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  1. #1

    Career Question-Bio and Chem Majors

    Need some advice. My son just graduated from MSU-Steven D Lee Sholar, 4.0 GPA Pre-Med Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. UNBELIEVABLE resume - over 75 shadowing hours, 100+ service hours, President of Fraternity, worked for Dr. Keenum, etc....list goes on and on. 500 MCAT score. He applied to UMMC and was smooth rejected last year. He's reapplying soon but he has some doubts. Personally, I think he'll get in second time around BUT we have talked to a number of people at UMMC who say admissions there is shit show and has been a head scratcher the last few years. Even UMMC folks can't explain what's behind the decisions. So-my question......."IF" he gets rejected again and decides to forgo the med school route, what does he need to further his education for a good career utilizing his background in biochemistry and molecular biology? To work for a pharma (not in sales), does he need a masters? Phd? He withdrew from the UMMC masters program last week and instead took a job with UMMC as a researcher. Doesn't pay squat but he was told it would really boost his med school application and that the masters program likely would't do much for him in that regard. But, if med school rejects him again, should he immediately re-enroll in a masters program? Pursue Phd? Any guidance as to a back up plan using his degree field, is appreciated.


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  2. #2
    Go apply to a better Med School like UAB. They run circles around UMiss Med.


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  3. #3

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    Just curious on a few things:
    1 - is he not remotely interested in sales? Really good money in that career path.

    2 - what are his interest outside of being a doctor? Nurse anesthetist make good money and donít have a ton of schooling compared to being a dr.
    Anything outside of the medical field interest him?


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  4. #4

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    Not bad advice here. He could apply to multiple other schools that are equal or better compared to UMMC.


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  5. #5
    Heís applied at some other med schools as well. But weíre seeing a trend that many of the schools are going in state as much as possible to fill their spots. We have discussed the cRNA route. His older brother is a nurse and his mom is a nurse. Heís just not interested in doing the nursing thing and has no interest in practicing nursing to the extent necessary to then apply to CRNA school. As for pharm sales, Iíve heard that the industry has really changed a lot and that the job stability simply isnít what it used to be?


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  6. #6
    Defensive Coordinator Shamoan's Avatar
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    Stay away from Pharm sales. They are more geared towards pretty girls they can teach some things vs the old school true salesman and drug experts. Know some people in sales and they are getting pushed out by the new wave of attractive females that will do the same job at a huge discount.


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  7. #7

  8. #8
    He is considering med school thru the navy or Air Force thru their own med school as an option. He has ďsomeĒ understanding of the Military - his brother is an RN and US Army.
    Last edited by TNT; 05-24-2020 at 09:30 PM. Reason: Spelling


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  9. #9
    He should apply to multiple schools. I focused on applying to a singular school and had no success at UMMC. Weirdly, I applied to better schools out of state and was accepted. I don't know what they are doing over in Jackson.

    Unfortunately, med school applicants are typically all biology and biochem majors (the degree directly lines up with the prerequisites) so the real focus should be continuing to create diversity in the supplemental application. Some schools do like to reject a well-qualified applicant the first year, and accept them the following. Sister-in-law applied twice to pharm school (Not at UMMC) with a 4.0 and an outstanding resume only to be rejected her first round and accepted the next year with the same application. He could always considered DO school. They are easier to get into, but come with a hefty price tag. Go public university if he can.

    I would not suggest the PhD route unless he enjoys research, grant writing and the like. My wife completed her PhD in biochemistry at Vandy and finished it only out of stubbornness and spite. Advanced degrees in STEM are a little weird where more education =/= better jobs and industry experience and complimentary certifications are more valued.

    If he truly wants to be a doctor it'll take some time. Getting accepted is the first terrible hurdle of many to becoming a doctor.


