pennnylane

10+ Year Member
Oct 31, 2007
40
1
Philadelphia, PA
Status
Pre-Medical
+pity+Like many sdn-ers, this application cycle didn't turn out as i had anticipated. But maybe my bigger problem is that I haven't spent enough time seriously formulating 'plan B' and setting myself up for next year, now that it doesn't look like im going to school in the fall. I have yet to call the schools I applied to and ask for advice on where my application could be improved. But since I haven't gotten around to it yet :)thumbdown) , I thought I'd try to minimize some of the damage by asking yall for your opinion on where my application was weak, and what I should do next year while I reapply to strengthen it.

Here is my MDApps:
http://www.mdapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?id=9340

...and here is some relevant info...
BA in Psychology / Pre-Med from a top 20 ranked university.
3.57 GPA
3.11 BCPM GPA
MCAT: 11 VR 10 BS 9 PS (30Q)
Graduated 05/2007, spent the past year with Americorps. Taught nutrition & fitness programs to women in outpatient & inpatient drug & alcohol rehab programs, health centers, after-school programs, etc around the city as the sole teacher for my organization's cardiovascular risk-reduction program.

I thought I applied pretty broadly. I had only 1 interview invite and it ended in a waitlist. I have been told my interviewing skills are very good. My guess is that my science GPA was my main problem. Opinions?

I'd rather not do something this next year that is solely to 'pad' my application. For example, I'd like to avoid a post-bacc program, unless i am positive that gpa is the problem, and that taking 2-3 science courses wouldn't fix it. I'd rather expand my interests / experience than repeat what I did in undergrad. Plus I can't really afford to spend another year PAYING for school AND not making any money. Would research be a better option, or is it possible that it'd land me in the same boat as I am now? Other ideas of things that would really make me a stronger applicant? God, I'll even retake the mcat if i have to...

Any advice would be greaaatly appreciated. I guess it's no surprise that this has been a discouraging process, but I'm ready to move on and forward, if I can just point myself in the right direction.
 

copperfrog09

10+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2008
725
0
Status
Medical Student
There doesn't seem to be any really gaping holes in your application.. your science GPA is low and your MCAT isn't really high enough to make up for it, but if you applied broadly that shouldn't be the problem. I think you could have applied even more broadly then you did, however. When did you apply/ were you complete?
 

scarletgirl777

10+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2008
2,369
158
Status
Medical Student
+pity+Like many sdn-ers, this application cycle didn't turn out as i had anticipated. But maybe my bigger problem is that I haven't spent enough time seriously formulating 'plan B' and setting myself up for next year, now that it doesn't look like im going to school in the fall. I have yet to call the schools I applied to and ask for advice on where my application could be improved. But since I haven't gotten around to it yet :)thumbdown) , I thought I'd try to minimize some of the damage by asking yall for your opinion on where my application was weak, and what I should do next year while I reapply to strengthen it.

Here is my MDApps:
http://www.mdapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?id=9340

...and here is some relevant info...
BA in Psychology / Pre-Med from a top 20 ranked university.
3.57 GPA
3.11 BCPM GPA
MCAT: 11 VR 10 BS 9 PS (30Q)
Graduated 05/2007, spent the past year with Americorps. Taught nutrition & fitness programs to women in outpatient & inpatient drug & alcohol rehab programs, health centers, after-school programs, etc around the city as the sole teacher for my organization's cardiovascular risk-reduction program.

I thought I applied pretty broadly. I had only 1 interview invite and it ended in a waitlist. I have been told my interviewing skills are very good. My guess is that my science GPA was my main problem. Opinions?

I'd rather not do something this next year that is solely to 'pad' my application. For example, I'd like to avoid a post-bacc program, unless i am positive that gpa is the problem, and that taking 2-3 science courses wouldn't fix it. I'd rather expand my interests / experience than repeat what I did in undergrad. Plus I can't really afford to spend another year PAYING for school AND not making any money. Would research be a better option, or is it possible that it'd land me in the same boat as I am now? Other ideas of things that would really make me a stronger applicant? God, I'll even retake the mcat if i have to...

Any advice would be greaaatly appreciated. I guess it's no surprise that this has been a discouraging process, but I'm ready to move on and forward, if I can just point myself in the right direction.

It seems like your numbers and even your ECS are kind of average, but your choice of places to apply does not reflect that. You only applied to about 13 schools...why didn't you apply to more, and why didn't you apply to more of the schools in PA? But I guess if you're saying, how can I apply to exactly these same set of schools and get in, then yes, you would have to drastically change your application be it with postbac or better MCAT.
 

nick_carraway

10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2007
3,556
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I bet that schools you'll contact will say that it's the Science GPA and that a few more will say that it's the MCAT.

