Nov 5, 2013
40
16
Washington State
Status
Pre-Medical
Like many others, I'm looking for some constructive feedback on my situation. A little about me.. :

Mid-20's, white, married, homosexual applicant. Two B.S. degrees, both in engineering. Working engineer for 4 years. I also double as an instructor at my local University (for a Biology course).

Other EC's:

-Shadowing: 20 hours with an Orthopedic Surgeon, 30 hours with a Neurosurgeon, 20 hours with an ER doc, and 20 hours with my family GP.
-100 hrs general hospital volunteerism
-50 hrs Clinical Research - directly with patients
-50 hrs general volunteerism in a free clinic
-Extensive student government experience (coupled with volunteerism)
-Greek Life leadership
-Medical mission in SE Asia (surgical clinic for children)
-Humanitarian missions (3 other, aside from the medical one) overseas

cGPA: 3.09
sGPA: 3.75 (dodged a bullet there)
MCAT: 39 (PS -14, VR -11, BS -14)

LOR's - Very strong: Employer, Pre-Medical Committee, 3 Faculty (2 of which are medical school faculty)

So, the glaring thing here is my cGPA. I do have a reason for this, but I won't expand on the details here. The take away is that in spite of my circumstances (which I think adcoms will sympathize with to an extent), it still could have turned out (a lot) better, so I have to take responsibility for my part in that. There isn't a specific discipline I did poorly in; when I did do poorly it was an all-or-nothing sort of scenario (2 semesters of complete failure, 1 complete semester withdrawal, which, though it doesn't factor into my GPA, it will show up, etc..).

Up side? I did two semesters consisting completely of upper division biology, chemistry and math as a post-bac while working 60 hours a week as an engineer and got a 4.0.

Here is my current list. I'll preface this with a blanket acknowledgement that it is top heavy. A third of these schools are on here because I've been there personally, visiting someone I know that attends, and had a good experience. Others are on here because they're somewhere that will be good for my husband in terms of happiness and career goals:

State of Residence: WA

Dartmouth, Boston, NYU, Mt. Sinai, Columbia, George Washington, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Mayo, University of Washington, UCSF, Stanford, Loma Linda, University of Southern California, UCLA, UCSD.

The list is definitely open to revision. Obviously essays are going to play a big role, as they do for everyone else, but based on this alone (or just out of vast, SDN experience in general) - Where do I stand? Thanks for the feedback, and good luck to everyone who will be applying in the upcoming cycle as well.
 
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gyngyn

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This degree of discordance has an unfortunate differential. If your explanation is plausible and the cause is verifiably past it may well work. And yes, way too top-heavy. The cGPA is the one we have to report.
 
Nov 4, 2013
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Are you religious? Loma Linda is sort of weird, if not. What about UCI, UCR, UC Davis, NYMC, Hofstra, Downstate?
 

solitarius

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I see 2 glaring weaknesses, one is correctable, the other less so. Correctable is low # of hours in clinical & research. Unfortunately, schools won't cut your cGPA slack due to engineering, esp as a regular applicant.

- CA schools may be out of reach, as may be top 20s. cGPA is one of the 3 key numbers in med school admissions.
- Increase clinical & research hours.
- Just wondering if you should do SMP route to avoid what could be a frustrating app cycle. Great MCAT though!
 
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Goro

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I have two worries:
  • You might get some IIs, but then get rejected because of the mindset of "great app, but I'm concerned about that GPA"

  • Your cGPA is too low to escape the auto-reject that most schools will use.

The second one is, I fear more likely.

Sometimes one has to take it on the chin. See how an app cycle goes. Definitely contact Admissions deans and ask if you're competitive.

The above goes for all MD schools. I see great success with DO programs, except Liberty U. Them ,I'd avoid.
 
OP
Staffsy77
Nov 5, 2013
40
16
Washington State
Status
Pre-Medical
I have two worries:
  • You might get some IIs, but then get rejected because of the mindset of "great app, but I'm concerned about that GPA"

  • Your cGPA is too low to escape the auto-reject that most schools will use.

The second one is, I fear more likely.

