Is mediocrity preventing me from getting into medical school?

ladysmanfelpz

2+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2014
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First my stats. 3.44 cGPA and 3.26 sGPA with a 503 MCAT.

This has been the question that has been tearing at me. I am a 3rd year re-applicant and really trying to understand why luck hasn't gone my way. I am satisfied with everything I have pursued in life except my performance towards medical school. I did not have to put much effort into high school courses and did well. I came to college with high expectations and believing I could handle whatever load thrown at me, chose the routine pre-med coursework and walked on to the track team as well. Soon the burden became too much and I had major declining performance my 2nd year and combined with injury led me to give up the sport. My worst year, however, followed that with no ambitions or structure to my day, I received B's in anatomy and failed my first class ever, a D+ in O chem II after a B- the first semester. Upon graduation (I honestly dunno what my stats were) I did not feel like I accomplished what I had come there for. I discovered I could receive a second major in psychology in a year and decided to go for a victory lap and clean up some courses after learning of DO grade replacement. I was able to ace my retakes in physics as well as all my psych classes, but only managed a B- and a B in advanced biochem. I even went back to look at all my coursework at why I couldn't perform up to my other pre-meds performances when I put in so much effort in biochem. I routinely missed one or two big questions on quizzes, and on test would hit nail the major questions such as drawing or describing this pathway, but would miss the 4 or 5 multiple choice questions that should have been simple recall.

When looking at my stats and knowing where I stood, I knew I needed a strong MCAT. Now that I seemingly worked at the kinks in my study techniques, and decided that the very poor marks were due to stress of being overworked, I gave it my all expecting to kill it. 1st MCAT a 25 (9,7,9). Retook 6 weeks later mainly going over verbal and chem, (10,7,9) 26. Received interviews that 1st year at PNWU and LECOM, denial mostly due to late submission. 2nd year only PNWU and kind of upset with the fact of only one interview and not too excited about the school, think I came off kind of prickish and was denied due to a poor interview as they said I didn't seem focused and appeared anxious. Well now I knew I was gonna have to try the rare feat of going in after 3 years absence and had to show I was prepared by a solid MCAT. The same routine since starting college repeated itself; I'm capable of doing well, but not great. 4 weeks in of studying and first practice I get a 503. I study 4 more weeks and get another 503 different breakdown. Take the test and get another 503 different breakdown coming to 125, 123, 128, 127. I willingly go after my weaknesses trying to improve them, but it doesn't seem to do much good. I'll study something early get the 60-75% correct, spend weeks on those areas as well as others, return to the same content and get the 60-75% again.

I think a lot was due to lack of confidence after the 'down' years in college. Freshman year chemistry I remember I was routinely getting the test questions put on to "set the A's students apart from the B's" and took a B+ with a heavy load and track practice 5 days a week. I gained some confidence back after this last gap year through some testing. Looking at alternative careers I took the ASVAP for military and got 98th percentile, and the GRE after only studying a week and got 65th quantitative, 75th verbal, and 93rd writing, fine enough for any PA school. But for my medical career I can't seem to break that plateau and yeah he's good, but not showing that next level effort. Doesn't help I'm a white male from a well-off family. (Can I get a white privilege!! :horns:)

So in trying to wrap this up, is mediocrity what is hurting me from entrance into a medical program? Does it send a red flag that I could never get the A in advanced placement courses or 90% percentile on standardized exams even when giving all my effort?

Will my drive and tenacity outweigh some of these par performances and grant me a seat?

Now that I understand this process better (used to think only genius's became doctors) I don't see any reason I should not get in to ONE school. I admit this mediocrity and my early struggles made me somewhat fearful of how I would handle the burdens of medical school, but now I know full and well I will do fine at any program. Its like okay I've put in the work, I've shown I'm capable, and I know what the profession entails and this is what I want to do so let me in a dam medical school already!

Sorry for the long read and thanks for the thoughts.
 
