Apply this cycle with a strong chance of getting into any medical school, or take another :( gap year and shoot for a top 10?

May 1, 2020
43
6
Right now I feel like I have a decently competitive application, and even tho nothing is guaranteed in medical school admission, I feel like if were to apply to the typical 20 or so schools I would have a very strong chance at getting in somewhere.

However my application isn't perfect, I'm lacking in research, volunteering, etc. and I feel like if I took another gap year I could make a bulletproof application and be highly competitive.

So I know that the entire goal is to get a medical school acceptance, but is it worth it to go to a top medical school? Like I'm not sure about the extent of which going to a top 10/ top 5 medical school would help. I know that it's a plus in applying for residency but if all the education is basically the same is it even worth it, like I wouldn't want to go to a top school just for the name, like what would the perks be?

So I'm kind of all over the place but my question basically is, would you apply now if you had a strong chance of getting into a school somewhere, or would you take another gap year if you thought it could give you a strong chance of getting into a top 10 school.

Also what are the perks of going to a top school instead of just bragging rights, if all the education is the same how much could it really offer you?
 

Lifeblood_20

SDN Gold Donor
2+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2017
803
1,802
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
So I take it that you don't mind doing a residency now?

 
  • Haha
  • Like
  • Hmm
Reactions: 24 users

Orims

7+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2013
435
978
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Medical school admissions is a black box of mystery and wonder. Even if you are sure you would get an acceptance if you were to apply this year, I would still be cautious. Every year people end up with no acceptances/WLs even if they have a strong application.

If it is possible for you to take an extra year to get stronger research, volunteer, and clinical experience, then I would highly recommend to do so. Not only will you have more to talk about, you will potentially have additional letters of recommendation and more material for your PS and interviews.

Regarding going to a T5/10, the prestige can certainly help, but mainly due to the resources you would have at your disposal. People match into competitive specialties from all kinds of MD and DO schools. Something to consider, though, is that many T20s have very good merit and need based financial aid. If money if something you are concerned about, perhaps shooting for a T20+ is a good goal to have.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
About the Ads

seanm028

Dulling Occam's Razor
5+ Year Member
May 7, 2016
194
242
USA
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm lacking in research, volunteering, etc.
I would say that you have to be strong in at least one of those areas in order to "have a very strong chance of getting in somewhere." Not to sound like a jerk, but if those areas (and "etc.") are lacking, what makes you think you are so competitive?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 7 users
May 1, 2020
43
6
So I take it that you don't mind doing a residency now?

haha yea I like to share my thoughts about things because I value the opinions of people here, it seems like residency isn't THAT bad and that residencies are beginning to treat residents better. I still do want to be involved with some type of business in the future however
 
May 1, 2020
43
6
Medical school admissions is a black box of mystery and wonder. Even if you are sure you would get an acceptance if you were to apply this year, I would still be cautious. Every year people end up with no acceptances/WLs even if they have a strong application.

If it is possible for you to take an extra year to get stronger research, volunteer, and clinical experience, then I would highly recommend to do so. Not only will you have more to talk about, you will potentially have additional letters of recommendation and more material for your PS and interviews.

Regarding going to a T5/10, the prestige can certainly help, but mainly due to the resources you would have at your disposal. People match into competitive specialties from all kinds of MD and DO schools. Something to consider, though, is that many T20s have very good merit and need based financial aid. If money if something you are concerned about, perhaps shooting for a T20+ is a good goal to have.
Thank you I didn't even know that top 20 schools offered good aid, that sounds like another reason to pursue it and negate the "1 year attending salary" argument.
 
May 1, 2020
43
6
I would say that you have to be strong in at least one of those areas in order to "have a very strong chance of getting in somewhere." Not to sound like a jerk, but if those areas (and "etc.") are lacking, what makes you think you are so competitive?
its all good, and you can look at my post history and see my stats, basically with my MCAT studying looking promising I figured that I would be competitive with my stats + a good MCAT
 

Orims

7+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2013
435
978
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
its all good, and you can look at my post history and see my stats, basically with my MCAT studying looking promising I figured that I would be competitive with my stats + a good MCAT
The MCAT has humbled plenty of applicants (my self included). I wouldn't assume anything until you have the actual MCAT score. My real MCAT was much lower than what my practice tests reported. Hopefully this is not the case for you, but I would still be cautious about assuming receiving an acceptance(s) or even interviews.
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 6 users

CorgiLoaf

2+ Year Member
Sep 27, 2018
330
510
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
its all good, and you can look at my post history and see my stats, basically with my MCAT studying looking promising I figured that I would be competitive with my stats + a good MCAT
Depends what MCAT score you get. If you can get a 518+, then I would probably take another year off and find a full-time research position while volunteering on the weekends.
If you want to go into biotech, going to a T20 school can only help you.
 

KnightDoc

2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
5,275
5,892
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Right now I feel like I have a decently competitive application, and even tho nothing is guaranteed in medical school admission, I feel like if were to apply to the typical 20 or so schools I would have a very strong chance at getting in somewhere.

However my application isn't perfect, I'm lacking in research, volunteering, etc. and I feel like if I took another gap year I could make a bulletproof application and be highly competitive.

