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Please help a girl out!!!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by KlimtOphile, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. KlimtOphile

    7+ Year Member

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    Hello everyone!

    I'm reaching out to all of you successful med students for advice about my current situation! Please help! I want nothing more in the world than to practice medicine. I know that I have a unique voice and a genuine desire to serve humanity; I've devoted so much of my life to helping others. I graduated from college (not an IVY league) in 2003. I'm doing clinical research at a top hospital in NYC. I took the august mcat and got a 26: 10BIO 10 VERBAL 6 PS. My GPA is a 3.6, my science GPA is a 3.6. I have many hours of unique volunteer work and research, two abstracts as well. At this point I have been accepted to one Carribean school and rejected from DOwnstate. I applied to all of the schools in NY, PENN, and NJ, including 2 DO schools and 3 foreign schools (ROSS, st.georges, cornell in qatar). I vowed never to take the mcat again, it was the most miserable experience of my life, however, i dont want my decision to attend a foreign school to haunt me forever; I dont want to be limited in my options of residency programs and I don't want to struggle against the prevailing prejudice against FMGs. What do you think i should do? Please tell me:
    1) Strategies that will help me get accepted to an American med school for sept. 2006 (ie contacting dean to review my app)
    2) whether or not i should take the mcat again or just go to a foreign school.

    Thank you so much to all of you who take the time out to offer your guidance. I truly appreciate it.

    Sincerely,
    T.
     
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  3. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    If truly the only thing lacking in your application is that MCAT score, and you are solid in two of the three parts, I would buckle down on your physics and chem and take the thing again. You just need to bring that section up a few points without losing any ground on the others. If you can't pull it up after another attempt, the carribean will still be there.
     
  4. KlimtOphile

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    Thank you so much for your response. I have to seriously reflect upon this. The choices i make now are going to affect the rest of my life...
     
  5. bkpa2med

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    Please do whatever it takes not to go to the carribean. A friend of mine is an actual foreign medical graduate and can not get any residency as of yet. And mind you he is a nigerian from nigeria. I don't think it looks all that good if you are born in the US and a foreign doctor ...

    just my 2 cents...
     
  6. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642
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    Don't freak out just yet; despite what you hear on these forums, it's still relatively early in the interview season. Many people who interview in Jan, Feb, and even March are accepted. 26 isn't that competitive at MD schools, but it should be at your DO schools. Hang in there. If you don't get in this year, I would really suggest re-taking the mcat though. I know it sucks, but if this is your dream, then in the long run it will all be worth it.
     
  7. tupac_don

    tupac_don Senior Member
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    I'll tell you nice and simple, please take the MCAT again. This is the situation, although going to Carribian will get you the MD degree, no doubt, you will go thru several hardships having for one to move out there, then having to bounce around US schools and never having a home base. Also there is defiently a stigma with Caribbean schools. You will be comp for IM, FP, peds, maybe OB/GYN, maybe anesthesia, and ER if you are really stellar, like great board scores and all that. But really you are limiting yourself if you go to Carib school. You will be judged, your only saving grace from Carib School is to do really really stellar, but even then you are limited, then you might open yourself route for EM, anesthesia, surgery. One year is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. You are competitive except for the MCAT. If your MCAT was say 30, you will get into a school in US no doubt somewhere. Really that way you can go for any specialty that you want, and being an American grad with 220 board scores, is much better than foreign grad with 220. I really would take MCAT over again, honestly I think it's in your best interest.

    As far as MCAT being tough and you wowed never to take it, I'd say get over it. Yea it is a tough test no doubt, but having gone through it I am convinced its all about preparation. I dont' know what you used to prepare, but ExamKrackers are by far the best books to use. The situation is, that you have lot of material to cover and it has to be high yield if you spread yourself too thin, you lose a lot of valuable time. You need to pick most imp info (EXAMKRACKERS) and master it, you will do better than 26 I guarantee you. Start preparing now for April. Ping me if you got some questions. Best of luck.
     
  8. KlimtOphile

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    Hey Bkpa thanks for the feedback. I have a friend at foreign med school now and he seems content, has a connection in NY for a residency through his parents. I definitely will NOT have that advantage...
     
