Sep 19, 2015
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Hi y'all,

I am a Virginia resident, not born, but definitely raised! I attended College at George Mason University (Low ranked National uni) and graduated two years ago. I'd always loved Biology, so I majored in it, but decided to switch tracks to Teacher Prep when I was a Junior as my performance in some classes wasn't so good. That opinion was further cemented in my mind when I took the MCAT and score a 26. I had only studied for one week, as I thought it was similar to preparing for the SATs, and well it wasn't. At graduation, I sat at around a 3.63 cGPA, and a 3.39 sGPA.

Also, throughout college, I developed a great love for traveling, and working in foreign communities, as it helped me come out of my shell. After graduation, I immediately found a great job as a Science Teacher at a Middle School that was just...too good for me! Though at the time, it proved challenging, and is the basis of my personal statement. I eventually got into the groove of things, and at the same time started taking about 6 credits a quarter through Goucher College. I was also studying for my MCAT at this time, so I was busy, busy, busy. At the end of the year, I raised my cGPA to a 3.72 and sGPA to a respectable 3.60. I also scored a 520 on my MCAT, which I have been told is a strong score.

After a year working as a Teacher, I got a Research Fulbright to a European Country...the name of which I am withholding because I was one of two grant winners and it'd just be ridiculously easy to look me up if I disclosed the country's name. Anyways, it's been lovely living in Europe for the past month, and I'm currently working on my personal research project.


To address other areas of my app: I have medical volunteering experience, good shadowing experience, great LOR's, a handful of leadership positions, and 1 published research paper in the field of virology.



I would be over the moon with ANY MD acceptance, but am confused as to whether I should shoot mostly for low-tiers, mid-tiers, or Top 20. Any guidance would be very appreciated.
 
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Lawper

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You should be friends with @NatGeo and @PhysicsWolf since your situation, story and experiences are interrelated in many ways. ;) :p

Now, your GPA and MCAT are great. With strong research and leadership experiences, as well as good clinical experiences (and other experiences involving middle school teaching and research fulbright), I think you have a good chance at the top tiers and many mid tiers as well (this should be the focus).

Despite a 26 in the background, it's unlikely that schools will average two exams of very different formats, and the AAMC recommends schools to take only the new score. I think you will be fine, as long as your essays are great and you interview well. Good luck.
 
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GrapesofRath

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You should be friends with @NatGeo and @PhysicsWolf since your situation, story and experiences are interrelated in many ways. ;) :p

Now, your GPA and MCAT are great. With strong research and leadership experiences, as well as good clinical experiences (and other experiences involving middle school teaching and research fulbright), I think you have a good chance at the top tiers and many mid tiers as well (this should be the focus).

Despite a 26 in the background, it's unlikely that schools will average two exams of very different formats, and the AAMC recommends schools to take only the new score. I think you will be fine, as long as your essays are great and you interview well. Good luck.
The bolded is not an assumption I would make.

Pretty sure you have posted this before as another account, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt and assume you aren't a troll. You are in very solid shape.

A good list for you would consist of all VA schools, 3-5 lower tiers, including about a half dozen or so of the medium tier variety(think schools with median stats around a 3.7-3.85/33-35 that don't have IS bias---Case, USC, Emory, Einstein, Rochester, Hofstra are good ones) and a half dozen or so of the top 20 schools of your choice. Duke, Northwestern, Pitt, Vanderbilt, Columbia come to mind off the top of my head as potential good choices. That would make about 20 schools and should result favorable results.
 

Lawper

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The bolded is not an assumption I would make.
This isn't an assumption. It's accepted by adcoms here to be the case. Yes the two scores will be seen by adcoms, but what i have seen is.

1. The scores are compared based on overall (and not subsection percentiles)

2. The old and new are of sufficiently different formats and there is no means to average the two.

The success of applicants who did retake and enjoyed a massive improvement is what matters, and the above two are what AAMC itself recommends and many schools follow.

Of course, individual adcoms can do whatever they want, but all i care is how people fared with a massive improvement. With the sample size being very large, it's a safe bet to make and the rationale/debate on MCAT policy is senseless speculation.