So I know that the entire goal is to get a medical school acceptance, but is it worth it to go to a top medical school? Like I'm not sure about the extent of which going to a top 10/ top 5 medical school would help. I know that it's a plus in applying for residency but if all the education is basically the same is it even worth it, like I wouldn't want to go to a top school just for the name, like what would the perks be?

So I'm kind of all over the place but my question basically is, would you apply now if you had a strong chance of getting into a school somewhere, or would you take another gap year if you thought it could give you a strong chance of getting into a top 10 school.

Also what are the perks of going to a top school instead of just bragging rights, if all the education is the same how much could it really offer you?
The real bottom line is that competition is so intense that there is really no such thing as having a "very strong chance" until after you gone through the process and been successful. A full 13% of applicants with 3.8+/518+ learn every year that it turns out they did not "have a very strong chance at getting in somewhere."

No one's application is perfect, and it could always be better if only it had another year to season. Of course, at some point you hit a point of diminishing returns, and you start to lose years of your life, so the idea is to hit the sweet spot of having the best application reasonably possibly without putting your life on hold for an unreasonable amount of time. That point is different for everyone, as some people need years of reinvention to become competitive while others have great success while still in UG.

In terms of chasing scholarships, just set expectations appropriately low, and you will won't be disappointed. Yes, some schools are known for giving great aid, but they are invariably very difficult to get into, and most people are disappointed when they see what the schools think they can afford.

Relatively few people receive generous need-based or merit scholarship money. It's great to shoot for it, but it's probably not a great idea to expect it going in. Expect to borrow whatever your family is unable or unwilling to give you, and be pleasantly surprised if it ends up costing you less. The good news is that medicine pays pretty well, and you will not be impoverished, even if you have to borrow and pay back many hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus interest.

The perks of going to a "better" school, in addition to impressing friends and family and maybe having access to superior aid packages, is access to better networking and training opportunities that could lead to better specialty matches. Of course, the cream tends to rise to the top wherever it finds itself, and it is absolutely not necessary to attend a top school in order to end up in a top specialty. It's like anything else in life -- all else being equal, more access to more opportunities tends to be better, but it's not necessary to get wherever it is you are going.
 
Last edited:

gonnif

Rule One: Take a Breath
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
23,554
39,584
The Big Bad Apple
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Right now I feel like I have a decently competitive application, and even tho nothing is guaranteed in medical school admission, I feel like if were to apply to the typical 20 or so schools I would have a very strong chance at getting in somewhere.

However my application isn't perfect, I'm lacking in research, volunteering, etc. and I feel like if I took another gap year I could make a bulletproof application and be highly competitive.

So I know that the entire goal is to get a medical school acceptance, but is it worth it to go to a top medical school? Like I'm not sure about the extent of which going to a top 10/ top 5 medical school would help. I know that it's a plus in applying for residency but if all the education is basically the same is it even worth it, like I wouldn't want to go to a top school just for the name, like what would the perks be?

So I'm kind of all over the place but my question basically is, would you apply now if you had a strong chance of getting into a school somewhere, or would you take another gap year if you thought it could give you a strong chance of getting into a top 10 school.

Also what are the perks of going to a top school instead of just bragging rights, if all the education is the same how much could it really offer you?
If you are lacking in research and particularly in volunteering, you probably have a poor to mediocre chance fr any acceptance at all
 
  • Like
Reactions: 9 users
Feb 5, 2020
555
401
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
If money is the reason for choosing top 20, just go to your state school. Performance trumps prestige of med school, when it comes to matching.
 

mmchick

2+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2017
455
1,040
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Gotta love it when pre meds are so arrogant about their chances and application as if they understand the black box of admissions. OP, there have been plenty of applicants with "high stats and a good MCAT" that were rejected from all schools with little to no interviews because their application was significantly lacking in many of the areas you've highlighted, but they thought that straight A's and a test could overcome that.

As a few have mentioned, if you're lacking in those areas as you claim, your chances are pretty low actually. No applicant has the luxury to claim they could easily get acceptances but with a little more edge rounding would be "able to land a T10 or T5" and then ask for our advice about how you should pick between all these wonderful options you've laid out for yourself. You haven't even taken the MCAT yet, how are you so certain you'll score "good"? Take the MCAT, present us with your full stats and at least meet the minimal of app requirements which includes volunteering and research if you're looking for top tier schools. Then, if you've received interviews and acceptances, ask us how to pick between them.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 6 users
About the Ads
Dec 29, 2019
149
172
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
There's an argument that significant volunteering/working or research achievements are more important in "T10 or T15" admissions than high stats (pretty much a prerequisite for those schools) so beefing one of those up is an absolute must if you actually have none.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Med Ed

5+ Year Member
Sep 13, 2015
3,389
12,498
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Right now I feel like I have a decently competitive application, and even tho nothing is guaranteed in medical school admission, I feel like if were to apply to the typical 20 or so schools I would have a very strong chance at getting in somewhere.
You would be mistaken.

However my application isn't perfect, I'm lacking in research, volunteering, etc.
Applying to medical school without volunteering is the quickest way to get your application thrown in the trash, regardless of stats.

