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Nontraditional Student Applying Next Cycle

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Afropolitan, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Afropolitan

    2+ Year Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I am a nontraditional student who graduated from undergrad 2 years ago. I am currently in a 2 year masters program (just finished my first year). I took the MCAT 2 years ago and my score is expiring for some schools, but not for others. To increase my chances of admission, I am planning to take the 2015 MCAT in March of 2016.

    I wanted to ask a few of questions:

    1) Would it help to retake biochemistry (got an A- in undergrad) for a refresher for the new MCAT at no extra cost?

    2) Let's say that my new MCAT is worse (percentile wise) than my current MCAT, will schools look at the better score, the most recent score or both?

    3) I have 6 letters of recommendation from my science, non science professors, physicians that I have shadowed/done research with as well as employers from undergrad and will have new recommendations from my graduate school professors and research mentors/advisors. My science/non-science recommendations will be at least 3-4 years old by the time I apply. Will this be a problem?

    4) Any suggestions for the application process in general? I was told to apply early, however I will also be applying to MSTP programs because I have an interest in conducting research and will have substantive research and teaching experience prior to applying.

    5) I am not that good at reading comprehension and retention of information when I am forced to read fast. Any in depth suggestions on how to prepare for the revamped verbal section of the test, if not can any of you point me to a website or other threads on this site?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion
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    Won't hurt, but don't do this in lieu of improving your trouble areas (verbal, soc etc)
    They'll look at both. Based on your goals you'd better have 2 very high scores.
    Never send more letters than a school asks for. Valuation:
    1. Research faculty, preferably one that got you a pub
    2. Science faculty
    3. Non-science faculty
    4. everything else
    Interested is great. Qualified is better. MSTP programs are a free ride and admissions are intensely competitive. You're up against 4.0s with top 5% MCATs and lots of pubs.

    Applying early means your transcripts are ordered and your letters are uploaded and your MCAT score is reported and you're complete with AMCAS as close to June 1 as possible.

    School choice is complicated. Don't wait to figure this out. There's lots on SDN to absorb. Buy the MSAR. Don't apply to any school until you've read its admissions FAQ.
    There's more at stake here than the MCAT. In med school there are constant, endless multiple choice exams covering huge piles of content ahead of you, and you get 1-2 minutes per question even if the stem is half a page. Invest accordingly.

    Try the MCAT forum for prep advice. My recommendation is to start with an old Examkrackers book and make friends with doing boatloads of questions. That's how we all study in med school - thousands of questions to prepare for a ~300 question exam.

    If your user name means you're URM, then reach out to the diversity offices at your schools of interest for guidance.

    Best of luck to you.
     
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  3. Afropolitan

    2+ Year Member

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    Thanks for the help and advice!

    If it is not worth it to retake biochemistry, I won't do so. I was not going to retake it in lieu of improving my trouble areas. I just realized that this new test places a strong amount of emphasis on biochemistry and so maybe it would be worth it to retake the class, but with time, I think I can relearn the material.

    I need to improve upon my verbal reasoning score, and so I will find ways to do that and will check the MCAT forum.

    In regards to applying MSTP, I have been told that I would be a great candidate for it by students who have gone through the program and there are faculty here that support me in this endeavor, but the two things that were suggested would make me a qualified candidate are getting my research published and improving on verbal.

    I will apply to a mix of MD only and MSTP programs since some schools do not accept many applicants who are pursuing non-traditional PhD's. My main goal is to become a physician scientist. I know many physician scientists here at my current school that have done just fine with an MD and their masters and so if applying MSTP does not work, hopefully I can gain admission into an MD program.

    I am a URM so I will try to get in contact with schools and their diversity offices to obtain more information. Do you think its too early to contact these offices? They are probably busy with applicants that are applying this cycle.

    Thanks again for your help.
     
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