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39S MCAT, 3.77 GPA, BPCM 3.80: Good Stats but too Ambitious?

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by psw, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. psw

    psw Member
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    Race: Chinese American
    Undergraduate Institution: One of the Northeast Ivies

    EC:
    Brief Shadowing at State Hospital with pretty well known Rheumatologist (LOR)
    Volunteering for one year as surgical waiting room receptionist at Local Hospital (LOR)
    Research for one summer in renewable energy (no pubs, LOR)
    Research for one year in computational biology (ongoing)
    Youth group leader + Bible Study Teacher (LOR)
    Chair of a International justice advocacy group
    Chair of College Council (study breaks and such)

    Hook:
    First-generation immigrant (does this even count for Asian Americans? Our family did come from nothing, but we're upper middle class now.)
    Well rounded science: math + physics + compsci + bio + chem student
    Great LOR

    Career Goal:
    I can see myself going down one of two tracks. Academia: Work in the clinic, teach, and also do research. OR, Policy: Grad from med school go straight for DC to try and effect some change! (yea optimistic)

    List of Schools:

    * Columbia University College of P & S
    * Dartmouth Medical School
    * Duke University School of Medicine
    * Harvard Medical School
    * Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    * New York University
    * Stanford University School of Medicine
    * UMDNJ- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
    * University of California San Francisco
    * University of Michigan Medical School
    * University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
    * Washington University School of Medicine
    * Weill Medical College of Cornell University
    * Yale University School of Medicine

    I'm feeling a bit unconfident though about my list of schools. Even though I realize I look pretty compelling on paper, the list is a bit unbalanced. I have other issues too...could you guys help me out with the below list of questions?

    1. Suggest some schools for me that would be a good fit but aren't listed. I am really looking to deflate my ego some and put some more reasonable schools on there.
    2. Should I really list my church EC on AMCAS? I've always heard that we aren't supposed to reveal race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation on applications but...I spend ALOT of my week with the Youth Group and holding Bible Studies.
    3. The first generation immigrant thing for Asians, is it really worth mentioning in my PS?

    Thanks in advance everyone. =D
     
    #1 psw, Jun 4, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2008
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  3. paradocs we are

    paradocs we are In love with you
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    1. Apply to all of your state schools. ALL.

    2. I listed my church EC more than once. If you really did spend alot of time like I did, then mention it.

    3. I'm a first generation immigrant (not Asian though) and didn't feel as though that set me apart too much. Include it if you really believe it shaped who you are today.
     
  4. pianola

    pianola MS2
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    I would agree with the above poster on 1. Even if you do have a pretty good shot at any of those schools there are just no guarantees. Unless you have no intention whatsoever of going to your state school should you get in.

    If that's the case, I'd add about 10 more schools to your list and hope for the best.
     
  5. bozz

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    Add more safeties.... many people applying to the schools you listed (research powerhouses) have similar stats as you plus 3+ years of research experience and maybe publications and maybe even crazy extracurriculars (look around MDAPPs... from juggling to tap dancing to theater production and so on)
     
  6. psw

    psw Member
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    thanks guys. my state is NJ so Robert Wood Johnson and NJMC are the only options. RWJ is already on the list, but I'll be sure to add NJMC. Any other suggestions though for private schools? I'll take any.
     
  7. SketchLazy

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    Your chances are excellent at all those schools, but I wouldn't consider the 1st generation asian immigrant story a hook. Sorry, but that's been played. There might be indifference towards your Christian background in major cities on the west and east coast because those are where all the rest of us heathens live.

    You might not be as competitive as anyone would think at the research heavy institutions based on your research experience. To be safe, and I stress safe here because you do look like an excellent candidate on paper, add a few more schools that are less competitive. Looks like you're sticking to north-east, so consider more of the NY, PA and MA schools. Possibly WI, if your willing to go out there.

    To complete your app, you're going to need LORs from your instructors: 2 science and 1 non-science. That's very important. Doesn't seem like you need anything else.
     
    #6 SketchLazy, Jun 4, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2008
  8. ilikeyoualot

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    i think you're pretty cool. When i grow up i want to be just like you! :) This message will be deleted by the moderator.
     
  9. psw

    psw Member
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    thanks guys. what schools specifically do you think I should apply to?
     
  10. bozz

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    Yo just another thing I noticed... I don't see any exposure to patients (unless I misread your ECs). Get on that ASAP if you haven't already. A buddy of mine with a 4.0 and a 38 MCAT with a lot of research + pubs got rejected everywhere and is reapplying this year. He basically applied to a lot of top schools with Dartmouth as his safety -_- He was told that he had no valuable clinical experience -- he never directly interacted with patients.
     
