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Medical No interviews this cycle...advice for reapplication?

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TheBoneDoctah

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First time posting on this platform but coming out of the 2020-2021 application cycle I really need some direction as to where I went wrong. I haven't received a single II yet. I have a 513 MCAT (129/125/131/128) and 3.92 cGPA and 3.90 sGPA. I'm a California resident (ORM) and applied straight out of undergrad with pretty strong ECs. I worked in the same research lab for 2 years and was first author of a poster, and received an award from my University for it. I also had several hundred hours of clinical volunteering at a hospital through the COPE Health Solutions program, a board position for a nonprofit organization, several community service club involvements, and an undergraduate TA position for o chem. I applied to about 28 MD schools including:

UCSF, UCLA, UCSD, UC Irvine, UC Davis, USC, Dartmouth, Emory, NYU Long Island, Tufts, Georgetown, SUNY Downstate, George Washington, Indiana, OHSU, Pennsylvania State, Drexel, California Northstate, Quinnipiac, UC Riverside, Creighton, New York Medical College, University of Washington, Tulane University, Albany Medical College

So far, I have 4 pre-II holds and about 8 Rs, with zero contact from 12 of my schools since I was complete in late July. I sent update letters to every school on my list that would accept them in November explaining how I am now working as a medical scribe (full time since I graduated college in December 2020). I'm thinking maybe my low CARS score could've played a role? or maybe LORs? Not really sure, just frustrated and dreading the thought of reapplying next year. I am really just hoping that someone will be able to explain where in my app I need the most help so that I can take that with me into reapplying. Should I retake my MCAT and aim for a better CARS but risk a lower B/B? Would reapplying in a consecutive cycle be a mistake? Any insight is appreciated.
What non-clinical volunteering do you have and how many hours? Your list is rather top heavy as well and being a Cali resident doesn’t help as all the Cali schools are super competitive.
 

GoSpursGo

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Yeah curious what your non-research ECs are. If you don't have enough clinical experience to prove you know what you're getting yourself into, that would be an easy thing to fix.

If you have decent hours, then your problem lies in your top-heavy school list (also easy enough to fix), or in some red flag that isn't apparent in what you've told us (possibly less easy to fix).
 

Goro

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Thanks for all the feedback so far. Here's a more detailed breakdown of my ECs:
1. Psychology research lab (1200 hrs):
- administering study protocol to elementary aged children I n several large studies
- received research grants for three separate projects from my university (two group and 1 individual)
- completed an individual undergraduate research project from start to finish and became first author on a poster
- named undergraduate researcher of the month in my university

2. AP Sciences Tutor at a private academy (40 hours- just began position prior to applying)

3. Organic Chemistry undergraduate TA at my university (250 hrs)

4. COPE Health Solutions Health Scholar (500 hours): This was my main clinical experience, completed rotations in 4 different hospital units at the time of application - this included a lot of shadowing doctors and RNs with minor procedures

5. Free Clinic Volunteer in LA: (1 weekend)

6. Board Member for nonprofit organization that runs an orphanage in Pakistan (400 hours): I planned and executed a large-scale fundraiser for this organization that raised tens of thousands of dollars

7. Volunteer through the American Red Cross chapter at my university (180 hours): This included several volunteer experiences including fundraising and visiting orphanages in Mexico

8. Graduated from a leadership academy at my university after taking several courses in community leadership (200 hours)

9. Barista for a coffee shop (800 hours)

10. Medical Office receptionist (150 hours): this was actually a very short lived experience during my last year of high school but I added it on anyway

Also, I received LORs from 6 people:
-2 science course professors
-The professor I TAed for after taking their class
-PI of my research lab (technically doubled as a non-science professor)
-founder of the nonprofit I was on the board of
- Program coordinator of the COPE chapter I volunteered through
Get off campus and out of your comfort zone. Engage in service to others less fortunate than yourself.

Was the clinical internship glorified shadowing? Or did you actually interact with, and do things for patients?
 

TheBoneDoctah

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I do feel like my experiences especially with the nonprofit board position/fundraising, the American Red Cross Club, and the free clinic were part of engaging in community service... but maybe there are other things I could have done as well...The clinical internship did include shadowing, but our main role was to be a part of the patient care team; I did a lot of patient feeding, bathing, and moving.
I really think your problem is that you overestimated your competitiveness this cycle. Although your GPA is fantastic, your MCAT is not in the range for a lot of the schools on your list. I think if you reapplied next year and expanded your school list (AND INCLUDED DO SCHOOLS), you would definitely get interviews (if the issue didn't lie in your secondaries, a red flag you haven't told us, or horrible interview skills).
 

Mr.Smile12

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Did you talk with anyone about your experiences before you applied? I will say that you have a lot of fundraising but not enough person-facing experience in your non-clinical opportunities. Take away those hours and you probably don't have enough experience hours for many medical schools. One weekend in a free clinic doesn't cut it at my program.
 

Goro

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AP Sciences Tutor at a private academy (40 hours- just began position prior to applying)

3. Organic Chemistry undergraduate TA at my university (250 hrs)

5. Free Clinic Volunteer in LA: (1 weekend)

6. Board Member for nonprofit organization that runs an orphanage in Pakistan (400 hours): I planned and executed a large-scale fundraiser for this organization that raised tens of thousands of dollars

7. Volunteer through the American Red Cross chapter at my university (180 hours): This included several volunteer experiences including fundraising and visiting orphanages in Mexico

8. Graduated from a leadership academy at my university after taking several courses in community leadership (200 hours)


What I'm seeing here is a candidate who has largely insulated him/herself from the day-to-day realities of what people go through. A good deal of your time was spent in academia, around people like you (students).

Medicine is a service profession. You have to demonstrate your altruism. What I see is someone unwilling to leave thier comfort zone.

Take a gap year and engage in service to others less fortunate than yourself. Venues in the age of COVID include: food banks, COVID screening or contact tracing, Meals on Wheels, election poll working (normally done by seniors) and whatever your local houses of worship can suggest.

When life gets back to normal, it can be anything that helps people unable to help themselves and that is outside of a patient-care setting. If you can alleviate suffering in your community through service to the poor, homeless, illiterate, fatherless, etc, you are meeting an otherwise unmet need and learning more about the lives of the people (or types of people) who will someday be your patients.

Examples include: Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Humane Society, crisis hotlines, soup kitchen, food pantry, homeless or women’s shelter, after-school tutoring for students or coaching a sport in a poor school district, teaching literacy or ESL to adults at a community center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Meals on Wheels, mentoring immigrant/refugee adults, being a friendly visitor to shut-ins, adaptive sports program coach or Special Olympics.
 
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