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Tin Man

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Application Cycles: 7/11/2011
Demographics: Male, 29, Caucasian
Home State: Kansas
Last Activity Date: 3/19/2012
SDN Handle: Tin Man

Current Blog Postings

Tin Man, 3/14/2012 at 8:51pm EST
So the story goes that the letters for KU were mailed out today, probably to my parents' house (which I listed as my permanent address on the AMCAS application), so my guess is that a letter from Kansas City to another Kansas city (I'm punny) will arrive by tomorrow. And since I don't live with my parents, I probably won't be the one to open it. This is sort of a moment of finality for me right now, since I'm not holding out much in the way of hope for Toledo.

Since I've been stuck waiting for this particular day for the last several months, I've found several ways to distract myself from stressing out, but the ability of me to resist the stressful feelings associated with something like, say, the possible sealing of my entire future decreases exponentially in proportion to the nearing of the time of the actual revelation. I'm realizing that this is partly due to my excitement of possible success in a five-year journey with uncertain results, partly due to my expected and natural apprehension of actually going to medical school, and partly because I very much would prefer not to have to go through this process again.

At the end of the day, I can honestly say that as stressful as I have heard medical school to be (and as I can imagine it to be), the simple fact is that unless you are dreadfully untalented or the Fates themselves decide that your existence is an insult to all things good in this world, then soldiering through medical school results in you being a doctor. Your future is generally determined as one of a healer, and though there will obviously be more stress-inducing waits in the future that determine what kind of healer you will be, you can rest reasonably assured that you will eventually be wearing a white coat by middle-age (unless the white coat thing goes out of style, which it very well might).

Pre-med doesn't have that kind of certainty. No matter how hard you work, how smart you are, or how good your application appears to be, there is simply no promise that you will end up in medical school. There simply is no American Dream here; you simply do the absolute best you can and hope that chaos theory lined up the variable favorably for you. Until you get the acceptance letter, you're working as hard as you can just to increase the odds, which is, at least to this extreme of a degree, a somewhat foreign experience when we're raised with the somewhat simplistic American Dream-style philosophy that work=success.

Either way, I know that (so long as my simple assumptions about the mail delivery times are correct) by tomorrow, this particular part of the journey will be over. I can only hope that I go to bed tomorrow with a better idea of what my career will be than I have now.

Unless, of course, the zombies take over.
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Tin Man, 1/11/2012 at 9:29pm EST
Outside of KU, I'm only still in the running at three schools, and none of given any hints about interviews or anything. I'm not entirely confident that the other schools are going to give me the last February interviews, which means that I only got one interview from KU. That's... kinda crushing.

I mean, you always think in the beginning that you're going to apply again if you don't make it the first time, but if you only get a single interview, and it's from your state school, then what does that say about your competitiveness? It's a lot of money to apply, and is it possible for me to really boost my application enough that it makes the second attempt significantly more lucrative?

It's unlikely that I'm going to increase my science GPA that much in between cycles, so I have to focus on my MCAT. 28 isn't a bad score, but it's certainly not good enough to compensate for any other weakness in my application. If anything's going to make a difference number-wise, hopefully that'll be it.

That being said, it's awfully depressing to study for the MCAT again because you feel it's the only way to save your application. I was scoring above 30 pretty regularly on the practice MCAT tests, but if I get another 28, or even worse, get LOWER than a 28, then I've essentially tanked my application completely.

On the third hand, I realize a remarkable amount of this just comes down to dumb luck. I could theoretically apply again with similar stats and happen to get a reviewer on a good day, which could make all the difference. i still want to try to boost my MCAT, but even if I don't, it might be worth another run.

I know if I had even a single other interview invite, then this wouldn't even be a decision in my mind. Maybe I'll get accepted to KU come March (or later, if I'm an alternate) and this issue will disappear. Until then, I have to behave as if I'm taking another run at this. If I wait until March to accept that I'm probably not getting in this year, then it'll probably be too late to work on boosting my application significantly enough to matter.
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11/07/2011 PS
Tin Man, 11/7/2011 at 11:43pm EST
BTW, if anyone was wondering how I handled the situation with my letters of recommendation, I was able to find a past science professor who was gracious enough to write a quick but very high-quality letter for me. I sent them off to the schools by snail-mail, since my AMCAS application had already listed all five letters (the max) for each school.

