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Plan of action: Need some input

Discussion in 'Re-Applicants [ MD / DO ]' started by sarahl86, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. sarahl86

    7+ Year Member

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    So here's my deal:

    My stats are 31R (10PS 12VR 9BS), OA GPA of 3.85, Sci GPA of 3.73 - reapplicant, and the 31 is my second MCAT score. I have two interviews coming up in a couple of weeks, but Maryland seems to be putting everyone with my stats on post-interview hold (aka, waitlist) and I have no idea about my chances at NYMC.

    I have no research experience and am trying really hard to find an entry-level position but have had no luck so far, because my lack of research experience is something I feel is holding me back. I have a ton of clinical experience.

    Basically, I just don't have a lot of hope for this year. I took the August MCAT which delayed my applications until September, and wasn't complete at NYMC until October because I added it later on...but don't know what step to take if I don't get in this year.

    Next time applying will be my third and final attempt, and I plan on including DO schools but as for the immediate future, I am unsure if I should continue my current job in social work or find a job in research because I don't have any experience in it. I am also looking into graduate programs but considering my GPA is not the problem I wonder how much this would help me out -- I'm looking into the one year MHS program at Hopkins and can't really decide if it is worth the expense. I've also pretty much convinced myself that I need to take the MCAT a third time, but can't really get some good advice on it.

    Help, please?
     
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  3. fizzle

    fizzle New Member
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    Have you tried asking schools for feedback about what you could improve? Your problem could possibly be in some more subjective aspect, such as your essays or your LORs. Knowing is half the battle! (Okay, okay, I'm sorry for using such a cliche quote :oops:)

    Here's some immediate advice, though--apply to more schools! Applying to only 12 schools as a re-applicant is a bit risky. Your school choice will be important--I myself am getting most of my interviews this year from schools I hadn't even thought of applying to last year.
     
  4. dragonfly99

    10+ Year Member

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    Would apply to 35 schools next year. DO + MD is a good idea.
    Not sure you really need a research job, though it would be good if you had something that could distinguish you from other applicants. Perhaps you could find a way to play up the social work background...

    Make sure you get enough clinical volunteer experience...try to get a LOR from a physician if you don't have one.

    Degree from Johns Hopkins isn't a bad idea, but might not be worth the money. You might be able to get a research position there or at NIH by just cold-contacting people (i.e. folks who have their own lab).
    Perhaps you could search the NIH or other gov't entitities' web sites to look for 1 year research or medical or scientific-related internship or educational programs. Washington DC is a hotbed for these types of opportunities.

    Not sure the MCAT is your problem, though higher scores are always better. If you already took it twice, it might be hard to get your score up a lot. I took Princeton Review's class years ago and it helped my score a lot, but that was after having only taken the MCAT once. You could definitely try MCAT once more this April, especially if you don't think you are going to change jobs, etc.
     
  5. sarahl86

    7+ Year Member

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    Looking at my personal statement it is something I have definitely put a lot into, hopefully not too much...because I actually was a double-major undergrad in Bio and Deaf Studies so I have spent the past year working as a social worker/health educator for Deaf patients in a substance abuse program and part time as a medical tech at a group home with Deaf patients. I'm still getting in volunteer hours at a hospital here and there (500+ hours total) and could probably get an awesome LOR from the medical director of the program I work at full time.

    I was under the assumption that the NIH programs are ultra-competitive too...I actually work at University of Maryland SOM now so I'm asking around to see if I could throw in 4+ hours a week with a PI just to get a start on things. I don't know if this would be "enough" to count for anything substantial, considering if I did do research I want it to be more clinical anyway. If I stay where I am I also have the option of taking some graduate courses at the University, hopefully in Neuroscience so have something more to work with.

    Who knows.
     
  6. dragonfly99

    10+ Year Member

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    OP, your jobs sound impressive to me. I don't think you really NEED to get a research job, but as you said if you can get something research-like to put on your resume that wouldn't hurt. I think you are overly discouraged as it's still early in the year and you may yet get into school this year...

    <could probably get an awesome LOR from the medical director of the program I work at full time. >

    Is the medical director an MD or DO? You DEFINITELY need to do this, if so. And apply to wherever he/she did medical school and residency, if it isn't U of Maryland and it's a private school. Personal connections matter.