    And no pharm sales... unless he can transform into a young blonde with a nice rack and an ass you can bounce a quarter off of... But hey its 2020.
    Last edited by Not Really a Doc; 05-24-2020 at 09:39 PM. Reason: grammar


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  10. #10
    Went to LSU med in Nola. Lucky I got in first try but if I had not been older (previously an engineer) - donít think I would have. 2 of my best friends from class were admitted on 4th try. Significant portion (most?) in my class were at least 2nd attempt. Some would have seemed to have the connections to get in 1st try and still didnít. So I wouldnít say quit trying yet.

    Consider trying to get job where he works in medicine - bunch of people were scribes, one guy was an orderly cleaning scopes, etc.

    Going out of state to a state school is tough. Usually some allowed but few.

    Other 3 options
    Combined MD PHd (reasearch Phd, not Pharm.) because not many want to do that. Takes an extra 3 years in school though

    Caribbean med school. Expensive as 17 (compared to UMMC or public schools). Definitely a tougher route with travel, what they have to do for clinicals, and getting a residency is tougher but doable. But youíre an MD

    Consider DO school. Looked down on by some MD but 17 it - heís still a doctor. Residency tougher to get I think

    I canít offer advice on military options

    Donít know about new scoring system for MCAT. But if itís reasonable to improve. Take it again.

    Last - if he doesnít get in this year. Call admissions. If you did that with LSU, the head of admissions would often have a talk with you and say what you needed to do to improve


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  11. #11
    Went to MSU and UMC but NOT in medical school. I got in on my first attempt.

    One thing I do hear from people that are trying to get into my field from time to time are stories just like yours where they have a perfect 4.0 and a great resume and they don't get in. This may sounds crazy but it's true for my field as far as getting in there- I'd tell your son to work on their interview skills. A lot of people don't realize how much weight that carries as far as getting in. But for my field most of the time students that are in a similar situation as your son where they don't get in that's usually the reason why.

    I think you have gotten some other great advice in this thread too. Apply to different schools- UAB, UT-Memphis, LSU- New Orleans, LSU- Shreveport and one that a lot of people don't know about is Queensland University in Australia where med students go there for part of their med school training and then they complete it at Ochsner in New Orleans. I think being a researcher is a good move too because he will get to know people some of whom will likely be involved in the admissions process. A lot of times it's who you know ESPECIALLY at UMC.


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  12. #12
    To add on to people giving med school advice:

    1) has he met with an admissions counselor? If he hasn't I would meet with someone before he submits his application for the next cycle, preferably a few times if possible. At least at UMC, they don't sit on the committee that accepts/rejects applicants, but they are heavily involved and influential with the people that do make that decision. So having a positive relationship with one of them can do nothing but help. On top of that, they can point him in the right direction with regards to strengthening his application and help you with things like improving your personal statement. Which in an applicant pool full of high achieving, high functioning, super involved people who all have 3.8+ GPAs in some sort of biology major, can actually go a long way for you.

    2) If he's only taken the MCAT once, has he considered retaking the MCAT? One of the biggest myths is (or at least was when I was at MSU) that med schools frown upon you taking your MCAT more than once. And while they do care about the whole resume (GPA, service hours, shadowing hours, etc.) Having a good MCAT score is still the most surefire way of getting in. On top of the fact that your son seems very well rounded on all those other fronts based on your post. In my personal observation, if you have the requirements to do UMC's early decision program and do it, you have a fantastic chance of getting in.
    Last edited by WeWonItAll(Most); 05-24-2020 at 10:47 PM.


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  13. #13
    Is Steven Case still the admissions dean? He may be retired, but he was always receptive to a legitimate analysis of where you stood and how you could improve your chances. The mcat has been revamped so I have no frame of reference for that score, but I canít imagine why the rest of the resume wouldnít suffice.

    I do know UMC, like most med schools, cares about their reputation. I had three classmates at the top of our class who were going into ENT. Great people, bedside manner, etc. neither got into residency at UMC due to the program wanting out of state residents because it would give the perception that they had a national appeal. Iím sure some of the same principles apply to med school applicants.

    The research job is very likely to help his case for the next year. But William Carey would be another in state option. They seem very reputable so far.