  9. rpkall

    rpkall Darwin Award Winner
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    I was in a similar position when I applied--I *had* to go this past year, or else my MCAT would have expired (it's only good for 3 years after you take it, and I took a few years off after). I applied to DO schools, and had the intention of going if I didn't get into allopathic schools. I didn't apply to the carribean. If you're a motivated DO student, you can study for the allo boards and do fairly well on them, too. Unless you want to do a very competitive allo residency, DO is the way to go. I would have gone that route rather than do a Carribean school, hands down.

    Good luck with all this. Hopefully some reflection will help you make the right decision for you.

    p.s. You could always just spend the money on an MCAT class, and just take it again this Spring. I think the courses are about to start, aren't they?
     
  10. KlimtOphile

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    Thanks for your feedback. I'm trying to remain positive. Any suggestions about how I can make myself a better candidate for sept. 2006? SHould I send updates or contact the deans to review my application? THANK YOU!!!!
     
  11. KlimtOphile

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    OH and I forgot to mention --- that I took BOTH the princeton review and Kaplan courses, and I also studied from Examcrackers books. I took about 15 practice exams. I wish I could just say the answer is to take a review course but I've done that already... maybe a private tutor? :(
     
  12. KlimtOphile

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    RPkall Alll the docs at my hospital speak so terribly about the DO route !!! Honestly I appreciate the DO philosophy, and like the prospect of practicing OMT. I don't know what to do I'm so confused!!
     
  13. bkpa2med

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    If DO salary = MD Salary believe me who cares what people say. You will be able to practice medicine with all the great perks that physicians have.
     
  14. blz

    blz Senior Member
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    for someone who has a "unique voice and a genuine desire to serve humanity" you sure do seem pretty caught up in these labels. if you want an md from the US, suck it up and take the mcat again. it's not impossible to bring up a verbal score.
     
  15. PBMaxx

    PBMaxx MS4
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    Or a Physical Sciences score.

    Go DO if you get the opportunity this year. Retake the MCAT if you don't get DO or MD. The rest of your medical training and career will consist of MCAT-like experiences, this is no time to shy away from them.
     
  16. tupac_don

    tupac_don Senior Member
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    No not also studied, you need to make that a primary source, and just study that until you completely master it. Then use Princeton Review Exams for practice, I found them to be pretty close to actual MCAT. Also you are very good in everything with exception of physical sciences. Honestly if you focus on right stuff, you can bring that score up, and like someone said if you can bring that 6 to a 9 or 10 you are more or less golden as long as you keep the other two same or even improve.

    See with taking Kaplan and Princeton you are spreading yourself too thin. One thing I found is found one source and master it real well, and then just do tests on top of it. Have a reference source like Kaplan, but not to study from it, just as a reference.

    Trust me they test only certain principles on MCAT all the time, they just mask them well in different passages and apply them to real life situations.
     
  17. Kazema

    Kazema In a kingdom by the sea
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    The good news is PS is probably the easiest section to raise. You'll have to do lots of practice problems, but raising your score to a 8 or 9 will really help your chances.

    My advice is the same as everyone else's. Avoid the foreign school, retake the MCAT, and try again if you don't end up getting in somewhere this year. Everything looks good except the PS score - it would be a shame to let that single component of your application determine your future.
     
  18. tupac_don

    tupac_don Senior Member
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    DO doctors can be quite good even better than some MD's, yea there is some stigma, mainly among old school doctors, not as much among the younger generation. I mean if you can't go into MD, it's better to go to DO hands down then to go to a Carib school.
     
  19. size_tens

    size_tens Senior Member
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    Along the lines of what everyone else is saying, DO seems to be your best choice if you are unwilling to retake and improve your mcat. If you are truly dedicated to becoming a physician then you might need to look beyond the northeast schools. There are a lot of DO schools out there. It might not be too late to apply to more of them for this application cycle.
     
  20. Krazykritter

    Krazykritter Senior Member
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    Don't give up hope!! My stats as an applicant were very similar to yours and I am now a student at DMU (Osteopathic), but had a interviews and acceptances to multiple schools even though I interviewed late (Nov.- late Jan) (mostly the ACOMAS's fault). I know I am in an allopathic forum, but I can emphathize with your situation.

    Osteopathic med school is a great option and I am enjoying my time (as much as a first year can) at DMU. The biggest stigma associated w/ the DO route is on SDN. DO's and MD's work side-by-side in almost every hospital. DO's can practice in ANY specialty.

