There are lots of moving parts to the medical school application. How do you know if you’ve got a good shot at admission to an MD program?
[00:38] What Are Your Chances?
It’s a very common question students are asking as to what their chances are for getting into a medical school. The answer that I always give is “I have no idea what your chances are!” I have zero clue on what your chances are.'Your chances are zero if you don't apply and more than zero if you do apply.'Click To Tweet
Nobody out there knows what your specific chances are.
You can look at the AAMC. They have a graph and table where it has MCAT and GPA. You can find where your MCAT and GPA are that table.
And based on historical data, they cite the number of people getting into medical school. You could see your chances based on that data, but it’s still not accurate.
First, that’s historical data. And if you’re involved in the stock market, past performance does not predict future gains or performance.'The table is a great barometer but looking at it doesn't take into account so many other variables involved in an application.'Click To Tweet
[02:30] Variables to Consider
There are so many variables that you should take into account when you’re talking about your chances. Are you an underrepresented minority? Are you Caucasian? That comes into account.
Other factors include your socio-economic status, your parents’ education levels, your state residency (depending on where you’re applying), your extracurriculars, your personal statement.
When to apply also comes into account as well as who wrote your letters of recommendation. Did they write strong letters or just generic letters?
What does your MCAT score look like in each section? Your grades and your trends are huge factors too.'There are so many variables when it comes to applying to medical school.'Click To Tweet
[03:40] Chances in an Allopathic (MD) Medical School
Why does “allopathic” matter? DO or MD, it’s a physician at the end of the day, so it doesn’t matter.
What specifically draws you to an MD school? Why MD vs DO? Do you have any sort of bias? Or you probably got information that you don’t want to go to a DO school since you won’t be able to do xyz residency. That’s not true!
So you have to take this into account as well as to why allopathic and not osteopathic.
[04:40] The Biggest Variable
As you go through this process, your chances of applying or getting into medical school are zero if you don’t apply and more than zero if you do apply.
There are so many pieces of the application process that need to go into your favor. You need to have good enough GPA and MCAT score. You have to have a great personal statement, extracurriculars, and great letters of recommendation.
You need to apply on time. You have to write good secondaries and turn those around on time.'The biggest variable of all is that you have no clue what that medical school is looking for... Every year, they're looking for something specific to bring into their class.'Click To Tweet
You have zero idea, specifically, what that medical school is looking for that year. Every medical school is trying to build a foundational core of students every year. They may be looking for LGBT or underrepresented minority students. They could be looking for the nurse or the nontraditional students.
Every year, they’re looking for something specific to bring into their class. This year, it might be your turn, and next year, it may not be. You don’t know. Or you might be the perfect candidate at school A and you’re not at school B.
Stop worrying about what your chances are and maximize each part of the application as you go through this process.
Focus on your GPA and MCAT score. Get those extracurriculars and some leadership experience. Get shadowing and clinical experience. Apply early. Turn your secondaries around fast. Prepare for your interviews.'There are lots of moving parts and you need to make sure you're doing all of them well to get into medical school.'Click To Tweet
[07:20] Working Overseas and Skeletal Manipulation
Q: My only concern with DO programs is I’m possibly working overseas. Some don’t view the same. Generally speaking, the programs are equally acceptable, except skeletal manipulation is woo.
A: Not all skeletal manipulation is woo. There’s the chiropractic way of manipulation. The DO involves some of that, but so much more! But don’t consider it ALL woo. There’s not a lot of research, unfortunately.
In terms of working overseas, it’s becoming less and less of a concern. There are around over 100 countries that allow osteopathic physicians to practice. So it’s not big of a deal.
[08:28] Thoughts on Research Experience
Q: Thoughts on research experience for the application. ER nurse for 8 years, EMT since 2006. I won’t be applying until 2019. Finishing up prereqs and MCAT. Is research necessary?
A: No. Research is not necessary at all. You’ve got a ton of great experience so that’s awesome.'Research is a good cherry on top but not necessary.'Click To Tweet
Since you’re in the ER now, you might look at any clinical research going on that maybe you can get involved in. Maybe screen patients in the emergency room as you’re working to get involved.
[09:10] What Makes Someone Disadvantaged
Q: Looking at the application, it asked if I was from an underserviced area. If I grew up in an Amish community, does that count?
A: One of the questions in the application is whether you’re a disadvantaged student. And when you read the definition, it will say, are you from a medically underserved area? And I would say the Amish are part of that.
The application service gives you a lot of freedom with classifying yourself as disadvantaged. If you want to check that box, you just need to make sure you put a good disadvantaged statement/essay in that box to explain why you’re checking it.
Then every school will evaluate what you say. And they could either say you’re disadvantaged or say no and remove that part of your application and just look at the rest of it.'You've got a lot of leeway with that disadvantaged student statement so use it wisely.'Click To Tweet
[10:40] Clinical Research in the ER
Q: I was asked to do clinical research in the ER NYU this summer. I’m not sure what to expect as a North Carolina native going up north but it sounds like a great opportunity.
A: Take advantage of it. Crush it! As far as what to expect, it’s going to be very busy and there are lots of people. Just check it out.
[11:40] First-Generation College Student – Disadvantaged or Not?
Q: I am the first in my family to go to college. Does that count as disadvantaged?
A: No, that doesn’t.
[12:00] Pre-Matriculation Prep
Q: Do you have any info for pre-matriculation prep for the next year?
A: If you want to take a class, just take the loop as a student to continue to hone your studying skills and test-taking skills. That’s the only thing I recommend. I wouldn’t take a full semester of classes. Just one class here and there is fine. You can take it online. Other than that, relax. Travel. Work. Save some money.'Enjoy the rest of your pre-med student life because life will never be the same once you hit medical school.'Click To Tweet
[13:25] First-Generation Immigrant
Q: What if I’m a first-generation immigrant in addition to being a first to go to school in my family?
A: If you want to mark this as disadvantaged, you have a lot of leeway to it. So if that’s what you want to do, go ahead and do it. But for that, I probably wouldn’t.
[13:53] Work + Medical School
Q: Is it possible to work and go to medical school? I’m worried about paying for everything.
A: Yes, it’s possible. I actually worked my first two plus years of medical school. Before med school, I worked at a Boston sports club as a personal trainer first and later on a fitness program manager.
I delayed matriculation into med school for a year so I could keep working. I was managing and learning a lot.
And when I started med school, I transferred down to a New York sports club and continued to work as a personal trainer during medical school for about two and a half years. I worked 5-10 hours a week.
That said, I would not recommend it. Those hours took away from me being a successful student. And I regret that. So don’t have regrets. Focus 100% on your studies.'Your job is to be a medical student – 100%.'Click To Tweet
There are loans you can get and that’s how most students live. Focus on saving as much money now. Live off as much savings as you can and then take out loans for the rest.
[15:55] Overturning a Disadvantaged Mark
Q: Does it look negative if you mark disadvantaged but they overturn it?
A: It’s not negative. But they may question why you’re marking it as disadvantaged. I’ve heard some admissions people laughing at some of the things students say why they’re disadvantaged.
Q: It feels so wrong to relax. There’s got to be something to do to improve my chances?
A: Relax. It will be okay!
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