Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Admissions Committees are Just Not that Into Me

Once again I interrupt the slow plodding chronicles of my volunteer trip to India to write about current events in my long journey to medical school.

Yesterday I got three--count 'em--three rejection emails from Canadian medical schools. Ouch. The hits just keep on coming.

J.B was at the house when I opened the one from Calgary, which was the school I really wanted to get an interview at. The main bonuses were the proximity to my family, the 3 year program, the rural clerkships, the short drive to the mountains...oh and the hockey jersey that each student gets.

So I opened the email with a racing heart, thinking that it wasn't a good sign that I was getting the email on the first day of the notifications. I must say though, despite the contents, the thing that I really liked about the rejection was that the letter started like this:

February 2nd 2009

Dear Albinoblackbear,

Unfortunately,...(insert rejection monologue here)

I liked how they cut to the chase. They had me at "unfortunately" which I found thoughtful. I mean all one wants to know when opening a letter/email like that is YES or NO and you don't want to actually read 3 paragraphs and find buried somewhere in there the words "the cut off for the interview score invitations were higher than your application scores" or some convoluted drivel like that. Really, they ought to print the letters with either a green or red background so that you don't even have to read the words to get the message.

My rejection from Ottawa was like aforementioned wordy example. Buried. Paragraph three and with somewhat ambiguous wording.

So when I read that U of C didn't want me I had a small meltdown which J.B said "was a mixture of crying, laughing, and the F-word". It's true. It was a rant akin to the rant I had when I was first rejected many moons ago by a Saba.

But it brings me back to the question, what do admissions committees want? Is all this business about wanting 'well rounded applicants with life experiences that prove their dedication to medicine' a bunch of lip service to hide the fact that really they are still looking for borderline Aspergers applicants who have biochem degrees, 40 MCAT scores, and a research background?


Hold. Back. Rant.

Well, the upside is I am going to medical school, the downside is I will likely have to leave Canada to do so. Funny how today I got my renewal notification for the Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine. I just feel my heart hardening to the constant cries of "where are all the rural doctors in Canada?" and all the woes of rural ER docs when I am jumping up and down in the background going "pick me! pick me! I grew up in rural Alberta and want to continue to provide medical care to underprivileged populations in Canada!" and I get the letter from admissions that begins with the word 'unfortunately'.


OMDG said...

Really they are still looking for borderline Aspergers applicants who have biochem degrees, 40 MCAT scores, and a research background.

Just in the MD-PhD candidates.


OMDG said...

I forgot to add: CONGRATULATIONS ON GETTING ACCEPTED (to the US schools)!!!!

That's what really matters, anyway. I got rejected from a ton of places too.

(The red/green thing might mess up the color blind boys..... they'd be like, What does gray mean? Maybe a big YES/NO would work better?)

Keet said...

Do you get to write back?
Or are they Do-not-reply addresses.
I think you should send them some feedback, starting with unfortunately, i can't accept your rejection letter, as I am the best candidate to take a seat in your stupid ass school.
Or something.
<3 K.

Albinoblackbear said...

Thanks OMDG--much appreciated. :)

I found your blog when I was in my third semester of prereq hell (from googling 'teratoma' of all lovely things). I must say that reading about your experiences often reminded me why I was putting myself through things like physics and MCAT studying....because I think when you go into medical school later in life you have a better idea of how to separate the BS of it all from the valuable and rewarding aspects of it.

Well...hopefully. :P

And yeah, gray would be a bit ambiguous wouldn't it?

Albinoblackbear said...


Yeah as I said when I got the Queens rejection, waving a bottle of wine in my free hand: "You CANT fire me because I QUIT!!!"

Or send them a letter saying, "Unfortunately, you cannot offer me an interview because I withdraw my application"...but I have to say I like your angle much better.

My brother suggested I just show up in Sept and start going to classes...I told him that simply wont work.

simmers said...

Just show up. I'll put you in their database.

Albinoblackbear said...

haha-Nice one Simmers. Yeah. I know you could do it to!! :P
If only...

Unknown said...

Take it from experience -
Doesn't matter so much where you go to medical school. What matters is what you make of your education.
The only time people ask me where I went to medical school is when I apply for hospital privileges.

Albinoblackbear said...

WC-I agree that education is what you make of it...and now that I am a dorky 'adult learner' with 5 years of primary care/ER nursing under my belt I think I will do well (maybe even enjoy??*gasp*) medical school.

I just hope that going to the Caribbean will not adversely affect my residency options later on. Or as my housemate put it "how are you going to explain that your degree is written on a banana leaf?" har har.

Nature Nerd said...

I'd take Simmers up on his offer if I were you. But I'm totally biased, cause Calgary is the closest you can be to us while in med school.

Pooooop to U of C. Poop. They have no idea what they just passed up. No. Idea.

Bostonian in NY said...

I remember my first go at the med school application thing ended with me sitting on the couch at my parents house drinking several glasses of scotch and writing an incoherent re-write of my personal statement.

What do admissions committees want? They want you to be the first application on their desk for that year with a middle of the road MCAT and GPA that doesn't seem too unique. The line between original and flaky is very thin for most adcoms.

As WC said, it really doesn't matter where you go to school...as long as you do well on your boards, work your butt off on the wards and speak English (although the final point is negotiable at some programs).

You're in, and that's the only thing that matters.

Albinoblackbear said...

BINY--I think your next post ought to be that re-write of your incoherent personal statement! :)

Glad you are still alive!

Bostonian in NY said...

I believe it went something to the tune of "I fruahgign deserved to be acceptttted to you garsh darn progtam. You fcalksers hav no idaaaaaa what you're missing out on....I need mroe scotch now"

Beach Bum said...

There is a (probably apochryphal) story of an applicant who was rejected but showed up and started going to classes. As the story goes, two weeks into the semester, he went to the registrar and told them "I've been attending classes for two weeks, let me in."

It's a shitty system, and admissions committees are looking for people like them. So interesting people, with life experience and social skills don't cut it, no matter what the propaganda says.

Just remember, that you don't want to be like them.