2006 Michigan Medical School Admissions Chat with Dr. Daniel Remick


2006 Michigan Medical School Admissions Chat with Dr. Daniel Remick

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:08:49 PM)
First I want to welcome you all to Accepted.com's Michigan Medical School Admissions Chat.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:08:59 PM)
I also want to welcome Dr. Daniel Remick, Dean of Admissions at Michigan Medical School and Robert Ruiz, Director of Admissions at Michigan Medical School.

Mike (Jul 13, 2005 5:10:03 PM)
To the deans: Would a non-traditional, 34, holder of a PhD, published 3 times, 36Q MCAT, modest amount of clinical, shadowing, and volunteer experience, but with low undergrad GPA (3.36) be competitive at Michigan?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:10:15 PM)
Yes.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:10:48 PM)
What makes a competitive applicant to your school?

notme (Jul 13, 2005 5:11:23 PM)
When you score ten and eleven on your sciences but score a five on verbal, how are you looked at as an applicant?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:11:34 PM)
We look for excellence in a wide variety of areas. There's not a single thing that will keep you out of medical school and not a single thing that will automatically guarantee you admission to medical school.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:12:00 PM)
Dean Remick will have comments but I'll give you one answer--we are looking for the "leaders and best" as our mission is to train the leaders in medicine.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:13:00 PM)
Dean Dan, what are some of the areas that you seek excellence in?

maizenblue (Jul 13, 2005 5:13:41 PM)
Robert: What is average GPA and MCAT of in state applicants that are accepted?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:13:44 PM)
There are a very broad range of areas where we looked at excellence. One could be an outstanding athlete, another could be an outstanding researcher with first author publications in top tiered journals. Our average GPA's are 3.74. The average MCAT is 11.74. Each applicant is considered individually and holistically.

notme (Jul 13, 2005 5:14:24 PM)
Does a five on verbal mean Michigan will not consider the applicant?

maizenblue (Jul 13, 2005 5:15:16 PM)
Dean Dan: Is the secondary automatic or are primary applications screened?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:15:34 PM)
We don't review files with any notion of a pre-determined formula--we simply look for those who have found a way to distinguish themselves. The ways are endless, research, service, the arts, athletes, all reviewed in the context of your application.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:15:59 PM)
As a result, a single low score 11 area of the end will not automatically disqualify someone.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:16:09 PM)
Primary applications are not screened for sending a secondary.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:16:09 PM)
All applicants will receive a secondary application--no screening.

dajimmers (Jul 13, 2005 5:16:21 PM)
Robert: What types of clinical experience are most important to U of M? If one could only have one of shadowing, volunteering, etc., which is the best?

Florida Doc (Jul 13, 2005 5:16:30 PM)
Dean Dan: Do publications increase an applicant's competitiveness in any significant way? If so, do you give different weight to someone being first author as opposed to third author?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:16:47 PM)
There is no single best type of experience.

Shak1106 (Jul 13, 2005 5:16:59 PM)
Dean Dan: I've had to work full-time to pay my way through school and because of that, only have a 3.2 GPA; will med schools look down on my full-time work? My pre-med advisor said that even though I work full-time at a hospital, it won't be viewed as strongly as volunteering at one once a month. What is your view?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:17:15 PM)
You should do something that you truly believe in, that you're passionate about and that you believe will make a difference for you.

blueMan (Jul 13, 2005 5:17:26 PM)
Robert: Is it possible for a high MCAT score to perhaps give an applicant extra consideration if he/she has a low GPA? Personally, I just graduated but I am wondering if a high MCAT is good enough or perhaps a year or two experience in research or the industry would make me a better applicant.

jody (Jul 13, 2005 5:17:29 PM)
Dean Dan, I am a non traditional student and am working on my pre-reqs. Some schools state that pre-reqs should not be taken at a community college. Please advise if taking community college courses will put me at a disadvantage when applying.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:17:50 PM)
Publications carry significant weight. First author publications are much much much more important than third author publications. If you have a first author publication it indicates that you did the majority of the work and virtually all the writing.

