outwardly "imperfect" and human as possible while still gaining acceptance to medical school, yet even I have made several compromises in this regard. Yes, I've done all of the volunteering, research, clinical, etc... I've put in many many hours... but I know plenty of people who've crossed all these t's and dotted all these i's, but don't really have a heart for helping their fellow man when push comes to shove... yet they will be accepted because they look great on paper. I also know people who haven't crossed all of their t's and dotted all their i's, but are wonderful human beings that just had too many other competing factors for their time (needed to work to pay for school, needed to take care of a sick relative, etc). Hopefully, the interview is used to determine, to feel, the applicants HEART.

I hope that I, and many of you, can use our new found medical student status and eventual "doctorhood" to advocate for the advancement of real, vulnerable human beings into the physicians of the future. But for now, the selective pressures that exist are aimed AGAINST such persons.
 
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TRN1983

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I agree with the people who say that the proof isn't necessary b/c 1) they CAN ask about it, and 2) the idea of getting blacklisted is pretty horrible.

If you've had meaningful experiences then typically you're capable of discussing them. So, if you said you went on a medical mission to Planet X for a month and cannot convincingly discuss your experience then you're probably not in a good position for acceptance.

The one problem I see that isn't easy to resolve is that people can probably "exaggerate" their hours relatively easily.
 

Pedsbro

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Right now, if I remember correctly, you're not required to put a contact person and their contact info on AMCAS when you list EC's. I think schools should require a contact person and their number for every EC listed. At least that way, it's an extra bit of fear for the idiot applicant who wants to exaggerate their experience or hours. Even the possibility that a school could call a volunteer coordinator or PI and ask them about you and your hours should help deter liars. Just an idea...
 

Depakote

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For example someone said they never got a certificate saying how many hours they volunteered at a hospital or they just take your word that your a Tae Kwon Do black belt. It is really ridiculous.

A lot of schools will set you up with an interviewer that has similar interests to you. If you claim to work on X, you might find yourself face to face with the world's foremost expert on X. That would be pretty embarassing if you hadn't actually worked on it.

At my school we had one interviewee say they were a Tae Kwon Do black belt, so they were paired appropriately... Their interviewer had the interviewee's spine 1/2 way ripped out before the dude admitted he was lying. It was pretty embarrassing.


(edit: post 12,000)
 

JackInTheBox

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At my school we had one interviewee say they were a Tae Kwon Do black belt, so they were paired appropriately... Their interviewer had the interviewee's spine 1/2 way ripped out before the dude admitted he was lying. It was pretty embarrassing.


(edit: post 12,000)

[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2JNxeWO_wA[/YOUTUBE]
 

mmmcdowe

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I agree with the people who say that the proof isn't necessary b/c 1) they CAN ask about it, and 2) the idea of getting blacklisted is pretty horrible.

If you've had meaningful experiences then typically you're capable of discussing them. So, if you said you went on a medical mission to Planet X for a month and cannot convincingly discuss your experience then you're probably not in a good position for acceptance.

The one problem I see that isn't easy to resolve is that people can probably "exaggerate" their hours relatively easily.

My guess is that they are more interested in hearing what you did, rather than the number of hours you put it.Also, AMCAS is pretty unreliable when it comes to giving you options on how to list your time involved. I mean, some times I work 30 hours a week, and sometimes its 10. When I've been doing it for 2 years, its a bit hard to just "average" it through it all.
 

TRN1983

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My guess is that they are more interested in hearing what you did, rather than the number of hours you put it.Also, AMCAS is pretty unreliable when it comes to giving you options on how to list your time involved. I mean, some times I work 30 hours a week, and sometimes its 10. When I've been doing it for 2 years, its a bit hard to just "average" it through it all.
Yeah, I hear ya. My hours came out all screwy on AMCAS despite my attempts to make them representative of my past, current, and planned future work/volunteer hours. Meh, w/e.
 

bigman225

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Personally, I'm getting a LOR from someone in involved in each of my ECs (volunteer, research, TA). If you are involved in something for more than a few months, someone involved should know you well enough to write some fluff about you.
 

Typical Premed

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I am a Canadian applicant. All Canadian med school applications require a verifier's address, phone number and/or e-mail for each activity. They will not even consider an activity without this info provided. Some schools even require you to include embedded references for your verifiers after discussing an activity in your personal statement. They have been known to do random checks and some people have been caught listing false activities.
 

Dr Lyss

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Personally, I'm getting a LOR from someone in involved in each of my ECs (volunteer, research, TA). If you are involved in something for more than a few months, someone involved should know you well enough to write some fluff about you.
this is what I did as well. My EC experiences are the first thing that I get asked about in all of my interviews & 4 out of my 6 letters directly speak to my EC involvement or research. I think it helps to put some weight behind your words.
 

LizzyM

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This is all well and good but some very interesting experiences don't lend themselves to LORs or even contacts. Some examples: having a small business (making & selling art works or jewelry, or electronics repair) or providing a service to private clients (tutoring, coaching, music lessons, etc).
 

tiamat360

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If you are involved in something for more than a few months, someone involved should know you well enough to write some fluff about you.

Three of my activities were student-run. In two of those, I was involved throughout my entire undergrad and held leadership positions. Yes, each group had faculty advisers, but I barely even knew their names - they weren't involved in the group at all except to put their names down on a piece of paper which allowed us to continue to exist. I suppose I could have had the other leaders of the group write letters, but given that they were my friends and fellow students I don't think that would have been quite right.

I guess my point is even if you've been in an activity for more than a few months, you might not get a letter out of it, nor "should" you be able to.
 
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