I'm calling troll on this one.
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 5 users

YCAGA

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2017
880
1,550
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Not going to even address OP the troll, but something has come up in this thread that I see fairly often and don’t agree with.

I have yet to see someone on SDN, Reddit, or tons of people in real life that had great stats (3.8+, 518+) and lackluster EC’s but then didn’t get into ANY MD school when they have a reasonable school list. In other words, the 13% in that top star cohort that doesn’t get accepted anywhere almost universally have hilariously top heavy school lists. It actually is kinda of a sad situation because these people normally have great stats so they are fairly smart, but have poor knowledge of the application process and bad advising. This lack of knowledge leads to poor EC’s (not knowing what boxes to check) AND a poor school list (they just see their stats match the medians on MSAR and apply to 25 of the top 30 schools and that’s it). So if you think having minimal hours in research and volunteering combined with a 3.8+, 518+ isn’t enough for many state schools and low tier MD schools, you really have been drinking the hOliSTic aDmiSsiOns kool-aid.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

KnightDoc

2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
5,275
5,892
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Not going to even address OP the troll, but something has come up in this thread that I see fairly often and don’t agree with.

I have yet to see someone on SDN, Reddit, or tons of people in real life that had great stats (3.8+, 518+) and lackluster EC’s but then didn’t get into ANY MD school when they have a reasonable school list. In other words, the 13% in that top star cohort that doesn’t get accepted anywhere almost universally have hilariously top heavy school lists. It actually is kinda of a sad situation because these people normally have great stats so they are fairly smart, but have poor knowledge of the application process and bad advising. This lack of knowledge leads to poor EC’s (not knowing what boxes to check) AND a poor school list (they just see their stats match the medians on MSAR and apply to 25 of the top 30 schools and that’s it). So if you think having minimal hours in research and volunteering combined with a 3.8+, 518+ isn’t enough for many state schools and low tier MD schools, you really have been drinking the hOliSTic aDmiSsiOns kool-aid.
It's more than that -- it's not believing that resource protection is real, even though every single adcom that participates on SDN has told us that it exists in one form or another at each of their schools. As a result, while it's undoubtedly true that many of the 13% you are referring to have top heavy lists, that's not the whole story, since many of them would also be screened out at lower tier schools if they applied.

The key to success really is having a reasonably well rounded application, not reaching lower to compensate for crappy ECs. To me, it appears that while schools and applicants fall into tiers based on stats, excellent ECs seem to be a common denominator among successful applicants everywhere nowadays.

While lackluster ECs are, to some degree, in the eyes of the beholder, people with barely existent ECs who are successful probably have some kind of hook at the schools. Given the level of competition today, I'm not sure there is such a thing as a reasonable school list for someone with "lackluster" ECs.

Most schools with relatively low median stats would rather have someone with mediocre stats and great ECs (and there is a huge surplus of them) over someone with great stats, so just which schools would be on such a list? In other words, yeah, Penn's stats are way higher than Drexel's, but would Drexel really snap up a Penn reject with minimal ECs? Nothing in its profile suggests that it is chasing stats, so, what would be the attraction for Drexel?
 

YCAGA

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2017
880
1,550
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
excellent ECs seem to be a common denominator among successful applicants everywhere nowadays.
Maybe on SDN, not out in the wild lol. 40% of MD applicants are accepted. I can assure you 40% of applicants do not have "excellent ECs."
 

mwsapphire

Office of the medical examiner.
2+ Year Member
Jan 5, 2017
3,526
2,803
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
If you are lacking in research and particularly in volunteering, you probably have a poor to mediocre chance fr any acceptance at all
"lacking" might mean a couple hundred hours instead of closer to a thousand needed for T20. It may be a relative term.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

YCAGA

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2017
880
1,550
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
It's more than that -- it's not believing that resource protection is real, even though every single adcom that participates on SDN has told us that it exists in one form or another at each of their schools. As a result, while it's undoubtedly true that many of the 13% you are referring to have top heavy lists, that's not the whole story, since many of them would also be screened out at lower tier schools if they applied.

The key to success really is having a reasonably well rounded application, not reaching lower to compensate for crappy ECs. To me, it appears that while schools and applicants fall into tiers based on stats, excellent ECs seem to be a common denominator among successful applicants everywhere nowadays.

While lackluster ECs are, to some degree, in the eyes of the beholder, people with barely existent ECs who are successful probably have some kind of hook at the schools. Given the level of competition today, I'm not sure there is such a thing as a reasonable school list for someone with "lackluster" ECs.

Most schools with relatively low median stats would rather have someone with mediocre stats and great ECs (and there is a huge surplus of them) over someone with great stats, so just which schools would be on such a list? In other words, yeah, Penn's stats are way higher than Drexel's, but would Drexel really snap up a Penn reject with minimal ECs? Nothing in its profile suggests that it is chasing stats, so, what would be the attraction for Drexel?
Also I would say EC’s fall nicely into honor, high pass, pass, and fail categories. The extremes are stuff that makes your jaw drop.

Fail would be 0 hours of shadowing/clinical exposure, 0 hours of volunteering, 2-3 total activities entered into AMCAS, 100% of clinical exposure and volunteering done abroad. Truly dumb stuff.

