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2nd..3rd time applicants-Suggestions to strengthen app

Discussion in 'Underrepresented in Healthcare' started by latinabelle, May 8, 2008.

  1. latinabelle

    latinabelle 2+ Year Member

    May 1, 2008
    Demorest, GA

    So I have applied to medical school twice and have not been accepted. Here is my situation. Any suggestions on how to strengthen my app or if you are a 2nd/3rd time applicant how you did it would be greatly appreciated.

    UG GPA: 3.97
    Science GPA: 3.95 ( I think--made only one B)
    MCAT-Taken Twice--low 20's
    Volunteer Experience: current and past
    -Clinical: local hospital (nurse assistnat) & Grady Hospital, Free clinic for uninsured (medical interpreter, pharm tech, lots of shawdowing)

    - leadership: Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholar (health policy internship on capitol hill), Research assistant(volunteer) for National Council of La Raza on health disparities, Board member of an organization, peer educator for Advocates for youth, asthma camp counselor, chem lab assistant, math/science tutor, health educator (promotora de salud)

    - professional: 2 yrs+ in the non-profit, biology lab instructor (emory)

    I have taken a princenton review course in the past to prepare for the MCAT.

    Currently, I will be starting my MPH in fall 08.

    I probably need a refresher in my core science classes (physics especially).. So should I audit the classes instead of taking them for a grade since the GPA is not my weakness? I will probably take the mcat two more times

    any other suggestions on how I can boost my med application????

    Some may think I am crazy for applying again, but I know that medicine is for me and that I would excel not only academically but leadership wise as well. I am very tenacious and will not give up until I reach medical school

    It would be great to read about peoples experience with applying their 2nd/3rd...time

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  3. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    Gone Walkabout!
    I think you already know that your problem is the MCAT. Your two scores in the low 20s are a "deal breaker". Starting the MPH is great especially since you seem to have an interest in public health issues but you need to figure out why you have not been able to master the MCAT.

    Do you have a knowledge base problem? That's the easiest to remedy because you can take a Kaplan/TPR course and get a basic refresher of the knowledge from your pre-med courses.

    Do you have an knowledge application problem? If this is the case, you likely need to purchase several of the retired MCAT exams and carefully work through one of them keeping an eye on the manner in which the questions are asked and how you should approach them.

    If you have a combination of the two problems above, don't take the MCAT until you have spent some serious time working out your deficiencies. While you are working on your MPH, you might start tackling you MCAT problems on a regular basis. Since you have taken one prep course, you might be able to sit in on some classes since you didn't get the results that you had hoped for.

    Do not- for emphasis I will use all caps and bold- DO NOT retake the MCAT until you are taking practice exams and scoring well. Since you have two previous poor MCAT performances. You need to score minimally in the 30s on a third attempt (mid-thirties would be good) because the first two attempts were so low. I cannot emphasize this point more strongly.

    While you are working on your MPH, you can put some time between those previous two performances, pick up any coursework that you feel you need (not sure that you need to completely audit a course but you know yourself the best) and nail this exam because it's the MCAT that is killing you.

    When you are near completion of your MPH (do a great project), you can ramp up your MCAT prep and make sure that you are on track by saving at least one or two retired MCAT exams to take under exam conditions. They should give you a good idea of where you stand.

    Allow plenty of time to work on your problems which you are going to have to a certain degree because you will be working on your MPH. I am also sure that you know that nothing you do outside of a strong improvement on your MCAT is going to "enhance" your application and thus, make MCAT "damage control" a priority while you are working on your MPH.

    Think of this as getting the job done for your future patients. Think of them as you are going through this process. The good thing is that there is not age limit on medical school so take your time and get over this hurdle for the last time. Good luck!
  4. FetalDoc

