2010 SUNY Upstate Admissions with Jennifer Welch

2010 SUNY Upstate Admissions Chat with Jennifer Welch

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Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:04:45 PM)
I want to welcome Jennifer Welch, Director of Admissions and Isabelle Rhoades, Admissions Adviser to our  SUNY Upstate Q&A today.  Jennifer and Isabelle, what's new at SUNY Upstate?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:06:04 PM)
Things are great - we had many great applicants this year. We will be offering a combined MD/MPH this coming year.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:06:24 PM)
Is that a new program? Who are you targeting it for?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:06:34 PM)
We have a Children's Hospital scheduled to open in the fall.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:06:41 PM)
There's a big interest in this combined program.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:06:49 PM)
It is a new program.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:07:15 PM)
What would graduates of this program be most likely to go into?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:07:25 PM)
It is looking like it will be a 5 year combined program.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:07:39 PM)
So students save a year.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:07:45 PM)

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:08:04 PM)
When should an applicant apply Early Admissions to SUNY?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:08:16 PM)
We have been accepting into the MPH for this year and current students have the option of applying now, but it will be great to know ahead of time. July 1st is the deadline for current sophomores.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:09:27 PM)
How do you view graduates of post-bac programs relative to applicants applying straight from undergrad programs?

steven (May 20, 2009 12:09:45 PM)
Hi, I'm interested in finding out more about the early admissions procedure at SUNY Upstate. I am entering my Sophomore year.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:10:19 PM)
Linda, we certainly welcome students with post-bacc experience. The most recent coursework is certainly something we look at.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:10:33 PM)
Ok, Steven. So you would be applying next Spring. You will need to make sure you've completed 3/4 science sequences by then.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:10:59 PM)
What is the one thing a 2010 applicant can do now to improve his or her chance of acceptance, assuming he/she has good grades and MCAT score?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:10:59 PM)
Linda, we are seeing more and more students taking time off before coming to medical school now.

TracyF (May 20, 2009 12:11:15 PM)
What are the requirements for early admissions?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:11:18 PM)
Tracy, you will need clinical work, good communication skills, 3.50 science and overall GPA,  and 1300 SAT. You can find out more information on our website.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:11:25 PM)
Are you currently getting clinical experience?

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:11:40 PM)
Jennifer, do you view a break between college and medical school as a positive development?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:12:06 PM)
Absolutely (depending on what students do during that time). For example, clinical work, mission trips, research, work or travel.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:12:47 PM)
Lying on the beach doesn't cut it, huh?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:12:56 PM)
Nope.. ;-)

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:13:07 PM)
Isabelle, what percentage of the class enters via early admissions to SUNY?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:13:30 PM)
We have 25 seats reserved out of 160 entering students.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:13:32 PM)
Jennifer: Is not having research experience fatal to one's application at SUNY Upstate?

steven (May 20, 2009 12:13:43 PM)
Isabelle: Are applicants held at a very different level when applying for early admissions?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:13:44 PM)
Linda, it really depends on the medical school. We at Upstate do not require it, but do expect students that have it to be able to articulate their research. It can only help an application, but I wouldn't want students to do research because they think they have to - I would rather them do it because they want to do it.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:14:12 PM)
Research is great if you enjoy it but not having it won't keep your application from getting serious consideration.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:14:14 PM)
So research is not an item on the pre-med checklist in your book then, right?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:14:33 PM)

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:14:40 PM)
And what about clinical exposure?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:15:03 PM)
Linda, that is a must! For example- Patient contact  and physician shadowing.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:15:09 PM)
Critical! Without clinical, it would be impossible to get an acceptance.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:16:03 PM)
I find that one of the biggest misconceptions is that research is a requirement across the board, even more important than clinical experience.  I realize that at some medical schools that may be true, but it certainly isn't at most.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:16:25 PM)
I agree. It's certainly a misconception.  I always encourage students to pick up the MSAR - it is really helpful to see which schools require what.

