Medical How do I improve my application before applying?

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Oct 14, 2011
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I have read many other posts but I have some peculiar situations which is why I need personalized advice.
I went through all of my Undergrad as an international student at a public university. Because of legal restrictions on international students that required us only to volunteer under specific conditions (for academic credit and must be within major), all my volunteering is tied to academic credit. I couldn't scribe or do any jobs in clinical settings because international students are only legally able to work on campus. Because of the same legal issues, I was unable to do research as everyone I reached out to for years told me they could only take US citizens or permanent residents.
My cgpa is a 3.6. At the end of junior year it was a 3.73 but dipped during senior year as I was dealing with psychological trauma from a motor accident.
I am currently working on a Master's degree in Epidemiology. And I am now a permanent resident so I am eligible to volunteer and do research. I am wondering what I can do to improve my app in general and if a DIY postbac is worth it.
Also, I worry that having all my volunteering and clinical exposure concentrated in the 18 months before I apply may be a red flag.
I plan on applying in 2021 for the class of 2026.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to this.

You should be able to explain your circumstances in your application (possibly "disadvantaged applicant" or general personal statement). You have a high sGPA I presume that more postbac upper-level biomedical coursework should be okay along with a strong MCAT result. What classes (recommended, not required) do you have to take?

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Do you mean for my Master's degree or med school pre-reqs?

I said "more postbac upper-level biomedical coursework." I am familiar with Epi coursework usually offered as part of a public health/epidemiology graduate program, and upper-level biomed coursework is usually not included. Med school prereqs are chem, physics, biochem/ochem, and foundational biology. I'm talking about biomedical coursework taken in addition to basic biology, such as microbiology, genetics, gross anatomy, human physiology, immunology, histology.
Alright. When I was an undergraduate, I took Anatomy and physiology, Microbiology, and genetics. I could definitely add in immunology and other classes. Do you recommend taking them at the graduate or undergraduate level?
I can't really answer since I don't know what you are allowed to take if you are still in your masters program. It also may be set up that graduate and undergraduate students take the same physical class at that level but take different exams and have different grading experiences.

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In my school, I can take any additional classes I want at any level. Either way, they will be treated as surplus credits because they won't count for any requirements(I'm already done with my electives and the only classes I have left are Epi specific). I'm just wondering what will look better to the adcoms.

I don't think most faculty will care. Where it matters is how it could affect GPA calculations. Also normally you have a LOT MORE WORK if you take it as a graduate student. You're going to have to find out how much more.
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