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My situation just changed...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Osteopathic [ DO ]' started by J Senpai, 09.26.14.

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  1. J Senpai

    J Senpai Grab my arm. Other arm. MY other arm. 5+ Year Member

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    Hey y'all,

    After speaking with my advisor this afternoon, I've found out that I will graduate in the Fall of next year (2015) instead of the Spring of 2016, as I had previously thought and planned upon. What I had set on doing was study all summer for the MCAT (new one) and take it in August of next year, finish up my fall and spring semesters and apply the next summer. This would mean I'd have a gap year - hopefully with acceptance in hand - and would find something to occupy myself between graduation and matriculation. However, with me graduating in the fall, if I follow this same route, I will not have just one year off, but 20 months. I am NOT interested in a nearly 2 year gap.

    The thing is, I've obviously not taken the MCAT yet, or even studied. When could I take the test in the upcoming year to still be good to apply early in the summer of 2015? If I take the new MCAT, I'll need to have taken Social Psych (I'm a psych major and I planned on taking this anyway) to accommodate the new sociology section, and that would be in the spring semester. I'm frightened at the idea of taking the old version in January (assuming there are any seats left) as I won't have much time to prepare. What are my options my pre-DO friends?

    Here is a brief run down of my stats. I include them if anyone wants to bring up my app.
    cGPA: 3.41; hopefully ~3.54 by application time
    sGPA: ~3.40-3.45
    MCAT: :help:
    ECs:
    • La_bs Coo_rdin_ator (one and only; manage all lab info, scheduling and patient communication) and Scribe at local free clinic; volunteered here for over a year (almost 2 years at app time) with >420 hours. ~7-10 hours a week
    • Clarinetist for one semester in wind symphony, first and second chair
    • Tutoring HS students (ESOL) in physical and biological sciences (2.5 hours a week for 1.5 semesters, so far)
    • Secular Student Alliance: member since this year; participate in activities on campus; special interest/political
    • Shadowing: OB/GYN in OR for a few surgeries; ~6 hours so far; close contact with patients and direct assistance in surgery...does scribing count as shadowing? If so, I have about 20-30 hours of PCP shadowing; direct patient interaction and assistance.
    • Aikido Club (Leadership); ~175 hours over >1 year. Ranked 5th Kyu (i.e. not bad) and Treasurer since Summer 2014; make budget presentations and manage accounts as well as delegate some things.
    • No research although I am CITI certified in behavioral science :shrug:

    And that's about it. Thanks for any help y'all can give me!
     
    Last edited: 11.07.15
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  3. polylux

    polylux 2+ Year Member

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    So, your timeline isn't all bad.

    It's currently Fall 2014. If you study for a time over spring and take the new MCAT in April or even May/June/July, you're still on time to apply in the summer of 2015, especially since DO schools have a long cycle.

    Alternatively, you graduate in Fall 2015, study during what would have been your spring 2016 semester, then take the new MCAT in April/May and apply summer of 2016. In the meantime, get a research position or another clinical position. One year really isn't that much in the grand scheme of things, it's worth taking the time to get it right. Also gives you more time for shadowing and volunteering. It won't do anything but help your application, and it gives you a really really good time frame to take the MCAT.
     
  4. J Senpai

    J Senpai Grab my arm. Other arm. MY other arm. 5+ Year Member

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    Thanks @polylux ! When does the DO cycle begin?


    I'd love some more input!
     
  5. The Buff OP

    The Buff OP 2+ Year Member

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    Bump
     
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  6. polylux

    polylux 2+ Year Member

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    DO cycle begins with AACOMAS opens at the beginning of June and goes all the way to May, same as the MD cycle. It's just for MD apps, it's like June/July is on time, August is late, Sept is try again next year. For DO, it's like June/July is early, August/Sept is on time, Oct to Dec is late, and then past January is probably try again next year. So if you take the MCAT end of July, get your scores back end of Aug, you'd still be on time. Obviously it's best to be early, but you're still good to apply.
     
  7. J Senpai

    J Senpai Grab my arm. Other arm. MY other arm. 5+ Year Member

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    I have to have one class next summer, and that's like 1.5 hours 5 days a week for 5 weeks. That should be fine to study around. I guess I can also start reviewing a bit near the end of the spring semester. I need a crash course on DO application. Would you be willing to help out with that?
     
  8. polylux

    polylux 2+ Year Member

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    Sure, but if you're familiar with the MD cycle, it's really not much different... there's also the FAQs and search function on this site that will probably answer the majority of your questions.
     
