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An Engineer...in Med School?


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An Engineer...in Med School?
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billybobsky
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2009-06-16, 22:45

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Originally Posted by MBHockey View Post
How is it not? Electric impulses control the contractions, don't they?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sa_node
sure. but that isn't the energy source...
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MBHockey
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2009-08-04, 18:22

Woohoo, after a horrible 32 day wait, I finally got my MCAT results -- 35R!

I felt like I got steamrolled after the exam, which was a very discomforting feeling to have for 32 days. I'm glad this part is all over. Application is getting submitted tonight, then I just have to wait around for a while until I hear back.

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ezkcdude
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2009-08-04, 18:36

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Originally Posted by MBHockey View Post
Woohoo, after a horrible 32 day wait, I finally got my MCAT results -- 35R!

I felt like I got steamrolled after the exam, which was a very discomforting feeling to have for 32 days. I'm glad this part is all over. Application is getting submitted tonight, then I just have to wait around for a while until I hear back.

Nice! What was the breakdown?
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MBHockey
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2009-08-04, 19:56

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Nice! What was the breakdown?
A bit lopsided, 14 PS/11 VR/10 BS
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ezkcdude
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2009-08-04, 21:11

But not unexpected from an engineer, right? I don't know whether they put any stock in the actual breakdown. A 35 is probably a 35, pretty much any way you slice it.
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MBHockey
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2009-08-04, 21:24

Yeah, I knew PS would be my strongest section. And I knew BS would be my weakest. Verbal, i had no idea. I had always gotten between 10-12 on practice, but left the test feeling like I i got a 7 or 8.

I've only had one year of general biology to prepare for the mcat bio section (orgo wasn't the issue). And really, only my first semester of gen bio had anything to do with the mcat which was disappointing. Next semester I'm taking cell bio, biochem, and genetics which I think most students take prior to the mcat. But i'm satisfied with my score as it is.
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billybobsky
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2009-08-04, 22:53

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Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
But not unexpected from an engineer, right? I don't know whether they put any stock in the actual breakdown. A 35 is probably a 35, pretty much any way you slice it.
I don't even know if mcat scores matter beyond putting you into a certain tier of school, however, if you got a 14 on verbal (15 being impossible with lower than peer group averages on the other two sections) and 10s on the sciences sections, you might encounter a bit more hassle than otherwise...

All I can say though is that 35 is a solid score allowing you to apply to the full range of schools with some confidence. The end game is all about selling yourself and begging to get in like the rest of the 90% that are deferred for the upper tier schools.

It's amazing how archaic medical school education is when it comes to basic sciences; the importance of the kreb's cycle not withstanding, the fact that new physicians leave without an actual appreciation of the depth of modern biochemistry, for instance, is certainly a drag on the leaps of improvements primary discoveries could be making with physicians being trained to make connections and propose directions for research. that being said, we are neither training physicians to be good patient tenders or good physician-scientists. In both cases, the failure to expand the skill sets of medical students and interns/residents in integrating multiple points of information is one of the biggest blights on medicine today -- we have overvalued the specialist to the detriment of health care and, ironically, putting highly specific information concerning obtuse biochemical pathways into actual use when trying to improve the outlook for patients.

(goddamn, why couldn't i get over myself and beg my way into md/phd land at penn? -- I would have been here as long, ah well I think medical school would bore me to tears now, and my friends who are going back to clinics soon are dreading the, soon to be wasted, years just behind or just ahead)...

Last edited by billybobsky : 2009-08-04 at 23:06.
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ezkcdude
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2009-08-04, 23:14

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I got a 36 on the MCAT, had 7 interviews (all at top schools) and did not get in to a single one. But looking back on it, I'm very happy that they didn't want me.
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billybobsky
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2009-08-04, 23:27

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Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I got a 36 on the MCAT, had 7 interviews (all at top schools) and did not get in to a single one. But looking back on it, I'm very happy that they didn't want me.
My story is similar, except I was offered a position at a middle tier school by the dean of the medical school and refused because the quality of the program was low, I was half accepted to a program at an upper tier school (the medical school raising concerns). AND I was wait listed at three or four other schools. My interviews were terrible almost completely (except at Yale and Penn), particularly with students (Harvard could have been the worst simply because I didn't actually like any of the interviewees and the researchers I was set up with blew big monkey dicks -- however, Cornell takes the cake since I ended up interviewing with someone who started looking at the clock two minutes into the interview -- taking control of the conversation was impossible since the physician was a douchebag and responded with one word answers). Ugh.

