Bernoull

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This is basically my entire resume that i've built up over the past 3 years. I already know I can make most med schools, but as an undergrad coming out of Duke, I'd like to make a med school such as Duke Med or one on comparable levels as Duke. What do you guys think? One of my concerns is that my MCAT score might still be on the low end for Duke Med. All comments are welcome, but I'd really like to hear from some ppl who got interviewed and accepted into top tier med schools. Thanks!

DUKE UNIVERSITY

EDUCATION (INTELLECTUAL READINESS)
B.S. in Biology; Cumulative GPA: 3.786; Graduation Date: May 2011

MCAT 35Q: 14 P 11 B 10 V

AWARDS
Dean’s List ’07 Fall; Dean’s List ’08 Fall; Dean’s List ’09 Spring; Dean’s List w/ Distinction ’09 Fall
Presidential Service Award, Gold
Circle K International Scholarship Recipient
Trinity Forum Research Grant Recipient

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE
Lab research assistant (fall ‘07- current)
Work Study (fall ’07- spring ’09)
Independent Study (fall ‘09- current)
’08 Summer Research Internship (6/23/08- 8/10/08)

Manuscripts in preparation:
2 publications coming out soon hopefully.... manuscripts in preparation
Trinity Research Forum Poster/Presentation (spring ’10-current)

KNOWLEDGE OF MEDICINE
Volunteer, HCEP, Duke Medical Center; Durham, NC; (fall semester ’07 – current) – Geared towards Duke pre-med undergrads who wish to gain clinical experience and interacting with patients

Shadowing, Shanghai 9th People’s Hospital, Shanghai, China- (summer ’08); Shadowed Chinese surgeons and gained a more global perspective on medical practices in comparison to American physicians

Shadowing, Duke Medical Center; Durham, NC - (fall ‘09- current) – Observed Dr. Inman, a leading cancer specialist in the Urology Department, during his clinical hours as well as his surgeries

SERVICE TO OTHERS
Volunteer, Circle K; Durham, NC – (fall ’08 – current) – Participating in weekly service projects like the nursing home (hosting BINGO for the elderly) and Boys & Girls club (tutoring middle school kids in an afterschool program) and attending district service events (collaborative service projects with all the Circle K’s in the Carolinas)

Volunteer, Little Blue Devils’ Basketball; Durham, NC – (fall ’09 – current) – Participate in weekly sessions teaching kids at EK Powe Elementary School the fundamentals of basketball

Volunteer, Unite for Sight; Durham, NC – (fall ’09 – current) – Participating in monthly teacher training workshops and volunteering at health fairs to promote vision education and to connect the community to free health care providers

LEADERSHIP (CLUBS, SPORTS, ORGANIZATIONS)
TA, Chinese Department, Duke University; Durham, NC – (fall ’07 – spring ’08) – Mainly prepare PowerPoint slides as an additional resource for Chinese 01/02 students

Committee Chair of Duke University Health Services, Circle K, Duke University; Durham, NC - (start of fall ’09 – end of spring ‘10) – Responsible for overseeing health-related projects; I initiated a new weekly nursing home volunteer project and established Circle K’s connection to the Duke Medical Center through the REMEDY program, which involves collecting and packing used but salvageable medical supplies to donate to various organizations

HCEP PAL (Patient Advocate Leader)- Health Career Exploration Program, Duke University; Durham, NC – (fall ’09 – current) – Responsible for orienting new volunteers on the General Surgery and Cardio-Thoracic Units at the Duke Medical Center and overseeing their volunteer experience

Chairman, Unite for Sight, Duke University; Durham, NC - (fall ’09 - current) – I’m second in command right below the President. My primary responsibilities include coordinating two monthly volunteer events, contacting school administrators to schedule eyesight workshops for teachers

Vice President of Service, Circle K, Duke University; Durham, NC- (spring ’10 – current)

EXPOSURE TO DIVERSITY
Experience 1: A one month long trip to Hangzhou, China volunteering with the SmileTrain Program, dedicated to providing free cleft surgeries for hundreds of thousands of children. I watched some of the surgeries but mainly, my role was interacting with the families and helping them in the recovery process.

Experience 2: Mission trip to Miramar, Costa Rica with the group Cultural Convergence International (CCI) with the goal of sustainability; a one week long trip to this impoverished community in hopes of improving the children’s lives; we built a new cafeteria for a school that had lost its old one due to a storm and engaged the students in learning the fundamentals of volleyball and soccer, popular sports in the country but which they had no access to due to their economic deprivation.

