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Canadian Reapplicant. How to proceed after 4 attempts?

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flyingwisdom

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Hello!

I wanted to write my reapplicant journey so far in the hopes of getting some feedback and tips. Sorry for the long read. I have applied 4 consecutive times and my MCAT has since expired. I do not intend to apply again this year but would like to apply for the 2022 cycle. Currently, I am considering taking classes through the year while continuing to work full time to improve my gpa, with plan to re-take the MCAT again next year (though there is a 7 life-time limit in taking it). I am unsure if taking online classes are weighed differently than in-person classes and as I am several years out of undergrad, I think I might need to re-take some of my first year required pre-med classes. I had not considered DO schools due to the difficulty of matching back into Canada however I am now looking into this as an option for after I re-take the MCAT. This is the direction I am considering however I was hoping to get some advice or new suggestions as my journey has been a bit of a bumpy road thus far.

Summary of stats:
-Canadian
-Completed undergrad in Canada with a low 3.3ish gpa
-Completed grad school in the states with ~3.8 gpa
-Significant clinical, research, and volunteer experiences
-MCAT - scored 5 times
-first 2 times were the old MCAT and scored <30
-next 3 times were the new MCAT with latest score 512; this score has now expired as I took it in 2017
-# of times applied to Canadian schools = 1
-# of times applied to American schools = 4

First Cycle
-Not ready to apply
-Applied extremely late in cycle
-Weak personal statement, gpa, old mcat scores, and 1 new average MCAT score
-Good Rec letters
-Just began grad school

Result: 0 interviews

Second Cycle
-Still not ready to apply and applied anyways
-Applied mid-cycle
-Good rec letter
-Masters degree
-Okay personal statement new MCAT scores, research, and volunteer

Result: 2 interviews = 1 rejection + 1 waitlist (both US)

Third Cycle
-Applied early to mid-cycle
-Great rec letters
-Masters degree
-Similar to 2nd cycle

Result: 1 interview = 1 waitlist (US)

Fourth Cycle
-Strong Personal statement
-Excellent Rec letters
-Applied Extremely late - was not planning to apply, however as MCAT was expiring I gave it a last shot with encouragement from my mentors
-2 workplace promotions in clinical work

Result: 0 interviews

I understand that at this point it is often advisable to move onto something else, however I continue to be drawn to medicine and wish to pursue this. I would be extremely grateful for any advice and thank you so much in advance!
 

Damson

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do you HAVE to match back to canada?

@Goro I'm not sure what to recommend as OP has already taken the MCAT 5 times, and the latest score expired.

Look for osteopathic schools that will take your 2017 MCAT. Ask broadly!
If they'll take it, apply. now! get your DO degree and get your medical career going!
 

flyingwisdom

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As my family is in Canada I was hoping to, but I absolutely understand that I have to consider the possibilites of not matching to Canada and to not let that be the factor preventing me from applying. Thank you so much for your quick response! Several of the osteopathic schools I had briefly looked into had a similar 3 year MCAT expiry date so I didn't think it would be an option but I will keep looking and if I find some that allow for >3 years and accept Canadians I will definitely apply now.
 

Faha

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After 4 unsuccessful MD cycles it is time to apply to DO schools. You will probably need to retake the MCAT. These are DO schools that accept a significant number of international applicants:
AZCOM
CCOM
KCU-COM
LU-COM
MSUCOM
MU-COM
LMU-DCOM
NSU-KPCOM
TOUROCOM-NY
UNECOM
WCU-COM
 
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flyingwisdom

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After 4 unsuccessful MD cycles it is time to apply to DO schools. You will probably need to retake the MCAT. These are DO schools that accept a significant number of international applicants:
AZCOM
CCOM
KCU-COM
LU-COM
MSUCOM
MU-COM
LMU-DCOM
NSU-KPCOM
TOUROCOM-NY
UNECOM
WCU-COM

Thank you! I am planning to retake the MCAT next summer and will submit applications to DO schools. Thank you for the list as well, I appreciate it. Would pursuing additional classes at this time to show an improvement in gpa be advisable or would it not make much a difference at this point?
 

flyingwisdom

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@Faha @Hazle

Hi Both and All!