steven (May 20, 2009 12:18:10 PM)
Do students throughout the nation, and world, apply early admissions? I just want to try and gauge my chance at admission.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:18:34 PM)
We receive about 100 applications for EAP - mostly from across the US. We interview about 40-45 students.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:18:35 PM)
The vast majority of applicants are US applicants. Are you Canadian?

steven (May 20, 2009 12:19:08 PM)
No, I live in New York.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:19:29 PM)
Great! We give a slight preference to applicants from NY.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:19:41 PM)
Jennifer & Isabelle: For both EAP and regular admissions, how do you choose among qualified applicants?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:19:48 PM)
Steven, what school are you at?

steven (May 20, 2009 12:20:17 PM)
That's great news! Would you say most or many of the early applicants are from NY?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:20:28 PM)
Linda, for EAP, we look at GPA, SAT's, experience, essays, letters, and the interview results if invited.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:20:29 PM)
Linda, we look at grades and MCATs first, then clinical experience, personal statement, extra-curricular activities, volunteer experience, etc.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:20:30 PM)
All are very important.

steven (May 20, 2009 12:20:34 PM)
I'm at Geneseo.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:20:47 PM)
Great school! Are you in touch with your pre-health adviser?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:21:32 PM)
Dr. O'Donnell?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:21:46 PM)
Will you have completed 3/4 science sequences by then?

steven (May 20, 2009 12:21:50 PM)
There are a few professors on the board and I'm on a name-to-name basis with one of them because I had him for Biology. Yes! Dr. O'Donnell is such a great professor and adviser.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:22:06 PM)
Good! It's important to establish a relationship with him early on.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:22:38 PM)
How can applicants compensate for low grades or a low MCAT? At what point do they need to start compensating?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:22:54 PM)
Linda, graduate work is very helpful. It's tough to get past the MCATs because of all of the standardized testing in med school.

steven (May 20, 2009 12:24:18 PM)
From the 40-45 applicants that get an interview, is there a certain number you accept?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:24:34 PM)
No more than 25.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:24:44 PM)
For SUNY, what level of MCATs are you looking for?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:24:49 PM)
Linda, 30.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:24:56 PM)
There's really no getting around a low GPA or MCAT score. It is usually necessary to complete additional courses and re-take MCATs if either are low.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:25:16 PM)
How important is the undergrad institution that applicants attend? Does someone from a less prestigious school who has good grades, a 30+ GMAT, and volunteer experiences have a chance?

TracyF (May 20, 2009 12:25:45 PM)
If I were to apply early admissions,  I would not have to take the MCATs if accepted. I know research would be a good way to use my extra time, but what other things do students usually do with their extra time?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:25:54 PM)
Linda, sure they do - We use Barron's to rank our schools.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:25:54 PM)
Yes, but we do consider the reputation of the school and how competitive it is. A 3.45 from, let's say Cornell, a #1 school, will carry more weight than a 3.6 at a #4 school (less competitive).

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:26:21 PM)
Does starting at a community college hurt one's chances at SUNY Upstate?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:26:36 PM)
Tracy, some things you can do are study abroad, student government, or leadership positions on their campuses.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:26:52 PM)
Linda, funny  that you ask, I am going to do some research about that this summer. I am going to take a look at how Community College students do in the curriculum, how they do on their boards and where they end up for residency. I hope to get some national information together. To answer your question, it depends what happens once they get to the 4-year college - their GPA needs to continue to be strong.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:27:37 PM)
Linda, we don't recommend it, but we have accepted students that have taken that path (1st 2 years at a Community College).

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:28:23 PM)
If a student starts at a Community College, should they try to do most of their science courses at the Community College or at the 4-year institution and perhaps apply the year after graduation?

steven (May 20, 2009 12:28:27 PM)
Are the ranking of SUNY Colleges and Universities considered? Meaning, is that comparison with Cornell the same for respective SUNY'S?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:28:37 PM)
Linda, at the 4 year school - definitely. 

