App season has started! Goro's guide to the app process

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Goro

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So application season is upon us. I have some tips for you. Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair.

What do we Adcoms look for? People who will make good doctors and will be good students.

But to be the former, you have to be the latter. Evidence for doing well in med school is evidenced by an applicant with above average grades and MCAT score, evidence of a good work ethic, strong time management skills, reasonable expectations of what it means to have a career in medicine based on personal experiences acquired as an adult (not, "I shadowed by grandpa when I was 8 and therefore I know what it is to be a doctor"), capacity for self-reflection, able to give and receive feedback and learn from it, good self-care and resilience in tough times.

A high risk of failing out or withdrawing due to lack of motivation would be the opposite of the attributes listed above (kudos to LizzyM for this).

  • Applying early is good. But don’t freak out if you’re not submitting by end of July. Most Admissions deans don’t get started at work until after Labor Day. By end of September, it's probably too late for MD schools (unless you’re a stellar candidate, or fulfill one of the school’s missions), but FYI, the DO cycle is longer (up to Dec or even Jan!) I'll make some DO-specific posts in the pre-osteopathic forum later.

  • If you don't have your MCAT in (or some other crucial requirement), it's OK to start applying. The verification process can take some time, so if you can get that out of the way, so much the better. Apply to an unrealistic reach school.

  • Do NOT apply to a school that you don't want to go to. It's one thing to not like a place after an interview, but, really, do your homework. I am appalled by people who have 1000s of hours of research, yet can’t be bothered to look over med school websites, other than the Admissions page. These pages are very valuable in letting you know what they’re looking for. Some examples:
http://medicine.utah.edu/students/programs/md/admissions/

http://medicine.arizona.edu/admissions/key-info/requirements

https://www.nymc.edu/school-of-medicine-som/admissions--financial-aid/how-to-apply/selection-criteria/


  • Think about where the schools are. Mayo and Rochester are not merely cold in the winter, but Siberian cold. Tulane, on the other hand, is hot and sauna-like in the summer (but with great food). Consider your support groups, if you're leaving home for the first time. I literally have lost students to homesickness.

  • Don't know where to apply? Do your homework. MSAR Online is a mandatory resource. The money it will save you from not applying to even one wrong school (for you) will more than make up for the cost of MSAR.

  • Know your target schools, beyond the numbers. Many schools are mission driven, like Howard, UCR, SIU, Mercer and Central Michigan. Again, do your research!


  • Look up how many public schools accept out-of-state students, and what percentage are these of the class? MSAR tells you this in the Acceptance Information tab. Many schools (ex. Mercer, UND, USD, U NM, LSU, U MS) will highly favor in-state residents, to the exclusion of OOSers. Those OOS students taken at, say, U IA or U AL, most likely come from neighboring states. I am surprised at how many people draw up lists of schools to apply to, based upon info from USN&WR (again, poor research skills on parade here). So don't apply to U HI just because you'd love to go to med school in HI. Have the bona fides for HI. My rule of thumb is if >5% of the matriculants are from OOS, it might be worth applying. But be > avg.


  • More and more med schools accept CC credits. Again, MSAR is useful in telling you who does, and who doesn't take the coursework. Here's a rule of thumb.

    -If you go to a CC and then to a UG school, that's fine.
    -If you go to a CC as a non-trad to get the pre-reqs, for for grade repair as a DIY post-bac, that's also fine.
    -If it appears that you're avoiding your UG school's rigorous weeding courses by taking them at CCs, then that's going to raise some eyebrows.


  • Apply strategically! What I mean is look over the MCAT AND GPAs of the schools you're interested in, and apply to those whose median scores are close to your own. Do NOT apply to a school if your numbers are <10th percentile of matriculants. The people who get into Yale with a 29 MCAT are either URM, legacies, veterans, or have something really spectacular about their story.

  • My suggestion is that if you're 2-4 points below the school's medians, you're in striking distance, but consider your numbers carefully. Apply smart and apply once. But the higher the pole you want to climb, the slipperier it will get.


  • In light of the above, there's "reach", and then there's "unrealistic". Be realistic.