Pass would be checking every box except maybe research but with minimal hours.

High pass would be realistic hours spread out across many activities and when you read someone’s EC’s you don’t gasp but you also don’t see any weaknesses. No first author pubs, no military service, no 4 digit volunteering hours, no D1 athlete, etc.

Honors would be the top 10-15% of applicants. This would be some juicy hook like a first author pub in a legit journal or the Peace Corps. But this kind of stuff is rare. Or if no juicy hook, tons of hours in every category across multiple years. So many hours that you almost don’t believe them.

My point to writing all of that is that high stats and a “pass” in EC’s is enough to get into mid tier schools. I have seen no evidence, statistical or anecdotal, that shows mid-tier MD schools yield/resources protect against top stat applicants with “pass” EC’s. It wouldn’t even make sense for them to do that. They know these students aren’t going to get into top schools, and they also know these students are very likely to succeed in medical school. Why would they ignore them?
 

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2010
65,374
100,625
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Not going to even address OP the troll, but something has come up in this thread that I see fairly often and don’t agree with.

I have yet to see someone on SDN, Reddit, or tons of people in real life that had great stats (3.8+, 518+) and lackluster EC’s but then didn’t get into ANY MD school when they have a reasonable school list. In other words, the 13% in that top star cohort that doesn’t get accepted anywhere almost universally have hilariously top heavy school lists. It actually is kinda of a sad situation because these people normally have great stats so they are fairly smart, but have poor knowledge of the application process and bad advising. This lack of knowledge leads to poor EC’s (not knowing what boxes to check) AND a poor school list (they just see their stats match the medians on MSAR and apply to 25 of the top 30 schools and that’s it). So if you think having minimal hours in research and volunteering combined with a 3.8+, 518+ isn’t enough for many state schools and low tier MD schools, you really have been drinking the hOliSTic aDmiSsiOns kool-aid.
There are a number of differentials as to why high stat people fail to get accepts. They include poor lists, applying late, bad or meh LORs, weak essays, weak ECs but heavy on research, and bad interview skills.

OP, at my school, with a lack of volunteering my student interviewers would eat you alive.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

KnightDoc

2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
5,275
5,892
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Also I would say EC’s fall nicely into honor, high pass, pass, and fail categories. The extremes are stuff that makes your jaw drop.

Fail would be 0 hours of shadowing/clinical exposure, 0 hours of volunteering, 2-3 total activities entered into AMCAS, 100% of clinical exposure and volunteering done abroad. Truly dumb stuff.

Pass would be checking every box except maybe research but with minimal hours.

High pass would be realistic hours spread out across many activities and when you read someone’s EC’s you don’t gasp but you also don’t see any weaknesses. No first author pubs, no military service, no 4 digit volunteering hours, no D1 athlete, etc.

Honors would be the top 10-15% of applicants. This would be some juicy hook like a first author pub in a legit journal or the Peace Corps. But this kind of stuff is rare. Or if no juicy hook, tons of hours in every category across multiple years. So many hours that you almost don’t believe them.

My point to writing all of that is that high stats and a “pass” in EC’s is enough to get into mid tier schools. I have seen no evidence, statistical or anecdotal, that shows mid-tier MD schools yield/resources protect against top stat applicants with “pass” EC’s. It wouldn’t even make sense for them to do that. They know these students aren’t going to get into top schools, and they also know these students are very likely to succeed in medical school. Why would they ignore them?
Okay. At the end of the day, I have a very small sample size of people I know at school plus people on SDN who, for the most part, tell the truth about their experiences. People with what you would refer to as "low pass" or "fail" ECs tend not to be successful, regardless of where they apply, or what their stats look like. And, at least in my experience, the people you describe as high stat and adequate ECs tend to get screened out at mid tiers. Maybe the difference is in our definition of high stat. To me, it's 3.9/520+, not 3.8/515+, in a world where 3.7/512 is average.

For everyone else, people with high stats seemed to be pretty consistently screened out at lower tier schools, unless they have a compelling story to justify their interest in the school and/or location. Beyond that, other than targeted groups like low SES, first gen, URM, etc., high stats seem to be the price of entry at upper tier schools (and even the targeted groups seem to need higher than average stats), but spectacular ECs seem to be the difference between ultimate success or failure.

My only point is that, in my relatively small circle, I have not seen anyone with high stats and unspectacular ECs find success at lower tier schools. In fact, they seem to comprise a lot of the reapplicants I know, since many people with bad stats know not to apply without GPA or MCAT repair in the first place.
 
Last edited:

gonnif

Rule One: Take a Breath
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
23,554
39,584
The Big Bad Apple
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
"lacking" might mean a couple hundred hours instead of closer to a thousand needed for T20. It may be a relative term.
I can only take what I read in the meaning of the words, perhaps they are lacking in vocabulary or clear communication as well

Lacking:​

preposition​

being without; not having; wanting; less:

adjective​

wanting; deficient:
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 users
About the Ads

YCAGA

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2017
880
1,550
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Okay. At the end of the day, I have a very small sample size of people I know at school plus people on SDN who, for the most part, tell the truth about their experiences. People with what you would refer to as "low pass" or "fail" ECs tend not to be successful, regardless of where they apply, or what their stats look like.

