Looking for advice to round out my application going into secondaries/interviews. The advice I've gotten so far is that my research/teaching is top notch, but I need more unique volunteering to demonstrate compassion and something that makes me stand out. My whole application is on a theme of academic medicine, and that I want to be able to teach, research, and practice medicine. I just graduated undergraduate and am applying this cycle. My goal is to stay in California. I would take UCSD/UCLA/UCSF over Harvard/Yale/Hopkins any day.
MCAT: 11/14 (bio)/11
Research: Research assistant in structural biochemistry for 4 years and 2nd author in a Nature subjournal. 1st author poster presentation and a senior honors thesis my last year. The honors thesis was completely my own independent project, separate from the one that I was on for the first 3 years that led to the publication. ~4,000 hours. I'm continuing it into my masters in a 5-year BS/MS program.
Clinical volunteering: 100 hours in ICU volunteering over 2 years, currently projected to do 50-100 hours more in ED this year.
Shadowing: None yet, scheduling it soon to update on secondaries/interviews. However, I did spend a significant amount of hours following doctors around in the ICU because there were slow days, so I can talk about what it's like to be a doctor.
Non-clinical volunteering: 50 hours as a tutor to low socioeconomic students in a mainly hispanic school for 2 years. Also continuing to do ~50 hours more as the year progresses.
Extracurriculars: Teaching assistant for 2 years ~2,000 hours. Head TA for last year. Helped found a science and health education/outreach organization that also serves as premed advising, currently treasurer for it. Did brief social media volunteering for a website that publishes health/science articles which eventually led to the organization I helped start.
Typical awards and honors like PBK, honors list, etc.
School list: Applying to 40+ schools, including all the UCs, most of the top tiers, and a decent number of safety/match schools like Arizona, Virginia, Miami, Tufts, etc.
Should I be talking more about my hobbies and interests in secondaries? I didn't include them on the AMCAS because it felt irrelevant. I have an extensive background in performance music and play piano, violin, guitar, and I sing, although I haven't done much performance since before college. I was wondering if it's better to include it on a "tell us more about yourself" prompt or to bring it up during interviews.
Haha, thanks for the advice but I've already submitted and plan on filling out the rest of the secondaries. I got advice that by casting a wide net I could potentially hold multiple acceptances and choose to go where I am offered the most financial assistance, ultimately saving more money.Yeah don't apply to 40+ schools. Apply smart not with desperation
I can pretty much guarantee if you are applying to over 20-25+ schools with your stats you are including schools that are bad choices for youHaha, thanks for the advice but I've already submitted and plan on filling out the rest of the secondaries. I got advice that by casting a wide net I could potentially hold multiple acceptances and choose to go where I am offered the most financial assistance, ultimately saving more money.
Thanks Goro. So aside from the need to have more service/volunteering, which I expected, is there anything else that seems to be lacking from my application?Top schools seen to like not just research but varied interests and service. I strongly recommend getting more service, especially to others less fortunate than yourself. Get off campus and out of your comfort zone. The SDNers who have gotten into top schools and shared feedback with me have literally 100s of hours of patient contact experience. Don't be a cookie cutter...polish that app and aim high!
The "flowing doctors on slow days" might count as shadowing.
Just in case...You look pretty golden. I don't think that you need to apply to 40+ schools...you'll burn yourself out. You'll be fine with 20-30