Glad to be alive, but I need some help.

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MidwestOddOne

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I have a bit of a unique situation, and I would like some guidance moving forward with respect to applying this cycle.

I began my college career as a nursing major, and transferred to Biology after working in the hospital as a tech for a period of time. I realized rather late into my college career that the autonomy, and intellectual stimulation of becoming a physician was what I would rather be doing. Unfortunately, by the time I had realized this, I was already a senior in undergraduate. I completed a dual-degree in Biology/Psychology, with a cumulative GPA of 3.07, SGPA of 3.1(With a significant upward trend, nothing lower than a 3.7 in the last two years, including my Orgo sequence). This is the unusual part. I applied, and was accepted to an SMP at the University of Michigan Medical School (No Linkage). I was scheduled to attend this program in Fall 2022, but was diagnosed with an ultra-rare mediastinal cancer in September 2022. I deferred my enrollment in this SMP for a year in order to undergo a long, arduous year of painful surgery/treatment culminating with a median sternotomy. I returned to school in Fall of 2023 and have just finished my program, slated to receive ~3.7-3.8 depending on final grades (All while going through multiple follow-up scans, treatments, appointments, anxiety etc;). I am scheduled to sit for the MCAT on May 24th, for which I have been preparing for nearly two months. I would like to apply this cycle, for a number of reasons, but I wanted to ensure that I am understanding some crucial assumptions.

- Due to my first few years as a nursing major, including a failed class due to a strange set of symptoms (Now believed to be from the massive tumor compressing my heart) my GPA when considering ALL classes (for which my college career began in 2015) at cGPA = 2.98, sGPA = 2.99. Does this need to be further explained/rectified in any way, other than the SMP demonstration/Brief section of PS?

- During the upward trend in my UNDERGRADUATE final years( 4+ years now), I was working full-time as a 911 Dispatcher in an underserved community, in order to support my family. I was involved in multiple life-changing/traumatic critical incidents that you may have seen on the news over the years. Post-cancer diagnosis and concurrent with SMP activity, I was still working part-time as a dispatcher in order to further support myself. I returned to the position after sternotomy for 3 months prior to SMP start in order to support myself.

- I have over 500 hours of recent (Past 18 months) volunteering as a volunteer Police Officer. This was an armed, trained position in which I provided backup/support to full-time officers in the completion of sworn law enforcement duties. I've been involved in critical incidents, and have administered first-aid to victims of shootings, stabbings, overdoses and cardiac arrests. This has been a significant portion of my recent volunteering, and has served to strengthen my "Why Medicine." stance.

-150+ hours in a clinical equine therapy setting, assisting in the provision of equine therapy to children w/ physical/mental/emotional challenges.

- 500+ hours over 7 years, as a charter member of my city's concert band. We play benefit/charity concerts for disadvantaged individuals/children/elderly and provide music education in the form of clinics to youth.

-100+ shadowing hours over my entire undergraduate/graduate career

-300+ clinical volunteering hours (MUCH MUCH earlier in career, closer to 2016/2017).

-One poster publication in grad school, one manuscript submitted for review (Both clinical in nature)

- LORs from science faculty of SMP, Police Leadership/Command who have witnessed my actions in the field, and current PI of lab (Clinician ENT at major university center).

-4 years work experience as a historical equine specialist on a living history farm. (Not sure if its even worth adding, but I did reach a level of historical mastery as determined by this scholarly institution.)



I understand that my application will essentially rely on my MCAT score, but I was wondering if you could provide an idea of how my standing was. Things to point out in PS? Things to avoid? I really appreciate any and all feedback. Things I may not be considering (Memory after surgery can be spotty at times, so apologies for the wall of text.)

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1. No need to include a GPA explanation in the PS, you can explain it in the "other additional information" section of primary app and your secondaries. With a 3.8 SMP, that should make up enough ground on the undergrad GPA

Honestly your application is so unique and you cover all the holes I think you'd be well set for success, but ofc success will depend on your MCAT score. Focus on knocking it out of the park and honing your reasoning for "why" you want to be a physician and you'll do great.
 
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1. No need to include a GPA explanation in the PS, you can explain it in the "other additional information" section of primary app and your secondaries. With a 3.8 SMP, that should make up enough ground on the undergrad GPA

Honestly your application is so unique and you cover all the holes I think you'd be well set for success, but ofc success will depend on your MCAT score. Focus on knocking it out of the park and honing your reasoning for "why" you want to be a physician and you'll do great.
Depends on if I end up with a B+ or A- in this Biochem class but absolutely.
 
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You have many opportunities to talk about obstacles you have overcome so don't think just about the personal statement. Ask admissions professionals at the schools closest to you for feedback about your story.
 
You have many opportunities to talk about obstacles you have overcome so don't think just about the personal statement. Ask admissions professionals at the schools closest to you for feedback about your story.
I appreciate the response! Would you recommend cold-emailing and just talking about my story and how they would like it conveyed? Or walking into the Admissions Office at the school my SMP is at and asking to speak with someone there. Given my past career, I'm a bit more used to the brass-tacks/direct path but am open to suggestion.
 
By the way, looking to be more like a 3.7 finishing this program. MCAT mid-June, this isn't too late for this cycle, correct?
 
I appreciate the response! Would you recommend cold-emailing and just talking about my story and how they would like it conveyed? Or walking into the Admissions Office at the school my SMP is at and asking to speak with someone there. Given my past career, I'm a bit more used to the brass-tacks/direct path but am open to suggestion.
If you are in an SMP now, what advice have you received from them on this issue?
 
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If you are in an SMP now, what advice have you received from them on this issue?
My advisor gave general advice about just "There are spots on the AMCAS primary to talk about your story, not just your personal statement." So, lackluster if any, with respect to this specific story.
 
My advisor gave general advice about just "There are spots on the AMCAS primary to talk about your story, not just your personal statement." So, lackluster if any, with respect to this specific story.
Well... yes...

Some secondary prompts will ask you to talk about interruptions in your education. You can also briefly describe it in your Other Impactful Experiences essay.
 
MCAT mid-June, this isn't too late for this cycle, correct?
I had this exact timing last year. Submitted primary July 1, verified August 8. IMO I was borderline late. But with your story, and if you get a good score, the timing may not matter. Still--all else being equal, earlier is better.
 
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