Chromatic543

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
501
194
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I am currently in my first application cycle for DO schools and have completed 18 secondaries (will complete around 22). I have so far gotten four rejections and one deferral. I feel like there are other red flags in my application that I don't know about, and I am tired of sitting here and feeling depressed. I want to get to work and improve my application, but I don't know what to do at this point. I need help constructing a plan. Here are my stats:

cGPA = 3.20
sGPA = 3.21
MCAT = 502 (126-124-126-126)
Clinical Experience = 600 hours of caring for dementia patients, 400 hours cancer center)
Shadowing = MD (10 hours) and DO (25 hours)
Letters = 2 Science, 1 non-science, 1 DO


At this point in time, I don't think I can sign up for a formal post-bacc, unless they allow me to enter in the second semester. Do you guys know if that is possible?

I am not sure what the difference is between an SMP or a Masters at let's say KCU (one year). I applied for the KCU masters but I'm not sure if it's a good idea or not.

I can do a DIY post-bacc, but I'm not sure if I should take community college classes or classes at a University. At this point, just for this quarter, community college might be the only option because of how late it is. There's one that starts next week, and I can get into a class, but I'm not sure if I can get into a science class or not.

I have thought about retaking the MCAT, but I am not sure if I should start studying now, or if I should wait until I hear back from schools.

What can you suggest at this time of year?
 

festivespartan

2+ Year Member
Nov 1, 2016
104
87
Michigan
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
First off, there is still plenty of time left in this cycle so don't get too down. All you need is one opportunity for an interview and kill it and you can still get in. That being said, there are certainly things you can be doing now to help increase your chances.

Your clinical experiences seems adequate, and you should definitely continue shadowing or your dementia/cancer care to gain more hours and build on that. Do you have much/any volunteer/community service experience? Schools like to see that as well, so take a couple hours a week to volunteer for a community cause if you haven't been. Even helping at an animal shelter or a local food bank or homeless shelter is a positive thing to have on an application. It doesn't all have to be clinically-oriented. When you have significant updates in these things, send update letters to schools so they can update your application and know what you've been up to since you submitted your secondary.

Your GPA and MCAT are both on the lower end, so I would probably recommend retaking the MCAT (maybe in the spring) as that is easier to increase in a short period of time and can help with this cycle. If you decide to take post-bacc credits, you should do it at the university level, as community college credits aren't accepted by many schools.
 
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Chromatic543

Chromatic543

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
501
194
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
First off, there is still plenty of time left in this cycle so don't get too down. All you need is one opportunity for an interview and kill it and you can still get in. That being said, there are certainly things you can be doing now to help increase your chances.

Your clinical experiences seems adequate, and you should definitely continue shadowing or your dementia/cancer care to gain more hours and build on that. Do you have much/any volunteer/community service experience? Schools like to see that as well, so take a couple hours a week to volunteer for a community cause if you haven't been. Even helping at an animal shelter or a local food bank or homeless shelter is a positive thing to have on an application. It doesn't all have to be clinically-oriented. When you have significant updates in these things, send update letters to schools so they can update your application and know what you've been up to since you submitted your secondary.

Your GPA and MCAT are both on the lower end, so I would probably recommend retaking the MCAT (maybe in the spring) as that is easier to increase in a short period of time and can help with this cycle. If you decide to take post-bacc credits, you should do it at the university level, as community college credits aren't accepted by many schools.
Thank you for your feedback. I just contacted another DO to shadow (different specialty), so I am going to be doing that to improve my application. I am also going to continue volunteering to help care for dementia patients like I have been. BUT, I am ALSO going to take your advice and add on community service hours, which is something I believe that I am lacking.

My one question I have for you is how would I help myself for this cycle if I were to retake the MCAT in Spring?
 
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festivespartan

2+ Year Member
Nov 1, 2016
104
87
Michigan
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I say that under the assumption that you're plan in the event that you're not accepted anywhere is to reapply. Because if it were me, I would wait to retake it until it looked like my chances of getting accepted anywhere looked pretty slim. So say you take it in like March, get your score shortly after, and send update letters. If you're sitting on a waitlist, that new score will hopefully help get you in off of a waitlist, but still obviously helps you for the next cycle as well. That's how I would handle it, personally. But I don't think it would be a bad idea to retake it earlier if you're up for it. But from my personal experience, having to reapply wasn't the end of the world, so I waited to spend time and money taking post-bacc courses until I knew I wasn't going to be accepted for the previous cycle.
 
Jul 23, 2017
220
217
Status
Pre-Medical
Your GPA is looking low even for osteopathic applicants. It seems to me like you're in a panic and want to completely rework your application and apply next June. Is there any particular reason you're in a rush?