For everyone else, people with high stats seemed to be pretty consistently screened out at lower tier schools, unless they have a compelling story to justify their interest in the school and/or location. Beyond that, other than targeted groups like low SES, first gen, URM, etc., high stats seem to be the price of entry at upper tier schools (and even the targeted groups seem to need higher than average stats), but spectacular ECs seem to be the difference between ultimate success or failure.

My only point is that, in my relatively small circle, I have not seen anyone with high stats and unspectacular ECs find success at lower tier schools. In fact, they seem to comprise a lot of the reapplicants I know, since many people with bad stats know not to apply without GPA or MCAT repair in the first place.
I would amend what I said to “state schools and mid-tier schools”, not low-tier because you are right that yield protection for MD schools with DO-level stats makes sense. So mid-tier = USNWR 30-80 type schools. Schools that lay people have heard of and still have decent average stats. The problem I have seen with 3.9 GPA and MCAT 521 type people with mediocre EC’s is they apply to almost exclusively top 20-30, and maybe a few mid tier schools. They just see their stats are above average for UCLA and UNC and think they will have 10 interview invites by August. They end up getting a handful of interviews at any mid tier schools they apply to, sometimes enough interviews to get into med school that year, sometimes not.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

YCAGA

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2017
880
1,550
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I can only take what I read in the meaning of the words, perhaps they are lacking in vocabulary or clear communication as well

Lacking:​

preposition​

being without; not having; wanting; less:

adjective​

wanting; deficient:
You never know with premeds. There are people that act like a 3.89 their senior year will be a downward trend and makes them “lacking”. Then there are people who think a criminal history of attempted murder can be overcome with a good MCAT and nothing is lacking in their application.
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 3 users

gonnif

Rule One: Take a Breath
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
23,554
39,584
The Big Bad Apple
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
You never know with premeds. There are people that act like a 3.89 their senior year will be a downward trend and makes them “lacking”. Then there are people who think a criminal history of attempted murder can be overcome with a good MCAT and nothing is lacking in their application.
Oh, so they are lacking in judgement as well.
 
  • Haha
  • Like
Reactions: 6 users
Nov 30, 2020
116
133
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
It's more than that -- it's not believing that resource protection is real, even though every single adcom that participates on SDN has told us that it exists in one form or another at each of their schools. As a result, while it's undoubtedly true that many of the 13% you are referring to have top heavy lists, that's not the whole story, since many of them would also be screened out at lower tier schools if they applied.

The key to success really is having a reasonably well rounded application, not reaching lower to compensate for crappy ECs. To me, it appears that while schools and applicants fall into tiers based on stats, excellent ECs seem to be a common denominator among successful applicants everywhere nowadays.

While lackluster ECs are, to some degree, in the eyes of the beholder, people with barely existent ECs who are successful probably have some kind of hook at the schools. Given the level of competition today, I'm not sure there is such a thing as a reasonable school list for someone with "lackluster" ECs.

Most schools with relatively low median stats would rather have someone with mediocre stats and great ECs (and there is a huge surplus of them) over someone with great stats, so just which schools would be on such a list? In other words, yeah, Penn's stats are way higher than Drexel's, but would Drexel really snap up a Penn reject with minimal ECs? Nothing in its profile suggests that it is chasing stats, so, what would be the attraction for Drexel?
I wonder how they feel if you are lacking in Ecs but you have more stuff going on like if you worked during and after college and have a family. Do you think they would still expect about the same amount as everyone else or would they cut one slack in that department?
 

seanm028

Dulling Occam's Razor
5+ Year Member
May 7, 2016
194
242
USA
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I wonder how they feel if you are lacking in Ecs but you have more stuff going on like if you worked during and after college and have a family. Do you think they would still expect about the same amount as everyone else or would they cut one slack in that department?
They might cut you a little bit of slack, but you're not going to get a pass.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

YCAGA

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2017
880
1,550
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I wonder how they feel if you are lacking in Ecs but you have more stuff going on like if you worked during and after college and have a family. Do you think they would still expect about the same amount as everyone else or would they cut one slack in that department?
Unless you have a family to support, you don’t need to be working a lot, if at all, during college. I worked during the summer when I didn’t have to worry about school, and I did “easy” jobs like be an RA and tutor during the school year, but I could have also just taken out more loans. And I mainly did the RA thing because I wanted a single room to hangout with my significant other😬
 
Dec 29, 2019
149
172
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I wonder how they feel if you are lacking in Ecs but you have more stuff going on like if you worked during and after college and have a family. Do you think they would still expect about the same amount as everyone else or would they cut one slack in that department?
Well according to the preached "holistic admissions," that should be considered, but again who knows, sometimes holistic isn't really...holistic.
 

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2010
65,374
100,625
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Well according to the preached "holistic admissions," that should be considered, but again who knows, sometimes holistic isn't really...holistic.
Pre-meds have this near magic, totem-like faith in the term "holistic review process".

The term means that apps will be mined for diamonds in the rough.

