mspeedwagon

7+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2009
2,097
450
181
Florida
Status
Medical Student
Hi All, Thank you for reading this. I would like advice on what areas of my overall application I should improve.

I have bolded the most important sections, but added a lot of detail. I really want to be a doctor and will be leaving a career in the biotech/pharma world to pursue it. I currently work full-time and part-time. I am not taking any classes currently and just prepping for a possible MCAT re-take.

I still need to take g-chem II lab and o-chem I and II lab and that will wrap-up the courses portion of my pre-med journey. I think my biggest negative is that I took classes one at a time, though I did pretty well over all. Also, my MCAT score is 26 (9 PS, 8 VR, 9 BS).

I'm a 31 year old, African-American/Caucasian New York resident. I graduated from an Ivy League college as a member of the Class of 2005. Neither of my parents attended college, but I have siblings that did. I will be applying as an economically disadvantaged applicant. I am aiming to start medical school in the Fall of 2015.

Here is my work experience (have solid recommendations from M.D.s at all places (and one D.O. at Stanford)):
- From 2011 to current, I worked as an oncology clinical research monitor for Pfizer till August 2012. I did similar work for Ariad Pharmaceutical from August, 2012 till April 2014. I now work with Johnson & Johnson.
- From 2008 to 2010, worked in the biotech field (full-time) at a start-up company as a clinical research associate. I helped develop, run and monitor Phase I and II trials for leukemia and influenza.
- From 2009 to current, work part-time as a regulatory and data consultant for the Stanford pediatric oncology department assisting with sorting through all regulatory (FDA compliance) work.
- From 2007-2008, worked full-time in the Stanford pediatric oncology department as the lead clinical research coordinator, managing a team of seven employees and doing pediatric clinical oncology research (primary focus: Hodgkin's disease, Neuroblastoma, Wilms Tumors).
- From 2005-2007 worked at the Dana-Farber Havard Cancer Center working on clinical research focused on pediatric sarcomas.

Here are my extra-curriculars / summer work experience / awards (starting to compile an extensive list as I don't remember everything, but here are the main ones):
- Have shadowed physicians at all the jobs listed above so, while I haven't kept a running count of hours, I'd easily say hundreds of hours shadowing pediatric oncologists, pediatric ENTs, pediatric radiologists and could shadow more, but think this might be overkill.
- Volunteer work over the summers of my freshman and sophomore year at the Mass Eye and Year Infirmary (worked in the pediatric ENT office and got to play with children and shadow the ENT. I also worked on the surgery floor).
- Summer work with underpriviliged kids in Baltimore teaching english. I received a citation of merit from the mayor of Baltimore for this work. This was during my junior year.

- A number of activities during college and post: Was a teaching assistant for one course in management and worked as a peer tutor. Worked with a science outreach program teaching science to elementary school kids throughout college. Involved in the college swing dance club (still do this locally), the international student club, student radio, wrote for a publication, played soccer and basketball at the intramural level (still play locally at the YMCA) and was a tour guide for my college. Also, ran a number of races (such as the Boston Half-Marathon, Providence 5K). Also, worked as a chemistry lab assistant for three years (sophomore through senior) and as part of the college annual fund for a year (as a freshman). I volunteer as an alumni interviewer for my alma mater.

Here are my stats based on the Johnny Equizabal AMCAS calculator:
Undergraduate (Ivy League - triple major (biology, sociology, organizational theory)).
Overall GPA (to date): (c: 3.61, s: 3.55 for M.D.) (c: 3.67, s: 3.77 for D.O.)
(Broken down by year):
Freshman: (c:3.25, s:3.0)
Sophomore (c: 3.14, s: 2.67)
Junior (c: 3.67, s: 3.5)
Senior (c: 4.0, s: 4.0)
Post-bac - multiple institutions (c: 3.80, s: 3.87) - pending G-Chem II lab and O-Chem I lab.

Academic References I have obtained two science recommendations (my o-chem professor and a physics lab instructor), one non-science recommendation (a sociology professor from college) and two physician recommendations (one from an M.D. and another from a D.O.).
 
Last edited:

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,600
281
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Yay bolding for emphasis!

