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Need some serious advice.

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by zoner, May 21, 2012.

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  1. zoner

    zoner

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    Hi my fellow non trads.

    So I have been spending the past 3-4 years getting ready to go to med school (MD) and this past application cycle unfortunately I wasn't accepted to any med school. Applied to about 25, got one interview but ultimately, they ended up rejecting me.

    I am again getting ready to apply for the next 2013 application cycle but seriously having some doubts. I think what is most lacking is my clinical experience. Here are my stats as of now.

    mcat 30
    gpa 3.7
    science gpa 4.0
    age 36
    clinical volunteer experience ~100
    community service 1 year
    research 1.5 years with a couple presentations
    lots of random and varied work experiences (non medically related)

    So yes, I know, my application isn't stellar by any means. So with this stat and my last unsuccessful application attempts what should I do now? My adviser suggests that I become a scribe, emt or something paid and full time to get my clinical experience better so that if I don't get in again next year, I will be a stronger applicant for the following year.

    But, I just don't know if I have what it takes to wait another year if I fail to get in anywhere this time around. I already feel really old to be going through the med school and residency route and waiting another year would be I think devastating. So I am currently looking into other professions where I can utilize my premed prerequisite background such as anesthesiologist assistants or clinical laboratory scientists, but both fields are not idealistic. I have been wanting to becoming a Doc for almost a decade now with so much given up that I am not sure if thinking about another career will mean that I am cheating myself or if I am being logical and realistic. I just didn't know it would be this competitive to get in when I started this journey and I certainly didn't' expect to be in this position where I didn't get in anywhere.

    What do you guys all think? Is it pathetic of me to be thinking of another career? or is it valid and reasonable?

    PS, I will be applying to both DO and MD schools this time around.
  2. JOConnor

    JOConnor

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    I am completely confused as to why you were not accepted. Where did you apply?
  3. JOConnor

    JOConnor

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    Did you type your stats down correctly?
  4. zoner

    zoner

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    ? why?

    yes, they are all correct. I applied broadly UCSF to Albany to Wayne
  5. ShoTyme

    ShoTyme We're going STREAKING!!!

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    :confused: Wow. That sucks. It makes me scared to apply.
  6. LoLCareerGoals

    LoLCareerGoals

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    Did you have a really easy major from a no name undergrad? Poor GPA prior to postbach?
    I mean anyone can get clinical experience, I am more interested in numerical fundamentals before all the nice to haves. MCAT is borderline, but not horrific.
  7. Supisak

    Supisak

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    UCSF was a waste of money and time for your numbers and age - just a reality there- Wayne likes in state so if you aren't MI then also waste.....Albany likes OOS and gets TONS of apps for this reason, I think maybe your app timing and your school selection here, maybe PS without any additional data
    Please post entire school list and MCAT score break out

    Thanks
  8. Supisak

    Supisak

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    Love this SDN MCAT perspective - any score with a 3 in the tens position is a good score unless totally unbalanced
  9. Jamie561

    Jamie561

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    30 is below average for matriculants. I'd call it borderline as well.

    Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk
  10. Supisak

    Supisak

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    I guess that depends on where you apply / go to school
  11. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor

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    The answer to your question is that no, it's not unreasonable to have a Plan B (and even a Plan C) in place in case Plan A doesn't work out. But it's also not inevitable that you can't get into medical school based on one failed attempt. You need to start by taking an honest assessment of what went wrong, because you won't know how to fix the problem until you understand what the problem is first.

    Here's my take. Your grades and MCAT score are fine, and your bottleneck in the process is that you didn't get any interviews. Therefore, you likely have one or more of the following problems:

    1) PS: is it poorly written, unable to convey your passion/desire for medicine? If you haven't taken advantage of the Nontrad PS readers list, you may want to consider using it this year.

    2) LORs: any chance that someone might have written you a lukewarm one? Most people have such glowing letters that even a lukewarm one can hurt you.

