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List of Schools -- Please Analyze This List Based On...

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by clarkalim, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. clarkalim

    clarkalim Figuring things out...
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    Can you help me analyze this list based on if I had:
    -3.7 GPA for both overall & BCPM
    -35Q or 36Q MCAT
    -average ECs
    -one summer of research experience
    -one summer at the SMDEP program at University of Washington
    -about 100 hours of shadowing experience

    Also, I am a California resident and will receive a B.S. in Biology from Baylor University in Texas (and I have a strong interest in research interest/education). I also have a very unique story as to why I want to apply to med school, if that counts/helps at all.

    What schools would you recommend I omit/definitely keep/add?

    Does this list look like a good enough range of schools to apply to?

    Are there too many or too few schools on the list, in your opinion? (There are 25...I feel like that may be too much, but since it's so hard to get into med school nowadays even with perfect stats, is it really?)

    Thanks so much!


    Harvard Medical School
    University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
    Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
    Yale University School of Medicine
    Stanford University School of Medicine
    Boston University School of Medicine
    University of Virginia School of Medicine
    University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
    Georgetown University School of Medicine
    Baylor College of Medicine
    Mount Sinai School of Medicine
    Temple University College of Medicine
    Jefferson Medical College
    University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
    Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
    Tufts University School of Medicine
    Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
    University of Rochester School of Medicine
    University of Texas, Southwestern Med Center - Dallas
    University of California, Davis School of Medicine
    University of California, Irvine School of Medicine
    University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine
    University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
    University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
    University of Southern California School of Medicine
     
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  3. Whatyousay

    Whatyousay A few loose screws
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    URM status?

    You'll have to elaborate on ECs in terms of teaching / leadership / clinical volunteering / non-clinical volunteering.

    At the moment, your list is very top-heavy. If you want to be "safe," you would probably want to add a few more mid-tier schools. A 3.7/36 is nice, but with only one semester of research under your belt, you're fighting an uphill battle at any of the research-heavy institutions that you listed. That's not to say a 3.7/36 with one semester of research has no shot at getting in, but it would be nice to have other ECs that help offset the less-than-optimal research experience.

    Can you provide a good reason for every non-Cali / TX school on your list?
     
  4. clarkalim

    clarkalim Figuring things out...
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    1) Yep, URM status!

    2) ECs:
    -Teaching: Tutoring in Biology for 5 semesters (Volunteer & Work Study)
    -Leadership: Is tutoring included in this? If not, secretary of a campus dining committee for one semester, working with HIV/AIDS affected children for 1 semester, Vice President of Alpha Epsilon Delta for two semesters (member for three), Vice President of Stepping Out (a community service organization on campus) for two semesters.
    -Clinical Volunteering: Is this shadowing? If so, 100 hours during the Howard University Med-Dent Start Program, University of Washington SMDEP, and at various clinics/hospitals in the communities where I live during the year (Waco and back home in California). If shadowing isn't included, what kinds of clinical volunteering do you recommend? Is being a hospital volunteer on weekends included in this?
    -Non-clinical Volunteering: DC Convention Center Health fair representative for 10 hours, various volunteer activities in the community (literacy, homeless shelter, community clean up) for 250 hours.

    3) Say if I were to add 2-3 semesters of academic-year research experience in a lab on campus to that one summer of research experience. What do you think about that? Would it significantly improve my chances to get into those more research-heavy institutions?

    4) All of the non-Cali/TX schools on my list are there because I have either visited during a minority day and LOVED their campus, students, curriculum structure, etc, or because I've done a great amount of research on the school and feel that their curriculum is a good fit for me. (I've also looked at acceptance stats and research/primary care rankings--I'm interested in being a primary care physician that does a great deal of translational and eventually, bench research. All of the institutions I chose either have MD/PhD or MSTP in case I'd like to transfer to the program during my MS-2 year.)
     
