MD At the point where I need to decide what boxes to check

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Mar 23, 2017
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New to the site so please let me know if I'm lacking the right etiquette or posting in the wrong place. I'm trying to decide how best to concentrate my energy and finances for next steps.

Stats/highlights: [GPA 3.49 (positive trend); MCAT 511]
  • Undergrad - grad. 2011 with two majors MolecularCellular Bio and Neuroscience; minor in Biochem; certificate in American West Studies
  • Clinical: Worked (paid) in busy 911 EMS system for 4yrs and currently as ED physician scribe for last 1.5yr. Work in more admin role in private MD clinic for >1yr. Greater than 5500+ clinical hours with 1000+ next to docs (I stopped tracking).
  • Leadership: Lead ED Scribe (current), Honors Program senior leader, CPR program director, EMS liaison (b/w my agency and school org.), TeachForAmerica recruitment coordinator, developmental bio TA, student science teacher
  • Volunteer: EMT in busy 911 city system (separate from paid gig) for mostly under-served population, service fraternity, honors program stuff, science tutor to underprivileged HS kids, CPR program stuff
  • Research: nothing notable unfortunately. Could maybe play up some of my lab classes including a 4000 level class on experimental design...
  • Misc: painting featured in Honors Journal; received Western writing award; intermittent horse training; worked in oil and gas for a short time; currently DIYing a (new to us) old house with my SO.
  • LOR: several options for strong letters from people I have worked closely with including: Trauma Director (MD), CMO/ED doc of my hospital, Honors Program Director/prof., science prof., etc.
  • Worth noting: I have a disease/disability that is the main reason behind my lower GPA, fewer activities, etc. I am not interested in medicine to cure my disease or anything like that, but I do believe it lends me some perspective when working with my patients.
I'm guessing beyond my less-than-stellar GPA/MCAT that I can't change before June, my weakest areas are:
1. no research
2. lack of recent course work
3. maybe? no recent volunteering (mostly due to working 50-80 hour weeks when I was in EMS full-time coupled with limitations of my disability).​

Current Status:
  • Taking 5 credit hours of upper division science courses (expecting 4.0) at the university. Won't change my overall GPA much, but my thought is this will show I still know how to be a student and get through some of those "recent coursework" barriers.
  • I'm reluctant to leave a job I love in the ED working with my doctors, other providers, and patients just to fill another section on a check list (particularly while in progress of building up the program as it would leave several physicians high-and-dry for a while).
  • I also could not conscionably leave my clinic role as the office would not be able to function without me at this time.
My main question is... If I could etch out a few hours/week (maybe 10?), what would be most worth my time to help me become more competitive for this upcoming cycle? I honestly am loathe to ask this because I feel dishonest doing something purely to to check a box, but I recognize this is part of the game. Ideally, I would like to find something I could continue to be involved with until I (hopefully) start med school in 2018.

Bonus question: Any suggestions on schools that I might fit well? Currently planning on at least applying to regional state schools, but I have not narrowed a list down yet.

Thanks for reading! I appreciate any feedback.

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Hi, thanks for reading.

I'm in CO and CU is my top choice. Beyond that, I'm looking at regional schools, but know I need to look further as well.
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These are schools where you could receive an interview with your stats:
New York Medical College
Oakland Beaumont
Western Michigan
Rosalind Franklin
Medical College Wisconsin
any new private schools that open for 2018 (Roseman, Seton Hall, etc.)
You may want to add a few DO schools also.
Thanks for the list. Do you think there are any non-private schools that would be worth a shot?
No, your GPA is on the low side for OOS public schools and they all prefer their own residents to varying degrees.

Thanks for the advice. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.