Perhaps you should look into a more sustained DIY post-bacc over 1 to 2 more years to really get that GPA up? Goro's grade replacement thread might be a good place to look. If you're going to do an SMP I think it would be worth it to look at a place with a linkage.
 
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Chromatic543

Chromatic543

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
501
194
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Your GPA is looking low even for osteopathic applicants. It seems to me like you're in a panic and want to completely rework your application and apply next June. Is there any particular reason you're in a rush?

Perhaps you should look into a more sustained DIY post-bacc over 1 to 2 more years to really get that GPA up? Goro's grade replacement thread might be a good place to look. If you're going to do an SMP I think it would be worth it to look at a place with a linkage.
I'm in a rush because I want to be there already. I know it's not the best way to think, but time is passing...I'm getting older.

I have found a formal/structured post-bacc that I can attend in Winter Quarter, Spring Quarter, and however many more quarters. Again, not sure if that is the best option or not. Before the grade replacement policy change, I had a 3.48 cGPA and 3.49 sGPA.
 

kamakazi5

10+ Year Member
Nov 8, 2007
579
461
Texas
Status
Medical Student
I think 4-5 more post-bacc classes in the upper-level sciences would be helpful. MCAT isn't ideal but it's fine for the majority of newer schools (maybe retake early next summer after classes if you feel you have the time). Do you have any non-clinical volunteering? I can't imagine it would be that big a deal with such extensive clinical hours but it couldn't hurt.

Also, I heard that BCOM had some sort of strict cutoff as well but I'm not certain.
 
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Chromatic543

Chromatic543

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
501
194
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I think 4-5 more post-bacc classes in the upper-level sciences would be helpful. MCAT isn't ideal but it's fine for the majority of newer schools (maybe retake early next summer after classes if you feel you have the time). Do you have any non-clinical volunteering? I can't imagine it would be that big a deal with such extensive clinical hours but it couldn't hurt.

Also, I heard that BCOM had some sort of strict cutoff as well but I'm not certain.
I am going to try and take 3 post-bacc classes in Winter, 3 post-bacc classes in Spring, and maybe a few in Summer (41 quarter/27 semester units). I don't really have any non-clinical volunteering. What can I do for that?
 
Aug 11, 2017
66
82
I am currently in my first application cycle for DO schools and have completed 18 secondaries (will complete around 22). I have so far gotten four rejections and one deferral. I feel like there are other red flags in my application that I don't know about, and I am tired of sitting here and feeling depressed. I want to get to work and improve my application, but I don't know what to do at this point. I need help constructing a plan. Here are my stats:

cGPA = 3.20
sGPA = 3.21
MCAT = 502 (126-124-126-126)
Clinical Experience = 600 hours of caring for dementia patients, 400 hours cancer center)
Shadowing = MD (10 hours) and DO (25 hours)
Letters = 2 Science, 1 non-science, 1 DO


At this point in time, I don't think I can sign up for a formal post-bacc, unless they allow me to enter in the second semester. Do you guys know if that is possible?

I am not sure what the difference is between an SMP or a Masters at let's say KCU (one year). I applied for the KCU masters but I'm not sure if it's a good idea or not.

I can do a DIY post-bacc, but I'm not sure if I should take community college classes or classes at a University. At this point, just for this quarter, community college might be the only option because of how late it is. There's one that starts next week, and I can get into a class, but I'm not sure if I can get into a science class or not.

I have thought about retaking the MCAT, but I am not sure if I should start studying now, or if I should wait until I hear back from schools.

What can you suggest at this time of year?
Please don't get so down on yourself so soon. There are many months left in this application cycle so try not to lose all hope just yet. I think your experience is good and so is your MCAT. Truthfully, I wouldn't even retake the MCAT if I were you. There are PLENTY of people who make it into med school with lower scores that become fantastic doctors. There are many (more so osteopathic) schools who would accept a 502 so I'm not so sure you should be putting all of your effort into getting a higher score. Where you DO need improvement is your gpa. Have you ever considered applying to post-bac programs that guarantee automatic acceptance into their medical school the following year if a certain gpa is maintained throughout the post-bac? There are a few of those out there. Just know that if you truly want to become a physician, you WILL get there. Whether it takes 1 more year longer than you planned, 2, 3, or 4, you're going to be a physician one day. Don't let time hold you back. Remember there are people in their 30s and 40s who wake up and decide they want to go to med school. You can do it.
 

kamakazi5

10+ Year Member
Nov 8, 2007
579
461
Texas
Status
Medical Student
I am going to try and take 3 post-bacc classes in Winter, 3 post-bacc classes in Spring, and maybe a few in Summer (41 quarter/27 semester units). I don't really have any non-clinical volunteering. What can I do for that?
That's a good plan, just make sure you're getting pretty much only A's.