    3) ECs: it's possible that you had insufficient clinical experience, but 100 hours seems like a reasonable amount to me if it was something significant. That being said, getting more clinical hours won't hurt you.

    4) School choice: not only do you need to apply broadly, but you also need to target the right set of schools. Adding DO schools is a good move.

    5) App strategies: did you apply late? Have a long turnaround time to submit secondaries? Make it your business to get your primaries in by the end of June, and give yourself a two week deadline for each secondary. The longer you wait to complete your app, the fewer the interview slots that remain open.

    Hope this helps, and best of luck. :)
  12. zoner

    zoner

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    My major was in the arts from one of the top university in the country. My undergrad gpa was 3.2 because frankly it didn't matter and was more than a decade ago. My post bac was however 4.0
  13. zoner

    zoner

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    Albany Medical College Regular M.D. No
    Boston University School of Medicine Regular M.D. No
    David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Regular M.D. No
    George Washington University Sch of Med & Hlth Sci Regular M.D. No
    Georgetown University School of Medicine Regular M.D. No
    Jefferson Medical Coll. of Thomas Jefferson Univ. Regular M.D. No
    Keck Sch. of Med.University of Southern California Regular M.D. No
    New York Medical College Regular M.D. No
    New York University Regular M.D. No
    Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicin Regular M.D. No
    Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Scien Regular M.D. No
    Rush Medical College Regular M.D. No
    Temple University School of Medicine Regular M.D. No
    Tufts University School of Medicine Regular M.D. No
    UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School
    University of California San Diego Regular M.D. No
    University of California San Francisco Regular M.D. No
    University of California, Davis School of Medicine Regular M.D. No
    University of California, Irvine- College/Medicine Regular M.D. No
    University of Colorado School of Medicine Regular M.D. No
    University of Maryland School of Medicine Regular M.D. No
    University of Minnesota Medical School-Minneapolis/Duluth Regular M.D. No
    Wayne State University School of Medicine Regular M.D. No
    Weill Medical College of Cornell University

    Frankly, I just didn't know where else to apply.

    My MCAT was 10/10/10 P
  14. zoner

    zoner

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    Regarding LORs, I have no clue. How am I suppose to know that??? Science professors can be very unexpressive.

    Regarding PS, I believe it was very strong. I had it rewritten ten times and read by various people and they all at the end considered it very good.

    All my primary got confirmed by August and sent my secondary by mid September.

    My adviser however think that if I keep up with my volunteer/clinical works, I should be perfect form somewhere the third time around. But my goodness, I will be 38 when I matriculate!
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  15. Dan1804

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    Nothing wrong with having backup plans, but I'd give it another shot if I were you. You've come this far already. Get more clinical experience, which could also yield some good LORs. Take some upper level science classes. Apply June 1st. Apply to more schools.
    Re: LORs
    I asked LOR writers I knew really well to send me copies of their letters. I had a combined letter for AMCAS, but I used a letter I really liked from a doc I worked with whenever secondaries indicated that I could send in supplementary letters.
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  16. Back 5

    Back 5

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    Unfortunately, that 3.2 from a decade ago DOES matter. Applying DO this cycle will help a lot, as they have grade forgiveness and there are some DO schools who only evaluate the last 120 hours of course work.

    Given your attempt didn't go well last time, submit your app June 1 and get your secondaries in before August. Earlier is always better if you can submit quality secondaries.
  17. theseeker4

    theseeker4 MS 3

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    So I take it you didn't actually contact the schools that rejected you and try to find out where your application needs improvement? Some schools don't respond to these types of inquiries, but some do, and that will tell you if you have a poor LOR, some other red flag you aren't aware of or thinking about. If I were you, that is where I would start, before submitting anything this cycle.