    And if all else fails, to take a page from Midern Family, he could just present himself as a transgender minority with a disability; he would probably get paid to go there.


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  14. #14
    One more thing. The Navy likes to bring in guys like your son for Dental School. They pay for the schooling, the. He will be a Commisioned Officer, AND get paid well as a Naval Dentist. When my wife was in Hygiene School, she actually got contacted by the Navy to try and get her to go to Dental School but they werenít aware of her age and discovered she was too old for the program. And the program was based at the Pensacola Naval Air Station So Annapolis would not have been required. May be something to look into.


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  15. #15
    There is some good advice in this thread.

    To add, I was on faculty at a Med School a few years back. A pro tip is if he is hell bent on being a MD, then a masters or working as a technician at a med school can help. The more people know you at the school, the better your chance of getting in. Plus he gets the whole persistence story in his interview. Admissions boards ďtake a chanceĒ on their own sometimes.

    As others said, interviews are absolutely critical. The committee usually knows within 5 minutes if they like the person. They have a ton of students with great grades applying. I have been in a room where someone said I would rather have a 3.8 that can think than someone with a 4.0 that is a robot. Knowing the applicant or interview skills to set a person apart is important.


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  16. #16
    Good info and appreciate everyone's input. I'll touch on a few things mentioned. He has had post admissions counseling. He left there totally frustrated. Bottom line, they really had nothing to tell him and said "we don't know why you didn't get in". Some have said he can maybe take the MCAT again. He has a 500-not stellar, but certtainly enough for admission. He knows others who got in with a 498 and 3.8 gpa. A 504 is guaranteed early admission. However those who seem to know, have all agreed if he takes it again and falls below a 500, it'll def hurt him so advice is, hold with what you've got - it's enough. I'll add we had a friend reach out to a friend on the admissions board. All they did is refer him right back to the post admissions counseling dept. One counselor said "yeah, consider the masters program. 'maybe' that'll help, i don't really know...". The other counselor said "don't worry about the masters program - its for applicants who have weaker gpa's to give them chance to boost their application (we've heard this more than once so starting to believe it be accurate). Since You have a 4.0, don't do it - that's not designed for you.....'. Hence - he's taking the research job rather than pursuing a masters. I'll add he had 4 letters of recommedation - 2 from State elected officials whom he's worked for, both sent to the vice chancellor of the Med School. But again, we're told that now the admissions folks are far removed from all that and they do their own thing and its to eliminate letters from having any influence? Anyway, thanks for advice. I'll share this with him. He wants to be a doc and right now his best chance is probably LSU or UMMC, with UMMC being his obvious preference for a lot of the obvious reasons - we live here about 20 mins from UMMC. Additionally, UMMC now ONLY ACCEPTS IN STATE APPLICATIONS for med school. This is becoming a trend with a lot of med schools. The is one thing i do find admirable. Also to add, he's reluctantly applying to William Carey's DO program as a backup. We're told the DO's now sit for the exact same boards that the MD's sit for and i've been told a friend who's a doctor a UMMC that he works along side some DO's from William Carey and they're some of the most capable doctors he knows. Evidently the DO's have changed their curriculum to now match up exactly to those at UMMC, UAB and other med schools and they do the same residencies and board exams.
    Last edited by TNT; 05-25-2020 at 07:42 AM. Reason: spelling


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  17. #17
    Others have already said most of what Iíll say. I work in research at UMC and we have a lot of students come and work for us for a year or two after they didnít get in on their first try. They get some good references and get to see the PhD side of medicine for a while before reapplying. Some end up getting in. Some donít. Several have opted to go the DO route lately, which is perfectly respectable. Donít let anyone tell you it isnít.

    -Interview is critical. They really like someone who has a story that drives them. ďMy grampaw was in the hospital and the doctors saved his life and Iíve wanted to be a doctor ever since!Ē Something like that. Not just somebody who is smart and decided theyíd be a doctor.

    -Someone said they lean toward out of state. I donít think thatís true at all. They lean heavily toward in-state because those doctors are more likely to STAY in state rather than get their MD and run off somewhere else in the country that pays a higher salary.

