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Please Comment/Critique my Plan of Action

Discussion in 'Re-Applicants [ MD / DO ]' started by KippocalypsE, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. KippocalypsE

    KippocalypsE Faith in evolution
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    Hey Guys,

    So I am still waiting on interviews this cycle and it looks like I may not get any more. I applied to 20 schools ranging from low to mid tier (the only longshots were all the UC's since I'm from CA) and only got 3 interview invites with 1 in-state. Just in case I do not get into any school by March, I plan on restarting for the next cycle.

    Some background on myself that I put in my current application:
    cGPA: 3.93 - Engineering at UC
    sGPA: 3.97
    MCAT: 30Q
    Extracurriculars/Activities:
    1.5 years research - No publications but posters/presentations
    82 Hours ICU volunteering
    Camp Counselor
    Photo Technician
    10 Hours as Native American Health Screener
    Attended Symposiums and Conferences
    Statistical Software Tutor at University

    ---

    I know my MCAT and clinical experience is not up to par with most competitive applicants so I am trying to correct this for next cycle.
    If by March I do not get in I will take the May MCAT with studying beginning March. I only got 1.5 weeks to study the first time so a good 2 months would probably increase my score to hopefully 35.

    I have done two things to get my community service done:
    1) Currently enrolled in a Clinical Care Extender Internship where I do rotations at a local hospital for about 300 floor hours total in a year. Direct patient and healthcare professional contact happens every hour.
    2) Currently Volunteering as a tutor for homeless elementary school children. Tutor several hours a week during the school year.

    In terms of academics, I am not going back to school since I am already at a good GPA. I only plan on continuing my research. At the moment I have 2 pending co-author publications in mid-tier journals. Hopefully they will be official in time for next cycle.

    Because of a job I had that required me to work 12 hours a day, I was only able to complete schools mid September to early October. Next cycle I plan on getting complete by mid July.

    ---

    Based on what everyone on this forum says I think I covered everything. However, am I missing something? With my course of action I will have about 2 days of the week with nothing to do. Should I just fill that with a job or is there something that would make me more competitive?

    Your advice is appreciated.
     
  2. nontrdgsbuiucmd

    2+ Year Member

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    suggestions, not in any particular order -

    sounds like you've identified a few areas already!

    -timing - complete secondaries earlier
    -mcat seems OK, given that great GPA. Higher is always better, but it depends on which schools you're looking at - with that gpa/mcat combo, you'd be competitive lots of places
    -clinical experience - suggest you double it
    -call each school to request feedback on how you can strengthen your app for next cycle
    -review the amcas app to ensure you caught everything, i.e. listed each volunteer experience separately, do not leave out any leadership experiences -- list each separately,
    -(not sure if this next is needed) consider advanced bio courses - some schools value this unless you've done these already.

    there's lots of time left in this app cycle, none of this may be needed -- my interviews gave the option of coming in the following week (such that you may be notified Jan 10th of a Jan 20th interview, depending on the school)
     
  3. dragonfly99

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    I don't believe that the MCAT is your problem. What was the score distribution? Is there one section that was low (like <9)?
    I don't think you applied to enough schools, especially considering you applied to a bunch of U of Cali ones. You should have applied to 30 or so.

    I believe your lack of enough clinical experience is the main thing hurting your application.

    You could wonder about your LOR's, but I don't think you'd have gotten any interviews if they weren't good. More is always better so if you can get a LOR from a physician that would help (particularly at the school(s) where he did residency and med school).

    If I were you I'd push hard at the top 1 or 2 schools where you already interviewed. I would update them on your current clinical volunteer experiences. I doubt that your academic abilities are in doubt so wouldn't worry about taking more classes or anything. Try hard to get in this year so you don't have to do all this stuff again next year. If you can get one of your LOR writers, maybe one who has some connection to one of the schools where you've interviewed, to make a phone call on your behalf if you haven't heard anything in the next couple of months, like by February, that might help. Pull any and all strings that you have.
     
  4. michigator04

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    I agree with dragonfly. Send updates/LOI for this year before you worry too much about next year. If you don't already have any, try to get some shadowing in asap. This might be a good way to get an MD letter like dragonfly suggested.
     
