7+ Year Member
May 20, 2011
Medical Student, Post Doc
You essentially have an application most people could just dream of...


2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
Applying this cycle, submitted 17 schools already. Considering adding more lower ranked schools depending on feedback (money is a little tight though).

CA resident with strong ties to MN

3.8 c&sGPA at 35-25 ranked school, 4.0 grad GPA

521 MCAT
132 CP
131 CARS
130 B&BC
128 P&S

- PhD at top 3 program synthetic chemistry and stem cell biology (10k+ hours)
1 1st author paper, 2 2nd author papers
- NSF graduate research fellowship
- Undergrad organometallic research for 3 years (1000+ hours)
1 2nd author paper

Non-clinical Volunteering:
- Teaching health workshops to underserved public school students for 2 years in college (240 hours 2010-2012)
- Scientific education outreach through graduate program (350 hours 2012-2016)

Clinical volunteering:
- Volunteer EMT with undergraduate organization and ambulance company (~500 hours 2009-2012)
- Hospital volunteer in post-op ward (120 hours 2009)

Shadowed spinal surgeon for 80 hours over 2 summers

- RA for 2 years
- tutor chem/math physics for 2 years in college
- TA for graduate class

I am shooting for high ranked research schools. I feel like I may not succeed because of the change of direction from synthetic chemistry and the fact that my clinical volunteering is now 3-5 years old. I have already set up another volunteering opportunity at a big hospital and am shadowing a cardiologist which hopefully will be online before interviews (if I get them). Also I am now on a much more clinically relevant project in graduate school.

School list:
Harvard, Penn, Stanford, Columbia, Yale, UChicago, UCLA, Michigan, UCSD, Cornell, Northwestern, Mt. Sinai, Mayo, UVA, BU, USC, UMinnesota

Should I add more schools? Seems I have a lot less than most people with similar stats and I am trying to decide whether to invest more money this cycle quickly or just save some schools for reapplying next year.

Do not do what's in bold at all. Apply once and do it right.

Obviously this is a golden application. You'll be in position to get II's with this list. All top schools are in play for you. And yes its a good idea to keep doing the clinical volunteering. I don't think the concerns about "change of direction from synthetic chemistry" are anything to worry about. You don't need to apply to more schools but I don't think its a bad idea to add a few more schools. The idea of saving up for a potential next cycle is not what you want to be doing; spend the money on those schools now.

For the "safety" type schools be conscious of the 90th percentile MCAT stats of lower tiers. It's very possible you could get screened out at some of them. Here are some "safeties". Here are some schools I might give consideration to as well for the "safety" purposes.

Stony Brook
Saint Louis
Case Western
Jul 9, 2015
Thanks for taking the time to come up with a few suggestions. I know my app is strong but I do have a few flags that have made me a little nervous at how top heavy my list was (no premed committee and haven't done any clinical work for many years). These were the exact kinds of schools I was thinking of and I'll make sure to add a few of them that also will work for my wife and I (two body problem).

I'll remove the post now so that my neuroticism doesn't bother other people.