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Current Med School Interview Advice?

CapeCodLady8CapeCodLady8 Registered User Posts: 421 Member
edited November 2011 in Med School Interviews

Hoping to refresh this thread as it was very interesting, but given it started in 2004 I was hoping for some up to date advice for my son who is currently working on his 20+ med school app secondaries and hoping for some good interviews this fall. As a family we are pretty new at this, and while I'm pretty savvy with the undergraduate admission process, I am a new fish here!

Typically, will a candidate with good MCAT scores (38) and slightly lower than average GPA (3.6 trending upwards to 4.0 due to transferring from Bio-engineering to pre-med junior year) be offered an interview? I know there is more to those two numbers, but the more I read the more I hear that it certainly starts there with cut-offs and the like. We've heard some won't even look at your app if your GPA is below 3.8. That said, the same school sent a secondary app to my son? It is quite expensive to think they aren't even looking at it, but he's sending it anyway, as it is on the top of his list of schools.

How are cross-country interviews handled? Is it possible to do more than one in a weekend? Are they even scheduled on weekends?

I don't want to ask any silly questions here, so if anyone has any interview advice either prospective students, parents, admissions folks, or CC alum, I'd appreciate it. Also reviewing the premed doc site as well.

Post edited by CapeCodLady8 on

Replies to: Current Med School Interview Advice?

  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 10,185 Senior Member
    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.
  • CapeCodLady8CapeCodLady8 Registered User Posts: 421 Member
    Dear WoWMom,
    Thanks so much. Very, very helpful information. So if my son has sent some secondaries in and hasn't received a rejection yet, it's possible he's in the running? He has received secondaries from all of his schools so far. I was very nervous after hearing you were supposed to reply back as fast as possible (one mom told me 48 hours), and my son has not done that. The first week he started getting things back, we were on vacation with limited wifi and he just figured he'd get back to it when he returned to the city. He has done and submitted half of them thus far, with 4 in the past twenty four hours I think. None will be more than 4 weeks, I don't believe.

    I'm hoping my son gets a thorough second look, in spite of his lower GPA. The MCAT score was not a fluke at all, and it's not just that he tests well. I think looking at his core science courses will help as well. He's done pretty well overall and is kicking himself for not being more savvy at the competitive nature of the classes in his first two years. As a Bio-Engineer it wasn't as much of a concern to get an A- instead of that single A, but looking back he can see how much it really means when it comes to your pre-med resume. Water under the bridge. Praying for good things and invitations in his future!
    Thank you!,
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 10,185 Senior Member
    Don't read too much into not getting auto-rejected. D1 heard NOTHING at all from some schools after she submitted secondaries for months. Nothing until she was rejected in mid June. (Yes, that late--and that's a very long, frustrating time for your application to be in limbo. Thankfully she already had one acceptance in hand by mid-March and really loves the program she landed in.)

    I've heard from a friend or two who've served on our state med school adcom that once the student makes it past the MCAT/GPA cut off, the adcoms really don't consider grades or scores all that much. (Exception: MD/PhD candidates, or very research-oriented schools where it becomes a prestige issue.) They're more interested in the PS, LORs and the medical & non-medical activities, plus the 'fit' of the student with the school's philosophy or core objectives.

    Med school adcoms are also extremely, extremely yield aware. Because of that students whose stats are too high can get passed over as frequently as students whose stats are too low for a particular school. Additionally, students from some states won't even get interviews at some schools since the adcoms know that their school is equivalently ranked and in-state is much less expensive or that in-state schools have a stronger ranking than their school. (This is a frequent complaint by Texas candidates. It's also likely happened with D1's auto-rejection. Private school ranked equivalent to state school, but state school was 1/3 the cost. They assumed she wouldn't come. Her ex-BF also applied and got auto-rejected post secondary within hours at the same school too. And he was 3.9 GPA/40 MCAT so I know it wasn't a qualification issue.)

    My advice--don't sweat the GPA thing. It's not that important overall.
  • eadadeadad Registered User Posts: 2,759 Senior Member
    There are no interviews on weekends.

    Not wholly true; historically UTSW does a two day process with orientation, tours, luncheon, a dinner and a night time activity on Friday with interviews on Saturday. I believe there are a few others (not Texas schools) who have a similar schedule.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Registered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    I would say that numbers are good. The number of interviews will depend on how well numbers will match Med. Schools list. We thought that D's list was a good match to her numbers, she got into 4 out of 8 she applied. Her MCAT was lower than 38. She did not apply to any far away, so she was driving to all of her 6 interviews. Also being close enabled her to go to Second Look events when she was debating between 2 schools at the end. That event was crucial, as her decision flipped after it. D. did not have a single weekend interview. She had Friday(s). She had to reschedule several exams and many other things, like her Research internship, volunteering engagements. Some profs were more understanding than others. No, two interviews on the same day, as usually it is whole day event. However, D. has done 2 interviews on Thursday - Friday. Also, she always stayed with current students, very helpful to learn about current student body and they also live in walking distance from Med. School (as D. herself now) and can show you how to get to place.
    I have only one interview advice - be true to yourself, never pretend, never lie. Be open to any questions, even the ones that try to put you down (D. had one interview like this). If you know where you stand and why you involved in certain things from your own personal prospective, this is good enough. Sometime they want to see your reaction. However, most of them are relaxed and conversational. D. had one group interview.
  • CapeCodLady8CapeCodLady8 Registered User Posts: 421 Member
    Thanks so much. My son is finishing up his secondaries, which is no easy task given the number of schools he's applied to! I feel badly for him, but in a way, it really does help him explore questions about his own personal future he might not of otherwise. Okay, that might be a stretch at finding a silver lining to double digit essay questions! He's been at it full time since he finished work last week. He's hoping to complete them all soon. Do the schools weigh your return time as perceived interest/non-interest. That makes me very nervous, as he did not rush them back in 48 hours as some suggested should be done. He had no idea and has just been doing them as he gets them, 21 in all.
    Thanks so much again. Your advice is greatly appreciated! Hoping to hear about some interviews in the near future. His MCAT scores and reference letters have been verified, so hopefully there are some great Adcom folks reading his applications now! :)
  • LovebusyLovebusy Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Any updates concerning 2011-2012 Med Univ interviews? Share your experiences...
  • Dad_of_3Dad_of_3 Registered User Posts: 2,067 Senior Member
    ^^ SDN is a much better source for this info - they have active threads for each med school.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Registered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    ^As long as you can protect your psych reading SDN, you are good. it is not for sensitive souls
  • CapeCodLady8CapeCodLady8 Registered User Posts: 421 Member
    Ha...very funny, Miami!! I do like the individual school threads on SDN. Very helpful for the lurking parent seeking info and updates. (to give to her son who never goes there!) :)
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Registered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    I have used it also and my D. did, skipping neurotic comments
This discussion has been closed.