  • If your GPA is under 3.4, I recommend NOT applying now, unless you live in an area where the state schools have their 10th-90th percentiles stretching down to 3.3. An example is U AR or U MO-KC. Better to take a post-bac or SMP and get the GPA into a competitive zone. Oh, and I'm not impressed with the n=1 stories of "my cousin got into Harvard with a 3.0 GPA". There will always be outliers.
  • If you do well in a SMP/post-bac (GPA >3.6 AND have a MCAT > 513), then there are med schools that reward reinvention, even if your cGPA is <3.4! Search for my other posts for lists of those.


  • A great GPA is not going to make up for a poor MCAT, and vice versa.

  • The average MD matriculant nationwide currently has a cGPA of ~3.75 and an MCAT of 509 on the new exam. Remember these numbers.

  • In that vein, think very carefully about "ties" to a state. Growing up in a place and then moving away is fine. Wife's family lives there? Not fine.


  • Have as any eyeballs as possible go over your app. There's no excuse for spelling, grammar or thoughtless mistakes on your PS. And for God's sake, when you cut and paste, remove school A's name and replace it with B for the app for school B. As in sports, where the team that makes more mistakes will lose, the apps with the fewest mistakes get received more kindly.

  • Don't use your PS to explain why you got bad grades. It's for "Who are you?” for "Why Medicine?" and how you got to that decision.

https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/youre-doing-it-wrong-part-2-your-experiences.1247838/#post-18746176

  • Do NOT write in your PS or secondary about what you think we want to see...write about your passions and what drives you. Write about what makes you interesting.

  • The “diversity” prompt for secondaries (as in "How will you add to the diversity of our class"?) is NOT about your ethnic background. It’s about what unique thing do you bring to the entering Class? Think of it this way: if I asked your three best friends “what’s the coolest thing about you?” what would they say?

  • Give some serious thought to the “Tell us about a time you failed” or “The biggest obstacle that you overcame is….?” prompts of secondaries. I believe a lot of people get weeded out by this one for being superficial, or coming across as over-privileged. Yes, I know some of you have charmed lives, but if the biggest hurt in your life was getting a C or B for the first time, that’s not going to go down very well. Not everyone goes experiences the death of a loved one, or goes through something traumatic, but really, what has challenged you the most? Moving away from home to go to college? Dealing with people of a very different culture? Confronting your own prejudices? These prompts are valuable because they make you think about yourself. Remember, to those who are given much, much is expected.


  • So avoid writing something that would make a screener or interviewer think "that's it??" A example would be “I’m diverse because I went to school with lots of Asian kids.”

  • If English is NOT your native language, have some native English speakers go over your app.


  • Many schools send out secondaries whether you're competitive or not. They can be a tax on the hopelessly clueless, or the pathologically over-optimistic.


  • Have the right ECs. You need ECs. There are tons of people on SDN who bitch and moan about them. Well, tough. Each school gets thousands of apps for some 100-250 seats. How do we winnow down the pool? The answer is something that hyperachievers with no people skills hate hearing: you have display your altruism and humanity, your willingness to serve others, you know what you're getting into, and that you know what a doctor's day is like.

  • It's not only about GPA and MCATs...it's about the rest of the packet. All the people you're competing with are academically clones of each other. So the guy with 1000 hrs in the lab and 100 hrs shadowing (and who thinks shadowing counts as volunteering) but has no other clinical experience doesn't know what he's getting into, hasn't shown anything altruistic and will be passed over for someone who reads to poor children, or brings coffee to the dialysis patients in hospice. 4.0 automatons are a dime-a-dozen. Stats may get you to the door, but ECs get you through the door.

  • Always keep in mind that it's about what med schools want, not what you want. And in the end, it's about the patients.


  • If you're doing this because your parents are pressuring you to do it, stop right now, grow a spine and/or some balls, and tell them that this isn't for you. You'll just save yourself a lot of misery later. Better yet, get them accounts on SDN so they can see what it takes to get into med school.


  • It's a scary process. And that's OK. Keep in mind that this isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. Patience is a virtue.


  • One or two bad grades in your app isn't going to kill you. Neither will parking tickets. Schools don't care about your parking tickets either.

  • Not all IAs will kill you either, especially if they occurred when you were young and stupid, and now have grown. AdCom members were young and stupid once too. But the key thing is to own your transgressions, and don’t make excuses for them.