Experience 3: DukeEngage in Beijing; a two month long trip abroad at a school for migrant worker children in the rural outskirts of Beijing; these children are born into a life of poverty and struggle to even get to high school; we communicated with the children and sought to inspire them academically and show them the potential possibilities.
With good LORS, Essays and interviews, you have a shot. As with most things there's no guarantee but you can do thing to improve ur odds (most of which u've done). Definitely apply early and broadly, if you're set on Duke, apply EDP (assuming they have it)..

Please don't just apply to top 10 or 20 for instance, ur number are average for Duke 34 MCAT and 3.74 GPA and probably of other top schools. Apply widely and hope to get into ur dream school(s)..
 

deaninja

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It's always great to see a fellow Dukie on SDN and I'm also a former Circle K member to boot! You're application looks pretty good especially your ECs, and it's great that your aiming for the Top 10. However, it's incredibly difficult to get into these schools even if you have amazing numbers and activities. The process is very hard to predict so I would definitely make sure that you apply early and broadly (more than just top 20).

As Bernoull said, make sure you have great essays and LORs, apply as early as possible, and get some good interview practice. You have a shot but by no means are you a shoe-in (very few are). Just don't make the mistake of being caught up too much in the name and apply to as many schools as you can. Good luck!!
 

csheng89

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Oh hey! Are you a med student somewhere right now? Circle K is booming in the past couple years. This year, we have 73 registered members :)

Hope you'll watch the Duke vs. ARPB game! GO DUKE!

It's always great to see a fellow Dukie on SDN and I'm also a former Circle K member to boot! You're application looks pretty good especially your ECs, and it's great that your aiming for the Top 10. However, it's incredibly difficult to get into these schools even if you have amazing numbers and activities. The process is very hard to predict so I would definitely make sure that you apply early and broadly (more than just top 20).

As Bernoull said, make sure you have great essays and LORs, apply as early as possible, and get some good interview practice. You have a shot but by no means are you a shoe-in (very few are). Just don't make the mistake of being caught up too much in the name and apply to as many schools as you can. Good luck!!
 

deaninja

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Oh hey! Are you a med student somewhere right now? Circle K is booming in the past couple years. This year, we have 73 registered members :)

Hope you'll watch the Duke vs. ARPB game! GO DUKE!
That's great. I actually graduated last year so I was there when it was definitely smaller. I'm working at the NIH for a year right now. I've applied this cycle and I'm getting my decisions right now. As I said it's incredibly difficult to get into the Top 10 (I actually just got into my #1 choice yesterday!) but it's possible. If it doesn't work out, just realize that you're still going to be a doctor where ever you go and that your performance in med school, clinics and Step 1 really determine what residencies you place into.

And obviously I will be watching my Dukies. It's very convenient that they start to play well right after I graduate. :laugh:
 

csheng89

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Congrats! What was ur top choice btw? I feel like I must've met you if you graduated last year. I was in Circle K last year too. My whole thing with getting into a top med school is in part to prepare for residencies. Coming out of a better med school gives me a better chance of getting a residency match.

That's great. I actually graduated last year so I was there when it was definitely smaller. I'm working at the NIH for a year right now. I've applied this cycle and I'm getting my decisions right now. As I said it's incredibly difficult to get into the Top 10 (I actually just got into my #1 choice yesterday!) but it's possible. If it doesn't work out, just realize that you're still going to be a doctor where ever you go and that your performance in med school, clinics and Step 1 really determine what residencies you place into.

And obviously I will be watching my Dukies. It's very convenient that they start to play well right after I graduate. :laugh:
 

deaninja

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Congrats! What was ur top choice btw? I feel like I must've met you if you graduated last year. I was in Circle K last year too. My whole thing with getting into a top med school is in part to prepare for residencies. Coming out of a better med school gives me a better chance of getting a residency match.
I just got into Penn yesterday which I think is where I am going to end up (Hopkins may make a late run in the end). I may have seen you around but I was really busy my 2nd semester senior year so it's possible that we missed each other.

Anyway, there is always a huge argument on whether the prestige of a med school matters, but I believe that finding a great "fit" for your learning style, personality, and what you want to achieve as a doctor is important in becoming the best doctor that you can be (whether this is at the #1 or #25 med school). Still, many people match well into residencies from lesser known schools (and probably have less debt), and there are also students at the top schools that don't match well because they don't take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.

