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Older (29) applicant, Good MCAT, Poor GPA

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by domonas, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. domonas

    domonas Junior Member

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    Hey, 29 year old asian male. 2.7 GPA (primary undergrad), 3.7 (1 semester at a different school), 3.3 at master's program, 3.5 (finishing up some pre-req classes) -- overall GPA ~2.8ish. 34 (11V, 10P, 13B, M). I tried applying to allopath med schools 2 years ago (like 20), got 1 interview and waitlisted and ultimately not accepted. Jump to now. Decided to give medicine one more shot. I obviously cannot (will not) take any classes to bring my grade up. I've been working in a research lab at Johns Hopkins the past 3 years, so decent recs. Been out of grad school for over 4 years now, so not gonna ask old PI for a rec. Don't know a DO, or have shadowed a DO. I have 1 summer of volunteer experience at a hospital. Sorry this is sort of long-winded, but I could use some sort of advice.... or even someone here to say that I have no shot... just something!!! Anyone?
     
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  3. VirusZapper

    VirusZapper Happy Hunting >:)

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    Seems like your background is research oriented. I would advise gaining more clinical exposure, either shadowing a physician (MD or DO) or more volunteering. But regardless, I think you have a decent shot, apply early and broadly.
     
  4. Megalofyia

    Megalofyia 425 lbs and growing

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    Apply to a wide range of DO schools. There are people with stats similar to yours who got acceptances.

    For many DO schools you will need a letter from a DO. Just look in your local phone directory and call around. Ask if you can shadow them and tell them your thinking of applying to DO schools etc.
     
  5. datsa

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    I'm no expert, but I think that given that you won't take any more classes to upgrade your GPA, I think that you do need to do more volunteer work. Strangely, it seems that too many premeds focus on the research aspect of things, which is fine if medical research is what they want. But medical schools also train doctors to work with patients and do clinical care, which is what volunteering is supposed to get applicants exposed to (sorry about my grammar). In fact, most practicing doctors take care of patients more than they do research; ergo, premeds should get as much clinical experience as they can. I think at least one or two years worth of volunteering is necessary to show AdComms that you are serious.

    Ideally, you may also want to upgrade your grades.
     
  6. domonas

    domonas Junior Member

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    Thanks for the words of advice. The problem with finding volunteer time is that I have a full-time job during the weekdays, and help my parents out with their business on the weekends. I literally have after work till before I sleep time to volunteer. I'm not asking for any type of sympathy nor am I attempting to turn this into some sob story. Basically, what kind of shot do I have with where I am now. Just based purely on numbers (age, race, scores, gpa, etc...)?
     
  7. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy
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    well age and race aren't a factor. You aren't strong in the gpa so some schools might weed you out based on that. But MCAT is good, research is good, but you might need more volunteering.

    We can't tell you if you are a shoe-in or not b/c honestly we don't know. Adcoms vary year to year in allo and osteo schools. You have a strong background in research as well as MCAT score. I'm sure you have a shot just as much as the next guy, but we can't give you a definitive.

    :luck:
     
  8. AmyO

    AmyO Member

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    The best advice that I can give you is to apply early and to apply broadly. Some schools focus on GPA, MCAT, etc more than others so it may be seemingly "hit or miss." Some schools may not look at your application if they have GPA "cutoffs" (usually a 3.0). Unfortunately, most schools will not disclose or admit if their adcom abides by these cutoffs. However, DO schools are historically known to look at your whole application beyond the numbers. Your MCAT certainly proves you have the ability to handle medical school classes, but there are going to be some schools that will question the GPA. The other thing that may trip you up with some of the "traditional DO schools" will be a lack of experience with DOs and why you want to go DO versus MD, carribbean, etc. Most, but not all schools, either require or heavily preference those with a LOR from a DO. I think every application I filled out wanted to know "why DO?" You'll definitely want to brush up on osteopathic medicine's history before filling out secondaries or attending interviews.
     
  9. domonas

    domonas Junior Member

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    I don't know about age, but I'm almost certain that race IS a factor.
     
  10. AlberttheGator

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    Can you elaborate on this???
     
  11. dr.z

    Physician

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    Under represented minority in medicine is favored at places.
     
