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Donald Kimball

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My cycle has begun to peter out. I've had 7 interviews, 3 great waitlists, but also 1 **** waitlist and 3 rejections from my top choices. I'm hoping for the best, but also preparing for another cycle.

I'm an NC resident, 3.66 cGPA, 3.6 sGPA, 36 MCAT.

~80 hours clinical volunteering in a psych ward and as a hospital clown in the children's hospital during college
~60 hours volunteering as an esl tutor during college
~70 hours shadowing an orthopedic surgeon after graduating

Took a gap year after graduating in 2012, suffered an injury that limited my ability to do much aside from work, physical therapy, and some shadowing.

Currently working full-time at an engineering firm, teaching some classes at my gym for members with injuries similar to my own, hanging out with patients in a nursing home/adult day care, trying to shadow a greater variety of doctors (pediatrician, EM), and about to start an EMT-B course.

I think my biggest drawbacks this cycle were a mediocre GPA and weak extracurriculars that were pretty much box-checking and also not varied enough to expose me to much of medicine.

I am trying to remedy the latter, but I will not be able to escape the box-checking perception. I'd appreciate any advice on my situation and would love to hear your guys' opinions on how I should move forward.
 

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My cycle has begun to peter out. I've had 7 interviews, 3 great waitlists, but also 1 **** waitlist and 3 rejections from my top choices. I'm hoping for the best, but also preparing for another cycle.

I'm an NC resident, 3.66 cGPA, 3.6 sGPA, 36 MCAT.

~80 hours clinical volunteering in a psych ward and as a hospital clown in the children's hospital during college
~60 hours volunteering as an esl tutor during college
~70 hours shadowing an orthopedic surgeon after graduating

Took a gap year after graduating in 2012, suffered an injury that limited my ability to do much aside from work, physical therapy, and some shadowing.

Currently working full-time at an engineering firm, teaching some classes at my gym for members with injuries similar to my own, hanging out with patients in a nursing home/adult day care, trying to shadow a greater variety of doctors (pediatrician, EM), and about to start an EMT-B course.

I think my biggest drawbacks this cycle were a mediocre GPA and weak extracurriculars that were pretty much box-checking and also not varied enough to expose me to much of medicine.

I am trying to remedy the latter, but I will not be able to escape the box-checking perception. I'd appreciate any advice on my situation and would love to hear your guys' opinions on how I should move forward.

Keep sending updates and letters to the schools that waitlisted you. Chances are you will turn one of them into an acceptance. Also, you might get more II (I just got my 8th II on Christmas Eve!)
 

DrMidlife

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It's way too early to call it over.

Your GPAs are not mediocre. You have a slightly above average GPA, which combined with a well-above-average MCAT means that your academics are not a problem. Not even for top schools. There's also nothing wrong with your EC's unless you can't speak about what you've done intelligently and with real enthusiasm. You don't have to be Paul Farmer to go to med school.

I've written elsewhere that when you don't get in with stats like yours, you should proactively find out if you are arrogant/obnoxious/smelly/dickish/douchey/boring/twitchy/etc. Find out, own it, fix it, and don't hold a grudge on people who are honest with you. Anonymous feedback on SDN isn't going to help you figure this out.

At least UNC should give you a sit-down with an admissions officer to get honest feedback.

If you have to reapply, assume you need new letters except for the ones you got to read.

Do whatever you can to get brutal feedback from mean&mature faculty on your full app package and interview. You need this info whether you have to apply again or not, because residency interviews are the same circus.

Best of luck to you.
 

Donald Kimball

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~80 hours clinical volunteering in a psych ward and as a hospital clown in the children's hospital during college
~60 hours volunteering as an esl tutor during college
~70 hours shadowing an orthopedic surgeon after graduating

You don't think these ECs are weak? That's been my biggest concern. I've definitely considered a bad letter of recommendation and poor interview skills, so I will try to keep getting frank feedback about my rejections from admissions.

I know it's still very early to admit defeat, but I also don't want to naively cling to my waitlists. Thanks much for the advice.
 
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I'm dumbfounded....did you apply MD only? You are high for most MD schools but would be a dream DO candidate.

Have done any faux interviews to get feedback on if there is room for improvement?

Also, don't give up yet....some schools pull almost 1/3 of their waitlist in as people start dropping the mulitple acceptances. I think that's may 15....
 