I was reviewing my course options and was hoping to get some advice in selection of classes. Should I consider repeating some of my freshman year pre-med requirements? I have taken upper level science classes in graduate school (SMP) and did okay contributing to my graduate GPA of ~3.8. I have now come to a bit of an impasse in choosing classes to now help improve my undergraduate sgpa and cgpa:

1) Should I consider re-taking some of my freshman year pre-med classes such as physics 2, calculus 2, genetics, and organic chemistry 2? (I did not do well in these classes in my freshman year, however on the MCAT I did generally well on these sections). Or would re-taking these not show the admissions committee anything new in my ability to handle these classes?

2) Should I consider taking other upper level science courses (not specifically in the pre-med requirements) and if so, does it matter which subjects they fall under or should they be upper level physics, calculus, organic chemistry, etc?

3) I wanted to take some upper level science classes in areas I haven't studied before but was unsure if this was the right route to go for in prepping for medical school. Any help or suggestions would be really appreciated!

I plan to take only 1 or 2 classes at a time in the evening due to my full work schedule, but I wanted to make sure I was selecting my classes appropriately!

Thank you in advance for all your help!
 

Damson

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Hey nice to hear from again. First things first

1. You shouldn't be taking any more classes. You already proved yourself with that SMP GPA of 3.8. Enough. Unless you scored C- or lower in your medical prerequisite classes, do not retake them.

2. You noted "significant clinical, research, and volunteer experiences". Tell us about them so that we can confirm this is the case.

3. Do you know how your recommendation letters look?

4. If @Faha and @Goro can confirm, you, @flyingwisdom, should be participating in this application cycle to both MD and DO schools. You mentioned that your 2017 MCAT is 512. Well, several schools have lifted their MCAT expiration policy or moved it back to 2015+. If you haven't applied yet, apply now!

5. Have you had multiple eyes view your personal statements and essays before submitting them?

6. Did you get feedback from admissions offices after each application cycle you participated in?
 
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flyingwisdom

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What were your grades in your freshman premed classes ?

Thank you so much for your quick replies!!
In my Freshman year pre-med classes I generally scored As and A- in every class with the following excpetions: B+ in Gen Chem 1; B- in Physics 2, Calc 2, and Genetics; B in Orgo 2;

Hey nice to hear from again. First things first

1. You shouldn't be taking any more classes. You already proved yourself with that SMP GPA of 3.8. Enough. Unless you scored C- or lower in your medical prerequisite classes, do not retake them.

2. You noted "significant clinical, research, and volunteer experiences". Tell us about them so that we can confirm this is the case.

3. Do you know how your recommendation letters look?

4. If @Faha and @Goro can confirm, you, @flyingwisdom, should be participating in this application cycle to both MD and DO schools. You mentioned that your 2017 MCAT is 512. Well, several schools have lifted their MCAT expiration policy or moved it back to 2015+. If you haven't applied yet, apply now!

5. Have you had multiple eyes view your personal statements and essays before submitting them?

6. Did you get feedback from admissions offices after each application cycle you participated in?

Thank you Hazle! I appreciate you taking the time on this!
1) I have not scored a C- or below.
2) I have done basic undergraduate research (~2 years in more of an assistant role), did significant laboratory research for my graduate thesis (took the lead on the project) and put together results for a paper (pending), did a poster presentation, have done clinical research full-time for >2 years (including managing an entire team and working with patients every day which simultaneously built a significant shadowing experience- changed my title 4 times in this time period), scribed etc. On a volunteer basis, I have helped in various clinics for ~2 years during undergrad. I also have significant teaching and non-clinical volunteer and ECs.
3) I haven't personally read my letters, but I am confident they are strong letters. I stopped submitting my ugrad letters after the 3rd cycle since I have been out of ugrad for awhile. I do have strong grad school reference letters, and several physician letters.
4) I had no idea the MCAT expiration had been changed for many schools! thank you for letting me know! I am concerned that if I apply now, this may impact my chances moving forward now as it is late in the cycle and I haven't added significant enough changes from my last application cycle.
5) My personal statement from my last cycle had alll the eyes on them and comments and was revised significantly.
6) Some declined to offer me feedback. Others had pointed out my ugpa as a contending factor. I hadn't reached out for feedback after each cycle unfortunately.