It doesn't mean that you get to waive stuff that you need to do. The last thing we want is for people to bail on Medicine because they find out that they don't like the hours, or hate the idea that they "have to touch those icky, smelly, gross patients" (quote from an actual SDN post years ago).

It also doesn't mean that trash applications are treated the same as stellar ones either.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

YCAGA

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2017
880
1,550
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Pre-meds have this near magic, totem-like faith in the term "holistic review process".

The term means that apps will be mined for diamonds in the rough.

It doesn't mean that you get to waive stuff that you need to do. The last thing we want is for people to bail on Medicine because they find out that they don't like the hours, or hate the idea that they "have to touch those icky, smelly, gross patients" (quote from an actual SDN post years ago).

It also doesn't mean that trash applications are treated the same as stellar ones either.
Spitting straight facts
 
About the Ads

mwsapphire

Office of the medical examiner.
2+ Year Member
Jan 5, 2017
3,526
2,803
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Pre-meds have this near magic, totem-like faith in the term "holistic review process".

The term means that apps will be mined for diamonds in the rough.

It doesn't mean that you get to waive stuff that you need to do. The last thing we want is for people to bail on Medicine because they find out that they don't like the hours, or hate the idea that they "have to touch those icky, smelly, gross patients" (quote from an actual SDN post years ago).

It also doesn't mean that trash applications are treated the same as stellar ones either.
It's possible that even with a few hundred hours of clinical experience you still may not realize that? For example you volunteer in a clinic and you don't see the inpatient setting that much, etc.

Also, about " the hours" how are we supposed to understand the hours of medical training as pre med? You can read about the time demands of residency, etc, but it's not something you can experience before med school, unless you try to work 20+ with a full course load.

Additionally, things like FM don't always have significantly more hours than a regular full time job ( once an attending) , and there are lots of .8 FTE for if you want to be a mom or something.
 

seanm028

Dulling Occam's Razor
5+ Year Member
May 7, 2016
194
242
USA
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
It's possible that even with a few hundred hours of clinical experience you still may not realize that? For example you volunteer in a clinic and you don't see the inpatient setting that much, etc.

Also, about " the hours" how are we supposed to understand the hours of medical training as pre med? You can read about the time demands of residency, etc, but it's not something you can experience before med school, unless you try to work 20+ with a full course load.

Additionally, things like FM don't always have significantly more hours than a regular full time job ( once an attending) , and there are lots of .8 FTE for if you want to be a mom or something.
Of course you're not going to know exactly what it's like until you're going through the training yourself. I think the idea of the shadowing, clinical exposure, etc. is to give you as good an idea as is possible.

And yes, there are some jobs that are less demanding, but you still have to survive clerkships and residency to get there.
 
  • Love
Reactions: 1 user

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2010
65,374
100,625
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
It's possible that even with a few hundred hours of clinical experience you still may not realize that? For example you volunteer in a clinic and you don't see the inpatient setting that much, etc.

Also, about " the hours" how are we supposed to understand the hours of medical training as pre med? You can read about the time demands of residency, etc, but it's not something you can experience before med school, unless you try to work 20+ with a full course load.

Additionally, things like FM don't always have significantly more hours than a regular full time job ( once an attending) , and there are lots of .8 FTE for if you want to be a mom or something.
The things we expect you to get out of your extracurriculars are not as complex as what you are proposing.
 

YCAGA

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2017
880
1,550
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
It's possible that even with a few hundred hours of clinical experience you still may not realize that? For example you volunteer in a clinic and you don't see the inpatient setting that much, etc.

Also, about " the hours" how are we supposed to understand the hours of medical training as pre med? You can read about the time demands of residency, etc, but it's not something you can experience before med school, unless you try to work 20+ with a full course load.

Additionally, things like FM don't always have significantly more hours than a regular full time job ( once an attending) , and there are lots of .8 FTE for if you want to be a mom or something.
You would have to put in serious effort to only see clean and polite patients, even as a premed. I am sure some premeds are able to stay in an affluent setting with no “undesirable” patients, but that takes a consistently narrow minded resume to accomplish.

Difficult patients are the reality of medicine in almost any setting. Everyone deserves good medical care regardless of that fact, but you don’t need to be in medical school to realize not every patient is a cute baby who smells like baby powder and has a super nice parent.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

mwsapphire

Office of the medical examiner.
2+ Year Member
Jan 5, 2017
3,526
2,803
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
You would have to put in serious effort to only see clean and polite patients, even as a premed. I am sure some premeds are able to stay in an affluent setting with no “undesirable” patients, but that takes a consistently narrow minded resume to accomplish.

Difficult patients are the reality of medicine in almost any setting. Everyone deserves good medical care regardless of that fact, but you don’t need to be in medical school to realize not every patient is a cute baby who smells like baby powder and has a super nice parent.
Oh Ofc I know, even in hardly 40 hours of shadowing I saw several non compliant patients or patients who were stinky, etc. ( Family friend who is an FM doc that I got to shadow.)
I'm just saying there's also a probability of that not happening.
During my scribe job ( scribe for a surgeon during his clinic days) I also saw patients with infected wounds or who were crabby and fought with the doc. I am nervous as to how I would handle it but I know it's a thing.
 
