2+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2016
Hello, so like the title of my post says, I have a competitive GPA (3.91) and MCAT (522: 131/130/130/131) but horrible to non-existence ECs. Here they are as I listed them:

1. Hall Leadership - 2 years
2. 150+ hours of volunteer English teaching in a Third-World country (before college though)
3. Lab experience (from 12 classes but no research)
4. Awards/recognition (officer of math honors society, dean's list, member of pre-medical honors society)

Clearly, I am especially lacking in the research and clinical experience categories. I have received my EMT certification and done ride-alongs (which I mentioned in personal statement), but have yet to volunteer. Also, I think heard somewhere that they will take into account your father being a doctor in terms of exposure (which he was in the Third-world country where I grew up, which I mentioned as well).

My lack of research experience is partly attributed to my switching between multiple majors (math, computer science, psychology, etc..) my first 5 semesters of college and my college not being a research university.

Here are my questions: 1) What are my chances? 2) Should I try to engage in research my senior year and do EMT volunteering just so I can mention that in the Interview? (On one hand, I would like my Senior year to be a breather right before medical school, however, getting in is obviously the priority.) 3) Also, is it worth adding anymore top 20 medical schools?

Here the Medical Schools I've applied to so far (which range from very competitive to very uncompetitive)

University of Pennsylvania
University of Virginia (probably my top choice)
University of South Carolina
Wake Forest
Virginia Commonwealth University
Eastern Virginia Medical School
University of Louisville
Virginia Tech Carilion
West Virginia University School of Medicine

Also, in case it's relevant, I'm a white male and a biochemistry major/philosophy minor. Finally, I've unfortunately applied rather late in the cycle as my application was marked "ready for review" August 1.



not actually a dog
Staff member
7+ Year Member
Mar 22, 2012
Resident [Any Field]
You're nearly guaranteed an interview at UVA, which, as long as you interview well, nearly guarantees you an acceptance. You'll get interviews at VCU and likely VTech.

UNC, South Carolina, Georgetown, Louisville, and WVU were likely donations of $95 each due to regional bias, stat mismatch, or high volume of applicants.

With a LizzyM of over 80, its always worth adding reach schools. There are always some people who get in to great places with bad ECs. Is it likely? No, but it's more likely than if you don't apply, and your stats alone make you competitive enough to apply.

Actually, I typed that before I saw that you had absolutely no clinical experience or exposure. No shadowing, no working with patients, nothing. I knew a guy in college who worked in a productive nobel prize lab, had a 43 or 44 MCAT and a 3.9+, applied to 40 medical schools, was an amazing guy to hang out with, and got into exactly 0 schools. When he called the schools to ask what was up, they told him the same thing: there was nothing in his app validating the assertion that he wanted to become a doctor.

You are now in that same situation without even the research. Your biggest priority, if you want to sneak an acceptance this cycle, is gaining exposure to a clinical environment. You need to shadow (preferably an office based primary care specialty because you have limited time and that's the most universally applicable) and you need to work with patients, preferably beyond the role of an EMT (volunteer for hospice, work with sick kids, volunteer in an ED). Then, you need to send update letters early on to every school and hope that one of the VA schools takes pity on you. Research is the least of your concerns right now. Your dad being a doctor counts for jack.

So, tl;dr -

1. Shadow
2. Work with patients in a non-EMT capacity, or put your EMT skills to use by working as an emergency room tech (not ride-along)
3. Send updates to schools late fall saying that you've done these things and emphasize how they've helped you solidify your decision to go to medical school
4. Don't worry about research, but if you want a backup plan just in case things go awry, if things aren't looking good by January, start trying to set up a 1 year research gig somewhere.

Good luck
  • Like
Reactions: Nafafi


2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
It's always very hard to predict how situations like this fare.

I would say this

1) I wouldnt apply to any more schools this cycle. A reapp with stats this high will face obstacles/complications if in fact you strike out this cycle. Just roll with what you have so if you have to apply again next time you wont be a reapp at any more schools.
2) Your odds will probably be best with UVA and perhaps EVMS/VCU. UVA historically accepts about 3/4 of people they II from VA. With a strong interview and those stats, maybe that's enough to keep you out of the 25% who don't get in.
3) I would check and see what EVMS's VCU's and UVA's policy on updates are. A number of schools either wont accept updates or only want them at a certain point(ie if you get an interview, if you get waitlisted etc). Obviously check on that but if in fact these schools are receptive I would in fact try and get clinical experience these next several months. Shadowing primary care and clinical volunteering might be what I try and prioritize.
  • Like
Reactions: Nafafi


2+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2016
Thanks for the responses! That's very helpful. Out of curiosity, would volunteering at a emergency department (handing out blankets, talking with patients) look better or volunteering at a free clinic where I would be doing more expressly clinical work such as taking vitals, cleaning instruments, preparing exam rooms, etc...