Thank you!!
 

Faha

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You do not need to retake your freshman year courses. Check with the DO schools I mentioned to see if your MCAT of 512 is still acceptable for this cycle.
 

Damson

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1. Good. If not C or below you're good. Don't retake.
2. Looks good bro. Look online for resources guiding you on how to best describe your activities on the application.
3. If confident in your letters then ok.
4. MCAT expiration has indeed changed for many schools. Not sure how you'll fare at MD schools, but with your 512 MCAT, please please apply to schools with changed requirements, NOW. You are not late for DO schools. You are in fact still quite early for DO if you apply NOW.
5. Good. Keep getting eyes to go over your essays.
6. You will be fine at DO. Just apply now.

Go online and check MCAT expiration changes asap
 
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Goro

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Hey nice to hear from again. First things first

1. You shouldn't be taking any more classes. You already proved yourself with that SMP GPA of 3.8. Enough. Unless you scored C- or lower in your medical prerequisite classes, do not retake them.

2. You noted "significant clinical, research, and volunteer experiences". Tell us about them so that we can confirm this is the case.

3. Do you know how your recommendation letters look?

4. If @Faha and @Goro can confirm, you, @flyingwisdom, should be participating in this application cycle to both MD and DO schools. You mentioned that your 2017 MCAT is 512. Well, several schools have lifted their MCAT expiration policy or moved it back to 2015+. If you haven't applied yet, apply now!

5. Have you had multiple eyes view your personal statements and essays before submitting them?

6. Did you get feedback from admissions offices after each application cycle you participated in?
Can't recommend MD with five MCAT tries
 
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flyingwisdom

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You do not need to retake your freshman year courses. Check with the DO schools I mentioned to see if your MCAT of 512 is still acceptable for this cycle.

Thank you so much! That is definitely good to know! I will review the list and see if any are accepting of it this cycle. I will also consider non-freshman year classes as back-up to take in the interim just in case!

1. Good. If not C or below you're good. Don't retake.
2. Looks good bro. Look online for resources guiding you on how to best describe your activities on the application.
3. If confident in your letters then ok.
4. MCAT expiration has indeed changed for many schools. Not sure how you'll fare at MD schools, but with your 512 MCAT, please please apply to schools with changed requirements, NOW. You are not late for DO schools. You are in fact still quite early for DO if you apply NOW.
5. Good. Keep getting eyes to go over your essays.
6. You will be fine at DO. Just apply now.

Go online and check MCAT expiration changes asap

Thank you Hazle!! I definitely need to work on how to better present my experiences - I do struggle with that, so I will look more in depth into resources. Got it, DO schools look into asap! Thank you both so much for your time and quick responses!

Can't recommend MD with five MCAT tries

I understand, it is rather unfortunate, but I hope to work and see what I can do over the next 1-2 years DO or MD! Thank you for weighing in, I appreciate it!
 
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tran708

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do you HAVE to match back to canada?

@Goro I'm not sure what to recommend as OP has already taken the MCAT 5 times, and the latest score expired.

Look for osteopathic schools that will take your 2017 MCAT. Ask broadly!
If they'll take it, apply. now! get your DO degree and get your medical career going!
Agreed. Allopathic and osteophatic schools are the same as far as I am concerned. If I knew what I know now, I would have gone to a DO school and save myself the heartache after 2 attempts.
 