With thousands of applications to be reviewed, adcoms would be satisfied following AAMC policy or school policy just to move on, rather than trying to beat around the bush and do random, bizarre calculations.
 

GrapesofRath

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This isn't an assumption. It's accepted by adcoms here to be the case. Yes the two scores will be seen by adcoms, but what i have seen is.

1. The scores are compared based on overall (and not subsection percentiles)

2. The old and new are of sufficiently different formats and there is no means to average the two.

The success of applicants who did retake and enjoyed a massive improvement is what matters, and the above two are what AAMC itself recommends and many schools follow.

Of course, individual adcoms can do whatever they want, but all i care is how people fared with a massive improvement. With the sample size being very large, it's a safe bet to make and the rationale/debate on MCAT policy is senseless speculation.

With thousands of applications to be reviewed, adcoms would be satisfied following AAMC policy or school policy just to move on, rather than trying to beat around the bush and do random, bizarre calculations.
The only assumptions being made are in what you said above. Gyngyn has said when there are multiple MCAT attempts the best assumption to make is schools will compare the two by looking at percentiles. Goro echoed a similar sentiment. Percentiles are king and what gives the MCAT meaning.

There is a difference between what AAMC "recommends" and what schools follow. Saying schools just do what the AAMC recommends them to do is a rather shortsighted perspective. The AAMC also wants schools to use the MCAT as merely a threshold test and not use high test scores such as a 515 vs a 521 as distinguishing applicants. We all know medical schools, particularly top ones, are going to keep doing that regardless of what the AAMC desires.

I'm not sure where this idea that since they are different tests they can't be compared came from. Perhaps its just something you came up with, perhaps it's not I don't really know. Really, the safest "assumption" to make if you are going to make one is schools are going to look at multiple MCATs in a similar manner as they did in previous years. This whole, it's a new MCAT now, so you can just disregard an old score from 2014 and before if you have a new one, is at best a dangerous assumption to make.

This is all largely an insignificant discussion and not relevant to the OP though. I just commented on it because you were making an assumption that is somewhat of a stretch.
 

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The only assumptions being made are in what you said above. Gyngyn has said when there are multiple MCAT attempts schools will compare the two by looking at percentiles. Goro echoed a similar sentiment. Percentiles are king and what gives the MCAT meaning.

There is a difference between what AAMC "recommends" and what schools follow. Saying schools just do what the AAMC recommends them to do is a rather shortsighted perspective. The AAMC also wants schools to use the MCAT as merely a threshold test and not use high test scores such as a 515 vs a 521 as distinguishing applicants. We all know medical schools, particularly top ones, are going to keep doing that regardless of what the AAMC desires.

I'm not sure where this idea that since they are different tests they can't be compared came from. Perhaps its just something you came up with, perhaps it's not I don't really know. Really, the safest "assumption" to make if you are going to make one is schools are going to look at multiple MCATs in a similar manner as they did in previous years. This whole, it's a new MCAT now, so you can just disregard an old score from 2014 and before, is at best a dangerous assumption to make.

This is all largely an insignificant discussion and not relevant to the OP though. I just commented on it because you were making an assumption that is somewhat of a stretch.
All i am saying is it is difficult-to-impossible for schools to average two different exams with different scores. They test different things (and common things in that regard). As mentioned in both #1 and your comments on what gyngyn and Goro said (which are the same), schools will just compare the scores based on overall percentiles.

It isn't like the old score will disappear. But it's irrational to have a random backup software that converts new to old (or strangely old to new) and carry out random operations for each applicant. From an adcom's perspective who is already overwhelmed with thousands of apps to evaluate, is it worth it?

That's the rationale behind AAMC suggestion (the same AAMC who recommends averaging the two scores of the same format). The same/different format that i use is adapted from the AAMC policy.

But in the end, it's up to individual adcom preference. With strange policies like superscoring in effect, i can just as well provide a random comparison that uses a polynomial equation i made up on the spot and schools may eat it up as the "next new accurate" method.

It's all speculation. As long as the retake is higher than the old score, it's a safe bet to apply accordingly and hope for the best, but there is a very strong evidence that those who retook and did better had a lot of success in acquiring interviews and acceptances. This is the key point every applicant should keep in mind regardless of what metric adcoms use.
 

