CalBears05

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I'm 24 years old Junior Sociology Major at UC San Diego. Here are some of my stats:

cGPA: ~ Projected 3.7-3.8

sGPA: ~ Projected 3.5-3.7, currently taking Physics, expecting As and Bs throughout this year.

MCAT: Planning on taking in the Summer.

Volunteering: Volunteered at a local police department doing records. Volunteer at an elementary school coaching football for three years. Looking to volunteer at my local hospital and volunteer with the Search and Rescue team for the Sheriff's Department. If that doesn't work out, I want to volunteer with the juvenile probation department and mentor youth offenders.

Work experience: Worked at an elementary and junior high school for five years as a teaching Aide. I also supervised up to 100 kids after school with the after-school program. I also worked at a health club for 4 years the same time I worked at the school. I became shift supervisor. I am currently working as a Community Service Officer for the police department and respond to various calls with the police including medical, accidents, and fires.

Shadowing: None as of yet. I am searching for doctors that work in a field that interests me. But I am looking to shadow this entire school year.

Research: None yet, but a professor of mine has told me that he does research with undergraduates and to email him with my availability in future quarters. When doing research with him, he gives credit to the undergraduate as co-authors in his published articles.

So what do you all think? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? Do you think I can still apply for next year's app cycle even though I'm taking the MCAT this summer?

I am interested in Western U, as well as AT Stills.
 
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cliffhuxtableDO

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you NEED clinical experience via shadowing and volunteering. shoot for an MCAT of 25 and higher with your gpa's and you'll be fine if you apply early and broadly. look into more schools, because 2 is too much of a gamble. research is an added bonus, but not as strongly recommended.
 
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CalBears05

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Thanks for the advice. It's hard to tell where I stand when most of the people here are MD applicants. I can't really compare myself to them because they are applying to completely different schools.
 

TriagePreMed

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You are slightly above average for a WesternU applicant and definitely above most other schools. I wouldn't worry much on the academic side. Volunteering and clinical experience with DOs would make your application stronger.
 

Catalystik

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Even if you get a clinical volunteering gig going as soon as possible, applying with only 7-9 months of clinical experience will be iffy (so you should continue to augment that through the application season and advise schools of added hours via update letter). Shadowing is important, but can be done in intense spurts, like over breaks, aiming for 60-80 hours in total. It's far more important to have regular, weekly involvement with sick people in a clinical environment, so put your major emphasis, time-wise, there.

Your longevity of volunteer coaching at the school will stand out. The five years of teaching aide is terrific too. Your involvement with a police department is kinda unique, as would be search and rescue. If you can get some research experience, even only 3-4 months, it will strengthen your application.

Your projected GPAs will be very good and is thus another area of strength.
 
Oct 17, 2010
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I'm 24 years old Junior Sociology Major at UC San Diego. Here are some of my stats:

cGPA: ~ Projected 3.7-3.8

sGPA: ~ Projected 3.5-3.7, currently taking Physics, expecting As and Bs throughout this year.

MCAT: Planning on taking in the Summer.

Volunteering: Volunteered at a local police department doing records. Volunteer at an elementary school coaching football for three years. Looking to volunteer at my local hospital and volunteer with the Search and Rescue team for the Sheriff's Department. If that doesn't work out, I want to volunteer with the juvenile probation department and mentor youth offenders.

Work experience: Worked at an elementary and junior high school for five years as a teaching Aide. I also supervised up to 100 kids after school with the after-school program. I also worked at a health club for 4 years the same time I worked at the school. I became shift supervisor. I am currently working as a Community Service Officer for the police department and respond to various calls with the police including medical, accidents, and fires.

Shadowing: None as of yet. I am searching for doctors that work in a field that interests me. But I am looking to shadow this entire school year.

Research: None yet, but a professor of mine has told me that he does research with undergraduates and to email him with my availability in future quarters. When doing research with him, he gives credit to the undergraduate as co-authors in his published articles.

So what do you all think? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? Do you think I can still apply for next year's app cycle even though I'm taking the MCAT this summer?

I am interested in Western U, as well as AT Stills.
Do you have any other EC's? Something that makes you unique? People swear by clinical experience, but honestly I didn't have any and I got accepted to my number 1 school. I was however a scholarship collegiate athlete, with tons of community service, some shadowing, and research. I also had a pretty good story that I conveyed in my personal statement that has come up in all of my interviews so far as making me stand out. Of course clinical experience is great, but its not 100% necessary if you are able to stand out in other ways.
 
