Medical Apply, post-bac, or SMP? Should I look into reinvention?

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TheBoneDoctah

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    Hello. I'm currently studying for my MCAT and wanted to see if I should also be looking for postbac or SMP programs to apply, or if I should go ahead and apply this upcoming cycle. I was planning on applying to mostly DO schools, but I am now second-guessing myself after comparing my stats to others.

    1. cGPA: 3.41; sGPA: 3.3
      1. My GPA started around 2.8 freshman year, and I brought it up to a ~3.5 each year to end up with a 3.4 The trend basically plateaus, and I'm not saying this as an excuse. I really did question why I wanted to go into medicine because of personal issues. My grandpa, who was the reason I was interested in healthcare, died because his Alzheimer's progressed to its terminal stage, and my cousins, who I was really close with in my youth, were killed by another family member. The latter event made me question why I wanted to work with people, but it's something I'm going to talk about in my personal statement.
    2. MCAT score(s) and breakdown: I haven't taken the MCAT. I am scheduling myself for a 4/30 test or an early May test. I'm hopeful that I will do well and possibly score in the 505-515 range, especially now that I have regular access to a psychiatrist to treat my ADHD.
    3. State of residence or country of citizenship (if non-US): MD but I currently work in TX, and if I wanted to, I can apply for residency here.
    4. Ethnicity and/or race: ORM/Asian-American/Vietnamese
    5. Undergraduate institution or category: Small, liberal arts college known for grade deflation in the MD area
    6. Clinical experience (volunteer and non-volunteer)
      1. EMT for about ~900 hours; 800 of those hours are volunteer in an underserved area. While volunteering, I earned a field training coach certificate, and I taught EMT students practical skills through the volunteer rescue department. I'm counting about another ~100 hours because I worked at a high school leadership camp focused on showing high school students different careers in medicine, and I taught a class that introduced students to EMT and even taught some basics. I was also called multiple times during student emergencies.
    7. Research experience and productivity
      1. I volunteered for a summer on a research project through the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center during freshman year. It was not a substantial experience, so I can't speak on it too much.
      2. I completed a senior thesis for my bachelor's in biology during my senior year. My thesis was essentially a literature review of Alzheimer's disease and available treatments. I researched available drug treatments and non-drug therapies, and I synthesized a treatment guideline for patients who are likely to develop AD by incorporating available drugs and non-drug therapies.
    8. Shadowing experience and specialties represented
      1. I have 3 hours shadowing a psychiatrist (MD). I'm currently talking to another psychiatrist (DO) about shadowing and learning more about DO philosophy. By June, I'm hoping to gain an additional ~40 hours through virtual shadowing.
      2. I haven't had a regular physician since middle school, and being first-generation, low-income, my parent's social circles didn't include any physicians.
    9. Non-clinical volunteering
      1. I TA'd pretty much for every semester since my sophomore year. During some of that, I was paid for general chemistry tutoring, but when I TA'd for calculus and any biology course, I was given a course credit. Would this count as non-clinical volunteer?
    10. Other extracurricular activities (including athletics, military service, gap year activities, leadership, teaching, etc)
      1. As I mentioned, I TA'd.
      2. I'm in my gap year, and I currently work in a clinical, diagnostic lab as a molecular technologist. I've been here for about 7 months now, and I have moved up to a supervisory role that's typically held by people who have an ASCP certification, Master's, or PhD. I only have my B.S. in Biology, so I feel like this is an impressive point.
      3. For all of my summers since sophomore year, I worked for a high school leadership camp and also had upward mobility there. We taught students leadership skills such as interpersonal communication, becoming a committed leader, etc. The camp had a healthcare and medicine component as well, so we taught students about taking patient histories, leading them through dissection labs and suturing, showing them different careers in healthcare, and more. Eventually, I was promoted to Head Team Advisor and then I became a Program Director, so I was able to plan out the camp schedule, find guest speakers, arrange field trips to medical schools, etc.
    11. Relevant honors or awards
      1. I made Dean's list twice.
      2. I received a merit-based scholarship to attend college.
    12. Anything else not listed you think might be important
    Based on this, would you say that I could be competitive for this next application cycle? I have been sticking to a very strict MCAT/full-time job schedule, and when doing practice problems, I have been doing very well. I feel hopeful that my score will be good, and realistically, I am aiming for a 510.

    Please let me know if there's anything I could do to strengthen my application aside from doing well on the MCAT.
    If you score around 505+, your shot at DO schools is good. When I applied to medical school, my GPA was around yours (MCAT was ~510-511) and I got many DO interviews (many I didn't even end up going to). I would push to get your MCAT as high as you can, and if you can, work on your non-clinical volunteering (soup kitchen, helping others less fortunate, etc).

    As far as changing to TX resident, I don't think it's worth the hassle UNLESS you were going to try to go MD and take a post-bac year to heal your GPA. If (big IF), you did a post-bac, did well (3.8+), did well on MCAT (511-512+) boosted your non-clinical hours, and were a Texas resident, you may have a shot at the Texas MD schools.

    Not sure if the above is what you want to go through, but it's an option.
     

    Goro

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      Stats are fine for DO but for MD, you'll need either the DIY post-bac or SMP.

      You also need more service to others less fortunate than yourself. Get off campus and out of your comfort zone.

      Being a TA is a not what I'd consider a nonclinical volunteering EC. We expect you to display your altruism.
       

      TheBoneDoctah

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        Thank you for the responses! I am more than happy to go to a D.O. school. I do want to apply to a couple low-tier MD programs, so if I were to get around a 510-515 on my MCAT, would I be DOA for an MD program if I don't complete a DIY postbac or SMP?

        As far as non-clinical volunteering goes, how do you think a virtual nonclinical volunteering opportunity compares to volunteering in person, and how many hours do you think is sufficient, about 150 hours? I forgot to add that I did some nonclinical volunteering through some STEM clubs, so my hours there are close to about ~25 hours.
        Yes, likely DOA with a 3.3 GPA.

        In person is better than virtual, but ADCOM knows there is a global pandemic. Shoot for at least 150 hours.
         
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