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:29:16 PM)
Linda, we would prefer they did not do all of their pre-med courses at the CC.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:29:23 PM)
Yes, Steven. We are aware of which ones are more and less competitive. Geneseo is a #2 or #3 school-good reputation.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:30:00 PM)
What are the three most important qualities you want to see in an application?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:31:13 PM)
Linda, 3 qualities are motivation for medicine, intellectual ability, and a well-rounded applicant.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:31:34 PM)
 Some more important qualities are submitted early, well prepared, good ongoing relevant experiences, well written statement that is personal and creative and addresses "why medicine", and of course, strong GPA and MCATs (65-70% of decision is based on these 2 things alone).

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:31:49 PM)

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:32:04 PM)
Does the personal statement have to answer "Why Medicine?"

monica (May 20, 2009 12:32:18 PM)
Hello, I am applying this year. I am still working on my application. I took my MCAT last year and did 10+ in my science sections. But I got a 7 in verbal! The rest of my application is good (good EC, letters, motivations). Would Upstate reject me because of my verbal? (I came to US 3.5 years ago from a non-English speaking country.) Thank you.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:32:32 PM)
Linda, It should.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:32:59 PM)
Monica - we would look at your entire application.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:33:05 PM)
Linda, I think it does if not, the reader is left wondering why they are applying to medical school if your essay doesn't address your motivation etc.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:33:24 PM)
What is the most common mistake applicants make?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:33:43 PM)
Monica, we will consider the fact that you are not a native English speaker. Your application will be considered as a whole.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:33:59 PM)
Linda, mistakes are rushing the application or not applying when they are ready. I found that some students didn't spend the time they needed to on them - spelling errors, grammatical errors.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:34:57 PM)
How can Monica show that she has good communications given her MCAT verbal score?

monica (May 20, 2009 12:35:39 PM)
Does a strong science GPA means? 3.6+/ 3.4+?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:35:40 PM)
Linda, we will look at her English course grades, and we will look for a strong personal statement, one that is well-written.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:35:44 PM)
Her statement will probably be looked at a little more closely. If she comes in for an interview, her communication skills will also be important.

steven (May 20, 2009 12:35:53 PM)
If one doesn't have enough time for research before the end of their sophomore year, and it is something they want to do, is there anyway to indicate a commitment to research on the early application?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:36:01 PM)
Monica, 3.6 or higher.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:36:16 PM)
Steven - you can indicate your plans to participate in research.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:36:33 PM)
Steven, the essays can cover your interests and future plans.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:37:22 PM)
What is the role of secondary essays in the application process?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:37:44 PM)
Linda, Secondaries are important - we just started requiring them.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:38:24 PM)
We ask applicants that have been selected for an interview to submit two brief essays. They are used as a talking point for the interviews which are completely blind. We started blind interviews last fall.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:38:25 PM)
How will you use them in evaluating applicants? Just more data? Will they carry more weight than the AMCAS essay?

monica (May 20, 2009 12:38:38 PM)
Regarding clinical research - my duty is to screen patients for their eligibility. I don't need to read academic papers. Does that count as research?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:38:38 PM)
Linda, we use them as more data about the applicants.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:39:06 PM)
Yes, it just adds on to what we know about you in addition to what you submitted to AMCAS.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:39:17 PM)
Any tips for applicants currently on your waitlist?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:39:44 PM)
Our waitlist is ranked - we do not go back and re-rank. They are welcome to touch base with us about their chances.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:40:13 PM)
Unfortunately, they need to be patient and see what happens. If they're at the bottom, considering re-applying is something to think about and plan on.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:40:15 PM)
Are you looking for responses more geared to SUNY? Perhaps showing some knowledge of SUNY in the secondaries?