    As for OMM/OMT, you will find that you absolutely love some techniques, hate some, but ultimately it will be up to you whether you use these techniques in practice (unless you would go into OMM). If you really want to practice medicine, I would NOT overlook the osteopathic route. PM me if you would like any more honest information about osteopathic medicine.
     
  21. frostynorthwind

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    A few years ago, the Radiation-Onc chief resident at Johns Hopkins was a graduate from St. George's Medical School in Grenada. Furthermore, if you take a look at the percent of US (NRMP) residency matches that are filled every year by foreign-trained medical doctors, you will quickly see that as much as 15-20% of residency positions are filled by foreign-trained MDs. Granted, for competitive specialties like Derm, Orthopedic Surgery, EM, or Anes the percent is closer to 3-5% of residency positions filled by graduates of foreign medical schools. The assumption that going to a foreign medical school destroys one's chances of matching back in the US is a very common misconception but erroneous, nonetheless.
     
  22. frostynorthwind

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    In response to the OP, as others have suggested, I would strongly recommend you evaluate your own long-term career goals. Although you might have to work a little harder in a foreign program to match in the specialty you want back in the US, it is possible. The caveat here is that you will need to have the determination and committment to excel in your program and achieve a competitive board score. Are you independently motivated to seek out volunteer and research opportunities abroad that would distinguish you from the typical American applicant?

    Also, considering the DO option, the option/likelihood of matching into a NRMP residency depends on the specialty and again, your committment to reaching your goal.

    Perhaps it would be best to re-evaluate whether you are willing to spend 200+ hours practicing physics and gen chem to retake the MCAT. If you could bring up that score to even an 8 or 9, you would be a competitive applicant for an MD program in the 2007 application round.

    Whatever you decide, just be sure to stay committed to reaching your goal... and don't give up! :luck: :thumbup: :luck:
     
  23. Paws

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    Sit down with the examkracker 1001 physics/chem problem books. Sit quietly for a few minutes, as you contemplate your future. Think also about what separates you from the future you would like, and the one that seems likely.

    In your heart, ask yourself: am I willing to do what it takes to raise my PS 6 to a 9 or 10? Am I willing to talk to others who did get a 9 or 10 on their PS, and am I willing to do what they suggest?

    Then, and this is only my advice, open the examkacker problem books and start at problem #1 and work your way through every single problem until you get to 1001. Do this two or three times. I raise my PS score several points by doing every single problem in those books three times.

    You can do it, but don't be looking for short cuts. There is no such thing as a short cut, they all have hidden drawbacks. Also, medicine asks a tremendous amount from physicians; if you are unwilling to retake the mcat, because it's "hard," then what else are you going to be unwilling to do? All of medicine is hard, and this is only the begining. I don't mean to be harsh to deter you, but to motivate you. Try and be the best that you can be, and rise to the challenge. You will learn from the experience. :thumbup:
     
  24. boilerbeast

    boilerbeast suPURDUEper
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    I definitely don't think you should just settle on a foreign school. If you're passionate about attending a US allo school, you'll do whatever it takes. And if you don't, then you didn't really want it that badly.

    This is just a random observation and maybe you should take it with a grain of salt...Med school (for me at least) has proven to be hundreds of times more demanding of my time, effort, and finances than MCAT prep ever was. The MCAT is just a stepping stone--make sure you're in it for the long-haul.

    peace.
     
  25. KlimtOphile

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    wow you guys have blown me away! Thanks for your awesome feedback!!! I'm also a little frightened because i thought that I already gave my all when I was preparing for this test. I fought for 2 months off from my job, spent every day of those 2 months studying from 7am to 10pm. I found the right diet, exercise plan, sleep cycle, I thought i controlled every factor that could impose a problem. Anyway, i have some major soul searching to do this weekend. thank you again for your guidance. For you guys that offered to talk to me on personal messenger, I'll be contacting you very soon! Thank you so much!!!!
     
  26. emack

    emack Senior Member
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    No question, even though you don't want to: take the MCAT again.

    Even with all your apparent research & clinical experience, if you can't do better than a 26 on the MCAT, then you won't be able to handle MS1 and MS2. Regardless of what your problem is (exam anxiety, bad study habits, difficulty with abstract thinking, bad problem-solving skills, difficulty working under time limits/stress, etc.), if you can't get over it now, then it's going to hold you back even more in med school.

    I breezed through the MCAT, got a stellar score, and am finding the workload in MS1 to be quite difficult. There are people who find the opposite.

