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Decent GPA and MCAT, what else should I do?

Discussion in 'Re-Applicants [ MD / DO ]' started by usermike8500, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. usermike8500

    5+ Year Member

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    So it's December and I'm thinking that I'll have to reapply this coming June. I have only rejections and pre-interview holds to show for my application this cycle.

    Does anyone have any recommendations of things to do during the next six months to strengthen my application? It seems like the time frame is too small for serious research work or other traditional resume-padding activities.

    My GPA and MCAT are okay: 3.8 and 34,

    My ECs are mediocre: 1 year work at a lab (no publication), and 200+ hours volunteering / shadowing.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
     
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  3. dragonfly99

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    mike,
    Hmmm...did you apply late or something? It seems that with your stats you would have/should have gotten some interviews.
    How many schools did you apply to? Did you apply to all your state schools?
    I think it's too early to "give up the ghost" for this year too, but it's good that you are thinking about what more to do.

    What kind of volunteer work did you do? Was it in a hospital or other medical facility? You definitely need to keep volunteering in a medical setting...if you didn't like your past volunteer work, get a different med. volunteer job. Try scheduling time every week...it's important for the adcom to know that you have some clue about what you are getting in to as far as medicine goes. If you can find a friendly doctor, this also might be a way to get a new/additional LOR in a few months.

    There's nothing major to do about your academics...they are fine. What is your major? Any upper level biology or biochem type classes taken? Is your undergraduate school well known for producing students who go on to grad school and professional schools? If from a lesser known university or college, the 3.8 GPA might not have as much weight at some schools (but since it is so high would still think you'd be getting more love from adcoms). If you're still an undergrad, consider taking an upper level biology class or two this spring, to show your continued learning.

    The MCAT I would not touch. You already have a high enough score for most medical schools. Did you do all right on the essay part?

    Finally, I'd worry about your LOR's if with your academic stats you aren't getting any interviews at all. If you don't have any from a physician, that might be hurting you a little. Mainly, you just want to know that all your LOR's are strong, and since usually you waived the right to see them, you probably don't know what they say. If your university has a premed advising office, I'd take advantage of their services for help in keeping track of your LOR's if they offer this service. You can try for having 4 or 5 total for next year, and perhaps they can help you pick which one(s) to send to various med schools. You also might need help in editing or rewriting your personal statement, but IMHO the most important parts of the application are the GPA, MCAT, medical volunteer work/background and the LOR's.
     
  4. ruraldr

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    As a re-applicant this year, I asked the same question you are asking last year--and was told by the schools that I talked to that it was important to "walk my talk".

    In other words---think about your specific interests and find ways to explore them in depth.

    From my sdn name you can tell that one of my interests was rural health--so I got involved with research on rural health disparities...

    I found this has been a good way to become better prepared for my future practice (my knowledge of current rural health policy has expanded greatly) and I believe that the doctors that interviewed me this year were excited to see how I've demonstrated my interests so clearly.
     
  5. J ROD

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

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    Something does not add up.

    Applied late, horrible PS, applied to very competitive schools!

    Please elaborate more...you shoud at least be getting interviews.
     
  6. fahimaz7

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    It's December.. If you haven't heard something by March 15th, come back to the reapplicant forum.

    "_"
     
  7. usermike8500

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    I sent my primary apps in by the beginning of July but I lagged on a lot of the secondaries. Sometimes I took close to a month to complete them because I would overlook details like submitting a photo or mailing the check (a rather large oversight :eek:). I think my PS might have read like one big cliche, but I don't think it was terrible.

    Anyway, I don't want to wait until March to start planning for round two because I will be applying again at the beginning of June. I guess I'll just sign up for more volunteer work. it's about all I can do at this point. Thanks for the responses.
     
  8. gman33

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    What schools did you apply to?
    Something doesn't add up.
    If you have a premed advisor, try to get some info about your LORs.
    Make sure there are no hidden surprises in your app.
     
  9. dragonfly99

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    Agree with above comment.
    You need to talk w/your premed advisor. I'm thinking maybe your LOR's aren't that strong.
    You might definitely still get interview invites, though.
    Definitely apply early next year, and don't be halfassed about your application - get multiple people to review your personal statement, and send back the secondaries quickly and with all the correct fees/photos/other requested info.
     
  10. WashMe

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    Maybe this person has done everything pretty much right, tardy secondaries aside. I've gotten 4 interviews, but I haven't gotten in anywhere this year even with a 3.95, 3.94 science, 39 MCAT, 3 yrs research, 1 publication, emergency dept. volunteering, some shadowing, MCAT teaching, private tutoring... the list goes on.

