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MD Just scored a 38, what do I do now?

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by toogoofy, 09.18.14.

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  1. toogoofy

    toogoofy 2+ Year Member

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    So I took the mcat Aug. 15th and scored a 38 (12/13/13). Before I started preparing for it I didn't think I'd score so well and now I'm not sure what I should focus on to boost my chances at the top 20's. I am currently a junior in undergrad and am a proud contributed to the 30+ MCAT Score thread.

    My Stuff:
    I attend a small unknown liberal arts college.
    GPA: 3.93 (sGPA: 4.0)
    MCAT: 38 (12/13/13)
    Research: .5 years on one project that didn't interest me. Beginning this year I started on another project testing new rheumatoid arthritis drugs on a mouse model that spontaneously develops RA.
    Leadership:
    President of a homeless outreach organization run by my school
    VP of Prehealth club: we aren't very active though.

    Miscellaneous:
    Medical service trips to Mexico (2x, 1 week) and Bolivia (4 weeks).
    Exercising in my spare time: half marathon, triathlon, paddle boarding, etc.
    Shadowing: 16hrs. with Cardiologist

    Other than maintaining my GPA, what else should I work on?

    Research wise, I'm not sure if I have a chance at being published as my PI is just starting this project. Also, would doing a senior thesis project be worth it since the top 20's like research experience?

    I think one of my weaknesses is my lack of clinical experiences. Are there any particularly good volunteer opportunities or jobs I should go after (I have my EMT cert, but not enough time to get a job this semester)? I'm just not interested in volunteering at a hospital restocking supply rooms and the like.

    I also have the chance to work with an interventional cardiologist on his clinical research that is nearly guaranteed to be published, but would it be worth doing it if all I did was data entry and analysis?

    Thank you in advance for your help!
     
    Last edited: 09.18.14
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  3. claduva94

    claduva94 2+ Year Member

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    I'm seeing minimal clinical experience. Am I just overlooking it?
     
  4. Iceandmedicine

    Iceandmedicine 2+ Year Member

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    Our stats/experiences are VERY similar (its almost scary how much we have in common...) I also didn't have too much clinical experience, so during my gap year i took a scribe job, which will given me 1400+ hours of clinical experience in 1 year, plus, I get paid ;)

    Alsp, apply EARLY! i am in the middle of my app cycle with only 1 II, which might be because I didn't submit my secondaries in July like a lot of others.

    Otherwise just do what you're doing and have fun! Also, remember you don't have to get published to have meaningful and significant research experience. Just work on a project you have genuine interest in, and continue for at least 1 year.
     
  5. Earl Simmons

    Earl Simmons 5+ Year Member

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    You most definitely need more clinical experiences.
     
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  6. Afford

    Afford

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    Research+clinical experience. You don't need to be published. They will probably ask you during your interviews especially if you're aiming for the top 20 research schools.
     
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  7. toogoofy

    toogoofy 2+ Year Member

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    No I haven't don't much at all

    Thanks for the input! Scribing definitely sounds like a great job from what I've heard. I'll definitely try to apply early. what type of schools did you apply to?

    Yeah :(
     
  8. Keladry

    Keladry 2+ Year Member

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    Shadow some other types of doctors as well (primary care would be good, and/or different specialties), so that you can show you know what medicine is like. Clinical volunteering (which may be more feasible while a student) or clinical paid work would definitely be worth looking into.
     
  9. EMDO2018

    EMDO2018 Banned Banned

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    Get lots of clinical experience, then apply to top 30ish, throw some safety schools in there if you don't want to reapply.
     
  10. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 2+ Year Member

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    Congratulations! I heard that test date had a terrible scale for the difficulty of the test.
     
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  11. Hospitalized

    Hospitalized Caspase Cascade 2+ Year Member

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    SCRIBE! Get clinical experience. You're only lacking exposure.
     
  12. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich 2+ Year Member

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    Yup, get clinical experience but don't scribe imo. I don't like their business model in general, I feel it is parasitic.
     
