chreesteene

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May 23, 2007
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Hi!

I'm a senior in college and I'm not applying until the end of this year because my grades suck and I was hoping that this extra year would help me make up for past mistakes. I hope to hear some of your brutally honest opinions because I've done dismally this semester (B- in an upper-level bio course). I don't know if it's even worth it to apply anymore since there's such a huge disconnect between my grades and my MCAT score. Here are my stats:

cGPA: 3.5
sGPA: 3.4
MCAT: 39Q

ECs:
President of a health group that I've been a part of since soph. year
Resident Advisor
TA for comparative anatomy course
Shadowing at Emergency Dept for 6 months
Honors Thesis
Research (1 published, 1 acknowledgement of technical assistance)
Worked retail to earn some money during the summer (don't know if this counts)
Volunteered as an "Exhibit Facilitator" at a Children's Museum over the summer

Please let me know what you think!
THANK YOU!
 
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bluesmd

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Aug 18, 2008
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i think you have a really good chance, check out my mdapps profile when it's up. your GPA is below average, but your MCAT is really good. it doesn't negate your low GPA, but it'll help. you don't have any volunteering/clinical so look into doing that for the next year, or else your application will be lagging. schools require a decent amount of exposure. good luck
 

Catalystik

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Sep 4, 2006
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It sounds like you plan to apply in summer '09. That gives you about six months to get some clinical experience/humanitarian involvement (aka volunteering in a medical environment) to list on your application, both of which are essential, "unwritten" requirements for a med school application. Shadowing alone will not be a sufficient experience. Your research and leadership look fine. Your excellent MCAT balances your lower GPA. Apply to schools with variable degrees of selectivity, fix the missing EC elements of your application ASAP, get an A in a science course next semester, and your chances of admission are very good, despite the recent B- on your transcript.
 
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chreesteene

10+ Year Member
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May 23, 2007
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Thanks for your advice, bluesmd!

I'm going to be volunteering at a local HIV/AIDS clinic this semester and hopefully after graduation as well.

I'm always pretty confused about what counts as clinical experience. Advisors have told me that shadowing in a hospital is enough, but it seems like I actually need to be working with patients, rather than just observing? If that's the case, then hopefully my volunteering at the clinic will fall under that category.
 
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Mobius1985

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
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If your work in the clinic involves face-to-face interactions with sick people, it will be ideal. Such a volunteer position also shows your humanitarian side, which is important because admissions committees want students with a service-oriented mentality. Shadowing experiences help give a more broad-based experience of medicine and a good idea of what being a physician is about, but if you don't demonstrate a tolerance for working with the sick, how will adcomms know if you're suited to a medical career?
 

chreesteene

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May 23, 2007
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Thanks, Mobius1985 and Catalystik!

Your advice is very helpful! I will definitely work on including some patient-oriented/clinical volunteering!

The major drop in my GPA occurred during the second semester of my freshman year through my sophomore year because i decided to pledge a sorority, but couldn't manage to balance my "ECs" with academics. I knew I had to prioritize and deactivated from Greek Life at the beginning of my junior year.

In addition, I was struggling to recover from an eating disorder up until second semester sophomore year. I became generally symptom-free after I joined an eating disorders awareness/prevention group on-campus, of which I am now acting as president. (We are going to our state senate next year to lobby for changes in the way eating disorders are treated, how coverage is handled by insurance companies, etc. SO EXCITED!!!)

As a result, there was an immediate and drastic improvement to my grades. Do you think that these two events would be something worth including in my personal statement/secondaries or should I only talk about them in interviews (obviously, I will have to explain my GPA at least during the interview). I don't want to sound like I have an excuse for everything and I definitely don't want to come off sounding whiny/"woe-is-me", you know?
 

Mobius1985

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
3,484
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I think the eating disorder issue would be great in a secondary essay about a challenge you had to face, how you managed a stress in your life, or something that impacted your educational journey, because you not only acknowledged the problem, and acted proactively to assist recovery, you also took a leadership role in helping others with the same probelm. Kudos to you! That you are actually taking action on a political level really does make it exciting.
 
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