  • If you have a felony in your background (especially a crime against a person), or multiple offenses, especially DUI, stop right now. Your medical career is over.

  • In light of the above, even if you have had your juvenile records sealed, expunged, or sent to the Planet Zool, do a background check to make sure they’re really sealed. Not all of these things disappear, and if there’s any hint that you’re hiding something, you can be rejected, have your acceptance rescinded (it’s happened) or be expelled. Be truthful. You get a box to explain things. Explain well and OWN your transgressions; learn from them as well.


  • If you have an institutional action (IA) for cheating, stop right now. Your medical career is over. Now, there's cheating and then there’s cheating. Plagiarism is not the same as merely forgetting some footnotes. Having someone take an exam for you is, well, lethal. Thus, a cheating IA means you should either find another career or first engage in 5-10 years of some honest, virtuous position of responsibility.

  • Always have a backup plan. You should consider yourself rejected until you have an acceptance in hand, no matter how many wait lists you’re on.

  • Know what's in your app. Do NOT lie. Do NOT embellish. If you did research, know what it was about.

  • If you're still collecting LORs, simply ask "do you know me well enough to write me a good LOR?"

  • It's OK to have had a poor semester, or even a poor year, if you have overcome that with straight A’s since then. People believe in redemption, and let's face it, we like come from behind stories.

  • This process is not a zero-sum game. If you have a 3.5 GPA, and your cousin Jane has a 3.7, you're still competitive. You're not competing for the same seat, just a seat.

One more thing about secondaries, I see these memes repeated all the time, and want to set some people straight.

Concerning the disadvantaged prompt, many people have terrible lives and childhoods. The essay is not meant to be a pissing contest for who had the worst life, but for those who were denied opportunities to have a decent secondary level education and were thus handicapped in their road to college, or at college.

So "Where do I apply?"

My rough rule of thumb:
MCAT > 36 (517) and GPA > 3.6: anywhere.
GPA >3.5; MCAT <35 (515) all except Harvard/Stanford class schools
GPA >3.4, MCAT < 33 (511), Drexel/Albany class schools.

Look up and use the LizzyM score, or consider WedgeDawg’s rubric:

WedgeDawg's Applicant Rating System (Updated Jan 2017)
MCAT <27 (504): strongly suggest re-take.

The minimum MCAT ideally should be 510 on the new exam.

AFTER SUBMISSION
Reviews of applications are not necessarily reviewed in chronological order or invited for interview at time of review. Superstars, linked programs, associated UG institutions, family of alumni, grads of feeder schools, legacies, URMs, people who meet the school’s mission, in-state residents for state schools, linked post-bac programs like SMPs, and other factors may push an app forward in the process.

When these get added up they essentially become your interview priority. So you may get reviewed in August but priority doesn’t get you invited until February (kudos to the wise gonnif for that).


And to all of you, good luck!
:thumbup:

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Goro, you rock! Thank you for all you do. You've helped so many of us tremendously throughout this process and I look forward to sharing good news with you!
 
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Shoutout to the parking ticket I got last week...you won't stop me from achieving my goals!

Thank you Gori, this is an incredible post
 
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This clears up a lot, thank you so much for this Goro!
 
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great post. thank you so much I will be watching this thread.
 
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So "Where do I apply?"

My rough rule of thumb:
MCAT > 36 (517) and GPA > 3.6: anywhere.
GPA >3.5; MCAT <35 (515) all except Harvard/Stanford class schools
GPA >3.4, MCAT < 33 (511), Drexel/Albany class schools.

Specifically with this " GPA >3.4, MCAT < 33 (511), Drexel/Albany class schools." would you consider GPA>3.3 (like 3.33 but with high upward trend) but MCAT> 515 to apply to the same Drexel/Albany class? As well as the ones you mention favoring redemption/reinvention
 
Specifically with this " GPA >3.4, MCAT < 33 (511), Drexel/Albany class schools." would you consider GPA>3.3 (like 3.33 but with high upward trend) but MCAT> 515 to apply to the same Drexel/Albany class? As well as the ones you mention favoring redemption/reinvention
Yes and yes.
 
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Brilliant work, though I am not applying I will most definitely keep this handy over the next few years! You knocked this one out of the park @Goro ... like always... :)
 
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Damn I can't believe a new cycle has already started. I still remember reading Goro's post last year while writing my PS. Time flies man!
 
