Medical Chat — June 27, 2000

Medical Chat — June 27, 2000

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Chat Transcript:
The Definitive Chat on Medical School Admissions

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:07:31 PM)
First I want to welcome you all to our chat this evening. A special welcome and thanks to our guest, Dr. Mark Goldstein — author of The Definitive Guide to Medical School Admissions, MIT pre-med advisor, and Harvard Medical School faculty member — for joining us. Finally, I want to thank Cindy Tokumitsu, an's editor, for participating this evening.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:07:52 PM)
I also want to welcome Beverly Schneider, another editor.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:08:07 PM)
Thanks to everyone for joining.

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 9:08:18 PM)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:08:23 PM)
We encourage dialogue and discussion, but I would like to suggest a structure to make it easier to follow the threads of conversation. So here is the protocol:

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:08:38 PM)
We will post material to the chat. If you have a question on that material, please type a '?' and then your question. I and/or other participants will reply. If one of you wants to comment on the current topic, please jump right in. If you want to start a different topic, please type '?'.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:09:05 PM)
I would like to start with a few questions for Dr. Goldstein:

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:09:14 PM)
What criteria should applicants use when deciding which medical schools to apply to?

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:09:14 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

shell (ID=65) (Jun 27, 2000 9:09:29 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:10:06 PM)
First and foremost, you should base your medical school selections on academic quality. Then you need to think about location, cost, reputation and strengths

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:10:43 PM)
Which is more important in the admissions process: the MCAT or the GPA?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:12:17 PM)
The simple answer is they are both important. Some schools weigh the MCAT a bit more than the other, the GPA is usually the more important factor. Remember the MCAT tests everyone under the same conditions; GPA will vary from school to school.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:12:38 PM)
3) Which schools weigh the MCAT more heavily? Which weigh the GPA more heavily?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:14:14 PM)
I am not aware of how one school weighs the MCAT in relation to another except for Hopkins which tends to weigh it less or even accept the SAT. Much of the admissions information is confidential and while some people on the outside will attest that a certain school weighs the MCAT less or more, I cannot rely on that information. Therefore, one must assume the MCAT is a significant factor in the admissions process for all medical schools.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:14:29 PM)
Is not having research experience fatal to one's application, especially if one is clinically oriented?

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 9:14:49 PM)
Would it be detrimental to the applicant if the GPA was based on only 1 or 2 years as opposed to 3 years of undergraduate study?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:15:12 PM)
Research experience is NOT important for medical school admission unless you are seeking an MD/PhD. Many of us have no talent or interest in research, yet we make outstanding doctors.

Chauncy (ID=66) (Jun 27, 2000 9:15:35 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:15:59 PM)
I worry, Ant, about a GPA based on only 3 years at MIT. There 1 or 2 years could lead to a disadvantage compared to those who have 4 years of basis.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:16:07 PM)
What about clinical volunteer work?

LAB01 (ID=67) (Jun 27, 2000 9:16:19 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:16:29 PM)
Some applicants have very little or no clinical volunteer work. How is that viewed?

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:16:46 PM)
Do medical school admissions committees consider improvement over the undergraduate years? e.g. freshman year 3.5 soph. 3.8 junior year 3.95

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 9:16:49 PM)
? About the research thing, then is research not a great advantage when applying to a regular MD program?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:16:57 PM)
I require clinical volunteer work for my advisees before I will write their letter of recommendation. If you are interested in medical school, then at the very least you need to show interest in clinical volunteer activities. It is a given that you will do it.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:17:24 PM)
I couldn't agree more. I think it is critical to a successful career choice and successful application.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:17:44 PM)
Yes, Who, the trend of grades is very important so if you are improving, that will help your application. Obviously, if your slope is downward, then you have problems.

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:18:00 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, in terms of volunteer work, what kind of achievement is typical of students who get accepted to the best medical school? I mean, how much can students really do without actually having an M.D.?

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 9:18:01 PM)
? Dr. Goldstein, what would count as a "clinical" volunteer activity?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:18:20 PM)
Research, in my view is not a great advantage unless you have publications, prizes or a well known researcher writing you an outstanding letter.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:18:27 PM)
Let's hold the questions for a minute and let Dr. G. catch up.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:19:20 PM)
In regard to volunteer work, my best advisees serve the patients soda and cookies, run errands or deliver library books. You are not expected to do clinical work.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:20:02 PM)
Clinical volunteer work, helpme, is simply working in a clinical setting doing things appropriate to your level of training.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:20:08 PM)
Wouldn't volunteering in a family clinic, helping AIDS victims, working with the elderly infirm, or working for an organization that assists sick children be other examples of clinical volunteer work?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:20:55 PM)
Absolutely! My daughter Samantha who is entering medical school volunteered to help asthmatic children learn to swim. She loves swimming and children.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:21:09 PM)
Sounds like a great combination of interests and service!

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:21:21 PM)
I understand that the AAMC next year will require an additional essay about medical students' goals. Do you recommend mentioning goals in the AMCAS essay and if so, how much specificity do you think the schools want? Is it enough to say one wants to go into primary care or specialize, or is the applicant expected to know which specialty?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:21:38 PM)
And that combination of interest and service will strengthen your application.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:21:48 PM)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:22:05 PM)
helpme, did these answers help?

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 9:22:31 PM)
Yes they did, very much, thank you

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:22:37 PM)
I personally did not know I wanted to do pediatrics or internal medicine until halfway through my 4th year of medical school. I do not think schools expect incoming medical students to know what they want to do since they have not taken the various clerkships.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:23:20 PM)
Would indicating an interest in primary care or specializations be worthwhile ?

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:23:26 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Nate (ID=69) (Jun 27, 2000 9:23:27 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:24:32 PM)
Hello everyone.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:24:38 PM)
Linda, it is not necessary to know whether you want primary care or specialization. After all, schools need to graduate all types of specialty interests. You may find certain schools may prefer primary care students, but in my view, it is not necessary to commit your interests during the application phase.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:24:55 PM)
OK. What is the role of secondary essays in the application process? I was surprised they were barely mentioned in the first edition of your book.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:26:38 PM)
Secondary essays may have little or no importance or they may have significant importance in the application process. Boston University requests $95 in their secondary with no additional information. Harvard asks straightforward questions such as listing your awards, but there is no additional essay. Columbia has an extensive essay. So it is very variable.