  11. SketchLazy

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    Some rough suggestions:

    Tufts
    Temple
    Jefferson
    Drexel
    SUNYs
    AECOM
    Mt Sinai
    U of Rochester
    NYMC
    Albany
    U of WI - Madison
    MCW
    UPitt
    UVa
     
  12. TexasTriathlete

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    When I first read this, I thought you meant you were going to go to chiropractor school after you get done with med school.

    If you haven't been published, Stanford may not like you. Some of the other research-heavy schools may be the same way, but I'm not sure.

    If you're not from California, I wouldn't bother with UCSF. If you look at their stats in the MSAR, you'll see the number of out-of-staters they admit every year ranges from about 0-2.

    Definitely list your church stuff. Its part of you, isn't it?

    If your status as a first-generation immigrant has a major impact on you somehow, then list it in your PS, but it isn't likely to earn you any brownie points. Keep things that aren't explicitly used to sell yourself to a minimum in the PS.

    Good luck. You seem to have worked hard, and you're probably not an *******. You should have karma on your side.
     
  13. FSAP

    FSAP Foreigner
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    Wow, your buddy is basically me. I am less ambitious with my schools, so here's hoping they are less picky on that.
     
  14. RPedigo

    Physician Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    You are basically me, for the record. Good luck! :luck:
     
  15. psw

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    haha, I just checked out your MD Apps site and you're right. =]
     
  16. psw

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    @Sketchlazy

    Thanks for the list, that's exactly what I needed.

    Also, wow....didn't know that research institutions cared so much for research even at the MD level. Nice to know, thanks for all the advice.
     
  17. TexasTriathlete

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    I get the impression that Stanford is extreme in that regard. My uncle is a microbiologist there, and he seems to think so (although he is not involved with admissions, hence, I'm not going there). If you look at their curriculum, even in their regular MD program, they make you pick some sort of research concentration, or something like that.
     
  18. psw

    psw Member
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    With your inputs all together...how does this look?

    "Dreamy"
    * Columbia University College of P & S
    * Duke University School of Medicine
    * Harvard Medical School
    * Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    * Stanford University School of Medicine
    * University of Michigan Medical School
    * University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
    * Washington University School of Medicine
    * Yale University School of Medicine
    * Baylor University School of Medicine

    "Not so dreamy, but still very attractive"
    * Jefferson School of Medicine
    * University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
    * UMDNJ- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
    * New York University School of Medicine
     
  19. TexasTriathlete

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    You can't go wrong with any of those.

    If you really want to do research, you might want to do the TMDSAS application and throw in UT-Southwestern. As far as I know, they're the only med school with four Nobel laureates on faculty, and they are a big research place. Not in the same way that Stanford is, but they do some pretty serious work there. Also, Parkland is an incredible place to train, and they let their students do A LOT.

    Out-of-state is tough for Texas schools, but at the same time, a lot of people don't even think to apply there because of the in-state preference, and the fact that its a completely different application.

    On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of Dallas. It is just a huge city with terrible traffic and no soul. Lots of hot chicks though. Think LA, but without the movie stars.

    I also hate the ****ing Cowboys, and the insane number of OU fans there.
     
  20. Epibackpacker

    Epibackpacker Epibackpacker
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    I would throw University of Rochester into the mix you are looking at as well. The school is quite strong in research and seems like it might make a good fit. Also since you are in New Jersey, it might not be bad to apply to all the schools in Philadelphia or New York City since traveling there is probably not an issue.
     
  21. thesauce

    thesauce Senior Member
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    I'm a 4th year at NJMS and have a good friend in my class that was in a similar situation (3.9+/38T) and only got into Georgetown and NJMS. So I would definately expand your list just to be on the safe side. This process is a crapshoot and you just never know.

    All you're out is a little more money and with it you buy peace of mind.
     
  22. ninjamike

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    I would definitely second what the above posters have said: spread your application around! This process can be a total crap-shoot (I was accepted by two schools that barely looked at me the 1st time I applied).

    The immigrant question is a tough one though, (I am a 1st generation American) What I have heard from adcoms and advisers alike is to include information like that onlyif it is relevant to the choice/process of becoming a doc. I personally would not risk sounding like you are using it as a "hook" My dad has a great story about being caught in a revolution and escaping the soviets but it had no bearing on my medical education. Focus on what you know and do beyond the hard sciences to make yourself really stand out.
     
  23. rowerlauren

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    OP You are pretty close to me as well. And you will see that I have practically the same list as you have, with the addition of my being a varsity athlete. I also want to enter academic medicine as well, that should be included in your essay at some point because the top schools like to see that you are thinking about academic medicine.