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Hi @Goro!

If I have a strong GPA (3.9), but my MCAT is 510, should I also be applying to Drexel/Albany class schools?
 
Hi @Goro!

If I have a strong GPA (3.9), but my MCAT is 510, should I also be applying to Drexel/Albany class schools?
I'm not @Goro, but you could apply higher than that, but I would say that your ECs would be a bombshell to apply to top schools like Harvard, Duke and the like! Great job on the GPA! I wish you good luck!
 
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Your list needs to target those schools where you have the best chances. Everything depends upon your stats
So reading up on the schools mission would be helpful I'd assume
 
@Goro for the failure essays would it be wise to write about not getting into medical school my first try a couple years ago? I wouldn't be a re-applicant at the schools with this essay topic.
 
@Goro for the failure essays would it be wise to write about not getting into medical school my first try a couple years ago? I wouldn't be a re-applicant at the schools with this essay topic.
Might be OK, but you then run the risk of making the reader wonder "why didn't you get in the first time?"

You can be on thin ice with this, because for some people, their only goal in life is medicine, and their personalities get so wrapped up in it that any setback is, to them, a loss of face and a blow to their self-worth. Tread lightly.
 
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Might be OK, but you then run the risk of making the reader wonder "why didn't you get in the first time?"

You can be on thin ice with this, because for some people, their only goal in life is medicine, and their personalities get so wrapped up in it that any setback is, to them, a loss of face and a blow to their self-worth. Tread lightly.

Thank you! I may just pick another topic; seems like there are a lot of potential pitfalls here.
 
Advice anyone?
TX resident, applying TMDSAS only. Currently in an SMP (UNTHSC's med sci program) and will have ~10 credit hours completed before October 1. MCAT retake on August 11 from 504. Reapply for this cycle (late) or wait until next year when the program is complete in May?
 
So application season is upon us. I have some tips for you. Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair.

What do we Adcoms look for? People who will make good doctors and will be good students.

But to be the former, you have to be the latter. Evidence for doing well in med school is evidenced by an applicant with above average grades and MCAT score, evidence of a good work ethic, strong time management skills, reasonable expectations of what it means to have a career in medicine based on personal experiences acquired as an adult (not, "I shadowed by grandpa when I was 8 and therefore I know what it is to be a doctor"), capacity for self-reflection, able to give and receive feedback and learn from it, good self-care and resilience in tough times.

A high risk of failing out or withdrawing due to lack of motivation would be the opposite of the attributes listed above (kudos to LizzyM for this).

  • Applying early is good. But don’t freak out if you’re not submitting by end of July. Most Admissions deans don’t get started at work until after Labor Day. By end of September, it's probably too late for MD schools (unless you’re a stellar candidate, or fulfill one of the school’s missions), but FYI, the DO cycle is longer (up to Dec or even Jan!) I'll make some DO-specific posts in the pre-osteopathic forum later.

  • If you don't have your MCAT in (or some other crucial requirement), it's OK to start applying. The verification process can take some time, so if you can get that out of the way, so much the better. Apply to an unrealistic reach school.

  • Do NOT apply to a school that you don't want to go to. It's one thing to not like a place after an interview, but, really, do your homework. I am appalled by people who have 1000s of hours of research, yet can’t be bothered to look over med school websites, other than the Admissions page. These pages are very valuable in letting you know what they’re looking for. Some examples:
http://medicine.utah.edu/students/programs/md/admissions/

http://medicine.arizona.edu/admissions/key-info/requirements

https://www.nymc.edu/school-of-medicine-som/admissions--financial-aid/how-to-apply/selection-criteria/


  • Think about where the schools are. Mayo and Rochester are not merely cold in the winter, but Siberian cold. Tulane, on the other hand, is hot and sauna-like in the summer (but with great food). Consider your support groups, if you're leaving home for the first time. I literally have lost students to homesickness.

  • Don't know where to apply? Do your homework. MSAR Online is a mandatory resource. The money it will save you from not applying to even one wrong school (for you) will more than make up for the cost of MSAR.

  • Know your target schools, beyond the numbers. Many schools are mission driven, like Howard, UCR, SIU, Mercer and Central Michigan. Again, do your research!


