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Dec 18, 2013
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How do ADCOM members know the average accepted GPA and MCAT of their prospective med schools? Is it through some initial refresher meeting at the beginning of each season? Or do you guys get access to MSAR?

Also when the dust settles, even at top 20 med schools, how much does the matriculant average GPA and MCAT differ from the accepted average?
 
Dec 2, 2013
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Hi LizzyM!

First off, thank you so much for doing this and taking the time off of your holidays.

I have a question that I already made a thread about once, but wanted to get an adcom's opinion on the matter. Basically, I haven't done straight-up shadowing since entering college, and am planning to apply next cycle. I shadowed various doctors in high school (cardiologist, hematologist, orthopedist) and since I already had that shadowing experience, I decided to do focus on more active clinical exposure in college. I did do an internship at a clinic where I was conducting a QI study for the medical director, which centered on shadowing patients, so I ended up sitting in on ~100 hours of primary care appointments.

Should I be trying to get shadowing done between now and the time I apply? I feel like it will be just rushed and seem like I am just checking a box (which at this point it would be.) A helpful suggestion on my original thread was to mention the HS shadowing in my PS. Would that suffice?

Thank you again!
 
Oct 25, 2013
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If you absolutely had to conclude that having parents as doctors is an advantage or disadvantage, which would you say and why? Thanks LizzyM!
 

pdelgado311

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Stanford is often misspelled as Standford. ;)

Anyways, if your colleagues don't know you're LizzyM, does your dean/someone else know?
I bet it is Johns Hopkins. Lots of people spell it as John's or John
 
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One more question: How do adcom's (or you personally) view an applicant who did Post-Secondary throughout high school and graduated with an Associates their senior year? The catch is that while taking the courses at the CC, they only earned roughly a 3.35 GPA, and it didn't understand at the time they were hurting themselves because every letter grade you've ever received is factored into the cGPA that they take into account. Thanks again!
 
Dec 30, 2013
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Hi LizzyM,

Thank you so much for your time. I hope you're having a good winter break so far. I have a couple questions that I'd like to ask.

1. Which major does adcoms like better? Biology (concentration in Environmental Biology), pharmacology (pretty rare?)
or Biochemistry?
I heard from older students that Biochemistry gets more respect because it's considered harder and its classes are similar to med school. On the other hand, classes like plant ecology are considered "easy" and soft....Which major will impress the adcoms more? (assuming that I can get a decent GPA in both).

2. I'm thinking of taking a gap year to do a Master's program. Here are the options available to me: MBA, MPH or MS in Biological sciences. I'm interested in doing the MBA (concentrating on healthcare)the most because I think the business knowledge is helpful in general, and it could open more doors for me later in life. But, will it be looked down upon because some people might think that I'm pursuing medicine for the money?

3. How much of a boost is it to have a senior thesis?

Happy new years!
 

GomerPyle

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My friend is a current resident and he constantly complains about how numerous patients do not trust him, do not like him, and come in with their own "fact sheets" on how to treat their ailments. This really frustrates him because he has worked so hard and feels like he doesn't get treated with the respect and trust he feels he deserves. How do you suggest that doctors deal with patients who do not like them, do not respect them, and who oftentimes look down on physicians?
 
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LizzyM

LizzyM

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How do ADCOM members know the average accepted GPA and MCAT of their prospective med schools? Is it through some initial refresher meeting at the beginning of each season? Or do you guys get access to MSAR?

Also when the dust settles, even at top 20 med schools, how much does the matriculant average GPA and MCAT differ from the accepted average?
@dododo121
The Dean tells us at the start of the year and reminds us periodically.

I think that when the dust settles and all those high GPA/MCAT people get counted by just one school rather than eight or ten, the average drops by 2-3 points on MCAT and 0.1 in GPA.
 

nemo123

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.... i don't understand
pdelgado, it's been discussed at length on this thread. LizzyM respects her privacy and while it's okay for us to have individual thoughts about where she is, it is not okay to try to out someone on a public internet forum and post those thoughts publicly, particularly on her own thread where she is trying to help pre-meds out. It is a TOS violation and can get you banned. I would be careful if I were you, especially after the episode that unfolded on the Geffen thread a few weeks ago.
 
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LizzyM

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Hi LizzyM!

