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High GPA, Excellent Volunteer and Leadership Work/Low MCAT

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by leila767, May 5, 2007.

  1. leila767

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    Hi everyone,

    I thought I'd give this a chance since so many people have been posting their thoughts and questions and the feedback seems to be excellent. I will start with telling a little bit about myself. My overall GPA is 3.75, I come from a top 30 public university in the nation, I am majoring in Biology, and I have done an immense amount of tutoring for introductory biology students, being Vice President of a Biological Journal Club, volunteer work in pediatrics, and being involved in Patient Safety research. I'm really passionate about clinical work and improving therapy, treatment, and the overall field of medicine in the United States of America. A lot of my passion in becoming a physician stems from my father's battle with non-small cell lung cancer. He passed away when I was a sophomore in college and he only lived a year after he was diagnosed with the cancer. Since then, I have really focused my energy and time to do everything I can to become a strong candidate for medical school. Unfortunately, my MCAT scores is the only glitch in my overall application. My first score was an 18Q, where I got a 7 on PS, a 6 on VR, and a 5 on BS in April 2006. I also took a review course from TPR. Shocked and unsatisfied with this score, I decided to of course take it again and revamp my entire approach to taking this test. I bought the whole series of ExamKrackers, signed up for Kaplan and hired a personal tutor from Kaplan for 35 hours. I had studied for the MCAT for 6 to 7 months, somedays for 12 hours but at least 2 hours a day with a little bit of PS, VR passages, and BS, and my last few CBT exams came from AAMC where I have gotten a 34, 32, and 29. Being fully convinced that my earnest efforts were successful, I sat in for the January MCAT in 2007. My scores did not reflect the practice scores I had received. My actual score was a 22R, where I got an 8 on PS, a 4 on VR, and a 10 on BS. I'm particularly shocked at the 4 on VR because I had never gotten that score before in any of my practice exams. A month before the actual MCAT, I even made an appointment with a counselor about test anxiety issues, and we had spoken for an hour, and he honestly believed that I was perfectly fine and that I would do well. As with my Kaplan tutor who encouraged my strengths and wholeheartedly believed I was ready for this test. I am shocked, sad, and just really frustrated with my bad luck. I have a couple interviews for podiatry school, and if podiatry school is the best I can do, I am perfectly all right with it. However, deep down in my heart, I still believe that I will be a primary care physician, I always wanted to specialize in internal medicine. So, I'm exploring osteopathic medical schools, and I'm trying to find a school that I have a strong chance in being possibly considered and interviewed. If anyone is willing to give me advice on my current situation, and possible DO schools that don't put such a strong emphasis on the MCATS, please let me know. My grades, volunteer work, LORS are top notch, its just this blasting MCAT that I for some reason have been having terrible luck in, particularly the Verbal section, otherwise my sciences were not so bad. Thank you to anyone who has read through this long post and answers back. :)
     
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  3. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind
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    Your post killed my head....TOO MANY WORDS!!!

    Some advice- Don't write in giant paragraphs...it is way to hard to read it all...just get to the point.

    I'll give it another try so I can come back with advice
     
  4. Doc Henry

    Doc Henry blowin' in the wind
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    OK...I got through it

    I think you have a lot of strong qualities and you will meet the minimum cut off for many schools so I say address the MCAT issues in your personal statement or somewhere else if you can and go for it.

    The fact that you are so interested in primary care and you have great ECs should help a lot.

    Bottom line is APPLY EARLY and make sure you have good LORs
     
  5. DoctorMom78

    DoctorMom78 Sky Glory
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    The rest of your application is really strong. People have gotten in with a 22, but I don't know how the schools will perceive the 4 on VR. That is probably going to be a big red flag to many of them. Hopefully your writing sample balances that out. You may still have a chance. Apply really early and to a lot of schools. Good luck!!!:luck:
     
  6. Static Line

    Static Line America's Guard of Honor
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    With that MCAT I wouldn't look at places like PCOM or DMU or any of the more established DO schools. I would look at the newer schools. DCOM, VCOM, PCOM-atlanta etc...
     