Mike (Jul 13, 2005 5:17:57 PM)
Dan: I've been told that my clinical/shadowing experience is too old to be considered of real value (ER voluteer 1996, shadow 2001). Would Michigan adcom take on a similar view?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:18:18 PM)
Completing medical school requires a great deal of hard work, and we look very favorably upon those people who have had to work significant hours to complete their education. Taking classes at community college will place you at a disadvantage because it is typically not as difficult to obtain high marks from the community college. Several applicants attempt to inflate the GPA by taking the majority of their tough science prerequisites at community colleges. If there are special circumstances require you to take peer exits at community college, you should explain this in your personal essay.

maizenblue (Jul 13, 2005 5:18:29 PM)
Dan: How is international volunteer experience looked upon in developing countries such as India?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:19:56 PM)
blueman--we are fortunate to have over 5000 applicants and we are looking for trouble if you dwell on one area (i.e. GPA versus MCAT.) We can and do work with low numbers if you have passion and excellence in one or more areas. The numbers are the easiest thing for the admission committee to find and I am pleased are adcom seeks much more than this. We accepted a 3.2 this year and rejected many 4.0's ---numbers aren't your best clue on getting in to a top ten school like Michigan.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:20:42 PM)
Volunteering from nearly nine years ago and shadowing from four years ago will probably not impress the admissions committee as much as more recent activity.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:21:02 PM)
Maizenblue, international experience carries significant weight, provided that it was significant and not just a short two weak vacation type experience.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:21:27 PM)
Some of my answers may seem a little bit garbled, I'm using voice-recognition software on my laptop which doesn't always keep up with my rapid fire mode of speech.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:21:36 PM)
And I thought you typed 100 WPM!!

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:21:59 PM)
Actually my official military transcript says that I can take 60 words per minute but that is another story.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:22:07 PM)
And how many years ago was that?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:22:31 PM)
I'm sensing a theme here of "what do I have to do to get in". We tend to operate differently at Michigan - we, through our process are asking each applicant--in what way(s) will you contribute to the educational experience at our medical school and ultimately in Medicine. The applicants that can distinguish themselves with this answer do very well in our process.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:23:32 PM)
I left the Air Force in 1975, 30 years ago last month.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:24:01 PM)
One question that was asked concerned what makes Michigan different. Right now the University of Michigan medical schools ranked third in the country by residency directors by U.S. News & World Report. This is on the basis of questionnaires returned by 360 residency directors from across the country. This indicates that residency directors really believe the Michigan does a great job training of medical students.

Guest (Jul 13, 2005 5:24:25 PM)
Do you give preference to in-state residents? I can't seem to find it from my PR book.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:24:50 PM)
We just looked at statistics for the class that matched in March of this year. We had 48 students who came from the east or west coast to Michigan for medical school and we matched 69 students to the East and West Coast. This indicates that we are a net exporter of physician to the coasts.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:25:06 PM)
There's a rumor that the reputation of Michigan does not extend beyond the Midwest, but the cold hard facts are that we enjoy a strong reputation across the country. Of course, part of the reason for the strong reputation is that medical students at Michigan work quite hard. This is especially true in our third-year clinical rotations. The school has done a great job of balancing hard work with education, and we do not expect our students to help make the hospital run by having them do menial tasks which increase the amount of work but do not increase their education.

Shak1106 (Jul 13, 2005 5:26:10 PM)
What do you look for in a personal essay?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:26:26 PM)
Michigan is a good school--just at the other top ten schools are--I think the difference at Michigan is the perspective of a very diverse student body that is within our medical school with world class resources such as our law school, major University owned hospital, other programs and a community of 50,000+ scholars! The short answer is that I think our students make the difference---applicants should gauge this as they interview at Michigan and all schools! Remember these will be your friends, colleagues and support for the next four years. Our students are great--they work hard, serve and have fun!

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:26:45 PM)
In the personal essay, I'm also looking for something that makes you a unique individual which will add significantly to a medical school class. I want an essay that tells me something about an applicant I didn't know--I do not like essays that repeat activities.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:27:34 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. What do you recommend?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:27:42 PM)
Anybody have a question about the waitlist?

Mike (Jul 13, 2005 5:27:58 PM)
Dan: Would you then recommend holding off an application in order to explore new volunteer/clinical activities until 2007, as opposed to applying for 2006 entering year?

Guest (Jul 13, 2005 5:28:17 PM)
Robert: What if the community college course work was taken while you were a high school student. Is it still looked down upon?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:29:03 PM)
I read every application and don't like the kind of essays Linda describes because they don't usually tell me anything new. I would rather know more about you as a person and why medicine seems to match your passion!

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:29:15 PM)
Mike, look closely at your application and decide when you will be the strongest applicant. If you believe that waiting a year, and doing additional activities described that will have a significant impact, than do so. Without reviewing your entire application it is really not possible to give you sage advice.