    Get your primary submitted the first day applications are accepted if you can this year, and pre-write as many secondaries as you can to reduce turn-around time as much as possible. You don't want to be "not that late," you want to be as early as possible. :luck:
  18. Caprica6

    Caprica6 I call it Vera

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    IMHO, I don't think the 3.2 is that big of an issue considering a 4.0 post-bac and 3.7 overall. Your MCAT is balanced. What was the nature of the clinical volunteering? 100 hours seems reasonable to me. However, since you were an arts major, and had a non-medically related career prior to applying, maybe adcoms want to see more in the way of clinical experience/shadowing/volunteering, in order to assure them you have made an educated decision about the career switch.

    Which brings me to...why the career change? Was this expressed well in your personal statement? What have you been doing for the past 10+ years? Do you have a work history that makes you look wishy-washy in what you want to do? Do you have LORs from people other than your professors? With 10+ years of work history, I think it would be a good idea to include some LORs from your employers. Many schools accept additional letters, and even if that is not the case, if you explained your situation as a non-trad, many others may agree to accept them as well.

    Most likely, school choice was part of the problem. I'm assuming you are from California, which sucks. Applying OOS with average stats and being an non-trad is difficult because the schools with similar statistics get a ton of applications. I'm not super familiar with your list of out of states schools, so you may have already done this, but my advice is to really, really do your research. Apply to schools with stats similar to yours, that are friendly to OOS students and non-trads, and have a mission that matches your career goals. Do you want to do research? Primary care? Rural? Work with the underserved? Work overseas? You see my point.

    Lastly, if you think it is the clinical experience holding you back, do you have a lot more this cycle than last cycle? What have you done in the last year to make your application more competitive? If it is not a lot or you are really worried about it, I suggest you wait another year. Being a second time applicant as opposed to a third time applicant is probably better in the eyes of adcoms.

    Good luck.
  19. Prncssbuttercup

    Prncssbuttercup Established Member -- OMSIII

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    I see two things as a likely potential, 1, your application time, your stats are good, far better than mine, but they aren't THAT good, you need to reapply JUNE 1ST!!! As in get your stuff together and have your app in NOW. 2. You also should have some of the NT personal statement readers go over your PS, if they all say it is good, then I'll believe it, if you had people who know you read it, they are biased and don't give effective feedback.

    Best of luck, there is no reason you shouldn't get in... and yes, choose carefully, and apply broadly to MD and DO...
  20. zoner

    zoner

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    I have spoken to two schools. Both said something wishy-washy about how my clinical experience is lacking. I knew that going in because I really only started it the may before I actually applied hence right now I have 100 hours of clinical. The reason why the career change is too personal to mention here, and my past work history is yes wishy washy but there is nothing I can do about that now. I was bit immature.

    everyone seems to be saying things about the timing, but my primary applications were all received and cofirmed by July. Is that still late?
  21. mcdtheta

    mcdtheta SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    Stay the course - you've put a lot in to not try again.

    Keep us posted!
  22. zoner

    zoner

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    well, but what i am saying is that am I trying again without much improving my stats from last year? is it wrong to just apply to DO schools instead? Am I wrong to think about DO school that way?
  23. galaxyx

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    So I'm just trying to clarify, but it sounds to me like:
    1. you applied last year with maybe ~10-20 hours of clinical experience,
    2. you have since amassed ~100 hours of clinical experience
    3. Schools told you you didn't have enough clinical experience (I'm assuming schools meant when you applied, not currently, but I could be wrong).

    So it seems like you've addressed the main concern of the schools you talked to??
  24. zoner

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    Yeah, but thats just it,, I am not sure if they were looking at it purely from when I first applied or if they took under consideration that I would have had x numbers of hours by the time they let me matriculate.
  25. Esquire

    Esquire

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    .
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  26. zoner

    zoner

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    yep
  27. theseeker4

    theseeker4 MS 3

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    Depends. I was starting my clinical experience the same month I applied.....wouldn't recommend that to anyone who has a choice, but if you have everything else in order, you may want to apply now and hope you don't have to re-apply.
  28. theseeker4

    theseeker4 MS 3

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    Above you said confirmed by August, here you say July. At what point was your application verified by AMCAS and sent to the schools? Big difference between the beginning of July and the end of August regarding the disadvantage. All else being equal, the earlier the better, and if you are worried about having a marginal application, apply the earliest you possibly can.