California can really bite you despite great stats, and ignore you without them. I'd say 32 minimum MCAT for UCs, and hire Judy Colwell to make your presentation stellar.

Go get 'em.
 
OP
M

mspeedwagon

7+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2009
2,097
450
181
Florida
Status
Medical Student
Thank you. I don't think above 32 should be too much of a problem (I should have a good idea by the fall). A balanced score above a 32 may be more of a problem (I think I should have a high verbal score; haven't taken physics yet, so currently struggling on the PS section).
*Apparently a 32 is much harder than I had anticipated.*

I was thinking about using Judy (she lives one town over from me). Have you had any experience with her?


Yay bolding for emphasis!

California can really bite you despite great stats, and ignore you without them. I'd say 32 minimum MCAT for UCs, and hire Judy Colwell to make your presentation stellar.

Go get 'em.
 
Last edited:

7starmantis

10+ Year Member
Jul 10, 2008
8,453
4,545
281
Three Sheets to the Wind
I think you have a great application already. If I would add to it I would say show some "fun" or hobbies. Your application has a "stiff" feel to it that , while its pretty close to stellar in many aspects fails to represent who you are. Just my humble opinion.

I have no idea about CA schools, but I would think anything above a 30 should put you in the drivers seat. You might really reconsider applying out of state though, CA is typically very competitive and problematic.

Edit: Oh by the way, I never paid anyone to read, proof, edit, help, talk about, or anything else any part of my application. I didn't even take an MCAT course, or study with fellow pre-meds in my pre-med club (rarely attended meetings unless there was food). So take this with a grain of salt, but I dont recommend paid services for application as I think a huge part of an individuals application is their own personality which can sometimes be overlooked when using a professional. I have no doubt my unique and personal application is what got me all my acceptances.

Just my own humble opinions. Good luck!
 

MacVA

10+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2008
214
20
0
Status
Non-Student
Also, my girlfriend, who I plan to get engaged too will be appplying to start residency in in 2012, so we'd try to like and match our lists. She is at SUNY upstate (has NY residency) for medical school, but is open to anywhere (that is warmer) for her residency.
Honestly, I don't think you will have any problem getting into a medical school. This above however will be an issue. Like I said I think you are my SDN twin - I am in the same situation.

First off, she cannot do a DO residency. Also, depending on what she wants to do it could make it significantally more difficult to match and get in at the same school. After watching 20+ friends match this past week, I have learned one thing: the MATCH is a crapshot. I watched a friend of mine with AOA, Top 5 medical school match to his 4th choice in a relatively non competitive speciality. I watched people that would be lucky to match anywhere (See two failed board attempts) match at their #1 choices.

If you want more specifics/what I plan on doing with my situation... Let me know...
 
OP
M

mspeedwagon

7+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2009
2,097
450
181
Florida
Status
Medical Student
I don't think this will be an issue. We will have been distance for four years throughout her medical school, so three more years shouldn't be that bad. We're both still young. She plans to do pediatrics and as long as she is near a major airport, I don't think we should have any problems. I have a ton of frequent flyer miles so I should be able to fly free for a long time. The plan is just for both us to end up on the same coast.


Honestly, I don't think you will have any problem getting into a medical school. This above however will be an issue. Like I said I think you are my SDN twin - I am in the same situation.

First off, she cannot do a DO residency. Also, depending on what she wants to do it could make it significantally more difficult to match and get in at the same school. After watching 20+ friends match this past week, I have learned one thing: the MATCH is a crapshot. I watched a friend of mine with AOA, Top 5 medical school match to his 4th choice in a relatively non competitive speciality. I watched people that would be lucky to match anywhere (See two failed board attempts) match at their #1 choices.

If you want more specifics/what I plan on doing with my situation... Let me know...
 
Last edited:
OP
M

mspeedwagon

7+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2009
2,097
450
181
Florida
Status
Medical Student
I guess I didn't really highlight the fun stuff. I have a ton: swing dancing (which I have done for 10 years), soccer, basketball, ping pong, running, to mention a few. And, yes, I will definitely be applying out of state (generally west coast and southeast would be the preference, but I'll go anywhere I can get in... including abroad if needed).


I think you have a great application already. If I would add to it I would say show some "fun" or hobbies. Your application has a "stiff" feel to it that , while its pretty close to stellar in many aspects fails to represent who you are. Just my humble opinion.

