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3.96 CGPA, 3.92 SGPA, MA resident - Applying to Harvard Medical 2021

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elloL

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Hello,

this is the first post that I've created. I have been reading SDN posts since my Junior year of high school, but as admissions deadlines near, I have decided to start using it more seriously. A little bit about myself:

I am 22 F, Caribbean black, bisexual
1st generation, bilingual with English as a second language
3.96 AO GPA
3.92 BPNA (I have only taken the pre-requisite science courses with two neuroscience courses, and biochemistry I, nothing very advanced)
Graduating ('2020) Psychology major, Neuroscience minor in the Honors program of a MA public state school, never retaken any courses or transferred schools
I have been tutoring for the past 3 years (Stats - 1 semester, College Algebra - 1 semester, Private tutoring - 2 years)
I have also been a volunteer peer mentor (1 year) and a paid peer mentor (2 years)
I only have real research in Psychology (since it's my major). I have about 1.5 years of for-credit research on disadvantaged populations (1 study about perceptions of mentally ill people, 1 study about perceptions of AA and Asians, and 1 interdisciplinary literature review (my honors thesis) about the science of Attraction. I am working to try to get the last two papers published. I know it is rare for undergraduates to get papers published, but my honors supervisor told that she thinks that I have a fair shot.
I will receive recommendations from my honors thesis supervisor who I have had for 2 Psychology courses, my calculus professor, my Physics 1 professor and my organic chemistry II professor. They will be put in a composite committee letter, which I have yet to receive. I don't think I astounded any of them too much during my time with them, but the letters should be pretty good.

By the time I submit my application, I hope to have 120 hours clinical volunteering (hospital (3 years) and hospice (1 year)), about 245 hours nonclinical (peer mentoring a freshman (1 year- 40 hours), delivering meals to homebound people during this pandemic (5 hours), Crisis hotline worker (200 hours), and making masks for hospitals), and will likely only have 60 hours of shadowing approximately because my shadowing visits have been canceled because of the pandemic. I actually was infected with tuberculosis last year during my volunteering with a hospital and was in the hospital for several weeks during the semester. My organic chemistry grade fell a bit because of this. I was sick for the whole year and was not able to volunteer or shadow, so that's why my hours aren't great. A plus side is that this experience with infectious diseases doctors piqued my interest in infectious diseases, and I think of it as informal shadowing. I am considering infectious diseases as a specialty now
I hope to achieve at least a 510 on the MCAT, and will be taking a course this summer for it, but I will push myself to see if I can get a 520. I have little experience with the MCAT and no contacts who could tell me much about it, so I cannot predict how I would do.

Basically, I am asking any people experienced in the medical school process 1. what my chances are of getting into Harvard medical (my top choice) 2. what can help improve my application 3. If my lack of clinical research will hurt me greatly 4. If my lack of advanced science courses will hurt me greatly 5. If getting my attraction paper published would help my application at all.

Thank you!
 

chaim123

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Hello,

this is the first post that I've created. I have been reading SDN posts since my Junior year of high school, but as admissions deadlines near, I have decided to start using it more seriously. A little bit about myself:

I am 22 F, Caribbean black, bisexual
1st generation, bilingual with English as a second language
3.96 AO GPA
3.92 BPNA (I have only taken the pre-requisite science courses with two neuroscience courses, and biochemistry I, nothing very advanced)
Graduating ('2020) Psychology major, Neuroscience minor in the Honors program of a MA public state school, never retaken any courses or transferred schools
I have been tutoring for the past 3 years (Stats - 1 semester, College Algebra - 1 semester, Private tutoring - 2 years)
I have also been a volunteer peer mentor (1 year) and a paid peer mentor (2 years)
I only have real research in Psychology (since it's my major). I have about 1.5 years of for-credit research on disadvantaged populations (1 study about perceptions of mentally ill people, 1 study about perceptions of AA and Asians, and 1 interdisciplinary literature review (my honors thesis) about the science of Attraction. I am working to try to get the last two papers published. I know it is rare for undergraduates to get papers published, but my honors supervisor told that she thinks that I have a fair shot.
I will receive recommendations from my honors thesis supervisor who I have had for 2 Psychology courses, my calculus professor, my Physics 1 professor and my organic chemistry II professor. They will be put in a composite committee letter, which I have yet to receive. I don't think I astounded any of them too much during my time with them, but the letters should be pretty good.