    FetalDoc FetalDoc 5+ Year Member

    Jan 31, 2007
    I have been a re-applicant and I actually got a lot of helpful information from adcom members in terms of my application and this cycle I received a couple outright acceptances from great schools, some in the top 20. Here is some information that might help. Its just advice so take it with a grain of salt. first of all your gpa and science gpa are fine, I don't know why you want to do the mph but you will be asked that if you get an interview next cycle seeing your undergrad performance was great. Secondly your mcat is in the low 20's and could be the reason why your in your position. I think you should try to score above an mcat score of 27. A score of 25 or 26 may get your foot in the door but everything else in your app must be outstanding. there have been minorities who have been accepted with mcat scores this low (the lowest I know of is a score of 23 two years ago) to MD programs but you have to understand that every persons application is different and maybe there was something else about the applicant as far a EC's, personal statement or how they filled out the secondary that got them the interview/acceptance. you might have a better shot at DO programs with an mcat score in the low 20's but a DO has disadvantages when it comes to competitive residency programs.
    What I think you should do is focus on the MCAT. Remember that the MCAT is not a test of knowledge but of problem solving!! I think you should focus on studying for it and do other things that will build your AMCAS in the extra curricular part of it. Doing the MPH program might help with this. I also want you to be aware that the past two years have been VERY competitive. it use to be about 17800 spots for 32000 applicants. I think last year it was 17800 for about 42000 applicant or somewhere around there. That also is another factor. I also know from adcom members that because the applicant pool is so large that scores and grades aren't everything but are somewhat of a prerequsite and they look heavily at the personal statement, secondary essays, and EC's to determine who matriculates. This is another factor.
    The basic take home message from all of this is get your MCAT above a 27 and be busy with activities that reflect your desire to be a doctor. The application process is sort of a big crap shot but you still want to get your application to a point where you get interviews. Yes there may have been people with mcats in the low 20's who have been accepted to med school but that doesn't necessarily mean you are going to get accepted and last but not least the schools you apply to are another factor. I think when you apply again include HBCU's like howard, meharry, and morehouse. They look past scores sometimes and really look at the applicant for who they are. thats my two cents. I hope it helps
  5. shoelace1


    Dec 19, 2006
    I agree with everything that has been written above. Just wondering what the breakdown of your MCAT is. It would mean focusing on areas that you are most weak in. Some people are super weak in the verbal reasoning area, which can be a deal breaker. Also, remember that althought the MCAT is BS (you don't use half of that stuff in med school or you learn what you need to learn IN med school), it is still a standardized test. You will have to take many more standardized tests while in med school (step 1, step 2), and during internship and residency. Med schools need to know that you will pass those exams since it reflects badly on them if you don't. This has no reflection how how wonderful a doctor you will be. By all means, don't give up. But be very prepared the next time you take the MCAT. Take the great advice written in the previous posts. I think your perseverance will get you through this.
    - Shoelace1 (4th year med student)
  6. jamesrick80

    jamesrick80 7+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2008
    Did you apply to any DO schools, your stats would at least give you a chance in one of them?
  7. latinabelle

    latinabelle 2+ Year Member

    May 1, 2008
    Demorest, GA
    Thanks for all the feedback. This has truly been very helpful.

    I only applied to one DO school(PCOM) and I am still waiting to hear back on a final decision.

    My weakest area on the mcat is the physical sciences and my highest is verbal. I am working on developing a plan to improve my mcat score with the suggestions you have given me. Thanks!
  8. jamesrick80

    jamesrick80 7+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2008
    You have a shot at the following DO schools: AZCOM, LECOM, and NYCOM; I would apply to those; I have a few friends who were in your situation and got in these schools. Also order the Nova Physics book for the physical sciences and examkrackers verbal 101 for verbal. For biology, order the Examkrackers bio 1001 book and you will be golden.
  9. FirstMANdown

    FirstMANdown 5+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2006
    from parts unknown

    We all know that getting through the first gate is mainly a huge red tape policy. I have a buddy who went to a post-bac program at Rosalind Franklin Chicago Medical school for one year. While there he maintained a 3.0 GPA and was accepted the following year as an M1A. If you are unable to maintain >3.0 GPA then you will finish off the year with an MA in Physiology.
    The down side is that it is very expensive tuition if you are in for the loan help...I think around $50,000 for the year not including living expenses. Also, competition is fearce with the other post-bac students. However, usually about half the class gets accepted into the M1A year every year. Chances are very good if you can just maintain a Minimum GPA of 3.0
    This school can do this because it is a privatly funded Medical School and subsaquently is the second most expensive medical school in United States. Many medical graduates from this school tend to match in surgery and a lot of hard to get sub-specialties. You may want to check it out.
    In any rate, GOOD LUCK with your endevours. :luck:

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