Your Chances of Getting into Medical School? - Interview w/ Don Osborne of INQUARTA

Leonardo: Welcome to the Cambridge Learning Center and welcome to our three part series on Medical Admissions. I’m Leonardo Radomile. Most of you know the Cambridge Learning Center, either as alumni or students or as subscribers to our YouTube page. And as you know we’ve had real success helping students with MCAT Verbal (what is now the MCAT Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills section). Today, we’ve invited Don Osborne of INQUARTA to join us because he’s had real success in helping students during the entire medical school process. Unfortunately too many students think that applying to medical school is just about grades and MCAT scores but there’s so much more to it than that. One of the big elements is strategy, and Don is going to be talking to us about that and some other elements. So Don, tell us about INQUARTA and what’s the big idea behind INQUARTA.

Don: Well I’ve been doing medical school admissions consulting since 1994 and one of the things that always bothered me about medical school admissions consulting is that it can be very, very expensive. So I created INQUARTA as an alternative to high-end admissions consulting programs. I have a wide range of online video courses that cost anywhere between $7 and $27. So they’re very, very affordable. They deliver, like, 95% of information that you would get if you were to hire a full-time paid consultant. And I’m familiar enough with it because I, for the last twenty-something years, have been and continue to be a highly-paid, private medical admissions consultant. I just didn’t like the idea of charging only those students who could afford it a truckload of money to help them get into medical school so I came up with INQUARTA and the online courses as an alternative so that everybody could afford to get the kind of help that previously only the most affluent could get.

Leonardo: That’s really excellent, but one of the things that students always ask us and that we really encounter quite a bit, when students ask when they take a look at their test scores, what are my chances? How do you suggest that a student really access their odds of acceptance?

Don: Ya, that’s a great question. And this comes up quite a lot, espcially around the time of MCAT prep. And the thinking goes, “Well you know I’m really not sure how good my MCAT score is, I’m not really that confident in my grades, I’m worried about some of my experiences, whether my experiences are good enough. So really, if you take a look at my overall package, what are my chances of getting in?” And you’ll see that a lot. You’ll see that on, you’ll see that in various places online, student forums where they put up a lot of their personal information hoping to get some reassurance that they can get into medical school. So in my practice, I’m a very, very, very big believer in facts and evidence-based advising, so I have been running a regression for the past several years where I enter all of my clients’ data into an algorithm and then that algorithm then predicts interview and acceptance ratios and every year I test what my algorithm predicts with the actual outcome. And I’m happy to say that now that has really dialed in with a very high confidence interval, if you like the statistics of it. Ya I’ve got a really good confidence interval and my success rate at predicting interview is nearly 100% and then acceptance is probably in the 90’s. A lot of it depends too on the student’s willingness to say yes to a school that says yes to him or her so there’s that factor to it as well.

Leonardo: Interesting. Tell me a little bit more about the tools that help with this.

Don: Ya, so you can actually get access to this assessment for free. I put the whole thing online and you can take the assessment yourself and if you’d like I can get you a link to the assessment so you can put it in the description of the video. And then if you decide that the assessment is worth while, there’s actually an upgrade path where you can purchase some additional video feedback on all the various aspects of the Medical School what are my chances assessment process. But really we’re talking about objective elements, like MCAT score and GPA, but also we’re talking about how the subjective elements, your experiences and your personal statement, will be evaluated. And then there’s the intangible elements, the areas of the application that most people really never talk about, like timing and school selection and things like that.

Leonardo: It’s really interesting, you know I think that one of the things that most of the students that we encounter suffer from is the fact that they think it’s just a mechanical assessment, grades, scores, and that’s it. They don’t realize how important the intangibles are and that holistic, strategic approach. That’s reallye excellent. Well I’ve got a ton more questions but we’re out of time. Why don’t we do another video?

Don: Okay.

Leonardo: Okay, let’s do another video. I’m particularly interested in talking about the personal statement. And what we’re going to do Don at the end of this video is put a link to your webpage and where students can get more information. So thanks for stopping by and we’re really looking forward to talking with you more about that all-important personal statement and some of those other intangibles.


Click here for the free assessment mentioned in the interview: