Jul 16, 2016
23
21
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello everyone!

I'm having a bit of a panic. I went into the application process assured by advisors and friends who applied in past years that my application was solid and I should definitely have a chance at one of the top medical schools. With their advice in mind, I created my school list with pretty much only the top tier schools in mind, but 2 rejections and 0 interviews later I'm a little concerned if I might have overestimated myself! I know it's still really early in the process, but I've seen people who submitted their secondary after me receiving interviews, while I've heard nothing back. Is there a flaw with my application that I didn't catch? Should I add a few more mid or lower tier schools at this point to balance my application? Help, please!!

scGPA and cGPA 3.93
MCAT 38
Neurobio major/Spanish minor (interested in working with Latino population, though I myself am not Latino)
1000+ hours research experience -- publication in the works, but culminated in an honors thesis & poster presentation, should have great LOR from PI
~800 hours on board of public health advocacy student group with significant leadership experience, working to bring preventive health services to local underserved communities. A lot of the time was spent volunteering with clinics to do intake or health education, planning and implementing preventive health programs, lot of interaction with healthcare professionals, clinic directors, etc.
~400 hours work experience teaching MCAT for test-prep company
40 hours of pure hospital volunteering/shadowing experience (this may be where I am lacking... only shadowed 1 specialty)
1 week volunteering in global health medical brigade in Latin American country

letters of rec:
1 from genetics prof, and I used my letter from my PI as another science prof... I am wondering if that was a fumble on my part. I did an honors thesis with him for 2 quarters for which I received letter grades, so I felt he had good knowledge of my science aptitude, lab skills, writing ability, etc. Other letters from public health prof (who is an MD), spanish prof, manager at work, faculty advisor for strong leadership experience group, and literature prof.

My school list (I am a CA res):
Albert Einstein
Baylor
Boston
CWRU
Columbia
All the UCs except Riverside (heard there is a heavy bias towards people in their county/region)
Duke
Emory
Hofstra
Mt. Sinai
Johns Hopkins
Keck
Mayo (rejected)
NYU
Feinberg
Perelman
Stanford
Pritzker
U Cincinnati
U Michigan Ann Arbor
UNC Chapel Hill
Pittsburgh
Rochester
UW (rejected)
WashU
Vanderbilt
Cornell
Yale
Univ Central Florida (added recently because nervous)

My biggest concerns: Am I lacking in hospital/shadowing experience? Is my LOR from my PI as a science professor going to cost me?

Any input will be much appreciated! :) Thanks for anyone who took the time to read all this!
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,587
78,785
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
The bolded is the problem and you're probably going to be shut out this year. The medical missions will be viewed as medical tourism by Adcoms.

Here's the deal: You need to show AdComs that you know what you're getting into, and show off your altruistic, humanistic side. We need to know that you're going to like being around sick or injured people for the next 40 years.

Here's another way of looking at it: would you buy a new car without test driving it? Buy a new suit or dress without trying it on??

We're also not looking for merely for good medical students, we're looking for people who will make good doctors, and 4.0 GPA robots are a dime-a-dozen.

I've seen plenty of posts here from high GPA/high MCAT candidates who were rejected because they had little patient contact experience.

Not all volunteering needs to be in a hospital. Think hospice, Planned Parenthood, nursing homes, rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, camps for sick children, or clinics.

Some types of volunteer activities are more appealing than others. Volunteering in a nice suburban hospital is all very well and good and all, but doesn't show that you're willing to dig in and get your hands dirty in the same way that working with the developmentally disabled (or homeless, the dying, or Alzheimers or mentally ill or elderly or ESL or domestic, rural impoverished) does. The uncomfortable situations are the ones that really demonstrate your altruism and get you 'brownie points'. Plus, they frankly teach you more -- they develop your compassion and humanity in ways comfortable situations can't.


Service need not be "unique". If you can alleviate suffering in your community through service to the poor, homeless, illiterate, fatherless, etc, you are meeting an otherwise unmet need and learning more about the lives of the people (or types of people) who will someday be your patients. Check out your local houses of worship for volunteer opportunities. The key thing is service to others less fortunate than you. And get off campus and out of your comfort zone!

Examples include: Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Humane Society, crisis hotlines, soup kitchen, food pantry, homeless or women’s shelter, after-school tutoring for students or coaching a sport in a poor school district, teaching ESL to adults at a community center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or Meals on Wheels.


What are you going to say when asked how you know you are suited for a life of caring for the sick and suffering? “That you just know”? Imagine how that will go over!



Hello everyone!

40 hours of pure hospital volunteering/shadowing experience (this may be where I am lacking... only shadowed 1 specialty)
1 week volunteering in global health medical brigade in Latin American country
 
OP
A
Jul 16, 2016
23
21
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi Goro!

Thanks for your quick response. I want to clarify, because I DO have extensive experience working with patients of clinics that specifically target the underserved. The public health advocacy group I mentioned targeted the most impoverished regions of the area I lived in, and though I wasn't shadowing doctors, I was working with the patients extensively doing basic vitals intake, providing health education, and using their feedback to develop new programs that could help them lead a healthier lifestyle despite their circumstances. And working with them definitely put me way out of my comfort zone and taught me a lot about the struggles of people living in poverty that I never knew before, and the challenges and rewards of working with them. So I worked a lot with people, with patients, but not as much with the doctors.

With regards to the other ideas you mentioned, that's actually what I'm doing in my gap year! (which I also mentioned on my application). I'm volunteering at an ESL conversation club, will be teaching for an adult literacy program, volunteering at an animal shelter, and will go to Honduras for 1 month early next year and participate in a very involved global health/social entrepreneurship program that is certainly not voluntourism, and I hope will not be viewed as such!

