Feb 15, 2012
19
0
Somewhere on a beach
Status
Medical Student
Hey guys,

I'm a Virginia resident applying in the upcoming cycle. I'm looking for some feedback on my application and school list.

Major: BS Chemistry
cGPA: 3.50
sGPA: 3.47
MCAT: 34S (12B,11P,11V)

Extracurriculars:
- Volunteer Firefighter/EMT-I with the local Fire Department (12-24 hrs. per week for about 2.5 years so far): ALS provider with lots and lots of clinical experience in the field and in the ED. I've also had some leadership roles as a BLS preceptor and as a Firefighter recruit instructor. I usually ride as an ALS engine medic, but also work on a BUSY medic unit a few times a month.

- Research Assistant (20 hrs. a week for about 4 semesters so far): Working on my first ACS journal publication with my primary PI. I should be on as a second author. Recently took the lead on a grant proposal project with a secondary PI that works closely with my lab. Currently working independently on a major component of a project funded by a DTRA contract. I've presented independent research at a bunch of state and regional conferences, including a few big ACS meetings. I'm also a peer reviewer for my university's student publication journal.

- Resident Advisor (on my 3rd semester): RA for freshmen boys- it's been a crazy experience. I've developed some great leadership skills and have also learned how to manage a budget pretty well. I go to several leadership conferences every semester and work with a pretty diverse group of people at my university. Definitely a great opportunity for personal growth. Quite challenging at times. I'm the Housing representative on my university's Health and Safety Committee, so I work with my buddies in Fire/EMS to help streamline our emergency responses to campus. As an RA, I've dealt with everything from substance abuse and relationship issues to attempted suicide and violent crime (on one occasion I actually had to resuscitate one of my own students who had stopped breathing). Full time job.

- Physician Shadowing (100+ hrs.): I've shadowed in quite a few specialties- EM, peds, cardiology, family medicine, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, sleep medicine, rads, and a few others. I've also been shadowing a family practitioner consistently for about 2 years, and he's been a great mentor. I'm very interested in primary care and EM.


Letters:
- Very strong letter from my primary PI (biochemistry professor, department of chemistry graduate coordinator)
- Strong letter from a secondary PI (molecular biology professor, will be working on an independent project for her this summer/ fall semester)
- Decent letter from an economics professor
- Very strong letter from a family practitioner (shadowed for 2 years, mentor role)

List:
Virginia Commonwealth
Eastern Virginia
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Virginia Tech Carilion
Tulane
The Commonwealth
Rush
Albany
New York Medical College
Drexel
Wake Forest
Rosalind Franklin
Hofstra North Shore
George Washington
Jefferson
Georgetown
Temple
UVA

I'll be happy to go wherever I'm accepted.

I feel that my GPA is the weakest part of my application, so I'll be working very hard to bring it up in my final two semesters. P-chem absolutely killed my GPA this year.

Should I wait to apply with a >3.6 GPA? My pre-health advisor told me I'm fine, but I'm not so sure now.

Thanks for your time.
 

CliveStaples

5+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
May 5, 2012
355
477
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I don't think your grades should keep you from applying. They aren't that bad, and your MCAT score should demonstrate your ability to handle the rigors of med-school. It's just as high above school averages as your GPA is below. Another year of grades won't improve your GPA by an appreciable amount.

I do think you're going to need to flesh out some more ECs by the time it's all said and done. You might have more you just didn't think to mention, but I don't think it would hurt and try to find some aspect of community service, be it medical or community. Medical would be ideal, but hopefully you have enough shadowing hours to get a comfortable amount of patient interaction.

All that said, I think you have a good school list and you'll get a few interviews most likely. From there, it's up to you to take over!
 

alexrgross

7+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2010
613
0
los angeles, california
Status
Pre-Medical
I don't think your grades should keep you from applying. They aren't that bad, and your MCAT score should demonstrate your ability to handle the rigors of med-school. It's just as high above school averages as your GPA is below. Another year of grades won't improve your GPA by an appreciable amount.

I do think you're going to need to flesh out some more ECs by the time it's all said and done. You might have more you just didn't think to mention, but I don't think it would hurt and try to find some aspect of community service, be it medical or community. Medical would be ideal, but hopefully you have enough shadowing hours to get a comfortable amount of patient interaction.

All that said, I think you have a good school list and you'll get a few interviews most likely. From there, it's up to you to take over!
I am really impressed with the app, your leadership ECs are good and the GPA is not that weak...do not worry about this, and taking part-time courses can show you have the academic rigor too

Schools typically like to see some teamwork ECs where you coordinate among large numbers of individuals - that happens in medicine a lot too.

Good luck!
 