    You should apply to some DO schools if you would be willing to actually attend them instead of applying another cycle. Most students at DO schools are there more because they were better able to get in to a DO school than an MD school, a DO school was a better location for them, etc. Applying to DO schools as "backups" is fine. Just make sure, before you add any school to your application, you can say honestly "if this is the only school that accepted me this cycle, I would take it." :luck:
  29. zoner

    zoner

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    Could someone give me an advice on my school list and please feel free to give me some more suggestion.

    I am applying to all California schools (again) except for Loyola and Stanford. Also going to be applying to handful of DO school around the coastal areas of the country. But I need about 4 more schools to apply to that I have a decent chance of getting in. Thank you

    Here is a list of my school but I still want to cut about three off of this list.



    David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

    Drexel University College of Medicine

    Howard University

    Keck Sch. of Med.University of Southern California

    Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Scien

    The University of Miami School of Medicine

    University of California, Davis School of Medicine

    University of California, Irvine- College/Medicine

    University of Louisville School of Medicine
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  30. realmeaning

    realmeaning

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    +1

    If you didn't get in with these stats, I am scared ****less. ****LESS.
  31. zoner

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    r u kidding? my stats kinda sucks
  32. realmeaning

    realmeaning

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    I don't think so.

    Several other people have also expressed confusion as to why you didn't get in. You don't have a blaring fault anywhere. Your stats are decent.

    For my .02, could it be age? Age discrimination is technically illegal, but I know it happens-- I was reading a book today that said most adcoms prefer the physician to be to be able to give at least 20 to 25 years of service before retirement. Of course, you can't do anything about age, but maybe there are certain programs that are known to be more favorable to nontrads?
  33. zoner

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    well, remember, 100 hours of volunteer/clinical work is what I have NOW, and not when I had applied last July.

    Also, pardon moi, but at 36, I believe I have at least 40 years ahead of me.
  34. realmeaning

    realmeaning

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    I think they're referring to from the time you graduate med school to traditional retirement age, 65. If you were to graduate at 40, that'd give you 25 years. I'm not arguing in favor of a bias, just explaining it. Anyway, just take this confidence you showed in this post and put more of it in your app.
  35. zoner

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    Hey, yeah, I know, I was just kidding. I am currently polishing up my app. I would still like someone to comment on my school list though.
  36. rguil15

    rguil15

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    Is it just me or does that list of schools have many high ranked/prestigious medical schools on it? Your stats look great from here, I don't know in what world a rounded out 30 is "borderline". But it's the Internets, it must be true.

    Sorry, the original list.
  37. Matt In The Hat

    Matt In The Hat

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    So, as a fellow 36 year old, here are my two cents:

    I think the main obstacle is your school list. My advice would be to check the MSAR, and find some schools that have averages that are where your stats are (or slightly lower).

    I have a 30 MCAT as well. All the med schools to which I applied said that my undergraduate performance would not be all that relevant because of the time that has passed.

    You probably won't be going to an Ivy League school, and the California schools are quite competitive, but with a realistic look at the medical schools in the US, and your willingness to relocate, I cannot imagine that you cannot be admitted somewhere.

    You age isn't a factor - it's likely that you won't be the oldest person in your class, regardless of where you go.

