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Only applying to one school

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by SingleMom5, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. SingleMom5

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    Due to my family situation (single mom with kids in school), I cannot relocate for school. There is one school that is an option for me (which I absolutely love, thank goodness). Does anyone know how many people only apply to one school? Just wondering how "crazy" that is :)
     
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  2. daw05

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    I think it's a really dangerous move. I can tell you I applied to 10, and many people told me it was too few. The one school I swore I would be going to, I didn't get in to. The first acceptance I got was from a school I wan't originally going to apply to until I took the advice to apply to more schools (originally only applied to 6). You're going to have a pretty big financial investment (MCAT, studying, any classes you need, applications) to put all your eggs in one basket. You can minimize the cost of applications by doing research on the schools and coming up with a good list.

    I've seen this question asked a bunch of times on this site as well: Do you want to be a physician, or are you just interested in it because it's in your home town? Common advice would say if you're not in it with full force and willing to go outside your comfort zone, you may not want this enough to survive the challenges that medical school will bring. I haven't even started school yet, so that's all second-hand info at this point, but it seems reasonable.

    To answer your other question - I would say almost no one applies to just one school. Before you enter a cycle, I'd look around and see what other options you can make work (areas with inexpensive cost of living, family support, or similar). Try to get that number higher.
     
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  3. NITRAS

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    I’d only suicide apply if you were comfortable not going to med school.

    It’s as much a numbers game as it is a stats game. There are simply plenty of qualified applicants, and even good ones don’t get accepted.

    I had good stats, and in retrospect I would have applied more broadly. I applied to 6, interviewed at 5 and was accepted to one ...in June.
     
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  4. esob

    esob Protomolecule
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    To answer your question, almost zero well-informed applicants apply to only one school because there is a solid chance they are not getting in. I applied to several "safety schools" for which my stats were well above the top 10 percent of their matriculants and didn't even get invited. If your stats are too high or too low for that school, you won't get invited. If your essay rubs someone on the adcom the wrong way, you won't get invited. If you do everything correctly, you probably still won't get invited because most schools only invite a small percentage of their applicants. If you do manage to get invited, most schools only accept a small percentage of invited applicants.

    As stated above, only apply to one if you are OK with not going to medical school because, while theoretically possible, the odds are statistically against you. If you are OK with that, then don't let anyone talk you out of applying, because you might just get lucky.
     
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  5. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    Unless never being a doctor is preferable to moving this is a bad plan

    Are you stuck because of custody agreement? Extended family who watch kids for free?
     
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  6. OP
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    SingleMom5

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    Yes, I'm a single mom with 5 kids and would start a new custody battle if I tried to move. So, yes, I want to be a doctor but not at the expense of losing my children.
     
  7. frosted2

    frosted2 C/O 2023 hopeful!
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    Do you have family and or a support system? I never want to be a downer, but this is very difficult even for people who have supportive partners... you've got five kids.
     
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  8. ThrowawayShmoaway

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    I’m curious at what point you are in you med school plans/journey? Is this something you’ve just recently started looking in to, or has this been on your radar for a while? I ask because it sounds (to me) more like the former because 1) you don’t seem to convey an understanding of the competitiveness of med school admissions (which is why applying to one school is usually not an even an option for the most competitive of applicants), and 2) your second post doesn’t seem to convey a sense of the various stressors that come with medical school that sound like would be incredibly difficult as a single parent of five kids.
    If you are further in your plans for applying and attending med school, do you already have a strong support system in place? If you were to apply to that one school and get in, do you think you’d be able to handle both?
     
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  9. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    Good luck on the app. It’s not a good application strategy if the only goal was getting in med school but your family life is complicated and the bad strategy is about the only one open to you. I sincerely hope it works out
     
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  10. nrs2doc

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    Applying to only 1 med school is very risky, but if you've laid the ground work you might get lucky. Be sure to get your family on board with your decisions, so you can deal with the challenges of being a single mom and a medical school student. Contact and keep in touch with the medical school you want to attend including attending their information sessions and making sure they know who you are and your story. Your life experiences and maturity is a plus and a competitive GPA & MCAT score will not hurt either. As a married mom of 3, I applied to only 3 med schools (2MD,1DO) within an hour of my house and have 3 interviews. Hopefully, I can seal the deal at atleast one of them. Goodluck!
     
  11. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    The other thing is, unless you intend to keep it secret which is your right, how would you answer “med school is hard for a single person with flexibility, how will a single mom with 5 kids make arrangements for a hectic and unforgiving med school schedule, land a residency without moving, and get to an even crazier work schedule for 3-5 year?”