    I will agree with the rest of the posters that using the immigrant story is played out, especially by asian immigrants. I would recommend adding something like BU or Tufts if you want to hit a school in the big northeast cities with mid-range stats. My advisors wouldn't really let me apply to BU or Tufts (they went as far and grabbing a pen and scratching them off my list) and did the same thing to most of my Texas (in-state) safety schools.

    Your hook is not a hook. Sorry to say that, but you are a pretty average good student. At my school you would be one of 20 or 30 with about the same stats. And you don't have to say you have good LOR, I would hope so.

    You have a chance at any of the schools you are applying to, but are far from an auto admit by most of them.
     
  24. m6ixty2wo

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    so.... you're from an IVY and you go to a school in NEW JERSEY which means you're from PRINCETON and with a 3.77 at princeton (much more prestigious than a similar gpa at harvard due to grade deflation, ave gpa is much lower at princeton) I'd say, You have an awesome chance! I love you pwu.
     
  25. psw

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    @TexasTriathlete

    haha, thanks alot man. Texas is really a hard sell for me since I've been midwest / east coast all my life. I haven't actually looked at any of them in depth though so I will consider it.

    @ Epibackpacker

    thanks man. I checked out Rochestor and they seem pretty solid.

    @ thesauce

    Dang, thanks for the anectdote. It's surprising he didn't get into RWJ also? But NJMS is a great school too. Thanks, I'll definitely add it.

    @ ninjamike

    Yea, the immigrant question is tough. I guess how it effects me...as an immigrant I'm not going to go out and start my own art studio or italian bistro. I want to go into something professional and, well stable since I don't have any family in America except my parents. (only child as well.) So it is a factor in medical school, but is that just being too sincere to the point of awkwardness?

    @ rowerlauren

    Thanks for the opinion. Yea, at my school too, but if you have similar stats as me we don't want to underestimate ourselves either. It might not be that we're average, but that we have a bunch of really distinguished peers. In any case, I'll mention BU and Tufts to my advisers and hopefully they won't do the same to me as they did to you. Good luck to ya!

    @ m6ixty2wo & @ilikeyoualot

    Thanks for the kudos. Looks like I got some admirers. Are either of you girls? I'm crossing my fingers even though you have a male netids. PM me, I'm single and ready to mingle. WINK.
     
  26. rowerlauren

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    I know not to underestimate ourselves... I believe my Pre-med advisors a lot more than people's judgments on SDN. Nothing against anyone on SDN, but my school has a great rep with med schools and we have 4 advisors whose sole just is to advise obsessive pre-meds. They really have nothing but our best interests at heart. So psw if your advisors think that the schools you are applying to are sufficient, then they are probably right. I mean I find it hard to believe that my advisors call UT Southwestern and Baylor safety schools for me, but what do I know honestly? I love the schools I am applying to and my advisors think that my list is great, so I am happy with what I am doing.
     
  27. paradocs we are

    paradocs we are In love with you
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    Are you serious? Many immigrants start their own art studios or italian bistros.

    I'd refrain from making judgment calls, especially ridiculous ones such as the above, during your interviews.
     
  28. TexasTriathlete

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  29. helloy

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    psw- 3.77 at Pricneton is pretty kickass. I think your list is good and your extracurriculars are nice.
     
  30. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet
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    I think your list is fine. I would maybe add a few more schools but I wouldn't add some of the midtier NE schools like Tufts, BU, AECOM, GU, GWU, etc because you'd just be wasting your money as its likely they won't give you as much consideration as your app deserves due to your high stats. Around 15 top tier schools and a few mid tiers would be fine, IMO. Most people on SDN apply to an inordinately high amount of schools unnecessarily in my experience.
     
  31. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod
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    I dunno, I'd say all of those schools you listed would be excellent choices. They're not going to discard him solely because he has high stats. That's absurd.
     
  32. iluvpuppies

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    As someone who has been through the process, Id advise that you do some research and narrow down ur list of "heavy hitter" schools a little bc itll let u focus more on the ones u really want. obviously u want a couple choices bc ur not guarnteed to get in anywhere, but thats a lot of secondaries to try to turn around quickly, expensive, and, once interview offers start to come in, theres no way ur gonna be able to go to all of them (or at least ull end up with potential interviews on say days/weeks that will conflict or be really bad for ur schedule). just withdrawing apps wastes money and time. talk to ppl, look at curriculums, and think about what kind of a set up u want and wheen out a couple that dont match ur interests. itll make ur year more pleasant, save u money, and better ur chances for where u want

    good luck!
     
  33. m6ixty2wo

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    Are you serious? He was implying that immigrants DO start their own art studios or italian bistros, but he wasn't one of them.
     
  34. paradocs we are

    paradocs we are In love with you
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    Are you serious? I didn't read then.
     

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