Feb 5, 2013
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi all,

Like most here I am quite worried about the medical/DO school application process and I thought that I would seek advice here so I can worry less and focus more.
I am a second semester junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Molecular & Cellular biology. I'm starting a kaplan online course next week that goes until april ($2000 ugh), am planning to take the MCAT in late april, and would like to get my applications into medical schools as early as possible this summer.

The thing is, I feel as though this is all happening so incredibly fast and I'm not so sure I'm ready to apply this soon...I'm just following the normal schedule of things. Getting into medical school has long been my dream and I don't want to let it slip away/ waste time delaying the inevitable.

Here's some info about my student history:
  • GPA=~3.4, should be a touch better than 3.5 by the end of this semester if all goes well (UofI classes are all over the place in difficulty...I feel as though I've done well, but wish my GPA were higher!)....Major GPA is 3.0x but this semester I'm enrolled in 8hrs of major courses that I should do well in and are very related to medicine.
  • Not many extracurriculars, volunteered in an ER this summer but the long volunteer roster only allowed me to accumulate a smallish amount of hours. I've signed up for premed clubs but never got around to being active (hitting myself for that)
  • Am in a social fraternity, but I doubt this is useful on applications
  • No research...been emailing professors but no one has the courtesy to respond no matter how cordial or well-written my email is :/
  • Have an 11hr/week IT job unrelated to biology, 17hrs of class, and mcat class this semester-----very busy
  • Current plan is to use my little free time to volunteer as much as possible this semester because I feel as though my academics won't be enough come June. As well, I'm thinking of squeezing a nighttime EMT course into my schedule, but I realize that I may not have the time with MCAT studying, etc.

I basically just want to get in somewhere and I hesitate to think of alternatives to this path. I have a difficult time playing teacher's pet and asking for help, and am trying to change that so that I don't hurt my own chances any further. Tomorrow I plan on seeing a grad school counselor about this subject, and I plan on talking more with professors so that I'll be able to acquire decent recommendations by the end of the semester.

My question would be, to what degree is research a vital component of most medical school applications? And at this point can I salvage my chances or should I wait to apply until I can gain research, a significant amount of volunteer hours, and possibly a higher GPA? And if anyone has any suggestions about actions I should take, I've committed this semester to working as hard as possible toward this goal so I would very much appreciate any and all guidance.

Thanks in advance for any help and I apologize if this has a negative tone, I'm just a wee bit stressed out as I'm sure you all can understand :)
 

MedPR

Removed
Dec 1, 2011
18,581
44
Status
Pre-Podiatry
Hi all,

Like most here I am quite worried about the medical/DO school application process and I thought that I would seek advice here so I can worry less and focus more.
I am a second semester junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Molecular & Cellular biology. I'm starting a kaplan online course next week that goes until april ($2000 ugh), am planning to take the MCAT in late april, and would like to get my applications into medical schools as early as possible this summer.

The thing is, I feel as though this is all happening so incredibly fast and I'm not so sure I'm ready to apply this soon...I'm just following the normal schedule of things. Getting into medical school has long been my dream and I don't want to let it slip away/ waste time delaying the inevitable.

Here's some info about my student history:
  • GPA=~3.4, should be a touch better than 3.5 by the end of this semester if all goes well (UofI classes are all over the place in difficulty...I feel as though I've done well, but wish my GPA were higher!)....Major GPA is 3.0x but this semester I'm enrolled in 8hrs of major courses that I should do well in and are very related to medicine.
  • Not many extracurriculars, volunteered in an ER this summer but the long volunteer roster only allowed me to accumulate a smallish amount of hours. I've signed up for premed clubs but never got around to being active (hitting myself for that)
  • Am in a social fraternity, but I doubt this is useful on applications
  • No research...been emailing professors but no one has the courtesy to respond no matter how cordial or well-written my email is :/
  • Have an 11hr/week IT job unrelated to biology, 17hrs of class, and mcat class this semester-----very busy
  • Current plan is to use my little free time to volunteer as much as possible this semester because I feel as though my academics won't be enough come June. As well, I'm thinking of squeezing a nighttime EMT course into my schedule, but I realize that I may not have the time with MCAT studying, etc.

I basically just want to get in somewhere and I hesitate to think of alternatives to this path. I have a difficult time playing teacher's pet and asking for help, and am trying to change that so that I don't hurt my own chances any further. Tomorrow I plan on seeing a grad school counselor about this subject, and I plan on talking more with professors so that I'll be able to acquire decent recommendations by the end of the semester.

My question would be, to what degree is research a vital component of most medical school applications? And at this point can I salvage my chances or should I wait to apply until I can gain research, a significant amount of volunteer hours, and possibly a higher GPA? And if anyone has any suggestions about actions I should take, I've committed this semester to working as hard as possible toward this goal so I would very much appreciate any and all guidance.

Thanks in advance for any help and I apologize if this has a negative tone, I'm just a wee bit stressed out as I'm sure you all can understand :)
Research is not vital. Work on improving your gpa and volunteering more.