Florida Doc (Jul 13, 2005 5:29:29 PM)
What if the essay repeats the activity but does so in a way that shows what the applicant learned and/or how the applicant gained a new appreciation for medicine? Would this still be considered a "bad" personal statement?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:30:13 PM)
I like essays that give me a real feel for the individual also.

drinklord (Jul 13, 2005 5:30:24 PM)
I'm wondering if you can give us a ballpark-figure of cutoffs for the automatic interview?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:30:41 PM)
Florida Doc--depends. Remember your audience---we read this for a living and presume you have learned many things for your experience. If the new appreciation is genuine, unique and fits your model of your passion it would be ok.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:30:48 PM)
If one of your extracurricular activities was a significant event for you, one to which you devoted significant time and effort, then it should be a part of your personal essay. Just make sure that you don't repeat verbatim what you wrote in the description of the activity.

blueMan (Jul 13, 2005 5:31:09 PM)
Dean Dan: Does the school encourage medical students pursue research? What are the opportunities in this area? I am perhaps interested in taking a road that allows an opportunity to not only help patients directly, but also be a part of the development process for medical devices, pharmaceuticals, etc... Biotech and engineering are all part of my interests.

maizenblue (Jul 13, 2005 5:31:27 PM)
Robert: How is being an engineering major such as chemical engineering looked upon by the admissions committee?

goblue (Jul 13, 2005 5:31:41 PM)
Robert: Does the university or college you attended for undergrad really matter?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:32:33 PM)
I don't know the cutoffs right off the top of my head, I would not really worry about it. The cutoffs are merely a device to streamline activities in the office because we found that people scoring of both these levels virtually always had an interview.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:32:59 PM)
Engineers -- other non science majors are treated as a potential diversity perspective but since you don't get "points" since your major is just one piece of the puzzle you'll build for us to review.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:33:00 PM)
With regards to doing research, 50 to 75% of my time is paid for by the National Institutes of Health to do basic science research over the past 15 years. We are a major academic medical center with a strong mission to train academic physicians for the future. We do not encourage medical students to do research, we expect them to engage in some type of research. Even though the vast majority of our applicants have done research, several of our students have not actively engaged in bench research. If you wish to pursue a primary care medicine, and be a leader in primary care medicine, we want to train you at University of Michigan. Thus, research will help your application but if you have not been doing research it will not absolutely kill your application.

maizenblue (Jul 13, 2005 5:33:56 PM)
DeanDan: Do recommendations from doctors who teach at Michigan given more weight?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:34:53 PM)
Yes--undergrad school matters. We base this not on reputation, anecdotes or guesses. We have data on every undergrad school, average GPA, MCAT, number of applications to med schools and number of acceptances. The fact is some schools clearly have a proven record of preparing medical students. This doesn't exclude anyone but it is simply based on evidence and facts.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:35:02 PM)
anon56- yes, they carry more weight.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:35:09 PM)
The undergraduate institution does carry weight in your application. In reviewing our admitted students over the past year they're heavily weighted towards those who have attended top notch undergraduate institutions. Again this is not a guarantee that you will get any coupon to an Ivy League or top public university, but it does improve your application.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:35:45 PM)
Recommendations from physicians who teach at University of Michigan are generally considered more favorably. This is because these physicians have seen a large number of undergraduate students as well as medical students. They have the experience to fairly judged the quality and the character of the individual applicant. We also give special weight to letters of reference from former presidents of United States and the Nobel laureates.

maizenblue (Jul 13, 2005 5:35:50 PM)
When will the secondary for the class of 2006 be made available?

drinklord (Jul 13, 2005 5:36:19 PM)
To both of you [and thanks for chatting with us!]: Can you give us a sense of the moral and intellectual climate at Michigan?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:36:25 PM)
The secondary application will go to those for whom we received AMCAS verified materials in the next 48 hours.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:37:01 PM)
Drink Lord, the moral climate the University of Michigan is outstanding. The intellectual climate is one of constant questioning and challenging in order to make things better

Pedro (Jul 13, 2005 5:37:21 PM)
Could you say a few words about the diversity at your school? How are students involved around the community? Ohio State students, for example, are heavily involved with helping the growing the Latino community. Does your school have any organizations along these lines?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:37:44 PM)
drinklord--please be more specific. this is one of the world's great universities that challenges you everyday! This is also a place that believes in Diversity as an educational tool!

Florida Doc (Jul 13, 2005 5:38:18 PM)
How are "unusual" ECs looked at? For example, I started a software company when I was in undergrad (microbiology major) to help pay for school. Would med schools see this as interesting or would they think I wasn't interested in medicine?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:38:21 PM)
Pedro--como no! si tenemos estos grupos---multiple opportunities here.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:38:24 PM)
One of the great things about working at University of Michigan is the active discussion concerning a wide range of topics. With your challenging the diagnosis on a particular patient, for exploring ethical considerations for enrolling subjects in a new research protocol, you can count on stimulation and honest rapport.

