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Medical School Academic Consulting Companies


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Money from the vulnerable.

a lot of debate on this topic - and that is good   I will say that that one the major reasons myself and others are on this forum is to provide an equalization effect - these services may or may no

No problem always happy to enlighten. As a UT meds alum I think it's somewhere between shameful and hilarious.   You bet your butt it's lazy. If you use these services you probably just hired some p

I would agree with Bambi, generally speaking. I'm not convinced that the one person you see has any special insight into med school admissions that you wouldn't get from researching schools and looking through this forum. 

 

I think what these services really provide is relatively unbiased feedback on your application and (later) interview skills. This is actually pretty valuable, but the catch is that there are other sources for this kind of feedback. During my application, I had enough people that I trusted to give me their honest feedback on my application and it really helped. When 5 people have the same exact feedback about something, maybe they are on to something... But if you don't have these people in your life, or only people who would simply say "everything is great!", then you might have to broaden your search. If you are a current student and your career center is decent, you can get some help there. Profs you trust? Supervisors? The people you are using for references? 

 

That said, if you have the money just lying there, I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing to get a consultant. But I wouldn't rely 100% on one person's advice, regardless. 

 

I do know someone who hired a consultant, and got into medical school. They had applied two years in a row, got an interview one of those years, but did not get in. They hired a consultant for the third year and got in. Does that mean the consultant "worked"? No. It's not that unusual to apply 3 years in a row. But he was happy with his decision to hire someone. And, simply to get some unbiased feedback, I'm sure the consultant was valuable. 

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Thanks for the responses. I am just a bit anxious at the moment because I am in my last term of my undergrad and still have no idea what I need to do after graduation to increase my chances of entering med school next application cycle (ie. grades/extracurricular, whether to do grad school, or do another undergrad, etc.). With my tight time frame, besides going through this forum (which is very awesome, but many long threads with responses hidden within them so I may not have the time to go through everything), are there any great websites/resources people here know of that's more concise?

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Yes, you can collect all necessary information and feedback yourself.

 

These consultants charge a lot and there is always the question whether it's worth it. Some say absolutely not (usually those who did not use the service and got in anyway), other say it helped tremendously.

 

There is no right answer - it depends whether you feel it will benefit you or not. If you want to take every chance to improve your chances - even a bit -  this is one of the ways..

 

Also, i imagine that there are better and worse consultants. I heard some  employ  succesful med students. They may or may not be the best coaches/advisers. Check  it out before deciding.

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Yes, you can collect all necessary information and feedback yourself.

 

These consultants charge a lot and there is always the question whether it's worth it. Some say absolutely not (usually those who did not use the service and got in anyway), other say it helped tremendously.

 

There is no right answer - it depends whether you feel it will benefit you or not. If you want to take every chance to improve your chances - even a bit -  this is one of the ways..

 

Also, i imagine that there are better and worse consultants. I heard some  employ  succesful med students. They may or may not be the best coaches/advisers. Check  it out before deciding.

 

they do seem to employ a lot of med students, or even residents. Boosts their profile.

 

Some logic to that but when you really think about it a lot of the time the best coaches for instance don't actually have to be able to play the game etc. They just have dedicated themselves to learning it.  Some overlap here. Not they may not know - it is just that individuals may be overly focused on what worked for them and not necessarily what will work for you. 

 

and you really can get a lot of the advice for free at school sponsored events or on this forum. Lots of us are really involved like that - I give seminars on premed related things quite regularly and certainly am not alone :)

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I dunno.  My advice would be to take whatever price they want to charge you, then divide it by minimum wage.  Double that $/hr number to give yourself a buffer (ie overall effect is to divide by twice minimum wage) and figure out how many hours of your time that equates to.

 

Then, "pay" yourself for that many hours.  Dedicate that time to reading school websites, reading these forums (go back several years...it might just be because I'm getting old but the signal/noise ratio has really deteriorated in recent years), reading med student blogs etc.  I think you will probably get more value for your money this way.

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Yeah, you'd be surprised at how much you learn from going though the admissions website (FAQs are a great resources), and forums like this. It's where those consulting companies get their information too.

 

I was able to correctly predict my interview invite status for every school I applied to except for Queen's (but they're kind of a black box anyways haha) by going over the websites + forums. Post-interview acceptances are way harder to predict though.

