Possible reapplicant - need advice on creating a new school list

Feb 20, 2021
Hi! I am currently applying to MD programs during the 2020-2021 cycle, but am needing to think about possibly reapplying in the next cycle. I’ve received 2 interview invites, one of which turned into a waitlist and the other I have yet to hear from. During my gap year, I have been working full time as a medical assistant with an underserved, mostly uninsured population. I’ll have accrued about 1500 hours by the time I’d be reapplying. I’m wondering if my lack of success during this cycle is due to my school list, so I’d love any advice for how to strengthen my app or apply more broadly! Thanks in advance :)

More details about what my application looked like:
Undergrad school: University of California (don’t want to say which one for anonymity, but I’m an ORM CA resident)
Graduation: May 2020
GPA: 3.83 cumulative, 3.75 science
MCAT: 519
Primary submitted: June 2, verified June 18 2020
Secondaries submitted: July-August 2020

Clinical volunteering with underserved: 150 hours, had leadership positions
Non-clinical volunteering with underserved: 250 hours, had leadership positions
Clinical research: 700 hours, no pubs or posters
Leadership in student org not listed elsewhere: 170 hours
Physician shadowing: 360 hours in clinics and operating rooms
Mentoring kids: 70 hours
Music extracurriculars: 160 hours
Non-clinical paid employment: 90 hours

2 professors (one science and one a humanities course)
1 TA (for a science course, co-signed by professor; not ideal to have a TA, but my school was huge and had really large classes)
1 research advisor
1 advisor for clinical volunteering
1 physician who I had shadowed and done some research with

School list (too top heavy, I know rip):
NYU, Yale, UPenn, UChicago, Columbia, Harvard, Northwestern, Mayo Clinic, Cornell, Stanford, Mount Sinai, Duke, UCSF, Pittsburgh, BU, Michigan, UCLA, UCSD, USC, Kaiser, Irvine, Brown, Rochester, Dartmouth, Emory, Albert Einstein, UMass, Tufts, Georgetown, George Washington, NYMC, OHSU, UC Davis, Albany

At the time, my school pre-health advisor had told me that my school list was fine, but looking at it now I definitely feel like I applied to too many top tier schools. Anyone have any advice? With my 1500 hours of clinical employment and a new school list, do you think I can reapply with success? I’d like to pursue primary care/community medicine, so any advice on schools to apply to that are more aligned with those goals are much appreciated. Thank you so much!
Last edited:


2+ Year Member
May 27, 2017
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Agree your list is top heavy/low yield though you’re a very strong candidate for most schools. I could be wrong but I don’t think adding clinical experience will impress at those top tier schools as much as getting published, starting some kind of organization or attaining a more advanced role in healthcare. I had a much more modest application than you so I don’t have much concrete advice about school list. I recommend soliciting advice from someone besides your premed advisor. Their approval of your list tells me they don’t know how to play the game.
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