Pedro (Jul 13, 2005 5:39:01 PM)
I didn't get an answer to this question when it was posted, I took the April MCAT last year and I did not do so well and decided not to apply. This year I have prepared well for the Aug. MCAT; nevertheless, I am concerned about the appropriate time to submit my application. I am afraid that if I submit now medical schools will reject me without even looking at my second set of scores. What do you do think I should do? And if this is the way the system works, what is point of taking the August MCAT.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:39:14 PM)
Florida Doc--depends--what else did you do. Golden rule of admission: Don't weigh what they say--watch what they did!

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:39:35 PM)
Pedro apply ahora! We will look at you now and again later if necessary.

Jezzielin (Jul 13, 2005 5:39:44 PM)
I went to U of M my freshman year, then transferred to MSU, not for grade reasons, but for personal reasons. Would this look poorly that I left U of M previously?

jody (Jul 13, 2005 5:39:53 PM)
Dean Dan: Back on the topic of pre-reqs at community college... I graduated magna cum laude from a very competitive school on the west, with a business degree. I want to take my bio-chem and physics at a community college because it is difficult to get into these courses at a California State University. Provided this, would it still be a tremendous disadvantage for me to pursue this track?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:40:15 PM)
Pedro, as you probably know the University of Michigan spent millions of dollars defending our affirmative action policies going all the way to the Supreme Court. The affirmative action cases are now routinely referred to as the Michigan case. When we say that the university is a strong commitment to affirmative action and diversity, you can confidently say that no other educational institution has put as much time after our money into defending and continuing our policy.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:40:29 PM)
Jezz--not necessarily--wherever one goes to school we expect they will be among the leaders of the place they spent time at.

shlaapy (Jul 13, 2005 5:40:39 PM)
Dean Dan, do you give weight to in-state students that attended top out-of-state schools?

blueMan (Jul 13, 2005 5:40:52 PM)
Robert: Just to clarify on the research - As a graduating med student going into residencies, how much time do graduates typically devote to patient visits versus other interests, perhaps in the medical industry? It's more of a question of lifestyle. Personally it is very important to me to continue learning, being creative, and contributing in other ways than day-to-day patient care.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:41:14 PM)
Jezzielin, this should not really be a significant problem. However, as I stated before, it is more difficult to obtain top grades and more competitive schools. Last year the University of Michigan sent over 250 students to medical school while Michigan State only sent 54. Michigan has reputation of doing a great job of training its undergraduates to go on to professional school.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:41:45 PM)
Pedro--In my mind the most important outcome of our supreme court visit: We proved diversity adds value to the educational experience. Not a guess or myth or hypothesis-using science, with research and data we proved this to be true.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:41:57 PM)
What is the role of secondary essays in the application process? Are you planning to change your essay instructions for the 2006 secondary application?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:42:10 PM)
Jody, if possible, it is better to take these courses at a four-year college. The academic rigor will be greater and your preparation for medical school will be better.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:42:15 PM)
If you are a resident of the State of Michigan you're given preference in the admissions process for medical school.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:42:41 PM)
blueman--I don't understand the question--I can say you will set your priorities (research, service, etc.) based on your interests as a med student within of course the context of your daily work.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:43:34 PM)
yes-the secondary application has changed this year. We added a new question--no secret: How will you as an individual contribute to the diversity of our next medical school class?

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:43:46 PM)
Thanks.

Shak1106 (Jul 13, 2005 5:43:59 PM)
Robert: Does being in grad school help your application?

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:44:14 PM)
How can applicants compensate for low grades or a low MCAT? At what point do they need to start compensating?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:44:23 PM)
Blueman, once you enter medical school it will be more difficult to continue doing research. However, we have over 70 students participates in research opportunities between their first and second year. We also a number of students will take a year off between their second and third year to pursue research. Research will always be in addition to and not instead of your patient activities.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:44:30 PM)
Shak--depends. Why are you in grad school? Doing what? How will this enrich your contribution in medicine?