I called a few of the schools and most were okay with me handling things this way. One school said they don't take letters that way, but it was already in the mail at this point. I figured in the worst case situation, they'll just throw it away, but in the best case, someone will read it and hopefully have a small, though unofficial, impact on my application there. It's worth a shot, anyway.
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Tin Man, 11/7/2011 at 11:39pm EST
Well, just got a rejection from VCU. My other three rejections had been pre-secondary, so I didn't feel as bad about those, since I figured I just got filtered out based on a (stats) x (residency) threshold. Having someone read through an application and THEN decide that you're rejected is a little bit more of a punch to the gut.

I'm really hoping to get a couple more interviews; the other schools have been pretty (disturbingly) quiet. What I don't want to happen is to be rejected by every other school, and be waiting until March to hear back from KU. And being pocket-vetoed out of the application pool wouldn't be too pleasant either.

For now, I'll just hurry up and wait. I figured the absolute best way I can boost my academics for the possible next cycle is not to focus too much on my GPA, and instead try to push my MCAT up. I was consistently scoring 33's on the official practice MCAT's, so I'm not sure what happened on testing day that dropped me to a 28.

Regardless, even if I took another semester of science courses, the best I could hope for in my science GPA is to push it NEAR a 3.5. On the other hand, if I restudy for the MCAT and really rock it (hopefully with scores closer to my practice tests), then the resulting boost to my academics will be much more impressive. Hopefully that, plus some extra volunteering and shadowing to show I'm still interested, will be enough to significantly boost my chances, or at least my staying power, at some of these schools should I need to reapply.
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Tin Man, 10/4/2011 at 3:44am EST
Finished up most of my secondary applications today. It took me longer than expected to get the money I needed for each application. Hopefully, this won't affect me too seriously.

I have an interview at KU coming up. I'm pretty excited about my chances here. I'm good at interviews, so I'm hoping that I can get the edge I need during the interview process. I'm craving the feeling of having an acceptance; I can only imagine what the lack of stress is going to feel like.
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Tin Man, 9/21/2011 at 1:49pm EST
Got rejected by WVU. Not too shocking; I don't have any close ties to West Virginia, and it did save me from having to pay and spend time on a secondary. Still, it makes me really hope to hit my other schools hard at interviews.

I'm running into a little trouble with LSU and Tulane in the form of letters; they have committee letter requirements, which can be replaced by three letters from science professors (two for Tulane). There's two problems:

1) I come from a large university, and most large universities don't have pre-medical committees.
2) I am not a science major.

This makes me particularly disadvantaged. I can't get a committee letter because I'm at a big university. And because I'm at a big university and NOT a science major, then the science classes I have attended (pre-med classes) are generally 200-600 person lectures. The professor wouldn't even recognize me. Science majors enter enough high-level science classes to have an easier time getting to know a professor well enough to get a strong letter of recommendation, but the absolute best I can do having taken mainly pre-med science courses is to get a letter saying the following:

"He did well in my class. So I suppose that means he's ready for medical school."

That kind of a policy seems kind of discriminatory against non-science majors from large schools, but I don't think that's a fight I could win, even if I am right about it. I have the secondary from LSU, and probably won't finish it due to not having the science professor requirement in my letters. At least LSU has an excuse for sending me the secondary, though; they don't use the AMCAS letter service.

I'm more interested to see whether or not Tulane is going to send me a secondary. I'd be excited to have the opportunity to apply, but if I do get a secondary from them, I'm going to call in and make sure that they're okay that I haven't fulfilled their letter requirement. Their secondary fee is $125... I don't want to pay that kind of fee to get rejected post-secondary for an issue they could have rejected me for pre-secondary.
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Tin Man, 9/16/2011 at 9:04pm EST
Applied EDP to University of Kansas, and was rejected for the initial interview. I was told that they were willing to schedule a regular interview for mid-October, so hopefully I'll be getting the confirmation of that interview here in the next week or so.

I was a bit stuck on what to do next; I hadn't heavily considered which other schools I wanted to go for, and given my rather unimpressive numbers, I was aiming to go for schools I thought would look at my application a little more holistically. I surprised myself after figuring out which states seemed to hold the greatest promise for me. I'm fairly confident in my interviewing skills, so I'm hoping that if I can get myself into a room with an interviewer, I'm going to be much better off.

Boonshoft sent the automatic reply asking for the secondary fee; paid that early, so hopefully I'll hear back from them soon. I also got a secondary back from University of Toledo today.

I wasn't initially going to apply to LSU, since both the Shreveport and NO campuses are known to favor state residents pretty heavily. After calling the campus, though, I found out the NO campus will have 40 slots open for OOS students. So off we go...
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