First off, thank you so much for doing this and taking the time off of your holidays.

I have a question that I already made a thread about once, but wanted to get an adcom's opinion on the matter. Basically, I haven't done straight-up shadowing since entering college, and am planning to apply next cycle. I shadowed various doctors in high school (cardiologist, hematologist, orthopedist) and since I already had that shadowing experience, I decided to do focus on more active clinical exposure in college. I did do an internship at a clinic where I was conducting a QI study for the medical director, which centered on shadowing patients, so I ended up sitting in on ~100 hours of primary care appointments.

Should I be trying to get shadowing done between now and the time I apply? I feel like it will be just rushed and seem like I am just checking a box (which at this point it would be.) A helpful suggestion on my original thread was to mention the HS shadowing in my PS. Would that suffice?

Thank you again!
@mollyguacamole
You're fine with that internship thing.
 
Dec 18, 2013
39
8
@dododo121
The Dean tells us at the start of the year and reminds us periodically.

I think that when the dust settles and all those high GPA/MCAT people get counted by just one school rather than eight or ten, the average drops by 2-3 points on MCAT and 0.1 in GPA.
2-3 points! Even at top 20 schools? Or by then, is it about 1 point (and maybe 2, if we're stretching it)?
 
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LizzyM

LizzyM

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If you absolutely had to conclude that having parents as doctors is an advantage or disadvantage, which would you say and why? Thanks LizzyM!
@onyisraw
We know that higher SES is an advantage. So, given that most physicians are in the top 5% of earners in America that does place physicans' kids at an advantage over many others. However, it is on par with kids whose parents are high earners in other professions.
We know that shadowing and jobs in health care settings are important. It would seem that doc's kids have an easier time of networking to find someone to shadow and many can find a summer job in a parents' office. Letters of recommendation from partners or physicians who depend on referrals from dear old dad might be easy to come by. This is an advantage but professors kids might have a similar advantage in getting lab positions or a big break on school tuition. Still, they are head and shoulders above the kid whose parents are teaching elementary school or cleaning the elementary school.

On the other hand, to whom much is given, much is expected. So, if you have all these advantages, you'll be expected to have made the most of the education you've been afforded, taken the necessary steps to do well on the MCAT, used your connections to do shadowing and volunteering and even working and so forth.

Advantage or not? Glass half full or half empty.
 
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baltimoreman

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Now to the most important question... The maximum score on the new MCAT will be 60. How will the LizzyM score be calculated after students begin taking the 2015 MCAT? Still MCAT + GPA x 10? This would place more emphasis on the MCAT than the current formula.

In order to keep the same relative weights of MCAT and GPA it could be MCAT x 0.75 + GPA x 10 or MCAT + GPA x 1.3, but this seems overly complicated. It may be easier to keep the current system.

What will it be? We are all at the edge of our seats awaiting your reply to this extremely important inquiry.
 
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LizzyM

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One more question: How do adcom's (or you personally) view an applicant who did Post-Secondary throughout high school and graduated with an Associates their senior year? The catch is that while taking the courses at the CC, they only earned roughly a 3.35 GPA, and it didn't understand at the time they were hurting themselves because every letter grade you've ever received is factored into the cGPA that they take into account. Thanks again!
@onvisraw
sounds hypothetical...
 
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LizzyM

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Hi LizzyM,

Thank you so much for your time. I hope you're having a good winter break so far. I have a couple questions that I'd like to ask.

1. Which major does adcoms like better? Biology (concentration in Environmental Biology), pharmacology (pretty rare?)
or Biochemistry?
I heard from older students that Biochemistry gets more respect because it's considered harder and its classes are similar to med school. On the other hand, classes like plant ecology are considered "easy" and soft....Which major will impress the adcoms more? (assuming that I can get a decent GPA in both).

2. I'm thinking of taking a gap year to do a Master's program. Here are the options available to me: MBA, MPH or MS in Biological sciences. I'm interested in doing the MBA (concentrating on healthcare)the most because I think the business knowledge is helpful in general, and it could open more doors for me later in life. But, will it be looked down upon because some people might think that I'm pursuing medicine for the money?