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Yeah, you'd be surprised at how much you learn from going though the admissions website (FAQs are a great resources), and forums like this. It's where those consulting companies get their information too.

 

I was able to correctly predict my interview invite status for every school I applied to except for Queen's (but they're kind of a black box anyways haha) by going over the websites + forums. Post-interview acceptances are way harder to predict though.

 

I wouldn't that that is too surprising but I get your point :) The entire point of this forum - and one of the reasons many of us stick around is to counter any advantage these companies have to offer. To make it a more fair playing field - get in on your merits, not because you can access some secrete knowledge blah, blah. Playing for keeps here.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I found a few online companies that provide application review, academic planning, MMI prep, etc. services for medical school applications. Wondering if anyone here has tried these services before, and if so, how useful did you find them? Thanks!

 

I think the consensus on here is that most folks are against consultants because deep down they fear there's slight chance that you will come across and work with a consultant who actually knows what the heck they are doing and give you an advantage in the admissions game.  Yes those people do exist, but they are far and few and NOT CHEAP.  I'm a  med student at UofT and I met 4 other people in my current class initially at an MMI bootcamp we signed up for.  We subsequently all had practice MPI interview sessions with the same person (as it later turns out).  Yes, I know it's weird but realistically what are the chances that we all ended up in the same medical school and were all superstar interviewees to begin with? You do the math.  

 

Word of caution when researching and picking consultants.  Now is not the time to be bargain hunting!  Don't be cheap and frugal.  Like most things in life, you get what you pay for.  If you want the performance and results of a Ferrari but are only willing to pay the sticker price of a Toyota, then you're better off saving your money and sticking to these forums.   There's a reason why some consultants are more expensive than others. 

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I think the consensus on here is that most folks are against consultants because deep down they fear there's slight chance that you will come across and work with a consultant who actually knows what the heck they are doing and give you an advantage in the admissions game.  Yes those people do exist, but they are far and few and NOT CHEAP.  I'm a  med student at UofT and I met 4 other people in my current class initially at an MMI bootcamp we signed up for.  We subsequently all had practice MPI interview sessions with the same person (as it later turns out).  Yes, I know it's weird but realistically what are the chances that we all ended up in the same medical school and were all superstar interviewees to begin with? You do the math.  

 

Word of caution when researching and picking consultants.  Now is not the time to be bargain hunting!  Don't be cheap and frugal.  Like most things in life, you get what you pay for.  If you want the performance and results of a Ferrari but are only willing to pay the sticker price of a Toyota, then you're better off saving your money and sticking to these forums.   There's a reason why some consultants are more expensive than others. 

 

 

What are the chances that 5 people who get an interview at a school all end up there? Not that low, actually. U of T's post-interview acceptance rate is a bit higher than 50% - there was at least 1 in 32 chance all 5 of you would have gotten in if the selection was made by picking applicants at random. Plus all 5 of you were motivated enough (and had enough money) to pay exorbitantly for interview prep that your chances at admissions were probably a bit higher than average to begin with. You were all willing to put significant resources into improving your chances at admissions - that, not the course itself, likely has more to do with your acceptances.

 

or you could look at it at as a guaranteed ticket into medical school.

 

Thanks, I needed a laugh this morning.

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or you could look at it at as a guaranteed ticket into medical school.

For those with rich parents.

 

Again, biasing med school admissions process for the privileged.

 

My personal favorite though, is how they likely where teaching you how to present yourself 'ethically', yet many of such companies employ former applicants, and from what I've heard, liberally violate those confidentiality waivers we sign-particularly during individual coaching programs. Ironic.

 

See this for more details https://meds.queensu.ca/blog/undergraduate/?p=2667 

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Basically, these services are for those too lazy to figure it out on their own.  

 

What you will figure out on pm101 will far surpass anything a consultant can give you. More than a few of the mods here are actively involved in admissions related things to varying degrees. 

 

Any resident or med student working for such a "consultant company" and violating confidentiality waivers should be strung up with maximum penalties applied for professionalism / ethical breach. This said, I suspect the vast majority involved are in it for a quick buck and not revealing anything confidential... Which then gets me back to my first sentence of this post...