    -Definitely have to apply to other med schools. Even if you end up turning them down. And let them know you are applying to other schools. If UMC admissions thinks they can get you next year, theyíll wait until next year.

    -The researcher route is a really common way to go. Sometimes it works and they get in and sometimes they decide they would rather go PhD route. Thatís where the reaaally smart people are anyway.

    Thatís all I can think of right now. Make sure he knows to be friendly and sociable around work. One of those faces you walk past in the hallway could end up being the person that puts in the good word for you that makes the difference.


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  18. #18
    have some experience with this and from the board the most common reason stellar applicants like you son are rejected.

    1. poor interview
    2. despite shadowing hours, get a job in medicine somehow, show that he has really been exposed and worked in medicine field. orderly, lab tech, ER tech, something. I think the research helps too

    also, don't get discouraged. I work with many great doctors in Jackson who didn't get in first try.


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  19. #19
    I can understand his disappointment. I was in the same boat at one time, but it is not abnormal for someone to not get into professional school on their first try. It seems he has a very good resume (better than mine was) and with persistence, he should eventually be accepted. I didn’t get in (professional school at UMMC, not medical) on my first try, but called up the head guy of admissions and asked what I could do to improve my chances the next year. I did exactly what he said, took an interviewing class with Hank Flick (which taught me a lot) and luckily was accepted the next go round. The interview is crucial, and I know that I didn’t knock it out of the park the first try. They want to know that he is dedicated/passionate about becoming a physician, and he needs to show that emphatically during his interview. Tell him to not get discouraged and keep trying. It’s not easy to get accepted, but once he does, it’ll be worth it.

    Also, he should apply to multiple schools even if he mainly wants to go to UMMC. It’s just one other thing that shows he is serious about getting in.

    Last thing, he needs to have his application submitted the day that they start accepting them or as early as possible.
    Last edited by M R DAWGS; 05-25-2020 at 09:52 PM.


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  20. #20
    My daughter went the PA school route. Less money in the long run but 21/2 year route. A growing post grad trend and will work for doctors but no need to set up her own practice. Lots of positives with a fast track to getting in the work force. She decided on this route because she wants to work in medicine without the headaches that come with being a doctor.


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  21. #21
    "Interview is critical. They really like someone who has a story that drives them. ďMy grampaw was in the hospital and the doctors saved his life and Iíve wanted to be a doctor ever since!Ē Something like that. Not just somebody who is smart and decided theyíd be a doctor."

    This seems crazy. A feel good story shows motivation but completing a STEM degree with a perfect GPA doesn't. It's a good thing I didn't have to go through anything like this, I would have told whole board the kiss my ass.


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  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by LandsurveyorDawg View Post
    "Interview is critical. They really like someone who has a story that drives them. ďMy grampaw was in the hospital and the doctors saved his life and Iíve wanted to be a doctor ever since!Ē Something like that. Not just somebody who is smart and decided theyíd be a doctor."

    This seems crazy. A feel good story shows motivation but completing a STEM degree with a perfect GPA doesn't. It's a good thing I didn't have to go through anything like this, I would have told whole board the kiss my ass.
    That's not the point. They all have STEM degrees and good grades. You have to set yourself apart. Passion will do that.


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  23. #23
    Become and Plummer or Air Condition repairman. You will always have a job. Recessions will not hurt you. You are a essential job. You will not have any student debt. You will make a lot of money.


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  24. #24
    delete


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  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgcap View Post
    My daughter went the PA school route. Less money in the long run but 21/2 year route. A growing post grad trend and will work for doctors but no need to set up her own practice. Lots of positives with a fast track to getting in the work force. She decided on this route because she wants to work in medicine without the headaches that come with being a doctor.
    PA school is a great option if he wants to practice medicine, but is OK making less money. I've been a PA in the Nashville area for 8 years. I don't know any PAs starting out under $80k right now, and $100k+ starting is not out of the question depending on specialty (ER, surgery, ortho, derm are higher paying than family med/pediatrics). Obviously not MD money, but a very comfortable living. We generally work more favorable hours, have less student loan debt, don't have to pay for our own malpractice insurance, and don't have the headaches of running a practice. The school including clinical rotations is 27 months with no residency period. We also don't specialize, so you could work in the ER for a few years, then have the flexibility to go work in cardiology or primary care if you wanted to without any additional schooling.