  5. DrDrToBe

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    First of all, your numbers look great and if those are your numbers, you can now forget about them and focus on other aspects of your application. Numbers are basically a way to get your application read, and honestly I think pretty much everywhere will read your application with those stats. Beyond that, your numbers may be a tie breaker but it's the rest of your application that really decides if you get an interview.
    With only one summer of research, how do you know you want to do research? Also, it's a bit unusual for primary care physicians to do bench research, you may want to research more about the role of primary care physicians and their greatest impact in society and why we need more of them, if you're going to put that in your application. Trust me, it's not to do translational research. If you wanted to do policy research or figure out how to improve healthcare for underserved communities or population- based research etc, I could buy that. Saying you want to do bench research and primary care makes me think you don't understand either field very well. You might want to read up on that before you put that in your personal statement.
    Also, most of the institutions you have listed are very research heavy and don't put out many PCPs; you may want to really think about why you choose to apply (or go) to a particular school. For instance, some schools have a research requirement built in their curriculum; on your secondary application you will be expected to enunciate how that aspect of the curriculum will enhance your training to become the type of physician you want to be.
    I don't think any of the schools are rule out for you, but i do agree it's top heavy and too much. My suggestion would be to pick 5 top schools, 5 mid-tier, and 5 that may be a bit easier to get into (don't consider them "safe" schools, if you apply to the school be ready to put 100% into the application).
    Good luck!
     
  6. clarkalim

    clarkalim Figuring things out...
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    Hi DrDrToBe! Thanks for the great advice :)

    To address your post,

    Well, the reason I want to be a PCP is because I want to be the first point of contact that a patient deals with. I'm really interested in dealing with patients that have difficult/hard to understand cases, and "diagnosed" diseases for which no one knows the cause (in other words, I want to be the "second opinion" doctor as well). This is because of my own personal experiences I've had in dealing with my health condition and visiting PCPs that pretty much didn't care if what I had couldn't be found in the books.

    The reason I want to do translational and eventually, bench research along with being a PCP is because I want to push back the boundaries of the unknown so people won't have to suffer from their "diagnosed" diseases (with an unsure cause and no known cure) like I have for the past five years.

    This is the kind of program I intend to get into: http://www.osher.hms.harvard.edu/file/docs/about/Osher_Fellowship_Application.doc

    That's a CAM fellowship. There are a few at other schools, too. The NIH NCCAM has them listed on their website.

    I'm really interested in microbiology/virology/immunology. Especially concerning mycoplasma and the extrapulmonary manifestations it may cause (ESPECIALLY neurological).

    Even though it may be rare for one to combine being a PCP and a researcher, I don't think it's unheard of, even if its not the norm. And it's what I'd really like to do. What do you think now that I've told you this?

    Also, the other question I have for you...do you think I have too many schools on my application?

    Thanks again!
     
  7. clarkalim

    clarkalim Figuring things out...
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    Oh and BTW--I would really love to be a general internist at the Mayo Clinic one day, where I understand a lot of undiagnosed cases are sent. Or another comparable place. Do you think my stats are too low to get in there? I took it off my list because to me it seemed they were, but maybe I am wrong?
     
  8. Whatyousay

    Whatyousay A few loose screws
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    1) Well, your URM status, combined with your GPA and your (hopeful) MCAT score probably means the sky is the limit for you.

    2) Looks good. Shadowing and Clinical experience/volunteering are two separate aspects of your application. In shadowing, you're looking to get a better feel of what doctors do on a day-to-day basis. In clinical volunteering or clinical work, you're looking for patient interaction. Being a hospital volunteer would constitute clinical volunteering, provided that you're working in an environment with patients (versus manning the front desk or filing). I'm not familiar with some of the programs you listed - it's possible you may be able to play that off as clinical experience if it wasn't a hands-off sort of deal.

    3) More research never hurts. Try to get into a lab where you'll be able to run your own projects or collaborate with the PI, versus one where you're just washing dishes or doing scut work. But don't do research for the sake of doing research. If you don't have a passion for research, adcoms will be able to see right through that.

