SUNY Upstate MedAdmissions Chat with Jennifer Welch

SUNY Upstate MedAdmissions Chat with Jennifer Welch

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 7:59:10 PM)
First I want to welcome you all to’s SUNY Upstate Medical School Admissions Chat.

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 7:59:17 PM)
I also want to welcome Jennifer Welch, Director of Admissions and Isabelle Rhoades, Admissions Advisor to our chat this evening.

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 7:59:24 PM)

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 7:59:28 PM)
Thanks to everyone for joining.

Jen (May 17, 2007 8:00:45 PM)
Where are 1st years (living off campus) allowed to park and what is the procedure for parking permits?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:01:10 PM)
Good question - there is off campus parking and shuttle service. There is a fee, though, and new parking complex being built

billy (May 17, 2007 8:01:29 PM)
What is the main quality at Upstate that separates upstate from other medical schools and makes it unique?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:02:01 PM)
Things that we stand out for are small campus atmosphere, excellent and very involved faculty. Everyone knows everyone and you will not be another number

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:02:04 PM)
Atmosphere comes to mind right away.

TSKR (May 17, 2007 8:02:26 PM)
I interviewed last September and was placed on the HPA list. Is admissions willing to give me my chances by phone?

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:02:50 PM)
What is the class size?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:02:55 PM)
TSKR - write to

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:03:07 PM)
Right now the class size is 152 and we are looking at 160

TSKR (May 17, 2007 8:03:09 PM)
Thank you, I will!

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:03:16 PM)
TSKR, you can e-mail that question and we can give you an idea of how things look for you.

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:03:17 PM)
Which is more important in the admissions process: the MCAT or the GPA?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:03:53 PM)
Both the MCAT and GPA  are important, but a strong GPA, showing improvement from a good quality school, especially science GPA

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:04:47 PM)
Is not having research experience fatal to one's application at SUNY Upstate?

billy (May 17, 2007 8:05:03 PM)
What is a good science GPA in your view?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:05:22 PM)
Not having research experience is not fatal at Upstate - we want students to do research if they enjoy it, not because they think they have to

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:05:30 PM)
We look for a 3.6 or higher GPA generally

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:05:44 PM)
And the science GPA?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:05:51 PM)
Just about the same for the science GPA.

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:06:12 PM)
What about a lack of clinical volunteer work?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:06:28 PM)
Lack of clinical volunteer work can kill an application - it is necessary

Jen (May 17, 2007 8:06:42 PM)
I was informed on an elective for 1st-2nd years during my interview. The interviewer said he would hold me a spot, but I just wanted to check that the time to register for things like that would be during orientation right?

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:06:44 PM)
It's crucial!

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:07:22 PM)
Jen - yes, you could also send a message to to double check

Jen (May 17, 2007 8:07:34 PM)
ok thanks!

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:07:39 PM)
How do you choose among qualified applicants?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:07:55 PM)
We hand screen each applicant - looking first at grades and MCATs. Then we look at everything else, LORs, essay, activities

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:08:13 PM)
Do you have a minimum or cut-off?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:08:21 PM)
Linda - No, we do not have a minimum

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:08:48 PM)
So if the numbers are in line, what do you want to see in everything else?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:09:17 PM)
We want to see a true commitment to medicine, strong communication skills, someone that has investigated the field and clearly knows what they are getting into

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:09:43 PM)
Continuous and current clinical exp, volunteer work, a well prepared, creative and personal essay, strong letters

MSI (May 17, 2007 8:10:04 PM)
Hi I'm an incoming first year as well. What is the elective that you need a spot held for?

billy (May 17, 2007 8:10:15 PM)
Could really heavy undergraduate research be a negative aspect of an application since it can seem more adapted for a PhD track?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:10:37 PM)
Jen - are referring to a an elective during the gross anatomy course, if you take it in the summer

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:11:00 PM)
Billy-I don't think so as long as you have other experiences in addition to your research

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:11:23 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. Others encourage the applicants to take a risk and be distinctive by writing about what’s really important top them in their essay and ensuring that the rest of the AMCAS application contains the standard fare. What do you recommend?

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:11:50 PM)
If you enjoy research, by all means do it, but you should also try to be well rounded ie; clinical exp, volunteer and extra-curricular activities etc

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:12:23 PM)
MSI - I think she may have been referring to taking summer anatomy - if you do that, it frees up your Nov-Jan time frame allowing students to take additional electives - that may be what she's thinking

billy (May 17, 2007 8:12:53 PM)
What is the usual number of applicants to Upstate and the acceptance rate?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:13:10 PM)
TSKR - check with us the HAP list just started to move today

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:13:42 PM)
Billy - This year there were 4603 applicants - we will end up accepting about 390-400 students. Last year our apps were 3752 with just about the same number of acceptances - that doesn't change too much

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:14:35 PM)
That's quite an increase in application volume!