  13. FutureOncologist

    FutureOncologist I support cancer... research 2+ Year Member

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    More clinical. Everything else is competitive. However, don't think that secondaries NEED to be sent in July. That's neurotic. Several adcoms say if you submit before October then you're fine, as long as you're competitive.
     
  14. Iceandmedicine

    Iceandmedicine 2+ Year Member

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    I applied to many top 30 schools, and a few 30-50. The other thing about applying to low-mid tier schools with a 37+ 3.9+ is that they will probably figure that you are using them as a "Safety" and you are likely to get offers and accept to top schools.
     
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  15. jonnythan

    jonnythan Some men play tennis, I erode the human soul 2+ Year Member

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    You should brag about it on SDN ;)
     
  16. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    You need significant clinical experience. I don't think a 38 will compensate for not showing evident knowledge of the profession.

    I highly, highly suggest doing scribe work if it is offered in your region.
     
  17. AndyQC

    AndyQC

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    As the others suggested, you need to commit to scribing or working as an EMT as soon as you can. Alternatively, you could pursue a clinical volunteer activity that you enjoy if you can get in at least 10-20 hours per week.

    Hope that helps, and good luck!
     
    LizzyM likes this.
  18. toogoofy

    toogoofy 2+ Year Member

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    Is there anything you would suggest other than scribing? Thanks for giving an opion contrary to the general consensus.

    oh okay I see. thanks for the advice. I hope your application cycle ramps up soon!

    ya know it just seemed like the right thing to do.

    I've had scribing recommended to me a bunch of times. I'm mostly just waiting for a semester where I'd have time to do it. Thanks!
     
  19. FutureOncologist

    FutureOncologist I support cancer... research 2+ Year Member

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    Depending on a lot of regions, that will be super competitive and will cost you 6-18 months of additional schooling. If you were to go either route OP, do scribing.
     
  20. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 2+ Year Member

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    I agree, although OP will probably have more success at the top 20 than low tier. His stats put him out of reach with low tiers. Unless he changes his strategy, his best bet are mid tiers.
     
  21. FutureOncologist

    FutureOncologist I support cancer... research 2+ Year Member

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    If you want anything else, then maybe clinical research if you have the connections. More shadowing, volunteering in a hospital, even with 3-4 hours a week, will be fantastic.
     
  22. histidine

    histidine 2+ Year Member

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    Work with that cardiologist, get published, and have him set up a few shadowing experiences with his buds in various specialties. Put a few top 20s in your list, but they are still long shots. Near guarantee acceptance at a mid tier school though.
     
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  23. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    I recommend scribe work because I have consistently heard medical students and admissions committees speak with adoration about the job. They seem to really like it and it seems to give a unique, useful clinical experience that exposes you to a quality perspective of medicine. I have also noted that medical students I have met who did scribe work have an evident increased initial understanding of clinical medicine. I certainly wouldn't doubt it as an option because someone doesn't like their business model. I can assure you it is an accepted clinical experience.

    My thoughts are anecdotal, but maybe @LizzyM or @gyngyn can add to that.
     
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  24. calvnandhobbs68

    calvnandhobbs68 I KNOW NOTHING 5+ Year Member

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    It's only September and you're only a junior. Find SOME clinical thing (or two) to do the rest of the year and continue into the application season so you can talk about it on interviews. Keep working with the homeless outreach organization. Yes, do the research with the cardiologist, even if you're just going to be doing data pushing, as getting an abstract/paper in somewhere will look really good (although plenty of people haven't published). Most of all, be able to talk about your research (past and present) on the interview trail.
     
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  25. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

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    You're not applying right now so you have this summer to beef up your resume. Are you doing research over the summer?

    See if you can shadow and volunteer for 10-20 hrs a week during the summer. Keep it up like 1x a week (volunteer) during the academic year and you'll be set.
     
  26. toogoofy

    toogoofy 2+ Year Member

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    Ok sounds good. I'll definitely look into it.

    Man sounds like i'm going to have a hard road ahead of me (although I'm extremely thankful for my stats and things I've done so far). Next semester I should be able to hit get on the clinical experience grind and hopefully that'll help.