Pedro (Jul 13, 2005 5:44:44 PM)
Thank you for your responses. I appreciate the sincerity and concern with which you have answered my questions.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:44:49 PM)
Being in graduate school does help your application, unless you intend to quit graduate school and pursue medical school. This looks as though you do not have a commitment, and are willing to drop a significant activity to pursue something else.

hoberto (Jul 13, 2005 5:45:05 PM)
Are you willing to divulge the Step 1 pass rate of your med school? Also, is there a plan should a student fail?

davidj (Jul 13, 2005 5:46:37 PM)
How do you evaluate an institutional action that occurred in the very first year of the applicant's undergrad experience? Does it severely affect the strength of the application, or can an applicant's demonstration of maturity and experience make up for this?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:46:47 PM)
The pass rate should be a matter of public record and could be easily looked up, last year we had three students who did not pass the first time out of a class of 170 and 4 failed the year before. Not everyone has their scores back from this year, so I don't know the pass rate for the current group. We have an expectation that everyone will pass their boards. Taking the boards is an important part of your medicals cool experience, but it is considered for the vast majority of our students as a very low threshold. Our class average on step one of the boards is approximately two standard deviations above the national mean.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:47:43 PM)
Davidj, depends what it is--the garden variety (i.e. alcohol at a football game, etc) are usually non-issues. In fact, depending on the school you attend you might need beer to watch your team (this is a joke ). Institutional action advice-tell us what it is, briefly explain what happened and what you learned (2-3 sentences) and move on.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:48:20 PM)
How do you choose among qualified applicants?

davidj (Jul 13, 2005 5:51:03 PM)
It may be more serious than an alcohol issue, but it was small in magnitude, verified and cleared by by the Dean and the applicant, and the applicant has felt considerably guilty about it. Can the applicant's explanation be of considerable help?

ErichInSaginaw (Jul 13, 2005 5:51:53 PM)
I heard a rumor that Michigan's med school had a certain GPA and MCAT that for instate students they'd issue an "automatic" interview-- is there validity to this?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:52:29 PM)
Davidj, one of our mantras is that each applicant is considered individually and holistically, so this will not automatically kill your application but can make it more difficult.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:52:32 PM)
We choose based on your whole file -- grades, MCAT, ec's, letters, secondary answers, and evaluate you based on your distance traveled/level of achievement but also how this compares to our entire pool. We choose people who have given us reasons to believe (based on the history in your application) they will become leaders in medicine. Remember the leaders in medicine include clinicians, researchers, policy makers, medical economists, technical advances, and on and on!

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:52:33 PM)
Saginaw, yes we do have cut offs for automatic interviews. In fact, this is a rumor that actually has validity.

drinklord (Jul 13, 2005 5:52:54 PM)
Sorry about the name; most of us are using our StudentDoctor usernames so we can keep track of each other. Anyway, thanks for the responses re: the zeitgeist of Michigan. Sounds open and challenging. Another question for you: When filling out our secondaries, we're allotted a certain amount of space. In your opinions (and I just want to hear them, I'm not going to base my essay-writing on your responses): Is it better to write a brief, powerful essay that may not fully incorporate every useful detail, or is it better to give a full treatment even if it is less poignant?

Guest (Jul 13, 2005 5:53:52 PM)
What is that cutoff?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:53:59 PM)
Erich--yes--however, based on our review--just because one falls within this category it does not guarantee an interview---we still read and can exclude folks if we believe the only strengths of the application are numbers.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:54:05 PM)
Drink Lord, do what works best for you. As someone who reviews literally thousands of pages of manuscripts and grant applications I am much more swayed by powerful succinct arguments than someone who is verbose and uses all of the allotted space

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:54:24 PM)
I also like brevity.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:54:36 PM)
DrinkLord, I can tell you that a short powerful essay usually incorporates specific details and tells a story. It is not a sweeping, generic tell-all.

goblue (Jul 13, 2005 5:54:58 PM)
Would you be willing to share these cutoffs with us?

Shak1106 (Jul 13, 2005 5:56:04 PM)
What would you say to someone who doesn't get accepted the first time and feels very passionate about becoming a doctor. Should they?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:56:11 PM)
Remember, these are only for the automatic interviews and they only account for less than a third of our total interviews.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:56:20 PM)
Reapply. Reapply. Reapply. After four times consider alternative career.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:56:34 PM)
Is not having research experience fatal to one's application at Michigan?

Pedro (Jul 13, 2005 5:57:07 PM)
Robert: Alright, so now talking about financial aid… Medical School is expensive, and yours is no different at $30,408/yr (mucho dinero) according to the MSAR 04-05 . What other type aid is available, other than loans, at the University of Michigan Medical School?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:57:34 PM)
Not having research is not an automatic fail to one's application at Michigan. We have several top-notch students who have done no significant research, and some students who have no research whatsoever. While we are a major academic medical center into strongly encourage research, it is not a requirement.

