Dec 23, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
I would really appreciate some advice on applying to post bacs. After working in clinical research a few years, I decided in Aug 2020 to apply to post bacs and pursue med school. I have applied to 2 programs - Scripps and Goucher - and am working on the essays for Bryn Mawr, Johns Hopkins, and UVA. I was rejected from Goucher without an interview, which was obviously a letdown. (Submitted to Scripps a week ago, no response yet.) I have 3 main questions:
1) What are the main weaknesses in my application?
2) Is there any way I can improve/modify my application before submitting to the remaining schools, given their deadlines are in 6-8 weeks?
3) Based on my stats, do you think I could still get into a good research med school by doing an informal post-bacc?

Here's my stats:
Academics:
- BS in Psychology 2018 (cGPA: 3.76, sGPA: 3.6)
- A's and B's in a few hard science classes (Bio I, Cell Bio, Neurobio, Chem)
- second major in Humanities from Honors College
- GRE: 327
- SAT: 2180
clinical experience: 100 hours volunteering as a COVID-19 testing administrator
ECs:
- 2 years in clinical research operations at a top 20 research med school, working closely with pharmaceutical sponsor to oversee 45 research sites (no patient interaction)
- 3 years of cognitive research experience in college
- volunteer: academic mentor, college choir, backpacking guide
- work as a writing tutor and Neuroscience TA
Strong essay with, unique narrative for becoming a clinician. put in a lot of time with multiple rewrites
Awards:
- Awarded Most Outstanding graduate by Psychology department
- 3 publications (1 in a scientific journal as a coauthor, 2 in small humanities journals)
LoR: Strong letter of rec from a well-respected PI of several international clinical trials

I just started virtual shadowing (~6 hours) and am trying to decide if that's even worth including on my app.

I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks so much!
 
Dec 9, 2020
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Your stats seem good, but it looks like you already took some prerequisites (Bio and Chem, specifically). Goucher's program is designed for "career changers" i.e. people who haven't previously taken premed science classes. Which science classes do you still need to take? Are you looking for an "academic enhancer" program instead?
 
Dec 23, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hi, thanks so much for your response. I need to take a majority of the pre reqs - bio 2, chem 2, organic chem 1 and 2, biochem, physics 1 and 2, and calculus. The main post bac programs are fine with you taking a few science classes as long as you still need a majority of them. I am not looking for an academic enhancement program.
Since I have taken a few of the pre reqs, I am considering going the informal/self taught post bac route, but I think I would benefit from the learning environment of a formal program.
 
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Sep 22, 2019
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  1. Pre-Medical
Best of luck with your upcoming applications—my eye was caught when reading your post because we have extraordinarily similar cGPA and SAT stats. I wish I had some concrete advice to impart, but maybe just sharing my experience might be a little helpful.

I was waitlisted after interview at Bryn Mawr last year but decided to keep working for a year and apply more broadly this year. I got into Goucher and Bryn Mawr this year, and I think two things that might have helped me were

1) really cohesive narrative about why I wanted to change careers—I really had no medically related experiences until a few years after college, so it was important to answer the “why medicine?” question and explain why I started volunteering and shadowing when I did. Because of your coursework and research, it looks like you’ll have a different question to answer, “why medicine now?”

2) an honest reckoning with weaknesses in my application. In my case, I made explicit reference to my outlying low math grades in high school and college, contextualized them, and showed how I recently did well in an online math course. Last year, I was afraid to bring up the obvious low points in my application, but this year, I owned them and showed how I could do better.

It looks like you have a humanities background (which I do as well), and it might be helpful to lean into that if the humanities are still a genuine concern and fit into the way you think about medicine. That may already be the case in your essay, or if it isn’t, of course don’t do it if it would be contrived, but I think that my strong humanities focus helped me build a distinctive narrative and prove myself as a real career changer.
 
Dec 23, 2020
6
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  1. Pre-Medical
Best of luck with your upcoming applications—my eye was caught when reading your post because we have extraordinarily similar cGPA and SAT stats. I wish I had some concrete advice to impart, but maybe just sharing my experience might be a little helpful.

I was waitlisted after interview at Bryn Mawr last year but decided to keep working for a year and apply more broadly this year. I got into Goucher and Bryn Mawr this year, and I think two things that might have helped me were

1) really cohesive narrative about why I wanted to change careers—I really had no medically related experiences until a few years after college, so it was important to answer the “why medicine?” question and explain why I started volunteering and shadowing when I did. Because of your coursework and research, it looks like you’ll have a different question to answer, “why medicine now?”

2) an honest reckoning with weaknesses in my application. In my case, I made explicit reference to my outlying low math grades in high school and college, contextualized them, and showed how I recently did well in an online math course. Last year, I was afraid to bring up the obvious low points in my application, but this year, I owned them and showed how I could do better.

It looks like you have a humanities background (which I do as well), and it might be helpful to lean into that if the humanities are still a genuine concern and fit into the way you think about medicine. That may already be the case in your essay, or if it isn’t, of course don’t do it if it would be contrived, but I think that my strong humanities focus helped me build a distinctive narrative and prove myself as a real career changer.
Hi, thanks so much for your comment. My current personal statement does not go into my humanities experience, but it’s good to hear that was successful for you - I’ll try to reference it in a secondary essay/interview. Do you mind saying whether you plan to attend Goucher or Bryan Mawr?
I am wondering if I submitted too late, or if my lack of in-person shadowing is a red flag. Do you have any thoughts on if either of those are application killers? Lastly do you think I should submit to the other programs this year (hopkins, bryn mawr, UVA), or hold off and obtain more clinical experience?
 
Sep 22, 2019
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  1. Pre-Medical
I've committed to attending Bryn Mawr due to personal ties to the area though I also love Baltimore and would have been thrilled to attend Goucher.

To be honest, I don't have super extensive shadowing (or volunteering) hours, but I was able to shadow for limited hours with a variety of different physicians, and I had a weekly commitment to four different clinical volunteer opportunities pre-pandemic, so I demonstrated commitment and interest with the broadness of the activities. I know that the pandemic changes the availability of these options, but that's how my timeline worked out.

Since I was a successful reapplicant at Bryn Mawr, I don't see an issue with trying this year and continuing to work on your application even if you don't get in this year, but if that's the case, you should have a clear plan to be able to show improvement year over year. I felt comfortable asking the school for feedback on my first application since I made it to the interview round and was waitlisted, so that's an element to consider as well.

In terms of timing, you might want to post in the Post-Bac 2021-2022 Admissions thread. People are very honest and supportive there, and they might be able to speak more to Hopkins and UVA as well.
 
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