    4) Fair enough. If you're looking for MD/PhD or MSTP programs, you're going to need some significant research experience, so I would work on building up that aspect of your resume.

    I think you do. Don't forget, 25 schools = 25 secondaries = 25 separate secondary fees.

    On the other hand, all of the schools on your list are HIGHLY selective, so it might be good to have a large list handy.
     
  9. clarkalim

    clarkalim Figuring things out...
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    Guess I'd better start saving up now :(

    Do you have any schools in mind that you may be able to suggest to me that might not be as highly selective, but still have good research opportunities at the institution?
     
  10. gutcheckmcat

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    There is no point in assuming you will have a 35-36 mcat score. Take the mcats and score a 35-36 then come and make this thread.
     
  11. clarkalim

    clarkalim Figuring things out...
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    Thanks, I appreciate your input. But that's not how I do things. I've taken practice tests and I am very confident I can earn that score. Even if I don't, this is a hypothetical question.

    Anyone else have a helpful answer?
     
  12. Elbowstoopointy

    Elbowstoopointy U aware?

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    URM.. They won't even read all your application after seeing the URM + 35. I know URM's who go to duke who have like 25 mcats lol.

    SERIOUS question. How do you honestly feel about the URM thing? You are a stellar student with your 35 mcat..you could get into a top 10 even if you were a white male...yet other URM's at your school will get their due to their ethnicity. How do you feel as a URM who has EARNED your spot?

    It seems like they have created a stigma...as people tend to assume URMs earned their med school spot due to affirmative action and not hard work. In your case, you DO have the stats....so the system is literally causing discrimination against you...which is sick.


    Don't you agree that affirmative action is absolutely racist? People look at URM med students and assume they didn't earn it...how the hell is that not racist?

    NO RACIST just honestly curious how you feel about this...

    Anyways to answer your question you are 100% getting into a top 5
     
  13. clarkalim

    clarkalim Figuring things out...
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    Hello Elbowstoopointy,

    Well firstly, you should know that even though I have the GPA, I haven't taken the *OFFICIAL* MCAT test yet, though I've taken official practice tests and done very well. I'm confident I can earn a 34+ when I finally do take the exam soon.

    But as for the URM status & affirmative action...I feel sorry for those that believe that every person who has URM status and is in medical school got in because of their ethnicity. There are some that did get in because of their URM status, and some that truly earned it. As aspiring doctors, I think each and every one of us should learn not to judge a book by its cover, but to get to know the full story instead of making assumptions.

    I would feel great if I got into medical school regardless of my URM status, but I will feel proud to represent the face of medicine as a person of African and Native American descent.
     
  14. brobocop

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    Hi Clarkalim,

    From what I can see your app looks good. The concerns have been made, but as long as you present yourself well at interviews, I feel that you'll be fine.

    Sorry for making a tangent, but I thought it'd be a good opportunity for me to ask some questions (as an ORM) out of curiosity as well stemming from your (qualified) URM status.

    According to positive self-esteem index studies, African Americans and Latinos tend to have higher self esteem than whites and significantly higher than Asians, even though they tend to underperform academically. I thought of this study when you brought up your confidence towards getting a 35+. I was honestly nervous about getting a 33 after my test even though I ended up getting a 40R.

    Another thing is a previous poster had the audacity to say, whether misinformed or not, that you will certainly make it into a top 5 school. Ironically, even with my mcat and a 3.9+ GPA (admittedly a dime a dozen for asians), 2.5 years of research in hard science, 1 year of clinical research each with 2 doctors (1st author pub and abstract), 150+ hours of clinical volunteering, 100+ hours of shadowing, 6 outstanding rec letters (+2 more for Harvard and Cornell), I feel that only a fool will say that I have, as an ORM, "for certain" make it into a top 5.

    Ultimately, I'd like to ask where your confidence comes from? Is it completely innate, does it stem from the advantages present through Affirmative Action policies, is it a mix of the two, or is it something else entirely?
     