byustudent (Jul 13, 2005 5:57:47 PM)
I'm just wondering how trends in GPA are evaluated--for example, I had an awful freshman year, took two years off of school, returned and have had very good grades for the past 3 years. However, because of my freshman year, my cumulative GPA is not all that impressive (3.39 science GPA, 3.64 total GPA). Do I still stand a chance?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:57:52 PM)
goblue--I don't have them at my tips but they are high--remember, this gets you in a pile for review---you will almost always get an interview if in this group--but we reserve the right to take one out of this group. The numbers (I think--you can e-mail me for confirmation) are 36/3.8 for non-residents and 34/3.7 for Michiganders. Remember--we find people (a few anyway) who meet/exceed these numbers who aren't interviewed/admitted.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 5:59:22 PM)
>>What about clinical volunteer work? Is clinical exposure critical to an application?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 5:59:31 PM)
Pedro--Michigan has a great deal of scholarship money. We are giving full rides to 10 students annually and it looks like this year all our highly rated applicants and those with need will get some scholarship.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 5:59:33 PM)
byustudent, virtually everyone has a chance. We are fortunate to have a very strong pool of applicants and we look to see if you have taken the prerequisites and done reasonably well. After that we can evaluate the intangibles such as have you shown a passion for medicine, or do you have significant unique extracurricular activities.

ErichInSaginaw (Jul 13, 2005 5:59:53 PM)
Are differing undergraduate institutions or majors weighed differently by the admissions staff?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:00:38 PM)
Eric, we don't weigh in terms of points but we know, based on history, that some majors are very difficult.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:00:45 PM)
Clinical volunteer work is extremely important. We want to see that the applicant has demonstrated a real interest in medicine, and this includes some patient contact. If you have had no patient contact experiences in any manner, it would be difficult to understand how you know the medicine is right for you. Not having any patient exposure will be a significant detriment to your application.

Jezzielin (Jul 13, 2005 6:01:11 PM)
Just confirming, but those under this (automatic interview) requirements, could potentially still have a chance at getting an interview? Or not so much?

maizenblue (Jul 13, 2005 6:01:21 PM)
How are teaching experiences looked upon such as tutoring and being a teaching assistant?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:01:53 PM)
More than two thirds of the interviews go to those people who do not meet the automatic cutoffs.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:02:02 PM)
Jezz--of course--about 2/3 of our 840 anticipated interviews will be selected from outside the "automatic' category.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:02:38 PM)
maizenblue--we like leaders--teaching/ta's often display some of these skills.

maizenblue (Jul 13, 2005 6:02:50 PM)
Which majors are considered to be more difficult?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:03:04 PM)
Again, the automatic interviews are based on our history were over 95% of those people with those scores are offered an interview. By not reviewing those in detail it saves the office staff time which can be devoted to more carefully reviewing those other applications.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:03:45 PM)
Typically those majors which are considered more difficult are those with a lot of hard-core science classes such as physics, and the engineering disciplines.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:03:59 PM)
maizenblue--depends on the institution. For example, we know that engineering at Michigan is rigorous--but this doesn't automatically advance you past the sociology major (by the way, I was a sociology major).

goblue (Jul 13, 2005 6:04:01 PM)
Dean Dan: can an interview make or break an applicant?

ErichInSaginaw (Jul 13, 2005 6:04:19 PM)
Robert: With leadership in charitable and activist organizations such as Amnesty International and Habitat for Humanity, would volunteering within a healthcare setting still be required?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:05:03 PM)
The applicant can significantly disadvantaged themselves in the interview by saying highly inappropriate things such as attempting to hook up with the interviewer. Just not a good move. There's also a significant amount of data that indicates the personalities are pretty much fixed by the time one is applying to medical school. As a consequence, we look carefully how the individual applicant is able to communicate in the interview, since this probably indicates how well he or she will be able to communicate with the patient.

byustudent (Jul 13, 2005 6:05:19 PM)
Dean Dan: Just wondering what types of international experiences are available at your school and how international health figures into the curriculum?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:07:34 PM)
We have an organization called global reach at the medical school which works to place students in international rotations. This also has funding available to help students with the cost of overseas travel. Global reach works with local hospitals in developing countries so the medical students have an educational experience and not just end up being an extra pair of hands.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:07:41 PM)
Erich--nothing is "required" relative to extras--do what you are passionate about and we'll take it from there--it is possible to have little/no experience in some areas if the experience in others is distinguishing.

Mike (Jul 13, 2005 6:07:53 PM)
RobertRuiz-in light of the cutoff numbers you just posted: Is a PhD GPA and MCAT score which are above those cutoff (> 3.8, at least 40 graded units, 36 MCAT) sufficient to redeem a lower undergrad GPA, or will that lower undergrad GPA dominate tend to dominate (I realize this question does not consider the EC and other aspects of an application).