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:14:45 PM)
It was a great year

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:14:54 PM)
What is the role of secondary essays in the application process?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:15:10 PM)
Our purpose for secondary essays is mostly for prerec tracking. there are no essays with it

billy (May 17, 2007 8:15:39 PM)
How many of those applicants are usually invited for an interview?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:15:53 PM)
We interview between 700-800

MSI (May 17, 2007 8:16:14 PM)
HI Jennifer, when do I need to have all my transcripts in from all of the schools I attended?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:16:23 PM)
All your transcripts should be in by August 15

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:16:28 PM)
How can applicants compensate for low grades or a low MCAT? At what point do they need to start compensating?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:16:59 PM)
They can compensate for low grades with a progression of grades, post-bacc or masters

billy (May 17, 2007 8:17:19 PM)
Is there any partnerships or collaborations between Upstate and Syracuse University?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:17:46 PM)
Compensation for the MCATt is tough - need to be able to be successful on standardized tests because of the shelf exams and the boards

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:18:09 PM)
Billy - They are working on an MD/MPH with SU

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:18:13 PM)
Does success on the MCAT correlate to passing the boards?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:18:24 PM)
We think that success on the MCAT does correlate with passing the boards.

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:18:32 PM)
Can a student compensate for a low score in one section of the MCAT?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:19:06 PM)
Solid scores in the sciences are most important

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:19:28 PM)
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?

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:19:48 PM)
They do have a chance!

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:19:57 PM)
We do take into consideration ESL when it comes to VR, we will look at English courses, essay fluency, etc

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:21:01 PM)
Does starting at a community college hurt one's chances at SUNY Upstate?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:21:26 PM)
Starting at a community college could hurt one's chances, especially if the grades go down once the student reaches the 4-year

billy (May 17, 2007 8:21:33 PM)
Are out of state students at a disadvantage as opposed to in state students?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:21:45 PM)
It is important to take a challenging curriculum

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:22:08 PM)
Billy - not at all, everyone is viewed the same, currently there is no preference

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:22:14 PM)
No. Decisions are made based on merit - out of state students are not at a disadvantage.

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:22:47 PM)
What is the most common mistake applicants make?

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:23:13 PM)
The most common mistake is waiting until right before deadline to submit there application!!!

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:23:37 PM)
A common mistake is not elaborating on things they really want the ad comm to know about them and leaving it up to them to interpret the meaning

Neal (May 17, 2007 8:23:57 PM)
Would I be able to get information on the early assurance program at SUNY upstate medical school?

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:24:37 PM)
Neal, you can visit our website and e-mail your questions to

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:24:52 PM)
you bet - it is also on the web

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:25:13 PM)
deadline is July 1st to complete an app

billy (May 17, 2007 8:25:50 PM)
As far as the early assurance there anything different you like to see in an applicant as opposed to an applicant in the regular admissions?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:25:56 PM)
For the early assurance program, we like to see a 3.50 GPA, 1300 SAT

Neal (May 17, 2007 8:26:15 PM)
I am going to be a second year student at Rutgers next year but my anticipated graduation date is 2009. Would I be eligible to apply to this program this year?

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:26:26 PM)
A minimum of 3/4 of the science sequences completed is necessary for early assurance

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:27:07 PM)
Our goal with the program is for students to have the opportunity to do other things than apply to medical school, so a desire and commitment to pursue medicine

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:27:25 PM)
Neal - you need to have sophomore standing

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:27:48 PM)
Neal, you would apply next year

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:27:59 PM)
Do you have any suggestions for applicants that would make the transition to med school easier?

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:28:40 PM)
As previously mentioned, taking Anatomy in the summer can lighten your load in the fall

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:28:49 PM)
To make the transition easier, challenge yourself academically, take biochem, genetics, physiology if you can and relax!!!!!

