G1SG2

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Hi guys,

I just wanted an honest opinion as to what you guys think of my chances. I am currently a junior with a double major in Biology & Philosophy.

GPA: Science-3.79, Cumulative-3.90 (I'm in the Honor's Program at my school and have been on the Dean's List for all terms thus far)

Activities-
-Co-produced/co-directed a documentary on the first interfaith program between Muslim and Jewish students in the United States (Abraham's Vision)
-Around 130 hours of hospital volunteering (ER + other hospital units), also have some shadowing experience
-2 years of experience as an EMT-B
-CPR, AED & First Aid Instructor-American Red Cross
-Executive Board member at my University's Pre-Health Honor Society
-Worked at my university's Undergrad. Admissions Office for 1.5 years as a student worker & campus tour guide/backup ambassador
-Currently working at my university's Tutoring Center as a Bio. & Chem. tutor
-1 semester of research experience thus far (biochem.), will continue to work in the lab throughout next semester (hopeful for a publication?).
-Attend weekly meetings of our science research data club

I already have many LOR's from some pretty awesome professors and am taking the MCAT in June.

Any comments/tips/suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 
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GoSpursGo

Allons-y!
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Sounds like you have all the makings of an excellent application. Of course, everyone can always use more volunteer hours, so keep going into the hospital. Getting published in the next semester or so isn't really THAT important; as long as you're able to talk in great detail about your project in an interview (seriously, you'd be surprised at how many people don't really know much about their project beyond just doing what the prof told them to do), a year of experience will look good.

All that you need now is the MCAT. A 34+ would make you competitive at essentially any school in the country, so study hard, get that awesome score, and submit early (June/July), and I think you could wind up with some nice choices next year.
 

alibai3ah

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Good stats, but out of curiosity why r u taking your mcats in june? Application period falls around that time and getting your scores back in july could hurt you maybe. Unless you are dead set on june, I woudl consider taking it in April or May. Remember you have to do your personal statement, study for finals...and a bunch of other stuff. Its beter to get it out of the way. I would recommend a 32+ for decent schools and 34+ for top 20's.
 
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G1SG2

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May 2, 2008
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Sounds like you have all the makings of an excellent application. Of course, everyone can always use more volunteer hours, so keep going into the hospital.
Thanks! My 2 years of experience as an EMT-B has been all volunteer experience at a local volunteer ambulance corps (will start working at a local 911 hospital/ambulance very soon, just got the job!)

Getting published in the next semester or so isn't really THAT important; as long as you're able to talk in great detail about your project in an interview (seriously, you'd be surprised at how many people don't really know much about their project beyond just doing what the prof told them to do), a year of experience will look good.
Basically this semester I've been learning a lot of lab techniques and have been helping out the grad students a lot. I did not particularly work on a specific project, as my prof said I need to learn some things first, but he basically hooked me up with a graduate student and I'm probably going to be helping her out a lot. Does it make my experience less significant if I'm not doing a solo/independent project as opposed to just helping out in the lab/helping out the grad students?
 

GoSpursGo

Allons-y!
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Good stats, but out of curiosity why r u taking your mcats in june? Application period falls around that time and getting your scores back in july could hurt you maybe. Unless you are dead set on june, I woudl consider taking it in April or May. Remember you have to do your personal statement, study for finals...and a bunch of other stuff. Its beter to get it out of the way. I would recommend a 32+ for decent schools and 34+ for top 20's.
Yeah I didn't notice you were planning on June on my first read-through; April or May would be really good because your scores would be available early on and help guide you with where to send your app.

Also, to clarify, my comment of get a 34+... yeah, that was really just so that you would have a shot at pretty much anywhere; a 30 with the rest of your app will almost certainly get you in SOMEWHERE.
 

Mobius1985

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Apr 4, 2007
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Your GPA is great. Your clinical experience is outstanding. Some more shadowing experience might be good to list (and with your contacts a variety of specialists should be possible). A year of research will be perfect. Your teaching experience shows excellent (and health-related) leadership. The tutoring adds to that. The volunteerism also shows your altruistic side. I see a few possibilities on your list that might be preceived as demonstrating teamwork, depending on how you spin it in the narrative description of the activity.

With a decent MCAT score and all the above, you're good to go. You're definitely on top of things.
 