3. How much of a boost is it to have a senior thesis?

Happy new years!
@Halfdolphy
1. I've never heard anyone express a preference for one of those over the others.
2. My personal opinion is that an MBA before having 3-7 years of work experience is a waste of time and money.
3. It is better than a sharp stick in the eye. If you have the opportunity, go for it, not because it is a boost but because it helps you to learn by doing how to be a scientist.
 

pdelgado311

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pdelgado, it's been discussed at length on this thread. LizzyM respects her privacy and while it's okay for us to have individual thoughts about where she is, it is not okay to try to out someone on a public internet forum and post those thoughts publicly, particularly on her own thread where she is trying to help pre-meds out. It is a TOS violation and can get you banned. I would be careful if I were you, especially after the episode that unfolded on the Geffen thread a few weeks ago.
 
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LizzyM

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My friend is a current resident and he constantly complains about how numerous patients do not trust him, do not like him, and come in with their own "fact sheets" on how to treat their ailments. This really frustrates him because he has worked so hard and feels like he doesn't get treated with the respect and trust he feels he deserves. How do you suggest that doctors deal with patients who do not like them, do not respect them, and who oftentimes look down on physicians?
@GomerPyle
Your friend should be humble. Respect the patients. Listen to them. Work hard on communicating to them with respect. About 85 years ago, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a piece by Francis Peabody that quite famously stated, "the secret of the care of the patient is to care for the patient." Your friend would do well to read the entire article: http://courses.washington.edu/hmed665i/MSJAMA_Landmark_Article_The_Care_of_the_Patient.html
 
Dec 18, 2013
39
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nemo123, what I did was no different from what you did, expect I didn't try to mask my question with an emoticon. By the way, thank you for clarifying that I am allowed to have individual thoughts. Also, I did NOT try to out LizzyM, I was merely deducing where she works from the clues that SHE gave us. I really admire that you're the self proclaimed Pony Boy of SDN- enforcing rules and throwing around fancy acronyms.
nemo123 is just rehashing what has been discussed on this thread many, many times. The fact that you blatantly ignored that says a lot about your personality. I also saw all the trolling you did on the UCLA thread, and I really hope you stop. You might take offense to what nemo told you, but she's simply laying down SDN rules for you, which has been posted multiple times in previous pages by many other SDNers, not just nemo.

As for nemo's original comment, it didn't deduce anything as to LizzyM's location and actually made her location even more private, while you blatantly put it out there as to where you think she is. That's the difference.
 
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Oct 25, 2013
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@onvisraw
sounds hypothetical...
Not at all, this is my situation I'm talking about. Went to a CC since tenth grade, got my AS degree. Now at my state university. Didn't realize letters from the grades themselves were factored into my GPA. Just realizing after becoming a member of SDN that a 3.35 cGPA from the CC will be factored into whatever my new GPA will be. I didn't care at the time about my grades, so I made a good number of C's. I just wanted my degree coming out of high schoool (which I know now is nearly worthless) and to get into real college already. Now I'm finally aware of how this whole admissions thing works I'm concerned about that 3.35 cGPA from the CC I graduated from.
 
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LizzyM

LizzyM

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pdelgado, it's been discussed at length on this thread. LizzyM respects her privacy and while it's okay for us to have individual thoughts about where she is, it is not okay to try to out someone on a public internet forum and post those thoughts publicly, particularly on her own thread where she is trying to help pre-meds out. It is a TOS violation and can get you banned. I would be careful if I were you, especially after the episode that unfolded on the Geffen thread a few weeks ago.
@nemo123
What went down on the Geffen thread. Inquiring minds want to know. PM me.
 
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LizzyM

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2-3 points! Even at top 20 schools? Or by then, is it about 1 point (and maybe 2, if we're stretching it)?
@dododo121
40 applicants with 4.0 40 each admitted at 10 different schools.. now suddenly, can be counted by only one school. how much does losing 36-40 of those peeps hurt a school's avg? Repeat with the 3.95 /38s and so forth.
 
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LizzyM

LizzyM

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Now to the most important question... The maximum score on the new MCAT will be 60. How will the LizzyM score be calculated after students begin taking the 2015 MCAT? Still MCAT + GPA x 10? This would place more emphasis on the MCAT than the current formula.