  12. Junkster

    Junkster Senior Member

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    You sound EXACTLY like me this year!!!

    My GPA was a bit stronger in grad school, but my MCAT was a couple of points lower. I also worked in research 4 years, published 7 articles as second author. I'm 28 right now. I was going to give up on the whole thing when I turned 30 and go into private research sector.

    I didn't shadow a DO, but I talked with a few to get an idea of what osteopathic medicine meant to them. Read up on various websites. I believe DO programs weigh experience more heavily then certain MD programs.

    Good luck.
     
  13. hermit

    hermit Senior Member

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    Asians don't get URM treatment.
     
  14. Junkster

    Junkster Senior Member

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    True.
     
  15. brookliner7

    brookliner7 Member

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    WOW! Nice MCAT!!!!

    I would definantly get some more exposure to working with people. Either shadowing, paid, volunteer etc. Just get some time around people...cause when you become a doctor you're gonna be spending a lot of time around them. GOOD LUCK!
     
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  17. CatsandCradles

    CatsandCradles SDN Donor

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    Hi there, welcome to SDN.

    1) Volunteering work will help offset your GPA a great deal. Have you considered EMT work or Phelbotomy tech?

    2) Another good avenue is non medically related EC/volunteer work. Some medical schools really like to see things like working at a soup kitchen, working with the homeless community, at a childrens orphange, at public schools etc. Community service and participation...that sort of stuff goes a long way. Habitat for Humanity, working with a church mission, etc. Some O schools seem very heavy on this catagory. Peace Corp, Ameri Corp are also excellent programs as well, but require quite a commitment.

    I know some people hesitate on community service and preffer to concentrate on MCATs, finding that apoptosis gene sequence, and running gel electrophrosis in vain for that all mighty p53 tumor supressor.

    But being a physician means working with many common people with various needs. So the O schools want to see that.

    Best of wishes to you and good luck. You can definantly make it happen if you want it badly enough. Don't give up. :luck: :luck: :luck:
     
  18. domonas

    domonas Junior Member

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    The problem is, as stated above, is that with a full-time job and helping the folks out on the weekend, a volunteer/shadowing/non-paid position is difficult on the finances. As for the social aspect of being a doc, that's never been a problem with me. I also waited an extra year to re-apply because my parents can't help me out in that aspect. So I basically saved as much money as I can for this application cycle.

    oh, and thanks! I worked pretty hard right after grad school to get that score. I knew I had to have good MCAT's to even get my foot in the door... although that door was shut down pretty quickly.
     
  19. domonas

    domonas Junior Member

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    See above. Can't afford (time and money) to volunteer. I know some of you will say that it's "worth" it to volunteer, etc... and it's not like I've NEVER volunteered. But at this point in my life, I cannot do it.
    As my family is not blessed with excess cash, I help my parents out on both Sat and Sun to run their small business. They work 7 days/week from 8am to 8pm, and since they're getting up in age, I cover for them after my day is done so they can rest. Again, I know some of you are saying that it's MY life and I need to do what's best for me. Well, family is important, and I place my family's well being over all else.

    I enjoy research and that's why I did it for undergrad and masters degrees, while i tried to figure out what my next step was. I'm really (sadly) not very qualified for anything else.

    I thought being a doctor was treating and helping "common people" understand their condition and be able to treat them. If you mean that I will have to interact with the medically-untrained... that's basically being a good communicator and teacher.... and I have those qualities, not only did I have to TA as a grad student, but have done some private tutoring as well.

    I've also done ~160 hours of volunteer at shock trauma. Does having an extra volunteer experience really help THAT much? I'll be giving up on precious sleep time (and yes, my sleep is precious :)).

    Thanks again C&C. :D
     
  20. AlberttheGator

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    I don't believe this, like where??
     
  21. domonas

    domonas Junior Member

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    Thanks Junkster. I *might* be able to shadow a DO for a day if all things work out (ie: she's willing to go in on a weekend to accomdate my scheduling, time, policies, etc..). I have been reading some of the DO programs and their admissions criteria, and I agree that DO schools seem a little less numbers driven. Wish me luck man as I'll do the same for you. I have a busy weekend and monday, but after that I'll be focusing my entire time applying to schools.
     
