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Nontrad Student - Finished prereqs & MCAT, when to apply?

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threesparrows

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I vote for waiting a year and improving your clinical experiences. Your GPA and MCAT are great so you will have lots of opportunities if you can improve your medically-related ECs.

What about a clinical research job in the meantime, if you are burned out by your corporate gig? Or TAing/tutoring in your post-bacc?
 

The Stranger

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I think your grades, leadership experience, and working background make up for any perceived lack of clinical volunteer hours or shadowing experience. You should absolutely count the 30hours of volunteer experience, though. Adcoms aren't going to know you did below the suggested minimum hours at a random hospital. You should also continue with your plan to shadow/volunteer this spring. I understand that you're worried about them "seeing right through it", but think of it this way: the professionals who sit on adcoms are not going to look at your file and say, ">35MCAT, 3.9 GPA, great leadership experience/life experience...but MD89 is being disingenuous trying to get in those volunteer hours so late! H/she is out!" That just seems unreasonable and myopic of them to do so, you know? If anything, when you're invited for an interview, that might be something they ask you about, which at that point you can spin it however you want.

The biggest thing I can suggest, however, is to start emailing deans and asking them questions--form a rapport with them. Ask them what your chances are at their school and show them interest. Ask them how they feel about non-traditional students. You can leverage this relationship with them in several ways, but PM me if you'd like more insight about this part of the application process, since I feel like I'm getting off the main topic haha.

So yeah, give it a shot!
 
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MD89

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I think your grades, leadership experience, and working background make up for any perceived lack of clinical volunteer hours or shadowing experience. You should absolutely count the 30hours of volunteer experience, though. Adcoms aren't going to know you did below the suggested minimum hours at a random hospital. You should also continue with your plan to shadow/volunteer this spring. I understand that you're worried about them "seeing right through it", but think of it this way: the professionals who sit on adcoms are not going to look at your file and say, ">35MCAT, 3.9 GPA, great leadership experience/life experience...but MD89 is being disingenuous trying to get in those volunteer hours so late! H/she is out!" That just seems unreasonable and myopic of them to do so, you know? If anything, when you're invited for an interview, that might be something they ask you about, which at that point you can spin it however you want.

The biggest thing I can suggest, however, is to start emailing deans and asking them questions--form a rapport with them. Ask them what your chances are at their school and show them interest. Ask them how they feel about non-traditional students. You can leverage this relationship with them in several ways, but PM me if you'd like more insight about this part of the application process, since I feel like I'm getting off the main topic haha.

So yeah, give it a shot!

I thought most deans did not want premeds contacting them? Is that what you did and did it work?
 

The Stranger

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Yes, I contacted admissions directors and deans of admissions, and it was a positive experience for me.
 

Goro

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Concur. Always best to apply once, with the best possible app, even if it means waiting a year. By next year, the sky's the limit for you!

I vote for waiting a year and improving your clinical experiences. Your GPA and MCAT are great so you will have lots of opportunities if you can improve your medically-related ECs.

What about a clinical research job in the meantime, if you are burned out by your corporate gig? Or TAing/tutoring in your post-bacc?
 
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ConsultantMD

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Congrats on getting this far with awesome numbers! That will make your application cycle MUCH easier.

However, schools aren't just looking at numbers as I'm sure you know. There are many candidates with similar numbers. Your background is interesting coming from the corporate world and I am sure it will come up, like it has in my interviews this year. However, like you already know, your clinical experience is not optimal. Depending on what type of job you have (is it healthcare related?) some may question how you know you want to do this without much clinical experience. I work in healthcare, yet I know one school in particular did not count this as clinical experience even though I was in the hospital with doctors and their patients.

If you are committed to working into the fall, then that does throw a wrench into the cycle. I would also echo other people's suggestion to wait a year, beef up your clinical experiences by volunteering and shadowing. I think waiting a year, showing that you are committed to this direction, will make a big difference in your application. With stats like that and solid experiences, you should have no problem.

In terms of answering your question of where to apply... that is going to be tough since it can be pretty unpredictable. My strategy was to apply very broadly and I ended up happy this cycle and will not be applying again fortunately. It's an expensive process in general, so start saving up so you can easily pay for everything! But again, with those numbers, your issue most likely will not have to do with any sort of application screening, so like Goro said, you're going to have a pretty good chance anywhere.