    However, you have to prove to admissions committees that, when push comes to shove, you can buckle down, study something, learn it, and perform. They're not going to let you in if they don't think you can handle it.
     
  27. yyd

    yyd Guest

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  28. ddmo

    ddmo BMF
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    As has been said you need to take the MCAT again. It's amazing (myself included) how little you study for the MCAT compared to what you will actually do when you enter med school. If studying for the MCAT was so horrible, then you'll be in a world of hurt once you get in. Keep that in mind.
     
  29. mojojojo

    mojojojo Member
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    I agree that if you think you can try the MCAT again, it's worth a shot. I was in your shoes, except for me it was that there was NOTHING I could do about my physical sciences score (I hate physics)!!. But I just wanted to dispel rumors about St. George's University. I know that there are many really bad Carib schools that don't prepare their students for the boards and don't get them residencies, and this is why Carib schools get a bad rap. I picked SGU because while working after college I worked with a number of really great doctors who attended here, and they couldn't speak more highly of the school. Looking into it I found that SGU has great USMLE pass rates and residencies -- whomever said that only basic FM residencies are available is also not true, we have a great match list, and students who graduate here get residencies, I have never heard of someone not matching after attending SGU.
    http://www.sgu.edu/website/sguwebsite.nsf/home/2005ResidencyAppointmentListBySpecialty.htm

    So, I just wanted to give you another perspective. All of us here in Grenada were once in your shoes and it's great for all of now to be working together to become doctors.

    I agree that in two years working after undergrad, I didn't find many DOs that I found had a great reputation, which is why I chose foreign MD. But I have a friend who chose DO and I think that she will make a wonderful doctor.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  30. KlimtOphile

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    Hey MOjojojo! THanks for the positive words. IS SGU the best of the Carribean schools? Better than Ross? IN what sense?
     
  31. mojojojo

    mojojojo Member
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    It's hard to say; I believe that both Ross and St. George's University will get you to be a doctor; however, I feel these are the ONLY two in the Caribbean that you should apply to. These schools are the only ones that enable to you hold a residency and practice in ALL 50 states as well as offer US federal loans.

    It's a personal decision-- you should look at USMLE pass rates and residency matches. I found SGU to be superior on both fronts. A visit to the campus confirmed my decision-- the facilities are amazing here, and the school has an incredible educational support program that is an invaluable resource. Plus, as I said, I met a number of doctors who attended here and also spoke highly of it.

    Please let me know if you have any more questions. Good luck!
     
  32. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,
    Moving to pre-allopathic so they can have the benefit of the answers above.
    njbmd :)
    Your friendly allopathic moderator
     
  33. TruTrooper

    TruTrooper Senior Member
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    I was just going to chime in with a similar post as this. Re-take the MCAT. I am sure you will do well enough to get in the next time and you really need the enthusiasm to re-take the MCAT and the hard work that goes along with it to survive medical school.

    I can promise you that once you take the USMLE Step 1 exam, you are going to look back at the MCAT and think it was absolutely nothing. The MCAT is only the beginning, my friend. You really do need a very persistent attitude in medical school that must be reflected in your willingness to prepare to take the MCAT again so you can have a better chance of getting in.
     
  34. Dreaming

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    If I'm a Canadian and I go to SGU, would the process of me getting a residency spot in the US be different than someone who was an American?
     
  35. Quash

    Quash Junior Member
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    You really need to ask that in the Caribbean Forum. There are a number of SGU students there.
     
  36. USArmyDoc

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    I am confused. I was told the boards are a totally different beast then the MCAT. Yet, people on these threads are saying if you can't handle the MCAT then you can't handle the USMLE. What is the deal?
     
  37. bootz

    bootz Senior Member
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    I agree with this advice! You can do it! :luck:
     
  38. pagemmapants

    pagemmapants Unknown Member
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    I'm going to offer another perspective - not to shoot down what is obviously a very real aspiration, but to inject some realism into this.

    Maybe you need to re-evaluate why you specifically want to be a physician. If you really did study 7am to 10pm every day for the MCAT for two months then you really need to figure out why such intense studying did not result in a satisfactory score. This test should not realistically require that much intensive effort, and were you honest about the intensity of this first attempt it is doubtful that the second attempt will produce much of an improvement.

    Your desire to go into medicine seems to stem from a want to help people and to better society. You do not need to be an MD to do this. There are many alternative (and extremely respectable) routes toward this kind of accomplishment, whether it be as a PA, an RN, a paramedic, etc. Not only that, but the majority of these career paths have far better "lifestyles" associated with them than an MD career.