In order to keep the same relative weights of MCAT and GPA it could be MCAT x 0.75 + GPA x 10 or MCAT + GPA x 1.3, but this seems overly complicated. It may be easier to keep the current system.

What will it be? We are all at the edge of our seats awaiting your reply to this extremely important inquiry.
@baltimoreman
I have no knowledge of the scoring scheme on the new MCAT. Stay tuned. I should have something cooked up by 2016.
 
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LizzyM

LizzyM

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nemo123, what I did was no different from what you did, expect I didn't try to mask my question with an emoticon. By the way, thank you for clarifying that I am allowed to have individual thoughts. Also, I did NOT try to out LizzyM, I was merely deducing where she works from the clues that SHE gave us. I really admire that you're the self proclaimed Pony Boy of SDN- enforcing rules and throwing around fancy acronyms.
@pdelgado311

What is this, Masterpiece Mystery? More like Clues for the Clueless. Let's not go here anymore.
 
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LizzyM

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Not at all, this is my situation I'm talking about. Went to a CC since tenth grade, got my AS degree. Now at my state university. Didn't realize letters from the grades themselves were factored into my GPA. Just realizing after becoming a member of SDN that a 3.35 cGPA from the CC will be factored into whatever my new GPA will be. I didn't care at the time about my grades, so I made a good number of C's. I just wanted my degree coming out of high schoool (which I know now is nearly worthless) and to get into real college already. Now I'm finally aware of how this whole admissions thing works I'm concerned about that 3.35 cGPA from the CC I graduated from.
@onyisraw
Do you have an actual question? You earned a gpa of 3.35 in junior college classes before you even finished HS. If you are lucky those grades will drag down your GPA (if you were to make a mess of college, the same grades could boost your final GPA but let's hope that doesn't happen.) Yes, that 's going to affect your GPA. Your only hope is to do whatever you have to earn as many college credits as you can in four years (don't do any penny wise pound foolish stuff by finishing early) and to earn the best grades you can.
 

pdelgado311

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As for nemo's original comment, it didn't deduce anything as to LizzyM's location and actually made her location even more private, while you blatantly put it out there as to where you think she is. That's the difference.
@pdelgado311

What is this, Masterpiece Mystery? More like Clues for the Clueless. Let's not go here anymore.
@LizzyM
I am so sorry if it seemed I was trying to invade your privacy; I was unaware that guesses for your location were taboo subjects. Please excuse my ignorance and accept my apology! Thank you for all that you do for this community; I have definitely used your advice during my pre-med journey.
 
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@LizzyM
I am so sorry if it seemed I was trying to invade your privacy; I was unaware that guesses for your location were taboo subjects. Please excuse my ignorance and accept my apology! Thank you for all that you do for this community; I have definitely used your advice during my pre-med journey.
@pdelgado311
Go in peace and sin no more.
 
May 18, 2013
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How do ADCOM members view significantly lower overall GPA when compared to Science GPA.

To be more specific: I am an engineering major with cGPA of 3.55 (increased to ~3.6 with fall grades) and sGPA of ~3.75

Also, in your opinion, what percent of your seats have been filled so far (maybe just at your school)?
 
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karayaa

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Two more :happy:
Do you know where your schools' grads end up? Do most of the students at research-heavy schools actually go into academics when all is said and done?

And, is it bad to talk about non-clinical (but health/care-related) dreams, or goals that don't involve traditional doctoring, at interviews? Eg admin, industry, government, social justice, politics, preventative health, wellness? I want to be a doctor, but I also want to work on the super-individual level.
 

srly bnds

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LizzyM--

What you are doing here is fantastic...cheers!

Will try to keep this brief, but my question requires laying a lot out there. Basically, it relates to how post-bacc grades are treated on the AMCAS application as it is presented to med schools/adcom members.

I have a strong upward trend of improvement in my post-bacc grades, with the bad grades belonging to coursework completed seven years ago, immediately after graduation (essentially the core prereqs). More recently, with my interest and determination tested by first-hand clinical and public health work, I've headed back to school (1-2 classes/quarter) while working full time, getting all As.

In my mind, these two sets of grades reflect different circumstances and levels of preparation...and distinct chunks of time. I've gotten the sense that adcom members judge grade trends mostly from the average GPA for each academic year as calculated by AMCAS, with only one post-bacc GPA given (an average of all post-bacc coursework).