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:26:56 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, what do you think is the single most important factor admissions committees look at when looking at an applicants record?

LAB (ID=70) (Jun 27, 2000 9:27:02 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:27:03 PM)
The more extensive the essay, the more significant role the secondary plays?

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 9:28:04 PM)
?Since Columbia is not on AMCAS, do they send a second application after the first one is sent in?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:28:12 PM)
The single most important factor(s) Jerry are your GPA and the quality of your undergraduate school. Many schools weigh your average; that is, if you come from a highly competitive school, your grades may count more compared to an open enrollment school.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:28:34 PM)
As pre-med advisor at MIT, you probably don't deal with this question that much, but how important is the undergrad institution that applicants attend? Does someone from less prestigious schools who has good grades, a 30+ GMAT, and volunteer experiences have a chance?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:28:54 PM)
I think the secondaries help fill out information that the school is seeking; an essay in a secondary must be considered important.

LAB (ID=70) (Jun 27, 2000 9:29:36 PM)
How does a mediocre MCAT score look compared to a prestigious undergrad university?

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:30:20 PM)
What is a good MCAT score : ie. score that is not eye opening ... but also not reeking..

DGP (ID=58) (Jun 27, 2000 9:30:21 PM)
?Dr. Goldstein, how do we know we're not wasting our time applying to a particular school? Should we base this primarily off each school's averages? What if I'm right on the GPA at an average school but a ways off as far as MCAT is concerned?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:30:28 PM)
Helpme: I wish my daughter was here. She left her essay with me and the question is "What satisfactions do you expect to receive from your activities as a physician? Perhaps that was with the primary as I do believe it was a non AMCAS last year.

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 9:30:54 PM)
? Do American schools know which Canadian universities are "competitive?"

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:31:00 PM)
I think you are right Dr. Goldstein. Columbia doesn't have a secondary because it is not an AMCAS school.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:31:12 PM)
Let's hold the questions a minute. OK?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:31:15 PM)
A good MCAT score is 30 or more on the three subtests. I am not too worried about the writing sample score since that score is not correlated with medical school success.

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:31:35 PM)
but I got a S :)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:31:42 PM)

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:31:52 PM)
I think, Ant, that admissions committees have a good idea about the quality of Canadian schools.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 9:31:53 PM)
?do admissions committees even look at the writing sample score?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:32:20 PM)
S is fine "

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:33:12 PM)
I think they do look at writing sample scores, but let me tell you that MIT students are not the best writers and as a result their scores on the writing sample are not particularly good. But they do have success in medical school admission.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:33:20 PM)
If applicants have a lot of diverse experience, how do you suggest they prioritize that experience and what do you recommend they include in the personal comments section?

LAB (ID=70) (Jun 27, 2000 9:34:09 PM)
How does going to a prestigious undergrad help you in your admin. process? If one's MCAT scores are below avg., will a decent GPA at a good school take up some of the slack?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:34:12 PM)
In my view, Who, a 33 should not be retaken unless you will ill on the day of the test. I think that 33 is about average for Harvard admissions. A stellar score is 38 or more in my view.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 9:34:51 PM)
? Dr. Goldstein, what about a 27?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=59) (Jun 27, 2000 9:35:35 PM)
I do not like the personal statement to reiterate one's achievements. It makes the statement very boring and people will not take it seriously. Take one achievement. I will use my daughter as an example. She is very interested in photography and wrote about that topic for much of the statement.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 9:35:36 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:36:04 PM)
I am really glad to hear that.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:36:16 PM)
Frequently applicants are told that they should include in their personal comments section the typical elements of personal interest/unique quality, volunteer experience, and research. I have also heard admissions people say they're sick of the formulaic approach to the personal comments section. These adcom members encourage applicants to focus on what's really important to them and not feel compelled to include what others consider standard. In essence they encourage the applicants to take a risk and be distinctive by insuring that the rest of the AMCAS application contains the standard fare but that the AMCAS essay is different. What do you think and why?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:36:32 PM)
Oops. Apparently Dr. Goldstein got cut off.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:36:40 PM)
I am sure he will be back momentarily.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:36:51 PM)
did any of the rest of you who exited briefly get cut off?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:37:09 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 9:37:22 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

LAB (ID=70) (Jun 27, 2000 9:37:36 PM)
I was hoping that I could get my ? answered about the prestigous schools and lower MCAT scores

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:37:41 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:37:46 PM)
Welcome back!

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:37:54 PM)
Hey there Doc

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:37:55 PM)
Digichat strikes again.

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 9:37:59 PM)
Hi Dr. G ? If you really don't like the "formulaic" approach, is there such thing as being TOO original in the AMCAS? Also, what exactly is the "formulaic approach?"

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:38:04 PM)
Ok. Here is my question again.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:38:06 PM)
Frequently applicants are told that they should include in their personal comments section the typical elements of personal interest/unique quality, volunteer experience, and research. I have also heard admissions people say they're sick of the formulaic approach to the personal comments section. These adcom members encourage applicants to focus on what's really important to them and not feel compelled to include what others consider standard. In essence they encourage the applicants to take a risk and be distinctive by insuring that the rest of the AMCAS application contains the standard fare but that the AMCAS essay is different. What do you think and why?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:38:51 PM)
The formulaic approach in my mind is including one paragraph about clinical volunteer work, one about research, and one about the childhood experience that made you want to be a doctor.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:39:14 PM)
You probably will have room for 2 more paragraphs that might be a variation on the above themes.

