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Considering options (Caribbean, SMP

Discussion in 'Re-Applicants [ MD / DO ]' started by jmcappleby, May 27, 2008.

  1. jmcappleby

    jmcappleby 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2008
    This is part "what do I do now?" and part "where did I go wrong?" I've been trolling the SDN forums for a while (God, I wish I had found this place a year ago!) and would really appreciate any input people have on my situation.

    The following are my stats:
    3.4 GPA (I think I made some bad calls with course selection such as taking multi-var math and CS and a few other miscellaneous courses I didn't need and didn't get A's in.)
    3.3 BCMP
    31S MCAT (10v, 10b, 11p)
    LoR ranging from great to so-so
    About a year of sociology/history-related research with a professor at the University
    Some shadowing/volunteering experience with a doctor who wrote what was probably my best LoR

    I figured I was a pretty decent applicant. If it is of much relevance, I live in CA and went to UC Berkeley.

    Due to what was to some extent limited counseling and for the most part my own fault, I applied horribly late. My primaries went in during the first week of October and my secondaries went in around mid- to late-Nov. From what I have learned since then, I basically did the med school equivalent of shooting myself in the foot before the marathon. In summary, I applied to 22 schools, got 16 secondaries and zero interviews.

    Initially, I had thought about taking 1-2 years off but given that I had no idea where to start, my parents, with all their good intentions suggested that I consider the Caribbean route, after pointing to a few of their cousins who went through SGU or AUC (American Univ of the Caribbean) and are now successful MD's. I was quite excited about this, got into AUC recently and have an interview for SGU in about 3 days. I have no aversion to the Caribbean in and of itself except for the fact that it supposedly carries a stigma later on with respect to residencies.

    So in a recent discussion, my parents and I thought about putting US Schools back on the table and after our phone call I went and looked up some SMP programs and it appears that I am already too late for most of them. Regardless, since it is just an application, I thought I would try and apply to a couple.

    Which brings me to my question, which I think another poster expressed quite well: Do I just suck or did I apply late?

    I feel like, on the whole, especially looking at some of the profiles on MDapplicants, that I am a fairly average applicant. Applying late certainly didn't help my case, but would applying early improve my "chances?" Would doing a 1-2 year post-bacc/SMP program be worth it for someone in my shoes? I feel fortunate to have been accepted to a good Caribbean school but at the end of the day, it is a Caribbean school. Is it worth the hassle later to save 1-2 years avoiding this "gap phase" by just going to a Carib school now?

    I realize this is ultimately a question I have to answer for myself, but was wondering what thoughts others had on the issue.

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  3. gman33

    gman33 Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2007
    Did you apply to any DO schools?
    This will give you a much better shot at matching to a US residency (compared to Carib school). Your stats are very good for DO.

    You applied VERY late. So late, that you shouldn't have applied at all.
    You have below average stats, but not so low that you couldn't get some interviews if you apply EARLY and broadly. I would apply again this cycle to about 30 MD schools and 5-10 DO schools. A SMP is an option, and there may still be a few taking apps, if you really want to do something next year. Maybe check out Drexel's program.

  4. jmcappleby

    jmcappleby 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2008
    Thank you for the advice. :)

    And by apply "this cycle" do you mean the 2009 entering class as in do the AMCAS in the next 2-3 weeks? Some schools I have noticed have a re-applicant rule of 1-2 years and recommend "significant change" in the application, something I honestly haven't worked on as re-application wasn't originally part of my plan.

    Obviously, there's enough schools out there such that I can still apply fairly broadly and avoid those with such a rule but would it be recommended for someone with my stats to do this or should I look into taking classes, maybe doing research and gaining more clinical experience before applying next year (i.e. 2010 entering class)?
  5. gman33

    gman33 Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2007
    I did mean this cycle. The only thing you have to lose is $$. :)

    I noticed you were from CA. Did you apply to a lot of CA schools?
    I think you would have a really hard time there. If you decide to apply this year, maybe post your list of schools and get some feedback.
    Do some research on DO schools. Your stats will be more competitive there, and it's probably a much better option than Carib. Look at the match stats and the drop out rates for more info. A top DO school like PCOM, will give you a great education. Try to get a LOR from a DO if you are going to apply to DO schools.

