ambaduchi

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so this is one of those "what do you think i need to do to fix my app" threads...massive thx in advance if you read through and have advice.

to make a v. long story short: i applied to med school my sr year in college in 1999. withdrew my apps before any interviews or rejections cuz my dad fell v. ill and i need to start supporting my family financially. that ended up taking 4 years during which time i was an investment banker. hated it severely but desperately needed the bling, last year, i decided it was time to get out. moved abroad to a developing country for 9 mo, did urban health research there (coauthor on a working paper), re-took the mcat last august and applied.

stats: 3.4 bcpm, 3.5 overall, '99 mcat 40, '04 mcat 33, good extracurrics, mostly community health related. but they're back from when i was an undergrad. since then i only have the urban health research and a couple of small volunteer things. i also did heaps of clinical stuff back in the day too, shadowing etc.

so what happened this year: was complete late (nov) due to aug mcat and laboring to create a perfect, tell-my-life-story-personal statement. only applied to cali schools and some top 20, 18 total. got secondaries from all schools (all the UCs which screen), and since then got 14 rejections...and no interviews, not one. ouch, talk about a reality check. am still waiting to hear from a couple schools but i see the trend line and while theoretically there's a minute chance i might interview this year, it feels much better to start making re-app plans than to wait around and hope blindly.

here's a couple additional data points: it's hard for me to leave cali for 4 yrs due to the family situation. so that's why i only applied to such good schools, i figured only an amazing out of state school would tempt me to leave. ha! seems so naive in hindsight...i'm in the middle of making some serious decisions about that, so let's assume i'll apply all over and to mid and lower-tier schools this time around. and though i know DO is a good option for many, i'm set on allopathic.

so my questions for you all (thx for reading this far :)

1. do you think i should reapply this coming cycle or do you think my situation warrants a whole year sitting out doing premed stuff and then app for fall '07? (the financial strain of yet another year out would be tremendous so it's a VERY undesirable option)

2. what's your take on what the problem was? (all the schools i've contacted won't give me feedback until april) do you think i should take classes and try to raise my science gpa in the fall? my preference would be to continue doing community health/policy research in an underserved community. right now i'm trying to find some clinical reserach nearby home to work on.

3. ideas for schools to put on my list for next year? mid-tier & lower-tier, outside california, that are california-friendly? i'm going to do OSU, Case, NYMC, Drexel...

any and all help much appreciated. and props for reading my damn encyclopedia ;)
 

liverotcod

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The only things that stand out at first glance are ones you are already probably aware of:
-School selection should have been more broad
-MCAT score went considerably DOWN, that has to be a red flag
-On the low side for overall and science GPA

Your clinical exposure and experiences sound excellent. How are your LORs? Also, did your PS focus excessively on the negative aspects of your life to this point?

I should think you'll do fine as a reapplicant, and just broadening your school list (your new list is on the right track) should do the trick. If you think you still have a high-30s MCAT in you, you might retake in April. You should be able to break 36 on smarts alone if you hit 40 back in 1999.
 

2tall

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You should reapply this summer. Of course, APPLY EARLY. Your late application hurt you the most. You may have also chosen the wrong schools to apply to. I don't know how much research you did on the schools you applied to...but some schools are more nontrad-friendly than others.

The drop in your MCAT. I, personally, don't think that's what hurt you this year. Sure 7 points is a big drop, but adcoms aren't stupid. I'm sure you talked about your situation in your personal statement. You pushed your dreams aside for a noble reason. The fact that you could still make a solid score on your MCAT after five years as an investment banker says a lot. Your background in community health is a big plus.

OF COURSE, you want to attend med school in Cali which the people say is ultra competitive.

You wanna get in med school...apply early.
You wanna get into a cali med school...maybe a cali reapplicant can help.
 

kc123

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I definitely wouldn't wait a year -- you sound like a great applicant. I agree with the others that applying early and broadly is the key. I am a non-traditional applicant myself....some schools that I have found to be more friendly/interested in what a non-traditional applicant has to offer include Case Western (I've heard so many good things about this school, and unfortunately, I didn't follow through with the secondary, but I wish that I had), UVM (very family friendly), UMass, BU (Dean stated in his opening talk that they have a wide-mouthed funnel, and they seek to find the most talented people from all different types of backgrounds/industries, etc.)...those are just a few, and the short list I've included is based mostly on the sense I got from each school, or what I have heard anecdotally (sp?). Good luck! You will make it!
 

ntmed

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I agree with what has been said: apply early, and apply to a broad range of schools. Most medical schools pick the majority of people they will interview by mid-september, and leave only a few spots open for exceptional candidates.
 

LSUwannabe

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I agree w/ my omniscient previous posters.

Your primary problem was likely applying so late. Not only are you beginning at a disadvantage temporally, it gives the impression of disinterest (whether fair or not).

Re: your MCAT, I wouldn't take it again. Dropping from a 40 to 33 while being away from academics is completely understandable IMO. Your basic sciences are most important on the MCAT and you're far removed from those.

A 40 and a 33 prove you're plenty capable. Just my opinion.

If you can get some recent volunteering/shadowing/menial clinical job part-time/whatever it wouldn't hurt as many of your better qualities (as an applicant) were some time ago.

I'd add Tulane to your list of out of state schools as they dig the Cali' folks.

However, I'd wager you're in by Christmas next year in-state if you get that app done early!
 
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ambaduchi

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you guys are fab, thanks for the wise words. yeah, applying early is a no brainer this year; i knew it was gonna hurt but didn't think it would kill me.

ok. so no one sees any other major deal-breakers, the timing was probably (hopefully) the biggest problem. good to know. hopefully, talking to the adcoms in april will verify that...keeping my fingers crossed for next year...
 

civic4982

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ambaduchi said:
that ended up taking 4 years during which time i was an investment banker. hated it severely but desperately needed the bling, last year, i decided it was time to get out.
You hated being an investment banker ? :eek:

Man that was my dream job for the longest while... /drool/

After looking at your situation I have no earthly idea why you're not in right now. You're a better applicant than 99% of the people I know who are in.