  • Look up how many public schools accept out-of-state students, and what percentage are these of the class? MSAR tells you this in the Acceptance Information tab. Many schools (ex. Mercer, UND, USD, U NM, LSU, U MS) will highly favor in-state residents, to the exclusion of OOSers. Those OOS students taken at, say, U IA or U AL, most likely come from neighboring states. I am surprised at how many people draw up lists of schools to apply to, based upon info from USN&WR (again, poor research skills on parade here). So don't apply to U HI just because you'd love to go to med school in HI. Have the bona fides for HI. My rule of thumb is if >5% of the matriculants are from OOS, it might be worth applying. But be > avg.


  • More and more med schools accept CC credits. Again, MSAR is useful in telling you who does, and who doesn't take the coursework. Here's a rule of thumb.

    -If you go to a CC and then to a UG school, that's fine.
    -If you go to a CC as a non-trad to get the pre-reqs, for for grade repair as a DIY post-bac, that's also fine.
    -If it appears that you're avoiding your UG school's rigorous weeding courses by taking them at CCs, then that's going to raise some eyebrows.


  • Apply strategically! What I mean is look over the MCAT AND GPAs of the schools you're interested in, and apply to those whose median scores are close to your own. Do NOT apply to a school if your numbers are <10th percentile of matriculants. The people who get into Yale with a 29 MCAT are either URM, legacies, veterans, or have something really spectacular about their story.

  • My suggestion is that if you're 2-4 points below the school's medians, you're in striking distance, but consider your numbers carefully. Apply smart and apply once. But the higher the pole you want to climb, the slipperier it will get.


  • In light of the above, there's "reach", and then there's "unrealistic". Be realistic.

  • If your GPA is under 3.4, I recommend NOT applying now, unless you live in an area where the state schools have their 10th-90th percentiles stretching down to 3.3. An example is U AR or U MO-KC. Better to take a post-bac or SMP and get the GPA into a competitive zone. Oh, and I'm not impressed with the n=1 stories of "my cousin got into Harvard with a 3.0 GPA". There will always be outliers.
  • If you do well in a SMP/post-bac (GPA >3.6 AND have a MCAT > 513), then there are med schools that reward reinvention, even if your cGPA is <3.4! Search for my other posts for lists of those.


  • A great GPA is not going to make up for a poor MCAT, and vice versa.

  • The average MD matriculant nationwide currently has a cGPA of ~3.75 and an MCAT of 509 on the new exam. Remember these numbers.

  • In that vein, think very carefully about "ties" to a state. Growing up in a place and then moving away is fine. Wife's family lives there? Not fine.


  • Have as any eyeballs as possible go over your app. There's no excuse for spelling, grammar or thoughtless mistakes on your PS. And for God's sake, when you cut and paste, remove school A's name and replace it with B for the app for school B. As in sports, where the team that makes more mistakes will lose, the apps with the fewest mistakes get received more kindly.

  • Don't use your PS to explain why you got bad grades. It's for "Who are you?” for "Why Medicine?" and how you got to that decision.
https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/youre-doing-it-wrong-part-2-your-experiences.1247838/#post-18746176

  • Do NOT write in your PS or secondary about what you think we want to see...write about your passions and what drives you. Write about what makes you interesting.

  • The “diversity” prompt for secondaries (as in "How will you add to the diversity of our class"?) is NOT about your ethnic background. It’s about what unique thing do you bring to the entering Class? Think of it this way: if I asked your three best friends “what’s the coolest thing about you?” what would they say?

  • Give some serious thought to the “Tell us about a time you failed” or “The biggest obstacle that you overcame is….?” prompts of secondaries. I believe a lot of people get weeded out by this one for being superficial, or coming across as over-privileged. Yes, I know some of you have charmed lives, but if the biggest hurt in your life was getting a C or B for the first time, that’s not going to go down very well. Not everyone goes experiences the death of a loved one, or goes through something traumatic, but really, what has challenged you the most? Moving away from home to go to college? Dealing with people of a very different culture? Confronting your own prejudices? These prompts are valuable because they make you think about yourself. Remember, to those who are given much, much is expected.


