Don’t Fall For these Threads on Premed Forums

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PMY 464: Don't Fall For these Threads on Premed Forums

Session 464

SDN, Reddit, and others are notorious for adding anxiety to premed students hoping to learn about the premed process. Don’t get sucked in. Ask deeper questions.

For more podcast resources to help you with your medical school journey and beyond, check out Meded Media.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[00:42] The MCAT Minute

The MCAT Minute is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT.

MCAT registration is now open. And if you didn’t know, registering early is very important. It’s like rolling admissions for medical school. And so, applying early is really important.

The problem is that you have to go to a testing center to take the test. The testing centers have very limited numbers of seats, and the MCAT is only offered on specific days during the year. So you have to have an idea of when you want to take it and you need to go register for that time.

You may come up to that time and realize you’re not ready to take the MCAT. Then you’re going to have to reschedule it. But it’s better than stressing about being able to get a seat later on when you think you’re ready. Or when you’re needing to travel to a different location to take the MCAT, especially when you’re sleeping at the hotel the night before.

And we all know getting a good night’s sleep in a strange location is not easy to do. So go register for the test as soon as possible if you’re taking it in early 2022.

[02:15] Stats are NOT Everything!

Today, I want to talk about a thread I came across on the premed subreddit, over at Reddit. And basically, this thread is the epitome of the problem that I see with students leading with stats.

Stats prevent that door from closing on you, and then the rest of your application is very important. But this thread almost only talks about stats. 

'Stats aren't everything.'Click To Tweet

For instance, the first person says he has a 513 and a 3.8 and getting no love. But that’s not everything. But they could have a crappy personal statement or no clinical experience and no shadowing. Maybe their letters of recommendation are horrible. OR maybe they applied to the most elite of the elite schools out there. Nobody talks about that.

This is a problem with the premed community only thinking about stats. If you haven’t yet, watch my Application Renovation YouTube series. Especially for Season Three, I purposefully tried to get students with really high stats who did not have successful cycles. Because they were so focused on stats, they didn’t focus on anything else. They assumed their stats will carry them and their stats will open up all the doors.

“There are plenty of people with amazing stats and amazing stories who get into medical school. But you cannot say that stats alone, get people into medical school.”Click To Tweet

[05:12] Not Getting in Due to Low Stats?

You also can’t say that stats alone will keep people out of medical school. It’s the same argument where someone says they have a low MCAT score and a low GPA, and so, they will never get into medical school. You cannot say that.

I know a lot of students who had low stats. But they have a great story and they have a great application. Of course, medical schools would want to talk to them.

Low stats may hinder you from some schools. Low stats may delay when a school will be able to review your application. But low stats are not an automatic rejection from the far majority of schools out there.

“Low stats are not an automatic rejection from the far majority of schools out there.”Click To Tweet

Obviously, there are limits. A 480 MCAT and a 2.0. GPA will keep you out of every school. But some of you out there thinking that a 3.4 and a 505 are terrible should be looking at the trend behind that score.

[07:17] You are More Than Your Stats

Moreover, majors don’t matter. Double majors don’t matter. Minors don’t matter. But then again, what does your personal statement look like? How did you write about your experience? Did you just try to sell yourself and say you’re ready to be a doctor? Or did you reflect on it and talk about what you learned and how it impacted you? What do your letters of recommendation look like?

We don’t have that objectivity, around how to talk about those things. But as a premed culture in this premed universe, we need to discuss those things as well. 

Now, there are students who are vulnerable and anxiety-prone. And so, seeing these students talking all about stats gives this impression that you have to be a perfect student to get into medical school. And so, when people see this, they freak out.

'Stats are only one part of this equation.'Click To Tweet

You are so much more than your stats. Your application, your ability to get an interview, to get an acceptance involves so much more than your stats.

[11:27] Ask More In-Depth Questions

When you go to Reddit or Student Doctor Network and students are leading with stats, try to ask more in-depth questions. Try to lead the conversation away from the stats.

For example, how much clinical experience do you have? This is not necessarily from a total number standpoint but from a consistency standpoint. They could have 100 hours freshman year, and nothing since is very different than having 100 hours over the past two or three years consistently.

Lead with more questions like:

  • What do the trends look like in your GPA?
  • How much shadowing do you have?
  • Do you think your letter letters of recommendation are good?
  • Did you apply to medical schools based on fit or based on stats?
  • How did you choose the schools that you apply to?
  • How fast did you turn around your secondaries?
  • How did you write your personal statement?
  • How did you write your extracurriculars?
  • When did you apply?
  • What schools did you apply to?

Ask these questions and you will make Reddit, SDN, The Premed Hangout, and any other public forum, a better environment for everyone. Dig deeper into all of the variables that affect a medical school application. Your application is not just your stats.

Follow up with these questions when you find these threads because nobody is doing it. 

[15:14] The Real Meaning

The problem with these threads is that students go to these threads, post on these threads, read these threads, and they think the high stats are not good enough. That’s the meaning that they’re making from these threads. And that is not the meaning of it at all.

The meaning is – you are so much more than your stats. You are so much more than your stats. Yes, your stats have to be good enough.

“There's so much more to your application than just a high MCAT score and a high GPA.”Click To Tweet

So don’t rest on your laurels as you’re applying to medical school. Don’t forget that as you’re writing about your personal statement, your extracurricular descriptions, your secondary essays, and as you’re building your school list. All of that is very important.

Know that you don’t have to be a perfect student to get into medical school. You just have to be good enough. Try your hardest, work hard and celebrate all of your mini wins along the way.


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