That's what they said for me and my stats were a little higher than yours except for the overall GPA.

The only other comments they made on my app were less clinical experience than ideal. You don't seem to have that issue though.

As for remedies, schools mostly told me to take more undergrad classes or a SMP. It was up to me which one I did. It may not be ideal for you to take one of those options, but it might just be the best idea. Extending your current ECs is also a possibility but most of your ECs have already been long-term.

Other than that, apply to a larger list of schools next time. While somewhat broad, your scope of schools was also limited to only 16. The cost of time/money to apply again outweighs the cost of applying to a lot of schools just once.
 
OP
pennnylane

pennnylane

10+ Year Member
Oct 31, 2007
40
1
Philadelphia, PA
Status
Pre-Medical
I didn't apply to UPenn or Pitt because I think they're too much of a reach for me. Should've specified the timing before-- AMCAS was submitted in June and secondaries all done by mid-August. My undergrad sends a committee letter and my status was complete in Sept for all schools except Penn State (took longer to get my reccs for some reason).

I'm definitely not looking to apply to same exact set of schools. My advisor had helped me come up with the list my senior year, some of which I hadn't considered before. Some that I was / still am strongly interested in I'll apply to again, but will revise my list overall.
 

MilkmanAl

Al the Ass Mod
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Mar 23, 2008
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Since you were a psych major, you might consider an informal postbac with lots of science courses to get your science GPA up. I presume you "only" took the pre-req classes for med school, so you can influence your GPA significantly if you perform well. You might apply to a couple SMP's, too. Retaking the MCAT would be a decent move if you're confident you can improve to a 33+.

Your list of schools definitely was not broad enough, as was mentioned, but the schools you picked were good choices, in my opinion. Expand your list into the ~25 range, and you should get in somewhere.
 

sunny1

10+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2007
602
1
Status
Pre-Medical
You only got one interview invite, so something is preventing you from even getting that far.

You really have to take some undergrad science classes to bring that BCPM GPA up. Are you confident in your LORs? Might as well just make sure they are glowingly positive.

Apply to way more than 16 schools next year. And choose better schools. I'm not sure why you applied to Vanderbilt and Wake Forest for example. Vanderbilt's 10th percentile science GPA was 3.5 and their median science GPA was 3.8. Wake Forest was similarly high. Use the new MSAR to guide your list of schools for next year since it now lists the 10th percentile, median, and 90th percentile overall and science GPAs.

Consider whether you might be interested in DO as an option. Perhaps shadow a DO. If you would be ok with it, apply to some DO schools next year too.
 

vicinihil

Member
Moderator Emeritus
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Aug 12, 2004
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Your BCPM of 3.11 is pretty low. I feel like that's your main issue.

I think if you did a Masters or another grad school program, it'll really help you. If you should you can pull a 3.8 in the sciences in a grad program, that'll say more than your 3.11 BCPM.

Even your 3.57 is less than extraordinary. I don't mean to be harsh, merely realistic. I say to save you time, (unless you get into Tulane), take classes and see if you can retake that MCAT. A 30 now-a-days doesn't cut it for most of the schools you applied to.
 

flip26

10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2007
4,795
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Medical Student
Why did you withdraw from 3 schools post-secondary, especially Temple?

Look at DO...

A strong performance in an SMP would do wonders for you. Seems like a logical place to do that, given your success there this cycle, is Tulane...I would be knocking on Tulane's door right now if I were in your shoes.
 

Jolie South

is invoking Domo. . .
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Jun 4, 2007
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Why did you withdraw from 3 schools post-secondary, especially Temple?

Look at DO...

A strong performance in an SMP would do wonders for you. Seems like a logical place to do that, given your success there this cycle, is Tulane...I would be knocking on Tulane's door right now if I were in your shoes.
Perrotfish did this SMP, and I remember him saying in another thread that the deadline had already passed for this coming fall.
 

sunny1

10+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2007
602
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Pre-Medical
I think if you did a Masters or another grad school program, it'll really help you. If you should you can pull a 3.8 in the sciences in a grad program, that'll say more than your 3.11 BCPM.
I tend to disagree on her seeking a regular master, MPH, or grad school program. Traditional thinking, at least on SDN, is that good grades in a grad school program don't compensate for a low undergrad GPA (due to graduate school grade inflation). I think she should take some classes either informally as a postbacc or consider a SMP in order to raise her overall and BCPM GPAs.
 