Nov 14, 2019
278
386
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
man people just have to apply when they're ready. a year or two without being in school is nothing in the long run. No one is guaranteed anything in this process so you might as well just do everything in your power to have the best app so you have no regrets later on.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Moko

Staff member
Volunteer Staff
5+ Year Member
Sep 7, 2015
1,922
7,935
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
OP, nothing is guaranteed in medical school admissions, especially not for T20 schools. You can get a quality education at any USMD school.

And even if getting into a T10 school was as easy as taking another gap year, imagine taking this route only to find your school's ranking plummet out of T20 in the future. Incidentally, this is why savvy med school insiders are forgoing their Columbia, Duke, and NYU acceptances and matriculating at Drexel in anticipation of its meteoric rise in 15 years time. Go Dragons!
 
  • Haha
  • Love
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users

KendallJennerSniperLady69

2+ Year Member
Nov 8, 2017
181
294
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
OP, nothing is guaranteed in medical school admissions, especially not for T20 schools. You can get a quality education at any USMD school.

And even if getting into a T10 school was as easy as taking another gap year, imagine taking this route only to find your school's ranking plummet out of T20 in the future. Incidentally, this is why savvy med school insiders are forgoing their Columbia, Duke, and NYU acceptances and matriculating at Drexel in anticipation of its meteoric rise in 15 years time. Go Dragons!
*cries in UCLA 6->21 drop*
 
  • Haha
Reactions: 2 users
May 1, 2020
43
6
I read all the replies and appreciate all of them. One thing I want to point out is that by "lacking" isn't that I have 0 hours. I meant that it isn't some crazy 4 digit number like I've seen on here.

I'll have probably about 200 or more clinical volunteering hours when I apply and maybe about 110 non clinical volunteering stuff. (Second number not sure because idk if cleaning up the environment counts as non clinical volunteering, I feel like by non clinically volunteering people are referring to directly serving the less fortunate like at a soup kitchen not picking up trash. )

Research hours is about 80-100 which is trash ik but isn't nothing.

Worked as a medical assistant for 400+ hours, GPA 3.6, science 3.4, URM, 6 track records, lead role in many plays, played 4 college sports, president in a club I started, EMT, involved in many clubs, etc.

I'm not a troll, I may have falsely assumed that those stats above in combination with a high mcat score would make me relatively competitive for a school if I apply now, nothing crazy cause I know there are Olympians who apply, but more than the average non sdn premed.

I guess a better way to phrase my question would be if I should take another gap year or apply now if I secure a good MCAT score, ik the MCAT is a killer test so I can't guarantee anything, but I feel ( maybe naively) that if I have enough time to study for it I could score highly.

However you guys made strong points, my application is lacking, but is a gap year worth it? I'm not sure what to do.
 

YCAGA

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2017
880
1,550
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I read all the replies and appreciate all of them. One thing I want to point out is that by "lacking" isn't that I have 0 hours. I meant that it isn't some crazy 4 digit number like I've seen on here.

I'll have probably about 200 or more clinical volunteering hours when I apply and maybe about 110 non clinical volunteering stuff. (Second number not sure because idk if cleaning up the environment counts as non clinical volunteering, I feel like by non clinically volunteering people are referring to directly serving the less fortunate like at a soup kitchen not picking up trash. )

Research hours is about 80-100 which is trash ik but isn't nothing.

Worked as a medical assistant for 400+ hours, GPA 3.6, science 3.4, URM, 6 track records, lead role in many plays, played 4 college sports, president in a club I started, EMT, involved in many clubs, etc.

I'm not a troll, I may have falsely assumed that those stats above in combination with a high mcat score would make me relatively competitive for a school if I apply now, nothing crazy cause I know there are Olympians who apply, but more than the average non sdn premed.

I guess a better way to phrase my question would be if I should take another gap year or apply now if I secure a good MCAT score, ik the MCAT is a killer test so I can't guarantee anything, but I feel ( maybe naively) that if I have enough time to study for it I could score highly.

However you guys made strong points, my application is lacking, but is a gap year worth it? I'm not sure what to do.
You have decent EC’s. MCAT is obviously missing so it is hard to say how competitive you are. A great MCAT could make MD schools worth the application costs with a 3.4 sGPA since you are an URM. Not to say your EC’s couldn’t be improved but they aren’t terrible like your initial post seemed to imply.

To be clear though, your sGPA is borderline lethal at MD schools without a great MCAT combined with URM status. Unless your state school is Mississippi or something, in which case your GPA with a 510 will be fine haha
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

KendallJennerSniperLady69

2+ Year Member
Nov 8, 2017
181
294
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I read all the replies and appreciate all of them. One thing I want to point out is that by "lacking" isn't that I have 0 hours. I meant that it isn't some crazy 4 digit number like I've seen on here.

I'll have probably about 200 or more clinical volunteering hours when I apply and maybe about 110 non clinical volunteering stuff. (Second number not sure because idk if cleaning up the environment counts as non clinical volunteering, I feel like by non clinically volunteering people are referring to directly serving the less fortunate like at a soup kitchen not picking up trash. )

Research hours is about 80-100 which is trash ik but isn't nothing.