    I think you really need to address where your desire to be a physician comes from, and whether any of these other routes would satisfy you to as equal an extent. If so, then great - you just saved yourself the torture of having to take the test again.

    If the answer is still no, then study your ass off and take the test again, bearing in mind that medical school itself will most likely necessitate an equal or possibly even greater mental effort.

    Good luck!
     
  39. KlimtOphile

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    pure arrogance.
     
  40. pagemmapants

    pagemmapants Unknown Member
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    . . . double post. :mad:
     
  41. pagemmapants

    pagemmapants Unknown Member
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    No, merely a suggestion, honest. My apologies if it wasn't taken as such.

    I just figured that yet another post saying "re-take the MCAT" wouldn't be helpful and that perhaps a suggestion to think about other options would not be completely out of line.

    Again, I'm sorry for any offense.
     
  42. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member
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    I would do this:
    Study how ever long it takes to get a 30+ on the MCAT. If this means 10-12 hours/day for 3+ months, do it. If it means 6 months, do it. Then apply again. Apply to 7 mid tier and 7 low tier schools. THEN, if you don't get in, do a 1-year post-bacc graduate program and apply a third time. You'll get in. I wouldn't do the foreign program - that's my bias.
     
  43. Different? Yes.

    But it is still a standardized, multiple choice test. And some people have a knack for those while others always struggle, and of course there's a large group in between. One way in which the USMLE is different is that you have to know much more in the way of facts in order to have a chance of answering the questions correctly, whereas often the answers to MCAT questions are found right in the passage itself.
     
  44. LSUtiger1

    LSUtiger1 New Member

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    The MCAT is the devil! But, if you decide to retake it, get Examkracker books!!!!!!!!! The text books are about 1.7 million times better that PR books. They're actually in color! I think they would especially help with physical sci; the figs and pics are great and Salty the Cracker brings about as much comic releif as possible to an MCAT study session; he gives you dumb pneumonics to remember stuff too.
     
  45. Gavanshir

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    In your case, I'd recommend retaking the MCAT. With your GPA you should be able to do better on it.

    However, I suggest that you don't take advice regarding foreign schools from American medstudents or pre-meds. There is great lack of knowledge and many misconceptions in regards to FMGs among American grads. If you do graduate from a foreign school, specially a caribbean one, you wont face THAT many challenges. The only disadvantage is that you probably won't get the most prestigous residency positions (although there are quite a few every year who do make them). And also you might have to travel a bit during your clinicals but I can't say that that's a huge negative since many enjoy that and actually find it to be more valuable than staying in once place all throughout medschool.
     
  46. KlimtOphile

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    Thanks for your apology. I understand your motivation behind that response.
     
  47. KlimtOphile

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    Does your residency position determine what kind of private practice you can establish? Otherwise, I am not very concerned about where I do my residency as long as it's a program I want to pursue. Large hospitals with BIG names are often inept in many ways unbeknownst to outsiders.......
     
  48. SirTony76

    SirTony76 Senior Member
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    Think about it, 4 hard weeks of studying physics and general chemistry so you can do what you wish the rest of your life.

    TP
     
  49. KlimtOphile

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    So true....thanks for the feedback!

    T. :)
     
  50. KlimtOphile

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    Does your residency position determine what kind of private practice you can establish? Otherwise, I am not very concerned about where I do my residency as long as it's a program I want to pursue. Large hospitals with BIG names are often inept in many ways unbeknownst to outsiders.......
     
  51. UCLA2000

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    In other words, your application is solid however your mcat score is killing you. You can't get into an american med school but you got into a foreign med school. You don't want to go to the foreign med school, you want to go to an american med school and want to know how to do it.

    Here's my advice. If you absolutely must go to an american med school then retake the mcat. Concentrate on the physics but don't neglect the others because the scores can and will drop if you do. Your gpa is average and your mcat is sub par. Sure you have some great publications and research, but a fully loaded ford taurus is still going to look pale in comparison to a standard ferrari (high gpa/mcat with no research etc).

    You have two choices.

    1. Go to the foreign med school. Do so with the understanding that you may be looked down upon by residencies or even your future us grad colleagues (for the rest of your career).

    2. Sack up and take the mcat again.

    Personally I would take the mcat again.
     

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