10+ Year Member
- Mar 12, 2013
- Reaction score
So from what I read and understand from your post and situation, here is my advice and some questions I still have:Hello,
I am a late-blooming first time applicant in my mid-20s with no II looking for some advice on how to proceed. I applied to 30-some schools from USNews unranked to T20 (AMCAS primary in July, MD secondaries in September; AACOMAS primary+secondaries in November). Late, I know, but I was unsure of my competitiveness until I received my MCAT score. 4 Rs from T20 so far, 1 T40, 1 hold from SUNY Upstate.
First, I'd like to share my stats:
-3.53 cGPA/3.45 sGPA (upward trend, particularly in sciences where my low grades were in early level classes); Retook Ochem Lab 1 and Ochem 2 (C to As in both)
-518 MCAT (129/127/131/131) taken late June; first attempt
-Graduated in 2018 from renowned state school (started 2012, took a gap year after sophomore, ended up double majoring+minor in various bio sciences; 5 year of course work)+received medical assisting cert following UG from local CC to gain clinical exposure (4.0 GPA "post-bacc")
-Ongoing activities in research, clinical, and volunteering in two orgs as described below
-4 pubs on app (2 first, 2 second, +1 first author submitted post-review revisions; at least 3 more authorships on the way including an additional first author); Started research in 2018
-Several posters and presentations (2 more since AMCAS)
-Clinical experience as a nursing assistant (ongoing, started 2019) and medical assistant (>1000 hrs combined)
-Clinical volunteering (>300 hrs), ended post-COVID
-Non Clinical Volunteering (one org, projected 400 hrs, started June 2020)+one new volunteering activity not on AMCAS started December 2020 in which I have already made a tangible impact.
-150+ hrs shadowing in multiple specialities, last in 2019.
-Only collegiate EC is social club (no leadership), though I am a musician. I participated in several blues/funk music projects that aren't part of some organization (mentioned this + one other hobby on app)
-LGBT (mentioned on diversity/gap year essays)
These potential red flags in my app seem possible: 1) low GPA, 2) limited experiences while attending college+ gap year, 3) protracted college education, 4) Mentioning being queer on diversity apps (concerns about prejudiced app reviewer), 5) (maybe) LOR, 6) Unremarkable leadership (I am a senior lab member with project management and mentoring responsibilities; I identified an area of need in my AMCAS non-clinical and addressed it with a longitudinal and coordinated plan).
Now, to why I posted this thread.
I am operating under the assumption that I will not be accepted. Some have mentioned that it may be too early to be concerned, but I want to plan ahead so that I am not screwed in case I have to reapply. I see three paths, and I would like some feedback:
1) Continue what I am doing (research, nursing assistant, volunteering in two orgs).
2) Continue what I am doing minus research (this would open up my schedule in desirable ways and allow me to earn more money, travel and potentially do more clinical work).
3) Enroll in an SMP or 1-year Masters (Currently looking at Columbia MS in Nutrition, Cinci SMP, and Temple linkage; open to suggestions).
I have not submitted an update letters (would only include new pub, new volunteering, and new presentations). Should I?
Thank you and happy New Year!
Edit: corrected research starting year from 2020 to 2018
When exactly, how many, and what courses did you take for your "post-bac?"
How many hours of non-clinical volunteering did you have when you APPLIED and COMPLETED NOW?
The biggest issue here that I see (from what I understand from your app at least) is that you are drastically overestimating how competitive you are and your school list is top-heavy. IMO, you shouldn't even be looking at T20 schools (or caring for that matter what the rank is) as you just need to get into ANY medical school. It's fine to throw your application at some T20, but you need to make sure you have applied to 95% of schools in your ballpark (which aren't top 20). Your long college career doesn't matter at all. It took like 7 years for me to get through undergrad and it was never brought up in interviews. I think overall your ECs are good, but "projected 400 hours" doesn't really mean much (and is why I was asking how many you had when you originally applied).
It is getting really late in the cycle now and you should start to have a plan for reapplication. If your GPA is 3.53 and you don't have a "REAL" post-bac meaning a year AFTER graduating from undergrad where you took upper-level science courses, then I would do that. I would take a year to log a solid 3.9+ GPA with a year of courses and work on increasing your non-clinical volunteer hours. By doing this, your GPA, MCAT, research, and clinical/non-clinical volunteering would be solid. If you STILL did not get interviews, your red flag is likely either your LOR or your essays.
The "post bacc" was right after graduating in 2018 to gain clinical exposure (thought I'd only be able to do PA). I scored a 3.8 taking almost entirely upper level courses at my university during years 4 and 5, and because I took many of the courses traditionally associated with formal post bacc, I don't really see what a post-bacc could do. I have so many credits that my uGPA is essentially resistant to movement. Would an SMP or Masters not be better considering?
My nonclinical was weak when I applied. A lot of what I did before I did not put because it was too scattered (hours at various orgs here and there) or a bit too politically left to list for something like med school. I was also in a now-defunct fraternity (which I left before it became defunct due to becoming incongruent with the house values). I am in track to complete the hours for the org I listed (over 200 now) and I completed my hours for an outdoor recreation club (1000). For reapp, I will also have >100 hrs with an organization in which I mentor high schoolers from single parent households, which is very personal to me and will flesh out my story since my parents divorced right as I entered high school.