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DrMidlife

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You don't think these ECs are weak? That's been my biggest concern.
I see more than 100 hours, a variety of experiences, and something interesting (the clown part). There's nothing wrong here.

For you to be thinking your GPA is low and your EC's are bad just says you need to stop listening to premeds, and definitely stay out of pre-allo.
 
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Donald Kimball

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I'm dumbfounded....did you apply MD only? You are high for most MD schools but would be a dream DO candidate.

Have done any faux interviews to get feedback on if there is room for improvement?

Also, don't give up yet....some schools pull almost 1/3 of their waitlist in as people start dropping the mulitple acceptances. I think that's may 15....

I did apply MD only. I did not do any practice interviews aside from a few with the girlfriend and practicing answering questions to myself, so that's another option for me to consider.

I'm sitting on waitlists at Wake Forest, EVMS, and NYMC, as well as VTC, so I'm hopeful. Still disappointed in my performance though. I tried calling up UNC today but they don't offer counseling sessions until April.

If I had to guess, I probably came off as wooden and boring in my interviews moreso than arrogant or douchey, but I wish I could know for sure. Would it be out of bounds for me to email my interviewers at my rejected schools?

I see more than 100 hours, a variety of experiences, and something interesting (the clown part). There's nothing wrong here.

For you to be thinking your GPA is low and your EC's are bad just says you need to stop listening to premeds, and definitely stay out of pre-allo.

You're right, it's very easy to let my worry and anxiety skyrocket when I read pre-allo.
 

DrMidlife

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Would it be out of bounds for me to email my interviewers at my rejected schools?
Generally that won't go anywhere, because rejected applicants with agitated lawyers for parents do this all the time. Most schools tell their interviewers not to provide feedback directly to the student.

I agree with the update letter idea. If you want it, show it.

One thing you'll want to prepare for, emotionally & financially, is getting accepted late. Like, August. If you get a call in August to move to Norfolk, for instance, are you game? Waitlist waves peak in mid-May and don't stop until after school starts.
 

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A few thoughts from the perspective of someone who has interviewed applicants for residency, fellowship, and faculty positions...
1) Those are great EC activities, but I did not notice any research experience. This is important for many programs, and would probably serve you better than continued shadowing.
2) Practice interviews with people who will provide honest feedback is a must. I would not advise contacting the interviewers from the programs to which you applied. I have received such requests in the past, and it puts the interviewer in an awkward position.
3) Review of your personal statement with someone who will provide an honest critique is also a must.
4) Is there a reason to be concerned about a particular letter of reference? If you do need to reapply, and you are not certain if someone will provide a good letter, it may be best to ask if he/she has time to write a letter. And state that if he/she does not have time, you will completely understand. This gives them an "out" in case the letter would be unflattering.
5) Sorry to sound like your mother, but did you send thank you notes? They can go a long way, in terms of creating a good impression, reminding the interviewer of your existence, and showing interest.
6) Don't give up hope just yet! Many people are accepted from wait lists. It helps to contact the program (once, no stalking) to express continued interest.
 

Donald Kimball

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A few thoughts from the perspective of someone who has interviewed applicants for residency, fellowship, and faculty positions...
1) Those are great EC activities, but I did not notice any research experience. This is important for many programs, and would probably serve you better than continued shadowing.
2) Practice interviews with people who will provide honest feedback is a must. I would not advise contacting the interviewers from the programs to which you applied. I have received such requests in the past, and it puts the interviewer in an awkward position.
3) Review of your personal statement with someone who will provide an honest critique is also a must.
4) Is there a reason to be concerned about a particular letter of reference? If you do need to reapply, and you are not certain if someone will provide a good letter, it may be best to ask if he/she has time to write a letter. And state that if he/she does not have time, you will completely understand. This gives them an "out" in case the letter would be unflattering.
5) Sorry to sound like your mother, but did you send thank you notes? They can go a long way, in terms of creating a good impression, reminding the interviewer of your existence, and showing interest.
6) Don't give up hope just yet! Many people are accepted from wait lists. It helps to contact the program (once, no stalking) to express continued interest.

Oddly enough, I do have research experience. It was very basic, and I was pretty much a lab monkey. I was not involved in any hypothesis testing or any of the creative or intellectual aspects of the research, just basic procedures, animal care, and some data analysis.

I will definitely seek out some interview feedback, maybe I'm a boring, stinky manchild.