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 9:39:46 PM)
May I ask a question about the interview

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 9:40:02 PM)
? Dr. Goldstein, what motivated you to want to become a doctor?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:40:26 PM)
Hello, I am back and I am not sure what happened

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:40:40 PM)
We are discussing approaches to the personal comments section.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:40:52 PM)
You referred to your daughter's essay and I posed the following questions:

pbodine (ID=75) (Jun 27, 2000 9:40:53 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:40:54 PM)
Frequently applicants are told that they should include in their personal comments section the typical elements of personal interest/unique quality, volunteer experience, and research. I have also heard admissions people say they're sick of the formulaic approach to the personal comments section. These adcom members encourage applicants to focus on what's really important to them and not feel compelled to include what others consider standard. In essence they encourage the applicants to take a risk and be distinctive by insuring that the rest of the AMCAS application contains the standard fare but that the AMCAS essay is different. What do you think and why?

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 9:41:42 PM)
How about basing an entire essay on your "non-traditional" pre-med background?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:41:51 PM)
What would that be?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:41:57 PM)
I read (and was told) NOT to include anything in the personal comments section that could be found elsewhere on the application...unless it was a MAJOR motivation for my interest in medicine

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 9:42:06 PM)
Because the essay is very ambiguous

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:42:13 PM)
I absolutely agree Linda that the formulaic approach is not the way to go. I think people are bored by these type of essays. I instruct my advisees to sell themselves and tell the admissions committee about themselves — things that are not readily apparent in the [application].

Anna (ID=76) (Jun 27, 2000 9:42:38 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 9:42:40 PM)
? Is there such thing as being TOO original in your approach? Like for example, writing in a stream-of-consciousness tone (I'm not doing this, this is just my example)?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:42:47 PM)
So the essay is for areas of interest and background not found elsewhere in the AMCAS form?

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:43:13 PM)
Dr. Goldstein,

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:43:13 PM)
A non traditional background is interesting to schools. Harvard, where I am most familiar,is interested in a varied and broad student body.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:43:24 PM)
Yes, things other than academic positions, awards etc.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 9:43:33 PM)
I was highly discouraged (as a female member of very religious community) from pursuing ANY type of college work

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 9:43:48 PM)
I started out doing correspondance

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:43:51 PM)
I would not repeat information in your statement that is seen in your application.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:43:54 PM)
I am a non-traditional student ... and that is exactly what I wrote my essay about ...

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:44:21 PM)
my return to school, experiences I've had outside of the classroom setting etc...

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:44:34 PM)
If your statement is interesting, and well written, then it should be supportive to your application.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:44:41 PM)
Cobragirl, I think you are on the right track.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:44:45 PM)
From your comments I'm glad I did so ...

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:44:47 PM)
What about socioeconomic background? events that shape my character and work ethic, not necessarily medically related but will help me empathize with patients and work hard in med school

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 9:44:48 PM)
? shouldn't the essay reflect one's motivation to seek medical education?

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 9:45:01 PM)
What if your grades are high and you have work experience in NYC and have traveled half way around the world but only received 8's on the MCAT-do you have a chance

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 9:45:06 PM)
Hmm... how would you start such an essay, Cobra?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:45:09 PM)
Let's hold the questions for a minute?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:45:34 PM)
ht, I think writing about your background can be a very interesting and unique approach to the personal statement.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:45:34 PM)
I'd tell ya , but then I'

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:45:41 PM)

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 9:45:51 PM)
? I am a young(er than most) applicant. Should I listen to my instincts and leave it out until interview?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:45:51 PM)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:45:53 PM)
Hi-there, I would start almost any essay with an illustrative anecdote, gripping description of a scene, startling statistic, or highly relevant quote.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 9:46:08 PM)

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 9:46:15 PM)

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:46:55 PM)

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 9:47:06 PM)
Has everyone else in the world sent in their applications months ago?

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:47:11 PM)
I want to be a guitar playing physician. :)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:47:15 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, helpme raised an interesting question: Should the essay discuss the applicants' reasons for becoming a doctor. Must it address that question?

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 9:47:19 PM)
No I haven't sent mine in yet

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:47:26 PM)
That was an earlier one.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:47:29 PM)
But it is a good one.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:48:03 PM)
I want to be a race car driving physician ... :)

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:48:17 PM)
good one

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:48:31 PM)
There we go; yes the personal statement should discuss why you are interested in medicine. You need to carefully craft the essay with your interests and qualifications to make a profound and serious statement.

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 9:48:44 PM)
jerry garcia playing physician

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:48:52 PM)
It's hard to do in 58 lines or less....

Anna (ID=76) (Jun 27, 2000 9:49:00 PM)
And not be trite!

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:49:04 PM)
I hope mine came across well

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 9:49:06 PM)
and should we be addressing the "what I see myself specializing in- 5-10 years down the line" element?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:49:16 PM)
Let's turn away from the essay for a moment.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:49:18 PM)
In regard to the youthful applicant, what age are we talking about?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:49:21 PM)

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 9:50:07 PM)
19, graduating next August.

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 9:50:15 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, what are some good questions to ask the interviewer on the admissions committee

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 9:50:21 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:50:24 PM)
I do not think this is a problem, and you certainly cannot hide your age.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:51:07 PM)
Dan: make sure you study the catalogue and have some specific questions about the curriculum. Also, ask about the interviewer's interests. Generally, they love to talk about themselves.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:51:21 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, I've been shadowing at a local ped. clinic ... I've been told by some residents that if I want to specialize (I do) that I might want to consider some of the less prestigious schools because the competition won't be so bad....any comments on this? (I'm in Florida)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:51:21 PM)
How can applicants compensate for low grades or a low MCAT? At what point do they need to start compensating? Can a student compensate for a low score in one section of the MCAT?

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:51:37 PM)
I knew I wanted to be a physician but my family wasn't very supportive.

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:51:39 PM)
oh well

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:51:50 PM)
Cobra girl: shoot for the best.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:51:59 PM)
thank you....

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:52:05 PM)
You could write about overcoming their lack of support and provide evidence of your determination.

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:52:09 PM)
They just wanted me to work.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:52:51 PM)
Are you non-trad Jerry? I had the same problem at first....I had to show them I was serious about it...