    Ok I'll get in touch with him. Thanks! that sounds like a good plan. I'm beginning to realize how phenomenal you have to be to get into a top 20 haha.

    wow that sounds great. I'll put scribing at the top of my list. Thanks again!

    I'll get in touch with him. I agree that getting published would be awesome and I'll search for some lower commitment volunteer activities for now until i get more free time next semester.
     
  27. toogoofy

    toogoofy 2+ Year Member

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    One clinical (?) volunteering opportunity I might have is working at homeless clinics that take place in parks. Volunteers mostly scribe for doctors while they treat or refer homeless patients. Would that count as clinical even if its not in the hospital? I've read lizzyM's advice about just being close enough to smell patients and it would certainly fulfill that, I'm just wondering if it has to be in a hospital like setting.
     
  28. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich 2+ Year Member

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    @toogoofy The overwhelming majority of people on SDN support scribing. However, I think it takes up far too much valuable time that can be put to better use somewhere else. It all depends on the opportunities in your area however. On the one hand scribing offers you the opportunity to communicate while you are gaining experience and it is more likely to be an active job than a passive one like some gigs. I would go with a regular volunteering job or role at a free clinic that has a reputation for not being useless. They do exist. Ideally, work as a translator for a physician if you have the language skills but obviously that is very niche.
     
  29. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 2+ Year Member

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    Although many people in this thread have stated that your main weakness is clinical experience, your main weakness for the top 20's are clinical experience AND research experience. 6 months is not enough research experience for those schools, considering you don't have any "wow" factors otherwise.
     
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  30. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    OP is a premed who has successfully gotten a 99th percentile MCAT, has an excellent academic record, covers most of his/her bases, and lacks significant clinical experience. I fail to see how doing scribe work is anything less than an optimal investment of time in his/her situation.

    If OP gets clinical experience, continues research experiences, and possibly gains a publication, I do not see a single thing lacking in his/her application. While preferred, a publication certainly isn't even necessary, and 1.5 years of active research is plenty assuming OP can advocate him/herself as a significant contributor in an interview.
     
  31. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich 2+ Year Member

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    He can do it if he wants to. I believe there are more enjoyable, less time consuming ways to gain clinical experience. It depends on his schedule. Maybe he is not as busy as I imagine. I would rather focus on my classes and research than spend so much time on one activity that I can complete intermittently over a longer period of time. Admittedly, he has less time but does that mean he needs to stack 150+ hours right now all at once?? No, I don't believe that is necessary. I understand clinical experience is important but given the graduates at my university I feel like SDN places far too much value on the relative weight of clinical experience. Idk, if you sit on your adcom maybe you can shed some light on that.
     
  32. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    I do not sit on my school's AdCom and I have no affiliation with it. However, I do know that anything other than significant clinical experience is an absolute death sentence at my school, but it has a unique mission that is not widely applicable to other programs. I believe top programs are far more lenient in regard to clinical experience and favor academic success and research, but I'd wager a wholesome application would be better than either or.
     
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  33. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich 2+ Year Member

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    I'd agree with that. Since he asked about Top 20s specifically though I would just pivot my focus onto my research project and garner clinic XP where I can.
     
  34. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    OP will have 1.5 years of research by application time, and potentially (not for sure but possibly) a publication. That is more than adequate research experience.

    OP's clinical experience is 16 hours of shadowing a specialized physician. Maybe I'm jaded, but I'm sorry, that's an embarrassingly low number of clinical hours and certainly not enough to know what it's like to be a clinician. Working part time or per diem as a scribe (or other physician-patient clinical job) would do absolute wonders for this application, in my eyes.
     
  35. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich 2+ Year Member

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    What would you say is an acceptable threshold of clinical hours for your specialized program? 150? 300?

    /apologize for thread hijack. Last Q I promise.
     
  36. Narmerguy

    Narmerguy SDN Senior Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    This belongs in WAMC (moving thread for you).
     
  37. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    Do you mean my medical school? If so, the majority of people I know (including myself) had thousands of hours in a clinical setting prior to matriculation. But I highly doubt there is a "threshold" of any sort.

