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Can I See Your Stats to See How Competitive I Am?

Session 65

Session 65

Our poster today is a working mom who fell into a very common premed trap of trying to compare her stats to those of others students. The problem is, it doesn’t work that way!

If you have any questions that you would like answered here on The OldPreMeds Podcast, go to the OldPremeds.org, sign up for an account and join in their collaborative environment.

[01:23] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“First off, I am so happy to have found this site. I found my way here, thanks to The Premed Years Podcast. I am a 29-year-old working mom, I have two young children and who has been in the environmental health and safety industry mainly for manufacturing companies for about six years.

I originally applied to medical school in 2008 but I call it a wimpy effort at best. By the time I finished my undergrad, I was not very confident in my dreams or my commitment to four plus additional years in school, and ended up taking my backup plan (Kindly listen to The Premed Years Podcast to know my thoughts on having a backup plan). I got my Master’s in Environmental Talks and immediately started working after graduation. Over the years, the realization that medicine was in fact my dream has become a lot more obvious, but I have never felt like there was a good time to transition.

About six months ago, I bit the bullet and signed up to retake the MCAT. I took it January 28th so I’ll be receiving my scores at the end of February. My plan is to apply early for the 2018 cycle. My stats are potentially competitive, 3.9 undergrad GPA and 3.6 graduate, along with a good community service history and participation in undergrad grad research and shadowing.

I’m not super confident that I did well on the MCAT and I am trying to gauge the point at which I decide that I will not submit an application. I’m applying to an allopathic program if that makes any difference. Does anyone mind sharing their own stats and/or opinion of a threshold MCAT score for applying?”

Here are my insights:

[3:10] Trust Yourself, Trust Your Stats

It does not matter what other people’s stats are. The only person you’re competing against to get into medical school is yourself. You need to trust yourself. You need to trust your stats and know that stats are only part of the application.

A 3.9 undergrad GPA is great. A 3.6 graduate GPA is good. An MCAT score is one part of a puzzle for a full application. A 29-year-old working mom will have a great story to tell if she tells it properly.

Here’s the biggest part of the application that people miss. You have to tell that story about the nontraditional journey that you have been on that separates you from everybody else. What makes you special? It’s not your MCAT score. But it’s your story, your journey, your path. That’s the story that you need to tell. It doesn’t matter what your MCAT score is.

[4:39] Applying to Only One School Might Hurt Your Chances

One thing that stood out in this question. This student said that she was applying to an allopathic program. One program.

This is a huge mistake. I understand that students, especially nontraditional students, have challenges such as location restrictions. And if you’re a working mom, you’re married, and your husband has a job and can’t relocate and the kids are firmly integrated in the schools and cannot relocate, then applying to one school is going to be a huge, HUGE risk. If I were that mom, I would then have serious conversations with my husband and with the kids, and clearly explain to them that I may have to move alone for a little while or all of us may have to move and start afresh so I can fulfill my dream of becoming a physician.

It is a huge challenge, a huge risk to apply to only one medical school. The average number of applications for MD schools is 14 to 15 as well for DO schools. Assuming most students apply to both MD and DO schools then that would mean applying to thirty schools.

[06:27] Applying Broadly and Other Things to Consider

It’s a lot of schools. It’s a lot of money. But every school is looking for something different. Every school is looking for a part of the community that they’re trying to build. As a 29-year-old working mom, the student who posted this question may fit in great at one school (regardless of her stats) because of her background as a working mom and her life experience. But it might be a school that’s two states away and this is also something you need to take into account when applying to medical school.

As a nontraditional applicant, it’s hard to think about applying broadly when you have a husband, or a wife, or other significant others and kids, and you’re thinking about moving them. And so there are lots of things to think about when it comes to that.

[07:22] My Final Thoughts

Other people’s stats absolutely do not matter. Your 3.9 and 3.6 are not my 3.9 and 3.6 and 510 on the MCAT. If you’ve got a 510 on the MCAT and we had the same exact stats, it does not matter because your story is different than mine.

Stop trying to compare yourself or compare your stats to other students. They don’t compute. There is no correlation between your stats and somebody else’s stats. Just stop it.

Links and Other Resources:

MedEd Media Network

OldPreMeds.org

The Premed Years Podcast

Next Step Test Prep (Use the code MSHQ to save some money on full-length practice exams, their online courses, and their one-on-one tutoring.)

The Premed Years Podcast Session 213: Stop Looking for a Backup Plan, It’s Hurting Your Chances

Transcript

Introduction

Dr. Ryan Gray: The Old Premeds Podcast, session number 65.

You’re a nontraditional student entering the medical field on your terms. You may have had some hiccups along the way, but now you’re now ready to change course and go back and serve others as a physician. This podcast is here to help answer your questions and help educate you on your nontraditional journey to becoming a physician.

Welcome to the Old Premeds Podcast, my name is Dr. Ryan Gray, and I am your host here on the Old Premeds Podcast as well as several other podcasts which you can find at www.MedEdMedia.com.

This week I have a great question taken directly from the www.OldPremeds.org forums which you can find at- you guessed it, www.OldPremeds.org. Old Premeds is a site for nontraditional premedical and medical students. It is one of the most collaborative communities online for premeds and medical students. So if you don’t have an account over there, I highly suggest you get one. It’s free, it’s easy, again www.OldPremeds.org, sign up for an account and go join in in the collaborative environment that is brewing over there.