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:53:03 PM)
I think that at a certain point one cannot compensate for a low GPA. For example, below 3.0 at MIT and you are almost 100% sure NOT to get into medical school. Low MCAT scores can be compensated by a high GPA.

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:53:04 PM)
Dr. Goldstein,

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:53:19 PM)
They were very permissive as parents.

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 9:53:23 PM)
Dr. Goldstein,

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:53:31 PM)
Who, go ahead.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:53:45 PM)
OH YEAH!!! I'm SOOO glad to hear that ... I'm taking my MCAT in August and I'm worried sick!

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 9:53:46 PM)
? Dr. Goldstein what period of time do admissions committees regard as a respectable commitment to a volunteer or research activity?

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:53:47 PM)
I had to find it in myself to go forward and get into college

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:54:02 PM)
Is attending a univ like (harvard, stanford, mit, etc.) going to help me a lot in the process??

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 9:54:06 PM)
I have heard of students with high stats not getting into med school. How often does this happen?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:54:09 PM)
I think 4-6 months of either activity shows committment.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 9:54:14 PM)
Another question — will August MCATs really hurt my chances? (GPA very high, research and clinical and educational work, top undergrad school)

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 9:54:15 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, can even 8's on the MCAT be compensated by a high GPA

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:54:25 PM)
Let's slow down :-)

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:54:44 PM)
What IS considered a "high" gpa?

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:54:45 PM)
with respect to mcat. for example two people's scores are

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:54:53 PM)
Who: I must say that attending a prestigious university can grease the application process if you do well. That goes with lots of things in life.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:54:57 PM)
Joe, I dont' know the statistics, but I do know it happens, particularly when they do not have clinical volunteer experience.

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:55:04 PM)
8, 13, 12 (V, P,B) or (10, 11, 12)

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:55:07 PM)
Which score is better?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:55:21 PM)
I have had students with high stats not get into medical school. Usually there is a problem in a recommendation or interviewing skills.

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:55:27 PM)
Is a 3.8 at Stanford considered good enough?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:55:38 PM)
I'd hope so!!!

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 9:55:52 PM)
Linda, I have had to sacrifice volunteer experiences for numerous research experiences. Any comments?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:55:54 PM)
Who: I would take either set of scores...

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:56:12 PM)
Who: good enough for what?

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 9:56:14 PM)
What about 8 , 8 and 8?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:56:21 PM)
Joe, I would take a couple of hours a week and make sure you do something in a clinical setting.

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 9:56:27 PM)
? In AMCAS volunteer, awards, etc, would it help to put faculty rankings, number of students who applied for the same awards, or number of hours of volunteer work?

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 9:56:33 PM)
Good enough to get into the better med schools ... (ie. harvard, hopkins, ucla, ucsf)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:56:54 PM)
We had a client come to us after being rejected (a reapplicant) He had stratospheric numbers, an interesting personal story, and no clinical experience.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:56:55 PM)
Dan: 24 points is below the average for almost every school in this country. Except, I did have one applicant go to Hopkins with a 24.

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 9:57:14 PM)
?How'd he do it?

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 9:57:20 PM)
or she

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:57:20 PM)
Wow, there's hope.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:57:20 PM)
We told him to volunteer, obviously edited his essay, and he was a accepted the second time around at top schools.

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 9:57:26 PM)
Thanks, looks like I'll take it over then.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:57:49 PM)
What is considered a "high" gpa?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:58:04 PM)
I am not sure if a 3.8 will necessarily make it. Let me say that at Harvard, the mean GPA is about 3.75, so most applicants have a 3.8

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 9:58:07 PM)
Linda, most of my clinical experiences are from high school, though I am volunteering this summer. Doesn't seem like enough to me. Will a few clinical experiences force me to go to a medical school lower on my list?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 9:58:49 PM)
and does the committee take into account the major associated with the gpa?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 9:58:53 PM)
An A minus GPA is good. Some of my applicants have a 4.0 which is better, but almost impossible to get. They have a 100% chance of admission.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:58:59 PM)
Joe, a new neighbor's daughter had a similar experience. High stats and initially waitlisted. I was chatting with her mother and told the mother that she needs to volunteer and then get a letter of rec from the doctor she was shadowing. She is now accepted at three schools.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:59:23 PM)
Joe, do the best you can. Doing something is a lot better than nothing.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 9:59:32 PM)
Mine's 3.91 — (3.97 science) — Can I assume I can apply to any school I want to?

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 9:59:35 PM)
Yeah, thanks.

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:59:43 PM)
Sometimes it's discouraging to see the criteria that you have to get into med school.

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 9:59:51 PM)
Oh well, I can't give up.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 9:59:59 PM)
No. Don't do that.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 10:00:10 PM)
Hi there: you did not mention your MCATs nor your undergraduate school. I use those criteria to advise on [where] to apply to.

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 10:00:37 PM)
? AMCAS volunteer, awards, etc., would it help to put faculty rankings, number of students who applied for the same awards, or number of hours of volunteer work?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 10:00:54 PM)
Jerry: I advised an applicant who had a D in organic. She took a higher level organic, aced it, and got an acceptance.

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 10:01:13 PM)

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:01:13 PM)
U Toronto... MCATS pending... (I should be studying now... )

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:01:14 PM)
? is it to one's disadvantage to reapply the next year if one didn't get admitted this year ... say if he/she sent in the application kind of late the year before?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:01:25 PM)
I have a C (my only one) in Organic ... should I try to take something to overcome that?

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 10:01:26 PM)
I'm applying for UT too

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 10:01:38 PM)
Ant: you can mention the number of hours of volunteer work especially if they were considerable and may GPA.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:01:58 PM)
(I've graduated, but am in limbo til next fall of course)

Anna (ID=76) (Jun 27, 2000 10:02:23 PM)
Yes, my bad grades are in O-chem and biochem. I am from a top three Ivy and my MCATs are pretty good and I am applying to a lot of schools. Do I have any hope?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 10:02:24 PM)
Hi_there: sounds like you have a really solid application, you might shoot for some stars,but please be realistic.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 10:02:48 PM)
Anna: how bad is bad?