Edited by rogerroger
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What are the chances that 5 people who get an interview at a school all end up there? Not that low, actually. U of T's post-interview acceptance rate is a bit higher than 50% - there was at least 1 in 32 chance all 5 of you would have gotten in if the selection was made by picking applicants at random. Plus all 5 of you were motivated enough (and had enough money) to pay exorbitantly for interview prep that your chances at admissions were probably a bit higher than average to begin with. You were all willing to put significant resources into improving your chances at admissions - that, not the course itself, likely has more to do with your acceptances.

 

 

Thanks, I needed a laugh this morning.

I was going to compose this exact post last night but was too lazy. Good work.

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or you could look at it at as a guaranteed ticket into medical school.

 

If you can afford this kind of service, then go ahead. I can't tell you how to spend your money.

 

For others who can't afford it: There are plenty of people who have gotten in (at multiple schools too!) on this forum who are willing to help : )

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What are the chances that 5 people who get an interview at a school all end up there? Not that low, actually. U of T's post-interview acceptance rate is a bit higher than 50% - there was at least 1 in 32 chance all 5 of you would have gotten in if the selection was made by picking applicants at random. Plus all 5 of you were motivated enough (and had enough money) to pay exorbitantly for interview prep that your chances at admissions were probably a bit higher than average to begin with. You were all willing to put significant resources into improving your chances at admissions - that, not the course itself, likely has more to do with your acceptances.

 

 

Thanks, I needed a laugh this morning.

 

Glad you got a good laugh this morning!!!

 

1/32 chance is only 3%, so thanks for restating my point again!  :)  

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Basically, these services are for those too lazy or too stupid to figure it out on their own.  

 

What you will figure out on pm101 will far surpass anything a consultant can give you. More than a few of the mods here are actively involved in admissions related things to varying degrees. 

 

Any resident or med student working for such a "consultant company" and violating confidentiality waivers should be strung up with maximum penalties applied for professionalism / ethical breach. This said, I suspect the vast majority involved are in it for a quick buck and not revealing anything confidential... Which then gets me back to my first sentence of this post...

 

oh ok .. nice to know that you feel at least 10% of my class is too lazy or too stupid to figure things out on our own because we used these "services".

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Glad you got a good laugh this morning!!!

 

1/32 chance is only 3%, so thanks for restating my point again!  :)  

 

his point is that 3% chances actually happen all the time on the macro scale :) When they do we just get all excited about them because people are like that.

 

I think overall these services in some cases can be helpful but you can get to the same place without them. It is tricky to figure out which ones work and which ones are trying to take you for a ride - I have gone head to head with some of them with there lack of understanding sometimes of how things work, and their overall approach. Others seem to be pretty good (but still costly ha).

 

Had more than one of them try to recruit me actually - that is actually tempting because I like helping people figure all this out, and well who doesn't like money. It is why I give lectures on the topic at Universities.  Still most also have a max the possible revenue approach to things which I could never agree with (when I was in business my approach was to always max the gain to the client for a fair price. That in the long run actually makes the most money for everyone and it is more satisfying).

Edited by rmorelan
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oh ok .. nice to know that you feel at least 10% of my class is too lazy or too stupid to figure things out on our own because we used these "services".

 

well too lazy sounds bad :) but kind of - I mean we are often lazy like that. Paying someone to mow  your lawn could be called lazy like my family does at the cottage. I could do it but I don't want to. So I pay someone else to do it - same with many other things there. I just want to go to the cottage and relax. That is kind of lazy.

 

Same with this - you could do all the reading, research, practise etc etc to get it all down yourself. If you did you may have a deeper understanding of somethings (maybe). Or you can pay someone else to potentially accelerate that. A bit riskier in some ways but potentially useful. Like getting anyone else to do anything it boils down to getting the right person.

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oh ok .. nice to know that you feel at least 10% of my class is too lazy or too stupid to figure things out on our own because we used these "services".

 

No problem always happy to enlighten. As a UT meds alum I think it's somewhere between shameful and hilarious.

 

You bet your butt it's lazy. If you use these services you probably just hired some pre-clerk chump in med school (who thinks they know the system) and who basically reads you this forum or if you are lucky some resident who is looking to read you this forum in return for a quick buck.

 

Money well spent? I guess that's a matter of how unmotivated you are to pick up the reigns yourself. That same 10% plan on hiring someone for CaRMS too?

Edited by rogerroger
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