Question from a Working Mom

This week’s question is from a working mom and she says, ‘First off I am so happy to have found this site. I found my way here thanks to The Premed Years Podcast. I am a 29 year old working mom, I have two young children, who has been in the environmental health and safety industry mainly for manufacturing companies for about six years. I originally applied to medical school in 2008 but I call it a wimpy effort at best. By the time I finished my undergrad, I was not very confident in my dreams or my commitment to four plus additional years in school, and ended up taking my backup plan.’ We’ve talked about backup plans before on The Premed Years, so if you haven’t listened to those, go listen. Alright that was my interjection. ‘I got my Master’s in Environmental Talks and immediately started working after graduation. Over the years the realization that medicine was in fact my dream has become a lot more obvious, but I have never felt like there was a good time to transition. About six months ago I bit the bullet and signed up to re-take the MCAT, I took it January 28th so I’ll be receiving my scores at the end of February. My plan is to apply early for the 2018 cycle,’ so meaning she would apply June of 2017. ‘My stats are potentially competitive, 3.9 undergrad GPA and 3.6 graduate,’ those are great scores, great stats, ‘along with a good community service history and participation in undergrad grad research and shadowing. I’m not super confident that I did well on the MCAT and I am trying to gauge the point at which I decide that I will not submit an application. I’m applying to an allopathic program if that makes any difference. Does anyone mind sharing their own stats and / or opinion of a threshold MCAT score for applying?’

Alright so if you don’t know me, and my thoughts on these types of questions, then what I will say now might sound a little harsh, but here are my thoughts. It does not matter what other people’s stats are. The only person that you are competing against to get into medical school is yourself. You need to trust yourself, and you need to trust your stats, and know that stats are only part of the application. A 3.9 undergrad GPA is great. A 3.6 graduate GPA is good. An MCAT score is one part of a puzzle for a full application. This person, 29 year old working mom, will have a great story to tell if she tells it properly. And here’s the biggest part of the application that people miss, is telling that story about the nontraditional journey that you have been on that separates you from everybody else. What makes you special? It’s not your MCAT score, it’s your story, your journey, your path. That’s the story that you need to tell. It doesn’t matter what your MCAT score is.

Alright with that said, there’s one thing that stood out in this question, and I wonder if you picked it up. This student said that she was applying to an allopathic program. One program. That is a huge mistake. I understand that students have challenges, especially nontraditional students, they have challenges with their location restrictions, and if this student, this working mom is married and her husband has a job and can’t relocate, and kids are firmly integrated in the schools and relocate, then applying to one school is going to be a huge, huge risk. And I would have serious conversations with the husband, with the kids, and let them know that Mommy may have to move for a little while alone, or Mommy and everybody else is going to have to move, and start fresh somewhere else to fulfill the dream of going to medical school and becoming a physician. It is a huge challenge, a huge risk only to apply to one medical school. If you look at the stats, the averages for MD schools, it’s fifteen- fourteen to fifteen. If you look at the averages for DO schools, it’s fourteen to fifteen. If you assume that most students are applying to both MD and DO then the assumption is that most students are applying to thirty schools. It’s a lot of schools, it’s a lot of money, but every school is looking for something different, every school is looking for a part of the community that they’re trying to build, and this person that’s asking this question, this 29 year old working mom may fit in great at one school regardless of her stats because of her background as a working mom and everything else that she’s encountered in life, and that school will want her. But it might be a school that’s two states away, so you have to- you have to take that into account when you’re applying to medical school. As a nontraditional applicant it’s hard to think about applying broadly when you have a husband, or a wife, or other significant others and kids, and thinking about moving them. And so there are lots of things to think about when it comes to that.

But back to the original question about stats. Other people’s stats do not matter. Absolutely do not matter. Your 3.9 and 3.6 are not my 3.9 and 3.6 and 510 on the MCAT. If you got a 510 on the MCAT, if we had the same exact stats, it does not matter. Your story is different than mine. Stop trying to compare yourself, and this is not just for the poster, this is for everybody listening, stop trying to compare your stats to other students. They don’t compute. There is no correlation between your stats and somebody else’s stats. Just stop it.

Final Thoughts

Alright I’m off my soap box. I hope that helped answer some questions about stats and applying to one school, is what I’m reading into that. Hopefully she maybe meant applying to allopathic programs, maybe she mistyped that, but I don’t think so. I’m assuming it’s one school because of family obligations and other things. So if you have any questions that you would like answered here on the Old Premeds Podcast, go to www.OldPremeds.org, sign up for an account if you don’t already have one, and ask away.

I want to take a second and thank Next Step Test Prep for supporting the Medical School Headquarters on this great journey of podcasting and everything else that we’re doing to support you, the premeds. Go check them out at www.NextStepTestPrep.com, use the code MSHQ for Medical School Headquarters, that’s all capital letters, MSHQ to save some money on their full length practice exams, their MCAT course which is new and awesome, or their one-on-one tutoring which is what they are known for. Go check out everything that they have to offer at www.NextStepTestPrep.com.

Have a great week, stay encouraged, stay motivated, and above all else, stop comparing yourself to others. We’ll see you next week here at the Old Premeds Podcast.

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