Sent from my SGH-T999 using SDN Mobile
 
OP
A
Feb 5, 2013
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks, I have a few leads on volunteer opportunities this semester so that should be okay. As for my cGPA and sGPA.. I just calculated my sGPA and it's sitting at 3.13 right now. If i can get all A's this semester it'll jump up only to 3.25.

So with a cGPA of ~3.5 and a sGPA of ~3.13-3.25 would I get some serious looks still from schools?
I feel like having a lower science gpa is bad news. My worst grades are 2 C+s but I have some Bs and B-s bringing me down
 
Jan 31, 2013
136
2
Status
Pre-Medical
With your sGPA slightly lower, I'd wait to apply your senior year. It'll give you some time to boost your sGPA, maybe redo some classes and get more volunteeting/clinical experience.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
52,561
76,205
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
I'd like to see that GPA bumped up, ideally, to 3.6.

You definitely need more ECs. You need to shadow some doctors to, to get an idea of what a doctor's life is like.

Think outside the box for ECs! You can volunteer at nursing homes, camps for sick/disabled children, disability centers, or hospice. How about joining the EMTs? Habitat for Humanity?

Hi all,

Like most here I am quite worried about the medical/DO school application process and I thought that I would seek advice here so I can worry less and focus more.
I am a second semester junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Molecular & Cellular biology. I'm starting a kaplan online course next week that goes until april ($2000 ugh), am planning to take the MCAT in late april, and would like to get my applications into medical schools as early as possible this summer.

The thing is, I feel as though this is all happening so incredibly fast and I'm not so sure I'm ready to apply this soon...I'm just following the normal schedule of things. Getting into medical school has long been my dream and I don't want to let it slip away/ waste time delaying the inevitable.

Here's some info about my student history:
  • GPA=~3.4, should be a touch better than 3.5 by the end of this semester if all goes well (UofI classes are all over the place in difficulty...I feel as though I've done well, but wish my GPA were higher!)....Major GPA is 3.0x but this semester I'm enrolled in 8hrs of major courses that I should do well in and are very related to medicine.
  • Not many extracurriculars, volunteered in an ER this summer but the long volunteer roster only allowed me to accumulate a smallish amount of hours. I've signed up for premed clubs but never got around to being active (hitting myself for that)
  • Am in a social fraternity, but I doubt this is useful on applications
  • No research...been emailing professors but no one has the courtesy to respond no matter how cordial or well-written my email is :/
  • Have an 11hr/week IT job unrelated to biology, 17hrs of class, and mcat class this semester-----very busy
  • Current plan is to use my little free time to volunteer as much as possible this semester because I feel as though my academics won't be enough come June. As well, I'm thinking of squeezing a nighttime EMT course into my schedule, but I realize that I may not have the time with MCAT studying, etc.

I basically just want to get in somewhere and I hesitate to think of alternatives to this path. I have a difficult time playing teacher's pet and asking for help, and am trying to change that so that I don't hurt my own chances any further. Tomorrow I plan on seeing a grad school counselor about this subject, and I plan on talking more with professors so that I'll be able to acquire decent recommendations by the end of the semester.

My question would be, to what degree is research a vital component of most medical school applications? And at this point can I salvage my chances or should I wait to apply until I can gain research, a significant amount of volunteer hours, and possibly a higher GPA? And if anyone has any suggestions about actions I should take, I've committed this semester to working as hard as possible toward this goal so I would very much appreciate any and all guidance.

Thanks in advance for any help and I apologize if this has a negative tone, I'm just a wee bit stressed out as I'm sure you all can understand :)
 
May 11, 2012
1,018
43
Status
Medical Student
Hi there,

I am you one year ago essentially. I applied with a 3.4cgpa/3.15sgpa/29mcat. Your gpas will be a little higher than mine. However, I have significant research experience, ~100 hrs shadowing (some ER, mostly family practice), and plenty of volunteering/leadership.

I think you should focus on DO schools. If you pull an MCAT 32+ you can probably throw applications to low-tier MD schools and maybe have some luck (especially if you have state schools).

Your goals should be:
1) MCAT 28 or higher
2) Shadow. I would strongly recommend you find a DO to shadow (a letter of rec from a DO will be a really good thing to have, and should really be a requirement in your mind). Also you should observe primary care if at all possible.
3) Maintain a good grade trend. I understand your GPAs are heavy with credits but upward trends will raise them a little and will be a big help on their own.
4) Start volunteering somewhere ASAP. Soup kitchen, nursing home, habitat for humanity, anything really. Get a decent number of hours, do it consistently, find a leadership role if at all possible but you are time crunched.
5) Schedule a good fall semester. A strong performance next fall could still be of use to you if you find yourself on waitlists or pre-interview holds.

Things not to do:
1) EMT course.
2) Worry about research. It is always a good background to have but honestly DO schools probably don't care that much and it would be hard to get any meaningful experience in a few short months that are already busy for you.

If it all works out you should be odds on for a DO acceptance, especially if you make good decisions on where to apply based on your statistics. I sent 8 secondary applications back, got 3 interview invites, attended 2 interviews, was accepted once right away, and accepted to the school where I will be attending after ~1 month on the waitlist (GPA had risen to 3.45c/3.2s by then).

