What is the Nerd-Factor Level of Most Med School Applicants?

<p>Looking for feedback from this most-informed group..... I was in on a conversation recently that included the moms of several college kids planning on going to med school. One said her son was counting on the 'non-nerd factor' to work for his benefit. Here's what she meant: Her son is quite the 'cool' kid....very popular with his peers and teachers, always has been...fraternity officer, Div I sports team captain, very comfortable talking with others about anything.....you get the idea. He is also very bright and has worked quite hard to maintain the high GPA at a top school and will, I'm sure, do well on the MCAT.</p>

<p>He is convinced that so most of the med school applicants are stereotypical nerds, complete with pocket-protectors and thick glasses. He is quite sure that his non-nerd personality will work in his favor when he goes through the application process.</p>

<p>Could this be the case? As I think about it, lots of the docs I know would probably be classified as 'nerds', but I always think of that as being a good thing! I'd be interested in knowing your reaction to this premise.</p>

<p>A charismatic kid is certainly at an advantage in the med school application process and during interviews. I know kids at a variety of med schools (state schools, top privates, Ivy league, etc) and it seems that each school has its own culture complete with its own "type" of student. Some schools have nerdier kids, some schools have more laid back kids, some schools have a bigger mix. It really just depends on where you apply, interview, and fit in. </p>

<p>So, I agree that it will work in his favor, but probably not as impressively as he might think. I certainly disagree that all med students are stereotypical nerds, although there are probably more nerds in med school than in the general population. I'd say my friends in PhD programs (especially in hard sciences like chemistry and physics) are considerably more stereotypically nerdy than my med school classmates.</p>

<p>Agree with kristin. Since interviews are such a big factor in admissions, being personable and interesting will be an advantage, but not so big of an advantage that he'll be able to coast thru the process on his charm and good looks. He'll need to have the academic and experience package to back it all up.</p>

<p>If it is, medical schools are sending a wrong signal. They are not interviewing for I-bankers.</p>

<p>What do we want from our doctors? I would like my doctor to be capable, sincere, sympathetic, honest, and detail oriented. I am not in the mood to socialize with my doctors about movies, latest novels, contemporary music, politics, or sports in the hospital. And, I don't think that doctors have the time to talk about all that with patients. Perhaps dentists need more of those skills. Even if that is the case, solve my problems and spare me the crap.</p>

<p>Nonetheless, it is a good idea for premeds to take a couple of humanity courses every semester to strengthen the MCAT verbal capability and build up the storytelling skill to game the system if necessary. :p</p>

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Div I sports team captain...very bright.... high GPA at a top school and will, I'm sure, do well on the MCAT.

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<p>High gpa (and test scores) in D1 sports is pretty much a slam dunk for an applicant with an average personality.</p>

<p>Re: #4, I guess I'm confused why someone with social skills and charisma means they are incapable, insincere, unsympathetic, dishonest, not detail-oriented, and only care about pop culture and sports.</p>

<p>Generally speaking, I'd say I am a pleasant person who understands social norms and is polite, charismatic, and able to carry on a conversation with just about anyone I meet. The patients I've worked with (granted, only for 6 weeks in primary care settings in Mexico and in the midwest) seemed to enjoy speaking with me. I didn't get the impression they were annoyed or irritated or thought I was wasting their time by adding in pleasantries such as asking them about their day or what they were planning to do on this beautiful afternoon. I always chalked it up to my being a caring person who is trying to learn the art of treating people like I think they ought to be treated.</p>

<p>Although it is likely true that an applicant with charm and good looks will have some advantage not only in med school admission but also in many other fields (esp. in some leadership positions, e.g., the President of the United States like Reagan or Clinton), I heard many MS1 students at DS's med school seem to be more on the nerdy side. This is especially true for those MD/PhD students.</p>

<p>During the short summer break, we asked DS what most in his MS1 class do "after school." He said a majority seem to hide somewhere in the library and study, even though the grades in the preclinical years do not count at all. However, there are a selected few who are not like this; they go out to drink and socialize a lot (where do they get all that money?!) Maybe they are more practical than their peers and are willing to spend time on what really count?</p>

<p>Premed crowd at DS's UG school are definitely nerdier than those who are aspired to head to the wall street or who are going into politics, etc. DS once said if a student asks questions in the large science prereq classes like in some of the small humanity classes, that student will likely be shot down almost immediately -- if it is not by the professor (he likely would do so), it would be by those super eager premed students. -- I think this is why DS would rather not hang out with premed crowd while he was an UG -- many of them tend to be too focused in building up their resume and too tense all the time.</p>

<p>Another anecdotal example: One of DS's UG friends feels that she finds a need to take two year break from academic for whatever the reason it may be. She did and started at a med school in NYC two years later. I heard that as an UG, she not only wanted to get very good grades in every class, she also tried to see whether she could push herself to the limit (say, by taking 30 percents more science classes than most other science students would do.) DS once said in one semester she almost never slept. (He exaggerated it, of course. She is definitely nerdy, or at least an over-achiever in academics. But he mentioned at least several of his UG classmates are like her, who keeps pushing herself/himself all the time as long as she/he is awake.)</p>