  7. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee.
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    I almost hate to say this, but I think you need to try that MCAT one more time.

    Second piece of advice: apply everywhere, apply the VERY FIRST DAY POSSIBLE, and stay in touch with the admissions offices on a regular basis (but don't be a pest). If possible, make an appointment with nearby schools or schools of particular interest to go over your current application and ask how you can strengthen it. I may have missed your state of residence, but you may also consider applying to your state school (unless it's California or Colorado).

    And finally, sell yourself in your PS. Get several people to read it. Get professors to read it. Get friends, family, physicians... anyone and everyone who can give you constructive feedback who knows you. Because if you can get someone to read your PS and you sell yourself well, you may have a shot.

    Good luck.
     
  8. jochi1543

    jochi1543 President, Gunner Central
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    Maybe try contacting the schools and asking them if they have a history of applicants being admitted with similar MCAT scores when counterbalanced with a strong remainder of the application?


    BTW, OP, you're freaking me out, cuz I also scored in the 30 area on the practice tests and my actual results come out in a little under 2 weeks.:scared: LOL.
     
  9. Toohotinvegas33

    Toohotinvegas33 Currently Glasgow 3
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    I know touro-nv sends out auto-rejections for anything under 23, so your best bet is to retake the MCRAP. Besides you want to be able to interview at couple of schools and take your pick of the litter.
     
  10. gotmeds?

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    Let me state the obvious here: if you have a perfect application except for one thing, then the way to improve it is to change that one thing. Study your butt off and retake the MCAT. You really only have to improve one section.
     
  11. lala83

    lala83 Member
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    pcsom in kentucky and west virginia som have an average mcat around 22-23 from what i hear, so definitely apply there (although pcsom heavily recruits students from the appalachia region, so i'm not sure if you're from around there)
     
  12. GreenShirt

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    Most DO school's have average MCATS in the 24-26 range, so a 22 shouldn't be off the radar. Have you always had troubled with standardized testing? The thing I would consider is that you have a series of 3 tests you need to take in medical school in order to be able to get a residency/job. If you are going to become a PCP scoring high won't be as big of an issue, but poor scores may limit you as to were you can apply. Be realistic about your skills. If you think you can do well, then you should send out a some applications to DO schools. If it doesn't work out the first time, at least you know your MCAT is what you need to work on.
     
  13. DoctorMom78

    DoctorMom78 Sky Glory
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    Yea, unless the OP has some connection to the Appalachian area, I wouldn't bother with PCSOM. DCOM's average is around 23 or 24 I think. Definitely try the new schools. Again, I think the issue is the 4 on VR and not the 22 so much. A 22 is around the average at some schools, but they usually want a more well-rounded score. But, who knows what they will really think.

    OP: You will probably have to retake the MCAT, but I would give it a shot. Best of luck to you!!!:luck:
     
  14. sexyman

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    paragraphs are your friend

    And yes take the MCAT again...all in all it only take what 5 hours? ha but seriously...
     
  15. spicedmanna

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    I agree with your assessments. A score of 4 on any MCAT section is a huge red flag, and you might even get screened out of some schools that have a strict sectional cut-off. If you apply as is, it's still possible to get in and you do have a chance, but I don't think anybody can really quantify it, though. I will reiterate the suggestion that you, OP, retake the MCAT for the best chance and options. However, figure out and resolve your MCAT pathology before you do so.

    Good luck.
     
  16. spicedmanna

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    The OP's original post, sectioned into paragraphs, for your viewing pleasure; the bold emphases are mine, to highlight the applicant profile details:

     
  17. sexyman

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    ^ thats why you have to love the pre-osteo forum!
     