G1SG2

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Good stats, but out of curiosity why r u taking your mcats in june? Application period falls around that time and getting your scores back in july could hurt you maybe. Unless you are dead set on june, I woudl consider taking it in April or May. Remember you have to do your personal statement, study for finals...and a bunch of other stuff. Its beter to get it out of the way. I would recommend a 32+ for decent schools and 34+ for top 20's.
Thanks! Well, I figured if I take the MCAT in May, that will leave me around two weeks after my finals to tie up any loose ends, and I don't want to take that chance (even though I agree with you-its best to get it out of the way). My plan is to submit my application in June without the scores, and then once the scores are in, they will be sent in July. My personal statement is under construction as of now! :)
 

G1SG2

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Your GPA is great. Your clinical experience is outstanding. Some more shadowing experience might be good to list (and with your contacts a variety of specialists should be possible). A year of research will be perfect. Your teaching experience shows excellent (and health-related) leadership. The tutoring adds to that. The volunteerism also shows your altruistic side. I see a few possibilities on your list that might be preceived as demonstrating teamwork, depending on how you spin it in the narrative description of the activity.

With a decent MCAT score and all the above, you're good to go. You're definitely on top of things.
Thanks, I appreciate it!
 

Mobius1985

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My plan is to submit my application in June without the scores, and then once the scores are in, they will be sent in July. :)
Good strategy, as by July it will take longer to get your transcripts certified, and you'll have all that done, so your Primary will go out to your schools the day the MCAT is available.
 

GoSpursGo

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Thanks! My 2 years of experience as an EMT-B has been all volunteer experience at a local volunteer ambulance corps (will start working at a local 911 hospital/ambulance very soon, just got the job!)



Basically this semester I've been learning a lot of lab techniques and have been helping out the grad students a lot. I did not particularly work on a specific project, as my prof said I need to learn some things first, but he basically hooked me up with a graduate student and I'm probably going to be helping her out a lot. Does it make my experience less significant if I'm not doing a solo/independent project as opposed to just helping out in the lab/helping out the grad students?
Excellent on the job, you've really got your clinical ECs covered, which is the most important aspect of the app aside maybe from stats.

As to your research question, sure, a research experience where you're working on a solo/independent project will look more impressive than simply helping with a grad student, but what you're describing is still good. Just make sure at some point you actually take some time to sit down with the grad student and figure out exactly what the long-term purpose of the project is; research is always a good EC, but you won't gain nearly as many points with an adcom for saying "I did whatever the grad student needed" as you would for saying "I assisted with a project looking at _______, our hypothesis was _________, and what we found through the experiments I ran was _______." Be prepared to general questions about the project in general and the specific assays you ran, and you will have a meaningful experience to talk about.
 

GoSpursGo

Allons-y!
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Thanks! Well, I figured if I take the MCAT in May, that will leave me around two weeks after my finals to tie up any loose ends, and I don't want to take that chance (even though I agree with you-its best to get it out of the way). My plan is to submit my application in June without the scores, and then once the scores are in, they will be sent in July. My personal statement is under construction as of now! :)
This is a reasonable strategy. It has backfired on people in the past who applied mostly to higher-end schools based on their GPA only to find that they didn't score as well on the MCAT as they'd hoped and then they had to add more schools. But you'll probably be alright; your GPA says that if you stay on top of your studying, an excellent MCAT score should be well within your reach.
 

G1SG2

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This is a reasonable strategy. It has backfired on people in the past who applied mostly to higher-end schools based on their GPA only to find that they didn't score as well on the MCAT as they'd hoped and then they had to add more schools. But you'll probably be alright; your GPA says that if you stay on top of your studying, an excellent MCAT score should be well within your reach.
Yeah, I agree it might be a bit risky-but I plan on studying hardcore over this winter break and then taking a review course if necessary and hopefully I can crank out a good score. Speaking of schools, would it be crazy to apply to 20-25 schools? From what I've been reading here (and I agree), it's smart to apply broadly. Maybe the process in this day and age is so haphazard. Would it be a bit on the crazy to apply to 20-25 schools to be on the safe side?
 

GoSpursGo

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Yeah, I agree it might be a bit risky-but I plan on studying hardcore over this winter break and then taking a review course if necessary and hopefully I can crank out a good score. Speaking of schools, would it be crazy to apply to 20-25 schools? From what I've been reading here (and I agree), it's smart to apply broadly. Maybe the process in this day and age is so haphazard. Would it be a bit on the crazy to apply to 20-25 schools to be on the safe side?
20-25 is a high number, but well within reason, especially if you're sending your app out blindly without your MCAT scores.
 

Mobius1985

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Speaking of schools, would it be crazy to apply to 20-25 schools? From what I've been reading here (and I agree), it's smart to apply broadly. Maybe the process in this day and age is so haphazard.
Another strategy, is to apply to only one school when you submit. Add the others after the MCAT score is out, depending on your score, and the degree of school selectivity that is appropriate for your stats. The Primary will still go out to any added schools within one business day. I applied in three waves to schools, and this worked out well.

I think 15-20 schools total, after you know your stats, is a reasonable number.
 
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