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Just call me 'Nervous'

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by David511, Jan 27, 2000.

  1. David511

    David511 Ponch's Illegitimate Son
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    Hi, this is my first time so be kind...

    Anyways, I'm David, 24, in Boston. I submitted 15 secondaries in September/October to schools across the country. My stats are as follows: MCAT: 33R, GPA: CUM:3.35, SCIENCE:3.0. I completed undergrad with a BS (Bio) & a BA (Sociology) from a UC.
    I have 3 years of bio research in college and 6 months volunteer experience in an ER. I'm also a licensed EMT-B though I've never practiced EM. I know my GPA is basement, but I worked on average 30 hrs a week in college and had to support a terminally ill parent.
    So far I've recieved 9 rejections and no interviews. I'm still waiting on 6 schools but am no longer optomistic. Any ideas what I should do now? I'm considering getting a related Master's degree or a Paramedic certification but can't really afford it (especially after applications--ouch!!)
    I feel hopeless at present. Am I wrong?

    --Any advice or informational support is appreciated.

    Thanks for your time.

    ------------------
    :) David :)
     
  2. dlc

    dlc Senior Member
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    Hi David,
    Considering your circumstances, I think that you have done a great job at reaching for your dream. Although I have never experienced what you went through in college, I think it is very noble that you spent so much time caring for your parent while working and attending school, and getting a degree in two subject areas! My advice to you is to not give up. I think this is your first time applying, right? Well, if you don't get in this time, it is not the end of the world! You are only 24 years old and have the rest of your life in front of you. Your MCAT score is great so it surprises me that you have had no interviews. I know you think that your gpa is borderline but I have heard of people getting in with gpas such as yours, and lower. I can fully understand the financial dilemma, though. I have not really research masters programs so I don't know how much tuition would be, or if there is any tuition reimbursement. But if you wanted to improve your application at all, I would say to start with your gpa, since you have so much research experience and even volunteer experience (maybe post-bacc programs?). One thing I would like to mention is this...what did you say in your personal statement? Did you talk about your gpa and why it isn't as high as you would like it to be, and the circumstances surrounding it? Also, maybe the schools to which you applied use numbers as a standard to reject people because they receive so many applications (I know George Washington University receives around 12,000 applications a year!! I can't imagine them looking seriously at each and every application!) One think I thought of is finding employment at a university and then being able to take graduate classes for free, of course I don't think every university allows this (until after a certain time period). But I wouldn't say that you are hopeless! This is actually my second year applying, but I made the mistake of not retaking the MCAT (25R). I have been waitlisted at one school and rejected by a few and I am wondering what I should do as I run out of money! But I realize that my problem lies with my MCAT score and before I even attempt to waste any more money, I am retaking that MCAT! So I have not given up and neither should you. There is always a solution! (I hope I didn't ramble too much!)
    Dana
     
  3. sus

    sus New Member

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    I'm no expert, but here are my thoughts:

    Med school should be within reach for you, and 24 is young (I'll be 28 when I enter next year, and many people are much older than that.)

    I don't think getting a masters' or another degree would necessarily help you--I'd only do it if I really wanted that particular education or degree. It would be just as helpful to get an interesting job for the year--medically related, or community-oriented, social services or teaching--something you think you'd like doing that would also highlight your interest in helping people.

    I don't know what state you're a resident of--I'm in CA and California residents seem to apply to more schools, because the UC's are really competitive--but seems like you might want to apply to more than 15 schools next time, to compensate for your GPA.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Test Boy

    Test Boy Senior Member
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    Is your 33 MCAT balanced? If you're a California resident and you don't get in this year, I would suggest you apply for residency in an easier state. You should also consider taking some post bacc courses to boost your GPA a little.
     
  5. Pepe

    Pepe Senior Member
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    Not to be repetitive but it does seem like your stats and experience should get you some interviews. The only thing I would suggest is I know that some schools will have a counselor talk to you about your application and the reasons you were not accepted. They should be able to tell you if there is some kind of red flag in your file. Anyway for what it's worth you should here some good news from somebody.
     
  6. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member
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    David,

    it is kind of late in the game if you haven't been invited for an interview yet, and I understand your discouragement, but don't give up hope until the last reply is in. In the mean time, however, you are doing the right thing by looking at alternative plans.

