Goro

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Numbers are great. Nothing wrong with aiming high. I wouldn't worry about the Cs but expect to be asked about them in interviews.



The volunteering counts for something.

Volunteer at sexual/physical abuse center - 1.5 years


This could be an issue. Hospice is great, but you do need to see other sides of Medicine. A agp year might be inorder, but I'd definitely try an app cycle and take it on the chin if needed.

Not all clinical volunteering needs to be in a hospital. there's also clinics and nursing homes. You should contact your doctor and every hospital within a reasonable driving distance to inquire about clinical volunteering. Check with some of the doctors you shadowed as well.

In addition, I haven't had any clinical experience as I don't know how where to get this. I've been trained to volunteer at Hospice so I'll probably have a semester of experience there by the time I graduate.
 

jeghaber

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I think you've done most everything you can to prepare yourself. Your numbers are up to par and your experiences show both variety and dedication. Your two Cs from sophomore year are most likely not going to be a huge cause for concern as long as you did well in more challenging courses thereafter (which it sounds like you did). As Goro said, you may be asked about them, but there's no need to bring them up in your application yourself -- no point in highlighting your own small flaws when you have so much more to offer. Your respectable MCAT score should also mitigate concerns about academic readiness, since you seem to be concerned about your school's reputation.

You've already said that you're looking into supplementary clinical experience -- which as you've mentioned, is lacking -- but other than that, there's really not much left for you to do except to put together a great personal statement, work on your activity descriptions and get a few fantastic LORs and then, bite the bullet and apply. It doesn't sound like you're planning on, or in need of, taking a gap year to bolster your application overall anyways. There's no guarantee when it comes to top-20 admissions, but I'd say you have a solid shot at many of them as long as you present your application well. Best of luck!
 
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GPA is totally fine. Where do people get this idea that you need a 3.9+ to get into top schools? It's just not true. Be prepared to explain the Cs but it isn't a fatal flaw.

If you can improve anything it's your clinical experience but I wouldn't sweat it too much. You have well above average shadowing hours. Did the volunteering at the sexual/physical abuse center involve direct work with victims? I also had an application light on clinical experience but I think I was given more of a pass for it because I'd done similar volunteer work that clearly required a hefty amount of emotional maturity.
 

mcloaf

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Do you have any output from 3 years of research?
 

nemo123

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I think LizzyM has said before that once you hit a certain GPA, some adcom members don't really dig deeper and look at individual grades unless there is a big disparity between cGPA and sGPA (which I think might be the case for you).

You said that you've done undergraduate research symposiums. Is it possible for you to submit your research for a conference or something?

Anyways, I think you have done enough volunteering, but like Goro said, you need more clinical experiences. Have you considered being a scribe? As for your clinical volunteering vs shadowing question, shadowing is literally just being a shadow. Sitting behind the scenes and observing. Clinical volunteering (this is different from some things you mentioned like being a CNA, which is a clinical experience/work) is something like being a volunteer EMT or volunteering at a hospital where you have direct contact with patients and interact with them without pay.
 

Catalystik

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1) This might be a naive question but what is the difference between clinical volunteering and shadowing?
2) Based on my understanding, clinical volunteering would require some sort of certification (EMS, CNA, etc) to work directly with patients whereas shadowing is literally following a physician around.
3) Could you all give some examples of what kind of clinical volunteering you've done?
1) Adding to nemo123's discussion: Shadowing is not considered to be a volunteer activity. It is of no benefit to anyone but you.
2) All volunteers do not "need" certification, though sometimes they have it.
3) Personally, I would view interactions with survivors of sexual/physical abuse in a center to be active clinical experience. I would however like to see a broader base of experiences, in addition, that includes folks with acute medical illness /injury. Examples that don't necessarily require certification: hospital transporter, skilled-nursing home volunteer, rehab center aide, hospice patient visitor, pediatric ward play center assistant, free clinic greeter or roomer, family-planning clinic support person, medical translator (if you are fluent in another language).
 

Goro

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That's a good question. Shadowing is simply following a doctor around to see what his/her day is like; how they interact with patients, and, ideally, to see what the different specialties are like. A nephrologist is clearly going to have some differences than, say, an OB/GYN.

Shadowing is NOT volunteer work because you're not doing anything other than observing. Clinical volunteering means interacting with the patients. Talking to them, wheeling them around, hopefully touching them in one way or another. This lets you know what you're getting into. After all, you're going to be doing this for the next 40 years or so.

Examples would be doing histories, charting, scribing, re-stocking the supply room, transporting patients from their room to Radiology. I sure other SDNers can flesh this out.

This might be a naive question but what is the difference between clinical volunteering and shadowing? Based on my understanding, clinical volunteering would require some sort of certification (EMS, CNA, etc) to work directly with patients whereas shadowing is literally following a physician around. Could you all give some examples of what kind of clinical volunteering you've done?
 

nemo123

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I'm not sure how large this disparity will be since engineering courses aren't considered in the calculation of sGPA. I read somewhere on SDN, however, that AMCAS allows you to classify each course as you wish and there is very minimal rearrangement done by AMCAS which allows you to classify engineering courses as science courses.
Yes, you can, and it might work to your advantage to do that.
 

Catalystik

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I forgot to mention that I'm a first-generation college student. Does this have any impact on admissions?
Most, if not all, med schools like to have students representing a great variety of backgrounds. As first generation college students are a minority among applicants, this demographic may give you some advantage.