The most important factor in matching well into residencies is you, and not the school that you come from. If you are dedicated and bright (it looks like you are), you can do well where ever you go. Getting into a top med school that fits you well can help you along the way, but only if you take advantage of what they have to offer.

I'm just trying to emphasize that not getting into a top 10 school isn't the end of the world, and you can still match very well where ever you go if you work hard enough. Anyway, good luck and definitely get your apps done as early as possible. And here's hoping for a final four run too!
 

csheng89

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Wow nice! Penn is on my list as well. Yeah i understand the whole argument, and in the end, for me it's a personal motivation. Just being around ppl smarter than you, it really helps to motivate me to do better. I know what I have to do to keep up with them or try to surpass them. I'm not all about the ranks; I'm more about the people that I would be around. Another big part like you mentioned is the opportunities available at these so-called better med schools. I think that'll definitely be a huge benefit for me.

I just got into Penn yesterday which I think is where I am going to end up (Hopkins may make a late run in the end). I may have seen you around but I was really busy my 2nd semester senior year so it's possible that we missed each other.

Anyway, there is always a huge argument on whether the prestige of a med school matters, but I believe that finding a great "fit" for your learning style, personality, and what you want to achieve as a doctor is important in becoming the best doctor that you can be (whether this is at the #1 or #25 med school). Still, many people match well into residencies from lesser known schools (and probably have less debt), and there are also students at the top schools that don't match well because they don't take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.

The most important factor in matching well into residencies is you, and not the school that you come from. If you are dedicated and bright (it looks like you are), you can do well where ever you go. Getting into a top med school that fits you well can help you along the way, but only if you take advantage of what they have to offer.

I'm just trying to emphasize that not getting into a top 10 school isn't the end of the world, and you can still match very well where ever you go if you work hard enough. Anyway, good luck and definitely get your apps done as early as possible. And here's hoping for a final four run too!
 

harvman11

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As another fellow Dukie, I must say your ECs are very impressive. I can't tell exactly how much research experience you have (is work study / lab assistant your own project?), but regardless having 2 publications on the way is impressive and should get you by at even the most research-intensive schools.

Your numbers are average or maybe a bit below average for top schools, but I would say with your excellent ECs you should be in pretty good shape. However, as stated previously you should definitely apply broadly... what's your home state? With your application being from Cal, Texas, Michigan, Washington, etc. would be great help in getting into a top school.

I applied MD/PhD this year, so I'm not sure if it'll be the same or not but at several places I interviewed the fact that I went to Duke was a major topic of discussion, so I definitely think the name helps.

Also you should be a little cautious of chasing prestige just for a good residency. Sometimes lower ranked schools will be a better fit for one reason or another. School prestige is rather low on the list of things residency directors look at, and they tend to base their judgments of school x on the performance of previous residents, not the USNews rankings. You should be looking for schools where you feel you will succeed, not necessarily the top rated school. Not trying to lecture you or anything, and rankings certainly mean something, just not everything.
 

csheng89

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Thanks for your input. Basically, I started working freshmen year as work-study. Did a paid internship in the same lab the summer after freshmen year. Continued work-study sophomore year in the same lab. Now as a junior, I'm doing independent study in that lab. On the side, I'm also taking Trinity Research Forum, which is bio199S, and it teaches you how to write grant proposals. Our project at the end of the semester is doing a poster session.

Unfortunately, I'm a Georgia resident so I don't have any real advantages. Emory is definitely on my list, though it's a private school.

Also, I wanted to clarify a couple things to whoever else is reading this thread. I'm not trying to chase prestige per say. I just personally thrive in a competitive environment. And yes, I will not just be applying to the top 10 schools. There is a range of schools, but right now, I'm more concerned with trying to figure out the top schools.

Talking with a couple of the docs I've shadowed, they were the ones who brought up going to a top med school will get you into a good residency. I have to heed their advice carefully since one of them is actually on the surgical residency committee for duke... and he's told me one of their board members won't even look at applications from poor quality schools, no matter what you've achieved there. So I'm a little weary of all this. Of course, he's just one opinion.

As another fellow Dukie, I must say your ECs are very impressive. I can't tell exactly how much research experience you have (is work study / lab assistant your own project?), but regardless having 2 publications on the way is impressive and should get you by at even the most research-intensive schools.

