bcw

Mar 29, 2010
2
0
0
Status
I apologize for the novel, but I've been struggling with a couple of things and as such have put a Lot of thought into it. I havn't made much progress so i'm posting here where you can hopefully give me some advice. sorry, infinite sorries.

I plan on reapplying this next cycle, however I'm having a lot of difficulty figuring out what my application lacks and why this round seemed to go so poorly for me.

I have three questions for you (but feel free to answer anything else that comes to mind):
1) what weaknesses do you see in my application?
2) should i retake the MCAT?
3) how do I see or gain insight into my LOR's that i've designated confidential?


Details -
I applied to 21 schools, 15 were top 50 schools (by US news and reports to give you an idea) and the other 6 were seemingly 'safety' schools by their average acceptance statistics and by my stats.

I only got interviewed at Case Western Reserve Univ and Mayo, waitlisted at both, then cut from mayo. I'm currently waitlisted at Case.
So i got interviews at 2 fairly respectable schools (i think both interviews went fairly well by my post-interview evaluation and that they didn't let me go immediately after the interview), while schools significantly above in rankings and Significantly below in rankings did not give me a interview.
I realize it could be double adverse selection; the lower schools think I'll get in somewhere higher, and the top schools weren't impressed enough. If thats the case how do I 'fix' that?

My Stats;
MCAT: 31R (PS: 12, BS: 12, VR: 7, WS: R), see section about MCAT
cGPA: 3.55
sGPA: 3.43
nsGPA: 3.81
Major: Physics (minors; Bio, Chem, Econ)
I go to a nationally well respected university (not an ivy but still well known and respected).

combination of deans honors and high honors 5/7 semesters (i'm graduating this semester). Some awards, but relatively minor ones and not a whole lot of them.

I have a fairly strong/well written personal statement.

Significant research experience; 2 calendar years of research in 2 labs with a publication (2nd author).
Significant medical experience and Volunteering; I'm a EMT-B and volunteered with my school's EMS squad for 4 years (over 800 hours) and was also employed by a private ambulance company for a summer (200 hours).
Extracurriculars; I'm only involved with my EMS squad, my ultimate frisbee team, and my fraternity, but I've been Heavily involved with all three organizations.
Leadership; I've held several positions in all three organizations.

Letters of Recommendation; 3 science, 1 non-science. I would say they're all strong but clearly Something went wrong, and this is the one part of my application I don't have easy access to.
I've designated my letters as confidential, so I can't access them (very easily). If anyone has any ideas how to go about this to either read or find out if any of my letters sunk me (like ask a adcom or something) let me know.

MCAT; I have a well documented learning disability dyslexia, and have had testing accommodations for that pretty much all my life. The aamc in its wisdom only gave my part of my testing accommodations (which i had to fight tooth and nail for to get). I talked to a bunch of advisors and admissions officials from some schools when I originally got my score to see if I needed to retake it. I also told them the circumstances surrounding the verbal score (I also explained it on my primary app) and everyone said it was understandable and it should be ok. regardless of what they say, what do you think?
Do you think i should retake the MCAT? A couple bits of noteworth information ; people who got a 7 on VR, only 55% improve their score; people who got a 12 on PS and BS, 56% and 67% of people respectively see their score drop. Moreover those who score an R on WS, 60% of people who retake it see that score drop.
Also, if i retook it I would study for it and take it over the summer. With the time it takes to re-study for the MCAT, taking the MCAT, and having the MCAT graded and the scores sent to AMCAS, the earliest my application would be verified would be early October.

Sorry for the novel, i figured including more detail would be better than not (and i've put a lot of thought into this-- as i'm sure every re-applicant does).
 

smash

10+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2009
31
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Why would October be the earliest? It's april, you have plenty of opportunity to take it in May or June and have the scores back relatively quickly. Are you planning to study for the next six months?
 
Mar 21, 2010
15
0
0
Status
Medical Student
I believe your MCAT verbal is hurting your chance, even though the overall score is good.

to be sure, you can also try to call the admission office and ask someone to discuss your file.
 