  • So avoid writing something that would make a screener or interviewer think "that's it??" A example would be “I’m diverse because I went to school with lots of Asian kids.”

  • If English is NOT your native language, have some native English speakers go over your app.


  • Many schools send out secondaries whether you're competitive or not. They can be a tax on the hopelessly clueless, or the pathologically over-optimistic.


  • Have the right ECs. You need ECs. There are tons of people on SDN who bitch and moan about them. Well, tough. Each school gets thousands of apps for some 100-250 seats. How do we winnow down the pool? The answer is something that hyperachievers with no people skills hate hearing: you have display your altruism and humanity, your willingness to serve others, you know what you're getting into, and that you know what a doctor's day is like.

  • It's not only about GPA and MCATs...it's about the rest of the packet. All the people you're competing with are academically clones of each other. So the guy with 1000 hrs in the lab and 100 hrs shadowing (and who thinks shadowing counts as volunteering) but has no other clinical experience doesn't know what he's getting into, hasn't shown anything altruistic and will be passed over for someone who reads to poor children, or brings coffee to the dialysis patients in hospice. 4.0 automatons are a dime-a-dozen. Stats may get you to the door, but ECs get you through the door.

  • Always keep in mind that it's about what med schools want, not what you want. And in the end, it's about the patients.


  • If you're doing this because your parents are pressuring you to do it, stop right now, grow a spine and/or some balls, and tell them that this isn't for you. You'll just save yourself a lot of misery later. Better yet, get them accounts on SDN so they can see what it takes to get into med school.


  • It's a scary process. And that's OK. Keep in mind that this isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. Patience is a virtue.


  • One or two bad grades in your app isn't going to kill you. Neither will parking tickets. Schools don't care about your parking tickets either.

  • Not all IAs will kill you either, especially if they occurred when you were young and stupid, and now have grown. AdCom members were young and stupid once too. But the key thing is to own your transgressions, and don’t make excuses for them.

  • If you have a felony in your background (especially a crime against a person), or multiple offenses, especially DUI, stop right now. Your medical career is over.

  • In light of the above, even if you have had your juvenile records sealed, expunged, or sent to the Planet Zool, do a background check to make sure they’re really sealed. Not all of these things disappear, and if there’s any hint that you’re hiding something, you can be rejected, have your acceptance rescinded (it’s happened) or be expelled. Be truthful. You get a box to explain things. Explain well and OWN your transgressions; learn from them as well.


  • If you have an institutional action (IA) for cheating, stop right now. Your medical career is over. Now, there's cheating and then there’s cheating. Plagiarism is not the same as merely forgetting some footnotes. Having someone take an exam for you is, well, lethal. Thus, a cheating IA means you should either find another career or first engage in 5-10 years of some honest, virtuous position of responsibility.

  • Always have a backup plan. You should consider yourself rejected until you have an acceptance in hand, no matter how many wait lists you’re on.

  • Know what's in your app. Do NOT lie. Do NOT embellish. If you did research, know what it was about.

  • If you're still collecting LORs, simply ask "do you know me well enough to write me a good LOR?"

  • It's OK to have had a poor semester, or even a poor year, if you have overcome that with straight A’s since then. People believe in redemption, and let's face it, we like come from behind stories.

  • This process is not a zero-sum game. If you have a 3.5 GPA, and your cousin Jane has a 3.7, you're still competitive. You're not competing for the same seat, just a seat.

One more thing about secondaries, I see these memes repeated all the time, and want to set some people straight.

Concerning the disadvantaged prompt, many people have terrible lives and childhoods. The essay is not meant to be a pissing contest for who had the worst life, but for those who were denied opportunities to have a decent secondary level education and were thus handicapped in their road to college, or at college.

So "Where do I apply?"

My rough rule of thumb:
MCAT > 36 (517) and GPA > 3.6: anywhere.
GPA >3.5; MCAT <35 (515) all except Harvard/Stanford class schools
GPA >3.4, MCAT < 33 (511), Drexel/Albany class schools.

Look up and use the LizzyM score, or consider WedgeDawg’s rubric:

WedgeDawg's Applicant Rating System (Updated Jan 2017)
MCAT <27 (504): strongly suggest re-take.

The minimum MCAT ideally should be 510 on the new exam.