For my update/interest letters, I'm thinking of including a new letter of reference from my current employer. Good idea?

If a bad letter of recommendation sank me this cycle, wouldn't schools that I reapply to have that information on file? If a professor calls me a lazy, lying sack of poop, or uses someone else's name in the letter, how could you recover from that?

Also, I'm having second thoughts about my EMT-B course. I won't complete it until May, still have to take the national test to become certified after that, and then I have to worry about actually getting meaningful experience. I already work full time, so it would be a 3-hour course in the evening, and I'm worried that it will be extremely time consuming and draining. It could be a lot of fun, I'm eager to get back into a classroom, and I want to flesh out my interest in medicine more, but I'm worried that it's a costly gamble, won't even really help me next cycle, and that I could apply my limited resources to other things.

I want to make substantial improvement on my application if I need to reapply, and I have it in my head that this EMT-B certification (and subsequent EMT volunteering/employment) will be a good way to do that. If I forgo the certification, my reapplication "improvement" will be some more volunteering and shadowing. I feel like I really need to shake up my application by going big and getting some awesome clinical employment as an EMT or CNA. Is it really possible to make a huge improvement in one cycle over the last? Or should I anticipate waiting out the next cycle?
 

DrMidlife

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EMTs and CNAs are a dime a dozen in med school admissions, and no, getting certified won't make you stand out. Do EMT if you actually want to do the job of an EMT, and if you will actually work as an EMT, because then you'll have stories and insights that make you more fun to review as an applicant. (My classmates who are EMTs have enjoyed a number of advantages from having worked with patients.)

An employer LOR is fine as long as you also have enough good faculty LORs. You can't do anything about old letters that schools keep on file, and I'm skeptical that you want to address the issue when you reinterview. Just make sure you're being strongly recommended with new letters, and add some new schools.

Best of luck to you.
 

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The bottom line...before you invest a lot of energy in an EMT program (unless you really want to work as an EMT), I'd advise trying to figure out what went wrong this cycle. While I don't recommend contacting the interviewers directly, you can call the Admissions Office and ask someone to read the committee notes to you. Then you will know what issues to address, and how many cycles you may need to wait in order to address them. It may have been something really simple, like applying too late in the season.
 
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True, be prepared for them to say "no"...but if they do give you the information, it will be worth its weight in gold!
 

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It's "NOT OVER" until all classes are full and classes begin. There are always students at the last minute who get the call. There were people in my class that got 2 days notice if they wanted a spot. 2 DAYS!!!! I would not hang it up until the end of May.
 
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It's "NOT OVER" until all classes are full and classes begin. There are always students at the last minute get the call. There were people in my class that got 2 days notice if they wanted a spot. 2 DAYS!!!! I would not hang it up until the end of May.

school I interviewed at had a student bail and called the replacement 3-4 days into classes....don't give up
 

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100$ concur. It is OK to contactt he Admissions deans and ask for feedback (not advice) on why you were rejected.

I suspect it was your limited ECs and possibly poor interview performance. Suggest checking with your local housesd of worship to look for more EC opportunities. Do not re-apply to the schools you were rejected from unless your app is substantially improved from last year.

And consider DO programs.


Generally that won't go anywhere, because rejected applicants with agitated lawyers for parents do this all the time. Most schools tell their interviewers not to provide feedback directly to the student.

I agree with the update letter idea. If you want it, show it.

One thing you'll want to prepare for, emotionally & financially, is getting accepted late. Like, August. If you get a call in August to move to Norfolk, for instance, are you game? Waitlist waves peak in mid-May and don't stop until after school starts.
 

Donald Kimball

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Thanks all. I really appreciate the advice as I remain cautiously optimistic about this cycle.
 

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3 post-interview rejections or pre-interview? If the three rejections were post-interview, get successful applicants to mock interview you ASAP. There's an art to answering these questions that you have to learn. PM more if you'd like because your numbers and EC's are dope and you should have had multiple acceptances by now.
 

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I would spend some effort writing update letters to schools you are on the waitlist at. If you have nothing to update, find something quick - more shadowing, a new volunteer position, more research, etc.

I'm a reapplicant myself. When I was waitlisted then rejected the first round, I emailed 4 interviewers (after the cycle was over) asking for feedback on my interview and application. 2 responded favorably, one faculty and one assistant dean of admissions. They talked to me for an hour each giving very helpful feedback and advice. That was two years ago. I applied again this current cycle and was invited back to interview at those two schools. I think you will get in this cycle, but in the off chance you don't, I would definitely email your interviewers at the schools that waitlisted you.
 

