Originally Posted by Lacour
I'm at the end of my sophomore year (starting my junior this fall) and I'm applying next summer. I'd like to see what you guys think I should focus on to make my application stronger. Particularly, what sorts of EC/experience/MCAT stuff I should aim for.
College: competitively ranked private university
MCAT: scheduled for 9/10/11
Major: B.S. Biology/B.A. History
ECs: Army ROTC; 1 year of genomics research; worked for 3 months at an oncology clinic (shadowing/volunteering/little bit of everything) ~15+ hours/week; picking up a volunteer position at a hospital next month for 6+ months; work as a mentor for an after-school high-risk children's program (going on 2 years); plus the obligatory science/running/history society type clubs.
I know my c/sGPAs are somewhat low--I had a particularly bad semester when my mother was diagnosed with/passed from cancer. Hopefully, admissions will acknowledge that my ONLY poor grades [F and two Cs] were at these times and I've since retaken them to show that I can do better.
I have strong, varied letters of recommendation for people in different departments (academic), my military science department (leadership), and doctors I've worked for/with (professional).
So, yeah, I'm studying for the MCAT now so that, if I need to, I'll have time to retake. I'm focusing on bringing my GPA up in the fall and getting the volunteer experience too. Otherwise, what do you all suggest I focus on?
Thanks so much!
AACOMAS only counts the retaken class (if credits are the same or greater), so your GPA for DO schools is higher already. What do you suppose that comes to? DO GPA calculation spreadsheet: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=450050
Your first priority for MD schools is to raise that BCPM GPA, as a 3.0 is just too low. You'll need a string of As in upper-level Bio and Biochem to prove your potential to MD adcomms. It may take you more than a year to get it where it needs to be. Are you willing to wait until after graduation before you apply?
The leadership, mentorship, and research look good. For clinical experience, the average is 1.5 years for a total of 150 hours. The longevity is important, so gaining this at 3-4 hours per week is fine. You'll also want to broaden the shadowing to include a primary care doc and maybe one other specialty besides oncology. About 50 hours is the average.
To top it all off, get a decent MCAT score. How competitive it needs to be depends on the type of schools you want to apply to and what your application GPAs will be. If you aren't repeatedly scoring in your MCAT target zone by September, then reschedule for next year. More and more schools will be starting to average MCAT scores, so doing poorly may put you at a disadvantage you can't overcome.