getting in...

Bob Hanrahan

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    I am extremely curious about how difficult it will be for me to get into med school. I want to give a hypothetical situation for myself, assuming reasonable statistics for me to have by the time I am applying to med school. This is what I will assume: GPA: 3.9, MCAT: 29, Extracurriculars: part of an organization that does volunteer work every weekend, and hospital volunteering, and thats it. I go to a small liberal arts college.
    I know that nobody will have a definite answer on this, but do you guys think I have good chances of getting into an MD school in the U.S. with these stats? (I realize the interview is really important as well, but other than that what do you guys think?) Any input would be appreciated! By the way, I am only a sophomore in college, which is why I had to make this situation hypothetical (my volunteering and gpa are real though, mcat is not).
     
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    bewitched1081

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      if you want to get into a top ranked school and your college is not very well known, then try to get into some medically related research or do something that will bring attn to your app. if you just do some hosp volunteering and do the normal ecs and research and have a good gpa, you will look just like every other applicant. there are tons of people out there with 3.9-4.0, >35 mcat with the works and from prestigious undergrads. just to give you an idea how many, i did some calculations and about 1200 people got a 36 or higher on the april 2003 mcat. thats a ton of people considering meds only take about 100-120 students. but dont be discouraged. just work hard and put a lot of effort into something that you enjoy and that is medically related, esp in research cause most of the top meds want research oriented students even if they are only going for an md
       

      ek6

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        Originally posted by Fumoffu
        You don't need research. Unless you want to do MD/PhD.

        Sounds like you're set and probably going to do much better than 29 if your gpa is 3.9

        Of course you need research on the resume...and not just for an MD/PhD program. Research can significantly strengthen your application. Trust me, I was on 6 interviews and every single interviewer complimented my lab experience, thesis, etc.

        If you don't have any, that won't keep you out, but it is HIGHLY recommended to have at least some...at least a summer internship and a small stint in an undergrad professor's lab.
         

        Adapt

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          Originally posted by Fumoffu
          Sounds like you're set and probably going to do much better than 29 if your gpa is 3.9
          This is not necessarily true. I have a 3.7 and 29, no research, and did relatively well in the process. The key is to apply early and to a wide range of schools and you'll be fine.

          And yes, research is definitely not needed.:thumbup:
           

          umass rower

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            Research, as people have said, is not necessary, but I would highly recommend it. I was asked about my research in every one of my interviews, and it seems to be something that a lot of doctors (as scientists) can relate to. Your hospital volunteer work is good, but a doctor interviewing you doesn't really need to hear about what goes on in a hospital. Research (or some unique volunteer/work experience) can be a big plus, especially if you can get your interviewer interested in it.

            EDIT: I just realized I didn't even answer your question. I would rate your chances of getting in somewhere as good, but assuming the 29 MCAT...
            1) You probably wouldn't be looking at the top-tier schools
            2) Your chances at a particular school might not be good, so you should probably apply to several
            3) You must make sure to get solid essays, LOR's, and good interviews
            4) APPLY EARLY
             

            Bob Hanrahan

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              ack, I definitely forgot to mention something important. I definitely am going to have a research experience. I applied to about 5 different summer research jobs already. I may not get into any of them because they are geared towards juniors. My proffessors told me about this, but they are confident that I will get into one next summer if not this summer. So, I have been planning on research, I completely forgot to mention it. Im more worried about my extra curriculars, all I will have is volunteering at a hospital and with my organization that does volunteer work.
              by the way, thanks for all of the responses, I really appreciate your guys' input. I have much to learn about this process!
               

              DMBFan

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                Hey Bob - your stats are exactly like mine (I haven't taken the MCAT, but GPA and EC-wise). Anyway, I applied to summer research jobs, too...However, I am going to be a junior in the fall so maybe that's why I got accepted to one....If you're a rising junior then it sholdn't be a problem about getting accepted..
                 

                jlee9531

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                  gpa is high, mcat is decent, tho there are many people with much lower gpas that get higher mcats so your gpa might not be seen as impressive when viewed against mcat scores.

                  but regardless....

                  research is not necessary since thousand get accepted without it. me included. sure if you have research the interviewers will talk about it and thats good, but that doesnt mean if you dont have research theres nothing to talk about. i consciously chose not to research in order to dedicate more time to my ECs.

                  but since you said you are trying to get into research, then thats awesome. having research is always a plus on an application esp if you enjoy it. and it sounds like you have a couple good ECs. maybe now you want to think about diversifying your volunteering experiences by trying out different things...

                  you are only a soph. hopefully you arent stressing too much about the process that lies ahead. good luck in your undergrad. career.
                   

                  elias514

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                    You'll do just fine in the admissions process. Don't worry about research--if you're interested in basic science research, set up a summer stint with a professor, otherwise don't bother. Just focus on gaining as much clinical experience as possible before you apply. Shadow physicians in a variety of specialties, volunteer at a health clinic for the uninsured and underinsured, check out hospice care...in short, get as much exposure to medical practice as you can. Talk to practicing physicians about the pros and cons of their specialty and medicine in general. Clinical experience is very important in the med school admissions process, research experience is not, though it can boost your chances of admission to certain research-oriented medical schools (e.g., the top 20 on US News research rankings). Also, you should start reading books about the health care crisis in America, especially from the different perspectives of patients and doctors; you'll find that things are far from "peachy" in America. Finally, you should start researching med schools. I encourage you to take a close look at the US News schools ranked 25-65 and those that are unranked, because you have a good chance of admission at these schools. Pick a few schools in the top 20, but frankly I don't think that your chances are very good at these med schools, as they tend to be very numbers oriented. You never know, though--med school admissions is seemingly random in many cases!
                     
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