Sep 2, 2019
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Hi there! Thanks for taking the time to read my post

I'm a Class of 2019 college graduate who is taking a gap year (or two) for the purpose of GPA repair. I've taken the MCAT which I've luckily done well on, but am planning on doing 30-45 credits of a DIY postbacc to bump up my GPAs to the 3.4-3.5 range.

As I'm starting to get closer to applying, I've realized I haven't really critically evaluated my ECs, and would appreciate any feedback.

By the time I apply, I will likely be able to put the following on my application:

  • 1000-1500 hours of outpatient clinical scribing (Oncology)



  • ~50-60 hours of shadowing in a few different specialties



  • 2.5 years of on/off research in a computational biology lab focused on the gut microbiome. I've learned quite a bit of programming and a medley of different languages as a result of my time here - R, Python, Java, QIIME. I'm a co-author on one publication, and hope to have a few more by the time I apply. This is probably the EC I can speak the most to, as I've gained a passion for computational biology during my time in the lab. It is a desire of mine to utilize computational methods in a medical setting if I'm able to become a physician.

  • Worked three semesters as a TA for an introductory computational biology course. Really helped augment my foundational programming skills, and it was a blast getting to help others interested in pursuing the junction between programming and biology.

  • Was a member and the policy chair for the student board of my university's biological sciences college. Aided in a medley of campaigns designed to improve the day to day lives of students within the college. This included creating town halls for students to vent their frustrations in front of college faculty, including the Dean. These town halls included discussions on mental health of students, curriculum, and post graduate plans. Also helped coordinate a bunch of destress events for students near stressful times of the semester (midterms, finals, before breaks)

  • Served as the student senator for my University's college of biological sciences. Engaged in a lot of discussions surrounding student mental health, sustainability, and diversity/inclusion. I was most involved in co-authoring a resolution that involved the institution of a student research volunteer contract, as students at my university were frequently invited to conduct research at labs under false pretenses - thinking they would get to move up to their own projects, getting told they would work less than 20 hours a week, and getting told they would eventually move past autoclaving. The resolution pushed for the creation of a contract between volunteer and PI that would outline the student's role and timeframe of progression within the research lab. The resolution passed unanimously.
Also, I was part of a citizen science course Junior year where everyone in the class got to contribute to an actual research paper that got written. Our whole class was mentioned in the paper as "contributors" to the project (as class of MICB 5xxx). Is this worth mentioning? I feel as if to some, it might come off as scraping the bottom of the barrel, but I genuinely learned a lot from the experience and it fueled my interest in my other comp. bio ECs

Unfortunately, I do have a complete lack of nonclinical volunteering which I hope to address by the time I apply with ESL/ student volunteering and other assorted opportunities I can find. Furthermore, I don't have any clinical volunteering. Is that going to be a problem? I believe I have a good amount of clinical hours between scribing and my shadowing, but am wondering if clinical volunteering is a must.

I think aside from my lack of nonclinical volunteering, my ECs are decent. Am I missing anything major? Are these particularly cookie cutter? I might be more neurotic than necessary after browsing through a few forums and seeing people get put down for what I thought were genuinely interesting ECs.
Thanks for your time and feedback, I really appreciate it!
 

EmbryonalCarcinoma

Good luck, everyone!
Feb 26, 2019
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Your ECs are fantastic, but as you pointed out, you should add some nonclinical volunteering and improve your GPA. Given your extensive clinical experience, clinical volunteering is not necessary.

Consider removing your current picture and editing your post to be a little vaguer to protect your anonymity.
 
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OP
Arzangs
Sep 2, 2019
3
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Your ECs are fantastic, but as you pointed out, you should add some nonclinical volunteering and improve your GPA. Given your extensive clinical experience, clinical volunteering is not necessary.

Consider removing your current picture and editing your post to be a little vaguer to protect your anonymity.
Thanks for your response! I’ll definitely look to get started on some non-clinical service, I’m hoping I can find something I connect with relatively soon. And thanks for the heads up - I think my profile picture was pulled from FB when I created the account hahah
 
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Mr. Dr. Prof. Patrick

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editing your post to be a little vaguer to protect your anonymity.
What is this "Anonymity"?

Overall, you are looking fantasmic aside from needing to bump up that GPA a bit and raking in the volunteer hours. TBH, 5 hours every other week from now until application will be 100% enough for you. Otherwise, kill the MCAT (510+, higher is always better) and git that success!
 