    It goes without saying that your MCAT score is fine. It is the GPA which is marginal and, given the way GPA is calculated in the AAMCAS application, taking more classes won't help you, unless you go for an entire graduate degree (med schools usually frown upon not completing a program of study). Some of your choices now would be to do a short masters such as MPH or enrolling in a post bac program geared towards med school reapplicants. At some schools, if you do very well in such program, you are just about guaranteed admission (unless you truly have a Ted Bundy-like personality...). This is something you need to check out right away, though, because the best programs fill fast. From your post, I understand that money may be a big problem for you at this point but, if you are able to take out a student loan to complete such program, by all means, do so. It is money well spent if it is going to get you the admission you want.

    Another option, if you have an open mind to it, is applying to osteopathic schools next year. Again, your science GPA is marginal for most osteopathic programs too, however, the rumor that osteopathic programs tend to look beyond the numbers is very true. If there is a good reason for your lower numbers (as certainly there is in your case), and your academic record is otherwise good (and your MCAT is above average for all osteopathic schools), you have a very good chance of acceptance. This option would enable you to work this year, instead of taking more classes and incurring in additional expenses, and save some money for the application process and interviews.

    Above anything else, don't be hard on yourself if you don't get in this year. Med school application is not just about having good numbers, it is luck to a great degree.
    And so, best of luck to you and don't let a little delay in plans get you down!
     
  7. jui

    jui New Member

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    Hi David:
    This is my first time applying, and I know how exceptionally difficult and emotionally demoralizing this can be. I also greatly admire your determination and achievements. I supported myself through college as well, and afterwards, I decided to get a PhD for a variety of reasons. I am informing you of this option, but science is something you should do only if you have a genuine interest. I know biomedical research these days is becoming much more translational. Human genetics programs, for instance, require you to spend time in a clinic seeing patients. I, myself, am in a Cellular and Molecular Medicine program. The other thing is that these programs are all funded, so while you won't get rich, you'll be able to support yourself. I love science, but the years of my PhD have given me an opportunity to breathe and figure out what I really want to do with my life.
    Good luck. Get in touch if you want any info.
    Jui
     
  8. David511

    David511 Ponch's Illegitimate Son
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    Just a short note to say 'Thanks' for the responses. dlc, sus, Test Boy, Pepe, UHS2002, jui, I really appreciate your support and information.
    Okay, in reply to dls, I focused my personal statement on my experiences with the medical field (MDs, hospitals, HMOs, Medicare) throughout my mother's bout with cancer. I elaborated on both negative and positive experiences and how the whole affair impacted my academic performance and outlook on medicine

    Next, Test Boy, I got a 12 in Physical Sciences, an 11 in Verbal, and a 10 in Bio/OChem. I'm currently a resident in Massachusetts, although I grew up and went to school in Cali...where you from?

    Pepe, I'm sorta inexperienced with this whole application thing...what schools offer counseling for the newly rejected? I'd really appreciate if you could forward me some info. Thanks.

    UHS2002, I am looking into post-bacc/graduate programs, although it looks like I've missed the deadline for admission with financial aid from at least one school. I guess my plan right now is to gather the remnants of my self-esteem and get back to work.

    Anyone have any recommendations for good east coast post-bacc or graduate programs?

    Again, I appreciate the assistance, and much love to those thoughtful enough to lend a hand.




    ------------------
    :) David :)
     
  9. Pepe

    Pepe Senior Member
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    The only one I know for sure is TCOM. I would have to reread through some literature to find the others. I only interviewed at one school outside of Texas so most of the info I have will be on schools In Texas. One other thing you can consider is if you apply to Osteopathic schools the AACOMAS figures the GPA a little differently than the AMCAS or whatever it's called. The DO system just uses your best grade in the class so if your GPA is low due to failing some classes you could retake them and raise your GPA for your AACOMAS application. A retake is noted on the transcript and some people say this will hurt your chances but it didn't seem to hurt mine and my stats are roughly comparable to yours. I believe that the AMCAS just averages the classes so a low grade can really haunt you.
    Another thing to consider is I've heard that a disparity between your GPA and your MCAT can hurt your chances. What I mean is that with your MCAT score the admissions committee might wonder about your relatively lower GPA. Whether this is true or not who knows. Maybe somebody else might have a personal experience with this sort of situation.
    Lastly I had the impression that some schools use a sort of point system meaning that your GPA is worth so many points, your MCAT etc. etc. If you could avoid schools that use this format your chances might get better. Anyway sorry it was so long but don't give up you will make it.
     