A high MCAT is really helpful for people in you or I's shoes gpa-wise. Be sure to kill it. Use diagnostic tests from the AAMC online. Set a goal of 30. If you are scoring 30-32 consistently you can take the test and be comfortable that you will pull at least a 28-29. But really aim as high as you possibly can.

If you have more questions, let them fly.
 
Sep 4, 2012
80
0
Status
Medical Student
If it were me in your shoes, I would take a gap year to strengthen my app. If you score at least in the mid/upper 20s on your MCAT you could have a decent shot at DO (and low tier MD if you make it into the 30s). However, without extensive clinical exposure and volunteer experience, you would definitely be at risk for not getting an acceptance. Taking a year to boost your gpa and round out your extra-curriculars would increase your chances dramatically.
 
May 11, 2012
1,018
43
Status
Medical Student
If it were me in your shoes, I would take a gap year to strengthen my app. If you score at least in the mid/upper 20s on your MCAT you could have a decent shot at DO (and low tier MD if you make it into the 30s). However, without extensive clinical exposure and volunteer experience, you would definitely be at risk for not getting an acceptance. Taking a year to boost your gpa and round out your extra-curriculars would increase your chances dramatically.
This really might not be a bad option OP. I gave you some tips that could probably garner an acceptance this coming cycle but if you took a gap year you would have a really easy time getting into DO and probably have a reasonable shot at a low-tier MD if your MCAT comes out high enough.
 
OP
A
Feb 5, 2013
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks so much for the advice everybody!

I've been seriously considering DO schools because personally that philosophy about medicine seems more my style. However, I don't know where I would choose to go if I were accepted to an MD and a DO school...(ease of employment as a factor etc)

The other day I applied to volunteer at a nursing home visiting with the residents in my spare time, so I'm waiting on a response from them. I think that I would really enjoy that opportunity, so I'm sure to gain many hours through that if they allow me to. :)
As for job shadowing I don't have any connections to doctors in town but I'm going to send out a slew of emails to a few DOs and a few MDs nearby. A prof of mine is a local pathologist as well so I may inquire if he can set me up with one of his colleagues.

All your posts have really made me feel better about things and now I do agree that waiting until next year is probably a decent plan as I could be a much stronger applicant in a year's time. It's somewhat rough seeing so many SDN posts by people with perfect ECs and GPAs, but I suppose that tells me that I should improve my stats as much as possible instead of rushing into applications. I think it's better late than never to start getting serious about my extracurriculars.

I'm thinking that waiting is the right decision and now that I think more about it, it'll allow me to add >30 GPA hours to my records and I'll be able to prepare more to take the MCAT at a later date this year (which definitely wouldn't hurt).

But should I at least make an attempt applying this cycle? Or is that a waste of $ when waiting could potentially be more beneficial in the long run? Waiting another year just seems like so much time at my age though I understand that it truly isn't.

Thanks everyone for taking your time to help me out, this has definitely helped me organize my thoughts about the subject!
 

Aerus

Elemental Alchemist
7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2012
3,221
2,368
Status
Medical Student
Thanks so much for the advice everybody!

I've been seriously considering DO schools because personally that philosophy about medicine seems more my style. However, I don't know where I would choose to go if I were accepted to an MD and a DO school...(ease of employment as a factor etc)

The other day I applied to volunteer at a nursing home visiting with the residents in my spare time, so I'm waiting on a response from them. I think that I would really enjoy that opportunity, so I'm sure to gain many hours through that if they allow me to. :)
As for job shadowing I don't have any connections to doctors in town but I'm going to send out a slew of emails to a few DOs and a few MDs nearby. A prof of mine is a local pathologist as well so I may inquire if he can set me up with one of his colleagues.

All your posts have really made me feel better about things and now I do agree that waiting until next year is probably a decent plan as I could be a much stronger applicant in a year's time. It's somewhat rough seeing so many SDN posts by people with perfect ECs and GPAs, but I suppose that tells me that I should improve my stats as much as possible instead of rushing into applications. I think it's better late than never to start getting serious about my extracurriculars.

I'm thinking that waiting is the right decision and now that I think more about it, it'll allow me to add >30 GPA hours to my records and I'll be able to prepare more to take the MCAT at a later date this year (which definitely wouldn't hurt).

But should I at least make an attempt applying this cycle? Or is that a waste of $ when waiting could potentially be more beneficial in the long run? Waiting another year just seems like so much time at my age though I understand that it truly isn't.

Thanks everyone for taking your time to help me out, this has definitely helped me organize my thoughts about the subject!
I strongly second all the gap year suggestions. You wouldn't also be wasting money; a second time applicant just doesn't look as good as a first time (assuming you don't have some amazing back story). Don't put yourself in an unnecessary disadvantage.

Do a gap year, do some more volunteering, bring that GPA up to a 3.6, try your best to find a research lab (short, yet succinct emails work best), and give yourself a lot of time to rock the MCAT.