Donald Kimball

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3 post-interview rejections or pre-interview? If the three rejections were post-interview, get successful applicants to mock interview you ASAP. There's an art to answering these questions that you have to learn. PM more if you'd like because your numbers and EC's are dope and you should have had multiple acceptances by now.

All of the rejections I mentioned were post-interview. I'll definitely hit you up.

I would spend some effort writing update letters to schools you are on the waitlist at. If you have nothing to update, find something quick - more shadowing, a new volunteer position, more research, etc.

I'm a reapplicant myself. When I was waitlisted then rejected the first round, I emailed 4 interviewers (after the cycle was over) asking for feedback on my interview and application. 2 responded favorably, one faculty and one assistant dean of admissions. They talked to me for an hour each giving very helpful feedback and advice. That was two years ago. I applied again this current cycle and was invited back to interview at those two schools. I think you will get in this cycle, but in the off chance you don't, I would definitely email your interviewers at the schools that waitlisted you.

Thanks. I'm currently preparing update/interest letters to my waitlist schools. I already shot a fairly big interest letter to Wake Forest after getting waitlisted in October, and am crafting an even more convincing one right now.

Something I'm wondering about, should I send minor update letters to Wake Forest, EVMS, and NYMC as soon as possible right now, just to show some continued interest, and then send my substantial interest letters a little bit closer to March when these schools might start pulling from waitlists? Or does it really matter?
 

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All of the rejections I mentioned were post-interview. I'll definitely hit you up.



Thanks. I'm currently preparing update/interest letters to my waitlist schools. I already shot a fairly big interest letter to Wake Forest after getting waitlisted in October, and am crafting an even more convincing one right now.

Something I'm wondering about, should I send minor update letters to Wake Forest, EVMS, and NYMC as soon as possible right now, just to show some continued interest, and then send my substantial interest letters a little bit closer to March when these schools might start pulling from waitlists? Or does it really matter?

I were you, I think I would wait til March to send a more substantial letter.
 

Donald Kimball

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One of my update letters paid off! I just received an interview invite to George Washington.

Since something on my application or something about my interviewing/personality is amiss, what can I do to mitigate these factors?
 

Donald Kimball

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Still hoping for good news, but still preparing to reapply. I think my personal statement in addition to my ok stats are what netted me interviews. Poor interviewing and a less substantial application otherwise are probably holding me back from acceptances.

Do most reapplicants work-up an entirely new personal statement? I believe mine is different enough to capture interviews, and while I think should retool it, I'm not so sure that should I scrap the whole thing and start over.

Going to call UNC and ECU and see if they're scheduling rejection counseling yet.
 

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While I wouldn't completely scrap a good personal statement, it does need to be significantly updated/edited. Programs want to know that you have made the effort to address whatever weak points were present in the initial application, and are not just recycling previous documents.
 

Donald Kimball

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Figured I would update this thread.

I just finished a phone conference with the dean of admissions at ECU. He went over the comments left by my interviewers and some of the admissions committee, and the biggest thing holding me back was a lack of clinical and service experience.

Many of the comments revolved around my limited exposure to medicine through shadowing, my unfocused interests, and no clear motivation for medicine.

Regarding my interviews specifically, both interviewers noted that I was extroverted, friendly and a good fit for the school, but could not recommend me greater than above average due to my limited experiences in medicine.

This was actually a very encouraging session, because building my service and clinical experience is pretty much all that I've been working on since September/October, and if it was the only thing holding me back (barring terrible letters), then I am confident I can get it in the second time around.
 
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Donald Kimball

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I'm interested in your guys' opinions on my school list, again 3.66/3.6 cGPA/sGPA, 36R, reapplicant who has broadened his service/clinical experience.

EVMS
Drexel
George Washington
Georgetown
Indiana (not a reapp)
Jefferson
NYMC
Temple
Brody
University of Miami
University of Maryland
UNC
UVA
VCU
Virginia Tech Carilion
Wake Forest

From here on, my choices are schools where I would not be a reapplicant, but I'm not sure where to look. Any suggestions? Is this list good enough?
 
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augeremt

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Add University of Colorado to that list. They're big on reapplicants with different backgrounds (working in engineering will help). The additional service/clinical experience will also be a plus.
 
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