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Osteosaur

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I am sorry this has happened to you OP. I've been there myself. Personally, I think you should look into your backup plan. I know it hurts and you've been struggling since BEFORE 2015 to make this work. But the thing is you'll be hitting the point soon where you're giving up a lot of good years. All that volunteering and other premed crap aren't transferable to other careers. I definitely feel there is a sunk cost to all you put in. Its very hard to get over.

I think you had some very bad advising to go through this many tries with so few interviews. I do have a few questions, though:

1) What were those MCATs. Are they retaken because they expired or you have a history of 5 bad MCAT scores?

2) What is your degree in? I was always told that graduate GPA is displayed separate from undergraduate GPA. Unless you have an SMP that 3.8 might not be making up for that 3.3

3) Did you change your essays around each year? What else improved year to year or were you just slamming them with the same PS/activities with a new MCAT? The masters and promotions are great but its all in how you write about this stuff remember.

4) DO might be a second chance for you. But if you want to be a doctor everything needs to be early and perfect. Get a NEW advisor and NEW set of eyes, even if you love your old mentors. Clearly your approach is not working if you're getting 0-1 interviews. DO may look upon your numbers more favorably but you need to really change things up.

5) Seriously, I don't think a job as a doctor is the be all end all of life. Can you swing your current clinical career into PA with a GRE score?
 
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flyingwisdom

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Agreed. Allopathic and osteophatic schools are the same as far as I am concerned. If I knew what I know now, I would have gone to a DO school and save myself the heartache after 2 attempts.

Thank you! It has definitely been a strenuous journey.

I am sorry this has happened to you OP. I've been there myself. Personally, I think you should look into your backup plan. I know it hurts and you've been struggling since BEFORE 2015 to make this work. But the thing is you'll be hitting the point soon where you're giving up a lot of good years. All that volunteering and other premed crap aren't transferable to other careers. I definitely feel there is a sunk cost to all you put in. Its very hard to get over.

I think you had some very bad advising to go through this many tries with so few interviews. I do have a few questions, though:

1) What were those MCATs. Are they retaken because they expired or you have a history of 5 bad MCAT scores?

2) What is your degree in? I was always told that graduate GPA is displayed separate from undergraduate GPA. Unless you have an SMP that 3.8 might not be making up for that 3.3

3) Did you change your essays around each year? What else improved year to year or were you just slamming them with the same PS/activities with a new MCAT? The masters and promotions are great but its all in how you write about this stuff remember.

4) DO might be a second chance for you. But if you want to be a doctor everything needs to be early and perfect. Get a NEW advisor and NEW set of eyes, even if you love your old mentors. Clearly your approach is not working if you're getting 0-1 interviews. DO may look upon your numbers more favorably but you need to really change things up.

5) Seriously, I don't think a job as a doctor is the be all end all of life. Can you swing your current clinical career into PA with a GRE score?

Thank you for your kind words and understanding, I really appreciate it! Thank you for also taking the time to help parse things out for me!

1) The first 2 MCATs were taken when I was in undergrad with the old scoring system - they were not strong in the verbal reasoning section but I did not apply then. By the time I decided to apply, those scores had expired and the new MCAT test was out. I took the third test the first year I applied to schools and it was not strong in CARS. The remaining 2 tests were taken the following year, 2 weeks apart from one another (there was a testing center shutdown mid-way through my exam and we were unclear on what would happen so I re-took it 2 weeks later not knowing what my score would be) - leading to a total of 5 scores on my record.

2) My graduate GPA was an SMP!

3) I did change my essays around each year (my final essay had several eyes on them), but some of my activites definitely remained the same. I definitely struggled with presenting my experiences appropriately and don't doubt that the presentation of them significantly impacted my application. You're absolutely right.

4) I did feel as if not much was changing in my application year to year over the past few years (gradual changes day to day though it did lead to significant changes overtime). Yes I must absolutely change things up! Do I officially fall into the category of a non-trad applicant? Or is this not applicable as I have applied too many times.

5) I am considering PA or NP as other options. Though everytime I've considered other options I keep being drawn back to physician - so I wanted to give it everything I possibly could. Though as you mentioned, a lot of years have gone by where I have missed other non-med related opportunities so I aim to incorporate these experiences as part of my journey as opposed to overlooking them in an attempt to gear everything towards medical school.
 