  18. Static Line

    Static Line America's Guard of Honor
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    Now I see the problem. It's about 6 1/2 paragraphs too long. I only looked for the MCAT and GPA anyhow.
     
  19. DoctorMom78

    DoctorMom78 Sky Glory
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    Yea, me too. I skimmed it for the relevant information.:D
     
  20. HemaOncoDoc

    HemaOncoDoc One Step At A Time
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    With the experiences you've shared about your life and your "R" in the writing section, I'm sure you could write a convincing and heartfelt personal statement. With all the puzzle pieces in place, less the MCAT, I'm fairly confident that some DO schools will give you an interview. The "problem" does not lie primarily on the fact that you have a 22R, but rather the discrepancy between your science and verbal composite score.

    During my interview process, I was asked several times about my lower VR score. Be prepared with an explanation that does not begin with "I do not do well on standardized testing."

    Your CV sounds strikingly familary to mine in both the GPA and extracurricular activities. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you choose to do.

    PS - Please check with the respective colleges about the minimum requirements for the sections on the MCAT. You don't want to waste any money in this lengthy and expensive process
     
  21. 3boysdad

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    If you are a partially strong applicant (2.8GPA 28+MCAT or 3.5+GPA 24-MCAT):scared: it is not in your favor to be in the first batch of applicants. Your 1st "look" by the committee at each school is your best chance to get an interview.

    All strong applicants apply early and you don't want to be compared with them.. 3.5+GPA & 28+MCAT.

    Hold off a little, i know it's hard:eek::eek::eek:. If your stats come in with other "marginal" candidates you have a better shot. Every school leaves spots open for later on. They never accept all candidates every round.

    Good luck:love:
     
  22. rub1003

    rub1003 Junior Member
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    i'm going to have to disagree with 3boysdad. making the statement "all strong applicants apply early" sounds a tad naive. also, whether you like it or not you will be compared to strong applicants as the pool of applicants is getting more competitive each year. i was definitely what 3boysdad would consider a partially strong applicant. in my experience, applying early definitely worked to my advantage. it gives adcoms a good impression about yourself from the get go. also, statistically, the odds are a bit more in your favor since the seats haven't been filled yet. later during the application, as people are getting accepted, the less spots there are to fill and the more competitive the application becomes. personally, i have applied with my partially competitive statistics twice. the first time i applied later and was waitlisted and finally rejected. the second time i applied earlier (meaning i sent my application on the very first day we could) and was accepted. bottom line is, there is no harm in applying early.
     
  23. HarveyCushing

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    :thumbup: Spice just happens to be an all-around nice guy.
     
  24. Animus

    Animus I won't deny it...
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    I, like rub, and a few other people on here have to disagree with you 3boys. I am almost certain I would have had more interviews if I had applied earlier. Especially at schools who take very few oos applicants. Those schools tend to try and get their fill of oosers from early on just to get that part over with. So apply early no matter what, they will accept more people in earlier interviewing sessions and look at people they may not look at a few weeks later.
     
  25. kaikai128

    kaikai128 Yes SIR. ;-)
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    To the OP:

    You have two options:
    1. Retake the MCAT and work really hard to improve your VR score. Maybe try a different type of review course.

    2. Apply with what you have. Apply EARLY, and apply EVERYWHERE. There ARE ppl who get in with this score. Spend a lot of time on your personal statement, make it shine...and have a bunch of people review it. Also, when you get secondary applications...make sure you take the time to write succinct and eloquent responses. Again...Apply EVERYWHERE.

    Also, if you end up with a year off. Make sure you do something productive with it...or be ready to explain it. I bartended, with only a little extra medical experience and no additional classes or retake of the MCAT, and it came up a lot in interviews (I had a good reason for doing what I did...but be ready for it).
     