  9. J Senpai

    J Senpai Grab my arm. Other arm. MY other arm. 5+ Year Member

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    Not really familiar, unfortunately. Thanks for the offer. It will be nice to have a place to start!
     
  10. J Senpai

    J Senpai Grab my arm. Other arm. MY other arm. 5+ Year Member

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    I'd really love a few more data points. When can I take my MCAT, after spring semester, in order to be good for applying relatively early in 2015? Thanks!

    @polylux I'm still considering the route I had previously been so certain about. It certainly would give me more time to get everything together, but a year and 8 months seems like an unnecessary consequence of applying later. Based on my current stats, where would you say I stand? Thank you!
     
  11. polylux

    polylux 2+ Year Member

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    Your MCAT scores will always take about a month to come back. If you take your MCAT by late July, you/the schools you apply to will receive scores by late August, which should still be on time as far as the DO cycle goes but it will be late for the MD cycle. You could probably even push it back to late August with scores coming back by late September and still be okay; this would give you a full three months to study after spring semester assuming you spring semester ends in late May which is about the time frame everyone recommends you take to study for the MCAT. You can certainly do just okay on the MCAT without studying intensively for three months, but it is recommended for a reason.

    I think your GPA is fine but without your MCAT, it's really hard to give you any kind of rating. The problem is also that the new MCAT is on a different scoring system, so I don't even know what's a good new MCAT score anyways.

    Here's what I have to say about the timeline: you're in undergrad, you're really really young, and you have a good GPA. If you study really well and get 31+, you should apply broadly to both DO and MD programs, and you have a decent shot getting into MD (at least your instate school) and you'll definitely get some love at even the more competitive DO schools. Your ECs seem solid, but nothing stands out as really impressive, and taking the time to bulk up will do nothing but help you. The time you take to do things well - which you have more than enough of since you're probably 21-23 - will give you a well-rounded application that not only gets you into medical school but gives you a choice of medical schools. The average age of matriculants at a lot of schools is 25-26; there is no need to rush. I think it's worth being patient to to able to give it 100% the first time around and get into the best school possible for you. If your goal is just any school though, then you could take the MCAT whenever and get a 27+ and likely get into at least one DO school. You could probably get a 24+ and at least get into LUCOM.
     
  12. J Senpai

    J Senpai Grab my arm. Other arm. MY other arm. 5+ Year Member

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    Thanks for your input; it is reassuring. I'm just frightened at the concept of 20 months out of school. I just don't know what I would do. I guess in the spring of 2016 I'd want to get s clinical or research (I'm a psych major, though) position to put on my app, but that still leaves about 15 months OUT OF SCHOOL. Even my parents seem surprised, and my mom was the epitome of a non trad when she went back for her master's. It's scary.
     
  13. polylux

    polylux 2+ Year Member

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    There are plenty of research coordinator positions that may even give you the opportunity to get a publication out there that you could get as a psych major - just look around. Alternatively, you could get a medical assistant job or a more intensive scribing job full time. If you're looking to MD, I suggest research.

    I know the temptation is to just get it done and over with because this is what you want so bad, but your patience will pay off. Let's say you take the MCAT early and get a 28 (respectable, but not amazing). You would have a good shot at all DO schools and be just fine. Your application here though is probably at like 80-90% of your full potential - again, your ECs are solid but not super impressive and you'll be prepping for the MCAT while taking classes. Many people recommend taking 3 months for full time MCAT studying to maximize your score. If you take your time instead, take the full 3 months to study for the MCAT, your score will most likely increase by a couple points AND your ECs will look better - you'll now be applying at 100% and that could make the difference between getting into a school you like and a school you love. It's hardly time wasted - you could even take the extra time to work on your secondaries and make sure they're bombin. You also get to save money and take the time to do things before getting sucked into medicine 80 hrs/wk for the next decade. Personally, I think that's worth waiting a year for.

    I'm in my gap year now and I'm so glad I waited. I was burnt out (full time classes + 30 hr of work), although I didn't know it at the time. Taking a year is letting me save up money, develop hobbies I had to give up due to time, cultivate my relationship, and spend valuable time with my family before my younger brother goes off to undergrad and we all get split up again. I also have multiple travel trips planned for months at a time, something you won't get the chance to do again for a long long time. As premeds, we all tend to be full throttle throughout undergrad and just want to push through to the end of the line. It's worth pausing to enjoy your life slowly for a bit.

    That said, assuming you score 27+ on your MCAT, you have good stats for DO schools, so you absolutely can apply on the earlier timeline and likely meet with success. It's obviously your choice and you should do what is best for you. I'm just trying to give you the reasoning behind taking your time from a more objective perspective.
     
    Last edited: 09.28.14

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