roblraqu

roblraqu
Mar 22, 2010
5
0
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Status
Pre-Medical
I am a junior at a small liberal arts college in River Forest, IL. I plan to apply to medical schools this summer and these are my stats/advantages so far:

3.97 cumulative GPA, 3.97 science GPA
28R MCAT
Over 100 hours volunteering in various departments at local hospitals
Teacher's Assistant in General Biology department at Dominican University
President of a choir on campus
Confident that I will receive strong LORs
Hispanic female

I have a lot of things I want to do this summer. I am considering retaking the MCAT because if I study more, I am confident I can get at least one or two points higher. But, I also want to do a REU project this summer and get some research experience. At Dominican University, there is a professor that is willing to take me on this summer for a project. If I were superwoman, I would LOVE to do everything this summer, that is--research, study for and retake the MCAT, and apply for medical school. But I don't want to explode with stress. There is only one pre-medical advisor at my school, and he is not that helpful.

I would greatly appreciate any advice. Should I focus on retaking the MCAT and not do research? Will I be able to apply to medical school with minimal help from an advisor? Where can I find a pre-medical advisor that can help me whenever I need it, for FREE?
 
Sep 4, 2006
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Inside the tesseract
Where can I find a pre-medical advisor that can help me whenever I need it, for FREE?
Well, SDN comes to mind. There is a lot of good information here.

With your cGPA, your MCAT score will not hold you back from an acceptance.

Your teaching is a plus. Your clinical experience is on the sparse side, but might be fine. I do not see physician shadowing mentioned and that is a must. I generally recommend 60-80 hours split among 2-3 types of doc.

I also don't see nonmedical/noncampus community service, or leadership (unless choir president is a form of leadership). Research is another consideration, and it would be nice to at least try it.

If you only had the time to fill only three of the holes in your application, I'd pick the 1) shadowing and 2) additional nonmedical community service, and last 3) would be the research. Adding these things right before applying will look suspiciously last minute, but better than not trying at all. I'd continue #2 through the application season along with the clinical volunteering.

Applying at the end of the summer will put your application at a disadvantage, June being the best time to submit. The best advice would be to wait until next June 2011 to apply so that you have more depth and breadth of experience, which would give you more choices of schools to pick from. Retaking the MCAT would not be on my list at all, unless you have unbalanced subscores.
 
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roblraqu

roblraqu
Mar 22, 2010
5
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you so much! The main thing I was worried about was my MCAT score, I wanted that magic 30, but it didn't happen. And my subscores are within the same range.

I have been involved in one large community service project, it was a week long service trip at a Catholic missions site in Montgomery, AL where a group from my school volunteered in a Catholic school, a home for physically and mentally disabled children, and the site's administrative office. Other than that, my volunteering has been at hospitals.

I will definitely look to shadow doctors this summer, will that be too late, if I can gather at least those 60-80 hours by the time I apply?

I could apply by this June and NOT do research this summer and instead spend time shadowing doctors and doing other community service. I would like to enter medical school the fall after I graduate of course, but would you highly recommend that I apply next year to expand my resume?

Again, thank you!
 
Sep 4, 2006
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I'm glad to hear you have some general community service. That helps. If the choir thing is leadership, you are in a good position (you didn't comment).

Shadowing can be done at the last minute, but needs to be before you apply.

If you are set on applying this summer, I would do it by mid-July at the latest, though June is best. Get the research started so it can be listed. Work in eg a soup kitchen for two hours a week (or something regular) starting ASAP. Then I would live my life as if I knew I'd need to reapply the next year. I'd complete the research and maybe even continue it in the fall, and do the medical and nonmedical volunteering on a weekly basis. These activities will be great fodder for update letters and interview conversations, and if worse comes to worst, your application will be stronger the next year.
 

roblraqu

roblraqu
Mar 22, 2010
5
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Yes, the president position of this choir group involves much leadership.

Like you said, I'm not sure how it would look if I begin this community service (like a soup kitchen) so close to applying. And the shadowing as well, but I will definitely work on developing both of those aspects as soon as I can.

So you are saying that my resume will be better next year because I will have had much more community service listed? I am thinking that if I do apply a year later, then between the time I apply and expect interviews, I could go on some lengthy service trip in another country, maybe with the peace corps (that would be AMAZING and I'm sure would look great).

I can plan on next year, my senior year, doing community service (medical and non-medical) for at least a couple hours a week, each. This will help, but only if I apply in the following year correct? Because I won't be able to list those hours and experiences in an application if I apply this summer...

Realizing that I am missing some -what seem to be- major things on my resume, I am now thinking that it would be better to apply next year and not apply this summer at all because I do not have the money to apply more than once. I want to apply and be confident that I have the best resume I can have.
 
Sep 4, 2006
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So you are saying that my resume will be better next year because I will have had much more community service listed?
Yes, as regular community service is preferred over brief (though intense) exposures. And your clinical experience will go from being on the light side, to being very solid.

I am thinking that if I do apply a year later, then between the time I apply and expect interviews, I could go on some lengthy service trip in another country, maybe with the peace corps (that would be AMAZING and I'm sure would look great).
I thought the Peace Corps required a two year commitment, but there are many service organizations that require shorter-term involvement. You might look into Americorps, for example.

I can plan on next year, my senior year, doing community service (medical and non-medical) for at least a couple hours a week, each. This will help, but only if I apply in the following year correct? Because I won't be able to list those hours and experiences in an application if I apply this summer...
Correct. You can not list future activity plans, only future coursework.

Realizing that I am missing some -what seem to be- major things on my resume, I am now thinking that it would be better to apply next year and not apply this summer at all because I do not have the money to apply more than once. I want to apply and be confident that I have the best resume I can have.
It's not impossible that you could get an acceptance with what you have and could squeeze in in the next two months, but as I, too, am fiscally very conservative, waiting to apply until you have the best possible chance would be the best choice, IMO. If you aspire to more selective schools, you could even re-entertain the thought of an MCAT retake since you'd have plenty of time to study, but you should only retake if you score at least 3 points higher repeatedly on practice tests. Increasing by 1-2 points wouldn't help enough to be worth the stress.