I have no idea about CA schools, but I would think anything above a 30 should put you in the drivers seat. You might really reconsider applying out of state though, CA is typically very competitive and problematic.

Edit: Oh by the way, I never paid anyone to read, proof, edit, help, talk about, or anything else any part of my application. I didn't even take an MCAT course, or study with fellow pre-meds in my pre-med club (rarely attended meetings unless there was food). So take this with a grain of salt, but I dont recommend paid services for application as I think a huge part of an individuals application is their own personality which can sometimes be overlooked when using a professional. I have no doubt my unique and personal application is what got me all my acceptances.

Just my own humble opinions. Good luck!
 
Last edited:

MegaSpectacular

Removed
Dec 27, 2009
321
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you. I don't think above 32 should be too much of a problem (I should have a good idea by the fall). A balanced score above a 32 may be more of a problem (I think I should easily have a high verbal score; haven't taken physics yet, so currently struggling on the PS section).

I was thinking about using Judy (she lives one town over from me). Have you had any experience with her?
Don't count on verbal being high!

I know people scoring 15s on practice and who came out with an 11. Just realize that verbal can fluctuate easily once you are above 11.
 

MegaSpectacular

Removed
Dec 27, 2009
321
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I think you have a great application already. If I would add to it I would say show some "fun" or hobbies. Your application has a "stiff" feel to it that , while its pretty close to stellar in many aspects fails to represent who you are. Just my humble opinion.

I have no idea about CA schools, but I would think anything above a 30 should put you in the drivers seat. You might really reconsider applying out of state though, CA is typically very competitive and problematic.

Edit: Oh by the way, I never paid anyone to read, proof, edit, help, talk about, or anything else any part of my application. I didn't even take an MCAT course, or study with fellow pre-meds in my pre-med club (rarely attended meetings unless there was food). So take this with a grain of salt, but I dont recommend paid services for application as I think a huge part of an individuals application is their own personality which can sometimes be overlooked when using a professional. I have no doubt my unique and personal application is what got me all my acceptances.

Just my own humble opinions. Good luck!
don't pay for application service... yuck. SDN has much better advice. Use the search function and invest some time/post threads like this.
 

MegaSpectacular

Removed
Dec 27, 2009
321
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I guess I didn't really highlight the fun stuff. I have a ton: swing dancing (which I have done for 10 years), soccer, basketball, ping pong, running and I am working on my private pilot license, to mention a few. And, yes, I will definitely be applying out of state (generally west coast and southeast would be the preference, but I'll go anywhere I can get in... including abroad if needed).
lol, i had to disagree with the previous poster, most everyone has a few things they do for fun, more or less doesn't make you a better applicant (IMHO)
 
OP
M

mspeedwagon

7+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2009
2,097
450
181
Florida
Status
Medical Student
Thank you for your advice. I am not counting on a high VS, but I expect it to be my highest section. I was a biology major, though I haven't had any biology in 5 years, so I'm hoping that an MCAT course will refresh this for me. And, as I said, I haven't had Physics yet. It'll come together by 2011.

I have been going back and forth about using a service, but I agree that there is great advice on here and even people willing to read personal statements (once drafted I'll ask for volunteers and I'll forever be willing to read others in appreciation). I am leaning toward the route of just posting on here and I want to thank everyone that replies to these as your advice is an invaluable resource to me and so many out there.

don't pay for application service... yuck. SDN has much better advice. Use the search function and invest some time/post threads like this.
 
Last edited:

riverjib

5+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2009
639
3
141
NY
Status
Pre-Medical
I'll be honest--your long post, combined with too much bold-facing lost me. I noticed your mediocre GPA, but you seem to have decent ECs. The non-traditional and underrepresented thing will work in your favor. Focus on your MCAT and PS.
 
OP
M

mspeedwagon

7+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2009
2,097
450
181
Florida
Status
Medical Student
Thanks for the suggestion. I actually went back and edited the post a bit as a result of your feedback. I intend to keep this as a running list for myself too. And I agree the GPA is low, but I'm hoping with the last few science classes to get it to above a 3.6c/3.5s (probably the best I can do at this point).
 
