Jun 21, 2012
20
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I haven't been able to find another post with my similar details--but if one exists and I'm being repetitive, I apologize!

I'm at a fairly prestigious liberal arts college (top 20), but don't have an amazing gpa (3.66 and sGPA=3.53) but I feel like my ECs are decent--but I want them to stand out a bit more--so i'm wondering what things I should aim to do during my gap year next year to make up for my less than awesome gpa.

here's a brief outline of my past/current ECs:
1. Interned at a children's psychiatric clinic for a summer--worked in recreational therapy, spent a lot of time with patients one-on-one. (+70hrs)
2. Shadowed a breast cancer surgeon during a summer and shadowed an ER doctor for a day (~15 hrs---I know this is probably too low a number of hours to be that meaningful)
3. Chair of my University's relay for life (american cancer society fundraiser)--very time consuming, and was also a co-founder of this club at my college.
4. Social chair of a sorority--we do a lot of fundraising through this.
5. Work 15+ hours a week at a campus restaurant--really fast paced--I cook, work the register, and serve food.


For my gap year I already have a few options lined up---I have two research assistant positions that I could choose from that would start in June and end sometime in the fall/winter--both of which are in a subject that i'm really passionate about.

Other than these research options--I'm not sure what else I could be doing during my gap year--should I aim to get a longer research position that is whole year--even if its in a subject i'm less passionate about? (the above ones are literally PERFECT for my interests--and I really liked the research team at both), or would it be acceptable to take the summer+a few months research, and then use the rest of the time to shadow some more and maybe volunteer at a few hospitals while working to make some more money??? I can work at my brother's company--which would pay WAY more than any other job i'd get--but it's not medically related at all--so I don't know how much this would hurt my chances?

Also will it even matter how much I do post-summer, since I'll be getting my apps in around June anyway??

Im not particularly aiming for any of the top tier schools--the SUNY schools are the main schools i'm a hopeful for!

Sorry for the super long-winded rant--if anyone even takes the time to read this, I'd be so grateful!
 

IncognitoGuy

life of leisure
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Jun 24, 2011
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Mcat?
 
OP
R
Jun 21, 2012
20
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I wont be taking the MCAT until May--I know it's really hard to give advice without an MCAT score--but I need to start nailing down my gap year plans before May/I get my scores back.
 
Aug 9, 2012
301
1
Detroit
Status
Pre-Medical
Are you a junior? I ask because you mention working from June through the summer. If you're a senior, why are you planning to do a glide year? One rationale you mentioned is to improve your gpa, but as you know, taking a research position won't improve your gpa.
 

113

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Jan 20, 2013
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I would pick whichever lab will be mostly likely to end in a publication. Secondary to that, take the research position you like the most. If you're not hard up for cash, I don't see why you would work at your brother's company.

Even if you're applying in June, you can still benefit from medically related experiences by writing update letters to schools. Many people have benefited from a good letter showing continuing interest, especially if the admissions committee is on the fence about your app.
 

dsoz

Accepted OHSU C/O 2017
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Apr 8, 2011
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You already know your weakness. More shadowing. Try to see different physicians and different specialties. I spent a lot of time with one physician (almost 80 hours) that was family practice, and three other physicians each one or two days. It gave me depth and breadth for different physicians.

Volunteering at a hospital a few hours a week long term would also look good, but I don't think it would be a deal breaker.

It all comes down to your MCAT and what med schools where you plan on applying. IF you can break the 30-32 mark, you can be fine. Getting over a 35 would make you golden. Under 30 and you should focus more on DO schools.

dsoz
 
OP
R
Jun 21, 2012
20
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I am a senior, but I was pretty late on deciding to be pre-med, so I wasn't done with my pre-med requirements until this year, and as I was abroad for the entirety of last year into August--I wanted the extra time to study for my mcats this year--I would not have been prepared for them last year after having been abroad---hence the gap year.

Lucky Louie---I know my GPA is on the low side, but my goal of taking a gap year wasn't to improve it--it was to just add more ECs to my resume (especially because I don't have any research experience yet) in the hopes of making up for my lower gpa.

113--Thanks, I think my chances at publication would actually be greatest in the research position that lasts only until december--so with that in mind, i think i'll lean towards that one, even though it is a bit shorter than some other opportunities. In regards to your other point--I definitely do need the cash, my dad's been retired (due to illness) for years, and making some extra money would be a huge plus for me--but there are always loans, and I don't want to jeopardize my chances by spending too much time on a non-medically related endeavor. I do plan on volunteering and shadowing while I work, but I guess I'm not sure if that will really be enough to show my continuing interest in medicine.
 
Aug 6, 2011
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Medical Student (Accepted)
I wouldn't say your GPA is low, it's about average for matriculants and above average for all applicants (the average cumulative GPA for matriculants is 3.67 and for BCPM/science GPA it's 3.6). I wouldn't worry about your GPA especially since you said you're not aiming for any of the top tier schools. It's really all going to come down to your MCAT score. Doing research during your gap year is great, but as dsoz mentioned you should also try to get some more shadowing and consider another clinical experience.
 
OP
R
Jun 21, 2012
20
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I wouldn't say your GPA is low, it's about average for matriculants and above average for all applicants (the average cumulative GPA for matriculants is 3.67 and for BCPM/science GPA it's 3.6). I wouldn't worry about your GPA especially since you said you're not aiming for any of the top tier schools. It's really all going to come down to your MCAT score. Doing research during your gap year is great, but as dsoz mentioned you should also try to get some more shadowing and consider another clinical experience.
Thanks for the reply! I really enjoyed my shadowing experience as well, so I'd be happy to do something similar again. My advisor seems to think shadowing isn't a great way to spend my time--and keeps pushing a year long research assistant position on me (it wouldn't leave me much time to be able to shadow at all) but I felt that I learned a lot from shadowing last summer, so thank you for reassuring me that it is as valuable as I thought it was! I think i'm leaning toward doing a shorter research position and then focusing on shadowing for the rest of the year!