In the end, here are the rough numbers:

Round 1: ~65 quarter units at 2.9-something (almost all of the core prereqs)--all BCMP

Round 2: ~40 quarter units at 4.0 (upper division: completing biochem full year sequence, developmental bio, cell bio, immunology, with human genetics to come, and one remaining lower-div prereq)--all BCMP

The average places me somewhere in the neighborhood of the 10th percentile for a lot of schools. My MCAT score (August 2013) was 36, so that might help to balance the GPA---especially if the post-bacc GPA trend is considered. Strong extracurricular experiences from paid and volunteer work should also help, but is my concern that the upward trend will get "lost in the numbers" valid? Do you have any advice on how to effectively highlight this trend, along with the distinction between classes taken years ago, and classes taken more recently?

Any other advice you might be inspired to share would be appreciated, too ;-)

Again, you're doing a great service to all who find this forum...thank you!
 
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LizzyM

LizzyM

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How do ADCOM members view significantly lower overall GPA when compared to Science GPA.

To be more specific: I am an engineering major with cGPA of 3.55 (increased to ~3.6 with fall grades) and sGPA of ~3.75
@gobigorgohome22

That is not uncommon in people who picked a major that did not do them any favors GPA-wise. <shrug>
 
May 18, 2013
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In your opinion, what percent of the seats available have been filled so far (maybe just at your school)?
 
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LizzyM

LizzyM

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Two more :happy:
Do you know where your schools' grads end up? Do most of the students at research-heavy schools actually go into academics when all is said and done?

And, is it bad to talk about non-clinical (but health/care-related) dreams, or goals that don't involve traditional doctoring, at interviews? Eg admin, industry, government, social justice, politics, preventative health, wellness? I want to be a doctor, but I also want to work on the super-individual level.
@karayaa
I don't know.
Is it bad to be honest about your intentions and career goals? I guess it depends on how much it meshes with the mission of the school.
 
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492280

Hi LizzyM! I am graduating this upcoming summer and have decided to take a gap year prior to applying in order to gain some life experience before committing myself 100% to med school. I have two post-grad job opportunities I'm considering lined up right now: 1) Work full time as a research technician in my current immunology lab, OR 2) Work part time as a emergency department scribe at a local hospital.

In your experience, which work experience would seem more "worthwhile" in the eyes of the adcoms? I'd love to do both, but with scribing requiring 8 continuous hour shifts (and also lower waged - need to pay that rent somehow!) and research requiring 40-50 hours/week, I can realistically only commit myself to one job. I feel like scribing would be a wonderful opportunity to learn so much more about the entire hospital healthcare system though, so I am a bit torn between the two.

Thanks for your time!
 
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LizzyM

LizzyM

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LizzyM--

What you are doing here is fantastic...cheers!

Will try to keep this brief, but my question requires laying a lot out there. Basically, it relates to how post-bacc grades are treated on the AMCAS application as it is presented to med schools/adcom members.

I have a strong upward trend of improvement in my post-bacc grades, with the bad grades belonging to coursework completed seven years ago, immediately after graduation (essentially the core prereqs). More recently, with my interest and determination tested by first-hand clinical and public health work, I've headed back to school (1-2 classes/quarter) while working full time, getting all As.

In my mind, these two sets of grades reflect different circumstances and levels of preparation...and distinct chunks of time. I've gotten the sense that adcom members judge grade trends mostly from the average GPA for each academic year as calculated by AMCAS, with only one post-bacc GPA given (an average of all post-bacc coursework).

In the end, here are the rough numbers:

Round 1: ~65 quarter units at 2.9-something (almost all of the core prereqs)--all BCMP

Round 2: ~40 quarter units at 4.0 (upper division: completing biochem full year sequence, developmental bio, cell bio, immunology, with human genetics to come, and one remaining lower-div prereq)--all BCMP

The average places me somewhere in the neighborhood of the 10th percentile for a lot of schools. My MCAT score (August 2013) was 36, so that might help to balance the GPA---especially if the post-bacc GPA trend is considered. Strong extracurricular experiences from paid and volunteer work should also help, but is my concern that the upward trend will get "lost in the numbers" valid? Do you have any advice on how to effectively highlight this trend, along with the distinction between classes taken years ago, and classes taken more recently?

