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Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by felipe23, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. felipe23

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    So I'm going into my second semester of college. My current GPA is at about a 3.5 and my math and science is at about a 3.45. I brought my freshman GPA up from a 3.1 thanks to A's in organic chemistry and physics as well as other biology classes...so there is a sort of upward trend I guess. Anyway, I have been spending most of my time in college studying to get my gpa as well as researching(almost have a paper done). The problem is...somehow I forgot to do much volunteering. I probably have a total of 30 hours of volunteering, and about 50 or 60 hours of shadowing. My dilemma is if I get a 4.0 this coming semester....my gpa will only be a 3.59 and my math and science will be a 3.51. My parents are wanting me to sign up for an extra class to bring my gpa up to a 3.6, even though I'm already taking three upper level bio classes, two physics labs and anthropology. They say a 3.6 looks a lot better than a 3.59 (.99 cents compared to a 1.00 dollar trick). However this extra class will remove any time for me to volunteer until the summer which is around the time my application will already be in. So my question is this.....is it more important to have a 3.6 with little volunteering and a lot of research, or a 3.59 with a little more volunteering and research. Also my i got a 27 on my mcat in the summer but I'm retaking it in January and my practice scores have been around 32 and 33 and continuing to improve...

    With that advice could you also tell me how my record looks for getting into any medical school....I live in illinois
     
  2. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!!
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    I agree that a 3.6 looks better. I would try to get that.

    A 32 MCAT would get you in good shape as far as the academic side goes.


    The main problem I see is the clinical volunteering. You need to have at least 150+ hrs over a year. You need to get a consistent effort going somewhere in regards to clinical. Research is more optional unless you are going after top tier schools.

    Getting into med school is more than grades. You have to have it all.
     
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  3. felipe23

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    so even by volunteering all of christmas break (30 hours) about 50 maybe 60 this semester and maybe 20 before I apply in the summer, it will look bad that I crammed it into a 6 month period? Also, does shadowing about 50 or 60 hours not count for much?
     
  4. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!!
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    It looks better than nothing but schools like to see a slow and steady commitment.

    It looks like you just are "doing it because you have to" over a short period with alot of hours.

    Your shadowing is fine. A few more hrs would not hurt.

    At this point, you have to take the chance and apply.
     
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  5. flip26

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    Well, it won't necessarily look "bad" but it won't look so "good" either.

    It is generally agreed that a commitment to volunteering is more impressive and meaningful if it is spread out over a longer period of time - say a year or more.

    Clearly you can't "back it up" and do anything about that now. Realize you are still only describing around 100 hours, max. That is going to be on the low side by any measure...

    As for the shadowing, it is my opinion that 50 or so hours is adequate, and I also think that shadowing can occur in a handful of large chunks over a shorter timeframe, and it does not have to be an activity that you have been doing for years, unlike the volunteering...

    FWIW...I put off applying for an additional year for all of these same reasons. I will apply this coming cycle with an additional year of clinical volunteering averaging 10 hours a week...a quick crunch of the numbers puts it up around 500 hours...if I had applied last year, I would have had only about 6 months of volunteering totalling around 80 hours, and I felt that it was not nearly enough...

    I also put off taking the MCAT - once I decided I was taking another year to boost my ECs, instead of rushing into it last summer, I am taking it later this month after a solid 4 months prep...
     
    #5 flip26, Jan 5, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  6. chiz2kul

    chiz2kul t.roll.ed for Banning
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    I'm not feeling the italics, but def. feeling the bold.
     
  7. flip26

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    Umm, I just read this. How are you applying to med school after your freshman year of college???
     
  8. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    there is no difference between a 3.59 & a 3.6 (schools will round it up). I had the same thing and no one faulted me. Getting more clinical experience should be a high priority.

    ... and I really hope you aren't applying as a sophomore! that's nuts
     
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  9. felipe23

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    wow haha i meant second semester of junior year....thanks for the replies guys.....so now i'm kinda confused....with a 3.59 maybe 100 hours volunteering(crammed), 30's on the MCAT hopefully, i should still take a year off???

    Also, I'm not completely against being a DO...so what do you think my chances would be at getting into a school like midwestern osteopathic college in chicago or LECOM or something...
     
  10. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    oh thats much better! It's the 100 hours of crammed volunteering that would make me a bit nervous, but its not impossible. My professional advice (by which I mean completely unvalidated opinion as a MS-0) would be to do well on your MCAT & get some very high quality ECs going on. At the end of the day it isn't necessarily the number of hours you do but its the quality. If it's too crammed and particularly late (ie right before you apply) then it will be hard for you to explain why you want to go into medicine or how these experiences influenced your decision. If you consider an extra year this would take that problem away & make it much easier for you but that is a personal choice. good luck.
     
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  11. flip26

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    When will you take the MCAT?

    By waiting a year, you can greatly strengthen your app by boosting your ECs and your borderline GPA...and it gives you more time to prep for the MCAT.
     