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:08:35 PM)
Mike-yes advanced degrees and a solid GPA can offset a weaker undergrad GPA.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:09:20 PM)
Mike, graduate schools have tremendous grade inflation. At most graduate schools a C is considered a failing grade. Thus a higher GPA while at graduate school does not necessarily indicate that the applicant has suddenly learned how to study.

maizenblue (Jul 13, 2005 6:09:58 PM)
Robert: how forgiving is the committee to a couple of low grades (in the C range) if they are the only grades that low?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:10:01 PM)
Mike--Dean Dan makes a good point--thus the advanced degree plus a good MCAT will go a long way.

jc (Jul 13, 2005 6:10:11 PM)
Dean Dan: I spent my high school days volunteering at our local hospital - is this relevant to list in the work/life experience portion of the med school application?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:11:16 PM)
Generally they can live with one or two or three low grades provided they are not a trend and the MCAT alleviates any of our concern about your academic ability. The MCAT is helpful in this regard--it is a proven statistical indicator for medical schools.

byustudent2 (Jul 13, 2005 6:11:32 PM)
How many of your students are married? Is there an organization for student spouses? Is Ann Arbor a good place to start a family?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:11:46 PM)
jc, for most of our applicants and they will have significant experience after they started college. If your only clinical contact has been in high school you will be at a disadvantage relative to the other 5000 applications for our medical school.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:12:15 PM)
byu--I have a family here and it is a great town for families--we have many resources.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:12:52 PM)
Ann Arbor is an outstanding place to start a family. I have raised three children here in Ann Arbor and all three are doing exceptionally well after attending the Ann Arbor public schools. Out of the 170 students in the class, several are married but I can give you an exact figure.

ErichInSaginaw (Jul 13, 2005 6:13:12 PM)
Robert: I'm taking part in a dual degree BA/BS program between Albion and Columbia, and I initially transferred to Albion from a community college that I went to for a semester after high school, and I've been told that such vacillating between multiple universities will be detrimental to how serious my application will be taken in a few years-- is this true?

Guest (Jul 13, 2005 6:13:54 PM)
How would you consider an applicant's leadership in setting up a health-related organization on his/her campus? Would strength be placed on the leadership, or on the extent of the activities the applicant has done with his/her organization?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:14:42 PM)
Erich, possibly---take as many rigorous courses as possible at the most rigorous place possible--and we'll see how things play out. It might also be good to explain the movement (i.e. financial/family reasons).

Pedro (Jul 13, 2005 6:15:01 PM)
I feel that I have had a difficult background, dealing with issues ranging from having to learn a second language (English) at a late age to living in a household with income along poverty lines. From your point of view, under what conditions should at student declare him/herself as coming from a “disadvantaged background” in the AMCAS application?

jc (Jul 13, 2005 6:15:56 PM)
Dean Dan: This is not my only experience. I have continued to volunteer at hospitals thru college - is the high school experience worth listing in the context of total time spent volunteering?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:16:02 PM)
Pedro--this description is self-described--you should indicate based on an honest evaluation of your circumstances. We attempt to measure your "distance traveled."

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:16:17 PM)
Erich, it is usually easier to evaluate an academic record if it is all from one institution, or only two institutions. This does not mean that your application will not be taken seriously, but it will be slightly more difficult to understand.

drinklord (Jul 13, 2005 6:16:36 PM)
To ask a hair-splitting question similar to Mike's: Are there variations on this auto-cutoff formula? Say, a 42 MCAT and a 3.7GPA - would this miss the cut because of being below 3.8? And a more important question (esp. for Robert): What is the one thing that you wish, in retrospect, you had known about Michigan before arriving?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:16:44 PM)
I certainly think Pedro that having grasp of more than one language adds to the diversity of our class.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:17:27 PM)
jc, if the high school experience was meaningful, and you spent a great deal of time in it, it may be worthwhile to include it. However, the vast majority of our applicants have significant extracurricular activities so they do not include information from their high school days.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 6:17:52 PM)
What is the most common mistake applicants make?

jc (Jul 13, 2005 6:18:17 PM)
How would you break down in percentages between GPA, MCAT, Essay, Work Experience, Interview, Secondary application as weighted for admittance

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:18:25 PM)
Cutoffs are by definition cutoffs. If you don't make the cut off than your file is reviewed. If you do make the cut off then you get the automatic interview. As stated before, two thirds of our interview offers go to people whose numbers are below the cut off.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:18:43 PM)
Drinklord---yes, that misses the cutoff--an applicant must have both. The one thing I wish I knew--both as a student and now as Director-is the amazing array of opportunities here (academic, cultural, social) and how to take advantage of these.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:19:21 PM)
jc, each applicant is considered individually holistically. There are no weights or points, assigned to any individual aspect.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:19:23 PM)
jc--no weights or points--see Supreme Court 2003 for clarification.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:19:37 PM)
I do not know if there is an actual list of the most common mistakes, but there are certainly some that tend to recur.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 6:19:42 PM)
What are a few?