AFTER SUBMISSION
Reviews of applications are not necessarily reviewed in chronological order or invited for interview at time of review. Superstars, linked programs, associated UG institutions, family of alumni, grads of feeder schools, legacies, URMs, people who meet the school’s mission, in-state residents for state schools, linked post-bac programs like SMPs, and other factors may push an app forward in the process.

When these get added up they essentially become your interview priority. So you may get reviewed in August but priority doesn’t get you invited until February (kudos to the wise gonnif for that).


And to all of you, good luck!
:thumbup:

I just finished my freshman year and am taking summer courses. I won't be applying for another TWO YEARS but I still really appreciate this advice!! Thanks so much!!! I feel prepared (and better about B+'s that I've gotten).
 
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If I have:
  • Undergrad = 2.7 GPA ; 29 MCAT
  • Post-bacc of 3.9 (7 UDV bio courses)
  • High MCAT retake (518)
  • Attending an SMP this Fall
Is it worth it to at least apply to a local state school (Drexel/Albany-class) and the SMP's school, and if not accepted to either re-apply more broadly after finishing the SMP?

Holy dude. Those are awesome stats and showed your rebounded. Nice work man. I don't know much but id say you have a decent shot
 
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Holy dude. Those are awesome stats and showed your rebounded. Nice work man. I don't know much but id say you have a decent shot

Thanks friend!

My secret was to actually go to class, do the assigned readings and work, and study.

It does wonders! Who knew?
 
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Hi @Goro!

If I have a strong GPA (3.9), but my MCAT is 510, should I also be applying to Drexel/Albany class schools?

Basically exact same stats and I'm currently a reapplicant because of overvaluing my ECs. Also, I'm a white male in a saturated market so it was hard for me to stand out. Do yourself a favor and focus more on mid-tier places like Drexel, Albany, and the like. Trust me, you do not want to do this twice lol
 
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Basically exact same stats and I'm currently a reapplicant because of overvaluing my ECs. Also, I'm a white male in a saturated market so it was hard for me to stand out. Do yourself a favor and focus more on mid-tier places like Drexel, Albany, and the like. Trust me, you do not want to do this twice lol

That's depressing, I am sorry! Yeah I guess I shouldn't bother with any Top 20s :(
 
If I have:
  • Undergrad = 2.7 GPA ; 29 MCAT
  • Post-bacc of 3.9 (7 UDV bio courses)
  • High MCAT retake (518)
  • Attending an SMP this Fall
Is it worth it to at least apply to a local state school (Drexel/Albany-class) and the SMP's school, and if not accepted to either re-apply more broadly after finishing the SMP?
Definitely apply more broadly after the SMP!
 
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Definitely apply more broadly after the SMP!

Thanks for the tidbit Goro!

I have a question. I've been accepted into multiple SMPs (Tufts, BU-MAMS, Case Western, Drexel IMS)

Would you be able to put them in an order that depicts which ones would best help me get in this cycle? (As in, which ones on my application would schools find more promising and be willing to follow up on after the first semester). I know it's still a long-shot, but would like the best opportunity to get me into an MD school sooner rather than later. I'm not getting much younger :p

Thank you friend!
 
I know Goro responded to my original post, but is there general advice for those who are upside down on the GPA/MCAT score level (i.e. GPA<3.5, MCAT>520)? Also, re: PS. Is it ok to talk about bad grades/semesters if that is a part of how you came to be who you are (like a lesson in humility, etc.)? Or is it just bad all around? Mine is already in, so no changing it now. But if I don't get in, then I'll have to consider a change for the next time.
 
I know Goro responded to my original post, but is there general advice for those who are upside down on the GPA/MCAT score level (i.e. GPA<3.5, MCAT>520)? Also, re: PS. Is it ok to talk about bad grades/semesters if that is a part of how you came to be who you are (like a lesson in humility, etc.)? Or is it just bad all around? Mine is already in, so no changing it now. But if I don't get in, then I'll have to consider a change for the next time.

Personally, low GPA/high MCAT applicants benefit most from few semesters of near-4.0 GPA performance since upward trends are looked at highly. You'd need to couple strong short-term performance (high MCAT) with strong long-term performance (good GPA in last few semesters). These applicants should apply to schools that highly value MCAT scores like WashU, Penn, NYU and Hofstra.