Anna (ID=76) (Jun 27, 2000 10:02:59 PM)

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:03:02 PM)
Did I mention research accepted at ASCO? Hey, thanks for the advice

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:03:17 PM)
Linda, what about volunteer experiences that are not clinically oriented? I have a significant experience with the Blind community that lasted for several years. Would this count?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:03:28 PM)
Yes, definitely.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 10:03:29 PM)
That is not a fatal blow; but you must be very careful where you apply and how you craft your application.

Anna (ID=76) (Jun 27, 2000 10:03:43 PM)
What do you mean?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:03:49 PM)
Would P-chem work?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:04:06 PM)
or Organic III?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 10:04:33 PM)
I mean that you need to be realistic as to which schools you apply; definitely consider your state schools. 's . If possible, take higher level courses.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:04:55 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, we had talked about a one-hour chat. Are you willing to continue for a little longer. I know it is late on the East Coast.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 10:05:15 PM)
I think I can last about 15 more minutes if there is interest.

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:05:17 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, I have good numbers (38, 3.75) am in grad school at UT-Austin, but my undergrad university is Lousiana Tech. What will adcoms think?

Anna (ID=76) (Jun 27, 2000 10:05:26 PM)
Well I just graduated. But I just applied to my state schools and ones with lower averages. I also applied to a few "reaches." :)

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 10:05:59 PM)
? I had an outstanding grad year in hi school, like graduated 1st in province. I don't really need to mention this b/c I have many other things after hischool, but would it help my app at all?

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:06:08 PM)
? Is it to my disadvantage to reapply to the same schools I applied to last year, but got rejected (I sent in my apps kind of late--AMCAS sent in mid-july)?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:06:14 PM)
I must admit that this chat is making me feel MUCH better about my chances ... it's just me vs. the MCAT now!

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:06:16 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, not to change the subject but:

Dr. Goldstein (ID=74) (Jun 27, 2000 10:06:16 PM)
Joe: you need to consider your graduate record also; MCATs are super. Lots of other things are considered in the process.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:06:37 PM)
Let's hold the questions for a minute.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:06:42 PM)

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:06:44 PM)
How do you view the future of medicine and how do you feel about the DO degree

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:06:59 PM)
Ant, if you have more recent achievements, I would focus on them. It depends what you have room for and what else you have to mention.

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:07:15 PM)
Grad GPA - 3.2. Looks like I'm going to have some problems. Is it safe to say that every application has its problems?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:07:33 PM)
I think Dr. Goldstein got booted again and will return.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:07:52 PM)
Joe, yes most applications do have some weakness.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=78) (Jun 27, 2000 10:08:22 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:08:24 PM)
If you would like to ask me any questions, please go ahead. I also have a few members of my staff here: Cindy Tokumitsu, Beverly Schneider, and Paul Bodine.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:08:28 PM)
Welcome back!

jerry (ID=68) (Jun 27, 2000 10:08:45 PM)
I must go but best of luck to you all and remember, "In alliance with God anything is possible."

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:09:12 PM)
Linda, what do you feel are good questions to ask the admissions committee

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:09:41 PM)
I have a few essays that sort of "bleed" emotions — they deal with my personal story. Are those inappropriate for applications?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:09:44 PM)
Questions about their program, questions that address your concerns about their program

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:09:58 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:10:00 PM)
Joe, that's a tough question to answer without seeing the essay.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:10:08 PM)
Glad to have you back Dr. Goldstein.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:10:33 PM)
It is perfectly appropriate to express emotion and passion even, but I wouldn't recommend writing something that is positively maudlin.

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:10:44 PM)
How do you guys feel about the DO degree?

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:10:48 PM)
? Dr. Goldstein why did you want to become a doctor?

Anna (ID=76) (Jun 27, 2000 10:10:52 PM)
Do interviewers ask you to explain bad grades and if so, how does one handle such a question?

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 10:11:46 PM)
I have a friend. He is very focused on studying geriatric medicine, has 1000 hours volunteering, above avg. MCAT but GPA is about 3.30, should he apply to Ivy League schools?

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:11:51 PM)
Dr. Goldstein. I'm a Louisiana resident. What is a good safety for me knowing my stats and that I really don't want to attend my state universities. I guess i just want more competition than the students at my state med schools - 26 MCAT average...

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:12:03 PM)
Let's let Dr. Goldstein respond to a few questions.

wolfgang (ID=80) (Jun 27, 2000 10:12:47 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:13:00 PM)
Back in again; Joe: I cannot comment without your GPA. The schools, however, in Lousisiana are decent. Tulane is very good. Your MCAT is a bit low for most schools, so your GPA must compensate. g

RSA (ID=81) (Jun 27, 2000 10:13:02 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:13:03 PM)
Be GLAD you don't have as much competition ... try being a Florida or California resident!

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:13:18 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, how do you feel about the DO degree or should I stop asking the question

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:13:30 PM)
Joe, I applied to Tulane....

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:13:37 PM)
I think it is a good questions, and am glad you have repeated it.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:13:44 PM)
Why did I want to become a doctor? I loved the biology and I wanted to serve.

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:14:10 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, 38, 3.75, if you recall. I haven't heard any mention of my MCAT score being low...

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:14:25 PM)
it's not low....

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:14:30 PM)
The DO degree is perfectly fine; in Massachusetts, osteopaths have the same rights and privileges vis a vis the practice of medicine as do allopathic physicians. Go for it.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:14:51 PM)
Same rights, here in Florida...

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:15:02 PM)
know several DO's

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:15:05 PM)
Joe, I think Dr. Goldstein forgot the MCAT you mentioned above and assumed the 26 average MCAT that you mentioned was yours.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:15:26 PM)
? What are my chances of getting into University of Texas Southwestern or UCLA if, I'm not a state resident? Should I even bother applying?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:15:40 PM)
They really enjoy their career...

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:15:50 PM)
Joe: I believe I noted a 38 was outstanding. No need to worry about that. But, MCAT scores are simply that and admissions committees look at your entire application. With your high GPA, your stats are impressive.