Does this information change anything? Thanks again for your time!

The bolded is the problem and you're probably going to be shut out this year. The medical missions will be viewed as medical tourism by Adcoms.

Here's the deal: You need to show AdComs that you know what you're getting into, and show off your altruistic, humanistic side. We need to know that you're going to like being around sick or injured people for the next 40 years.

Here's another way of looking at it: would you buy a new car without test driving it? Buy a new suit or dress without trying it on??

We're also not looking for merely for good medical students, we're looking for people who will make good doctors, and 4.0 GPA robots are a dime-a-dozen.

I've seen plenty of posts here from high GPA/high MCAT candidates who were rejected because they had little patient contact experience.

Not all volunteering needs to be in a hospital. Think hospice, Planned Parenthood, nursing homes, rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, camps for sick children, or clinics.

Some types of volunteer activities are more appealing than others. Volunteering in a nice suburban hospital is all very well and good and all, but doesn't show that you're willing to dig in and get your hands dirty in the same way that working with the developmentally disabled (or homeless, the dying, or Alzheimers or mentally ill or elderly or ESL or domestic, rural impoverished) does. The uncomfortable situations are the ones that really demonstrate your altruism and get you 'brownie points'. Plus, they frankly teach you more -- they develop your compassion and humanity in ways comfortable situations can't.


Service need not be "unique". If you can alleviate suffering in your community through service to the poor, homeless, illiterate, fatherless, etc, you are meeting an otherwise unmet need and learning more about the lives of the people (or types of people) who will someday be your patients. Check out your local houses of worship for volunteer opportunities. The key thing is service to others less fortunate than you. And get off campus and out of your comfort zone!

Examples include: Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Humane Society, crisis hotlines, soup kitchen, food pantry, homeless or women’s shelter, after-school tutoring for students or coaching a sport in a poor school district, teaching ESL to adults at a community center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or Meals on Wheels.


What are you going to say when asked how you know you are suited for a life of caring for the sick and suffering? “That you just know”? Imagine how that will go over!
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,587
78,785
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
IF your app was as unclear as your OP, then this might explain the lack of responses. But also remember that you are aiming very high, and the competition is fierce. But at the end of the cycle I'll bet you have lots of IIs. So keep in touch!


Hi Goro!

Thanks for your quick response. I want to clarify, because I DO have extensive experience working with patients of clinics that specifically target the underserved. The public health advocacy group I mentioned targeted the most impoverished regions of the area I lived in, and though I wasn't shadowing doctors, I was working with the patients extensively doing basic vitals intake, providing health education, and using their feedback to develop new programs that could help them lead a healthier lifestyle despite their circumstances. And working with them definitely put me way out of my comfort zone and taught me a lot about the struggles of people living in poverty that I never knew before, and the challenges and rewards of working with them. So I worked a lot with people, with patients, but not as much with the doctors.

With regards to the other ideas you mentioned, that's actually what I'm doing in my gap year! (which I also mentioned on my application). I'm volunteering at an ESL conversation club, will be teaching for an adult literacy program, volunteering at an animal shelter, and will go to Honduras for 1 month early next year and participate in a very involved global health/social entrepreneurship program that is certainly not voluntourism, and I hope will not be viewed as such!

Does this information change anything? Thanks again for your time!
 
OP
A
Jul 16, 2016
23
21
Status
Pre-Medical
IF your app was as unclear as your OP, then this might explain the lack of responses. But also remember that you are aiming very high, and the competition is fierce. But at the end of the cycle I'll bet you have lots of IIs. So keep in touch!
Hi @Goro, just an update that the interviews are coming in, I just needed to be patient :)

So far interviews from: U of Cincinnati, U of Central Florida, Case Western, Columbia, NYU, Mount Sinai, and Harvard! Honestly way more than I had been expecting, almost too many more because flights across the country are extremely expensive and I'm nearing the top of my budget. But I guess it's a good problem to have!
 

md-2020

The Immaculate Catch
2+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2015
2,298
3,007
Status
Medical Student
The bolded is the problem and you're probably going to be shut out this year.
I will have to disagree with Goro on this one. Yes, clinical exp is low, but no way (unless OP is also bad at interviewing/writing/etc) his stats don't merit some acceptances, albeit perhaps not at the caliber of school he/she originally intended. As mentioned above Mayo and UWash are probably schools OP shouldn't have applied to in the first place.

Edit: didn't realize thread started 1+ month ago. I see from the recent update that all is falling into place.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ailurophile33

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,587
78,785
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
:clap::clap::clap::clap::soexcited::soexcited::soexcited::soexcited::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::love::love::love::claps::claps::claps::banana::banana::banana::banana:

Hi @Goro, just an update that the interviews are coming in, I just needed to be patient :)

So far interviews from: U of Cincinnati, U of Central Florida, Case Western, Columbia, NYU, Mount Sinai, and Harvard! Honestly way more than I had been expecting, almost too many more because flights across the country are extremely expensive and I'm nearing the top of my budget. But I guess it's a good problem to have!
 
  • Like
Reactions: ailurophile33
Mar 8, 2015
972
1,307
Status
Medical Student
Hi @Goro, just an update that the interviews are coming in, I just needed to be patient :)

So far interviews from: U of Cincinnati, U of Central Florida, Case Western, Columbia, NYU, Mount Sinai, and Harvard! Honestly way more than I had been expecting, almost too many more because flights across the country are extremely expensive and I'm nearing the top of my budget. But I guess it's a good problem to have!
See if you can string some of those NY/east coast interviews together. Schools may be open to working with you on interview dates if you ask them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ailurophile33