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southcalcardiology

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I meant average in that they are definitely sufficient but will likely not be enough to directly lead to an acceptance. I have average EC too. To be above average (ex. Sway a committee) you should have 1st author pub, d1 athlete, started a charity) etc
 

Mr. Dr. Prof. Patrick

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I meant average in that they are definitely sufficient but will likely not be enough to directly lead to an acceptance. I have average EC too. To be above average (ex. Sway a committee) you should have 1st author pub, d1 athlete, started a charity) etc
Is cali walter.........?
 

Mr. Dr. Prof. Patrick

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I meant average in that they are definitely sufficient but will likely not be enough to directly lead to an acceptance. I have average EC too. To be above average (ex. Sway a committee) you should have 1st author pub, d1 athlete, started a charity) etc
Even @LizzyM says less than 20% of her students have a publication. Pubs are rare in the premed world.
 

StayWandering

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Jun 18, 2018
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I meant average in that they are definitely sufficient but will likely not be enough to directly lead to an acceptance. I have average EC too. To be above average (ex. Sway a committee) you should have 1st author pub, d1 athlete, started a charity) etc
Not true. OP is more than fine (with the exception of needing a bit more nonclinical volunteering), and so are you if you had ten interview invitations.

Please stop putting others down and/or diminishing their accomplishments. The fact that you're willing to say the same things about yourself doesn't make it any better.
 

southcalcardiology

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I ain’t no Walter. I don’t think you need any of that stuff to get accepted but I refuse to consider something “great” unless it can actually sway an adcom on its own merits (relatively speaking)
 

Jeremy Bearimy

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I ain’t no Walter. I don’t think you need any of that stuff to get accepted but I refuse to consider something “great” unless it can actually sway an adcom on its own merits (relatively speaking)
I thought you just found SDN yesterday

edit: @EmbryonalCarcinoma dang, great minds.
 
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Mr. Dr. Prof. Patrick

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southcalcardiology

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I am also acting in good faith. I’m sorry but I legit have below average ecs myself. To clarify what I meant. Op your ec would never be enough to keep you out of any school in the nation. But I’m sorry I won’t sugarcoat things and say that these ECs would be good enough without stats to land T20 acceptances
 

Mr. Dr. Prof. Patrick

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But I’m sorry I won’t sugarcoat things and say that these ECs would be good enough without stats to land T20 acceptances
Even with phenomenal ECs applicants still need the stats to back up a T20 acceptance. I am not shy in stating I have Walter-lite ECs, but I would likely have zero T20 interviews if it were not for a 521 MCAT. ECs alone don't get anyone into any school let alone a T20, so your entire point is moot.
 
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I am also acting in good faith. I’m sorry but I legit have below average ecs myself. To clarify what I meant. Op your ec would never be enough to keep you out of any school in the nation. But I’m sorry I won’t sugarcoat things and say that these ECs would be good enough without stats to land T20 acceptances
Even with phenomenal ECs applicants still need the stats to back up a T20 acceptance. I am not shy in stating I have Walter-lite ECs, but I would likely have zero T20 interviews if it were not for a 521 MCAT. ECs alone don't get anyone into any school let alone a T20, so your entire point is moot.
That’s all well-and-good but, unless my eyes are lying to me, OP never asked about “T20” anything.
 

Mr. Dr. Prof. Patrick

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That’s all well-and-good but, unless my eyes are lying to me, OP never asked about “T20” anything.
Sorry, I was responding to SoCal - OP is not asking about T20s. Will halt that line of response as OP don't care.
 
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Jeremy Bearimy

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That’s the gold standard though
For you, obviously yes. But not everyone is you. If you want to work in primary care in North Carolina and graduate with super low debt, ECU is probably the gold standard. If you really want to get up close and personal with healthcare policy, I'm guessing GW is your gold standard. If your significant other is partway through a PhD at the University of Kentucky, I bet you're really just praying Kentucky lets you in. The point is people have different priorities and no need to tell OP they're average when they have 2.5 years of research and 4 digits of clinical experience.
 
OP
Arzangs
Sep 2, 2019
3
6
Thanks for all your responses, I genuinely appreciate the feedback and your perspectives! I’ll be on the lookout for nonclinical experiences I click with and can get excited about.

And yeah, not really aiming for any specific tier of medical schools, just hoping to get in to any school that gives me a chance! Hopefully one that’s a good fit for me and my skills as well