Critique me as an applicant


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2007
  1. Resident [Any Field]
I'm a postbacc with a b.a. in economics.

I'm finishing my 2nd year of my postbacc program and these are my stats:
cum: 3.2, science: 3.83 (all my science classes were in my post bacc program) My grades at my undergrad school was poor (less than 3.0) because I didn't know what to do with my life and had zero motivation.

I took my MCAT last summer and I got a score of 30 O. 11PS 8VR 11BS. I'm contemplating on taking my MCAT again. That 8 on VR doesn't really look so good...although english isn't my first language, I've been in the U.S. most of my life.

I have a year and a half experience volunteering at the front desk of a free clinic (4 hours/week, although I got laid off there because of budget cuts). I also work the summers as an IT guy/front desk person at a family clinic (30 hours/week). I have 2 years experience working in a cell molecular biology lab doing cell culture work at about 30 hours/week (I have my own project). I was president of unicef on campus for one year, and I taught a physics help workshop class for a semester (I stopped the unicef and teaching because I liked the lab work and it took up a lot of time).

I guess that's me in a nutshell. I'm preparing a manuscript for my work, hoping to get published! Although I'm sure that won't happen by the time I'm applying this upcoming summer.

Let me know what you think, and how I can improve these last 6 months before I apply!


Staff member
10+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2008
  1. Attending Physician
I want to cautiously say that I think you're a solid applicant. Your cGPA is low, but your sGPA is very strong, and obviously you have a steep upward slope in your GPA, both of which should mediate your lower cGPA; the cGPA may get you automatically screened out at a couple of schools, but not most. Your MCAT is right around the average for most allopathic schools, and a 30 will at least get someone to read your entire application at most schools where you don't get screened outright.

This is where I feel that you will shine, and what makes you, in my opinion, the perfect example of why taking a few years off after college to apply is really a great plan of a lot of people, as it really gives people a chance to get some very good ECs and "real world" experience. Your research looks very good, and assuming you got patient contact in those clinics, you have good amounts of clinical experience. You have leadership experience. With the path your life has taken, I would expect that you would be able to write a very strong personal statement. Basically, I think that your ECs and PS should take you from being an average/below-average applicant based on your numbers to being a strong applicant.

You won't be getting into Harvard with those numbers, but if you apply broadly, I would be cautiously optimistic about your chances next year. The only thing I can think of for the next 6 months is find somewhere to continue volunteering at or maybe a doc to shadow, preferably something that's not at a front desk and really more hands-on with patients. The only thing that gives me pause is that most of your clinical stuff is "front desk," and I'm not sure how much patient contact that necessarily entails; can you elaborate on those jobs? Also, how could you get laid off from a job you were volunteering at?

Good luck!
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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
From looking at your back posts, I surmise you are from California. As you do not have a forgiving state school, I think you may be screened out at a number of OOS schools due to your cGPA, despite the redemption of your recent good grades. Any school that looks at your total application will be impressed by your extracurriculars. Thus the recommendation of "apply broadly" (since you do not know what schools might seriously consider you) means that you should include DO medical schools in the mix.

To improve your chances at MD medical schools, I think retaking the MCAT and getting a higher score will help you.

I completely agree with GSG, that you need your application to reflect face-to-face interaction with sick people, not just desk work, though the association with a free clinic will look great on your application (and how does one get "laid off" when one is a volunteer, BTW?). Getting in some shadowing time, and an MD or DO recommendation is a good idea for you.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2007
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Thank you for the very quick and informative responses! I'm feeling much more hopeful from your comments than I've actually been feeling.

"Laid off" was probably the wrong word to use. The clinic was open 5 days a week from morning to night, but after the budget cuts, the clinic is now only open two days out of the week in the mornings and early afternoons. The people who were working there at other times, like me, had to stop working if they couldn't work with the new schedule.
It's a shame that happened actually, because the clinic just finished training me to work in their lab, performing phlebotomies and running simple tests. I'm hoping I can fit the new schedule into my own next semester.

I know I need more patient contact. I applied to be an emergency department volunteer at the local county hospital. They said they will get back to me soon. I should also call to shadow doctors nears me this upcoming winter break. How does the shadowing work? Do I shadow once for several hours, for an entire shift, for a week straight? Or is it more like volunteering where it's based on a weekly schedule?

I agree I should apply broadly...especially since I'm from California. I know I won't get into Harvard or UCSF, but I'm hoping and praying that I can get a shot at the some mid to low tier schools.

Lastly, when would be a good time to take the MCAT again? My last semester at school ends June 2009. I also plan to submit my primary application by June 1, 2009. Should I take it in August or September?

Thanks again so much for your help. It's definitely appreciated.

cyclin M

10+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2008
  1. Pre-Medical
With your GPA I'd say you need to take the MCAT again and do a few points better than a 30. I'd say around a 35, but what do I know I'm just a rising junior. :|

I am giving advice based on my buddies in undergrad (seniors) who have 4.0 GPA or 3.89 GPA science and cum and have like 30-33 MCAT scores who are not getting interviews anywhere. So I'd say the MCAT hurt them even though 33 is not a terrible score. Very depressing to see :(


Just wanted to add that numbers do matter a lot because they get you past the screening process in the very beginning. You can have the best ECs but I think if your "stats" are too sub-average they will not even look at you. Of course I'm not sure what is going on with my friends, maybe they turned in their apps too late, but still. I'd say take the MCAT again. It can't hurt you unless you do worse...which you will prevent by studying hard. :)
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