  15. gettheleadout

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Let's keep this thread focused more on the OP's chances and less on their URM status, okay?
     
  16. clarkalim

    clarkalim Figuring things out...
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    I don't mind anyone asking questions about this topic--it seems that many of you have had this on your mind for a while. I'd rather answer questions about it to bring people out of the dark on the subject rather than not answering and leaving them to believe their own assumptions (whether wrong or right).

    Anyway, as long as I do well on the MCAT, I don't really feel that I won't get into ANY medical school, but I don't necessarily feel confident that I'll get into a top 5. Because I will have the stats to have my application kept for review by the adcom, I feel that the other parts of my application will give even more strength to my chances at being admitted. I have a pretty unique story as to why I want to be a doctor--I'm not the kid who wanted to be one since they were little, or who saw a doctor cure their family member and wanted to become one too, or any of that (even though those are noble reasons as well!). My story also explains why I want to be a PCP AND do clinical/translational research, which many will not understand until they hear my story. I feel that this and many other experiences that I've had in life and during undergrad will help to bolster my application...but, then again, I still don't believe that I'll necessarily get into a top 5 because of all of this! :)

    My confidence comes from within, not because of my URM status. I know that I am a very hard worker and that even if I don't get into medical school the first year I apply, I will find out the reasons why, and work hard to improve my application for the next year. I also have faith that everything will work itself out--whether this stems from my understanding of the way the world works, or my spirituality, I don't know. I think it's a little bit of both.

    Honestly, I never really put much thought into my URM status until I learned about it in a summer program I was a part of that was for minorities interested in medicine or dentistry. I didn't even really know what it meant or what its significance was, lol. But I was still just as confident that I would get into medical school before I learned about it.

    Too, I don't really agree with the way some medical schools admit URM students because of their ethnic background instead of their stats, if that is truly how it happens sometimes. (Do all schools do this?)

    I believe that everyone should have an equal shot at getting admitted--not because of their ethnic background, but based on how hard they worked to get there. If you couldn't get the GPA or the MCAT score, well then, you need to try harder to bring them up, just like an ORM would have to do.

    The fact that people get into medical school because of their URM status is a sad thing, to me. Why do the adcom's see a difference between a URM with a low GPA and MCAT opposed to a ORM with a low GPA and MCAT? It seems to me that they are insinuating that ORMs are more intelligent in some way--if an ORM didn't score well, it's because they just didn't try that hard. "They HAVE the ability to do it." But if a URM didn't score well, it's because of other factors in their life--their home environment, their learning capacity, their academic opportunities, etc. And they "didn't" have the ability to do well.

    Well, I've got news for you honey--if you have dreams to become a doctor, then you're going to have to do the work to get there despite what is going on in your life.

    I mean, think about it this way--what if a ORM was raised in the same environment as a URM, and didn't score well? Would they still be given the same chances at admission as a URM?

    No...

    So, what's the deal? By admitting a URM because of their status, you're STILL discriminating against them!!!! And I really don't believe there to be any "positive" forms of discrimination.

    I'm happy that they are attempting to bring more doctors of many different ethnicities into the workforce, but this is the wrong way to go about doing it, IMO...

    But these are just my beliefs, everyone has their own opinions about this process.

    Okay, I'm done. :)
     
  17. clarkalim

    clarkalim Figuring things out...
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    Haha, thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
     
  18. RavishingB

    RavishingB Novelist

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    Great post! It was ridiculous how they acted like your URM status would be the reason you would get into med school. Like I'm sure it had NOTHING to do with the 3.7gpa and 35 MCAT :lol:

    Good luck! :luck:
     
    #17 RavishingB, Jul 31, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  19. mmmcdowe

    mmmcdowe Duke of minimal vowels
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    No need to even set the bar at 34, if you score a 30+ you will get into at least one school on your list in all likelihood.
     

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