Jul 31, 2009
1,275
45
0
Status
I think you are missing community disadvantage work. I think it is a big gamble to retake the MCAT and apply so late. I think you need to see your LOR's your stats are not that high for ' low schools'
 
Apr 4, 2010
425
1
41
Status
Pre-Medical
I would have to agree with faith2...unless you forgot to list your community service, a complete lack of community service is your issue.
 

jslo85

Resident
7+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2010
826
8
151
Chicago
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I apologize for the novel, but I've been struggling with a couple of things and as such have put a Lot of thought into it. I havn't made much progress so i'm posting here where you can hopefully give me some advice. sorry, infinite sorries.

I plan on reapplying this next cycle, however I'm having a lot of difficulty figuring out what my application lacks and why this round seemed to go so poorly for me.

I have three questions for you (but feel free to answer anything else that comes to mind):
1) what weaknesses do you see in my application?
2) should i retake the MCAT?
3) how do I see or gain insight into my LOR's that i've designated confidential?


Details -
I applied to 21 schools, 15 were top 50 schools (by US news and reports to give you an idea) and the other 6 were seemingly 'safety' schools by their average acceptance statistics and by my stats.

I only got interviewed at Case Western Reserve Univ and Mayo, waitlisted at both, then cut from mayo. I'm currently waitlisted at Case.
So i got interviews at 2 fairly respectable schools (i think both interviews went fairly well by my post-interview evaluation and that they didn't let me go immediately after the interview), while schools significantly above in rankings and Significantly below in rankings did not give me a interview.
I realize it could be double adverse selection; the lower schools think I'll get in somewhere higher, and the top schools weren't impressed enough. If thats the case how do I 'fix' that?

My Stats;
MCAT: 31R (PS: 12, BS: 12, VR: 7, WS: R), see section about MCAT
cGPA: 3.55
sGPA: 3.43
nsGPA: 3.81
Major: Physics (minors; Bio, Chem, Econ)
I go to a nationally well respected university (not an ivy but still well known and respected).

combination of deans honors and high honors 5/7 semesters (i'm graduating this semester). Some awards, but relatively minor ones and not a whole lot of them.

I have a fairly strong/well written personal statement.

Significant research experience; 2 calendar years of research in 2 labs with a publication (2nd author).
Significant medical experience and Volunteering; I'm a EMT-B and volunteered with my school's EMS squad for 4 years (over 800 hours) and was also employed by a private ambulance company for a summer (200 hours).
Extracurriculars; I'm only involved with my EMS squad, my ultimate frisbee team, and my fraternity, but I've been Heavily involved with all three organizations.
Leadership; I've held several positions in all three organizations.

Letters of Recommendation; 3 science, 1 non-science. I would say they're all strong but clearly Something went wrong, and this is the one part of my application I don't have easy access to.
I've designated my letters as confidential, so I can't access them (very easily). If anyone has any ideas how to go about this to either read or find out if any of my letters sunk me (like ask a adcom or something) let me know.

MCAT; I have a well documented learning disability dyslexia, and have had testing accommodations for that pretty much all my life. The aamc in its wisdom only gave my part of my testing accommodations (which i had to fight tooth and nail for to get). I talked to a bunch of advisors and admissions officials from some schools when I originally got my score to see if I needed to retake it. I also told them the circumstances surrounding the verbal score (I also explained it on my primary app) and everyone said it was understandable and it should be ok. regardless of what they say, what do you think?
Do you think i should retake the MCAT? A couple bits of noteworth information ; people who got a 7 on VR, only 55% improve their score; people who got a 12 on PS and BS, 56% and 67% of people respectively see their score drop. Moreover those who score an R on WS, 60% of people who retake it see that score drop.
Also, if i retook it I would study for it and take it over the summer. With the time it takes to re-study for the MCAT, taking the MCAT, and having the MCAT graded and the scores sent to AMCAS, the earliest my application would be verified would be early October.

Sorry for the novel, i figured including more detail would be better than not (and i've put a lot of thought into this-- as i'm sure every re-applicant does).
This is just my opinion

The above poster is right. If there is fault with your MCAT score it is the verbal score. Many schools have a mandatory requirement of a minimum score, usually 8 or 9, in each section and your verbal section score sticks out like a sore thumb as opposed to the other sections.