Sometimes one has to take it on the chin. See how an app cycle goes. Definitely contact Admissions deans and ask if you're competitive.

The above goes for all MD schools. I see great success with DO programs, except Liberty U. Them ,I'd avoid.
I hear you. Luckily UW is the most holistic of all of these schools and is also my state school. They have a track record of taking low cGPA applicants who have great post-bac records + good MCAT. Plus, they openly preference WA residents.

Are you religious? Loma Linda is sort of weird, if not. What about UCI, UCR, UC Davis, NYMC, Hofstra, Downstate?
I'll likely add Downstate, NYMC (I have a few friends there that really love it, which is encouraging), and UC Davis and Irvine both. Hofstra, definitely not. Nothing against anyone who goes there at all - I just didn't have a great experience when I visited. One of my closest friends from college who attends Vanderbilt now turned down acceptances to Boston, Columbia, Harvard and Mt. Sinai just because of the feeling he got when he was at Vandy and hasn't regretted it a day, so I take those gut feelings to heart.


I see 2 glaring weaknesses, one is correctable, the other less so. Correctable is low # of hours in clinical & research. Unfortunately, schools won't cut your cGPA slack due to engineering, esp as a regular applicant.

- CA schools may be out of reach, as may be top 20s. cGPA is one of the 3 key numbers in med school admissions.
- Increase clinical & research hours.
- Just wondering if you should do SMP route to avoid what could be a frustrating app cycle. Great MCAT though!
I would LOVE to do an SMP and have considered it greatly, but it is extremely cost prohibitive and harder when you consider that I'm part of a pair - Anywhere I gallivant off to for a year, my husband has to come too. One move would be preferable because it'll have the lesser impact on his career. He'd do it, but I want to avoid it (and DO programs) if I can.
 

Catalystik

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Sep 4, 2006
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Like many others, I'm looking for some constructive feedback on my situation. A little about me.. :

Mid-20's, white, married, homosexual applicant. Two B.S. degrees, both in engineering. Working engineer for 4 years. I also double as an instructor at my local University (for a Biology course).

Other EC's:

-Shadowing: 20 hours with an Orthopedic Surgeon, 30 hours with a Neurosurgeon, 20 hours with an ER doc, and 20 hours with my family GP.
-100 hrs general hospital volunteerism
-50 hrs Clinical Research - directly with patients
-50 hrs general volunteerism in a free clinic
-Extensive student government experience (coupled with volunteerism)
-Greek Life leadership
-Medical mission in SE Asia (surgical clinic for children)
-Humanitarian missions (3 other, aside from the medical one) overseas

cGPA: 3.09
sGPA: 3.75 (dodged a bullet there)
MCAT: 39 (PS -14, VR -11, BS -14)

LOR's - Very strong: Employer, Pre-Medical Committee, 3 Faculty (2 of which are medical school faculty)

So, the glaring thing here is my cGPA. I do have a reason for this, but I won't expand on the details here. The take away is that in spite of my circumstances (which I think adcoms will sympathize with to an extent), it still could have turned out (a lot) better, so I have to take responsibility for my part in that. There isn't a specific discipline I did poorly in; when I did do poorly it was an all-or-nothing sort of scenario (2 semesters of complete failure, 1 complete semester withdrawal, which, though it doesn't factor into my GPA, it will show up, etc..).

Up side? I did two semesters consisting completely of upper division biology, chemistry and math as a post-bac while working 60 hours a week as an engineer and got a 4.0.

Here is my current list. I'll preface this with a blanket acknowledgement that it is top heavy. A third of these schools are on here because I've been there personally, visiting someone I know that attends, and had a good experience. Others are on here because they're somewhere that will be good for my husband in terms of happiness and career goals:

State of Residence: WA

Dartmouth, Boston, NYU, Mt. Sinai, Columbia, George Washington, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Mayo, University of Washington, UCSF, Stanford, Loma Linda, University of Southern California, UCLA, UCSD.

