throwaway56263

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Aug 15, 2016
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Pre-Medical
Already applying (and struggling with secondaries), just wanted to get some feedback on my school list, especially if there's any worth cutting or adding. My GPA and MCAT are a little unbalanced, so picking reach/target/"safeties" has been confusing.

Recent graduate of a CA private school (Bioengineering major, South Asian)
cGPA: 3.61 (had a semi-substantial dip junior year with a C in stats and C+ in biochem, but senior year I got mostly A's/A-'s with one B+)
sGPA: 3.63
MCAT: 522 (132/130/129/131)
Research: 2 summers in a medical device lab, and 2 semesters in a biochem/neurobio lab at my school (no publications in either, but I presented at a conference for the biochem/neurobio lab)
Clinical Volunteering: ~110 hours as a general hospital volunteer (cycled through a few different departments), and 25-30 hours on a Medlife service trip
Nonclinical Volunteering: around 375 hours, mostly working with kids (200 teaching with a STEM outreach program, the rest are split between an org that holds soccer games for kids with physical/developmental disabilities and being a counselor for a summer camp for kids whose parents have cancer). Also have around 35 hours from an alternative break service trip (not international).
Shadowing: About 50 hours total, half with CT/vascular surgeons, and half with a primary care group and a dermatologist
Leadership: held a few different positions in the STEM outreach program throughout college, and for one year in my school's South Asian cultural club
Employment: none in college, but I'll be working full-time as a scribe this year

School List:

  1. Albany
  2. Albert Einstein
  3. BU
  4. Case Western
  5. Chicago Medical at Rosalind Franklin
  6. Columbia
  7. Drexel
  8. Georgetown
  9. George Washington University
  10. Icahn at Mt. Sinai
  11. Keck USC
  12. NYMC
  13. Ohio State
  14. OHSU
  15. Rush
  16. Jefferson
  17. Quinnipiac
  18. St. Louis University
  19. Tufts
  20. Tulane
  21. UC Davis
  22. UC Irvine
  23. UCLA
  24. UCSD
  25. UCSF
  26. University of Colorado
  27. UMiami
  28. University of Pittsburgh
  29. University of Rochestor
  30. Virginia Tech
  31. WashU
  32. Medical College of Wisconsin
  33. West Michigan
  34. UW
I know UW was probably not worth applying to since I'm OOS, but I've been hearing mixed things about which type of schools I should be focusing on in general. I've been told places like NYMC/Drexel/Quinnipiac/Albany/GW/Georgetown tend to be low yield because of the high volume of applications and my MCAT might be too high, but there aren't many schools where both my GPA and MCAT are comfortably in the 10th-90th percentile. I considered adding places like Emory and Duke, but I'm worried about applying too top-heavy. Any advice on applying more smartly would be much appreciated!
 
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gyngyn

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Your list is bottom heavy.
You could easily cut 18 of these without changing your chance of acceptance.
 
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throwaway56263

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Aug 15, 2016
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Pre-Medical
Your list is bottom heavy.
You could easily cut 18 of these without changing your chance of acceptance.

I was wondering if I was being too pessimistic, I guess I'd rather hear that than that my list was top heavy haha. Are there any in particular you'd recommend cutting or adding to make my list less bottom heavy? And thanks for the quick reply.
 

gyngyn

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I was wondering if I was being too pessimistic, I guess I'd rather hear that than that my list was top heavy haha. Are there any in particular you'd recommend cutting or adding to make my list less bottom heavy? And thanks for the quick reply.
I'll bet you can pick them out!
 

GrapesofRath

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May 5, 2015
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If the school gets >10k apps I'd cut.
If it's an OOS public with the exception of Ohio St I'd cut
If it's a school where the median MCAT is <33 I'd cut
If you cant stand having such a shorter list and are going to be anxious about it all cycle(which you shouldnt) add several more with an MCAT median around roughly 35 or so(ie UVA, Emory etc)
 
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7331poas

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Jun 16, 2015
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ok so your MCAT is at a 40 and you arent applying to any top 20s. not sure what the deal is here.
 
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throwaway56263

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Aug 15, 2016
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Pre-Medical
Haha I guess I'm way more risk averse than I should be. I figured that because my GPA is below the 10th percentile for a lot of the top schools, even though my MCAT is high, it wouldn't be worth applying to most of them. So I guess the consensus is that it'd still be worth a shot to add a few more? (was considering Emory/Duke/NYU/Cornell/Baylor)
 

GrapesofRath

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All of those are fine( although there are very few spots OOS at Baylor to compete for and tons of apps)

10th percentile GPAs are rough guidelines hardly to be used as absolute cut offs.
 

binderpaper

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Dec 21, 2016
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I noticed that several others have posted about aiming higher. Isn't OP's gpa a lot lower than average, esp for top 20 (and being ORM)? Not trying to be rude, I'm genuinely curious/trying to learn.
 

s_med

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Sep 14, 2016
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I noticed that several others have posted about aiming higher. Isn't OP's gpa a lot lower than average, esp for top 20 (and being ORM)? Not trying to be rude, I'm genuinely curious/trying to learn.
OP's GPA is lower than median at most top programs but not outside the general range of acceptance to some. Some top programs do cut off at 3.7-3.8 but not all.

MCAT is the key here. It's a 99th percentile score and will get the foot in the door for many adcoms. Better to apply broadly and aim for higher targets because the odds of not getting a single top-20 II are slim.
 
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