By the time I submit my application, I hope to have 120 hours clinical volunteering (hospital (3 years) and hospice (1 year)), about 245 hours nonclinical (peer mentoring a freshman (1 year- 40 hours), delivering meals to homebound people during this pandemic (5 hours), Crisis hotline worker (200 hours), and making masks for hospitals), and will likely only have 60 hours of shadowing approximately because my shadowing visits have been canceled because of the pandemic. I actually was infected with tuberculosis last year during my volunteering with a hospital and was in the hospital for several weeks during the semester. My organic chemistry grade fell a bit because of this. I was sick for the whole year and was not able to volunteer or shadow, so that's why my hours aren't great. A plus side is that this experience with infectious diseases doctors piqued my interest in infectious diseases, and I think of it as informal shadowing. I am considering infectious diseases as a specialty now
I hope to achieve at least a 510 on the MCAT, and will be taking a course this summer for it, but I will push myself to see if I can get a 520. I have little experience with the MCAT and no contacts who could tell me much about it, so I cannot predict how I would do.

Basically, I am asking any people experienced in the medical school process 1. what my chances are of getting into Harvard medical (my top choice) 2. what can help improve my application 3. If my lack of clinical research will hurt me greatly 4. If my lack of advanced science courses will hurt me greatly 5. If getting my attraction paper published would help my application at all.

Thank you!

1. Everyone's chances of getting into HMS are slim. Without an MCAT score, I can't advise you, but I don't think a 510 will cut it. You'll need to aim a bit higher. Otherwise, it's all about your story, and who is reading it.
2. You seem to have a lot of the pieces. Get an MCAT score.
3. You don't need clinical research, but you do need meaningful research experience that you can talk about. Research for credit counts -> What came out of those projects?
4. Again, its about the overall story of your application. They'll want to see academic success, but it doesn't need to be advance biochem. It could be advanced electives in your major or other things.
5. Yes, papers are good.
 
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elloL

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^ 3: I found results for both empirical studies. The mental illness one went to a poster conference in Boston, but I was not able to make the presentation. The last two that I am hoping to get published will be presented next year at poster presentations. Unfortunately, the conference got canceled for this year because of COVID-19.
 

chaim123

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^ 3: I found results for both empirical studies. The mental illness one went to a poster conference in Boston, but I was not able to make the presentation. The last two that I am hoping to get published will be presented next year at poster presentations. Unfortunately, the conference got canceled for this year because of COVID-19.

That's ok. Sounds like you'll be able to talk intelligently about the research you did. My only question is: what kind of clinical experience do you have? It says hospital, 3 years. Was it patient transport, or something else?
 

elloL

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That's ok. Sounds like you'll be able to talk intelligently about the research you did. My only question is: what kind of clinical experience do you have? It says hospital, 3 years. Was it patient transport, or something else?
It involved patient interaction. I had to memorize the layout of the hospital and escort patients to their appointments. Sometimes they were physically disabled, so I would have to push their wheelchair. Oftentimes, because I work in a community with many non-native English speakers, I would act as an interpreter for the front desk to find out what patients/visitors needed. I did not interact with patients as much as I would have wanted, but I got a fair amount of experience doing it and interaction doing it. I got tuberculosis doing this job, so it's evident I had some patient contact. For the hospice volunteering, it is a lot more intimate. I would go to patient's homes to moniter their symptoms and also to keep them company. There would be other medical professionals there, mostly nurses. I have actually been a volunteer there for a few months, and I was supposed to have a few meetings, but they have been canceled because of the pandemic, so I do not have many hours. I think that I can likely get around 30-40 hours by the time that I finish my application, but that is dependent on the pandemic.
 