  10. reed0104

    reed0104 Senior Member
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    David,

    The one thing I noticed in my interviews was that the interviewers never seemed to know I worked a lot during school. It seemed they asked me about my grades and things, but they didn't have my hrs/week worked in front of them. I would guess this might have stopped you from getting interviews.

    IMHO, I would take a semester of science courses, with or without a masters plan, and ace them. If you apply early, and unless you are evil incarnate (you don't seem to be)you WILL get in next year for sure.

    The comment about D.O. school's taking more into consideration than grades is true. If you think you might want to go D.O. definately check into it.

    Best of Luck, Hope you matriculate this year,

    Bryan

    [This message has been edited by reed0104 (edited 01-28-2000).]
     
  11. Yosh

    Yosh Livin' in the WINDY CITY
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    David,
    I understand your frustration...I am in a similar situation...feel free to e-mail me, and we can trade "war" stories...
     
  12. nicolette

    nicolette Member
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    Hi David,
    I see that you already have some great advice so I'll try not to repeat and give you my thoughts. I agree that pursuing an advance degree at this point won't really help your weak point (which is your gpa). Any advanced degree you pursue and the subsequent grades you get from these courses will be calculated as graduate gpa by AMCAS. Most medical schools know that graduate programs are graded much more leniently or rather, by a different set of criteria than the undergraduate gpa. Therefore, I think your best bet is to go into one of the post-bac programs that at least guarantees you an interview to their med school if you do really well in their program. One of my classmate's brother chose this route and was successful. In the meanwhile, work a job that's medically related, if possible, but choose whatever job is going to pay you well so that you can save up for applications next time. Your job doesn't have to be a research job. During my interviews, my interviewers were very impressed with my clinical experiences. None of them had any problems with the fact that my research experience was limited. Whatever you choose, make sure YOU get the most out of the experience. Your MCAT scores are excellent so you have no problems there. Do not be discouraged. I believe that there's a reason why things happen the way they do in life so keep in mind that all your experiences will ultimately help you in some way. I wish you the best of luck and feel free to ask any further questions you might have.
     
  13. Stasia

    Stasia Junior Member
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    David 511,

    There are some great post-bacc programs on the eastcoast. Tufts and Harvard Extension are two really good ones. I am thinking of applying to Harvard Extension for the fall because the classes are not that expensive, about up to about $500 for most science classes, and all the classes are at night, so it's possible to work and go to school.
    Don't give up. As they say "if there is a will there is a way".
    If you want more specific info on post-baccs in the northeast let me know and I will send you the web addresses via e-mail.

    Stasia
    ([email protected])


    [This message has been edited by Stasia (edited 02-01-2000).]
     
  14. jtr

    jtr New Member

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    dave- i am kinda in the same boat as you. my grades are a little shallow,so i applied to several graduate and postbacc schools. in my research i found that if you have completed your premed courses then look to a masters program where you can get some upper level courses and benchwork experience. most of theses graduate programs have stipends for at least tuition if not for even some financial support also. i'm curently in a graduate program where i take loans out for living expenses only. I work in a hospital and volunteer also- most of the students from here that have attempted this route have been successful. well good luck- jared
     
  15. dr_bigboi

    dr_bigboi Member
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    This sounds similar to my situation. My MCAT scores were similar but my GPA was low.
    Your best ally is your personal statement (PS). You need to explain the discrepancy between MCAT and GPA. You obviously have a lot of outside activities distracting from your school work and this must be thoroughly explained in your PS. You have great work experience and have demonstrated knowledge of your undergrad studies according to the MCAT score.
     
  16. Andre

    Andre Member
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    David:
    I just feel that you should know ALL your options.. hence I will tell you my darling wife's story:
    Three years ago, Age:30, GPA 3.85 BS-Biology U of Houston. 2-years volunteer work in Hospital + Aids research.
    No good MCAT (she is a gorgeous blonde, you know !!)
    I sent her to the Caribbean, to AUC.
    Today she finished MS2.
    This summer she writes USMLE-1 and starts clinicals in USA.
    We are sure that she will easily get an IM or FP residency after clinicals, and I am sure she will make a fine and compassionate physician in near future.
    If you wish to follow her footsteps instead of this nail-biting waiting game, then by all means, give me a call.
    Good luck,
    Andre Gurses, PE
    [email protected]
    Weekends only: Houston Home: 281-554-4524
     

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