Your numbers are average or maybe a bit below average for top schools, but I would say with your excellent ECs you should be in pretty good shape. However, as stated previously you should definitely apply broadly... what's your home state? With your application being from Cal, Texas, Michigan, Washington, etc. would be great help in getting into a top school.

I applied MD/PhD this year, so I'm not sure if it'll be the same or not but at several places I interviewed the fact that I went to Duke was a major topic of discussion, so I definitely think the name helps.

Also you should be a little cautious of chasing prestige just for a good residency. Sometimes lower ranked schools will be a better fit for one reason or another. School prestige is rather low on the list of things residency directors look at, and they tend to base their judgments of school x on the performance of previous residents, not the USNews rankings. You should be looking for schools where you feel you will succeed, not necessarily the top rated school. Not trying to lecture you or anything, and rankings certainly mean something, just not everything.
 

deaninja

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Talking with a couple of the docs I've shadowed, they were the ones who brought up going to a top med school will get you into a good residency. I have to heed their advice carefully since one of them is actually on the surgical residency committee for duke... and he's told me one of their board members won't even look at applications from poor quality schools, no matter what you've achieved there. So I'm a little weary of all this. Of course, he's just one opinion.
There is a huge difference between "poor quality schools" and "non-top 10 schools". There are tons of great schools outside the usnews top 10. As I said before, you have a shot at the "top 10" but that's all that it is. Your numbers are about average or actually may be slightly below. However, your ECs are great, so you never know what may happen.
 

csheng89

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Sorry about the phrasing. What I'm really trying to get at is the difference between a top tier and second tier med school. Just talking with that doc on the surgical residency committee, he already considers Emory a second tier. All things aside, I would love to go to Emory, and of course it's not all about what he thinks either. I'm trying to get a better understanding of everything through everyone else's experiences too.

There is a huge difference between "poor quality schools" and "non-top 10 schools". There are tons of great schools outside the usnews top 10. As I said before, you have a shot at the "top 10" but that's all that it is. Your numbers are about average or actually may be slightly below. However, your ECs are great, so you never know what may happen.
 

drizzt3117

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There's a lot of variation in "top" programs depending on specialty as well. A "top ten" school can be downright mediocre in a field you decide you want to go into. I would be much more concerned about finding an environment in which you can put yourself in a position to succeed.

I personally ended up going to a great (but not top 10) school over a half-dozen top ten schools because it was a better fit for a number of reasons, and it so happens that it ended up being top 6 in the field I'm going into and my mentor/PI is one of the top people in the field. You just never really know.
 

deaninja

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No problem. To answer your question on a 1st tier vs 2nd tier med school in getting residencies: Yes, it does help in getting better residencies but not a significant amount. How you perform on your Step 1, your performance during your clinical clerkships, LORs, and Dean's letter are more important in getting those competitive residencies. If you look at match lists for the competitive residencies, you'll find residents from a bunch of different schools (and yes, there will probably be a decent amount from the top schools too but also a lot of the top students go to those schools in the first place).

However, I do understand how you would personally love to go to a top tier school. I'd be lying if I told you that I wouldn't be disappointed if I got rejected from all of them. I'm just saying that going to a "2nd tier school" will definitely not hinder you from getting into a competitive residency like derm, radiology or neurosurgery. However, if you get into a top 10, then your dilemma is solved. ;)
 

csheng89

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Gah is there a way to change the topic name?

I don't have any top 10 school in mind specifically, besides Duke. What I really meant was just a top tier (i.e. a school with a reputable program known across the country)

One school I'm looking at is Mayo, which is where one of the doctors I shadowed worked before coming to Duke Med and he's offered to write me a LOR so I'm hoping that'll be good.

There's a lot of variation in "top" programs depending on specialty as well. A "top ten" school can be downright mediocre in a field you decide you want to go into. I would be much more concerned about finding an environment in which you can put yourself in a position to succeed.

I personally ended up going to a great (but not top 10) school over a half-dozen top ten schools because it was a better fit for a number of reasons, and it so happens that it ended up being top 6 in the field I'm going into and my mentor/PI is one of the top people in the field. You just never really know.
 

drizzt3117

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Yeah that makes sense and I do think you'll get into some good schools. My brother was almost your stats twin (but went to Stanford) and got into Hopkins, HMS, Michigan, Cornell, Columbia etc