Dec 15, 2013
I'm currently a junior and I am planning to apply this summer for the entering class of 2015.
I prefer not to take a gap year but if my chances are not realistic I will reconsider.

CA Resident
cGPA: 3.77 (upward trend)
sGPA: 3.78 (upward trend)
MCAT: not taken yet so I don't want to guesstimate my score just in case...

-~200 hours researching starting from scratch (professor invited to help set up new lab, started in August 2013), will be 400+ hours by the time of application in summer
-~50 hours - One quarter of honor class working with Drosophila genetics and genomes hours (possibility of research publication (class data from several quarters will be put into publication))
-~25 hours- One quarter of brain mapping (not sure if this counts as research)
- If I get through an interview, planning to do research on infectious diseases data collection starting this quarter.
- no publication yet and not likely when I apply

Clinical volunteering:
I'm lacking in this area I think.
-~50 hours of Patient escort (during high school however)
-~120 hours Pharmacy Volunteer at a Veterans Home (I am a licensed pharmacy technician in CA)
-~25 hours, Occasional health fairs/sites throughout the years- doing BMI and Blood pressure screenings and serving as a translator for the Chinese community.
-Planning to start a clinical experience program/internship in spring but I feel that's too late

Non-Clinical volunteering:
- ~40 hours- Part of a community service club (health fairs, food banks, tutoring)
- ~50 hours- Youth group at home (beach cleanups, helping out with community projects)
-~30 hours-Hospital Floater, filing/paperwork (stopped after realizing there was nothing medicine related...)

-6 hours shadowing a dentist, planning to and have potential physicians in different fields for shadowing during the next 6 months until about ~60 hours

-100+ hours at the time of application-Work Study office worker at the Asian Languages & Culture Department on campus

Not as strong in this area as well I believe.
2 years member in Pre-Pharmacy Society
1 year member of an Asian health care club
Chamber Ensemble music class- quarterly concerts, for one year+ (4 quarters)
2 years member in a few social clubs (not important)
Video Game Orchestra pianist (should I even include this?)
No board positions.

1 from PI from research (strong)
2 from science professors
Not sure where the others will come from.

That is all I can think of for now that should be on my application for summer and I know that my lack of MCAT score as of now limits a lot. As you can probably tell from my pharmacy experience, I was not extremely decided on the medicine path until the past summer.
I haven't made a comprehensive school list but I really really want to stay in CA and I'm sure being an Asian male does not help that cause. What are my chances at UCI (I would really like to go here) or UCD and other California schools? Also could I get a match of schools that I have a decent chance of getting into?

Thank you so much! :)


5+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2013
Medical Student
With California schools, it can really be a toss-up even if you score an MCAT well within their average (33-34). I've seen a couple URM applicants get IIs with 28-30 MCATs, but not any ORM who wasn't non-trad or had some incredible "pull" in their application. I'm not one to talk, considering my low MCAT and poor luck with CA schools though. As for school match lists, everyone will tell you to grab and MSAR and compile a list first and they will get back to you on feedback on what to add + remove :D

What were the time durations for the activities you listed above? Did they last a semester or span over a period of a year (or more)?

You could probably lump your music into one of your 15 activities (hobby - music and description Chamber ensemble + how you are a video game orchestra pianist). Anything you did in high school and did not continue into college cannot be listed as one of your activities though. Definitely beef up the shadowing and look into getting a 4th (5th if possible) letter from a non-science prof and/or from someone from your ECs who you worked closely with.

Are there other non pre-med/health related ECs you're interested in, since you mentioned you haven't had leadership experiences? (This may be more of a personal preference I like seeing other applicants have, since I am a sucker for super "well-rounded" folks :p)
Dec 15, 2013
Thanks for your reply! :)

My current research now was started in the past summer and my work was started just last quarter otherwise other volunteering have been spread throughout the second half of first year until now.

My non-med ECs seem to be just volunteering otherwise in non-medical/clinical settings
I feel like music is the only noteworthy hobby-related EC- that being said, it is a very important and significant part of my life.


5+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2013
Medical Student
As long as your activities (the ones with <50 hours) weren't just 1 qtr/1 semester commitments, it shouldn't be an issue. I was mostly asking because I was concerned that you just had a lot of random activities that you did "just because" and didn't stick with once you reached a certain hour threshold (which happens very often).

If you rock your MCATs, it should put you in the running for a CA school or more (assuming everything checks out, no red flags, you put good time into your PS and secondaries). In the mean time, keep doing what you're doing! If possible, I would still recommend trying something you're possibly interested in but never had a chance to do (some people have taken up lessons in martial arts, or various other community service/leadership opportunities). You want to use all of your experiences to really highlight how you've dealt with obstacles and developed strong leadership skills over the years that will ensure your success in medical school after all ;)

Once you start doing research on the med schools, compile your school list and come back to ask folks for feedback to further maximize your chances at an acceptance the 1st time around :D


7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Numbers are great, the relative lack of off-campus ECs are a bit of a worry. I think your clinical ECs will be OK if you get them done in time as you write.

In the absolute worst-case scenario, if you don't get in during the next app cycle, then bone up on the Ecs and you'll be fine for the following one.

Naturally, MCAT can make or break you. Good luck!