The personal statement should address why you want to pursue medicine. It's the opportunity to sell yourself to schools. Don't draw attention to the negatives here. Only address them in secondaries that ask about failure/weakness/setback and anything else they need to know.
 
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Personally, low GPA/high MCAT applicants benefit most from few semesters of near-4.0 GPA performance since upward trends are looked at highly. You'd need to couple strong short-term performance (high MCAT) with strong long-term performance (good GPA in last few semesters). These applicants should apply to schools that highly value MCAT scores like WashU, Penn, NYU and Hofstra.

The personal statement should address why you want to pursue medicine. It's the opportunity to sell yourself to schools. Don't draw attention to the negatives here. Only address them in secondaries that ask about failure/weakness/setback and anything else they need to know.

I know every low GPA has a story behind it, so it's hard to generalize how to approach the application process. I can only give my background: HYP-graduate, engineering major, non-trad (out 15 years by the time I matriculate) with a really bad freshman year (2.2 - extenuating circumstances). All other years were > 3.5 and post bac was 4.0 with A+ whenever it was a possibility (might help explain MCAT). Do schools look at each year's GPA or do they mainly focus on the cumulative one? With such a weird spread in GPA/MCAT, it's hard to determine how many "reach" schools to realistically apply to and what schools fit my stats. I'm generally outside on one or the other. Goro has been very helpful, but I wasn't sure what I should focus on when looking at MSAR stats - stay within 10-90 on GPA or on MCAT?
 
I know every low GPA has a story behind it, so it's hard to generalize how to approach the application process. I can only give my background: HYP-graduate, engineering major, non-trad (out 15 years by the time I matriculate) with a really bad freshman year (2.2 - extenuating circumstances). All other years were > 3.5 and post bac was 4.0 with A+ whenever it was a possibility (might help explain MCAT). Do schools look at each year's GPA or do they mainly focus on the cumulative one? With such a weird spread in GPA/MCAT, it's hard to determine how many "reach" schools to realistically apply to and what schools fit my stats. I'm generally outside on one or the other. Goro has been very helpful, but I wasn't sure what I should focus on when looking at MSAR stats - stay within 10-90 on GPA or on MCAT?

The MCAT is key to decide what schools to apply to because it's the only standardized academic component available for reliably evaluating applicants. MCAT scores can be viewed in a vacuum; GPA requires context. Someone going to Princeton and suffering under massive grade deflation will be taken into account, especially if they have good upward trends. I think the upward GPA trend coupled with a strong MCAT (and your HYP background) will help you for top and mid tier schools despite the overall GPA being low.
 
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I'm a Canadian resident and over here there are not many DO physicians, only MD physicians, what would you recommend I do in terms of shadowing/LoR. If I volunteer and work full-time and get letters from supervisors/mentors will that be sufficient?
 
Hmm, a 3.6x and 517 is good enough for anywhere, cool! I was hesitant about this the past cycle because a few old, old CC classes dragged my AMCAS GPA down from my mid-high 3.7x in UG into the high 3.6x range. Thanks Goro!
 
Regarding writing about a time you failed. I addressed (possibly foolishly), my biggest failure and comeback from that failure in my PS (it's a fairly important aspect of how I got here today, so leaving it out would leave out a major gap in my backstory), but I've been thinking of the other failures. One that struck me as an important time in my life was the time I turned back during a backpacking trip in Denali National Park and went a different direction because I was too nervous about crossing a specific peak. Would as story like that sound too much like a "charmed life" story where the only difficult hurdle you faced was something most people won't ever get to try? I was only able to go on the trip through TEAM in training, so it involved a lot more than just flying out and going backpacking, but I realize that this could be viewed in different ways.

On another note, I realize there is a fine line between writing the application to be the ideal candidate and being honest and true to oneself. Where is that line drawn? I sent the first part of my application last week and I felt like it was a really good summary of who I am, but I realize that's only a small part of this entire process. Part of me would like to believe that the med school that accepts my application will want applicants that are like me. The other part of me has been through enough job interviews to realize that there is a lot of nuance to this process and we must be honest and forthright while also putting our best feet forward.
 
OMG this is GOLD! It must require so much effort, and thank you so much!
 
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