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:40:20 PM)
Jennifer, would you like updates from WL'd applicants?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:40:47 PM)
No. They remain where they are on the list . New information is not considered.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:40:59 PM)
Since we do not re-rank, they are not used for evaluation purposes, but I certainly welcome them.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:41:15 PM)
Let's look down the road to next summer. Do you have any suggestions for applicants that would make the transition to med school easier?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:41:34 PM)
Linda, they should focus on time management skills! The first 2 years of medical school are tough - lots of info, not a lot of time. Students need to know how to manage their time and find a balance in their lives.

steven (May 20, 2009 12:41:38 PM)
What do the secondaries assess?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:43:07 PM)
To be honest, not much Steven. A little more information is asked, but it's not half as in depth as the AMCAS application.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:43:19 PM)
What would you say are SUNY's strengths?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:43:23 PM)
One strength is our strong support system.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:43:24 PM)
But Steven,  that will depend on the med school. strong support system

monica (May 20, 2009 12:43:40 PM)
What are some of the support systems that the school provides to relieve the study pressure?

steven (May 20, 2009 12:43:56 PM)
Ok, so each school has their own secondaries?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:43:57 PM)
Steven, we do not have an additional essay required, only for those invited for an interview. Other schools may or may not require an additional essay.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:44:09 PM)
Monica, we have advisory deans and tutoring.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:44:19 PM)
Some secondaries are a simple form (and check).

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:44:43 PM)
Yes, Linda, that is really what our secondary essay is.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:44:43 PM)
Do you have advice for reapplicants? Are reapplicants at a disadvantage?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:45:06 PM)
Only if they submit the same application as before that didn't work! They need to address the weaknesses in their application before re-applying. This can take time - often a year or more, not just a few months.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:45:06 PM)
They are at a disadvantage if they don't do anything different from one year to the next. There needs to be a significant change in their application.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:45:34 PM)
Experiments that didn't work don't need repeating. :-)

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:45:45 PM)

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:45:59 PM)
Do you provide any feedback to rejected applicants who want to reapply?

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:46:05 PM)
We do. Students that have been unsuccessful gaining acceptance anywhere can contact us and we can provide them with feedback and suggestions on how to improve their application.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:46:41 PM)
Do you have tips for non-traditional applicants?

steven (May 20, 2009 12:47:08 PM)
I'm sure from a select bunch of 25 students, you seek diversity amongst those you accept. If racial or ethnic diversity isn't on my side, what would you recommend is the best way to make my application stand out?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:47:40 PM)
Steven, focus on your drive and motivation for medicine, what have you been doing, and why medicine.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:47:42 PM)
Steven, your experiences, letters and essay are where you can stand out from other qualified applicants.

steven (May 20, 2009 12:48:22 PM)
Who, besides the pre-health advisor, do we need letters from?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:48:32 PM)
Steven, you will need from your faculty.

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:48:55 PM)
Just your pre-health adviser/committee or two faculty letters. It can be from any department,  but at least one science instructor- preferably one from whom you took a science pre-requisite.

monica (May 20, 2009 12:49:02 PM)
What about  "How can you bring diversity to our school?" I'm sure a lot of applicants have good motives and good answer for why medicine.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:49:57 PM)
We are looking for diverse backgrounds - it lends something different to the field of medicine.

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:50:52 PM)
Any final questions or tips?

monica (May 20, 2009 12:51:11 PM)
Research question:  If it is a clinical research,  and there is no paper reading, just screening patients, does that count as research?

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:51:14 PM)
Prepare and submit your applications early!

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:51:27 PM)
Yes Monica.

monica (May 20, 2009 12:51:39 PM)

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:51:45 PM)
Be pro-active-stay on top of things and be organized!

Linda Abraham (May 20, 2009 12:51:49 PM)
Thank you all for participating today. Special thanks to Jennifer and Isabelle for taking the time this evening to chat with us. If you would like to be added to our pre-med event announcement list, please subscribe to our med chats events list. We look forward to seeing you at future events. Please check the website for details and exact time. Good luck with your applications!

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:51:53 PM)
Thank you!

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:52:06 PM)
Have a great weekend! Thanks!

steven (May 20, 2009 12:52:09 PM)
Thank you very much for your help.

JenniferWelchSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:52:16 PM)

monica (May 20, 2009 12:52:18 PM)
Thank you very much for all the advices! Good luck applicants this year!

IsabelleRhoadesSUNY (May 20, 2009 12:52:38 PM)
Anymore questions, e-mail us at admiss@upstate.edu.

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