  26. DoctorMom78

    DoctorMom78 Sky Glory
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    I totally disagree with not applying early. Apply the first day you can. I have a 3.2 overall and a 23 on my MCAT. If I had applied later, I really doubt I would have been so lucky. I was offered the first interview day at DCOM and one of the first at NYCOM. I am well below NYCOM's averages. While I am instate, I really doubt that they would have even looked at my application if I hadn't applied really early. The longer you wait, the less spots there are. I think that they are more willing to give someone a chance who may have some weak aspects of their application when there are lots of spots available in the class. I have known MANY strong applicants who applied late and did not get an acceptance, most likely due to the timing of their application. My advice, apply as early as possible. :luck: :)
     
  27. spicedmanna

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    There, corrected. :D ;)

    OP, if you want to apply this cycle, it would behoove you to apply EARLY. Heck, apply EARLY no matter what cycle you decide to apply. Did I mention that I think it's a wise move to apply EARLY? No?

    Okay, apply EARLY (and broadly).

    Keep in mind, however:

    Because:

    Good luck! :luck:
     
  28. DoctorMom78

    DoctorMom78 Sky Glory
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    :D :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: Agreed.
     
  29. scdocusc

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    in regards to a year off. I'm retaking the MCAT this summer, and volunteering at a free medical clinic and taking one upper level class. I was just wondering if I need to throw some more volunteering or something in there. I'm pretty busy as it is but I dont wanna get burned for the year off.
     
  30. spicedmanna

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    I don't think you need to add something else to the mix, especially if you thinking you might get burned out. It's not worth the pain. Volunteering at a free clinic is a great thing to do. See if you can garner additional responsibilities and/or offer some more time there (if you think it'll be worthwhile). At free clinics, they are often short-handed. I wonder if you might not convince them to let you check vitals or do a quick history, or something like that, under a doctor's, or nurse's supervision. That would be kind of cool. Really, it's the not the quantity that matters, at a certain point, of course, it's the quality of your experience.

    I don't know the whole picture, and clearly, you know yourself best. Do what you think will help you most. But, to me, you sound good.
     
  31. Trigger07

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    Obviously it's important to have some sweet background and extracurriculars to bank on, especially in the DO application cycle. I took the MCAT twice, the first after not really studying (bad idea) and got a 23 (8 bs, 6 vr, and 9 ps). I studied at nights after my full time job for about a month and only upped it to 24 (8 bs, 4 vr, and 12 ps). SO, our verbal scores are similar. My grades were pretty fair and with the combination of having good extracurric, as you have, I got like 6 interviews and turned down all but two. I've been accepted to both and will matriculate this fall. I think you just should try and be ready to wow them in the interview that you can actually communicate well and your test scores in verbal were just a fluke. Let me know if I can be of any more help, but you should be right on track!:)
     
  32. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect
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    This is worthless. Please disregard this advice.
     
  33. DOMb

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    from my experience this last cycle, APPLY EARLY!!!! keep in mind that does not mean just your primaries, but have everything prepared. (LOR, secondaires, essays) However, i think you need to retake your MCATs, they are on the low side. It looks like you just lost concentration on that verbal, ive been there =) Some schools will not even grant you an interview because i know some schools will screen you out. anyways, good luck with everything, its a long process, but keep at it!!!
     
  34. 3boysdad

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    I was a "semi strong" candidate and got this advice from two dean's plus a medical advisor at UG.

    Put your best "foot" forward and good luck.

    DCOM 2011:cool:
     
  35. Taty

    Taty Senior Member
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    I would say retake MCRAP again...First time I applied with a 6 and it did not get me anythere...
     
  36. digital01

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    Not sure if someone has already stated this, but the biggest problem I see is some schools have a cut off at 23, I'd suggest retaking it.
     
  37. ajg3456

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    You should definitely retake it. I wouldn't say that if you hadn't improved significantly the second time you took it. If you raise it four points again this time you'll be set. I took it 3 times (21R, 24M, 26R) and then got three interviews. I'm afraid that you'll have a hard time getting in with the 22 because so many schools have a 23 cut off. Good luck! You can do it!!
     

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