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What stops an outstanding student from getting into medical school?


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I have heard all of these stories and read some rejection posts about some exceptional students don't get into medical schools, or even get an interview. And so I was just wondering, what do think stops students with high gpas (3.95-4.0) , and well rounded experiences (i.e. research, publications, volunteering, etc) from getting into med school? 

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13 minutes ago, stressedbunny said:

I have heard all of these stories and read some rejection posts about some exceptional students don't get into medical schools, or even get an interview. And so I was just wondering, what do think stops students with high gpas (3.95-4.0) , and well rounded experiences (i.e. research, publications, volunteering, etc) from getting into med school? 

casper, mmi

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The outstanding students with high gpas, mcat & strong extracurriculars who have multiple interviews usually end up getting in somewhere. It's the people in the middle who always struggle. I had a good gpa, decent mcat and extracurriculars, and I couldn't ever get in after multiple cycles. MMI was one of the factors that weeded me. But you shouldn't give up on medicine if you're genuinely passionate about it. Keep trying and hope someday it'll work out.

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You can have all the fancy experiences in the world but if you can't write an essay or an ABS prompt about them then you're not going to impress anyone. I think alot of people underestimate the written component of the application and don't know how to articulate their experiences and showcase the skills they developed or how the experience impacted them etc. 

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Partly writing skills for the soft parts of the app, partly (perhaps even mostly) luck. Luck plays an enormous role in the process from start to finish, so after a point it really just comes down to a numbers game; both GPA/MCAT and how many times you apply. Provided you're putting in proper effort into the subjective bits anyways.

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4 hours ago, stressedbunny said:

I have heard all of these stories and read some rejection posts about some exceptional students don't get into medical schools, or even get an interview. And so I was just wondering, what do think stops students with high gpas (3.95-4.0) , and well rounded experiences (i.e. research, publications, volunteering, etc) from getting into med school? 

They aren't as good of a person as you think they are... that's the simple answer.

 

Met plenty of high achievers that I wouldn't trust with my life. 

- G

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Luck plays a big role for most applicants I think. For someone with a 4.0 GPA, 521 MCAT, and amazing extracurriculars/life experiences, it's really that they have to get terribly unlucky or actively mess up in some part of their application/interview in order to not get an offer at least somewhere after a cycle or two. But most applicants don't fall into this category.

For most applicants, even the ones with competitive stats, it takes some element of luck in order to get an offer because it's difficult to distinguish yourself from others when you're in the middle of the pack and there isn't any downright compelling reason why any file reviewer would want to give you a better score than anybody else. Having research, extracurriculars, leadership, volunteering etc. are all great, but so many people have all those things that it often just isn't enough. After reading the 178th application with "club president" or "hospital volunteer", all of the applicants kinda just meld together from a file reviewer's perspective. Not to mention that people always embellish their experiences to some degree, so even if you did cure cancer and save the starving children or whatever, unless you can write exquistely about it in your essays/ABS, someone who did a lot less than you can seem the same to a file reviewer if they are just better at selling themselves.

If I had to advise anyone on how to maximize their chances, I would say that finding a way to distinguish yourself is the best method of reducing the element of luck that applies to most applicants. The people I know who got the most interviews and got accepted in the first round of their first application cycle to their top choice school(s) didn't necessarily have the best stats. I mean sure their stats were still good, but I know two dozen applicants who had better stats that didn't get in. These really successful applicants had things in their file/application that were unique (rather than objectively better) and that helped them stand apart.

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There is an exposure bias. People with 4.0s, 99% MCATs, research, great ECs, and who rock interviews don't post on forums or **DELETED** about their applications.

There will be a relatively large proportion of 4.0s and 99% MCATs who will have spent all their time studying and so have no research or ECs, or are "book smart" and struggle with real world interviews, and interpersonal communications (reflected in difficulty obtaining LORs). Alternatively, there will be amazing interviewers who do great ECs, get along with everyone, have gushing LORs, but struggled with their MCAT/GPA as they had less time to study, or struggle with standardized testing.

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Also geography and IP status plays a role too. In Ontario, a bad CASPer will knock you out at Mac and Ottawa. NOSM takes very few people who aren't from Northern Ontario, Indigenous or Rural. Western has rigid MCAT cutoffs with a Bio cutoff of 129 and Chem/Physics cutoff of 128. So a bad CASPer and a slip up in one MCAT section would eliminate you from three schools and leave you only with Queens and UofT.

UofT has an average accepted GPA of 3.95, has a strong preference for folks with advanced degrees with half of their class having advanced degrees, and it has no IP preference. Queens has a small class size and their admission process is a black box and no IP preference. It's not hard to imagine how someone in Ontario could slip through the cracks with a bad 90 minutes of CASPer and one poor MCAT section. And all of this before accounting for introversion and a bad interview performance. The process is extremely arbitrary.

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3 hours ago, zoxy said:

Also geography and IP status plays a role too. In Ontario, a bad CASPer will knock you out at Mac and Ottawa. NOSM takes very few people who aren't from Northern Ontario, Indigenous or Rural. Western has rigid MCAT cutoffs with a Bio cutoff of 129 and Chem/Physics cutoff of 128. So a bad CASPer and a slip up in one MCAT section would eliminate you from three schools and leave you only with Queens and UofT.

UofT has an average accepted GPA of 3.95, has a strong preference for folks with advanced degrees with half of their class having advanced degrees, and it has no IP preference. Queens has a small class size and their admission process is a black box and no IP preference. It's not hard to imagine how someone in Ontario could slip through the cracks with a bad 90 minutes of CASPer and one poor MCAT section. The process is extremely arbitrary.

Queen's is officially blackbox, but anyone have a guess at what they use, or what the purpose of the panel is ? 

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On 5/6/2021 at 2:45 AM, LostLamb said:

Big element of luck. 
seriously. 

yup - there are a lot of people out there with high GPA etc. That makes a large pool of people, and with that many people applying luck helps. 

The subjective parts - which annoy some people because they cannot be exactly defined and optimized - are truly important. 

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On 5/5/2021 at 7:08 PM, stressedbunny said:

I have heard all of these stories and read some rejection posts about some exceptional students don't get into medical schools, or even get an interview. And so I was just wondering, what do think stops students with high gpas (3.95-4.0) , and well rounded experiences (i.e. research, publications, volunteering, etc) from getting into med school? 

just the bare amount of outstanding students

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