chaim123

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It involved patient interaction. I had to memorize the layout of the hospital and escort patients to their appointments. Sometimes they were physically disabled, so I would have to push their wheelchair. Oftentimes, because I work in a community with many non-native English speakers, I would act as an interpreter for the front desk to find out what patients/visitors needed. I did not interact with patients as much as I would have wanted, but I got a fair amount of experience doing it and interaction doing it. I got tuberculosis doing this job, so it's evident I had some patient contact. For the hospice volunteering, it is a lot more intimate. I would go to patient's homes to moniter their symptoms and also to keep them company. There would be other medical professionals there, mostly nurses. I have actually been a volunteer there for a few months, and I was supposed to have a few meetings, but they have been canceled because of the pandemic, so I do not have many hours. I think that I can likely get around 30-40 hours by the time that I finish my application, but that is dependent on the pandemic.

In that case you are checking most of the boxes. If you wanted to strengthen your app things I'm considering are:
  1. Leadership. What are you the leader of? Are there roles you can get promoted in to have recognized leadership experience?
  2. Active clinical experience -> Being an EMT, CNA, etc to provide care to patients
  3. Study hard for the mcat
 
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elloL

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In that case you are checking most of the boxes. If you wanted to strengthen your app things I'm considering are:
  1. Leadership. What are you the leader of? Are there roles you can get promoted in to have recognized leadership experience?
  2. Active clinical experience -> Being an EMT, CNA, etc to provide care to patients
  3. Study hard for the mcat
My only leadership roles are my tutoring positions. For Statistics, I was a supplemental instructor (it's like a TA) and I would hold tutoring sessions for the students. I was also a private tutor and a peer mentor. I was not involved in any clubs, frankly, because I had to work throughout college to be able to afford it. I did not have time to pursue my hobbies, but I loved teaching others, so it ended up being for the best. My mom is a CNA, and she is trying to find me volunteer hours, so hopefully, that can help with my clinical experience, but I do not have the money or resources to invest in becoming a medical professional outside of the medical school appication process. I'm sure that would gain me a lot of experience from being a CNA, EMT, etc, but I simply cannot afford to.
 

DokterMom

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Just a quick observation - You've provided a lot of potentially identifying information. If that's your photo, I'd switch it out pronto.
 

elloL

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Just a quick observation - You've provided a lot of potentially identifying information. If that's your photo, I'd switch it out pronto.
Oh, haha, okay. I was thinking this website was more like a social media site than it is?
 

Mr.Smile12

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Get your MCAT prep. As mentioned before, applying to Harvard is as much of a crapshoot as anything, but you probably have as good a shot as any. Did you ever get involved in any academic enrichment programs? Have you done any networking with SNMA or AMSA chapters at any school where you want to attend? It would be good to get a sense of the student support, especially for diverse applicants as yourself. Going to Harvard or similar schools always sound great, but they may not be the best school for you.

There's an entire MCAT forum here that can give you advice on resources.
 
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elloL

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Get your MCAT prep. As mentioned before, applying to Harvard is as much of a crapshoot as anything, but you probably have as good a shot as any. Did you ever get involved in any academic enrichment programs? Have you done any networking with SNMA or AMSA chapters at any school where you want to attend? It would be good to get a sense of the student support, especially for diverse applicants as yourself. Going to Harvard or similar schools always sound great, but they may not be the best school for you.

There's an entire MCAT forum here that can give you advice on resources.
Academic enrichment for the MCAT or in general? My school has little to no resources for medical school, I have been finding resources online on my own. I plan on taking the Princeton Review MCAT course in the summer. I have not done any networking with any chapters at any school. I have a basic idea of what the schools offer and when I had more free was, I was going to do more research.
 

elloL

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Get your MCAT prep. As mentioned before, applying to Harvard is as much of a crapshoot as anything, but you probably have as good a shot as any. Did you ever get involved in any academic enrichment programs? Have you done any networking with SNMA or AMSA chapters at any school where you want to attend? It would be good to get a sense of the student support, especially for diverse applicants as yourself. Going to Harvard or similar schools always sound great, but they may not be the best school for you.

There's an entire MCAT forum here that can give you advice on resources.
Also, do you mind sending me a link with the resources?
 

MyOdyssey

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Also, do you mind sending me a link with the resources?

free stuff - advice, student forum

paid MCAT prep offers
 
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