    Ultimately, if his heart is set on Med School, I'd agree with the many other posters that he should apply to other schools. Each school has a different set of attributes they will weigh more or less heavily than other schools. With his resume, he should be able to get in somewhere.


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  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by TNT View Post
    Good info and appreciate everyone's input. I'll touch on a few things mentioned. He has had post admissions counseling. He left there totally frustrated. Bottom line, they really had nothing to tell him and said "we don't know why you didn't get in". Some have said he can maybe take the MCAT again. He has a 500-not stellar, but certtainly enough for admission. He knows others who got in with a 498 and 3.8 gpa. A 504 is guaranteed early admission. However those who seem to know, have all agreed if he takes it again and falls below a 500, it'll def hurt him so advice is, hold with what you've got - it's enough. I'll add we had a friend reach out to a friend on the admissions board. All they did is refer him right back to the post admissions counseling dept. One counselor said "yeah, consider the masters program. 'maybe' that'll help, i don't really know...". The other counselor said "don't worry about the masters program - its for applicants who have weaker gpa's to give them chance to boost their application (we've heard this more than once so starting to believe it be accurate). Since You have a 4.0, don't do it - that's not designed for you.....'. Hence - he's taking the research job rather than pursuing a masters. I'll add he had 4 letters of recommedation - 2 from State elected officials whom he's worked for, both sent to the vice chancellor of the Med School. But again, we're told that now the admissions folks are far removed from all that and they do their own thing and its to eliminate letters from having any influence? Anyway, thanks for advice. I'll share this with him. He wants to be a doc and right now his best chance is probably LSU or UMMC, with UMMC being his obvious preference for a lot of the obvious reasons - we live here about 20 mins from UMMC. Additionally, UMMC now ONLY ACCEPTS IN STATE APPLICATIONS for med school. This is becoming a trend with a lot of med schools. The is one thing i do find admirable. Also to add, he's reluctantly applying to William Carey's DO program as a backup. We're told the DO's now sit for the exact same boards that the MD's sit for and i've been told a friend who's a doctor a UMMC that he works along side some DO's from William Carey and they're some of the most capable doctors he knows. Evidently the DO's have changed their curriculum to now match up exactly to those at UMMC, UAB and other med schools and they do the same residencies and board exams.
    I have a daughter that has a very similar path as your son. She is in medical school now. I let her read this thread and she says she's pretty sure why your son didn't get in. If you want me to share, I will thru PM.


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  27. #27
    Great tips here. Mostly the fact that every keeps saying, "keep trying...Ö.this isn't uncommon...". The DO route is also encouraging that I keep hearing folks say, it's a very respectable path. The one thing I hear more and more (mentioned probably 5 times is the interview piece). Honestly I would have thought that was his strong point, but it's possible he needs to polish that more. I appreciate everyone's input. Fingers crossed this next go-around. He'll apply day one and get a decision sometime around October. It's a damn shame the admission board can't tell him more but they've been completely clueless. He's willing to do what he needs to do, so it's annoying that they can't tell him what needs to do. Thanks again for all the advice.


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  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by TNT View Post
    It's a damn shame the admission board can't tell him more but they've been completely clueless. He's willing to do what he needs to do, so it's annoying that they can't tell him what needs to do. Thanks again for all the advice.
    A tiger can't change his stripes.


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  29. #29
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    What is he doing in the meantime?
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  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by TNT View Post
    It's a damn shame the admission board can't tell him more but they've been completely clueless. He's willing to do what he needs to do, so it's annoying that they can't tell him what needs to do.
    I hear this a good bit. He probably did nothing wrong. Itís competitive and somebody probably did or said something that made themselves stand out 1% more. Itís hard to give constructive feedback in that situation.