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:16:54 PM)
Oh, I meant that the average MCAT at Louisiana schools was 26 and I didn't want to go to LA schools because I wanted to study medicine with a higher caliber student. Hope that doesn't sound cocky!!

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:17:18 PM)
I discourage people from applying to other state medical schools except of course for their own state. However, the UC schools are outstanding especially UCSF and UCLA. It is the rare applicant from out of state who achieves acceptance at UCSF.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:17:44 PM)
?What about UTexas Southwester — Dallas?

RSA (ID=81) (Jun 27, 2000 10:17:49 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, I am interested in applying to the MD/PhD program at Harvard. I have a 3.99 from a large state university and a 37. I know that only 10-15 students are accepted every year — do I have a decent shot at admission?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:17:56 PM)
We have had applicants accepted from out of state at UT Southwestern — Dallas.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:18:04 PM)
From what I've seen (I grew up in Houston), if you're not a resident, you have very little chance of getting into a Texas school as a non-resident ... unless you have VERY impressive stats.

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:18:12 PM)
UCLA claims to have no preference for in-state residents.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:18:26 PM)
Joe: one of the most important considerations when you are trying to decide between multiple acceptances is the caliber and personality of your fellow students. That is exceedingly important for your happiness at a school.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:18:31 PM)
Not Baylor though, right?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:18:42 PM)
No, it was UT Dallas.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:18:47 PM)
but I'm sure people do (state schools...not private)

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:18:59 PM)
Are you talking about HST (Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard)

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:19:09 PM)
anyone can go to the private schools, of course

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:19:13 PM)
Baylor accepts well from out of state, am I correct about that?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:19:21 PM)

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:19:32 PM)
but they're tough

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:19:37 PM)
so I hear

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:19:51 PM)
Joe: the UC schools are tough. Read the fine print carefully in the catalogue.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:19:55 PM)
Anyway, I'm not the expert, just an ex-resident.

RSA (ID=81) (Jun 27, 2000 10:20:01 PM)
No, its the MD/PhD program supported by the National Institute of Health. I want to work on cancer research.

cthad (ID=82) (Jun 27, 2000 10:20:35 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:20:41 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, how about one more question and we will call it a night?

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:20:48 PM)
RSA: I cannot say how you would do. Stats sound good, but you obviously need to demonstrate research interest and skills. HST is extraordinarily competitive.

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:21:00 PM)
Linda: yes one more, I need to see patients early in the morning.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:21:07 PM)

wolfgang (ID=80) (Jun 27, 2000 10:21:26 PM)
So Dr. Goldstein ... my GPA is a little low (3.14), am entering senior year at the U of Oregon, and have not yet taken mcat exams. I am still not totally sure I want to go to medical school. I am strongly considering the Peace Corps or Teach for America before I would even go into the application process. Would having such experience improve my position should I eventually apply?

who (ID=64) (Jun 27, 2000 10:21:36 PM)
Dr. Goldstein, what kind of things are helpful for recommendation writers to include?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:21:52 PM)
I think wofgang has the last question to Dr. Goldstein.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:22:32 PM)
And how do you "tactfully" prod someone to finish your recommendation after they've agreed to write it???

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:22:34 PM)
Thank you both for your sound advice

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:22:39 PM)
okay, sorry!

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:22:57 PM)
Wolfgang: I like your idea. Beefing up your application with more experience may give you the edge you need to get an acceptance. Both Peace Corps and Teach for America are acceptable service organizations and if you do well there, you may be able to compensate for the GPA.

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:00 PM)
Thanks, Dr. Goldstein.

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:03 PM)
I mean for your sound advice

Anna (ID=76) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:06 PM)
Thank you, Dr. Goldstein. I really appreciate the time you spent with us. This was very informative!

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:22 PM)
Thanks a lot Dr. Goldstein! Your advice really helps!!

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:23 PM)
Thank you all. Sorry for some glitches with the computer.

wolfgang (ID=80) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:26 PM)

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:27 PM)
thank you Dr. Goldstein

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:30 PM)
Thank you, Dr. Goldstein! You've been quite helpful!

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:38 PM)
And thank you to Linda!!

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:43 PM)
Thank you Dr. Goldstein for your insight and time. We really appreciate it. If the rest of you want to continue, some of my staff and I can stay for a little longer.

RSA (ID=81) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:47 PM)
Thank you, Dr. Goldstein!

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:47 PM)
yes, thanks Linda!

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:48 PM)
You're welcome.

Ant (ID=57) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:54 PM)
thank you Linda!

Dr. Goldstein (ID=79) (Jun 27, 2000 10:23:57 PM)
Goodnight all!

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:24:03 PM)
Good night!

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:24:11 PM)
Yes, Linda, I would like to continue.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:24:13 PM)
Is there interest in continuing?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:24:16 PM)
I would too

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:24:21 PM)
Yes, let's continue!!

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:24:29 PM)
yes, please

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:24:29 PM)
OK. Who has some questions?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:24:42 PM)
I've have a tough one....

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:24:47 PM)
Go ahead.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:24:54 PM)
I'm non-trad, as I've mentioned.

Ant (ID=83) (Jun 27, 2000 10:24:55 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:25:02 PM)
My husband is military.

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:25:16 PM)
?what type of questions can you ask about the program

Ant (ID=83) (Jun 27, 2000 10:25:17 PM)
BTW when will the transcript be up?

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:25:28 PM)
during the interview-just an example

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:25:29 PM)
The transcript should be up within the next two weeks.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:25:38 PM)
When (if) I get accepted somewhere we will more than likely have to live in separate cities.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:26:10 PM)
Dan you can ask about opportunities to do rotations in different clinical environments.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:26:14 PM)
If I have a choice, should I go to the "best" school I can or settle for the one closest to my Husband?

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:26:39 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:26:41 PM)
You can ask the emphasis of the school.

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:26:41 PM)
I know that's "my " call, but I'm interested in others' opinions.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:26:56 PM)
You can go through the information they send you and ask questions that come to your mind.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:27:13 PM)
Cobragirl, that is a very individual and personal question.