    I ask because even if you never have to say the answer to anyone, you need an answer for you
     
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  12. operaman

    Physician 7+ Year Member

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    I will chime in and say that while applying to one school seems a little crazy, it isn’t outside the real of possibility. It’s basically what I did back in the day and I got lucky. It really depends on how competitive your only school option is. If you live in the middle of nowhere by a state school where you could be very competitive, then maybe you have a shot. If you live in Palo Alto you might have a harder time.

    For you, it’s simply a risk:benefit calculation of how much you’re willing to invest in this process in terms of time and finances knowing that you face a significant bottleneck.

    The five kids thing really hinges on your support system and it sounds like your current location at least has your former partner nearby and possibly other family too. Depending on the details of your situation it may well be doable. Plan on 60-80 hours per week of studying and school material for the first couple years; similar time investment for third year.

    Also consider your residency plans and goals and what your local school offers. Are there other hospitals around that have programs? Remember in 4 years you’ll be applying to residency and only being able to apply locally would further increase your odds of not matching and getting years into this process with nothing to show for it. Your kids may be mostly grown after 4-5 more years depending on how old they are now, or maybe your situation would be more amenable to a move.
     
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  13. futuremdforme

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    Obviously it's not what most people do but most people aren't single moms of 5 kids with a potential custody battle. The downside is you are risking doing a LOT of work in preparing your application (MCAT and volunteering, the application itself at a minimum, +/- pre-reqs and GPA repair). But I would agree that not being a doctor but keeping custody of your kids is better than throwing your entire family aside for what is, in the end, a job.

    Definitely do remember the residency thing a few years later -- as well as job opportunities as staff. It will be important to do a job where you can establish practice where you are instead of relying on a job offer from a hospital.
     
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  14. Goro

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    This is foolish. What if you don't get in?
    I can't recommend this.
     
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  15. btuck

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    Does this school have an early decision option? You should check, some schools do.
     
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  16. DocJanItor

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    The rest of your advice is good, but the application cycle had gotten much more competitive even in the past 5-10 years. Applying to one school is very high risk without ED approval from the dean.
     
  17. futureDocDD

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    In regular cycle, answer is no...(way too risky) but some schools offer early assurance or early decision, so that can be the "rare" case of applying to only one school.
     
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  18. ThrowawayShmoaway

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    True, applying ED would make sense and remove some of the unpredictability of applying to one school, but there’s just too much unpredictability in the rest of the process (med school and beyond) that makes the idea of a single parent of 5 who’s confined geographically unrealistic and/or not feasible (IMHO).
    What is OP going to do during clinical years? She didn’t mention whether the local school is an MD or DO, but if it’s a DO school with very spread out clinical sites, what then? Maybe this is a more exaggerated concern, but what if OP’s ex-partner is litigious and decides that the demands during clinical years are “negligent” and starts a custody battle anyways?
    If not all of OP’s kids are above 18 by match time: what if she has a red flag by then, and possibly cant even match into a less competitive spot in the area? The she could have possibly incurred debt but can’t move to get a job without starting a custody battle?

    Good luck through all of this OP
     
  19. OP
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    SingleMom5

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    Thank you all so much for your info and replies. I'm very close to the application process (will be applying this summer for 2020 cycle). I've been taking prereqs while doing a biotech program since 2016. I have a bachelor's in finance from years ago. Luckily, I will have 3 kids in college by the time I start with 2 remaining at home (one would be a junior in high school then and one in 3rd grade).

    The school I'm applying to is a DO school, has its own hospital. Many of the clinicals can be done in town or close by, and I would "hope" to get a residency program at the hospital associated with the school.

    I'm also pursuing a dual degree (DO/PhD). At least, that plan is what started this process. I am most concerned about residency, but by that time my whole situation could have changed obviously and I will only have 1 child in the home starting high school.

    I knew if I tried to figure out the perfect scenario when I started this process I would never begin. I had to take a leap of faith with the knowledge that if it's supposed to happen and I put in the work, then it will happen.

    Based on all the info provided, I'm currently trying to figure out how I could make it work by applying to other schools as well. So far, I've been able to handle it all (working 50-60 hours a week, school 9-12 hours, and being a mom). I know I will somehow figure out a way to make this work. Thank you for the wake-up call, though. I feel like I should at least consider other options as far as which schools to apply to.
     
  20. frosted2

    frosted2 C/O 2023 hopeful!
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    I think that luckily, the age of your kids is a game-changer. I don't have kids, but I was self-sufficient at that age. In your situation, I'd go for it.

    You go girl!
     
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  21. stayathomemom

    stayathomemom I'm actually at home way less than you'd expect.

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    I'm only applying to one school.

    I just can't move for medical school. I have a family and all of our support system lives here. Even if my kids and husband would be ok with moving somewhere new (which they are NOT), our support system lives here and I can't imagine doing well in medical school while raising three kids without my support system.

    If you are single and have no dependents? Yeah applying to one school is stupid as heck.