The list is definitely open to revision. Obviously essays are going to play a big role, as they do for everyone else, but based on this alone (or just out of vast, SDN experience in general) - Where do I stand? Thanks for the feedback, and good luck to everyone who will be applying in the upcoming cycle as well.
I suggest adding at least 10 safer schools more in accord with your Lizzy M score of 69 [(cGPA x 10)+MCAT score]. You've ignored Chicago completely. Include Wayne, which is well known to judge one primarily by most recent grades. Schools with an SMP also have a higher chance of giving more weight to the last year or two of coursework. UConn has taken very-low cGPA/high MCAT folk in the past.
 

Goro

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If not an SMP, then an informal post-bac consisting of a solid year, maybe two of high end Bio coursework (that you haven't taken) that mimics medical school curricula might do the trick.

for example: Biochem, Molecular Genetics, Micro, Pharm, Neuroscience, Anatomy/ Physiology, Embryology, Histology, Immunology, Cell Bio, anything related to Pathology, Stats, or Nutrition. Pick a mix from that, ace 'em, and I can't see how any AdCom would have reservations about you.

Again, as for right now, try an app cycle and see how it goes. Try the following MD programs: ALL low tiers, ALL new programs and your state school, if any. Do not apply to public OOS schools because they prefer the home team. One has to be > avg for them. I am VERY hesitant to recommend Loma Linda to a gay student. Loyola? Creighton? Some homework would be necessary to see if they are friendlier to gay students than they are to gays in general. Medical school being hard enough as it is, you don't need to worry about an unfriendly environment.



I would LOVE to do an SMP and have considered it greatly, but it is extremely cost prohibitive and harder when you consider that I'm part of a pair - Anywhere I gallivant off to for a year, my husband has to come too. One move would be preferable because it'll have the lesser impact on his career. He'd do it, but I want to avoid it (and DO programs) if I can.[/quote]
 
OP
Staffsy77
Nov 5, 2013
40
16
Washington State
Status
Pre-Medical
I suggest adding at least 10 safer schools more in accord with your Lizzy M score of 69 [(cGPA x 10)+MCAT score]. You've ignored Chicago completely. Include Wayne, which is well known to judge one primarily by most recent grades. Schools with an SMP also have a higher chance of giving more weight to the last year or two of coursework. UConn has taken very-low cGPA/high MCAT folk in the past.
UConn is a good suggestion. Wayne and Chicago are both out; my husband wouldn't go for it, and I'm sensitive to that. That's the kicker... you can't really disenfranchise your partner in the real world because that would bring about more stress than any aspect of medical school will. Location, therefore, is a pretty big factor influencing where I apply. That is why my list is so clustered (Northeast, DC, Nashville - Gay friendly even considering it is in the south + family & friends there, Rochester - Also very gay friendly, good access to the twin cities, etc., CA - Family, family, family... Also, doesn't hurt that the schools are fantastic, and Seattle of course - My state school, a great school, incredibly gay friendly, and family and friends on both sides)

I am limited but I'm okay with that. I think not making this sort of concession on the front end would be a mistake, even if it means multiple app cycles for me.
 
OP
Staffsy77
Nov 5, 2013
40
16
Washington State
Status
Pre-Medical
If not an SMP, then an informal post-bac consisting of a solid year, maybe two of high end Bio coursework (that you haven't taken) that mimics medical school curricula might do the trick.

for example: Biochem, Molecular Genetics, Micro, Pharm, Neuroscience, Anatomy/ Physiology, Embryology, Histology, Immunology, Cell Bio, anything related to Pathology, Stats, or Nutrition. Pick a mix from that, ace 'em, and I can't see how any AdCom would have reservations about you.

Again, as for right now, try an app cycle and see how it goes. Try the following MD programs: ALL low tiers, ALL new programs and your state school, if any. Do not apply to public OOS schools because they prefer the home team. One has to be > avg for them. I am VERY hesitant to recommend Loma Linda to a gay student. Loyola? Creighton? Some homework would be necessary to see if they are friendlier to gay students than they are to gays in general. Medical school being hard enough as it is, you don't need to worry about an unfriendly environment.