CG (May 17, 2007 8:29:04 PM)
I will be an MS1 in August. I was wondering what I needed to do to ensure residency standing for second year?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:30:03 PM)
CG, that is a bursar question - he determines that - here is a link for more info I think register your car, file taxes, live in the same place for 365 days, voter registration, etc. but double check with the bursar, contact info is on the above link

Neal (May 17, 2007 8:30:13 PM)
So even if my anticipated graduation date is 2009 I would still apply next year and have a year gap in between my matriculation between undergrad and med school?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:32:07 PM)
Neal - I would have you email - every student is different and one of us could help you through it

billy (May 17, 2007 8:32:40 PM)
If I do not get accepted, would an admissions official be willing to discus the reasoning and any application shortcomings behind the decision?

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:34:00 PM)
Billy-yes, but we would only be making suggestions on areas to focus on/improve. You can e-mail and request feedback from a counselor regarding your application

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:34:15 PM)
Can you tell us a little about the med school admissions book you have coming out this week?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:35:15 PM)
Sure - I put it together in the hopes to help students with the Do's and Don'ts when applying to medical school.

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:36:00 PM)
What's the title? How does it differ from other med school admissions books? I've ordered it, but it hasn't yet arrived.

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:36:31 PM)
I have seen students make silly mistakes in their applications, which can have a huge impact in what decision is rendered and some real positives that I wanted to share with students. It is 101 Tips for Getting into Medical School

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:37:04 PM)
Can you give us one tip from the book?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:37:22 PM)
There are funny ones and serious ones

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:37:36 PM)
your choice.

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:37:50 PM)
Being a bridesmaid is not an extracurricular activity to being yourself and practicing your interviews

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:38:08 PM)

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:38:19 PM)
I haven't seen those. But I'll believe you that you have...

MSI (May 17, 2007 8:38:24 PM)

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:38:39 PM)
It was written with an insiders perspective about what works and what does not - I hope students will find it helpful

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:38:50 PM)
I hope so too. Back to the queue.

BB (May 17, 2007 8:38:58 PM)
What is the average GPA and MCAT score at SUNY upstate?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:39:14 PM)
Oh yes and email addresses such as Imastud247@ - it really sends a message about an applicant

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:39:54 PM)
3.5-3.6 and just about 10's in each of the areas

Neal (May 17, 2007 8:40:03 PM)
Isabelle, is there any way that I can contact you by telephone tomorrow?

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:40:31 PM)
Neal, I will be in the office on Monday 1-800-736-2171

billy (May 17, 2007 8:41:15 PM)
What is the biggest positive and negative quality that comes to mind about the city of Syracuse and the area around Upstate?

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:41:41 PM)
I've lived all over....Montral, Athens, London...I like Syracuse because it's not intimidating, is easy to get around and always has something to do if you want to get out. If you don't like snow, then I guess you'd say that's a negative

Neal (May 17, 2007 8:42:30 PM)
For the early assurance program, if our SAT score is slightly below what is recommended but our GPA is around a 3.9 through a rigorous schedule would my application still be strongly considered?

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:42:38 PM)
Syracuse is a very diverse community and I think being a tertiary care hospital is very positive - we serve 17 counties

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:42:49 PM)
Neal, yes, you would still be considered. Definitely give me a call on Monday and let's discuss your questions and application

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:43:07 PM)
Neal - you could always take them again or take the ACT

Neal (May 17, 2007 8:43:25 PM)
On a relative scale, how much preference would I lose?

Neal (May 17, 2007 8:43:39 PM)
ok I appreciate the help

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:43:58 PM)
Neal - Hard to say w/out knowing your scores, your experiences, college you attend, major

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:44:11 PM)
Isabelle and Jennifer, any last tips?

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:44:38 PM)
Apply early and submit a well prepared application!

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:45:03 PM)

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:45:16 PM)
Thank you all for participating today. Special thanks to Jennifer and Isabelle for taking the time this evening to chat with us.

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:45:25 PM)
If you would like to be added to our pre-med event announcement list, please visit .

Neal (May 17, 2007 8:45:31 PM)
I am also thinking of taking the MCAT this this a negative for early assurance applicants

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:45:59 PM)
Neal - check with Isabelle on Monday

CG (May 17, 2007 8:45:34 PM)
Thank You!

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:45:37 PM)
Thanks for letting us - we appreciate it!

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:45:39 PM)
you're most welcome.

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:45:47 PM)
Please check the Web site ( ) for details and exact time.

IsabelleRhoadesUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:45:48 PM)
Good night!

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:45:55 PM)
Good luck with your applications!

Linda Abraham (May 17, 2007 8:46:22 PM)
Good night!

JenniferWelchUpstate (May 17, 2007 8:46:24 PM)
Take Care everyone! Thank you! Information about's consulting and Editing Services

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