Any other advice you might be inspired to share would be appreciated, too ;-)

Again, you're doing a great service to all who find this forum...thank you!
@srly bnds
Yes, you will have only one post-bac GPA which includes all post bac courses. Yes, you are essentially in a precarious situation. Your post-bac GPA is 3.1. now maybe your undergrad GPA is sweet and that will keep you from getting screened out of some places. The 36 might pique some interest but a low GPA can get you screened out before anyone actually looks at your application more deeply. If a school wants to compare you to other pre-meds the best head to head comparison in physics and o-chem which were not so good for you, I'm guessing. It is not easy to be the comeback kid.
 
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LizzyM

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In your opinion, what percent of the seats available have been filled so far (maybe just at your school)?
150% lol... we make more offers than we have seats knowing that many of the most desirable applicants will not matriculate here.
 

turayza

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When interviewing students who indicate that they are interested in a joint degree (for example, MD/MPH), do you ask them different questions? Do you "dock points" for students who want to split time between clinical care and some other aspect of healthcare?
 
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LizzyM

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Hi LizzyM! I am graduating this upcoming summer and have decided to take a gap year prior to applying in order to gain some life experience before committing myself 100% to med school. I have two post-grad job opportunities I'm considering lined up right now: 1) Work full time as a research technician in my current immunology lab, OR 2) Work part time as a emergency department scribe at a local hospital.

In your experience, which work experience would seem more "worthwhile" in the eyes of the adcoms? I'd love to do both, but with scribing requiring 8 continuous hour shifts (and also lower waged - need to pay that rent somehow!) and research requiring 40-50 hours/week, I can realistically only commit myself to one job. I feel like scribing would be a wonderful opportunity to learn so much more about the entire hospital healthcare system though, so I am a bit torn between the two.

Thanks for your time!
@magagna
Either job would be considered a valuable one. If you have a weakness in your application (too little clinical exposure or too little research) your job could make up for that.
 
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LizzyM

LizzyM

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When interviewing students who indicate that they are interested in a joint degree (for example, MD/MPH), do you ask them different questions? Do you "dock points" for students who want to split time between clinical care and some other aspect of healthcare?
@turayza
No and no.
 
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Mad Jack

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64,948
4th Dimension
Lizzy, this is a difficult question... I have been accepted to DO school and neglected to apply MD at all due to how late in the cycle I received my MCAT scores. I was accepted to several DO schools, and paid two admission deposits. I have a 3.8ish cGPA and sGPA, a 12/11/12 MCAT, and 5 years as a respiratory therapist under my belt. My goal in practice is to do locum emergency department work in rural areas. Should I try to defer admission and apply MD, will it likely not matter if I am a DO, or are you not sure as you generally do admissions and not post-admission career counseling? I feel like just going to DO school next year really fits my career goals, but am not sure if I am making the wrong decision.
 

pdelgado311

Membership Revoked
Removed
Account on Hold
Apr 16, 2012
25
13
Status
Pre-Medical
She does us a service by being here, and we repay that kindness by not making her life more difficult. Just leave it alone man.
I know, and I didn't know that her location was a secret. I apologized to @LizzyM, and I won't do it again.
 

Jennyfishy

5+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2013
1,135
611
WI
Status
Medical Student
Hi LizzyM,

Can I have your autograph?

Although your educational route was different from the pre-med route, can you explain/outline how a practicing physician could go on to teach at a later point in their career? What are some things I should be thinking about right now or even looking into before I start school next year? This may have been asked (you can direct me to the post if yes) and is unrelated to your knowledge amd expertise as an AdCom, but I just wanted to ask anyway.

Thanks and I enjoyed lurking this thread and thanks for providing a wonderful service in your spare time to help the SDN community and other aspiring health professionals :D. Wish I had another question that wasn't already asked :(
 

touchpause13

nolite te bastardes carborundorum
5+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2012
14,430
14,024
The North
LizzyM
First off thanks so much for all you have contributed in SDN in general and this thread specifically

1) Does your school use student interviewers and do you find them helpful? Like do they bring a unique perspective or are they clueless?

2) favorite brunch booze?

3) Do you think MCAT scores are a good predictor of the USMLE?