OP
firemedic12
Feb 15, 2012
19
0
Somewhere on a beach
Status
Medical Student
Thanks for the replies, I'm definitely going to try my luck with this year's application cycle.

@CliveStaples
My advisor thinks that my volunteer work in the fire service has given me a good amount of community service (12-24 hours a week for 2.5 years). I spend most of this time doing medical work, as about 80% of our calls are medical emergencies (we assist in the ED sometimes, too). In addition to this, I also teach at public safety events, which can definitely be seen as non-medical community service. I do have some extra service stuff that I have done over the years, but I just wanted to highlight the three major experiences I'm featuring in my personal statement.

@alexrgross
Thanks, I've been freaking out about the GPA since my grades came back. There is definitely a critical team-work element in each of my experiences, especially with the RA job. I'll be sure to highlight this in my application.

Thanks again, I appreciate the advice.
 
Jun 13, 2011
387
2
Status
Medical Student
Looks good. Most schools will want to see a copy of your transcript from the fall semester in December. Chances are you will still be interviewing at the beginning of next year or waiting for decisions. This just gives you incentive to work even harder this coming year. If you are able to show them upward trending GPA by pulling in close to 4.0 this fall, your app will be rock solid.
 

alpinism

Give Em' the Jet Fuel
7+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2011
3,085
2,740
Detroit
Hey, Fellow firemedic who's also lived in VA (went to Georgetown). Agreed, your stats and ECs are solid and I'd say go for it this year (great MCAT btw). The only thing I might suggest is getting some non-medical volunteering this summer/fall to really round out your app. Try homeless shelters, habitat for humanity, tutoring, charities, or something you're just interested/passionate about.

For schools, def apply to all in state VA,

Georgetown- be aware they get 10,000+ apps/yr and have very expensive secondary >$100 so it's a crap shoot, plus they look for students very focused on underserved medicine, they also waitlist most who interview

GW- same as Gtown, 10,000+ apps/yr and very expensive

Commonwealth- huge preference for PA residents and those focused on rural/primary care only

Other schools that are known to look favorably on applicants with heavy fire/EMS clinical experience (personally got interviews at half of these):

UCF, USF (Select program), Pitt, Wisconsin, Colorado, Rochester, BU, Stony Brook

Research the schools and find some you like (curriculum, location, ‘fit', etc) apply broadly and as early as possible to 20+ if you can afford it, pre-write secondaries and submit by August, and you should get at least 3-4 MD interviews.

Good Luck!
 
OP
firemedic12
Feb 15, 2012
19
0
Somewhere on a beach
Status
Medical Student
@alpinism

Do you think I should leave out Georgetown and GW? I'm very interested in primary care, so I think the Commonwealth's mission statement fits with my personal goals.

Thanks for the list of schools that like to see Fire/EMS experience, this is great. I really like Colorado, Wisconsin, and Stony Brook, but I'm a bit hesitant to apply due to my OOS status and low GPA.

Do you think that my experience could help compensate for this at these schools? Also, which of the schools you mentioned seemed to like the Fire/EMS experience the most?

Thanks for all of the great responses, I really appreciate it.
 

alpinism

Give Em' the Jet Fuel
7+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2011
3,085
2,740
Detroit
Yeah, the schools listed generally give more weight to patient care/volunteering ECs when evaluating apps, which as a result can partially compensate for stats.

Essentially, those are schools that have more holistic adcoms and prefer people w/ long term In-depth clinical and leadership experiences (even w/ average/lower GPAs). They want to add diversity to their classes w/ students who aren't the typical "cookie-cutter premed" and use OOS to do it (unlike other state schools that want OOS to have higher stats and use them to raise their average GPA/MCAT). Just my experience from talking to adcom members and multiple friends accepted there who are ex-fire/ems.

Colorado, Wisc, and UCF are prob your best bet. They have 20-30% OOS that matriculate (keep in mind that they often accept >30% OOS, but many OOS decline and go elsewhere if they have IS acceptances). They also get far fewer # of apps than private schools, so less competition. Stony Brook and USF take less OOS.

For Gtown/GW imo if you like the school and its fits into your goals than go for it, but if you're just using it as a safety than it prob isn't worth it.
 
OP
firemedic12
Feb 15, 2012
19
0
Somewhere on a beach
Status
Medical Student
Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely look into UCF.

After doing some research, I've decided that I'm going to substitute Colorado and Wisconsin for GW and Georgetown. To be honest, my main reason for applying to the DC schools was my close proximity. I'm positive that I would be a much better fit at CO or WI.

When I came up with my original ranking of schools, Colorado and Wisconsin were at the top of my list because of their strong focus on clinical skills. Also, I felt like I could really identify with students I had met from both schools. I was mainly detracted by the high GPA averages.

Thanks for giving me a great reason to add these schools again, I forgot how much I liked them.