    He just has to keep at it. Waiting a year or two seems like an eternity when youíre in your early twenties. But if it lets him do what he wants to do for the rest of his life, itís nothing.


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  31. #31
    When I said "do what he needs to do", I was referring to Grad school vs. work for the hospital. Typically they tell you to do one or other as UMMC really likes to see that. He can't do both and the problem is they can't tell him which one he should focus on. So my reference was the fact that he's not scare of the work or the hurdles if they'll tell him which path is his best option. All he gets is "yeah, one of those might be a good idea.....".


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  32. #32
    He Just took a job doing Lupus research for UMMC. Starts it in about 3 weeks. The idea is the admissions board will "supposedly" smile upon that in his resume. Although he did the same thing 2 years ago one summer and it didn't seem to make a difference when he applied to med school last year at this same time.


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  33. #33

    Interested in Research?

    Quote Originally Posted by TNT View Post
    Need some advice. My son just graduated from MSU-Steven D Lee Sholar, 4.0 GPA Pre-Med Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. UNBELIEVABLE resume - over 75 shadowing hours, 100+ service hours, President of Fraternity, worked for Dr. Keenum, etc....list goes on and on. 500 MCAT score. He applied to UMMC and was smooth rejected last year. He's reapplying soon but he has some doubts.
    If he is set on Med School - go elsewhere. My sister-in-law went to med school at South Alabama....yes South and she loved it. She has a nice career in Pensacola.

    Alternatively, if he like the research aspect, with his grades/extras then I can get him an interview in an Environmental Research Lab in Vicksburg where he would have the opportunity to get paid to get advanced degrees.

    PM me if interested.


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  34. #34
    Where I with, I've seen more DOs in the past several years. The degree seems to be more common and more mainstreamed. I occasionally work with a DO that is a better doctor than some of the MDs I work with.


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  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by LandsurveyorDawg View Post
    "Interview is critical. They really like someone who has a story that drives them. “My grampaw was in the hospital and the doctors saved his life and I’ve wanted to be a doctor ever since!” Something like that. Not just somebody who is smart and decided they’d be a doctor."

    This seems crazy. A feel good story shows motivation but completing a STEM degree with a perfect GPA doesn't. It's a good thing I didn't have to go through anything like this, I would have told whole board the kiss my ass.
    Not directed at the OP's son, but my experience is that many 4.0 engineers have literally no common sense and in some cases have never worked anywhere at all because their whole focus is on academia. I've had more bad than good experiences with 4.0 engineers as far as being able to complete work assignments as expected, get along with the team, accept failure when it inevitably comes. Great engine; bad transmission.


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  36. #36
    I've seen working at UMMC help a lot with PT folks getting in upon 2nd application. Not sure if that holds true on MDs.


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  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by My Bru View Post
    That's not the point. They all have STEM degrees and good grades. You have to set yourself apart. Passion will do that.
    Still a pretty bad reason to pick a doctoral candidate. If it were me I'd have that tier picked by lottery. Dont reach for reasons to pick one over another. And then at least the losers roughly know their odds for the next year, and can plan accordingly.


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  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by BoomBoom View Post
    Still a pretty bad reason to pick a doctoral candidate. If it were me I'd have that tier picked by lottery. Dont reach for reasons to pick one over another. And then at least the losers roughly know their odds for the next year, and can plan accordingly.
    That would be a better route. So would raising tuition and use the excess revenue to fund loan forgiveness for graduates who practice in the state after their residencies. Or just auction off the spots and use the increased revenues to fund more med school slots and/or residencies. It's ridiculous that we are turning down qualified applicants while simultaneously producing too few doctors.


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  39. #39
    Go to law school, finish in the top 10% of his class, become a patent attorney specializing in pharmaceutical litigation, make millions.


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  40. #40
    500 is an average score, not bad, not great but about the average. Iíd aim higher than UMMC and have him apply to out of state med schools too.


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