I would LOVE to do an SMP and have considered it greatly, but it is extremely cost prohibitive and harder when you consider that I'm part of a pair - Anywhere I gallivant off to for a year, my husband has to come too. One move would be preferable because it'll have the lesser impact on his career. He'd do it, but I want to avoid it (and DO programs) if I can.
[/quote]

This sounds like what I did last year. Took the following: A & P, Biochem, Immuno, a second round of O-Chem since it had been seven years (A's the first time, A's the second time), Micro, and Neuroanatomy, 4.0 both semesters. I was subsequently hired by my home school to teach the labs for UG Anatomy and O-Chem both, due to my performance and demonstrated ability to work constructively with other students that struggled to achieve good outcomes for them. Also, I was hired to plan and conduct clinical anatomy workshops for other professional programs in the area that use our lab (Surg tech, phlebotomy, med. assist, EMT/Paramedic, etc..) Keep in mind, this course work and additional employment (on top of my FT engr job) is separated from the rest of my UG career by 2 years of working (with glowing reviews from my boss, who wrote one of my LOR)

Does it undo the past? Of course not. Does it put me back on the same level with the kids that went straight through with a perfect record and slam dunked the MCAT? Certainly not.

Though, I think it paints me in a very different light. A person who works 60 hours a week, pulls straight A's and still finds time to volunteer at home and abroad, and has done this consistently for two years is not the same person that my UG transcript describes in a lot of ways.

If there were any possible way to show adcoms not only that I want it, but that I can do it (and well), this was how. At least, I didn't see any other way.
 

Goro

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I think you've done all that is possibly human enough to be a competitive candidate, short of winning a Nobel prize. The schools that I know of where poeple in these forums with similar circumstances ahve been successful are: BU, Albany, Rosy F, NYMC, Albany, Tulane, and SUNY-Upstate. Public schools also seem to be more accepting of "reinvented"applicants.

So, I think all you can do now is see how the app cycle goes. I do fear that you've aimed too high (remember, these school can afford to ignore applicants like you). I think your best chances from your list will be:

Boston, Mt. Sinai, George Washington, Georgetown, University of Washington.

Do let us know how things turn out, and good luck!


Does it undo the past? Of course not. Does it put me back on the same level with the kids that went straight through with a perfect record and slam dunked the MCAT? Certainly not.

Though, I think it paints me in a very different light. A person who works 60 hours a week, pulls straight A's and still finds time to volunteer at home and abroad, and has done this consistently for two years is not the same person that my UG transcript describes in a lot of ways.

If there were any possible way to show adcoms not only that I want it, but that I can do it (and well), this was how. At least, I didn't see any other way.[/quote]
 

solitarius

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Seems like if you're fully invested into this thing to do multiple app cycles, you should consider SMP to give yourself the best shot to succeed. SMP is really designed for someone like you and your recent performance.

The emotional drain of even 1 app cycle is not to be underestimated. Unlike UW, most schools disfavor reapplicants. UW is holistic, but they are tough to figure out. You should check out OHSU. Since location is important, have you considered DO in the areas you prefer?

Some compromises may have to be made based on what's most important to you.
 
Last edited:
OP
Staffsy77
Nov 5, 2013
40
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Washington State
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Pre-Medical
I think you've done all that is possibly human enough to be a competitive candidate, short of winning a Nobel prize. The schools that I know of where poeple in these forums with similar circumstances ahve been successful are: BU, Albany, Rosy F, NYMC, Albany, Tulane, and SUNY-Upstate. Public schools also seem to be more accepting of "reinvented"applicants.

So, I think all you can do now is see how the app cycle goes. I do fear that you've aimed too high (remember, these school can afford to ignore applicants like you). I think your best chances from your list will be:

Boston, Mt. Sinai, George Washington, Georgetown, University of Washington.

Do let us know how things turn out, and good luck!
Thanks for the insightful feedback. I've followed a lot of threads you have contributed to and was hoping you'd be enticed to reply to mine. Lucky me :) I will update this over the next year as things come to pass.
 