It turns out that the statistics for getting into an MD/PhD program are better if you get an interview than for medical school alone. Collecting those statistics, I calculated that I was an 99.9 percentile anomaly.

It turns out, I have learned, that one of my recommendations wasn't bad per se, however it strongly suggested that I wouldn't finish medical school. I liked the professor (who is now dead), but he had jumped ship on a md/phd himself at some point and probably thought i was a sort of protege...

i hated the politics/begging aspect of it... it was the worst time of my life.
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Chinney
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2009-08-05, 09:20

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Originally Posted by billybobsky View Post

[...]

It's amazing how archaic medical school education is when it comes to basic sciences; the importance of the kreb's cycle not withstanding, the fact that new physicians leave without an actual appreciation of the depth of modern biochemistry, for instance, is certainly a drag on the leaps of improvements primary discoveries could be making with physicians being trained to make connections and propose directions for research. that being said, we are neither training physicians to be good patient tenders or good physician-scientists. In both cases, the failure to expand the skill sets of medical students and interns/residents in integrating multiple points of information is one of the biggest blights on medicine today -- we have overvalued the specialist to the detriment of health care and, ironically, putting highly specific information concerning obtuse biochemical pathways into actual use when trying to improve the outlook for patients.

[...]


Good points. From what I know of the med school approach in Canada it is much the same. The attitude seems to be "We must do unto them what was done unto us", so nothing much changes. Also, your point about specialist is a good one. I wonder if part of the problem is that it has so difficult and expensive to get a good med school education that the type of person attracted and admitted to med school is not the sort of person who will be content in general practice. But we need good general practictioners.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
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MBHockey
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2009-09-12, 09:26

I absolutely agree. With the surge of baby boomers turning 65 in the next few years, general practitioners are going to be even more needed. I'm heavily considering going into primary care, and wrote about it ad nauseum in my secondary applications.

The only thing I'm worried about is my complete lack of research. Early in the application process I somehow deluded myself into thinking I had a decent chance at a top 20 school (I applied to a lot of top 20 schools) but I realize now that without any research experience, it's not very likely. So I added a bunch more mid-range schools to my application. I'm not bummed about this -- I really have no desire to go into research. I left my job to care for patients. It would be disingenuous of me and misrepresentative of my interests to go out and do research because it "looks good." But it seems that's how the game is played by every other pre-med, and it works. Sigh

Hopefully I will get some interviews. I really don't want to wait around another year to reapply.
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Iago
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2009-09-12, 10:09

Just wanted to chime in and say good luck!
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MBHockey
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2009-09-12, 15:57

Thanks

I'll be sure to keep you guys updated. It's very weird and cool to go back to the first post of this thread and remember the place I was in my life when I originally wrote it.

If anyone has any advice on this whole process, don't be shy!
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Capella
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2009-09-12, 16:06

Best of luck! Tell us how you do!
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billybobsky
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2009-09-12, 16:09

Now that your secondaries are off, it's all up to you...

Most schools will wait list you instead of directly accepting since it's a game to them -- they want to appear more selective -- so don't be afraid to call/email etc and get your school's medical school counsellor to do the same.

Although I am loathed to admit that this works in some cases, write letters or emails to the folks who interviewed you asap. If the school has any delay between the date of interview and the return of interview evaluations this can be highly useful...
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MBHockey
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2009-09-12, 16:26

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Originally Posted by billybobsky View Post
Now that your secondaries are off, it's all up to you...

Most schools will wait list you instead of directly accepting since it's a game to them -- they want to appear more selective -- so don't be afraid to call/email etc and get your school's medical school counsellor to do the same.

Although I am loathed to admit that this works in some cases, write letters or emails to the folks who interviewed you asap. If the school has any delay between the date of interview and the return of interview evaluations this can be highly useful...
Interesting advice, thank you!
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ezkcdude
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2009-09-12, 16:36

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I absolutely agree. With the surge of baby boomers turning 65 in the next few years, general practitioners are going to be even more needed. I'm heavily considering going into primary care, and wrote about it ad nauseum in my secondary applications.

The only thing I'm worried about is my complete lack of research. Early in the application process I somehow deluded myself into thinking I had a decent chance at a top 20 school (I applied to a lot of top 20 schools) but I realize now that without any research experience, it's not very likely. So I added a bunch more mid-range schools to my application. I'm not bummed about this -- I really have no desire to go into research. I left my job to care for patients. It would be disingenuous of me and misrepresentative of my interests to go out and do research because it "looks good." But it seems that's how the game is played by every other pre-med, and it works. Sigh

Hopefully I will get some interviews. I really don't want to wait around another year to reapply.
You're absolutely wrong that you need research. In fact, if you are really interested in going into primary care, and you can show it by your experience with volunteering or shadowing a doc, that is going to do much more for you than research experience.