    But some of us don't have much of a choice. No matter how passionate we are, how good we are, or how great we'd be at medicine, we have to shoot our one shot and hope it makes the mark. I know my chances are not good. But they're better than 0.
     
  22. DocJanItor

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    Serious question, and I'm not trying to discourage you at all, I'm genuinely curious as to your motivation: Why start this journey if you know your chances of success are so low? I'm only asking because I know I couldn't have started if I didn't have at least a decent chance of success.
     
  23. OP
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    SingleMom5

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    I wasn't sure if this was asked of me or one of the ones who replied. My answer to this is I would rather have given it my all and failed than know I never even tried. We have one life and I want to make the absolute most of it.
     
  24. DocJanItor

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    I was asking it of either/both. You may have different motivations!
     
  25. stayathomemom

    stayathomemom I'm actually at home way less than you'd expect.

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    Couldn't have said it better myself. I live with no regrets.
     
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  26. DocJanItor

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    Thank you both for the answers. I may not understand your decision making, but I hope you both succeed.
     
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  27. stayathomemom

    stayathomemom I'm actually at home way less than you'd expect.

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    It might be relevant that I also am enjoying the process, even with its up and downs, and it's costing me a lot less than you think it would. I already had my premed undergrad and I'm only paying to apply to one school.
     
  28. DocJanItor

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    My primary concern would be opportunity cost - the cost of the things I didn't do instead of medical school.
     
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  29. stayathomemom

    stayathomemom I'm actually at home way less than you'd expect.

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    I haven't been paid for work since 2006. In the meantime my work has consisted of raising kids and community volunteering. In regards to finances, we have our needs met through my spouse's employment and therefore do not consider paid work for me a necessity, as more money doesn't buy more happiness. The extreme privilege of my situation is not lost on me.

    ETA: And I'm not going into medicine for that sweet sweet paycheck. I'm not even considering the money aspect in that way.
     
  30. DocJanItor

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    No, I understand, but I wasn't specifically speaking about monetary opportunity cost. If you didn't try to go to medical school you could, say, learn the violin or teach your kids philosophy.

    Of course while money may not bring you more happiness, it can certainly bring you (and your family) more opportunity, security, and life experiences. If you're so well off that it won't even provide that, then securing a very specific med school admission shouldn't be a problem at all. :)
     
  31. nrs2doc

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    Very well said. I have a similar motivation - how do i tell my kids with a straight face to follow their purpose in life and put mine in the back burner while i spend the rest of my life in regret. I am inspired by you and stayathomemom. I hope we all succeed through this journey.
     
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  32. nrs2doc

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    I suspect you are risk adversed (which is okay). Life is not always about trying only if you think you might succeed. In my opinion it's a cowards way of going through life. Somethings are worth pursuing even if all indications of success are against you. You just have to be realistic about your situation, do your homework and be prepared for any outcome due to limited options.
     
  33. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    Because once you have kids, they become the purpose. It’s possible that being a doctor doesn’t line up with that
     
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  34. nrs2doc

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    I beg to differ. You can have more then 1 purpose in life. Because you have kids does not mean you can't live your other life's purpose as well. You just need to be able to balance, prioritize and have a support system
     
    #34 nrs2doc, Jan 13, 2019 at 10:15 AM
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019 at 10:27 AM
  35. hamiltonnyc

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    This is an incorrect interpretation of risk aversion. Risk aversion deals with a decision that has not only the same probability but also the same reward/risk across individuals. In pursuing this route, you can't say one person is more risk averse than another unless you know their circumstance, which is what the person was asking.

    For example, let's say in a coin flip game I gave one person a different payout/cost than another person and they chose to not play, you can't say that person is more risk averse.

    Sorry but your use of 'coward' sounds pointed.
     
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  36. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    Whatever helps you face the mirror each day
     
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  37. nrs2doc

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    After re-reading I agree that my use of "coward" sounds pointed, but that was not my intention. Your explanation of risk aversion is from a different perspective which does not make my statement any less relevant or incorrect in this situation.
     
  38. hamiltonnyc

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    I think this conversation is devolving into judgments of other people's life decisions. I'll just say that I think it's fine that people have different priorities, and I think we are all asking the right questions in finding our own.

    Good luck to you all!
     
  39. OP
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    SingleMom5

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    I never like to stir up something, but I have to ask. Are you saying that parents should not be doctors? Is that both dads and moms? Should doctors who become parents quit? I realize my questions sound like I'm saying it with a negative attitude, but I really am genuinely curious of your stance based on your comments
     
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  40. BC_89

    Moderator Lifetime Donor Verified Expert Verified Account 2+ Year Member

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    I have a lot of colleagues now in med school / graduated from med school that applied ~ 15 - 20 schools. I can’t reiterate any better than what others have stated, but when I was considering med school with my two kids I never would have considered just “one” school due to my children and location.

