Medical I need to reapply. What should I fix in my application?

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Sep 30, 2008
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  • Year in school: Graduating Senior/4th Year
  • Country/state of residence: AZ, USA
  • Cumulative GPA: 4.00
  • Science GPA: 4.00 (This includes all the science classes I need to take.)
  • MCAT Scores: From July 2020: 504 (128/126/123/127)
  • Research – include any abstracts/posters/publications and how you were credited (eg. First author, senior author, etc): ~400 Hours in A Cancer Prevention/Control Research Internship (This was more of a public health internship and did not involve any lab research.) No publications.
  • Volunteering (clinical) – include hours/sites: ~150 Hours Local Hospital Emergency Department
  • Physician shadowing – include hours/specialties: ~100 Total Hours in Family Medicine, Cardiology, General Surgery, Oncology, Emergency Medicine
  • Non-clinical volunteering: ~650 Hours in A Wide Range of Areas (I am an Eagle Scout.)
  • Extracurricular activities: ~100 Hours in an Undergraduate Chemistry Club (with Leadership Position), Involved with A Religious Organization, Study Abroad,
  • Employment history: ~2 Years Part-time at A Pizzeria
  • Please include time span and weekly commitment for volunteering/research/shadowing/extracurriculars.: ~10 Per Week on Average (Most activities have been longer than 6-12 months.)
  • Immediate family members in medicine? (y/n): No
  • Specialty of interest: Still Undecided (I'm leaning toward a surgical specialty, but I do have a genuine interest in family medicine.)
  • Shadowing experience: As mentioned above, ~100 hours with physicians across various specialties, but I've also worked with nurses and other providers for another 100 hours or so.
  • Graduate degrees: None (Considering an SMP or MPH but both are not likely needed given my GPA.)
  • Interest in rural health (y/n): Yes (I have lived in a rural area all my life, have shadowed several rural physicians, and have a genuine interest in practicing in a rural area.)
  • LORS/Essays: This is obviously a very subjective area, but I picked letter writers that knew me very well and strongly recommended me. I'm confident in my LORs. I'm also not a perfect writer, but I took the time to do a pretty good job on essays.
  • Other Factors: Low SES, ORM, First-generation College Student
  • Progress Made in First Application Cycle: Maintained 4.00 GPA, Became a Chemistry Teaching Assistant (~20 Hours/Week), Was going to do more research/volunteering but the pandemic has canceled everything.
  • What I'm Planning to Address:
    • MCAT: This is by far the biggest red flag I see in my application. Personal factors (pandemic-related) made it very difficult to study/focus and I did not perform as well as I know I can. I dropped significantly from my FLs, but I didn't have the time/energy to retake. I'm going to dedicate 2.5 months of studying full-time (no work/school) to get my goal score of 510+.
    • Research: I also have a summer 2021 internship that will be roughly another 400 hours of clinical research.
    • Volunteering: I have a total of about 700 hours between clinical and non-clinical. Do I need more?
    • Clinical Experience: I don't have any clinical employment and only have around 250 hours of clinical experience (volunteering/shadowing). Do you think I need more?
    • Other?: I'm not sure what I should focus on besides my MCAT. Should I favor volunteering, research, or something else?
  • Schools I Applied To And Why: I applied to ~50 US MD schools. I paid for 20 out of pocket through AMCAS and 10 TMDSAS (interested in warm weather and cheap tuition). I also qualified for another 20 through FAP. A lot of these schools are much higher in average MCAT because I already selected them before getting my score back and had a huge fall from my last FL.
Yeah I wish I had something more insightful to say, but the problem is the elephant in the room--the MCAT. Do better on that and doors will be opened to you.

Everything else you have planned sounds fine, but honestly I think you have plenty of hours and it's just a matter of filling in the year on your CV with something meaningful that won't take up so much time that you can't study for the MCAT.

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Would definitely retake the MCAT. You have a stellar application and will do well in the cycle if you get that up to 511+. This should be your main focus...but maintaining your clinical hours wouldn't hurt (as long as it doesn't interfere with MCAT).
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