I may have already explained my background, but if not here's my story. I applied to medical school in 1996. I had a 36 on the MCAT and a 3.6 (or maybe 3.7) GPA from Johns Hopkins in Biomedical Engineering. I had 7 interviews at top schools (UCSF, UCSD, UCLA, UC Davis, Northwestern, Washington University, and Vanderbilt). Didn't get into a single one.

Why, you ask? Well, I'm convinced it was because I had focused too much on research and academics and not on being a people person. If you can believe it, one of the faculty at UC Davis actually asked me why I had done so much research. It was a joke. I didn't even re-apply the next year because I was so angry.

Happily for me, I actually stuck with the research and thank my lucky stars every day for that decision not to re-apply (because if I had gotten in the second time, I would've gone for sure).

So don't sweat the lack of research experience. I can't imagine any school rejecting you for that reason. Not if everything else is going for you. Good luck!
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MBHockey
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2009-09-12, 16:55

Interesting take. Thanks for the insight and bid of confidence!

I shadowed a doctor last january, but only for a day. He wrote a book which I read while still working as an engineer last year, which convinced me I could make the change. He also wrote a letter of recommendation for me (he went to Wash U for medical school.)

I have also been volunteering since March. I do patient surveys once a week for four hours, and I honestly love it. I basically walk around the hospital with a list of patients to see and I talk to them about how their care has been, how the staff has been treating them, any complaints they have, etc. It's been terrific, and I have written about it on my applications.

The only reason I'm concerned about my lack of research experience is that I spoke to a friend who is in her last year at harvard med and she told me the top 20 schools are notoriously research heavy. She said it'd be very difficult to get an acceptance at research-heavy schools without having done any research. This made sense to me.

I guess time will tell
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MBHockey
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2009-09-19, 11:41

3 rejections in one day, bummer.

Mayo, Chicago, and BU. I thought I was quite competitive at BU so i'm not sure what happened there. Not too surprised at Mayo or Chicago though. I'm really hoping for an interview at UPenn or Cornell. They accept a lot of nontraditional students according to USNews.com
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Maciej
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2009-09-19, 12:28

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3 rejections in one day, bummer.

Mayo, Chicago, and BU. I thought I was quite competitive at BU so i'm not sure what happened there. Not too surprised at Mayo or Chicago though. I'm really hoping for an interview at UPenn or Cornell. They accept a lot of nontraditional students according to USNews.com
*shudders* I haven't looked at the mail yet, today. Did your rejections come by email or post?

I'm sorry to hear that, as well. I didn't apply to the top 25 schools because I was afraid.

User formally known as Sh0eWax
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MBHockey
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2009-09-19, 12:31

I got two by email, and one by just logging in to check the status.
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Maciej
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2009-09-19, 12:36

Its a real shame they don't provide feedback, but what can you expect. If I don't get in this round, its graduate school for me.
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Capella
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2009-09-19, 14:05

Sorry about the bad luck. Good luck for both of you in the future!
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Iago
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2009-09-19, 15:29

This is great news Maciej! You're three schools closer to the one you're gonna end up going to.
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MBHockey
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2009-10-22, 16:26

Man, this is a tortuous process. I've got two interviews (University of Rochester and Duke) so far, and waiting to hear back from a ton of schools still.

I really don't understand this process though. I got rejections from several schools (not even an interview) that are less competitive than Duke and U of R.

Seems like a crapshoot.
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ezkcdude
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2009-10-22, 17:32

It's a total crapshoot. That's why you have to apply to a ton of schools, and just hope for the best. Good luck.
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billybobsky
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2009-10-22, 23:33

The schools you are too good for will not bother to waste their time with an interview...
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MBHockey
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2009-10-23, 18:31

That makes sense, but I have no idea how to evaluate whether I'm "too good'. While my numbers are solid, they're not amazing.

I'm extremely excited about the duke interview though. Any idea if it's better to interview earlier rather than later? Duke is non-rolling, and I'm not sure if I should schedule it as my first interview (maybe get some practice first?)
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ezkcdude
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2009-10-23, 19:03

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maybe get some practice first?
Not a bad idea.
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billybobsky
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2009-10-24, 10:33

non-rolling schools are still significantly rolling in their admissions policy....
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