  5. fizzle

    fizzle New Member
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    Hey Kippocalypse,

    Like you, I am also an engineer from a UC, and I am currently in my second application cycle. While it's important to bolster your application in the ways that previous posters have mentioned, I will tell you that your essays (both primary and secondary) may make a huge difference in how your application is received. Take my application in point: Between last year and this year, my numbers and activities largely remained the same, and pretty much the only two significant changes I made were my essays and my school list. And so far, I'm doing a lot better than last year--I only received one interview last year, while I currently have seven (and counting) for this year.

    A good essay is not enough--it has to really get at your story of why you want to go into medicine. A great essay ties everything you've done together, giving a chronology and explaining why you did the activities that you did. It seems like for many pre-meds, activities such as shadowing/volunteering at a hospital are just things that they do because medical schools expect it. This is the wrong approach--by volunteering as a justification for applying to medical school, you still wouldn't be able to answer WHY you want to go into medicine, but only the HOW you showed why you want to go into medicine. There is a distinction between the two that frequently gets overlooked.

    My apologies if my point seems garbled here; I'm at work, so I don't have the time right now to completely think out this post. :p
     
  6. armybound

    armybound urologist.
    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Early application, good LORs. I believe that you can just tweak your application to better sell your experiences and strengths and get better results. Also, once you get the interview, it's your responsibility to show that you're intelligent and mature, but also someone that the school should want. Make sure you sell yourself in the interviews.

    I think your MCAT and ECs are actually quite fine.
     
  7. gman33

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Have you already had those 3 interviews?
    If not, your focus should be preparing for them.
    Do some mock interviews with somebody who can give you good feedback.

    As for next year, you have a good plan. Hopefully you won't need it.
     
  8. Momentum70

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    I'd echo the essay comment, your gpa/MCAT ratio is pretty good. I had a friend that applied same time as me, he had better gpa/MCAT than myself and we were equal in most other aspects. His essay was horrible though, he showed it to me after he didnt get in for some advice and it was BAD. He hadnt given it to anyone beforehand to look over. With advice from the pre med advisor he applied again the next year and got a lot more interviews and was accepted.
     
  9. KippocalypsE

    KippocalypsE Faith in evolution
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    Thanks for the info guys. I'm making a text file with all your advice so my (hopefully unecessary) campaign next cycle is well laid out.

    In regards to some questions:

    - I have already done 2 interviews and will be taking one this month on the 20th. I'll make sure to follow up on the 2 schools and bring my best foot forward for the 3rd one.

    - My May 2008 MCAT was
    BS:11
    PS:10
    VR:9
    Writing:Q
    The verbal may be hurting me but I am thinking the distribution is fine for the average matriculant. Still it just screams "another average applicant" so I'm going to have to improve it!

    ---
    SOME OTHER NOTES:
    - I actually never bought the MSAR. I just looked at my friend's but after moving away I had no access! I'll remember this and purchase next time.

    - I only got my essay proofread once. I thought is was fine but I found a few typos after submission. I'm thinking this isn't too big of a deal except for the schools that really scrutinize. Next time I'm going for multiple revisions.

    - I have no physician shadowing. One Chief of Medicine I know actually scared me off by telling me most physicians don't want to be bothered ("most" meaning him) so I should go to human resources and ask for any willing physicians. At the moment I have no luck in shadowing anyone using hospital human resources. I'm thinking of just calling random ones in the phonebook (I currently have no insurance and most of my life have not been under a "primary physician" so I have not close MD network). You guys have any suggestions on my approach? I know I must do this if I reapply.
     
  10. dragonfly99

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    kippocalypse,
    the typos in an admissions essay definitely matter. It it's one tiny typo, they might not notice it, but I'll bet someone will. Would you send out resumes with typos in them? Would you send out wedding invites w/typos on them? Would you turn in an important research paper with typos on it? No. Don't turn in application essays with typos either.

    I recommend calling your local state or county medical society...they might be able to recommend doctor(s) who you could shadow.
     
  11. guest00

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    some ppl have plenty of clinical exp's + exp's that go beyond the hospital settings. the typical premed does the min. & has no exposure outside the doctor's office. - who know nothing need to keep their mouths shut.
     
  12. dragonfly99

    10+ Year Member

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    guest00
    please try to keep your comments civil. Thank you.
     

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