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Sep 4, 2006
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I graduated from college last May, and only during the last semester did I realize that what I wanted was a life-long career in medicine. I can't really imagine myself doing anything else. I can't see myself working at a nine-to-five corporate job, and I decided against research during senior year as well.

Anyhow, since my decision, I've been pretty much working on carving a path towards medical school acceptance, and I realized that I had an uphill battle, since I came to my realization so late in the game. I was a biology major in college, so I had most of my prerequisites done. Since I was on the ecology/evolutionary track in biology (I really do find the subject extremely interesting, but just not for me in the long-term), I had a few more prerequisites to take care of. I took a few courses over the summer directly after graduation to finish up most of the required classes (I only need the second semester of physics lab now, and maybe a semester of biochem for the schools that require it).

I graduated from a top ivy league school, but my GPA is quite low. My cGPA is around a 3.42, and my science GPA is probably around 3.3. I know this spells trouble for gaining admissions to MD schools. I took the MCAT in mid-April, and am waiting for my scores, but I have been averaging a 33 on my practice tests (my range was from 32-35). I really didn't feel good after taking the test though, but if I retook, I think I can realistically achieve a 32. However, I don't know my score yet, so I am going to estimate that I received a 32 on the MCAT. The GPA is quite low, and the MCAT is just average at most MD programs.

My EC's are not particularly strong, either. I worked a few jobs in college because I was on full financial aid and had work study. Not sure if these should be considered when talking about EC's. I also worked on a few research projects in the evolutionary biology department, including a 1+ yearlong project for my senior paper. I also did a summer of research during college, but I don't have any publications for any research done.

My other EC's were only done after college. Starting in September (when I got back from my summer courses), I started volunteering in a small variety of programs. For my nonclinical community volunteering, I tutored at a local library for disadvantaged elementary/middle school students for about 4 hours a week. I'm not sure the next activities I am going to describe are clinical, but they are medically related. I volunteer at an emergency department at a hospital. I mostly flip beds and run errands, but I do get to push patients around in wheelchairs and talk to them on occasion. I also volunteer at a hospice organization where I have a patient I visit a few hours a week. Another activity I do is playing the piano for nursing homes with hospice patients once a week. So on average, I spend about ~15 hours a week doing volunteer activity, and my volunteer work is ongoing. However, I have not been working since last fall. I've just been focusing on studying on the MCAT and doing volunteer work. I'm not sure if that is enough volunteer experience, since I only started last fall. Also, what will medical schools think about my not working? I put my time into MCAT studying and volunteering, but I'm not sure if that will be looked upon favorably if I don't work at the same time.

I am by no means well-off. In fact, I am a first-generation college student, my family is low-income, and I qualify for the financial assistance program. My parents are just extremely supportive, and since my siblings have stable jobs, they only have to provide for me. I just really hope this past year will mean something...I don't want it to be wasted time. :(

Anyways, I have listed my stats and qualifications. I know I don't have much of a shot at MD schools, but I think I will apply to the "least competitive" (there is no such thing, I know) MD schools in hopes that I might get an acceptance at one. I have the fee waiver, so the expenses are not necessarily a problem in submitting the applications.

I know that my chances are probably better at DO schools. I plan to apply to a wide range of DO schools (10+) so that I can get into at least one. How do my chances look at DO schools?

Another thing I've been wondering about is the worth of a postbacc for me. I'm not sure if I should do a local postbacc program just in case, so that if I need to reapply next year, I could boost my GPA. What do you think of this situation? Apply and not worry about doing a postbacc, hoping that a school will come through for me, or should I always assume the worst, and do the postbacc so that I will have something to add to my application in case this cycle falls through?
We can better help when your MCAT score is known. Your gpas are more in line with those of DO matriculants. Due to the relative brevity of some ECs, it would be wise to continue them during the application cycle.

Don't forget to do some shadowing.
 

virtuoso735

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I will definitely continue my EC's while applying and beyond, but I was wondering how adcoms will know this? Is there a place on the AMCAS to indicate that the activity is still going on?
 

virtuoso735

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Do you think I should do a postbacc for the 2012-2013 school year even though I am planning on applying this summer? If I applied broadly and early to DO schools, is there a good chance I'll get into one? Is there any possibility of an MD school for me at this point without a postbacc?
 
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1) Do you think I should do a postbacc for the 2012-2013 school year even though I am planning on applying this summer?
2) If I applied broadly and early to DO schools, is there a good chance I'll get into one?
3) Is there any possibility of an MD school for me at this point without a postbacc?
1) Raising your BCPM GPA with further academic work can only help you, no matter where you apply. Keep in mind that more Bs will not help you.

2) If you've shown some capability with upper-level Bio, get an MCAT score of 26+, and your ECs and LORs are judged to be adequate, then yes.

3) It depends on how high your MCAT score is and whether you've shown consistent excellent academics for the last 3 semesters or so. And your LORs. And whether your ECs would be judged as strong (which I would not count on).
 

virtuoso735

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Do you think I should focus on "lower-end" DO schools, or should I also aim for the more established ones as well?
 
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I would really like Catalystik's input on this question. Would having a letter from a DO hurt the applicant's chances at MD programs? What if it has a sentence like "this student would be a great fit for osteopathic medical schools because he has great interest in the osteopathic philosophy" or something to that effect? Would it hurt then?
MD adcomms aren't going to care if a physician letter is from an MD or DO.

They might however take pause if the letter included the sentence you describe. It would be similar to receiving an update letter with another school's name cited accidentally.

OTOH, it would be a rare event for an MD school to require a physician letter, though sometimes a committee at one's school asks for one.
 

virtuoso735

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MD adcomms aren't going to care if a physician letter is from an MD or DO.

They might however take pause if the letter included the sentence you describe. It would be similar to receiving an update letter with another school's name cited accidentally.

OTOH, it would be a rare event for an MD school to require a physician letter, though sometimes a committee at one's school asks for one.

Thanks for the response.

Most MD schools don't ask for a physician letter. However, most DO do and my school does not do separate letter packets--they send all my letters to all schools I am applying to, MD and DO. It would probably cost $100 for me to have the DO letter only sent to DO schools, so I'm going to risk having the letter sent to MD schools too, even if the doctor mentions osteopathic medicine in it.
 
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Most MD schools don't ask for a physician letter. However, most DO do and my school does not do separate letter packets--they send all my letters to all schools I am applying to, MD and DO. It would probably cost $100 for me to have the DO letter only sent to DO schools, so I'm going to risk having the letter sent to MD schools too, even if the doctor mentions osteopathic medicine in it.
If a school doesn't require a physician letter, it's possible their adcomm screener won't read it with minute attention to detail.
 
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