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3.5 cGPA, 3.8 SMP, 518 - Worth applying to top schools?

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by toboykin, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. toboykin

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    I've submitted my application to 20 schools so far, all low or mid-tier. Undergrad GPA wasn't so hot (3.5, 3.2 sGPA), and previously scored a 29 on the MCAT. In the time since I have done one of the better known SMPs and finished with a 3.8 GPA. Today I found out that I scored a well-balanced 518 on the new MCAT (~36 on the old scale), and I'm wondering if this opens the door to applying to some of the upper level schools. I am a non-URM, non-trad male.

    Volunteering
    • 80 hrs volunteering at health education clinic
    • 3 years with Teach for America
    • 2 years (250 hours) working one-on-one with socially challenged children to help them integrate better into their school environments
    • 1 year as a life coach/tutor for a fellow college student who was struggling to fit in at our school (got the job through volunteer coordinator from above)
    • mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters (ongoing for the last two years)
    Shadowing
    • 60 hours, with a variety of pediatric specialties (that's my main interest)
    Research (really limited)
    • 1 year undergrad senior research project
    • since May, running a project on cancer development to write my thesis
    Leadership
    • 2 years as a mentor for incoming Honors program students at my undergrad
    • 3 years as VP in large service-oriented campus group
    • 2 years on move-in crew for my undergrad
    Work
    • Paid undergrad research position (nephrology lab) - 3 years
    • Managing events for my school's community service office - 1 year
    • Nanny - 3 years of undergrad
    I'm wondering if I'll have a shot at any of these schools:

    • Case Western
    • Columbia
    • Cornell
    • Duke
    • Mayo
    • Michigan
    • Northwestern
    • Pritzker
    • Virginia
    Other suggestions are welcome (especially for schools that like volunteer work, because that's the focal point of my app). Thanks!
     
  2. toboykin

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    .
     
    #2 toboykin, Aug 18, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
  3. studentdocftw

    2+ Year Member

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    That 3.2 sGPA is going to hold you back from top schools. I would be safe..and go midtier-low tier MDs...from your list..I would remove all of them (hate to be a pessimist)...you are average for MCAT at all those schools..but significantly lower in terms of GPA (most of those schools have averages of 3.8+/36). But hey..if you have $$$ to spare..go for it.
     
  4. GrapesofRath

    2+ Year Member

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    There are some big name schools that reward upward trends and strong SMP showings when combined with an MCAT like you have.

    My question is you say you have very limited research experience but also worked in a nephrology lab for 3 years so what gives? Are you not counting the lab experience as research? Because while there might be some bigger names that you can have an outside chance at you need research experience to have a shot at research powerhouses regardless of who you are(even a 3.9/36's chances at top 20 schools are pretty close to nil without research experience). So elaborate on that a little.

    If in fact that 3 years of nephrology work was in fact research there are some bigger names worth taking a shot at. Boston U, USC, Emory, Mayo, Rochester, Einstein, Case Western, Hofstra, Duke, Vanderbilt, UCSF and Columbia might all possibly be worth consideration.

    Only thing I would worry about with your app is do you have clinical exposure beyond the shadowing and 80 hours volunteering in the health education clinic? Because if that is it that is on the low side.
     
  5. toboykin

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    Sorry about the confusion. By "worked" in the lab I mean that I largely had simple assignments (cleaning, prepping solutions, researching articles for citation). Over the years I became much more heavily involved in the actual procedures (up to and including performing comparative physiology surgical procedures), but never had a project of my own. The most I ever got was being in the "Special Thanks" section of a couple of theses. Because of this, I listed it as "Employment" on my AMCAS, but I did write about it extensively.

    As for clinical experience, that's about it. It's really late in the game, but I'm starting as a part time ER scribe shortly and still shadowing. I'll be sending in some update letters as those progress.

    One last thing I should have mentioned is that I am FAP, so the only cost of applying to extra schools is the primary fee plus the time spent writing the essays. Saving those $35 apiece would be nice, but if there's any glimmer of hope then I might go for it on at least a few of these! I'm just happy to finally be competitive (I'm a reapp), so I see these as something of a lottery beyond the schools with which I have a reasonable chance.
     

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