    The other option, is to take some time now to build up your application before reapplying. More upper level UG courses or a SMP would work. Another year or two won't make much difference in the long run. Don't rush into a Carib school because it seems like a quicker route. I'd only go there after reapplying 1-2 more times.
  6. jmcappleby

    jmcappleby 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2008
    I did in fact apply to all the UC's and USC. I knew for a fact I had as much of a shot at schools like UCSF as I had of winning a Gold medal at the Olympics. The other schools consisted of various schools across the country, mainly in the Midwest (UMinn, UCinn, UMich, UIowa, etc.) and some on the east coast. Like many other aspects of my application (such as when it was sent in and my PS) this is another thing I would change if I were to re-apply. I should have applied to more "low-mid-tier" out-of-state private schools.

    I have been reading up on DO but I'll be the first to admit, I have still much to learn about it. On that note, though, I have never been to see a DO, don't know of any, and there's a few doctors in my family practicing in the US - some who studied in India, some in the US and some in the Caribbean - and they're all MDs. Which is probably why I haven't been exposed to them until fairly recently. :oops:
  7. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 26, 2007
    You apply earlier, apply just as broadly (or more broadly), and you apply to DO schools and USUHS. The only thing you probably want to do is (I've heard) shadow a DO and get a letter of rec from him/her before you apply to the DO schools. Apply this cycle. If you're looking for something to do this year, and you hate the idea of work, I recommend a 1 year MPH/Masters program. Or you could do an extra year of classes to bring your UGrad up to a 3.6 (though I don't think you're going to end up applying late).

    Your stats are pretty good, a little on the low side for MD (average matriulant had a 3.65 and 31), above average for DO. You probably don't need an SMP, and you DEFINITELY don't need to go to one of the island schools. You just applied too late. Don't screw up your life trying to save a year.

    Finally talk to your premed advisor. Remeber that we're just premeds and medical students here
  8. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!! Rocket Scientist Physician Pharmacist Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2005
    working on my tan......
    Move to the South where your stats are competitive.

    Wait a year and apply in-state.
  9. If you're going to try again you ABSOLUTELY must apply early and widely.

    Early, as in the first day.

    Widely, as in at least 25-30 schools, of all tiers.

    When I was a pre-med I had stats around the mean and I still applied to around 30 schools.
  10. spreebee

    spreebee Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2006

    I went Caribbean and it is well worth the while... I saved my self stress and years of trying to please a biased admissions committee when I knew I was good enough and capable of being a physician... Soon I'll be in residency, and all it takes to get a REALLY competitive one is a "HIGH STEP 1" and a few contacts....Most people from the Caribbean get a 220 or lower on step 1 and the ones that are getting 240+ usually get into whatever they choose, expecially if your from ROSS, AUC, SGU...Many of SGU's students are actually chief residents (in residency) and are considered above average in clinical knowledge when they start clinicals... JUST BECAUSE YOU DONT GO TO A MEDICAL SCHOOL ON U.S. SOIL DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN't GET AN OUTSTANDING MEDICAL EDUCATION... BASIC Science is BASIC Science....Clinicals are Clinicals, and you do them in the U.S. or Europe anyways....
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2008
  11. a817

    a817 5+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    get everything ready, apply now you can get it in. Use a couple DO schools as backups like Western, which is your state DO school. Your gpa is a bit low, but not impossible for you to get in. DO NOT WAIT, you will be kicking your self if you went to Caribbeans, without giving yourself a proper shot. The first time was a lost cause due to applying late. Apply to any OOS friendly school. NY state has a few, etc. Get the MSRP book and apply to a ton of schools.

    For DO schools, most schools don't require a rec. Some are willing to take an MD rec. I would look in a local hospital. If you live near Touro or Western, look for a hospital affiliated with them (rotations, etc). There should be a few DO's there

    These next few days, just eat, sleep, drink med school :). Send your transcripts, fix your PS. get your rec. Make sure everything is complete and done in the next two weeks. You shouldn;t need to go to the Caribbeans.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2008
  12. cleothecat

    cleothecat 10+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    And get rid of the so-so LOR's

    Some schools hold poor or mediocre LOR's against applicants as only approx 1% of LOr's are negative, and these act as red flags.

    As for mediocre LOR's, the assumption is that good candidates are able to get at least decent LOR's.

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