You are actively involved in EMS and work as an EMT, that's great. But it is not an indication in any way of how you will perform as a physician and that is what I think people are pointing to in this thread. You don't have shadowing, clinical experience or any type of volunteering to really speak of. You need to get this addressed if you want a "complete" application, it is/will hold you back severely if you decide to reapply. As an EMT (I am also an EMT-B) it will allow you to do far more in a doctor's office if you have the physician's confidence as in potentially taking patient history, scribing, vitals, blood draws, etc.

You CAN have an idea of what your LOR were like by calling into the admissions offices of the schools that rejected you and ask for a review of your file and have them tell you in your opinion what was negative to them about it. During this you can ask them a simple question about the LOR and ask them if they were not a strong support and have an idea from what they say. Hope this helps.
 

MiniMoo

5+ Year Member
Jan 20, 2010
1,235
4
91
California
Status
Medical Student
In addition to the points already touched upon, the GPA is also somewhat low. With a 3.4-3.5, I would say one should either do a bit of post-bacc or aim for an MCAT of ~33-34.
 
Sep 4, 2006
30,630
10,441
281
Inside the tesseract
Applying in October will significantly decrease your chances. If you can't retake the MCAT sooner, then wait until the following summer to apply (first week of June). Your cGPA and BCPM are subpar. The MCAT score is fine, but only a few schools have a bottom 10th percentile for VS of 7 or less. Frankly, I'm, amazed you got interviews at Mayo and Case, but since you did, your application is doing something right. Your clinical patient experience is excellent, and you have medical volunteerism, but you don't have physician shadowing, clinical environment experience in a hospital or clinic, or nonmedical/noncampus community service. On the other hand, the research, leadership, and sport are great.

If you didn't end with a rising GPA trend, consider more coursework before reapplying.
 

dragonfly99

10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
5,092
49
261
Status
Attending Physician
I think the above posters are on track.
Despite being an EMT, I think that you need to document experience shadowing physicians, and you need to do some volunteering (if you haven't already). However, I do think your EMT work is impressive, and it probably is what got you the interviews you did get (along with probably the university you attended, and the high science scores on the MCAT).

I think you need to reassess your competitiveness as an applicant. Your GPA is on the low side; going to a better university may cause a few schools to cut you some slack (as Case and Mayo did) but not all. It may seem unfair, and it kind of is (especially since physics IMHO tends to be quite a hard major to get a high GPA in ) but you can't change what the adcoms do, only how you react to it. I think you need to apply to fewer competitive schools - keep Case, Mayo and a couple others as your "dream schools" but then apply to more schools that you have a reasonable chance to get into.

I don't think your LORs are necessarily bad, but if you don't have one from a physician that may be hurting you. I don't think it's that bad of an idea to try and find out if you have something bad in one of your LOR's - one way is to ask your premed advisor or the schools you've applied to this year whether your LOR's were strong or not. If you have 4, could try asking your premed advisor to help you pick the strongest 3 - she/he may be able to help you out in that regard.

If you have a learning disability then improving the verbal score might be hard for you, but I think that some schools have cutoffs and the 7 in the verbal section for sure was/is hurting you. It would have been better to have 10/10/9 probably, than what you have. The schools may also be worried that your testing accommodations made it easier for you to score higher, and they may worry that you can't keep up with the large reading load in medical school. What do you think would happen if you took the MCAT without accommodations? Just asking....
 

bcw

Mar 29, 2010
2
0
0
Status
didn't retake the MCAT.

was accepted into a top program for a master of bioethics while i reapplied.

applied to 29 schools.

accepted at UIC, Rush, & NYU.

++EDIT++
updated stats
cGPA: 3.60
nsGPA: 3.82
sGPA: 3.47
besides the pending bioethics degree, the mentioned grades, refocusing my ps to include bioethics, tweaking my activity descriptions on the primary app as well as the secondary application essays, and asking my prehealth advisor for a LOR, my application was effectively the same.
 
Last edited: