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How do I use the MSAR to decide on a list of schools to apply to?

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LuluLovesMe

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I'm planning to apply to about 20 schools. I have a GPA that puts me around the 10% for most schools (c3.56, s3.41) and I am waiting on Dec. 6 MCAT scores to come back (Hoping to get over 35 as my practice test average was a 38). I have a few questions.

1. Of these 20 schools, how many should be reaches? How many "safeties"? Should these safeties be DO schools?

2. What would a reach even be? Every school feels like a reach to me. Is Brown or Einstein a possibility?

3. What schools would be good matches? If my GPA is at their 10% and my MCAT is at their 90% is that then a good match?
I'm considering Tufts, BU, UMass, Quinnipiac, NY Med, Albany, Virginia Tech Carilion, Rosy Frank, Drexel, George Washington, Georgetown, Wake Forest.

4. Could I even consider DO schools safeties at all or am I not a strong enough applicant?
I am looking at TOURO-NY, NYCOM, Rowan and PCOM

I don't know much about schools and my list may be completely off. Any of these schools out of place? Please enlighten me! I'd love to hear any other suggestions especially for city schools outside of the New England area. Still need to add about 6-7 schools to this list.
 
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Strategies vary depending on strength of MCAT score, so I won't go there, but here is an example of picking schools based on the Lizzy M score: MCAT + [(cGPA) X 10]

Download this google.doc spreadsheet data (an SDN collaborative effort from 6/2011), so you can fill in your own stats (on the “Your Stats” sheet at the very bottom), and it will tell you for which US med schools MD and DO) you’re competitive. You may need to add in any new schools not yet included. And keep in mind that these are matriculant stats from public sources, not acceptee stats from the MSAR.
https://spreadsheets.google.com/spr...Ex2MjlBTDE0bXFXNGFZczZqYTZKb2c&hl=en_US#gid=0

Next look at the sheet's in-state matriculation data before you do further research on each school, removing any from your list that take more than 85% in-state students (or choose your own cutpoint):

Then look up the mission statement of each in the MSAR, and be sure your ECs are a "fit" for the school. If you have one summer of research and no leadership, then consider going light on Top Twenties, for example. If you have no nonmedical community service to the poor, then avoid schools with a humanitarian mission. Be alert for regional bias or a requirement for strong state ties.

Once you have a list, check out other factors that you care about: curriculum type, grading policy, weather, safety of area, rural vs city, cost of living & cost of attending, jobs or schools for significant others, location of clinical sites, proximity to home, etc, and use those to prune the list to a manageable number.
 

Goro

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I'm not a fan of reaches. To most people on SDN reach means high stat school I'd really like to go to, even though my stats are nowhere near theres".

I recommend paying careful attention to the 10-90th %ile range that the schools have. If your stats are in them, then go for it. BUT, keep in mind that the higher the tier of the school, the closer your stats should be to their median. This is why I constantly advise people to apply strategically.

DO schools are always safety schools. We know this and we don't mind.

1. Of these 20 schools, how many should be reaches? How many "safeties"? Should these safeties be DO schools?

See above. I think Einstein is in striking distance for you. Your stats aren't that bad, and I can think of at least 15-20 MD schools that you'd be a good candidate for, not including your state schools. I'm leery of recommending Brown because they heavily favor their own UGs.
2. What would a reach even be? Every school feels like a reach to me. Is Brown or Einstein a possibility?

Sometimes. Because it's a seller's market, school get their pick of people whose GPAs and MCAT scores are not so imbalanced.
3. What schools would be good matches? If my GPA is at their 10% and my MCAT is at their 90% is that then a good match?

These are all good choices. I'd also add ANY new MD school, Temple, Jefferson, Creighton, Rush, MCW, SLU, Tulane, U Miami, and Loma Linda (but read their list of don'ts). Are you a MA resident? If so, the U MA is fine. If not, scratch it off your list. Also consider U VM.
I'm considering Tufts, BU, UMass, Quinnipiac, NY Med, Albany, Virginia Tech Carilion, Rosy Frank, Drexel, George Washington, Georgetown, Wake Forest.

You're fine for ANY DO school with your GPAs.
4. Could I even consider DO schools safeties at all or am I not a strong enough applicant?
I am looking at TOURO-NY, NYCOM, Rowan and PCOM


I don't know much about schools and my list may be completely off. Please enlighten me! I'd love to hear any other suggestions especially for city schools outside of the New England area. Still need to add about 6-7 schools to this list..
 
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LuluLovesMe

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Thanks Goro! Always super helpful. What schools would be considered new MD schools? LMCE accredited in the last 4 years? And why do you suggest weaker applicants apply to them?
 

outdoorsmd

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Goro you are awesome! Thanks so much for taking so much of your time and effort to answer all of our crazy pre-med questions..,I'm sure it can tiring at best to answer the same questions over and over again!

My question is this. What if there is a pretty big discrepancy between cGPA( high)and sGPA( lower) + 90% for MCAT? How do pick schools to apply to? MSAR and LizzyM just uses cGPA. Is someone like that in need of post bacc?
 

LuluLovesMe

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I'm surprised that Goro puts up with us haha. We tend to ask the same neurotic premed questions over and over in different ways when we should just be focusing on improving our apps. Oh well I'm glad he's here.
 
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Goro

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My pleasure to help. I define "new schools" as those that have opened within the past 5 or so years. This would include Hofstra, Quinnipiac, TCMC, the three new ones in MI, FIU, FAU and Va Tech. Because they are new, many candidates shy away from them because of the unknowns (no match list, unknown curriculum, no student feedback, etc). Therefore, the schools can't be as picky as established schools.

Thanks Goro! Always super helpful. What schools would be considered new MD schools? LMCE accredited in the last 4 years? And why do you suggest weaker applicants apply to them?

Different schools have different criteria that they value. Some especially like high MCATs an may cut some slack on GPA; some cut some slack on MCAT VR, some like GPA and cute some slack on MCAT. I view a much weaker sGPA as a warning that the applicant might have trouble with a med school curriculum. But there's a difference between a straight 3.0 student and one who has a mix of Cs and As. Sometimes one has to apply with the app you have, warts and all, and see how the cycle shakes out.

Goro you are awesome! Thanks so much for taking so much of your time and effort to answer all of our crazy pre-med questions..,I'm sure it can tiring at best to answer the same questions over and over again!

My question is this. What if there is a pretty big discrepancy between cGPA( high)and sGPA( lower) + 90% for MCAT? How do pick schools to apply to? MSAR and LizzyM just uses cGPA. Is someone like that in need of post bacc?
 
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