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CalBears05

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I appreciate your post. What are some good ideas for getting involved clinically? I know it's hard to get involved with doing clinical volunteer things at hospitals in my area. I'm part of an organization that glucose readings for patients at local clinics, and sometimes in Mexico. Should I get involved with that as much as possible?

Even if you get a clinical volunteering gig going as soon as possible, applying with only 7-9 months of clinical experience will be iffy (so you should continue to augment that through the application season and advise schools of added hours via update letter). Shadowing is important, but can be done in intense spurts, like over breaks, aiming for 60-80 hours in total. It's far more important to have regular, weekly involvement with sick people in a clinical environment, so put your major emphasis, time-wise, there.

Your longevity of volunteer coaching at the school will stand out. The five years of teaching aide is terrific too. Your involvement with a police department is kinda unique, as would be search and rescue. If you can get some research experience, even only 3-4 months, it will strengthen your application.

Your projected GPAs will be very good and is thus another area of strength.
 
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CalBears05

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Mar 7, 2008
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My work experiences make up a large part of my EC's. I worked full-time with one job, part-time with the other and went to school. At the school, I became a mentor for many of the junior high school kids going into high school over the years and they still keep in touch with me on how they are doing and with questions about school.

I think my work with the police department stands out. To be hired, we have to go through a pretty rigorous interview process and background check. They don't just take anybody and they can really expose a lot of bad apples through the process. Being involved in interesting medical calls, fires, and accidents probably makes me stand out in a way.

Do you have any other EC's? Something that makes you unique? People swear by clinical experience, but honestly I didn't have any and I got accepted to my number 1 school. I was however a scholarship collegiate athlete, with tons of community service, some shadowing, and research. I also had a pretty good story that I conveyed in my personal statement that has come up in all of my interviews so far as making me stand out. Of course clinical experience is great, but its not 100% necessary if you are able to stand out in other ways.
 

Catalystik

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1) What are some good ideas for getting involved clinically? I know it's hard to get involved with doing clinical volunteer things at hospitals in my area.

2) I'm part of an organization that glucose readings for patients at local clinics, and sometimes in Mexico. Should I get involved with that as much as possible?
1) Hospitals in my area also have a great number of hoops to jump through before you can interact with patients, so I know what you mean.

You can get clinical experience with sick people through the workplace, for class credit, data gathering for a clinical trial, or via volunteerism. It can be gained at a free, family-planning, or private clinic, hospice, VA, residential home, rehabilitation facility, or nursing home.

Clinical patient experience is not always gained in a clinical environment, eg EMT, battle field medic, home hospice care, physical therapy aide, special camp environments. In such a case, you also should also acquire some experience in a clinical milieu where doctors work, like those mentioned above.

2) That sounds like cliinical experience to me. How many hours and over what length of time have you done this? Is is possible to branch out into taking vital signs, too, or to take patient histories? Counseling on diet/exercize/smoking cessation? What is the greatest frequency this could potentially be done?
 
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CalBears05

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1) Hospitals in my area also have a great number of hoops to jump through before you can interact with patients, so I know what you mean.

You can get clinical experience with sick people through the workplace, for class credit, data gathering for a clinical trial, or via volunteerism. It can be gained at a free, family-planning, or private clinic, hospice, VA, residential home, rehabilitation facility, or nursing home.

Clinical patient experience is not always gained in a clinical environment, eg EMT, battle field medic, home hospice care, physical therapy aide, special camp environments. In such a case, you also should also acquire some experience in a clinical milieu where doctors work, like those mentioned above.

2) That sounds like cliinical experience to me. How many hours and over what length of time have you done this? Is is possible to branch out into taking vital signs, too, or to take patient histories? Counseling on diet/exercize/smoking cessation? What is the greatest frequency this could potentially be done?
Those are some great ideas. There's actually a VA Hospital on campus, affiliated with our med school. I'd like to see what I can do there.

I do the clinic for 2 hours every Saturday. I think we are trying to get the clinic to allow us to help with vital signs and things of that nature, but so far I haven't heard about its progress. We hold the clinic every Friday and Saturday but I can't get in on Fridays because of class.

I really appreciate your thoughtfulness; you have great ideas.