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ApoIlo

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I'm currently in my second gap year. The only interview I got was from my state school (Oregon). I applied this cycle with the following:
  • 516 (130/126/129/131)
  • 3.67 cGPA, 3.6 sGPA
  • Double Major: Physics, Biochemistry/Biophysics
  • 650 research hours (no publications)
  • 900 clinical hours (scribing, hospice, and ER volunteering)
  • 50 nonclinical volunteer hours (tutoring, hospice)
  • 600 hours as an MCAT tutor/practice passage writer (paid)
I know that my biggest weakness is a lack of nonclinical volunteering, so I've added ~150 nonclinical volunteering hours since I applied.

If not accepted this cycle, my main options seem to be the following:
  1. Continue working and adding nonclinical volunteering hours. Apply again this spring.
  2. Continue working and adding nonclinical volunteering hours. Skip one cycle and apply next spring.
  3. Apply to a 1-year master's program in an unrelated field (engineering) as a backup plan, and continue adding nonclinical hours. Apply again this spring then start the master's program.
Which option seems best (or are there other options)? I'm leaning toward option 3. Thanks for any advice!
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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What is the purpose of 3? You know the most likely reason for your lack of success this cycle--your virtual lack of non-clinical volunteer hours. The master's in engineering is something you'd have to explain in future interviews and convince them that you're not getting cold feet, plus the grades won't do anything to boost your GPA anyway.

I would personally go with option 1. It doesn't force you to explain the engineering master's, you get to keep making money, and you've already added 150 hours, putting you at 200, which is a respectable number. If you continue to add throughout this cycle, you will have plenty.

Have you had anyone look at your school list to make sure you didn't apply too top heavy or inappropriately? You definitely don't have any red flags?
 
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ApoIlo

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What is the purpose of 3? You know the most likely reason for your lack of success this cycle--your virtual lack of non-clinical volunteer hours. The master's in engineering is something you'd have to explain in future interviews and convince them that you're not getting cold feet, plus the grades won't do anything to boost your GPA anyway.

I would personally go with option 1. It doesn't force you to explain the engineering master's, you get to keep making money, and you've already added 150 hours, putting you at 200, which is a respectable number. If you continue to add throughout this cycle, you will have plenty.

Have you had anyone look at your school list to make sure you didn't apply too top heavy or inappropriately? You definitely don't have any red flags?

School List:
BUSM
GW
Wake Forest
Hofstra
Jefferson
Pitt
OHSU
Western Michigan
Ohio
Loyola
Mayo Minnesota
Mayo AZ
USF
Einstein
Eastern Virginia

If I have to apply again, I'll definitely add more MD schools and some DO schools. I don't have any reason to think there were red flags in my app. I have no IAs, and I believe my advisor would let me know if I needed stronger rec. letters.

The master's program involves a paid internship that more than makes up for the cost of the degree, so cost isn't a huge deterrent. I would apply to the master's program before applying to medical school this spring. Although, I wouldn't start the master's program until after my medical school application has been submitted. Does this mean I wouldn't have to report the master's program on my next application? If that's the case, I wouldn't have to worry about explaining it to medical schools, but I would have a great backup plan if I don't get in over the course of two cycles!
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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School List:.
BUSM
GW
Wake Forest
Hofstra
Jefferson
Pitt
OHSU
Western Michigan
Ohio
Loyola
Mayo Minnesota
Mayo AZ
USF
Einstein
Eastern Virginia

If I have to apply again, I'll definitely add more MD schools and some DO schools. I don't have any reason to think there were red flags in my app. I have no IAs, and I believe my advisor would let me know if I needed stronger rec. letters.

The master's program involves a paid internship that more than makes up for the cost of the degree, so cost isn't a huge deterrent. I would apply to the master's program before applying to medical school this spring. Although, I wouldn't start the master's program until after my medical school application has been submitted. Does this mean I wouldn't have to report the master's program on my next application? If that's the case, I wouldn't have to worry about explaining it to medical schools, but I would have a great backup plan if I don't get in over the course of two cycles!

I will let @Goro and the others take a look at your school list, as they are better at that. But technically you don't have to report planned courses, so you wouldn't have to list your master's on your application. But if they ask you what you're doing, what are you going to say?
 

ApoIlo

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I will let @Goro and the others take a look at your school list, as they are better at that. But technically you don't have to report planned courses, so you wouldn't have to list your master's on your application. But if they ask you what you're doing, what are you going to say?

My current job allows me to make my own schedule, so I could keep working (part-time in addition to the paid internship from the master's program) and volunteering and only talk about those things during interviews!

If it makes any difference, I noticed during my interview at my state school that most current students were in their late 20's and had completely different careers prior to applying to medical school. Could this mean that the master's would be viewed as a positive aspect of my application at my state school (instead of showing that I'm getting cold feet)?
 
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Goro

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I'm currently in my second gap year. The only interview I got was from my state school (Oregon). I applied this cycle with the following:
  • Continue working and adding nonclinical volunteering hours. Skip one cycle and apply next spring.

Which option seems best (or are there other options)? I'm leaning toward option 3. Thanks for any advice!
Forget # 3. Won't help your app; #2 and it's what you need to burnish your other fine ECs.

I suggest:
Columbia
Duke
Harvard
Sinai
Cornell
Stanford
BU
Case
Mayo
Pitt
Hofstra
U Cincy
USC/Keck
Albert Einstein
Dartmouth
Emory
Rochester
Jefferson
Miami
SLU
MCW
Gtown
Wake
Tufts
U VM
Western MI
Your state school
 
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deleted962973

Forget # 3. Won't help your app; #2 and it's what you need to burnish your other fine ECs.

I suggest:
Columbia
Duke
Harvard
Sinai
Cornell
Stanford
BU
Case
Mayo
Pitt
Hofstra
U Cincy
USC/Keck
Albert Einstein
Dartmouth
Emory
Rochester
Jefferson
Miami
SLU
MCW
Gtown
Wake
Tufts
U VM
Western MI
Your state school
I might disagree on Harvard just because I know they’re quite unfriendly to reapplicants.
 

DokterMom

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If it makes any difference, I noticed during my interview at my state school that most current students were in their late 20's and had completely different careers prior to applying to medical school. Could this mean that the master's would be viewed as a positive aspect of my application at my state school (instead of showing that I'm getting cold feet)?.

I would interpret that observation differently and conclude that the AdCom favors applicants who have life experience rather than those who have been perpetual students.

If your paid work experience is a series of 'piecemeal' jobs (tutoring, research assistance, scribe) as opposed to a 'real career', that might be holding you back somewhat. Do the full-on 'real adult full-time career-track job' thing --
 
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