Good luck!
 

MD89

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@ConsultantMD - My job is completely not healthcare related (I wish it was! Fortunately I am in a career that is pretty unusual to switch over to medicine from, even among the non-trad crowd, so that should help a bit I think). I guess I'm definitely leaning towards waiting at this point now that I've heard input from all you guys. I'm just not sure what clinical experience I should add - ideally I'd like to add something that will help my application stand on its own if I apply to upper-tier schools, and not just a cookie-cutter type of thing.

What I'm thinking now is to start shadowing as soon as I can in late spring and add another clinical experience then as well. Then, in the fall, I will either reduce my work hours significantly/increase my volunteering/clinical/shadowing or else quit my job completely and get a somewhat clinical job.

Is there any point in trying to find some research opportunity? I know most of the top 20 schools look for research experience in traditional students. Would a lack of research completely knock me out of the game even if I am a non-trad student?
 

DepressedEngineer

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Hi everyone!! I finally signed up for an account after taking my Jan 8th MCAT and having received my score yesterday, would love to hear other nontrads'/adcom members' advice on my situation. To remain somewhat anonymous, I'm going to be sort of vague on some of my details, but hopefully that shouldn't make much of a difference.

Age: 27
Occupation: Corporate-type job (one that is somewhat impressive/prestigious and involves a rigorous qualification process)
Total GPA: >3.9
Science GPA: ~3.9
MCAT: >35 (I was SHOCKED, completely not expecting this - I feel super blessed)

Other facts:
  • I already completed a formal post-bacc program
  • I can get a committee letter from my post-bacc program and can also easily get other letters if needed
  • My post-bacc did not include much in the way of shadowing or volunteering
  • I have minimal shadowing hours and will only be able to begin shadowing 1 day/week in late spring
  • I have a normal amount of non-clinical volunteering (2.75 years in one organization, 1 semester at a second, and about 24 hours/4 days at a third but this has been spread out basically 1 day/year for the past few years)
  • I have less than optimal clinical volunteering hours. I volunteered one summer (100 hours) at a hospital when I was still in high school (so I don't think I can count this), volunteered for about 30 hours before my post-bacc program started (I also don't think I can count this as it was unfortunately less than the minimum the hospital wanted and they weren't happy about that fact), and I started a 2 hr/week volunteer gig last month that I plan to stick with until I matriculate into med school.
  • I was pretty active in undergrad (albeit really only in things related to my major): I was part of a Greek honors society for 4 semesters that had weekly meetings, I served on a student board for a department for a year, and I received a lot of academic awards.
  • My work experience has a lot of leadership involved (I have trained people below me and I am in a role where I manage staff to a degree and definitely review a lot of their work).

I have two dilemmas. First, I don't know if I should apply this upcoming cycle. My clinical side of things is clearly weak and even if I try to get a lot of shadowing in during late spring/summer (I absolutely can't before then), my worries are that adcoms will see right through this since it will be so close to application time. Before I got my MCAT score, I was planning on waiting another year in order to boost my ECs. Should I still wait another year? I'm not COMPLETELY opposed to it, just you know, I'm not getting any younger and I really don't think I can stick it out in a corporate job for that long (and it would definitely make financial sense to stay in my corporate job rather than attempting to switch to an entry-level medically related one that I probably wouldn't qualify for anyways).

My second dilemma is related to my first. I literally have no clue where I should even apply to (other than my state school, of course). Grades-wise, I would think that I could aim relatively-highish but I just don't think my ECs are good enough yet. I have the MSAR and am having extreme difficulty narrowing down school - any help would definitely be appreciated!

Sorry for the long post - I'm just in a quandary as my situation is really kind of weird!

OP did you take any of these premed classes at a CC or was it in a post Bac program (all of it)....Also what intrigues me is your corporate job...Im 23 I hate accounting but Im forced to get this major. I have a question for you was it difficult for you to complete the post bach ? do you recommend CC before post bac? How did you prepare for your post bac with no science experience? How long did your journey take (premed courses to taking the mcat?


As for my advice if it means anything...You could apply now or wait but I agree with the others get some more experience and apply to top notch medical schools !
 
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