  22. domonas

    domonas Junior Member

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    Like... everywhere. All things being equal, I do believe there is a slight bias towards URM. But please let's not turn this thread into what's fair/not fair about the admin process... this thread is for ME!!!!! :)
     
  23. CatsandCradles

    CatsandCradles SDN Donor

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    I'm sorry I didn't read your other post.


    Talk about this in the school secondaries.

    You worked at freakin John Hopkins :D

    Of course you are qualified to do a lot of things. :thumbup:

    TA + Tutoring = browny points for medical school :thumbup:

    That's good.

    Apply broadly and I'm almost certain you'll get in somewhere. You have a 34M and a good graduate GPA. They'll take note of that.

    Again best of wishes

    C&C
     
  24. the alchemist

    the alchemist Senior Member

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    it can b done. i'm a 33 yo asian female. my aacomas (DO applic) GPA was 2.78, grad 3.66 (masters), post-bacc 3.91 (4.0 science) and i got a 33P so our stats r similar. i ended up with 1 MD and 2 DO/3 interviews. i applied 2 high in terms of MD schools (have 10 yrs of research and wanted big research names, my mistake - got an interview at the only "lower' tier allo school i applied 2). i might not have gotten the last DO interview 4 reasons other than my stats (hard 2 explain).

    anyways, i'll b starting med school at UMDNJ-SOM this sun at the white coat ceremony. so there's hope. and i understand the parents working long hours and having 2 help out b/c my parents r the same but maybe they can work one weekend and let u take that time 2 volunteer or sth. and here's a thought, u can volunteer at night as well (when ur parents don't need u). i worked 60-100 hrs in my lab but did get 2 volunteer in the ER from 8 pm-12 am and in the rehab dept from 6-10 pm cuz my hours were restricted sort of like urs (but not as badly). SOM is my state school but SOM allows OOS ppl 2 pay in-state tuition if they get a nj driver's license. i really think u should shadow a DO, even if its only 4 a day and 2 get a rec from a DO if u can. i only did 4 hrs with one of the SOM faculty though i did do like 40 hrs with another DO when i was volunteering (he wrote me my DO rec). certain DO schools like CCOM and NYCOM have 2.75 GPA cutoffs 2 get a secondary so do some research b4 u apply. so don't give up hope.
     
  25. Hoberto

    Hoberto Squirrel Girl

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    I have known other candidates with similar stats who got several MD interviews. Since you applied to 20 schools (I'm assuming a wide range, not all top 10 or CA schools) and got only 1 interview I think there is something else going on here.

    Did you apply late in the cycle? Did you apply to schools who aren't research oriented? Did you write a crappy PS? Did you apply to schools that have a known GPA cutoff? I think that MCAT score should really have gotten you some interviews despite the undergrad GPA. The thing is, it won't matter how high your grad GPA is if a school has a cutoff for undergrad GPA.

    Also, since you must help your family during the weekends, you are only able to apply to nearby schoools. This will lessen your chances...as others have said, apply broadly. In your situation this won't be possible. You may want to consider calling up the admissions directors of the schools and meeting with them to discuss your application and to ask for their advice. Since your choice of schools will be limited you will also have a chance to explain that you are extremely interested in their school and want to put yourself in the best light possible.

    Last I heard MCAT scores were valid for 3 years only. You may want to confirm this as your scores are dangerously close to or possibly too old.

    Good luck.
     
  26. domonas

    domonas Junior Member

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    Thanks. I took the August 2004 MCAT's, so i don't think they're old. But this is the last time I'll apply to med schools, so it won't matter anyway.

    As for the app last time, I don't *think* i wrote a crappy PS. I had it looked over by several ppl I trust. I didn't apply late. Even though I took the august one, I pretty much had everything else all done except for the MCAT's at that point. I was done applying by early Sept. Was that late you think?
     
  27. Hoberto

    Hoberto Squirrel Girl

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    Hmm, doesn't sound like your app was too late. If I were you, I would definitely schedule an appointment with an admissions person at your favorite school, maybe even that MD school that interviewed but did not accept you. We can all give you advice but the best advice is going to come from someone who actually helps with the interviewing decisions.

