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Jan 9, 2021
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Hello Everyone!

I have been lurking around here a while but this is my first post.

I applied to 20 schools this cycle and now am down to 12. I have not received any interview invites so far and since we are in January, I am not really betting on anything. I have a good feeling where the deficiencies in my application may be, but I still would like to have others input to make sure I am not overlooking anything:

21 Female ORM Very Low Income California Applicant

MCAT 520 (127/131/130/132)
Cumulative GPA 3.76 when I applied, 3.8 now (I had a 3.4 my freshman year and all A's my sophomore year, junior year and so far my senior year)
Major: Computer Science
Paid Clinical Hours: None
Clinical Volunteering: None ( I was supposed to start at the end of my junior year, but then COVID happened)
Research: 2 years no pubs (maybe 1000 hours)
Shadowing: 30 Radiology
Leadership: Communications Chair for largest pre-health org on campus, lead a team to create a website for another pre-health org on campus
AMCAS Submitted: 8/07/2020 Dumb me thought I should wait around for my MCAT scores to come in
AMCAS Verified: Mid September
Other: Paid employment: SAT tutor, SI leader (like an IA)

Hopefully that is all. Ideally I would like to go to a UC (not UCSF though).

I realize that my biggest issue is my clinical experience. I was really hoping to dedicate most of this past summer to that but I could not because of COVID and I don't think that I will be able to get in enough hours before the start of next cycle if things remain the way they are so I will potentially have to take two gap years. I am also debating whether I should start doing some virtual volunteering in this time (tutoring underserved communities, working with the homeless) but I am not sure how beneficial that would be considering it is virtual. What is the best way to spend this time to strengthen my application? Please be as critical as you like, I would rather hear the criticisms from you than from the adcoms.
 
May 16, 2020
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Clinical experience, shadowing, volunteering. Shadowing is difficult because of COVID, but you should be able to get clinical experience (paid or volunteer) and non-clinical volunteering. Without these things, it won't be clear why you want to be a doctor.
 
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May 18, 2020
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I don't know how it is in California but here in NYC there are a ton of scribing jobs available, especially at urgent care centers. You should apply to that or any other clinical job as soon as you can. Also, you'll need some non-clinical volunteering. Here in NYC there are still a lot of "food handout" volunteering events where you'll help pack and hand out food to homeless and low income people, so try looking for something like that in California as well; I'm sure there are many.

Also, I'd try to get some more shadowing in if possible, but if you're able to get the other two things soon then you should be fine to apply this upcoming cycle. Basically, your two most important goals should be to get clinical experience and nonclinical volunteering. Then shadowing.
 
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stickgirl390

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Non radiology shadowing would be beneficial, considering radiology is kind of the black sheep of medicine. (That and pathology.) You should be able to find plenty of non clinical volunteering, even with covid.
 
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Aug 6, 2019
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Hello Everyone!

I have been lurking around here a while but this is my first post.

I applied to 20 schools this cycle and now am down to 12. I have not received any interview invites so far and since we are in January, I am not really betting on anything. I have a good feeling where the deficiencies in my application may be, but I still would like to have others input to make sure I am not overlooking anything:

21 Female ORM Very Low Income California Applicant

MCAT 520 (127/131/130/132)
Cumulative GPA 3.76 when I applied, 3.8 now (I had a 3.4 my freshman year and all A's my sophomore year, junior year and so far my senior year)
Major: Computer Science
Paid Clinical Hours: None
Clinical Volunteering: None ( I was supposed to start at the end of my junior year, but then COVID happened)
Research: 2 years no pubs (maybe 1000 hours)
Shadowing: 30 Radiology
Leadership: Communications Chair for largest pre-health org on campus, lead a team to create a website for another pre-health org on campus
AMCAS Submitted: 8/07/2020 Dumb me thought I should wait around for my MCAT scores to come in
AMCAS Verified: Mid September
Other: Paid employment: SAT tutor, SI leader (like an IA)

Hopefully that is all. Ideally I would like to go to a UC (not UCSF though).

I realize that my biggest issue is my clinical experience. I was really hoping to dedicate most of this past summer to that but I could not because of COVID and I don't think that I will be able to get in enough hours before the start of next cycle if things remain the way they are so I will potentially have to take two gap years. I am also debating whether I should start doing some virtual volunteering in this time (tutoring underserved communities, working with the homeless) but I am not sure how beneficial that would be considering it is virtual. What is the best way to spend this time to strengthen my application? Please be as critical as you like, I would rather hear the criticisms from you than from the adcoms.
I'm currently batting .000 so my insight may not be the best but...

