MD Program Admissions

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Last Post for the 2016-17 Cycle

June 13th, 2017 by Dr Ian Walker

So, as of today, it would appear that our class is full.  There are still two people currently in the class who due to personal reasons are still considering a deferral / leave of absence.  If that happens, there might be ever so slightly more movement on the waitlist, but it will be minimal.

Having essentially come to the end of the cycle, it seems that we had less movement on the waitlist this year (and higher acceptance rates for our offers of admission) than in past years.  I am not sure that this is anything more than a one year aberration, and it will not affect how we set up our wait list next year.

For those of you who were unsuccessful, particularly those of you left on the waitlist, I would encourage you to persevere.  As much as I would love to be able to say that medical school admissions is some kind of infallible, reproducible science, it is not.  While there are clearly differences between applicants that we can pick up, there is also a great deal of luck involved in the process.  This applies to file review scores, as well as MMI scores, and to a lesser extent even things like GPA and MCAT scores.  Certainly, I would say that if you come close in one application cycle, you have the potential to be successful in another.  My general advice to all of you is that if you are going to set out on the process of applying to medical school, you should be prepared to apply 5 times before giving up.  If you don’t get in the first or second time, it is just as likely that you were simply unlucky as it is that you were a categorically weaker applicant than your peers.  The flip side of that is that if after many applications, you remain unsuccessful, you probably do need to at least consider the possibility that your application is qualitatively or quantitatively weaker that that of most of your peers.

On a related note, I will again ask people not to over interpret your application scores.  They absolutely do vary from year to year, even though you, as a person have remained constant.  There are lots of reasons for that.  A good illustration is what happens in a playoff series.  The Penguins and the Predators were the same teams each time they took the ice this year, but the series ended 4-2.  Was that all luck?  No.  Was it all completely reproducible?  No, obviously not.  The point of sharing your scores with you (besides meeting our legal obligations and avoiding the need to process FOIP requests) is to give you a “broad strokes” picture of where your relative strengths and weaknesses lie.  When you look at these scores, you should be looking for the major outliers, not small gradations in between. If you are below the 20th percentile in some area, there is PROBABLY (but not necessarily) something to that, and you can think about how to address that.  My personal feeling is that trying to strategize about how to turn your 40th percentile into a 60th percentile in something is a complete waste of time.

Looking forward to meeting all our new medical students in the fall, and I will be holding another Q&A session in mid september for the new group of applicants.  I am, however, on leave of absence for the entire summer, so with this I will sign off on the blog for the next couple of months.  Enjoy your summers, everyone.

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8 responses so far ↓

  • Dr. Walker, When will the 2016-17 cycle reference stats be posted?

  • Hello,

    This is a bit off topic, but I have entered my MCAT id #, and I have released my scores to the UofC school of medicine, and my application still says that my scores haven’t been verified. I’m stressing out, can someone please help? I have checked everything three times 🙁

    • Hi Kim,

      I think the admissions committee is super busy right now based on the post they made on the front page of the website. It may take them a few days/ weeks to update your scores. As long as you made sure to put the CORRECT ID number and released your score from the aamc website you will be fine. I was in the same boat as you when I applied last year.

    • Validating MCAT scores is an ongoing process. If you have released them to us using the AAMC system during the current cycle, then you should be ok. Depends when you wrote. The scores for writings in late August were only available to us today so have not been validated to date. Of note, the staff in the office are working through the backlog of emails, but that is the best way to get a timely response (but it will take two or more days). Trying to call other people or visit other people only delays the response time.

  • I’m looking forward to an update on the 2017-2018 cycle!

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  • For the 2017-2018 cycle, when will the timelines and applicant manual be made available?

    Thank you,

    Stephanie