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Wjldenver

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Mar 25, 2013
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If you are a re-applicant at some schools for two or three times they will be looking for evidence of continuous improvement. I've noticed that you took the MCAT over a few times but you need to bolster your EC's and other work experience as well.

As conventional wisdom on SDN goes, apply broadly, especially targeting the newer schools. Goro always alludes to this and he knows...[/QUOTE]
 
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Shotapp

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Jan 1, 2015
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Just as MADD!!! was saying, figure out why you want to become a doctor and why do you believe you deserve the privilege of becoming one? Work on your interviewing skills...apply early and broadly man...
 

PsychoPass987

5+ Year Member
Aug 27, 2013
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I've been in your shoes before... Applying for the 3rd time is hard, but don't give up. Apply broadly and mainly to DO schools as early as you can - a 503 is like a 27 on the old scale.
 
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ladysmanfelpz

ladysmanfelpz

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Dec 10, 2014
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First of all, I admire your effort in not giving up! Good for you, not many people have the mental strength to endure applying for 3 consecutive years. Next, I think you answered your own question here without fully realizing it. You said you received two interviews, with the one at PNWU not being taken seriously and you showing you're "prickish." From the way you describe it, it sounds like you're looking at the admissions process as a checklist and just coming off as generic. Your "mediocrity" isn't from what you have done, but rather from a lack of showing what makes YOU unique and WHY you want to go to medical school specifically. I think you need to search inside of yourself to know WHY you really want to go to medical school and be able to show that passion through your essays and interview. The only thing you remotely even mentioned about you other than things on paper was "I know what the profession entails." How so? What experiences do you have to prove that? How do those experiences tie back in to your pursuit of medical school?

Medical schools will routinely and easily disqualify students who can't show this, even with stats much higher than yours, because there are certain qualities that a medical student must have that simply cannot be taught. Hope this helps.
Best advice right here. How you mentioned a checklist I guess that is how I saw the medical school process. I wasn't certain about the medical profession and felt I was doing it to please my family. I honestly didn't want to get in and when I received my letter back was more hoping it was rejection. But now I've had my experience in it and it is what I really WANT to do. I think it was some of my uncertainties that kept me from unlocking my full potential. I never understood how people could spend so much money and time towards a profession they didn't fully understand, where other lines of work you can start small and work your way up. I needed experience in the field before making that decision. So I've worked as a scribe in the ER, a phlebotomist in a hospital setting go room to room and taking codes, and now more a receptionist job but at Mayo clinic in the lab and still get some pt experience. I guess from this time working I know I am capable of filling the boss role and have the complex problem solving skills required of a physician. In fact i think the medical community would be missing out if I was not to become a doctor.

I was just upset about PNWU because it seems I had worked so hard and only received an interview to my state school that they were obliged to offer. I felt like I wasn't good enough to be looked at anywhere else. I wasn't interested in attending it for those silly reasons, but now I would accept anywhere. I'm hoping that this relentless pursuit, a good track record with no red flags, and never remaining stagnant will carry some weight. Also I hope getting hired on at Mayo says something of my character as well. Will it get me interviews at RVU or Midwestern or other top choice schools, idk. I've got primaries in now and working on secondaries to be done in the next week or two.
 

jcve34

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Jul 11, 2016
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You'll see in my signature that we have very similar stats. I also applied late and had an interview at PNWU. I came off the exact same way... they told me. I took it as an opportunity to humble my self so I went and shadowed/volunteered more to see if this was really meant for me. If you get an interview its because your stats are no longer the question. So take what I say with a grain of salt and if any other more experienced SDNer says I am wrong then take their word over mine. That being said, and IMO, what they are looking for is if you will be a good fit for the school and the type of class of students they want to educate. They know what they are looking for and want to see if you have it. I would recommend shadowing, especially in rural areas for DO schools. Its not a numbers game for hours its about breadth of experiences. Whatever you do don't come off as over confident. The mentality of "health care would be missing out if I don't become a doc" may come off as arrogant. I'm sure you'll get it this time. Keep at it! Best of luck.
 

tony101

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May 3, 2016
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Well I have a quick question. Did you apply broadly? Did you only apply to 5-10 schools? How were your essays? How about your personal statement? Also how was your EC's? All these questions are crucial.