    If U of Maryland is your first choice, and/or you'd just like to go there, I'd push hard to get in this year. In other words, send them a letter stating your intent to go there, that they are your #1 choice, send then an extra LOR or have a doctor call on your behalf, etc. Also if you can find a doc who graduated from there or did residency there to put in the good word for you, try to do so. I think if you know the person a little and you give him/her a resume showing your GPA and activities, etc. he/she would probably be willing to do it, as you are definitely a qualified candidate. You have worked hard @your job and it is time for you to reap the benefits of that...but sometimes you have to ask for things to get them.
     
  7. fahimaz7

    10+ Year Member

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    What was your first MCAT? Also, if you significantly improved your MCAT score from the first time you applied, I wouldn't be so nervous about this time! If not, did you apply to your state school? Do you have enouch clinical experience?
     
  8. sarahl86

    7+ Year Member

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    My first MCAT was a 25R (8,8,9) - so that was a 4 point jump for verbal reasoning. I don't think I can pull off a substantial increase in Bio while maintaining everything else (I hate Physics!). Maryland is my state school and I'm hoping for the best for my interview.

    I've had plenty of clinical experience: 2+ years volunteering at a local hospital, 1 year as a medical tech at a nursing home with Deaf patients, currently working as a health educator in a substance abuse program with Deaf patients. I'm just having a hard time seeing whats "missing" from my application. I'm kicking myself in the head for taking the MCAT again this past August and holding up my applications.

    My pre-med advisor from undergrad just said to reapply next year because he can't really figure out what is holding me back (if I don't get in this year), add D.O. schools and not spend the money on a Master's if its not 100% where I want to be.
     
  9. dragonfly99

    10+ Year Member

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    It sounds like you have several interviews, so you still might get in this year. Don't give up yet.

    I don't think you need a master's degree...and not sure it's worth the money.

    I think the lateness of your application this year was probably a big factor...since you're a good applicant but not "off the charts". The rolling admissions thing is really a big deal...try to apply 6/1 next year, if you don't get in this year.

    If you don't have a LOR from an MD, that would be something to try and get.

    Also, your premed advisor seems to be at the end of his/her insight, so for any schools you end up not getting into this year, but which interviewed you, I think it would be really good if you went to them next spring/summer and asked them how you can improve your application. Lay it on thick about how much you want to be a doctor and how much you want to go there.

    You could also use one of those professional essay editing services, and/or hire an English PhD student or something to help proofread and make suggestions on your essay(s). I never did this, but in your situation I think it would be money well spent.

    I don't know that I'd risk taking the MCAT again...your score is OK and you might not be able to raise it much more, if at all. It wouldn't be wrong to take it again, but I'm not convinced that is the problem. You could always keep taking classes, maybe one per semester and one per summer, just to show your academic achievements. Anything upper level biology is always good. You could take one at Johns Hopkins or U of Maryland, and try to use that connection(s) to get into their medical school...though Hopkins would I guess be really, really hard to get into.
     
  10. KippocalypsE

    KippocalypsE Faith in evolution
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    Based on what I learned from SDN, here are the things you need to do in order of importance:

    1) Apply as early as possible.
    I fell victim to the same situation of only being able to complete at schools later than desired. People I knew who had a worse app than I did but decided to apply months earlier got more interviews than I did.

    2) Get at least a 34 on the MCAT.
    I know this may be asking too much and many may consider it overkill. But in a majority of schools today, this is just a little above average for matriculants so adcoms ARE actively looking for this quality. I personally got a 30 and I am doing "OK" in interviews but I know 4 more points will make my app more attractive. Case in point, a friend of mine only completed secondaries in October with stats similar to mine but she had a 35. Within 2 weeks she received 6 interview invites from schools I didn't hear from.

    3) Make the perfect application delivery.
    By this I mean selling yourself as best as possible. Get professionals/reviewers to make your personal statement tip top. Have LOR's from god's among men. Continually send worthwhile updates to schools you are interested in. Whatever you can manage to keep you in the adcom's radar of important applicants.

    4) Get some academic research.
    As you mentioned, you need to get some research done. I don't believe it is absolutely necessary but considering every pre-med I know has done some, it is pretty much a requisite. I would suggest you email some PI's and ask if they have volunteer positions available (you can find contacts in research coordinating offices at schools). There will be at least some offers. I found saying you are looking to volunteer to be more effective than saying you are looking for an entry level position. Most pre-meds don't publish anything but having 300+ hours researching makes them competitive.

    ---

    I know some of my suggestions have been said time and again, but it is just the nature of the beast.
    I believe your experiences in medicine and life are excellent. It shows you are committed to helping in the health-promotion field. Your grades are excellent so I don't see any reason to take any more classes. You still have hope this cycle but a well formulated plan B will make the next cycle your finest.
     

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