I would prioritize getting hands-on clinical experience before anything else. Being from CA myself I know that this can be challenging, but there are usually opportunities if you look hard and make yourself available. General volunteering/shadowing are always good, I don't think I have seen anyone say that someone has too much of these lol. At the end of the day though do what makes sense for you. You say you're low income, so if you graduate and need to work in order to get by- WORK. My current employment is completely unrelated to medicine, but ends must be met.

Get experience where you can, help others where you can, and keep growing. There are no 'gap years' in life, just life.
 
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Feb 5, 2020
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First of all, it’s good that you’re already considering reapplying -you start rejected and stay rejected until A. However, don’t call off too soon. A good friend of mine last year didn’t receive any ii until two iis on March, and that was even before COVID.

Your lack of clinical experience is definitely problematic though. Recall that average age of matriculate is 24, so your fellow applicants already had plenty of clinical experience pre-COVID during college. If you’re very serious about pursuing MD, do scribing. But then you only need 200 hours of clinical experience (IMO), and scribing might be an overkill if you don’t like it. Just do something you enjoy doing. Looks like you somewhat enjoy doing research, so work as an RA somewhere and do some clinical volunteering - COVID test centers at hospitals, homeless clinic, etc.

Also, reapplicants are expected to significantly improve their application, so if you don’t then the next application cycle will look grimmer than this cycle...
 
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LindaAccepted

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Hello Everyone!

I have been lurking around here a while but this is my first post.

I applied to 20 schools this cycle and now am down to 12. I have not received any interview invites so far and since we are in January, I am not really betting on anything. I have a good feeling where the deficiencies in my application may be, but I still would like to have others input to make sure I am not overlooking anything:

21 Female ORM Very Low Income California Applicant

MCAT 520 (127/131/130/132)
Cumulative GPA 3.76 when I applied, 3.8 now (I had a 3.4 my freshman year and all A's my sophomore year, junior year and so far my senior year)
Major: Computer Science
Paid Clinical Hours: None
Clinical Volunteering: None ( I was supposed to start at the end of my junior year, but then COVID happened)
Research: 2 years no pubs (maybe 1000 hours)
Shadowing: 30 Radiology
Leadership: Communications Chair for largest pre-health org on campus, lead a team to create a website for another pre-health org on campus
AMCAS Submitted: 8/07/2020 Dumb me thought I should wait around for my MCAT scores to come in
AMCAS Verified: Mid September
Other: Paid employment: SAT tutor, SI leader (like an IA)

Hopefully that is all. Ideally I would like to go to a UC (not UCSF though).

I realize that my biggest issue is my clinical experience. I was really hoping to dedicate most of this past summer to that but I could not because of COVID and I don't think that I will be able to get in enough hours before the start of next cycle if things remain the way they are so I will potentially have to take two gap years. I am also debating whether I should start doing some virtual volunteering in this time (tutoring underserved communities, working with the homeless) but I am not sure how beneficial that would be considering it is virtual. What is the best way to spend this time to strengthen my application? Please be as critical as you like, I would rather hear the criticisms from you than from the adcoms.
Based on what you wrote, I agree with you and the other posters that lack of clinical exposure is the most obvious factor in your not having any IIs and possibly in a rejection this cycle. Submitting your AMCAS in early June should also help.

So gaining clinical experience is what you gotta do. And there are ways to do it even during COVID, especially since it looks like you will have a gap year. Here are some suggestions if you are not willing to go to a clinical settings because of COVID:
  • Virtual scribing.
  • Volunteering with Crisis Hotlines
  • Contact Tracing
And there are still opportunities in in-person clinical settings, if you are willing to go to them:
  • scribing
  • medical assistant
  • EMT, phlebotomist,
I would try to do something more active and participatory than additional shadowing.

Don't worry about "getting enough hours" as much as doing something meaningful as soon as possible. Perhaps plan on getting a scribing job once you graduate and doing contract tracing now on a more limited basis. Or take an EMT course and see if you can get some hours in now.

The point is START. By the time you start responding to secondaries you will hopefully have made a major clinical commitment or have a job as a clinician.

At the same time, don't ignore other possible factors in a rejection. Perhaps you failed to present yourself well. Perhaps your application would be strengthened by additional community service . Here are other possible factors in rejection: The 8 Most Common Mistakes Students Make On Their Medical School Applications , that if you are rejected you should consider to make sure they are not factors for you.

Best,
Linda
 
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