Last edited:
Aug 22, 2009
446
1
0
Status
Medical Student
don't pay for application service... yuck. SDN has much better advice. Use the search function and invest some time/post threads like this.
I don't mean to bring up an old thread but...I stumbled upon this.

Judy is worth it. I happened to get her free via Stanford, but I know how much she costs. Let's say...I attribute a lot of my acceptances to her. SDN consists mostly of pre-meds helping pre-meds. She actually has experience, knows the ins and outs, and totally is worth it.
Most services out there have no idea what they're talking about, but from personal experience, if you find the right person, this process is so arbitrary and nuanced that even the slightest difference in how you present yourself is the difference b/w a WL and acceptance (which a experienced individual can help you w/).
 
OP
M

mspeedwagon

7+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2009
2,097
450
181
Florida
Status
Medical Student
I greatly appreciate your input. I am most likely going to make some use of her to do an overall review of my application and some interview prep (especially since she lives a town over and she is not cost prohibitively expensive to me currently). I'm going to wait till I have an idea on how I am fairing on the MCAT to make a final decision (obviously she won't be able to help me much if I have a very low score on the MCAT, though I doubt this will the case, but who knows?), but thank you for letting me know about your experience working with her.

I don't mean to bring up an old thread but...I stumbled upon this.

Judy is worth it. I happened to get her free via Stanford, but I know how much she costs. Let's say...I attribute a lot of my acceptances to her. SDN consists mostly of pre-meds helping pre-meds. She actually has experience, knows the ins and outs, and totally is worth it.
Most services out there have no idea what they're talking about, but from personal experience, if you find the right person, this process is so arbitrary and nuanced that even the slightest difference in how you present yourself is the difference b/w a WL and acceptance (which a experienced individual can help you w/).
 
Last edited:
Jun 15, 2010
39
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
do I really have to comment here, because you look like a better applicant than me :laugh:. My only advice for MCAT study is to do practice exams. I did them every other week, even before I studied. Also with the side from TPR, try out ExamKrackers. Although there are fully more in depth, they really elaborate on materials and pointers that will help you. it worked for me! 4 more days till I get my results!!! best of luck
 

XUYunChao

5+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2010
10
0
91
Status
Hey mspeedwagon

I just wanna say thank you for replying to my thread on non-traditional international application.

Wishing you a successful and fruitful journey. I believe you have what it takes to be a good, competent doctor. :) Your future patients will certainly benefit from consulting you. Onwards & all the best!:thumbup:
 
Apr 8, 2012
60
29
51
Status
Pre-Medical
ah man, I have no idea what I can input here! seems like you've got quite a solid application. just make sure to do well on the mcat (obviously haha).

thanks for your great advice on my other thread. and good luck!
 
OP
M

mspeedwagon

7+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2009
2,097
450
181
Florida
Status
Medical Student
Applied both MD and DO. On the MD end I've applied to primarily to the SUNYs and a few other schools in the NY/CT area. On the DO end, LMU-DCOM, PCOM, VCOM, LECOM, NOVA, NYIT and Touro-NV.

I'm complete at all MD schools except Albany Medical College (for which I will turn in the secondary this week). I haven't received many DO secondaries yet, but I've heard they tend to take more time to be sent out than MD schools so I'm hopeful that I'll get a few during the upcoming week.

what's your school list?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mr.Happy

Mr.Happy

Membership Revoked
Removed
Account on Hold
Jun 2, 2014
169
49
11
Status
Pre-Medical
Applied both MD and DO. On the MD end I've applied to primarily to the SUNYs and a few other schools in the NY/CT area. On the DO end, LMU-DCOM, PCOM, VCOM, LECOM, NOVA, NYIT and Touro-NV.

I'm complete at all MD schools except Albany Medical College (for which I will turn in the secondary this week). I haven't received many DO secondaries yet, but I've heard they tend to take more time to be sent out than MD schools so I'm hopeful that I'll get a few during the upcoming week.
I wish you the best!
 
Sep 29, 2014
46
5
11
Status
Pre-Medical
wishing you tons of luck! I'm a NY state resident too, hoping to get into a SUNY. we have almost the same GPA too! my MCAT is a 29 but I got a 7 in PS.
your work experience and extracurriculars are awesome!