GrapesofRath

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All i am saying is it is difficult-to-impossible for schools to average two different exams with different scores. They test different things (and common things in that regard). As mentioned in both #1 and your comments on what gyngyn and Goro said (which are the same), schools will just compare the scores based on overall percentiles.

It isn't like the old score will disappear. But it's irrational to have a random backup software that converts new to old (or strangely old to new) and carry out random operations for each applicant. From an adcom's perspective who is already overwhelmed with thousands of apps to evaluate, is it worth it?

That's the rationale behind AAMC suggestion (the same AAMC who recommends averaging the two scores of the same format). The same/different format that i use is adapted from the AAMC policy.

But in the end, it's up to individual adcom preference. With strange policies like superscoring in effect, i can just as well provide a random comparison that uses a polynomial equation i made up on the spot and schools may eat it up as the "next new accurate" method.

It's all speculation. As long as the retake is higher than the old score, it's a safe bet to apply accordingly and hope for the best, but there is a very strong evidence that those who retook and did better had a lot of success in acquiring interviews and acceptances. This is the key point every applicant should keep in mind regardless of what metric adcoms use.
I agree with what most of you said I'll just add when your an ADCOM and see thousands of apps each year it's pretty easy to figure out quickly what each new MCAT score means and converts to on the old scale and its percentile which is what matters.

The AAMC's rationale behind using the new test not the old one is well because they think the new test gauges ability alot better. And considering all the time they spent making it, they better think that.

Also if the concern about the new thing testing far different things was a big thing then schools would state they prefer the new test or old one, not say they accept both equally.

All in all I don't think it's really speculation to say that when comparing two scores, an old and a new, many schools will use similar policies as they did when comparing two old scores. But alas, that's enough with this topic, we're all basically saying the same thing.
 

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I agree with what most of you said I'll just add when your an ADCOM and see thousands of apps each year it's pretty easy to figure out quickly what each new MCAT score means and converts to on the old scale and its percentile which is what matters.

The AAMC's rationale behind using the new test not the old one is well because they think the new test gauges ability alot better. And considering all the time they spent making it, they better think that.

Also if the concern about the new thing testing far different things was a big thing then schools would state they prefer the new test or old one, not say they accept both equally.

All in all I don't think it's really speculation to say that when comparing two scores, an old and a new, many schools will use similar policies as they did when comparing two old scores. But alas, that's enough with this topic, we're all basically saying the same thing.
Many schools do state they prefer the new one for the following cycle. I agree that the percentile comparisons are really the best way to handle multiple takes, and this confusion on handling different scores will be resolved in like a year or two anyways when the new MCAT becomes mainstream.

Yeah, glad we got that resolved lol. But in regards to the actual, non-MCAT part of OP, it does in fact sound a lot similar to older threads (and it's a reason why i tagged them accordingly). But hey, nothing wrong with the benefit of doubt.
 

md-2020

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Your dream is alive. The 26, almost 3 years old (expired by the time you apply?) will not matter at all.
 

GrapesofRath

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Your dream is alive. The 26, almost 3 years old (expired by the time you apply?) will not matter at all.
Meh I'm not really sure the bolded is true. It's all a side point, OP is fine anyway for tons of schools even top 20's perhaps, but I'd be skeptical at best saying a 26 is just completely irrelevant because it technically is "expired" and can't be used to gain admission. As gyngyn always says, poor scores when they can be seen have the chance to impact an ADCOM viewing your app. I don't think it magically being 3 years old changes that. Like I said, I don't think the 26 is a big deal really, I just brought it up because it does kind of raise an interesting question do schools that average multiple MCATs use an old MCAT in their calculations that might be expired. It's definitely possible the answer is yes, and even if it isn't officially calculated, it still could be a factor.
 
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gyngyn

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Your dream is alive. The 26, almost 3 years old (expired by the time you apply?) will not matter at all.
"Expired" scores remain visible for at least 7 years.
They don't become meaningless. They are just not useful!
 
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Banco

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I think you have an excellent application, even if you have the 26 from a few years ago.

Apply broadly and wisely, but don't shy away from the top schools.