Osteosaur

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If you don't change your application enough year to year I've definitely gotten the sense they've gotten sick of looking at you. My second try I mostly just expanded my number of schools from like 10 to 25. When asked for feedback from my state school there was definitely concern 'Not enough changed.' A publication or promotion here or there without a total reinvention can definitely sink you. Non-trad is such a murky term I would not worry about it. Some people consider it 'Oh I took 2 years off to work in a lab' others consider it older career changers. You're probably more of an older traditional applicant.

Definitely just start your application fresh. DO might be a good last shot because, well, they're not seeing this stuff for the fifth time and will be kinder to a weak MCAT. But unlike me, who was not working in a clinical field, PA might be a good fit for you. I would have gone PA if I didn't have to start from square one working many, many hours in a clinical field.

EDIT:

I want to re-iterate that you probably lost a lot of good years with this uncertainty. I know have. Maybe you haven't settled down or put off other plans. If you go DO you will probably be uprooted for 7 more years. Does this fit into your life plan? If you are the type that wants to be settled by 35 and near your family. I would urge you toward PA only because you could probably be out there and making a good living by then. If you are "doctor or bust!" give DO that final shot.

Sent you a PM with some more detail as I was in a similar situation.
 
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flyingwisdom

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If you don't change your application enough year to year I've definitely gotten the sense they've gotten sick of looking at you. My second try I mostly just expanded my number of schools from like 10 to 25. When asked for feedback from my state school there was definitely concern 'Not enough changed.' A publication or promotion here or there without a total reinvention can definitely sink you. Non-trad is such a murky term I would not worry about it. Some people consider it 'Oh I took 2 years off to work in a lab' others consider it older career changers. You're probably more of an older traditional applicant.

Definitely just start your application fresh. DO might be a good last shot because, well, they're not seeing this stuff for the fifth time and will be kinder to a weak MCAT. But unlike me, who was not working in a clinical field, PA might be a good fit for you. I would have gone PA if I didn't have to start from square one working many, many hours in a clinical field.

EDIT:

I want to re-iterate that you probably lost a lot of good years with this uncertainty. I know have. Maybe you haven't settled down or put off other plans. If you go DO you will probably be uprooted for 7 more years. Does this fit into your life plan? If you are the type that wants to be settled by 35 and near your family. I would urge you toward PA only because you could probably be out there and making a good living by then. If you are "doctor or bust!" give DO that final shot.

Sent you a PM with some more detail as I was in a similar situation.

Thank you! I agree. I should not have applied consecutive years in a row as my significant changes do not look significant when compared year to year. Looking into both DO and PA options thank you.

I do feel that time has gone by without me taking the time to focus on other areas of my life. I hope to be more inclusive of those plans while working through my applications. Thank you for considering how all of this would fit into my life changes too. Your suggestions are appreciated and things that I will put into serious consideration when making that final decision.
 

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I would also suggest looking at offshore medicals if you really want to go into medicine and are sufficiently motivated in addition to DO schools. To have any shot of going back to Canada you will need to do a fellowship on top of residency. Being on the Canadian border we train a number of Canadians who have gone this route and want the option to go back.
 

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Thank you! I agree. I should not have applied consecutive years in a row as my significant changes do not look significant when compared year to year. Looking into both DO and PA options thank you.

I do feel that time has gone by without me taking the time to focus on other areas of my life. I hope to be more inclusive of those plans while working through my applications. Thank you for considering how all of this would fit into my life changes too. Your suggestions are appreciated and things that I will put into serious consideration when making that final decision.
This makes no sense. DO and pa are completely different fields

one is a physician and one isnt

bizarre thinking
 
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Osteosaur

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This makes no sense. DO and pa are completely different fields

one is a physician and one isnt

bizarre thinking

Both of those might be options for him was my point.

MD is out. Dude applied four times and took the MCAT five times.
 
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