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:27:18 PM)
Oh, thank you

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:27:33 PM)
Personally, I had a parallel choice. I chose to be close to my then boyfriend, now husband of twenty years.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:27:37 PM)
I never regretted the decision.

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:27:43 PM)
Sorry I got disconnected — when will the transcripts to this week's and last week's [chats] be up?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:27:52 PM)
I was hoping someone else might have had the same situation...

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:28:06 PM)
Last week's transcript should go up this week. This week's transcript &$151; within two weeks.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:28:17 PM)
Cobragirl, it is increasingly common.

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:28:21 PM)
Thank you Linda! Night.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:28:31 PM)
Will the fact that I spend a lot of time with music (violin lessons, symphony, chamber music) help me at all in the admissions?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:28:39 PM)
thank you

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:28:43 PM)
Before everyone disperses, I would also really appreciate feedback from all of you on tonight's chat. Please send your comments, criticisms, and suggestions for future chats to

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:28:52 PM)
helpme!, yes!

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:29:07 PM)
My non-research related experiences, Linda, are not all centered around one "theme" — a few are clinical, a few are volunteer, a few are engineering internships, a few are university based research, etc. It's hard to write my essays without them sounding like a grab bag of experiences. I have already written my personal statement and I'm afraid it wasn't good. What can I do on the secondaries?

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:29:09 PM)
How can I bring that out in a positive way?

Cobragirl (ID=72) (Jun 27, 2000 10:29:13 PM)
Thank you again, I'll be back!

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:29:19 PM)
Medical schools like multidimensional human beings.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:29:30 PM)
Should I ask for a recommendation from my violin teacher?

pbodine (ID=75) (Jun 27, 2000 10:29:33 PM)
Help me, I don't think there's a negative way to bring that out :-)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:29:38 PM)
I believe we have a sample essay on the site that was written by a musician.

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:29:39 PM)
Too many dimensions...

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:29:50 PM)
I will give you feedback now — I think it's great and I am glad your company is doing this — I will try to bring a lot of traffic to your site.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:30:06 PM)
But my essay bring out more personal things like how I had to take care of my mother, who is ill

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:30:18 PM)
I am not sure about the recommendation, but you can talk about devotion to the violin in terms of the discipline and attention to detail, as an alternative form (international) of communication.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:30:28 PM)
Then save it for a secondary.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:30:40 PM)
Or put it in a box and say you have been playing for X years.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:30:59 PM)
Dan thank you so much!

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:31:06 PM)
Oh I should mention how many years, yes? that's important?

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:31:06 PM)
Is there any space to put a music degree, not from a university?

pbodine (ID=75) (Jun 27, 2000 10:31:06 PM)
Don't you think the musical background is more unusual and therefore more effective than taking care of his mother?

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:31:11 PM)
Your welcome, and thank you

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:31:24 PM)
I think you can put it in the extracurricular space.

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:31:26 PM)
Feedback, really enjoyed Dr. Goldstein's comments and yours, as well. Occasionally experienced computer problems, though. Had to try 3 different computers before I could log on to this chat.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:31:35 PM)
helpme, the number of years would indicate seriousness.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:31:47 PM)
Excuse me, I am a she! and no, I think taking care of my mom is more personal and something I can't write anywhere else

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:31:53 PM)
I am sorry to hear about the computer problems. Were you logging on via AOL?

joe (ID=77) (Jun 27, 2000 10:32:15 PM)
No, I explorer and Netscape.

pbodine (ID=75) (Jun 27, 2000 10:32:19 PM)
Good point

cindy tokumitsu (ID=61) (Jun 27, 2000 10:32:40 PM)
Also, helpme's caring for her mom is an unusual clinical experience.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:32:40 PM)
Paul, you probably have a good point. We get lots of stories about taking care of sick relatives, not that such a story is intrinsically bad.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:32:45 PM)
Do you agree, Linda?

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:32:54 PM)
Is it really, cindy?

cindy tokumitsu (ID=61) (Jun 27, 2000 10:33:29 PM)
I've seen it less often than Paul and Linda have perhaps, but I have seen it written about extremely effectively.

pbodine (ID=75) (Jun 27, 2000 10:33:39 PM)
Or you could try to discuss both topics!

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:33:40 PM)
helpme, it is a balancing act. Weighing up the relative importance of different activities and their distinctiveness. I don't' think I can tell you here whether one is automatically more or less valuable than the other.

cindy tokumitsu (ID=61) (Jun 27, 2000 10:34:12 PM)
I like Paul's idea — music as a balance and personal reward/enrichment/sustenance during a personal challenge ...

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:34:13 PM)
Could you weave the two topics into an essay?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:34:36 PM)
The pull and satisfaction of service synthesizing with the individual discipline of music?

pbodine (ID=75) (Jun 27, 2000 10:35:12 PM)
That's great ...

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:35:23 PM)
Well, I mentioned taking care of my mother as my initial motivation for wanting to become a doctor ... But I think I'm going to talk about my research and my volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House ... does that sound OK?

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:35:24 PM)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:35:33 PM)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:35:51 PM)
That sounds good too.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:35:54 PM)
But choose.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:36:02 PM)
Don't try to talk about everything in one essay.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:36:13 PM)
It will end up being superficial and general.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:36:22 PM)
Well, I mentioned my music briefly, because I worked as a newspaper carrier since the fifth grade to pay for my violin lessons and to buy a violin

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:37:01 PM)
Again, any of these activities can work, but you really need to prioritize and focus.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:37:17 PM)
Which is the topic of my essay tip in the upcoming July Odds 'N Ends.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:38:07 PM)
Any other questions?

Bev (ID=54) (Jun 27, 2000 10:38:14 PM)
Good luck and good night. I'm signing off from the East Coast, too.

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:38:15 PM)
?Linda, is it okay to mention my family — my father is an immigrant to this country and came over on a boat — he taught me a strong work ethic. Can I include this on my secondary app?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:38:26 PM)
You can.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:38:28 PM)
Sorry to re-hash old stuff ... but do August MCATs really hurt your chances?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:38:48 PM)
But also discuss how his example influenced you and how you have put his example into your life.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:38:57 PM)
August MCATs slow things down.