If you applied to 5 schools, might be why you didn't get many call backs. If you applied to 10 schools, 5 really late, could be another reason.

Have you applied early?
Have you showed improvement?
Have you called for feedback?
These questions and more are needed to improve yourself.
 

summergirl

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Feb 28, 2012
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How many schools did you applied to the first time and second time? Your GPA and MCAT are not bad at all, but retaking the MCAT so many times with no improvement probably hurt you a bit. Even then, it shouldn't be lethal at all DO schools. What are your ECs like? How is your PS? You have a great story, but you have to play your cards right.
 
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ladysmanfelpz

ladysmanfelpz

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Dec 10, 2014
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@jcve34 I spoke with PNWU adcoms and they told me the same. So I have been following up for feedback @tony101 . And the statement about medicine would be missing out, obviously I wouldn't say that, but that is how I feel and know I would do very well in medicine.

@tony101 and @summergirl I have applied broadly. Mainly about 10 schools. Late the 1st year , better the 2nd. This will be my earliest applications and hoping to get interviews in school's first opportunities for a better chance. PS and secondaries are much improved from previous years due to maturity and experience in the field.

Again back to the heart of the issue is I have improved, but nothing stellar. One point each time on MCAT. I struggled thru some undergrad classes and I knew that. Higher divisions did fine in some, others mostly just average, average in the core classes. I never showed that oh this kid has got it with a solid 33 MCAT. I obviously spent the time and effort, but nothing panned out. And I know thats how it goes for a lot of student's, but they take what they got and they get in. Me, I'm average everywhere across the board. 80 hours of volunteer in a hospital setting, shadowed a DO for 60. My purpose of throwing in the GRE and ASVAB was not to brag, but show how things went my way on other exams. Easier ones at that, but I thought my writing was terrible and it got a great score on the GRE. Everything towards med school though has gone average. I was averaging 125's on verbal and 127's on physical, felt fine on the real thing, and scored much lower. Doesn't do much to help my case.
 

tony101

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May 3, 2016
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@jcve34 I spoke with PNWU adcoms and they told me the same. So I have been following up for feedback @tony101 . And the statement about medicine would be missing out, obviously I wouldn't say that, but that is how I feel and know I would do very well in medicine.

@tony101 and @summergirl I have applied broadly. Mainly about 10 schools. Late the 1st year , better the 2nd. This will be my earliest applications and hoping to get interviews in school's first opportunities for a better chance. PS and secondaries are much improved from previous years due to maturity and experience in the field.

Again back to the heart of the issue is I have improved, but nothing stellar. One point each time on MCAT. I struggled thru some undergrad classes and I knew that. Higher divisions did fine in some, others mostly just average, average in the core classes. I never showed that oh this kid has got it with a solid 33 MCAT. I obviously spent the time and effort, but nothing panned out. And I know thats how it goes for a lot of student's, but they take what they got and they get in. Me, I'm average everywhere across the board. 80 hours of volunteer in a hospital setting, shadowed a DO for 60. My purpose of throwing in the GRE and ASVAB was not to brag, but show how things went my way on other exams. Easier ones at that, but I thought my writing was terrible and it got a great score on the GRE. Everything towards med school though has gone average. I was averaging 125's on verbal and 127's on physical, felt fine on the real thing, and scored much lower. Doesn't do much to help my case.
You have to apply to way more schools. I applied to around 25 schools
 

jcve34

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Yeah they can be brutally honest at PNWU. As a current officer in the Army the ASVAB is a test I wouldn't throw around too much because to my knowledge it does not have weight outside of enlisting in the Army. I think you need to apply broadly like @tony101 suggests and give this go all you got. Humble yourself and show your passion for serving.