    Keep working - you've done the work, you just have to remain confident.
  38. zoner

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    Hey, thanks for a great suggestion.. But I do have MSR book , but having a really hard time finding enough schools whose MCAT average is 30 or below and likes accepting out of state students. I applied to a bunch of pvt schools last year, but no luck. One interview, but still did not get in. Where can I apply?
  39. lkthlttr

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    In looking at the list of schools you applied to it seems to me that they are mostly too competitive or are of the type that receive >8000 applications each year. If I were you and I wanted to get in somewhere and location weren't an issue, here's what I'd do. Find the spreadsheet that includes all the pertinent stats for all the med schools (available somewhere on SDN) and then apply the following filters:

    1. Eliminate schools with average MCAT greater than 32.
    2. Eliminate schools that receive more than 8000 applications per year.
    3. Eliminate schools that accept fewer than 20% from out of state (or require regional ties)
    4. Eliminate schools that have a specific demographic focus (historically black or spanish speaking)

    You should be left with a list of schools that would include places like Rochester, MCW, Buffalo, the SUNYs, Iowa, Cincinnati etc. Then add in the California schools (except maybe UCSF and UCLA) and any other schools you feel strongly about (whether you feel you'd be a good fit or if it's a dream school) and that would be a good list I'd think. Keep acquiring clinical experience and get your secondaries in as soon as possible and I bet you are successful this time around.
  40. zoner

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    Is sending in the primary by late june kinda late?

    I could send it earlier, but I rather for my application fee waiver to kick in if they let me.
  41. lkthlttr

    lkthlttr

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    You could submit with one school as of June 1st and then add other schools later on.
  42. zoner

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    yeah, but the price of that first school is the most expensive
  43. MedPR

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    A 3.7 is average, maybe a bit above average while a 30 MCAT is below average for MD matriculants.

    They aren't great, but they don't suck. Shadow a DO and you'll definitely get into a DO school. Probably will get in even if you don't shadow one. Your stats are probably high enough for DO ADCOMS not to question if you are doing DO just because your stats are too low for MD.
  44. zoner

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    But I thought with DO school, the reason why their stats are lower is because they like people to have LOTS of shadowing and clinical experience over having done well in school. Am I mistaken? Do they really like good stats?
  45. MedPR

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    My understanding is that DO schools place more value on ECs than MD schools and are willing to overlook lower GPA/MCAT numbers. It's not that they prefer someone with lots of experience over someone with good scores, they are just looking at a bigger picture than many MD schools are.

    I think that definitely contributes to why DO schools have lower stats than MD schools, but I think the main reason is they don't have many MD-level applicants. I've been told (by DOs) that MDs can learn all the OMM and extra musculoskeletal stuff if they really wanted to. With that in mind, there are few reasons to choose DO over MD.

    I think a lot of below-average GPA/MCATers apply DO because it's their only hope. However, I also think that some of us actually begin to buy into DO (legitimately) once we learn more about it.

    Don't forget, at the end of the day your work ethic and intellect get you through medical school, not your hours of volunteering or shadowing or research. No med school (DO or MD) wants to waste time or money on someone they don't think can handle the workload. Except maybe the Caribbean schools.
  46. NightGod

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    Take full advantage of the LizzyM spreadsheet when deciding what schools to apply to. It will give you at least a solid starting point on what schools you have a decent chance of making it into. As for averages, remember that every 40 they accept got balanced out by a couple people with scores in the 20s. Honestly, I'm betting it was clinical experience that really hurt you more than anything.
  47. zoner

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    Can you give me the link to LizzyM spreadsheet? I just did a quick search and all I got were threads about LIzzyM scoring.
  48. OldBat

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    Using AAMC Table 25 and doing some simple math I came up the results that 65% of the accepted applicants scored 32 or lower on the MCAT. Also 33% scored 29 or lower. Yes you have better odds of being accepted with a higher score but the majority of accepted applicants probably scored 30 or lower.
    According to MCAT the mean test score is 25

    I used the data for White Applicants.
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  49. rguil15

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    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Is this correct? Doesn't sound right.
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  50. zoner

    zoner

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,958
    Location:
    Cloud 9
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    can someone please provide me the link to LizzyM score keeping spreadshee?

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