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:39:00 PM)
I think they do b/c of rolling admissions, but that's the only reason.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:39:12 PM)
It allows the schools to interview and even start making decisions before they can consider you.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:39:19 PM)
But that is history.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:39:27 PM)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:39:27 PM)
do the best you can with the August MCATs.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:39:33 PM)
I'm retaking MCATs in August and applying this year, will things still slow down, even though most places will have my April MCAT?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:39:57 PM)
Dr. Lewis, who was our previous chat guest, recommended submitting the AMCAS as early as possible so that everything would be in place the minute your scores arrived.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:40:12 PM)
OOh, good advice..

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:40:18 PM)
Okay, can I go beyond that and speak of my grandmother whose family was killed in Europe when she was 17 — or am I getting too carried away?

pbodine (ID=75) (Jun 27, 2000 10:40:18 PM)
Dan, the immigrant story in itself isn't terribly unusual, but the more unusual and the more obstacles overcome the better.

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:40:28 PM)
Can letters of rec arrive at any time as well?

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:40:38 PM)
If I decide to reapply next year, can I just use the same essays, or it that to my disadvantage?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:40:52 PM)
As with most stories, the insight and reflection that you bring to them make an enormous difference.

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:40:56 PM)
To individual schools I mean, after the AMCAS ...

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:41:09 PM)
Don't use the same essay.

pbodine (ID=75) (Jun 27, 2000 10:41:12 PM)
Dan, I think the grandmother story is stretching it unless it had a really personal and profound impact on you.

cindy tokumitsu (ID=61) (Jun 27, 2000 10:41:13 PM)
helpme — for certain, don't use the same essays. I've heard this explicitly from med schools giving my clients feedback.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:41:17 PM)
You should have grown or done something impressive in the meantime.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:42:04 PM)
I see ... OK thanks for telling me!

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:42:16 PM)
How many schools do average applicants usually apply to?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:42:48 PM)
In California, 20-30.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:42:58 PM)
In other parts of the country, fewer.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:43:03 PM)
Also — as a Canadian citizen — do I have a _prayer_ of getting in to the (private) U.S. schools?

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:43:22 PM)
hi_there, to which US schools are you applying?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:43:40 PM)
I believe we have had Canadian clients accepted at American schools. Cindy, Paul, do you remember?

leslies (ID=85) (Jun 27, 2000 10:43:41 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

vhlwong (ID=86) (Jun 27, 2000 10:43:49 PM)
(This user has entered Medical School Admissions)

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:43:50 PM)
?Is it too phony sounding to mention the charities I support?

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:43:53 PM)
All the NYC ones, Yale, Hopkins, (Harvard?)

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:44:05 PM)
My stats are decent.

pbodine (ID=75) (Jun 27, 2000 10:44:14 PM)
Dan, it is if you just mean you donate money.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:44:16 PM)
Dan, I would only mention the ones where you are actually participating.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:44:26 PM)
Membership cards don't mean much.

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:44:33 PM)
I'm a BC guy and applying only to top 10, because otherwise I wouldn't even consider paying the crazy tuition

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:45:02 PM)
bummer — no financial help for "foreigners"...

cindy tokumitsu (ID=61) (Jun 27, 2000 10:45:06 PM)
I am working with a Canadian now applying to both US and Canadian schools. But I haven't known a lot of people in that category.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:45:10 PM)
If I send in my AMCAS in mid-July, is that running kind of late?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:45:23 PM)
That's not late, but I don't' think of it as early either.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:45:42 PM)
But August would be late already, yes?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:45:51 PM)
That's heading towards "late."

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:46:05 PM)
It puts you right up against all the people taking the August MCATs.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:46:21 PM)
Well, I'm retaking the august MCAT anyways too.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:46:22 PM)
prob — Canadian schools are MUCH tougher to get into — Canada 1 in 4 accepted vs. U.S., where 1 in 3 get in ...

vhlwong (ID=86) (Jun 27, 2000 10:46:22 PM)
question: are the odds against a Canadian getting into a top 10 AMERICAN med school?

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:46:24 PM)
Or procrastinating.

dan (ID=73) (Jun 27, 2000 10:46:27 PM)
THANK YOU all very much — your advice is EXCELLENT — I have read the previous transcripts and know that you guys have gave me the motivation to get through this process.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:46:52 PM)
Thank you Dan. Good luck! I appreciate the feedback.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:47:08 PM)
One more question.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:47:13 PM)
That's why I'm even CONTEMPLATING the crazy tuition bit (cuz the odds of being accepted are higher).

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:47:42 PM)
How hard is it to get into the Ontario 5?

vhlwong (ID=86) (Jun 27, 2000 10:47:46 PM)
But the thing is, there is a hierarchy of American med schools.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:47:51 PM)
1 in 4

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:47:53 PM)
I don't know the answer to that.

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:08 PM)
Mac's hardest (no MCAT)

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:13 PM)
Thank you again to everyone for participating this evening.

vhlwong (ID=86) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:13 PM)
In Canada, the standards are pretty much well relatively the same.

vhlwong (ID=86) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:21 PM)
bye bye

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:29 PM)
Special thanks to Paul Bodine and Cindy Tokumitsu for their help.

vhlwong (ID=86) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:37 PM)

hi_there (ID=71) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:38 PM)
thanks, guys!

Ant (ID=84) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:39 PM)
THANKS Linda, you have been very helpful.

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:39 PM)
Stay tuned for upcoming medical school admissions chats. We have tentatively scheduled secondary essay chats in August. Check the Web site or Odd 'N Ends for details.

helpme! (ID=63) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:49 PM)
Thanks to all of you for the great advice!

Linda Abraham (ID=26) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:49 PM)
Have a very good evening! Good luck with your applications!

cindy tokumitsu (ID=61) (Jun 27, 2000 10:48:53 PM)
Best wishes you to all!

pbodine (ID=75) (Jun 27, 2000 10:49:00 PM)
Good luck!