DokterMom

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So, the glaring thing here is my cGPA. I do have a reason for this, but I won't expand on the details here. The take away is that in spite of my circumstances (which I think adcoms will sympathize with to an extent), it still could have turned out (a lot) better, so I have to take responsibility for my part in that. There isn't a specific discipline I did poorly in; when I did do poorly it was an all-or-nothing sort of scenario (2 semesters of complete failure, 1 complete semester withdrawal, which, though it doesn't factor into my GPA, it will show up, etc..).
So how long ago was the GPA-fail? Was it a one-consecutive-stretch thing that has come and gone? Are the reasons for it (respecting your reluctance to specify what they were in a public forum) something you can explain that doesn't paint you in a 'lacks emotional resilience' light? (Young and foolish seems to be entirely forgivable once you've demonstrated that you're no longer an idiot :rolleyes:. Illness of family trauma is OK. Meltdown in response to emotional setback seems to cause much more concern.) If you've got a few solid years of top academic performance after the 'crash', then I think you might be OK.

Do you have any connections? Any strings you could pull? I'm asking only because of the automated 'cyber screen' that Goro referred to. Based on what you've written, I think if you can get past the computer and have your application read by a real person, your chances improve enormously. You don't need much string-pulling or influence-peddaling, just enough to have someone separate you old numbers from your new ones.
 
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Staffsy77
Nov 5, 2013
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So how long ago was the GPA-fail? Was it a one-consecutive-stretch thing that has come and gone? Are the reasons for it (respecting your reluctance to specify what they were in a public forum) something you can explain that doesn't paint you in a 'lacks emotional resilience' light? (Young and foolish seems to be entirely forgivable once you've demonstrated that you're no longer an idiot :rolleyes:. Illness of family trauma is OK. Meltdown in response to emotional setback seems to cause much more concern.) If you've got a few solid years of top academic performance after the 'crash', then I think you might be OK.

Do you have any connections? Any strings you could pull? I'm asking only because of the automated 'cyber screen' that Goro referred to. Based on what you've written, I think if you can get past the computer and have your application read by a real person, your chances improve enormously. You don't need much string-pulling or influence-peddaling, just enough to have someone separate you old numbers from your new ones.
I'll bite.

First - Connections? A few at UW, UCSD, Boston and Vandy. Could be an avenue.

...Personal info edited out, thanks all for the insightful feedback...
 
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Oct 19, 2013
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I wouldn't look past the Midwest if your only reason is fear of those schools/cities not being gay-friendly. Omaha is not bad at all, and from what I've seen, Creighton cares a lot more about your service to others than your religion or sexuality. Iowa is also pretty gay-friendly.
 
OP
Staffsy77
Nov 5, 2013
40
16
Washington State
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Pre-Medical
So, since all of this info is out there now, any ideas from the faculty/residents that have replied to this thread on how to strategically frame this in my PS? Any targeted advice would be much, much appreciated.
 

gyngyn

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So, since all of this info is out there now, any ideas from the faculty/residents that have replied to this thread on how to strategically frame this in my PS? Any targeted advice would be much, much appreciated.
Speak clearly, in your own voice. Tell us how you will improve the plight of the ill through your personal qualities and experiences.

After reading thousands of over manipulated, superlative filled, thesaurus puke essays this year, I would find plain speaking a welcome relief.
 
OP
Staffsy77
Nov 5, 2013
40
16
Washington State
Status
Pre-Medical
Speak clearly, in your own voice. Tell us how you will improve the plight of the ill through your personal qualities and experiences.

After reading thousands of over manipulated, superlative filled, thesaurus puke essays this year, I would find plain speaking a welcome relief.
A+ for candidness :) Thank you.
 

DokterMom

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Speak clearly, in your own voice. Tell us how you will improve the plight of the ill through your personal qualities and experiences.

After reading thousands of over manipulated, superlative filled, thesaurus puke essays this year, I would find plain speaking a welcome relief.
Frankly, I think it demonstrates more intelligence and confidence to speak clearly and plainly - a.k.a. candidly. You can't BS is plain language, and so long as your grammar and punctuation are flawless, you will still sound intelligent.