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jjohan35

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I graduated in 2004 with a BS degree from UC Davis in Biology. My GPA was fairly decent with 3.5 until my fourth and final year which I got in a rough relationship that left me somewhat unfocused. Upon graduation, my final GPA was lowered to 3.1.

I took MCAT in spring of 2003 and got 10, 9, 11, R (bio, phy, verb, written respectively). I understand that my score has expired for most schools, but I am willing to take it again. I am not too worried about the MCAT other than it's now on the computer.

I applied to MD schools in '05 for Fall '06, got rejected to all of them. The last two years I did random jobs until this past Fall ('06) where I enrolled in the Post-Bac program at Upenn. I got straight A's last semester. I'm planning to stay in this post-bac program for one year, and applying again this coming summer for Fall '08 (and taking my 2nd MCAT this spring). This is my second time applying.

Do you guys have any suggestions? Should I reapply to schools I've already applied? Should I look at other paths? Any feedback is appreciated, including tips on my new application.
 

gotmeds?

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It sounds like you've got a good plan. If you can raise that GPA and do as well (or preferably better) on the MCAT as your first time, you should be fine. The only real red flag I see is the two years off. You may be asked to account for what you were doing during those two years and why you weren't pursuing medicine or trying to improve your application. As a post-bacc myself, I think I underestimated how important good ECs are. You've got some time before you reapply. Make sure you get some clinical experience (volunteer or paid), do research if possible, and find some medically-related community service activities (easiest way is to join an organization on campus that does this). I'm happy with how things turned out so far (see my sig), but I think that my lack of good ECs left a big hole in my application that will keep me out of some schools. It would've been easy enough to turn a good application into a great one. So don't make the same mistake and you should be fine. Good luck and welcome back to the joys of being a pre-med!
 

HolyMoly

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I think gotmeds is on point here. You will be asked to account for your 2 years off, and you should have a very strong personal statement to help convince them of your sincerity, however real I'm sure it is. The personal statement should not be overlooked, as it provides a window into you, and can seriously get you to the interview over a lot of people who write pretty bad ones.

Your GPA is a little low, with a downward trend, but your good work at Penn should help cast you in a very positive light. How are your recommendations? Who are they from? It is important to have good recs preferably from full professors, which again will make schools think twice before tossing your app. Again, I'm sure you know a lot of this already, but I just wanted to re-emphasize these points.

The MCAT is going to be the most important factor here. They know that a lot of students can't change their GPA from undergrad, and **** happens in undergrad. But the MCAT (that you should retake for sure) is a great opportunity to show them that you still have the science and verbal skills that one needs to succeed in medical school. FYI the verbal is the most importantly emphasized section in adcoms, it's usually not broadcast as such. So, an 11 verbal is great stuff if you can do it again, and hope for double digits in the other 2 categories.

Good luck and feel free to contact me with specific questions.
 
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jjohan35

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Thanks you two for your input. It is very appreciated, esp for someone who isn't exactly doing things traditionally (applying right after undergrad).

I did three years of undergrad research, and then worked full time at the same lab for one year after I graduated. I co-authored a published paper. I got laid-off from my lab due to reduced grants, so I worked as an accountant during my 2nd year out of school because of financial need. How do you suppose I should justify that in my personal statement?

I have pretty good letters of rec from my undergrad days. I am adding two more letters from my post-bac professors, as well as a cover letter from the post-bacc program itself. I am hoping this is sufficient because I don't have any other opportunity to get letters anytime soon.

I am mostly worried about recent ECs and the personal statement for the upcoming application. I was extremely active during my undergrad years doing all sorts of stuff, inside and outside medical field. During my post-bacc program I decided against committing more to ECs in order to focus completely on my classes and MCAT. I hope I'm making the right decision, but am now somewhat unsure...

I appreciate any more feedback, input, thoughts, and cautionary words.
 

gotmeds?

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I am mostly worried about recent ECs and the personal statement for the upcoming application. I was extremely active during my undergrad years doing all sorts of stuff, inside and outside medical field. During my post-bacc program I decided against committing more to ECs in order to focus completely on my classes and MCAT. I hope I'm making the right decision, but am now somewhat unsure...

I think your research experience is good and it's completely understandable that you had to work for a living after you got laid off from research. I basically did what you're proposing to do as far concentrating on school and the MCAT and counting on my prior activities to show my commitment to medicine. Like I said, this is my single biggest regret for my application. Don't get me wrong, all of the studying paid off. I applied with very solid numbers and I've gotten into some great schools. I'm happy with how things have been turning out. However, I suspect that my lack of recent ECs will keep me out of some schools, possibly even some of my top choices. ECs don't have to take up a lot of your time, but they do require a consistent commitment. Pick something you're willing to do once a week from now until you get into med school and you should be fine.
 
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