RoboChicken

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Hello,

I'm a third-yr Molecular and Cell Biology Major/Art Minor at UC Berkeley.

3.75 cGPA, 3.7sGPA
MCAT= 36N

EC's include:

3 yrs of work part and full time (summers and winter breaks) as a research assistant for the School of public health

4hrs a week of volunteering at a homeless clinic for almost 1yr. w/ upcoming leadership position

shadowed 3 docs (about 30 hrs), plus three weeks shadowing international doctors overseas

tutoring a girl at a local elem. school --about 30hrs


What are your opinions on my chances for applying this cycle? Esp. for CA schools...Any suggestions for which schools to target when applying?

Thanks so much! :)
 

MiniMoo

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Hello,

I'm a third-yr Molecular and Cell Biology Major/Art Minor at UC Berkeley.

3.75 cGPA, 3.7sGPA
MCAT= 36N

EC's include:

3 yrs of work part and full time (summers and winter breaks) as a research assistant for the School of public health

4hrs a week of volunteering at a homeless clinic for almost 1yr. w/ upcoming leadership position

shadowed 3 docs (about 30 hrs), plus three weeks shadowing international doctors overseas

tutoring a girl at a local elem. school --about 30hrs


What are your opinions on my chances for applying this cycle? Esp. for CA schools...Any suggestions for which schools to target when applying?

Thanks so much! :)
Your GPA and MCAT are excellent. However, I think your ECs may be a bit lacking. By homeless "clinic" -- is this a medical setting where homeless patients are treated? Or a homeless shelter? If the former, then your application would be strengthened by gaining more community service work. If it's the latter, then you would really need to work on obtaining more clinical experience (preferably 150+ hours over the course of a year).

Also many CA schools are pretty research focused (UCLA, UCSD, Stanford). I'm not sure how they would view only participating in research over summer/winter breaks. I think continuous involvement would be viewed more favorably. Any publications?

Any other leadership experiences? Also I hope that you are continuing to stay well rounded by participating in personal hobbies (sports, music, etc)?
 
Your numbers are very nice, but the rest of yor application doesn't stand out at all. Another year of beefing up your activities could position you nicely for a California acceptance, but I don't see it as likely, as you are.

Intermittent research experience won't endear you to research strong institutions. You could use a leadership experience; at least one is pending. You have a bit of teaching, but not much.

The average applicant has 150 hours of clinical experience with direct patient contact over 1.5 years. I'd aim for a total of 60-80 hours of shadowing. The overseas shadowing should be in addition to the US-based experience, unless you aim to practice in another country. Nonmedical/noncampus community service is another area to try to shine in. If the tutoring is volunteer, then that's a start.

You've made a good beginning, but you'd greatly benefit from a year of beefing up your activities before you apply (since it looks like you just decided to go into medicine a year ago), unless you'd be happy to get in anywhere you can this year, and don't want to aim too high.
 
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RoboChicken

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Thanks for the responses!

I just wanted to clarify a few things...
MiniMoo: I do have other hobbies and ec's with art, running...etc.
The homeless clinic is not clinical in the sense that its more case-working, serving dinner, foot washing...etc. But we do get to refer to, and somewhat work with the UCSF med students who provide med services.

Catalystik:
I'm sorry, I wasn't too clear on the research work thing...it's not intermittent, it's my job year round (to pay for school). I meant that I work during the school year part-time, and during breaks full time...

I am also getting a clinical research position at UCSF for the summer, if that means anything, where I will get research experience.
Med school isn't really something I decided on only a yr ago (I hope it doesn't come across that way :( ), its been a life-long goal.

I now understand the need for clinical experience, but the few med school admissions committee ppl i had spoken with at the beginning of my undergrad always said to do whatever you were passionate about, be it clinical or not...that we would get plenty of clinical experience in med school. I guess I never wanted to do too many medically related EC's b/c I was afraid they'd seem too fake/only for the sake of the app.
 
