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3rd time reapplicant - Need advice?

Discussion in 'Re-Applicants [ MD / DO ]' started by Aflac0421, Mar 21, 2012.

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  1. Aflac0421


    Apr 21, 2011
    This may be a bit premature since I am waiting for a school to get back to me. Nevertheless, I have a strong feeling I am going to have to reapply a 3rd time. I thought I had fixed most of my problems and I'm not exactly sure what to do at this point.

    I have a 3.70 cumulative GPA/3.69 science GPA and a 33 MCAT (10 PS, 11 VR and 12 BS). I also have 4 years of volunteering in the hospital (4hrs/week), 1 year of hospice volunteering (4hrs/week), 30 hrs of shadowing, 1 summer chem lab internship and 1/2 a year of tutoring when I applied last year.

    This year I worked as an english teacher in China (which was one of the best experiences I've ever had). Now that I am back in the states, I'm starting to shadow another doctor and I'm working as a SAT tutor at a learning center. All in all, I interviewed at only 2 schools. I've been waitlisted at one, and I'm still waiting for the decision at the other. To be honest, I thought this was going to be my year and I'm crushed at the thought of having to reapply again.

    The first time I applied, I had a poor MCAT of 29. I applied late and didn't write the best personal statement. This cycle I made sure I applied early and broadly (to 25 schools), and submitted my primary in June. I didn't have access to internet in July when I was in China, however, I got most of my secondaries sent in by August and September.

    Now looking back, I'm trying really hard to think what I could've done differently. I know one thing I can improve on is sending all my secondaries in July but I don't believe August/ September is late enough to warrant such few interviews. I thought perhaps my personal statement wasn't strong, however, the first thing one of my interviewers told me was how great my PS was and how it was one of his favorites. I thought about my interviewing skills nevertheless that wouldn't explain why I only received 2 interviews.

    There has to be a major red flag somewhere and I can't put my finger on it. I'm starting to suspect it is my recommendations (my non-science rec is from a professor I didn't know well and I never really got close to any of the faculty). However, now that I've been out of school for a while, is there anything I can do to procure a new recommendation? I've arranged to talk to 2 of the admission officers (at schools I've been rejected at), so maybe I can figure more out.

    I'm sure another thing I could've improved on is sending updates out earlier. Schools didn't know I was abroad until November. Another weakness I have is the lack of meaningful research (I got asked about why I didn't do research during my interviews).

    Still, I am not sure what I should do at this point. I haven't had any luck so far in finding a meaningful research job due to my lack of experience (plus my current job pays well). Obviously, I am going to apply to D.O. schools this time and I'm shadowing D.O.s. A part of me wants to go back and teach English in China (since it was such a great experience and made great conversation material during the interviews). However, going overseas probably wouldn't demonstrate a commitment to medicine.

    All in all, I feel a bit lost and I am paranoid that I won't even get into a D.O school. What course of action do you guys thing I should take? Any advice or opinions would be helpful.
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  3. help2

    help2 5+ Year Member

    May 11, 2011
    Most importantly: stay positive and persevere!

    It seems like you have a solid foundation (good mcat, gpa, and ECs). Unfortunately, the medical school process is grueling and really has a way of beating us all down and making us feel like we're not worthy.

    A lot of MD schools really value research. While it is possible to be accepted without it, some argue that it is an "unwritten requirement." Though DO schools still value applicants with research experience, I believe they don't mind this as much because they are not quite as research driven as the MD programs.

    I think you just need to take this next year to fully focus 100% on getting into medical school. Apply early, and get your secondaries done before your even requested to send them in. If you stay in the States this will make things somewhat easier. Do research, clinical work, shadowing....whatever you can find and would enjoy doing to work towards your goals. I think you'll probably get a lot of love from DO schools :)

    And definitely take the feedback from the schools who didn't accept you. I'm sure that insight will be very beneficial in helping you decide what to do while you reapply.

    Good luck!
  4. rubisco88

    rubisco88 2+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2010
    Houston, TX
    What's your state of residence? What schools did you apply to? Did you apply primarily to schools ranked highly based on their research?

    I suspect that it may be your LORs that are the red flag. The rest of your application seems competitive. I am a Texas resident and the schools here allow you to send 3 letters of any type. Maybe next time you could send in letters from a physician you've worked with, a PI if you do research, and/or a volunteer coordinator. The only way to get stronger prof LORs would be to take a couple upper div bio classes or something at a local university, but that might be too much work.
  5. Aflac0421


    Apr 21, 2011
    I'm from California so I don't have any safety schools. I applied mainly to schools that accepted a great deal of out of state students. I didn't apply to any of the higher tier schools whatsoever.

    and yeah, the more I think about it, the more worried I am about my LORs. I have 3 letters of recs.
    Letter #1: A professor I had for a laboratory class.I got an A+ and the highest grade in his class. We had a good relationship and he favored me. I'm pretty sure this recommendation was strong.
    Letter #2: A professor for an advanced science seminar. The class was small (8 - 10 people). We had a rather formal relationship so can't gauge this essay well. She's extremely nice though so I'm pretty sure it's positive.
    Letter #3: A professor for a history class. I sort of asked this professor out of desperation (since this was the only non-sci class I took in senior year). I went to office hours a few times but we never had a close relationship.

    As a result, you can see my recs clearly doesn't inspire great confidence. I know LORs have a strict confidentiality agreement but is there any way I can get admissions to somehow give me the nature of my recommendations? I'm paranoid that maybe someone sent a rec that is in an "insert student's name here" format. I do plan on adding recs from my volunteer coordinators and the physician I'm shadowing.

    Another thing is I also had a "NP" my sophmore year. It was sort of stupid since I forgot to drop the class by the deadline. Still, the interviewers never asked me about that (one asked me about a B- I got in ochem lab) so it can't possibly be that big issue of an issue can it? Perhaps my schedule seemed light to the admissions? I only volunteered 4hrs a week during college... not exactly a rigorous schedule. Still, my pre-req grades are very strong.

    It could also be that I'm just too average on paper. ionno...
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012

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