  12. felipe23

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    I take the MCAT January 31st

    What if truly the activity that drove me from pre-pharmacy to pre-med was the shadowing I did after my freshman year? If I explain that would the volunteering look so bad, or is it still the fact that I am cramming. Sorry to keep this thread going but I really want to get in after this year and I'm at a point of nervousness where i'm almost shaking haha
     
  13. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    listen, at the end of the day these are all opinions about optimizing your chances. No one can say with any certainty that you will or will not have trouble. All we can tell you is what we think will optimize your chances of getting into a medical school. If you are picky and have your heart set on a particular school then you might want to wait the year to be in the best position you can be in. If you want to get in anywhere then take your chances & I'm sure you will be just fine.
     
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  14. 229141

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    I don't know...I have several friends with 50 hours or less who got accepted first try. They had great GPA's but very average MCATs (31-32). I'd say its good to have 150 but they certainly won't turn your down on that alone
     
    #14 229141, Jan 5, 2009
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  15. 229141

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    I feel like people put too much emphasis on volunteering...yes it looks good and gets you exposure, but I don't care how much you go in there if you don't have a high GPA and MCAT. Someone with a 3.6 and 27 is not getting denied because they have only 100 volunteer hours...the main reason is their lack of stats. If they doubled their hours and still had a 3.6 / 27 no one would realistically care..
     
  16. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    maybe. All I know is that once you get to the interview they aren't going to talk about what classes you took or high your MCAT score is. Medicine is a social profession and I got the impression a candidate that is compassionate & has experience & dedication is more attractive than a robot with great numbers but no actual idea of what the profession of a doctor is really like (not to say that is you OP!). But what do we know, right?
     
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  17. 229141

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    No I agree with you- I was just saying if you don't have those competitive numbers to start with the rest won't matter. Let's be honest there some really great people out there that will never be doctors because they couldn't nail MCAT or failed some classes.
     
  18. felipe23

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    alright well thanks again for everyone replying to my post, i'm gonna try to grind it out this semester and I'll keep you guys updated(like you care haha) on how things go. Good luck to everyone!
     
  19. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    Agreed agreed. And then you have people like me that find lightning in a bottle!

    of course I care! I <3 all of my SDN buddies. good luck :luck:
     
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  20. J ROD

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    Clinical volunteering will not get you in if your academic stats are not competitive but it can certainly keep you out if you are on the border.

    I rather do it and be safe. Plus, I actually learn something from mine. :)
     
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  21. 229141

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    Yep exactly I agree
     
  22. Mobius1985

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    I think your current stats make you an excellent candidate for one of the DO medical schools, like CCOM, but they also expect you to have a reasonable amount of clinical experience.

    If your parents live south of I-80, you might have a reasonable shot at SIU med school with your stats, if you can't get a higher MCAT score. But you still need more clinical experience for that too.

    Don't sabotage your GPA-repair effort by taking an extra class to get your GPA to 3.6.

    Just a wild shot in the dark here, but are you applying to med school because of parental pressure? It seems odd that you just forgot to get clinical experience all this time.
     
  23. felipe23

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    it wasn't that i forgot to get clinical experience...I shadowed the summer after freshman year, and I volunteered a bit my freshman year. The main thing is that as soon as I realized I really wanted to be a doctor I had a gpa around 3.0 and had already finished a year of college. So I knew that bringing my gpa up would have to be my number one priority. I'm the kind of student that needs to study a LOTTTT to do well, and outside of studying and research I just had no time and I would keep putting it off. I volunteered over 200 hours in a hospital in highschool so I always figured I learned what i needed to learn, occasionally followed my dad around, worked in a hospital pharmacy, but obviously highschool work doesn't really count...So yeah thats how it went down....In my interview when they ask me about my lack of volunteering, would any of these be valid reasons as to why I started consistent volunteering just this semester? Also, I plan on volunteering from here on out until I graduate as well as doing some clinical research in the summer...i just don't know if medical schools care what you are "planning" to do
     
  24. flip26

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    I would include this high school info in the PS, but not list it under ECs...

    However, I would NOT say that "I am the kind of student who needs to study a LOTTTT" or that you sacrificed ECs to make up for bad grades and research...volunteer and clinical stuff is more important than research, and you are expected to be able to juggle ALL of this stuff AND make good grades...
     
  25. Mobius1985

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    I've read here on SDN that a few med schools give you some credit for having a parental physician and learning about being a docotr indirectly that way (at the dinner table), so in the optional place on the form where it asks for your parents' occupations, don't leave it blank.

    Flip's idea is a good one, that you should mention the HS volunteerism and what you learned/how it inspired in your Personal Statement, even though you can't list it in the experiences section. The only way you could list it, is if you continue the experience into the college years. Maybe you could lump it all under hospital volunteering, or whatever, if you volunteer in a different hospital near your campus.
     

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