First of all, each schools set its own minimum GPA/MCAT cut offs. And that initial screening process is actually done by a computer program. I sincerely doubt that most schools set the GPA cut-off at 3.8. But it depends on the school.
Admissions committees do not generally look at grade trends, but instead place an emphasis on grades for certain key courses <cough--OChem--cough> which stand as a proxy/approximation for med school-style learning.
There are two kinds of secondaries--unscreened (everyone who applies gets one) and screened (the computer/committee make a first cut and only sends secondaries to some applicants.). Secondaries are very expensive and there is no guarantee that even screened secondary applications get looked at by a human being. D1 was rejected less than 4 hours after submitting a SCREENED secondary at one school. (And please don't try to tell me that someone actually bothered to read all 12 pages of essays in 4 hours.....) And my D1 is not alone in that experience. Curmugeon's D got some screened secondaries rejections in under 12 hours too. Some people joke that secondaries are cash machines for med schools. I'm not sure they're wrong.
Cross country interviews are a given. Your student should expect to miss a significant amount of classes days during the interview season. And you/he should expect to spend plenty of $$ on travel expenses, esp since sometimes interview invitations come on very short notice and you'll be buying plane tickets at premium last minute rates.
There are no interviews on weekends.
It is NOT possible to do more than one interview on the same day even if the schools are located in the same city.
Interview scheduling depends upon the school. Some will give a firm date and time and you either show up or get automatically rejected. Some will give a candidate a choice of 2-3 different dates (all usually within a 5-14 day time period). Generally, med schools are not terribly flexible about scheduling interviews and many will not allow a student to reschedule if a date is inconvenient.
Last edited by WayOutWestMom; 08-15-2011 at 05:00 PM.