Really, you can do anything. If you live in a decent sized area there should be plenty of opportunities. When I've been looking at schools I go on Google maps and just search volunteering and a number of places come up. Just do this for your own area. You should be able to find community centers, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc.
 
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Chromatic543

Chromatic543

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
501
194
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Please don't get so down on yourself so soon. There are many months left in this application cycle so try not to lose all hope just yet. I think your experience is good and so is your MCAT. Truthfully, I wouldn't even retake the MCAT if I were you. There are PLENTY of people who make it into med school with lower scores that become fantastic doctors. There are many (more so osteopathic) schools who would accept a 502 so I'm not so sure you should be putting all of your effort into getting a higher score. Where you DO need improvement is your gpa. Have you ever considered applying to post-bac programs that guarantee automatic acceptance into their medical school the following year if a certain gpa is maintained throughout the post-bac? There are a few of those out there. Just know that if you truly want to become a physician, you WILL get there. Whether it takes 1 more year longer than you planned, 2, 3, or 4, you're going to be a physician one day. Don't let time hold you back. Remember there are people in their 30s and 40s who wake up and decide they want to go to med school. You can do it.
I heard that those post-baccs (guaranteed with linkages) are MUCH MORE competitive and a lot riskier. What is your view on that? Is it true?

There is a structured post-bacc that I can start in the Winter (3 classes), and continue in Spring and Summer if needed. If I REALLY NEED TO, I can continue next fall too and accumulate 41 quarter units/27 semester units of upper division science classes such as Medical Microbiology, Parasitology, Virology, Anatomy, Physiology, etc.

Thank you for the inspiring words!
 
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Chromatic543

Chromatic543

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
501
194
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
That's a good plan, just make sure you're getting pretty much only A's.

Really, you can do anything. If you live in a decent sized area there should be plenty of opportunities. When I've been looking at schools I go on Google maps and just search volunteering and a number of places come up. Just do this for your own area. You should be able to find community centers, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc.
I am going to do as BEST as I can. I hope it is doable. Do you think 41 quarter units/27 semester units of is good? The classes include Anatomy, Physiology, Medical Microbiology, Virology, Parasitology, Biochemistry, etc.
 

kamakazi5

10+ Year Member
Nov 8, 2007
579
461
Texas
Status
Medical Student
I am going to do as BEST as I can. I hope it is doable. Do you think 41 quarter units/27 semester units of is good? The classes include Anatomy, Physiology, Medical Microbiology, Virology, Parasitology, Biochemistry, etc.
These are all good classed for a post-bacc. Do well and I think you will be fine for next year with some non-clinical volunteering and maybe a little more shadowing.

I brought my GPA from a 3.2c/3.1s to nearly a 3.4c/3.4s with around 55 credit hours with all but one A (I had nearly 200 hours when I started so I doubt you would need that many to see a nice GPA increase). My MCAT is nearly identical with only 1 point higher in the biological science section. The only thing really extra that I have is being non-trad with probably a few more experiences under my belt (but not nearly the extensive volunteer hours). I've received 4 II so it won't take much more and honestly you still have a good shot at this year.

It's hard but you have to be patient. I'll be 32 in a couple months and have been doing post-bacc stuff for the last 2-3 years to get to this point. Just don't wait around for an interview. Keep strengthening your application so you can talk about what you've done since applying the first time if you need to re-apply.
 
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goilers

MSUCOM
2+ Year Member
Dec 7, 2016
56
48
Status
Medical Student
Isn't there some sort of advice commonly given on here along the lines of 'Don't worry until Thanksgiving' ?? That's still two months away, and I've been seeing you very much worrying before thanksgiving and posting all over.
I understand it's super stressful and worrisome. You've only heard back from 5 of your 18 secondaries to this point, I'd give it time. It's hard to just relax and wait haha, but as people have been saying, it's still early - and there's nothing anyone can do about it one way or another at this point.
 
Jul 23, 2017
220
217
Status
Pre-Medical
Congrats! You've been a nervous wreck these last few weeks - thrilled to hear you've gotten some good news.

Where at?
 
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Chromatic543

Chromatic543

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
501
194
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Thank you everyone for being a really good support group. I cannot explain this level of happiness right now....but....I JUST GOT MY SECOND INTERVIEW INVITE!!!! (ATSU-SOMA)
 
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