<p>Maybe it's just the environments i've been in, but hard-workers and nerds are not necessarily the same thing at all.</p>

<p>Nerds are people without social skills obsessed with video games, role playing, and yes academics, but I know plenty of nerds who spend very, very little time on their school work.</p>

<p>I would not call someone who spends hours doing their home work then goes out on the prowl looking to get laid (and succeeding) while getting plastered and possibly using drugs or someone who spends lots of hours doing their home work but then is also fully versed in current events, sports, and pop culture and able to engage in interesting conversations with new people a nerd.</p>

<p>Med school certainly has both but i'm pretty sure most of the gunners gunning for ortho are not what most people would consider nerds and they sure spend lots of time doing work.</p>

<p>Well, there is certainly a difference between a geek and a nerd.</p>

<p>There are some not so "intense" people at Med. School who are well rounded and try to lead some kind of "normal" life as much as it is possible. They try to be social and and making efforts not to overpower others in their discussions. If you seeking this type of "friendly" crowd, you will find them. There many who study more "intensely". It just depends who you consider your "crowd", there are choices.</p>

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There are some not so "intense" people at Med. School who are well rounded and try to lead some kind of "normal" life as much as it is possible.

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<p>"Well rounded" is the key here - yes, being charismatic is good, but coming off as a major 'frat boy' type is not going to do you any favors. And as Kristin said, its probably not as big of an advantage as he thinks - gotta get in the door with grades and whatnot first.</p>

<p>^Well, personalities are different and it is very important for some to maintain some kind of normalcy in their lives. Otherwise, they feel pushed over the edge and it does NOT help these type of people in their studies at all. And there are others who are successfull while being very "intense" most of the time. As D. said, just do whatever works and try to stick to your own kind as much as possible. It depends on what kind of life you had before Med. School. If you are outgoing person who was engaged in many unrelated activites, then it is very hard to switch to entirely focusing on one. However, balance is a key. Others have no problem intensely focusing on something. It is very personal. Med. School is definitely much much harder academically and requires much more time studying (at least according to my D. who said many times that it cannot be compared to UG at all). However, others might have different opinion. D. needs to study much more despite the fact that she has worked very hard in UG. However, she has to be engaged in something else, she needs to be away from it also. She also needs to be with people who are more relaxed.</p>

<p>Biel;</p>

<p>Much to the contrary of your opening post. "Nerds" get the highest MCAT scores, because the MCAT becomes their life. "Nerds' therefore get into the best medical schools and hence best residencies. This is because the MCAT and Step 1 have the greatest importance in admissions decisions.</p>

<p>^^^Not really contrary to the original thought. My friend isn't saying he can get in only on his 'charm and good looks' or is charisma. There's no substitute for hard work. He's thinking his personality will be an asset not enjoyed by many applicants. Seems we've conclusively agreed it takes more than charisma, but charisma can't hurt an applicant. I'm not sure if there are 'non-nerdy' med schools/those that try to accept more 'hip' applicants...
He thinks being too 'nerd-y'/being socially inept can hurt applicants.
Do you agree?</p>

<p>I believe, people are who they are, nobody can change his personality and it is definitely not worth it. To have variety of characters is a plus, not minus. The most important IMO is to know your strengths and weaknesses and "play" on them. If you know that you cannot focus on one thing for very long time, if you know that it puts you over the edge, if you know that variety will bring effciency to your study, then have somthing lined up so you can switch to be away for a bit. If you know that strong focus is what you need, again, have everything available to you to focus all the time. As an example, the first type will go to gym to relax and be away, while the second type will have audio of lectures to listen to while in gym. It does not mean that one group has advantage over another, they simply have different lives and usually stick to their own.</p>

<p>OP,</p>

<p>I think what most of us were getting at is that your friend will not be in as small a minority of personable med school applicants as he thinks he will.</p>

<p>This is my son: you are outgoing person who was engaged in many unrelated activites. I can't explain exactly what he enjoys doing in addition to his science-and-medicine-related studies, but his activities are definitely not 'nerdy'. Most importantly, he's a really well balanced kid. Doesn't get drunk on the weekends, out on the prowl, but he is a low-key cool kind of kid.</p>

<p>Hey. My kid was a sorority girl. Is considered attractive. People seem to like her a lot. Very personable. Very athletic. In her med school, she is one of the least social. Her particular class is chock full of extremely social, fun-loving, not-opposed-to-party kids. She was quite shocked to look around and realize that she was the nerd. lol</p>

<p>^I have a buddy who I think is a year above your D. There were 6 of us med students from around the country sharing a condo for a week at a conference. Me and the other public school kid (LOL) were pleasantly surprised when the Ivy kid stocked the fridge and freezer with a variety of beverages and then proceeded to arrange a get-together in the hot tubs after our welcome BBQ. Believe it or not, those Ivy kids aren't all wet blankets. They can certainly party as hard as the Big XII and SEC folks can.</p>

<p>Which isn't to say all that matters is partying and having fun, just that as far as I can tell, med students are a much more down-to-earth and fun-loving crowd than I initially expected. In my experience, the PhD students are much more socially awkward/nerdy/bookish.</p>