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:20:03 PM)
One of the typical mistakes would be to assume that application to medical school is merely a checklist and if all the boxes are checked and everything is fine. Another is to assume that having a high GPA and or a high MCAT is a guarantee of success.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:20:16 PM)
The most common mistake I see is trying to figure out the "formula" for admission when no "formula" exists at Michigan. Another mistake is not adequately telling us about yourself and relying on telling us 'what you think we want to hear.'

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 6:21:18 PM)
That's the one I think of as most common.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:21:27 PM)
We're really extremely fortunate to have such a strong applicant pool that there really are not any mistakes. It is just that your application is not as strong relative to others.

ErichInSaginaw (Jul 13, 2005 6:21:34 PM)
What opportunities are there for MD students in research in parallel subjects to medicine, at Michigan, such as in Biomedical Engineering or the Life Sciences?

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 6:22:06 PM)
What would you recommend students do to make the transition to medical school easier?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:23:16 PM)
Another mistake: not evaluating the quality of students at interviews (both current and prospective) since this will be perhaps the biggest element of your medical school experience.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:23:34 PM)
All of the faculty in the life sciences institute of academic appointments at the medical school. As a result, it is quite easy to do research with that group. Additionally, there is cross-fertilization between the faculty in the medical school and in engineering school. For example, I am on the thesis committee for a graduate student in engineering, and we have one of the engineering professors on the admissions committee at the medical school.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:23:37 PM)
Learning to sleep less will help make your transition to medical school easier.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:24:04 PM)
Understanding your personal learning style and learning needs will assist in the transition.

Jezzielin (Jul 13, 2005 6:24:40 PM)
Is that how it works for various MD admission committees? Those that have the stats can get automatic interviewing, and those that don't get reviewed?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:24:42 PM)
Dean Dan--what's going on with the waitlist?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:25:11 PM)
Jezz--essentially yes--although remember--everybody is going to get a review, some deeper and sooner than others.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:25:42 PM)
Our class size is 170 students. We currently have 178 students who have paid their deposit and have been admitted to our school. We will not be taking anyone off to waitlist until our class size drops below 170. For unknown reasons we had an extremely good year in having people accept our offers. It appears that this year for the first time in recorded history Michigan will not take anyone off the waitlist.

Jezzielin (Jul 13, 2005 6:25:46 PM)
True, thank you so much for all your advice and guidance - I have never done any chat like this before and it was great! :)

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 6:25:57 PM)
Thanks for the feedback.

jc (Jul 13, 2005 6:26:05 PM)
I know the final date for the med application - does a June applicant have a better chance then a November applicant?

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:26:08 PM)
Jezz--thanks for keeping Michigan on your list--good luck and have fun with this process.

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:26:12 PM)
jc-yes

ErichInSaginaw (Jul 13, 2005 6:26:18 PM)
You may have answered this earlier, but I was disconnected accidentally a few times-- how does Michigan Medical view the science curriculum at small liberal arts colleges, specifically Albion?

drinklord (Jul 13, 2005 6:26:23 PM)
No more questions here. Thanks so much, Robert, Dan, and Linda!

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:26:55 PM)
Albion students get a fair, full review--do well there and you could be the next Albion grad we take!

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:27:05 PM)
Small liberal arts colleges with rigorous academic credentials usually do a great job of training students to go on to medical school.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 6:27:08 PM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Dan and Robert for taking the time to participate.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 6:27:23 PM)
We look forward to seeing you at future chats. If you would like to be added to our pre-med announcement list, please go to our chat subscription page. Please check the Web site (http://www.accepted.com/chat/schedule.aspx#premed ) for details and exact time.

DeanDan (Jul 13, 2005 6:27:37 PM)
Thank you for having us, and I would encourage everyone to strongly consider applying to the University of Michigan medical school and become one of the leaders and the best.

blueMan (Jul 13, 2005 6:27:59 PM)
Thank you very much Robert and Dan!

tennisnr (Jul 13, 2005 6:28:22 PM)
Thank you everyone.

Linda Abraham (Jul 13, 2005 6:28:59 PM)
Thank you so much!

RobertRuizMICHIGAN (Jul 13, 2005 6:29:07 PM)
Thanks for your interest--don't hesitate to contact me for assistance this year--Go Blue! Information about Accepted.com's consulting and Editing Services

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