FormerPhysicist

5+ Year Member
Jan 3, 2013
148
16
It's been a stressful app cycle so far, so I'll post this thread. If you have app cycle things you'd like to vent about, feel free to post them.

I'll preface this mini biography by saying that I accept responsibility for putting myself into this situation. This mess starts with me. Let's begin at my first app cycle, which started in 2011. I had switched to a physics major that year, and my GPA dipped quite a bit. Strike one. I took the MCAT twice that year, scoring a 26 and 25. Strike two. Having not even heard of SDN at that point, I greatly underestimated how tough med school admissions were, and submitted my primary in October. Strike three. As you might guess, no II, and certainly no acceptances. I didn't even get secondaries from my state schools. Honestly, with my attitude at the time, I don't think even the Caribbean schools would've taken me. I was just crushed. All I had going for me career-wise was that I had a steady job at the time working in an optometry office.

So, after graduation in 2012, I started planning for what I would do next. I decided I would keep working at my job (much to the relief of my wife) and prepare for an MCAT retake. I studied hard for a September retake, and this time made a 28. Crushed again. Seriously considered quitting. I decided I still wasn't done, and signed up for some post-bacc biology courses at my old university. That semester was literally the most stressed I've ever been: 16 hours of classes, MCAT prep, full-time job, and a cancer scare from my wife to top it off (she turned out to have some super-rare but easily treatable cancer mimic, but that's another story). I even received my first ever "W" for a class because the professor of my "Solid State Principles of Electrical Circuits" class literally changed the course name and material to "Condensed Matter Physics" 6 weeks into the semester. But: I overcame the challenges. Rode a Berkeley review set to a 31 MCAT (why didn't I do that the first time?) and aced one of my toughest course loads ever. I even scored a shadowing gig with a local hospital program, which gave me an additional ~150 to my shadowing hours.

And that brings me to this cycle. Having brought back my GPA from the dead to a 3.3 and an acceptable MCAT score (albeit the 4th try) in hand, I prepped my AMCAS and submitted to 26 different schools within the first three minutes that it was available. I had four different professors proofread that PS, and had the experiences filled to perfection with leadership/volunteering/shadowing/hobbies/whatever. It was flawless, lackluster GPA aside. Or so I thought. I received something like 9 rejections and 2 "pre-interview holds" (rejections) in those first two months. Silence from all other schools but one. To make things worse, my job has recently gone to utter crap. I got cut back to less than 20 hours/week. A physics degree is worthless without grad school as far as job searches.

My lone bright spot has been an II back in September to my top choice (state) school, but I haven't heard a word from them since. It's hard not to take it personally when they're sending out acceptances and you get passed over time and again. It also doesn't help to look back at past years' threads and see horror stories of people waitlisted in September and still on that waitlist in July. I'm terrified of setting myself up at some SMP, moving, settling in some rental house, spouse getting a job, and THEN getting a call about being accepted to a med school in another geographic region.

At any rate, here I am, 2 years after my first app cycle, barely any closer to an acceptance than when I started. It's all so frustrating and it's so easy to feel down. But, I feel better for having typed this. I know that I'll at least get into a good SMP somewhere and things will work out. My wife graduates nursing school later this year, and that sweet nursing income will ease the whole paycheck-to-paycheck thing. It just hurts to realize how much money I wasted on this app cycle and how much time I've probably wasted in needless EC's.

TL;DR: Get good grades and apply correctly the first time around. Having to take multiple gap years before even getting into an SMP is definitely not fun.

/Rant
 
Oct 1, 2013
1
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for sharing your story. I have been thinking about future possibilities of not getting into the schools I apply to. Definitely something I don't enjoy thinking about, but it's important so you're prepared.
 
OP
FormerPhysicist

FormerPhysicist

5+ Year Member
Jan 3, 2013
148
16
Have any SMPs in mind?
My short list includes Cincy (great linkage/parent med school), Tulane (cheap!), and RFU (close to spouse's family). I thought about applying to Temple ACMS, but I'd really like to be settled somewhere before June/July.
 
Jul 22, 2012
308
13
Status
Thanks for your story. This is my first cycle, but I'm afraid I will go through something similar. It feels better that I'm not the only one going through this. I have met some of the nicest, coolest medical students and physicians who did not get in the first time either so do know it happens to the best of us. I just wanted to wish you the best of luck, you certainly deserve it.
 

mommy2three

PGY-1
10+ Year Member
Dec 13, 2005
1,246
228
Michigan
Status
Resident [Any Field]
My short list includes Cincy (great linkage/parent med school), Tulane (cheap!), and RFU (close to spouse's family). I thought about applying to Temple ACMS, but I'd really like to be settled somewhere before June/July.
If RFU is in Chicago I highly suggest you also look at Loyola and Midwesterns programs
 
OP
FormerPhysicist

FormerPhysicist

5+ Year Member
Jan 3, 2013
148
16
If RFU is in Chicago I highly suggest you also look at Loyola and Midwesterns programs
I've thought about Loyola's program, but it's been significantly tougher to find any hard numbers on their students' med school success rate. The only thread I've found about it from last year was nearly empty. Apparently they've opened a new MSP program as well, but it's too new to get a good feel for. To me, RFU looks like the safer bet of the two (it's also closer to the family I mentioned, which lives across the border in cheese/Packers country).

Edit: I just realized that both RFU and Loyola are over twice as expensive as my state schools, including the one I interviewed at earlier this cycle. I'm sort of depressed now.
 
Last edited:
OP
FormerPhysicist

FormerPhysicist

5+ Year Member
Jan 3, 2013
148
16
Why not apply DO?
I've thought about it over the past couple of weeks, but it seems pretty late in the cycle to apply DO. I'll apply DO and MD next year regardless of which SMP I go to, although I still hope for an MD acceptance because of my interest in ophthalmology.
 

cabinbuilder

Urgent Care Physician
10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2005
4,531
2,357
Texas
Status
Attending Physician
You should have applied DO, there are DO ophthalmologists too. With DO grade replacement you would have a higher GPA than that. Comes back to how bad do you want to be a doctor? And even if you get into MD school there is NO GUARANTEE that you will get into ophtho residency.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gyngyn