    Admissions decisions (before and after interviews) can be completely idiotic sometimes, so just hang in there.
     
  11. dragonfly99

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    It's still early in the year for acceptance decisions.
    However, for the last poster I think you need to get someone to pull some strings for you. Also you need to think about whether your LOR's are serving you well. Having at least one from a physician is helpful, particularly at that physician's alma mater. Also, if a school thinks it knows what you want in terms of a career/specialty, sometimes that will help you get in (if it fits the profile for their school). Just some food for thought.
     
  12. pizzamaker

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    HOLY CRAP 39 on MCAT! Bro tell me the secret how'd you do it...did you take a class or was it solo?
     
  13. WashMe

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    lol I assume you're talking about me. I used EK materials and I studied about 8 hours/day for 3 weeks, M-F, as part of a class taught by a med student. I also did about 4-5 practice tests from e-mcat.com. Other than that, no secret :) I usually tell people to not worry about the MCAT until about 2 months out, at the earliest. There really isn't that much material if you're working hard and not learning extraneous stuff (cough Kaplan cough). Doing well in classes prepared me more than anything, and I would recommend that + EK for best results... My buddy also used EK, studied for a few weeks, and got a (lop-sided) 36R (9 PS, 15 VR, 12 BS).

    EK is all you need in the way of prep, no joke :thumbup:

    That said, 39 is cool but ultimately it isn't helping me get into medical school this year! :shrug:

    edit: My practice test scores (PS, VR, BS) were as follows, in order, if you're interested:

    9cbt: 12, 9, 11 (32)
    3cbt: 13, 13, 11 (37)
    10cbt: 13, 11, 13 (37)
    8cbt: 14, 11, 12 (37)

    PS 12-14, VR 9-13, BS 11-13
    I guess I should have expected anything 32-40, but I anticipated a 37 on the real thing.

    Real thing: 13, 13, 13 (39) --- stoked of course :p
     
    #12 WashMe, Dec 26, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
  14. Fakesmile

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    I would be really surprised if you didn't get in anywhere this year. How do you think you did on your interviews? What might be going against you?
     
  15. WashMe

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    I thought my interviews, with the exception of perhaps ohio state, went really well. I don't know what's "going against me", besides maybe:

    caucasian male?
    middle-class?
    middle-tier state undergrad?
    parents not doctors?
    ton of research but light on shadowing?

    I think my PS and essays were decent. My interviewer at WashU told me he hopes I never get to see my LORs because it would give me a "big head" lol. I'm really not sure what's going on, but the above are my guesses...

    ho hum.
     
  16. rajaholick

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    i bet you get into washU with all that research experience, i heard they love that
     
  17. WashMe

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    I sure hope so lol. they have already accepted a first round of people and I haven't heard any news, so I don't know what's up but I would be happy to just get WL'd there (better than rejected!) and bombard them with updates. I've sent updates to OSU, Cincy, and Pitt, but it will be 5/15 before I find out if they appreciate the effort.
     
  18. pasdechat28

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    Unfortunately I have been hearing the same thing from lots of applicants with stats in this range...and I am one of them myself. In fact, this is already my second year applying and have not gotten a single interview from anywhere but my in-state schools (although I have only gotten 2 rejections...I must be "on hold" at most places). I too feel like I have a decent MCAT score, great GPA, fabulous clinical and research experiences, great LOR's, etc (look at my mdapps profile for details)....the feedback from my schools last year was to just show MCAT improvement (which I have, 26 to 30) and that I excelled in all other areas. Although I have not given up hope and I do believe I have a great shot at my in-state school (have yet to hear from them post interview), I also have no idea why I am not getting interviews at other places. I wonder if there are simply too many applicants this year with stats in our range?? I think the consensus is simply that the medical school application process is far from black and white...perseverance and determination seem to be the key to acceptance success.
     
  19. fizzle

    fizzle New Member
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    Do not underestimate the personal statement. My stats are decent too, yet here I am, a re-applicant. Pretty much the only big difference I made between last year and this year to improve my application was my essays, and so far it looks as if they've made quite a difference (last year I only had one interview!).

    In addition, choose some different schools (not necessarily lower-ranked, but just different) to apply to. 5 out of my 7 interviews so far are from schools I didn't even apply to last year (including Vanderbilt and Mount Sinai--who would've guessed that these schools would respond to me while many of the "lower-ranked" ones ignore me?). It really does make a difference.
     
    #18 fizzle, Jan 6, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009

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