Jolie South

is invoking Domo. . .
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I tend to disagree on her seeking a regular master, MPH, or grad school program. Traditional thinking, at least on SDN, is that good grades in a grad school program don't compensate for a low undergrad GPA (due to graduate school grade inflation). I think she should take some classes either informally as a postbacc or consider a SMP in order to raise her overall and BCPM GPAs.
I agree, but the SMP won't change her GPAs. In an SMP, you take some med school classes. If you do well, it proves that despite a lackluster undergrad GPA you are capable of handling med school material.
 

DoctorDreamer

In a far away land...
10+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2007
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Your ECs are great. I don't say the following to be harsh, but just to be honest. Your GPA (esp. BCPM) and MCAT are too low. Your regular GPA isn't a death sentence, and your MCAT by itself it okay, but neither are extraordinary enough to overcome the other. You are competing against applicants with 4.0's and 37's (LizzyM score of 77), or at the more average end, applicants with 3.7's and 31's (Lizzy M score of 68). With your overall GPA, you have a LizzyM score of 66, with your BCPM, it's only a 61. You are on the low end with your overall GPA, and you're really hurting with your BCPM. You need to get your GPA up, and if you can put the effort into raising your MCAT score at least a few points it will open many more doors.

A grad program won't help your undergrad GPAs, and grades are generally considered inflated anyway. I'd do a postbacc (formal or informal). Get your GPA (particularly BCPM) up, retake the MCAT if you want, and reapply.

You're always got a chance, but I personally think this cycle would likely be a waste of time and money if you reapplied. You've got some work to do first.
 

SilkyDelicious

10+ Year Member
Sep 26, 2007
106
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Considering the list of schools you applied to, and that you were complete relatively early (should shoot for mid-july), and your stats aren't too bad and your ECs seem good. I think you just didn't present yourself well in your AMCAS.

Is your Personal Statement meaningful? Were your activities/experiences well written? When your stats are that low, you need to really sell yourself on paper, and during interviews. You want your apps in early, but you also want them to remember you, and not just shuffle you to the bottom of the pile with other average applicants. The med school dean at my undergrad told me he grouped Personal statements on a 10/80/10 scale. 10% of the applicants are significantly helped by them, 10% are actually hurt by them, and 80% are generally decent applicants with a decent PS. You need to be in that top 10%

I was a reapplicant this year and my GPA actually lowered, did not retake MCAT, and I only added working abroad to my activities. BUT I rewrote everything, and was complemented on my PS at most of my interviews, and I think it's the reason I had so many. You're lucky to have the experience of applying once under your belt and you should use that to your advantage to write an amazing AMCAS application.

Also, make sure your Committee letter is decent. Just be straight up with the adviser and if you can convince her you're a good candidate for medical school, then you should be able to get a good letter.

Also, what you do next year won't make a much of a difference unless it's something really significant. Like traveling to Africa to work in the jungle for months. Most admissions committees won't even know what you're doing by the time they make a decision on your application.
 

Bartelby

10+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2007
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I agree with the "fix the BCPM" people. I have a friend who applied with somewhat comparable stats (especially comparable BCPM) and when he called about why he was waitlisted at his one interview invite they told him BCPM GPA was the issue. Ask around to see if there are any other options, though, because an extra $40,000 or so to pad your BCPM GPA is going to sting.
 
OP
pennnylane

pennnylane

10+ Year Member
Oct 31, 2007
40
1
Philadelphia, PA
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks to everyone who responded to my post...I really appreciated the feedback. It was what I needed to hear, too. I think my weakness seems pretty obvious when I post my stats etc on here; unfortunately, I think my total confusion about it before came partly from my undergrad advisor's lack of (needed) criticism about how much my gpa would affect me. sooooooooo

I'm applying for post-bacc and SMP programs (in the process of apps for Penn's post-bacc and Drexel's SMP); I feel like I'm really ready to do well in these programs, because after being out of school for a year I can't wait to get back into it with discipline & appreciation that I didn't have in undergrad. I'm also considering retaking the MCAT...I think I can do better & I want to channel some of the energy / frustration into studying and trying to nail it this time. I'll also rewrite my application / PS when I reapply-- a lot has changed since last June, & I could definitely make it more meaningful now.

The 1 thing left that's still making me sick is that I'll probably have to skip this year and apply again for 2010....really don't want to take that extra year, but if I'm paying for one of these programs AND paying to apply again, I think I'll only get my money's worth if I wait.

Thanks again for being a great resource.