    As for in general, I've heard that > 50 total hours of shadowing various specialties and at least a couple hundred hours in a clinical setting (volunteering, work, etc) is highly preferred. I'd agree with that, as I can't imagine how you would know medicine is right for you if you didn't have any significant exposure to it.
     
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  38. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 2+ Year Member

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    Unless OP is highly productive in research (most premeds are not), one year is not enough to get a publication, considering OP is working in a basic science lab and starting from scratch. 1.5 years is definitely enough; I was referring to the 6 months by itself as of now.

    OP has covered the minimal bases. Top schools are looking to recruit future leaders in medicine. OP needs to demonstrate that he has that capacity. Being president of a club and checking off the "research" box is not an adequate way to be a competitive candidate.
     
  39. toogoofy

    toogoofy 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks to all of you for taking the time to help me out. I really appreciate it

    I'm a major contributed to the project because my school is so small that only a two other students are involved with the project and I am a "him".

    Do you think it would be worth it to take a gap year so that I could extend my research and have more time to get clinical experiences like scribing or volunteering? Where I am Scribing requires a 1 year commitment and 16 hours a week which would be a large time commitment, but certainly could be worth it.
     
  40. Ace Khalifa

    Ace Khalifa I am the definition of awesomeness 2+ Year Member

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    Clinical experience > Research, right? OP should do scribing (or whatever he wants that is just as meaningful) for sure, and continue with whatever he does now. Also, OP should understand that it's not the end of the world if he doesn't get into a top 20 school. Gap year is definitely a viable option too.
     
  41. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 2+ Year Member

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    Gap year would definitely be preferable if you want to maximize your chances at the Top 20. You can contribute a lot more while working full time and publishing is definitely within the realms of "possible" to "very likely if you get everything done efficiently". You will also rack up on a lot of volunteer experience!
     
  42. calvnandhobbs68

    calvnandhobbs68 I KNOW NOTHING 5+ Year Member

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    In the converse, there are plenty of us at "Top 20" schools who didn't have thousands of hours of clinical experience. ;)

    So don't freak out.
     
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  43. MU420

    MU420 5+ Year Member

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    Get a jersey with number 38 printed on the back and go have a disco.
     
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  44. qwerty89

    qwerty89 5+ Year Member

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    .
     
    Last edited: 09.19.14
  45. brood910

    brood910 2+ Year Member

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    My friend with 38 MCAT + 4.o GPA Got into top 20 school without any clinical experiences lol.
     
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  46. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    I was asked specifically about my program, and that was what I was responding to. I already talked about "Top 20" programs earlier in the thread:

    During my application cycle I did just fine with "Top" schools without a publication. 1.5 years of research with a clinical research publication is more than enough for research. 16 hours of shadowing is not.

    He is the exception, not the rule. Unless it is a research program (e.g. MD/PhD, and even then...) I'm skeptical of any program that would admit an individual with no clinical experience, regardless of numbers. I'm not saying your experiences must be exhaustive like many people at the program I am at, but they should be significant enough that you're making an informed decision about the rest of your life.

    It doesn't matter how smart you are if you find out half way through first year you hate medicine and don't wish to continue. And for the individuals themselves, it would really suck to have your first clinical experience 3rd year and absolutely hate the career you're now bound to.
     
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  47. toogoofy

    toogoofy 2+ Year Member

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    I just wanted to say thanks to you guys for taking the time to help me out. I really appreciate it
     
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  48. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    You're welcome, that's why we're here. I wish you the best in your journey. I predict your future will be fruitful if you continue to improve your CV and put your best into your application process.
     
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  49. THEWORLDCUP

    THEWORLDCUP

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    I read this comment and loled for like 5 minutes
     
  50. justwantanmdphd

    justwantanmdphd 2+ Year Member

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    Are you thinking of MD only or MD/PhD? (you might have answered in this post but I didn't read them yet)
     
  51. Doug Underhill

    Doug Underhill 2+ Year Member

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    Incredible numbers, underwhelming ECs. You need more clinical experience for any school and more research experience for the top schools. I would continue your research and add a bunch of new clinical stuff in the three semesters you have remaining.

    If you do that, you have a very high chance of getting accepted to your top choice.
     

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