    I just can't believe that with that MCAT you didn't get more interviews. I can see not getting a load of acceptances, but with a research background and high MCAT MD schools should have looked at you.
     
  28. MedStudentWanna

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    Personally, I think it was your GPA, coupled with your EC's that hurt you last time.

    You can't volunteer. You won't take more classes. You're going to apply this cycle regardless, so I'm confused about what kind of response you're expecting.

    You're not a URM, so that won't help you. Your GPA is below a 3.0, so that is going to hurt you regardless. Your MCAT is excellent, but your volunteer experience is lacking and while I understand your reason for not being able to get more clinical/volunteer experience, no one here can tell you that the adcoms will overlook it. If you had an otherwise stellar application, of course they would. But you don't.

    I'd apply to your state MD school(s) and far and wide to DO schools, hold your breath, and hope for the best. I wouldn't say that you're sure to get in somewhere because it's not a sure thing, but if I were you and I were low on funds and had to save up for a year to apply for the very last time to med school, I wouldn't apply this cycle. I'd save more money over the next year while I did some clinical work (even if that meant only one Saturday morning per month), take a few classes at night to try to get my GPA up to a 3.0, and then apply, even if it meant taking the MCAT again. The reason is simple: if it's your last shot, as you say, then I'd want to do it right. 100% right. Not just 75% right. It just isn't worth the money unless you do it with a bang.

    Also, I'd apply in June, not in September or even August. People are getting secondaries now. People will start interviewing in the coming weeks and you won't even have been complete yet. If you're going into this with a poor GPA, you really want to be the in the first batch of applications the school gets.

    But that's just me.
     
  29. domonas

    domonas Junior Member

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    Well, i only listed ONE volunteer experience. i have other EC's as well, and not gonna list because I'm not applying to this forum :)

    An honest one. I think (without quoting my amcas application here) that my app is pretty strong sans the GPA. But I'm not writing on this thread to wonder why I didn't get allopath interviews... but more concerned about my chances at osteo med schools.

    But thanks for your opinion MSW.
     
  30. the alchemist

    the alchemist Senior Member

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    actually, i disagree. applying with an august mcat when ur package has some big holes (low UG GPA, lack of DO shadowing 4 osteo schools, avg amount of volunteer experience) is applying a bit late. i took the aug mcat and was told that i got WLed at my state/public DO school at 1st only b/c i applied 2 late and i was female (they had accepted 70% women by the time i interviewed). i've also seen ppl with very high GPAs and <30 MCATs getting into MD and DO schools but hardly any stories of the reverse (high MCAT, low UG GPA). i know that i said i applied "2 high" with respect 2 MD schools and i did interview at the 1 lower tier school i applied 2 and did OK at getting DO interviews, but what i learned over the past cycle applying with similar stats 2 urs was that schools do not want their accepted average numbers (GPAs, MCAT) going down, and i think that the GPA matters more 2 alot of schools more than the MCAT. i said not 2 give up hope b4 but i really do think that it might work better if u can compromise ur life a little 2 take some of the advice given by others (or at least advice from speaking directly with adcoms from schools u r interested in). my parents r also asian 1st generation who own a store (used to be 3 stores and until recently, 2) that my bro and i have worked in since high school, though i stopped in grad school, but my parents wouldn't let me work there anymore after grad school anyways b/c they wanted me 2 concentrate on getting into med school. and they used 2 work from 4-5 am til midnight or 2 am (no joke, they got like 2-4 hrs of sleep per night) b4 they lightened up their workload. now its more like 5-6 am til 8-9 pm so i totally understand ur situation but if u can't make little changes and rn't willing 2 try and make time 2 address those holes in ur application, then most of the advice ppl have given u won't help u. btw, i don't mean this in a nasty way but i'm trying 2 say if u really wanna b a doctor as much as u say, u have 2 make it a priority. that doesn't mean u just leave ur parents out 2 dry, but it does mean that even small steps 2ward addressing those weaknesses in ur app r still steps but not taking any steps means that u will prob end up with the same result as when u applied b4 since adcoms will look over ur app with a magnifying glass 2 c what has changed and what u have done 2 improve ur app since u applied last time.
     
  31. Junkster

    Junkster Senior Member

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    Good luck with the whole process. Wishing you luck.
     

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