Worked as a medical assistant for 400+ hours, GPA 3.6, science 3.4, URM, 6 track records, lead role in many plays, played 4 college sports, president in a club I started, EMT, involved in many clubs, etc.

I'm not a troll, I may have falsely assumed that those stats above in combination with a high mcat score would make me relatively competitive for a school if I apply now, nothing crazy cause I know there are Olympians who apply, but more than the average non sdn premed.

I guess a better way to phrase my question would be if I should take another gap year or apply now if I secure a good MCAT score, ik the MCAT is a killer test so I can't guarantee anything, but I feel ( maybe naively) that if I have enough time to study for it I could score highly.

However you guys made strong points, my application is lacking, but is a gap year worth it? I'm not sure what to do.
This reply makes it seem like you are even more of a troll :(!

Unless you have some serious research output in the next year or so, I think you can kiss good chances at any T20 (note: research-focused) schools good bye. That GPA is also unimpressive by MD school standards (and maybe DO too, not sure).

I think if you apply to mid-low tier MD schools and also include DO schools on your list, you should be fine this cycle, but a gap year never hurt no one (if it's used productively).
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Exocus

2+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2019
176
304
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
I read all the replies and appreciate all of them. One thing I want to point out is that by "lacking" isn't that I have 0 hours. I meant that it isn't some crazy 4 digit number like I've seen on here.

I'll have probably about 200 or more clinical volunteering hours when I apply and maybe about 110 non clinical volunteering stuff. (Second number not sure because idk if cleaning up the environment counts as non clinical volunteering, I feel like by non clinically volunteering people are referring to directly serving the less fortunate like at a soup kitchen not picking up trash. )

Research hours is about 80-100 which is trash ik but isn't nothing.

Worked as a medical assistant for 400+ hours, GPA 3.6, science 3.4, URM, 6 track records, lead role in many plays, played 4 college sports, president in a club I started, EMT, involved in many clubs, etc.

I'm not a troll, I may have falsely assumed that those stats above in combination with a high mcat score would make me relatively competitive for a school if I apply now, nothing crazy cause I know there are Olympians who apply, but more than the average non sdn premed.

I guess a better way to phrase my question would be if I should take another gap year or apply now if I secure a good MCAT score, ik the MCAT is a killer test so I can't guarantee anything, but I feel ( maybe naively) that if I have enough time to study for it I could score highly.

However you guys made strong points, my application is lacking, but is a gap year worth it? I'm not sure what to do.
Gonna be frank here. With a good MCAT, you would be a reasonable MD candidate, but elite schools are always going to be a reach for you given the trend of stats.

Your ECs are solid enough, but even being URM, that 3.6/3.4 split is not doing you any favors when you jump into the applicant pool for T20s. If you get a good MCAT, I can't see it being a good investment of your time to skip a year because you're always going to be a reach candidate if your GPA is stable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
May 1, 2020
43
6
Gonna be frank here. With a good MCAT, you would be a reasonable MD candidate, but elite schools are always going to be a reach for you given the trend of stats.

Your ECs are solid enough, but even being URM, that 3.6/3.4 split is not doing you any favors when you jump into the applicant pool for T20s. If you get a good MCAT, I can't see it being a good investment of your time to skip a year because you're always going to be a reach candidate if your GPA is stable.
YES. I think this was the reply I was looking for. I was under the impression that my application would be a lot more competitive and no longer much of a reach candidate if I spent a year doing things for my application. If my GPA is always going to weigh me down then I completely understand with the idea of applying this cycle if I get a good MCAT.
 

KendallJennerSniperLady69

2+ Year Member
Nov 8, 2017
181
294
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
YES. I think this was the reply I was looking for. I was under the impression that my application would be a lot more competitive and no longer much of a reach candidate if I spent a year doing things for my application. If my GPA is always going to weigh me down then I completely understand with the idea of applying this cycle if I get a good MCAT.
It also depends on your school list.

AMCAS will open in a few months time, so if you really want guidance, it would be helpful if you provided a school list somewhere on SDN for people to give their 0.02$ on
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
May 1, 2020
43
6
You have decent EC’s. MCAT is obviously missing so it is hard to say how competitive you are. A great MCAT could make MD schools worth the application costs with a 3.4 sGPA since you are an URM. Not to say your EC’s couldn’t be improved but they aren’t terrible like your initial post seemed to imply.

To be clear though, your sGPA is borderline lethal at MD schools without a great MCAT combined with URM status. Unless your state school is Mississippi or something, in which case your GPA with a 510 will be fine haha
Wow that's interesting, I honestly didn't think that my sGPA was THAT bad because people on here give off the vibe that as a URM you can do anything. I live in N.Y, do you know much about those schools?
 

Exocus

2+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2019
176
304
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
Wow that's interesting, I honestly didn't think that my sGPA was THAT bad because people on here give off the vibe that as a URM you can do anything. I live in N.Y, do you know much about those schools?
URM definitely helps a lot. If you were ORM, that 3.4 sGPA would be close to an app killer in a lot of situations.

Assuming a reasonable MCAT score (510+), you would have a good chance to make it into one of the NY state schools.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
About the Ads

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.