4) does your school make any effort to have equal numbers of male and female students? I know there have been significant changes over the years in the number of female medical students, but I'm curious how things have changed on the admissions side of things.
 

Leumas8

Accepted MD
5+ Year Member
Dec 29, 2012
119
60
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
1) I help run an annual golf fundraiser, after the death of one of my family members, which raises money for spinal tumor research. Over 3 million dollars have been donated to a Boston Hospital. Is this worth mentioning in the application?

2) Does having significant travelling experience help in any way?

3) I've worked in a clinical setting and have a good idea of what it means to be a doctor. Is it necessary for me to shadow a doctor on top of that?

THANK YOU!!
 

whalewind

5+ Year Member
Aug 6, 2012
56
21
Status
Dear LizzyM,

First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

I had a question regarding my MCAT score. I took the MCAT in August, right beginning of my junior year, so quite early on. On most of my practice exams I was scoring in the 38 range and my actual score was a 35 (13 PS, 11 V, 11 BS). While I am very thankful at having achieved a 35 and am satisfied with it, I am considering a retake. Why? For one reason, I believe taking it so early hurt me a little because some concepts (especially for biochem) have become easier to understand with a few more classes under my belt. Next, I feel that with a month or so of hard work and revision I can definitely bring that score up to about a 37 or 38 at least.

I ask because I hope to go to a particular medical school in my hometown so that I can remain close to my family, but it is very top-tier. Second, I really want to ease the financial burden of med school and know that a 35 is not going to cut it for merit scholarships. That's why I hope to retake and aim for near 40. I sincerely think I can score higher, but wanted to know if a 38 is looked at THAT differently from a 35. My GPA is around a 3.9 at a small liberal arts school if that helps any.

I have been warned by some people that retaking a 35 can seem arrogant, but my reasons for re-taking it are simply to get into that particular med school close to home and to perhaps secure a scholarship.

Thank you for the help and time, it is much appreciated!
 
Dec 22, 2012
137
2
Status
Pre-Medical
How are graduate level science courses taken as an undergraduate viewed? Would they make up for lackluster performance in a lower division course?

I know it's not about the hours (quality over quantity) but I would assume some adcoms view low hours negatively before the applicant has a chance to show his/her understanding of a certain experience/part of the application. What is the average number of hours of 1) clinical volunteering and 2) nonclinical volunteering at your school?

If a poster was presented more than once at different conferences, should it be listed once or for each unique poster presented?

How much weight is given to intercollegiate athletics and awards?

Do you think future physicians should be required to live healthy lifestyles just as they teach their patients?

Would it be viewed negatively/neutral if an applicant had a hobby that he/she excelled at that was stereotypical for a person of that race? For example, piano for asian, etc. Even if the applicant learned from scratch after entering college and truly found a passion for it without the "motivation" from one's parents?

What proportion of applicants (with fine numbers and activities) would you estimate are rejected based on their PS and secondary essays?

Is the PS worth spending time on if they all start to sound the same (and rarely improve chances but can kill chances) or is it better to spend that time on something else?

How much do LORs from class profs factor into a decision? I would assume the stellar recs are rare with most recs doing neither harm nor benefit to the applicant.

What would you say is the next most important factor behind numbers, EC's, and interview?

Is an applicant's name visible on the application that an adcom reviews? Some applicants may not want to reveal their race but I'd imagine names like Jose and Ying are giveaways; do you think adcoms have a bias against those applicants whose races are clearly ORM?

What would you recommend to students who have PIs that are so busy that they may not care/have time to invest in rec letters? They may say they can write a strong rec etc but they may end up using a template or some generic letter particularly since a lot of PIs like to see their undergrads pursue PhDs.

Do you consider interviewees with weak handshakes negatively? What if their hands are really small and it is hard to have a firm handshake against the bear paws of some interviewer...lol

Are applicants that are have unattractive facial features that make them appear to be mean or [some bad characteristic] judged negatively (the applicant may be the nicest person ever but not so lucky with their features)? For example, what if an applicant's laugh or smile looks kind of mean/cocky/evil/etc when that is not intended haha.

Aaannnnnd that wraps it up I believe...thanks a ton for this resource! It is one of the best resources a pre-med could lay hands on!
 
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