Dec 20, 2014
75
30
Status
Pre-Medical
Will have at the time of application:
Academic
GPA: ~3.6c, ~3.5s
MCAT: (took August 2015): 128/130/128/130 = 516. 95th percentile. Apparently ~34-35 on the old scale.
Currently a senior, will be taking one gap year

Activities
~150 hours clinical volunteering (ED and hospice)
~40 hours nonclinical volunteering
~50 hours shadowing
1 summer of research through REU (300 hours), no pubs or legitimate presentations
Extra-curriculars: Edited for privacy.

---
Extracurriculars don't seem that impressive on paper but they are interesting and somewhat unique. I think my application is average (with a low GPA), so I am planing on retaking in January. I am considering MD/MBA. If anyone has other ideas about how to improve my application, I would really appreciate it. Gap year aspirations as of now include landing a consulting-esque job, ideally related to healthcare; there are a lot in my area. Alternatively, finding a research position.

Thank you for your help!

Edit: I understand retaking a high score is really risky. I don't want to seem prideful or anything, I don't think I'm owed a better score. But since my GPA is low, I feel like I can improve my chances by getting a higher MCAT. Is it really a dead end? Am I really not broadly competitive for the mid-tier schools? That is what my goal is.
 
Last edited:

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
Will have at the time of application:
Academic
GPA: ~3.6c, ~3.5s
MCAT: (took August 2015): 128/130/128/130 = 516. 95th percentile. Apparently ~34-35 on the old scale.
Currently a senior, will be taking one gap year
State: VA

Activities
~150 hours clinical volunteering (ED and hospice)
~40 hours nonclinical volunteering
~50 hours shadowing
1 summer of research through REU (300 hours), no pubs or legitimate presentations
Extra-curriculars: Senior officer in Honor Committee; resident advisor; boardmember on university Board of Elections; pre-med organization executive committee; student newspaper columnist

---
Extracurriculars don't seem that impressive on paper but they are interesting and somewhat unique. I think I am an average applicant, so I am planing on retaking in January. I am considering MD/MBA. If anyone has other ideas about how to improve my application, I would really appreciate it. Gap year aspirations as of now include landing a consulting-esque job, ideally related to healthcare; there are a lot in my area. Alternatively, find a research position.

Thank you for your help!
The most likely things to happen when you retake an outstanding score
a) Your score decreases. This is definitely not a good thing, renders your impressive score alot less impressive.
b) Your decision making is questioned. You'll see ADCOMs on here talk about re-taking high scores as being perceived as an act of hubris. Gyngyn has even told applicants that re-taking a high score like that would be a real red flag at his school.
c) Even if you improve your MCAT score on the retake it will likely be by a point or two. With a 35 already on your record that will do next to nothing for you except waste time effort and money.

So if it wasn't clear before, don't retake a 35. Easiest decision you'll ever have to make.

Boost the clinical exposure and volunteering but if you can continue to expand on those EC's you seem to be a competitive applicant to a large number of lower tier and some medium tier schools as well.
 
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OP
Q
Dec 20, 2014
75
30
Status
Pre-Medical
The most likely things to happen when you retake an outstanding score
a) Your score decreases. This is definitely not a good thing, renders your impressive score alot less impressive.
b) Your decision making is questioned. You'll see ADCOMs on here talk about re-taking high scores as being perceived as an act of hubris. Gyngyn has even told applicants that re-taking a high score like that would be a real red flag at his school.
c) Even if you improve your MCAT score on the retake it will likely be by a point or two. With a 35 already on your record that will do next to nothing for you except waste time effort and money.

So if it wasn't clear before, don't retake a 35. Easiest decision you'll ever have to make.

Boost the clinical exposure and volunteering but if you can continue to expand on those EC's you seem to be a competitive applicant to a large number of lower tier and some medium tier schools as well.
Thanks for your help. I've definitely read your points on here before, and I understand the risk. But, I think it's understandable to want to be competitive at more mid-tier schools, especially since I'm already taking a gap year. And I don't think boosting the ECs will make a significant enough difference in that regard...

I guess what I'm asking is, am I really not broadly competitive for the mid-tier schools? Because that is what my goal is.
 

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
Thanks for your help. I've definitely read your points on here before, and I understand the risk. But, I think it's understandable to want to be competitive at more mid-tier schools, especially since I'm already taking a gap year. And I don't think boosting the ECs will make a significant enough difference in that regard...

I guess what I'm asking is, am I really not broadly competitive for the mid-tier schools? Because that is what my goal is.
Re-taking the MCAT and getting a 518 or so will not make you more competitive that's the key point. All it will do is potentially draw red flags to your application.

Boosting those EC's will be what make you more competitive. A 3.6/35 can definitely get II's at medium tier schools. But one with very little volunteering experience and EC's that are somewhat limited overall will be in a tougher spot for admission at any school; lower tier or medium.
 
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Lawper

cat in a box
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5+ Year Member
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Jun 17, 2014
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ChrisMack390

2+ Year Member
Jan 15, 2015
3,379
4,506
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
You already scored higher than 95% of test takers. What do you think you are going to gain by scoring higher than 97% of them?
 
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Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,651
78,916
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
So help me, if you retake that perfectly fine MCAT, I'll reach through the electrons and smack you upside the head!

Just invest in MSAR and target schools who median stats are closes to your own. Pay careful attention to the Acceptance information tab.

If you want to make yourself more appealing, get off campus and out of your comfort zone, and volunteer with people less fortunate than yourself.

Will have at the time of application:
Academic
GPA: ~3.6c, ~3.5s
MCAT: (took August 2015): 128/130/128/130 = 516. 95th percentile. Apparently ~34-35 on the old scale.
Currently a senior, will be taking one gap year
State: VA

Activities
~150 hours clinical volunteering (ED and hospice)
~40 hours nonclinical volunteering
~50 hours shadowing
1 summer of research through REU (300 hours), no pubs or legitimate presentations
Extra-curriculars: Senior officer in Honor Committee; resident advisor; boardmember on university Board of Elections; pre-med organization executive committee; student newspaper columnist

---
Extracurriculars don't seem that impressive on paper but they are interesting and somewhat unique. I think my application is average (with a low GPA), so I am planing on retaking in January. I am considering MD/MBA. If anyone has other ideas about how to improve my application, I would really appreciate it. Gap year aspirations as of now include landing a consulting-esque job, ideally related to healthcare; there are a lot in my area. Alternatively, finding a research position.

Thank you for your help!

Edit: I understand retaking a high score is really risky. I don't want to seem prideful or anything, I don't think I'm owed a better score. But since my GPA is low, I feel like I can improve my chances by getting a higher MCAT. Is it really a dead end? Am I really not broadly competitive for the mid-tier schools? That is what my goal is.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gyngyn
OP
Q
Dec 20, 2014
75
30
Status
Pre-Medical
So help me, if you retake that perfectly fine MCAT, I'll reach through the electrons and smack you upside the head!

Just invest in MSAR and target schools who median stats are closes to your own. Pay careful attention to the Acceptance information tab.

If you want to make yourself more appealing, get off campus and out of your comfort zone, and volunteer with people less fortunate than yourself.
Thank you for your answer!