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bravofleet4

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you won't be able to list anything that's still just in the works versus having already done on your medical application.

what exactly do you do in your research position? that's kind of important. do you have your own project or are you just collecting and analyzing results?

I agree, though, overall your EC's are lacking. We're not really talking about in terms of hobbies/interests either. I totally understand your hesitation toward acquiring clinical experience, but I would still do it. It's only 3-4 hrs/week. But California schools are tough in general, so don't think that we're trying to be harsh with you. It's just really really really hard...
 
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RoboChicken

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bravofleet:

thanks for the response! :) Don't worry, I don't think you guys are trying to be harsh with me (although I am getting pretty bummed haha...)

My research position involves traffic/pedestrian safety... I've done a vast variety of things from: editing videos for presentations, analyzing data, literature reviews/research, writing up a public transportation travel-training handbook for elderly citizens (one of which is pending publication), and I am currently working on a new state-wide database...
So yeah, it's not exactly medically related...but it is working to make the world a bit better. :)
 
The homeless clinic is not clinical in the sense that its more case-working, serving dinner, foot washing...etc. But we do get to refer to, and somewhat work with the UCSF med students who provide med services.

I now understand the need for clinical experience, but the few med school admissions committee ppl i had spoken with at the beginning of my undergrad always said to do whatever you were passionate about, be it clinical or not...
Ok, so you're terrific with the community service, but very, very lacking in clinical experience. maybe the admissions people you spoke to don't care so much about clinical experience, but the vast majority of med schools expect to see evidence that you've tested medicine as a career through exposure to patients, clinical environments, and practicing physicians. Since you can't rely on any one school to take you, it's your job to make your application appealing to the broadest possible range of schools. So get some clinical experience started ASAP.

I know it's not what you want to hear, but I can't find it in me to encourage you to waste money on an application cycle when you have yet to gain clinical experience, sufficient physician shadowing (med student shadowing is probably not what they want to see), a reeasonable amount of teaching experience, and leadership. You also won't have done your own research project, though the activity you've engaged in to promote traffic safety is substantive (and interesting) in another way. You have work to do.

(Side comment: I've heard WashU cares more about stats than ECs, so maybe they'd take you as you are.)
 

MiniMoo

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I now understand the need for clinical experience, but the few med school admissions committee ppl i had spoken with at the beginning of my undergrad always said to do whatever you were passionate about, be it clinical or not...that we would get plenty of clinical experience in med school. I guess I never wanted to do too many medically related EC's b/c I was afraid they'd seem too fake/only for the sake of the app.
It's pretty much a requirement to have clinical experience prior to applying, and I've read posts in this forum by individuals who were not accepted at any med schools even with 38+ MCAT, 3.8+ GPA simply because they did not have adequate clinical exposure. I'll also share a bit of my own personal experience -- Although my research background is not that strong, I have extremely solid and diverse clinical experiences, which I believe are what helped me gain acceptance to a UC med school as well as an interview at UCLA (results still pending).

I would encourage you to take the next year off if possible in order to get enough clinical volunteer hours as well as to obtain more shadowing and teaching experience (especially if you're aiming for CA schools). Because even if you started volunteering at a hospital tomorrow, you would only have a couple of months of experience prior to applying -- this would scream "last minute".
 

funklab

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you won't be able to list anything that's still just in the works versus having already done on your medical application.

According to my premed advisor, this is not true.

She says that if you have something that you are going to be doing for sure (for example "shadowing Radiologist, Dr Smith is November" but not "shadowing Drs in Fall") then it is okay to list it on the application.

But what does she know.....
 
According to my premed advisor, this is not true.

She says that if you have something that you are going to be doing for sure (for example "shadowing Radiologist, Dr Smith is November" but not "shadowing Drs in Fall") then it is okay to list it on the application.
The AMCAS application won't let you enter a future date. At best you can enter "start date . . .to present."

And a good reason not to even try tacking onto the end of another experience, is that it might fall through, you could break a leg, an exciting travel opportunity could come up, the doctor named could go on maternity leave early, yadda, yadda, yadda.