    Truth be told, if I ever felt that I was that limited, I’d skip the cycle and stick with my kids through sensitive times (ie possible custody battle). My mentality would be “Med schools aren’t going anywhere and neither am I”. That way, I have the opportunity to be with my kiddos and still only make my application that much stronger (extra courses on the side, work part-time as scribe or EMT if possible or at least give service to the public in some way).

    Why the rush? Be with the kids until time is slightly better (again, kids slightly older and avoid a bad custody case) that way you won’t feel as much pressure or trapped come school AND residency time. Albeit a fantastic and elite career, it’s a job......
     
  41. Trollest

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    Not at all. I can't speak for him, but I think what he was trying so hard to portray was that most parents who do it have their significant others' back. I applaud you for choosing this path; anything is possible in medicine so long as you are willing to pay the price. The question for you is whether that price is worth it.

     
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  42. Mike Bagwell

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    Very "crazy"

    There are obviously a ton of other factors that are not explained in your post so I don't know how anybody could advise you specifically without knowing who you are on paper but I will say this much, from what I have observed, people drop what they are doing and go to wherever the medical school that has accepted them exists. If you "cannot relocate" at the present time, I would think medical school and becoming a doctor is not something you should be looking at right now until you are in a situation to essentially "drop what you're doing."
     
  43. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    I’m a parent. I’m saying the childish “live your purpose” equation changes once you have kids and not all dreams get to be chased any more. Sometimes med school can work, sometimes it cannot. It’s a case by case kind of thing
     
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  44. OP
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    SingleMom5

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    I definitely see your point. I definitely changed after I had kids. I "gave up" my finance degree and stayed home and worked from home.
     
  45. OP
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    SingleMom5

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    That is why I waited. I can't wait much longer (I'm old, lol). For the last two years I've been working 50-60+ hours, while going to school anywhere from 9-12 hours, have made a 4.0 in all sciences (with the exception of a B in gen chem 1), and have been an excellent mom. I study right next to my kids. I took College Algebra while 3 of my kids were taking Algebra, so we all helped each other. So far, this journey has been an extremely precious one.
     
  46. Campana

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    While I'm certainly applying to more than one school, this sentiment captures my efforts as well. Even if I fail, I'm teaching my kids, through my tremendous dedication to both them and myself, that parents are more than just parents, we can contribute to the benefit of society by both being wonderful loving focused parents and by being integrated into something else too. My kids have learned from my study habits - they see what I mean when I say to take notes, make flashcards, re-read, ask questions, plan ahead, take extra credit, etc. My kids have learned from my effort to seek the seemingly unattainable with both hope and logic - they see my financial planning, my time planning, my conversations with them about how to make this work. And they see me not be put down by those who would say "that's silly". They also see that instead of trying to live vicariously through them, I am living my life, with them. While my "trying" is judicious in what I am willing to sacrifice, I am still trying. Yes, I might fail, but I would rather try and fail, than not try at all.
     
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  47. popelton

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    Hey congrats on that acceptance!!
     
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  48. Faha

    Physician 5+ Year Member

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    What is your MCAT score ? What are your cGPA and sGPA ?
     
  49. OP
    OP
    SingleMom5

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    I'm just now studying for MCAT and will take this spring. My cGPA is low, 3.4, due to my first bachelors, but my sGPA is 3.8 at this point, I believe. My target MCAT is about 10 points higher than the average at the school I'm applying to (granted, that's target only so doesn't mean anything lol )
     
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  50. Matthew9Thirtyfive

    Matthew9Thirtyfive Class of 2023!
    Moderator Verified Expert 2+ Year Member

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    Just to give a little perspective, I only applied to six schools. I have about the same cGPA and sGPA as you and a 519 MCAT. I applied to two reach schools, three target schools, and a "safety" school. Spoiler alert: there's no such thing as a safety school.

    I got ghosted by a school with a median MCAT 11 points lower than my score and rejected by two schools where my MCAT was target but my GPA was low. I also got WLed by a school I thought I was perfectly targeted for stats and mission wise. Ultimately, I ended up getting accepted to a school that became my top choice, but it wasn't when I applied, and I actually withdrew my application before requesting to have it reactivated after I just didn't feel right about it after I withdrew.

    This is all to say that I applied to a very small number of schools and very easily could have ended up without an acceptance. It is a numbers game, and even if you feel you are perfectly matched to a place, you still have a good chance of not getting in. The place I got a WL at, my MCAT is ~10 points higher than their median and my GPA was in the IQR. I have great ECs, and I'm from the same area as the school and went to college 5 minutes away from the campus. I also had a good interview. WL. You just never know.

    I see you said you're trying to figure out how to make it work applying to other schools. If you really want to be a doctor, you need to make that work. I am a parent, so I get the struggle. But your kids will understand.
     
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