Apr 14, 2010
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Hey everyone,

I'm applying to school this coming June and I was wondering if anyone could give me some opinion of what they think my chances are.. I'm a NY state resident

3.6 gpa overall (3.6 science) at top 20 undergrad
31Q MCAT (11B, 10PS, 10V)
Edit: sorry, forgot to mention only took MCAT once..

I used the "competitiveness" tool from SDN website, which said I'm competitive for most of my state schools..

Research:
1 semester undergrad biophysics lab
1 summer research assistant (same biophysics lab)
--> publication co-author (2nd author)
1 year post-bac IRTA at NIH (staying on for 2nd year)
--> publication (not 1st or 2nd author..) under review

Clinical:
2 summers shadowing at doctor's office (same doctor)
5 months volunteering at OR
5 months shadowing at OR (multiple doctors, different surgeries)

Volunteering:
1 summer American Cancer Society (highschool)
100 hours at Bowery Mission (highschool)
Habitat for Humanity (college)

I'm worried because I feel like nothing stands out really in my application. Nowadays everyone has the research, clinical experiences, etc.. But my gpa isn't strong, nor is my MCAT and I think I'm severely lacking in the clinical aspect.. The only thing that's working for me is I'm applying early (haha, but seems like most people on this site are)..

Any comments/opinions would be appreciated.
 
Sep 4, 2006
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I think your numbers are fine and that your research will be well above average. High school activities are generally not regarded or useful unless you continued the activity into the college years, leaving you with the hours at H for H for your nonmedical community service.

You don't mention your shadowing total hours, but if it were at least 60 hours and one of the physicians shadowed was in primary care, you'll be fine there. Having only 5 months of clinical experience would make your application very iffy. Is it p[ossible that some of the time in the doctor's office resulted in your interacting with or providing a service to some of the sick people. If so, carve out those hours or percentage of the time and list it as clinical experience instead, with a description of what you did.

Any teaching, leadership, sport, artistic endeavors, or hobbies to round out the application?

My impression from what you've listed is that you're correct; nothing really stands out with the exception of the research (so why not get a PhD?, adcomms would wonder). Have you considered waiting until you complete the second year at the NIH before applying so you can beef up some other areas? Not just clinical experience, but also nonmedical community service, and either leadership or teaching (or both) to give yourself a better shot at a successful application cycle.
 
Apr 14, 2010
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I think your numbers are fine and that your research will be well above average. High school activities are generally not regarded or useful unless you continued the activity into the college years, leaving you with the hours at H for H for your nonmedical community service.

You don't mention your shadowing total hours, but if it were at least 60 hours and one of the physicians shadowed was in primary care, you'll be fine there. Having only 5 months of clinical experience would make your application very iffy. Is it p[ossible that some of the time in the doctor's office resulted in your interacting with or providing a service to some of the sick people. If so, carve out those hours or percentage of the time and list it as clinical experience instead, with a description of what you did.

Any teaching, leadership, sport, artistic endeavors, or hobbies to round out the application?

My impression from what you've listed is that you're correct; nothing really stands out with the exception of the research (so why not get a PhD?, adcomms would wonder). Have you considered waiting until you complete the second year at the NIH before applying so you can beef up some other areas? Not just clinical experience, but also nonmedical community service, and either leadership or teaching (or both) to give yourself a better shot at a successful application cycle.
Thanks for your resposne.

As for my shadowing hours, it's close to ~100 hours at a pediatrician's office, though it was mostly observing and interacting with the physician between patients, etc. And then ~80 hours at the OR shadowing different surgeons.

I really hate to use this as an excuse (and did not even mention it in my PS) but college was a pretty tumultuous time for me. My grades reflect that as there is an increase in my GPA from year to year. My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimers and I actually commuted ~10 hours from school to home almost every weekend to help take care of her. It was pretty difficult to adjust in my freshman year and it really took a toll on me. So other than trying to fit in Habitat for Humanity on build days and tutoring SAT on Thursday nights (needed the money to pay for school) I was really tight on time and couldn't participate in a lot of clubs.

As for teaching:
-Elementary school teacher for past 5 summers at church
-Tutored SAT verbal and writing to 3 students my junior and senior year in college
-Currently tutoring a student in SAT math, verbal, writing while working at NIH

And as for leadership, I was president of my youth group my junior and senior year of HS (I guess that doesn't really count), and vice-president of my Christian fellowship in college.

I really would like to apply this coming cycle.. I took the MCATs in the summer of 08 so should probably apply soon unless I plan on retaking, which I would really like to avoid..

Any comments appreciated.

Thanks
 
Apr 14, 2010
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Your stats are almost exactly that of the average matriculant. But you have much better research. My thinking is that make sure you are doing something clincial now and through the season for update letters, apply early+broad, and it will pan out for you. Although its true for everyone, I would be especially sure that your PS strongly conveys your passion for medicine. If it sounds like you really want it, I'd bet that you get it. (Don't ask me how exactly to do that! That's what I'm trying to figure out myself right now.)

Good luck! You'll be fine, but just my opinion.
Thanks so much!! Good luck to you too~
 
Sep 4, 2006
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So you're pretty solid for teaching. You do have leadership. You have to list the experience with your grandmother for two reasons: 1) It was clinical experience over a period of time, and 2) it shows altruism. It fills in the gaps where you are lacking the most important experiences.

You have some choices about how to fit it in: You could discuss it in your PS, but if it had no bearing on your decision to go into medicine, it should not be there. Or, you could use it for the subject of a Secondary essay on 1) A challenge you overcame, 2) A stress and how you managed it or 3) Discuss blips in your academic road. Or you could list it in the Experiences section as a voluntary clinical experience. The latter is the option I'd choose, as it is essential that it come to the attention of whoever scores your Primary application or the rest may be looked at.

Whatever you decide to do, it is essential that you engage in traditional clinical experience during your application year (3-4 hours per week is fine), so you have pertinent information to mention in update letters and at interviews that may sway adcomms postively.
 

ucsfstudents

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You have great research experience. Because of your GPA/MCAT, I recommend applying broadly (mix of top and middle tier schools). I'm sure you will do well. Agree with above posts.