Sep 11, 2019
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Hi everyone,

I just got a post II R today at likely my only chance at an A this cycle. I have one more interview to hear back from, but considering how late it was in the cycle I am expecting at best a WL. With that, I've been applying to research positions and scribe jobs to work during the next year. Just would like general feedback, should I apply directly again this cycle or wait.

  • 3.89 s/cGPA and 518 (125 CARS) ORM, AZ resident
  • Activities for the last cycle-
    • Most meaningful:
      • Honors undergraduate thesis on prostate cancer research 500 hours by date of app (put 1200 expected)
      • Urology scribe 700 hours by date of app (put 1200 expected)
      • Treasurer of pre-health club for 2 years and member for 4 years 300 hours as treasurer
    • Research:
      • Thesis as stated above, I had abstracts accepted to two conferences at my University for my thesis but the conferences were canceled
      • Analytical Biochem research assistant 750 hours w/ one 4th author pub, a poster co-presentation at a national conference, and a poster presentation at a conference at my university
      • organic chemistry synthesis research assistant 600 hours
      • Undergrad research program at my school that is selective (this is how I got started in research)
    • Preceptor for Honors Gen Chem for 1 year and the for chemistry/biochemistry majors Organic Chemistry for 1 year, 1on1 tutoring within my prehealth club for those who were especially struggling, ran review sessions before exams. 160 hours total
    • Middle School Humanities Camp Counselor (volunteering) 600 hours from 2011-2016, camp to open the minds of 8th graders and prepare them for high school, be more accepting, and build teamwork. This camp helped me through a rough time in my life so I continued to be a counselor as long as I could
    • 50 hours volunteering at a free medical clinic in Rocky Point, Mexico over multiple months (not just one and done)
    • 100 hours volunteering at organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Food Bank, and Ronald McDonald House
    • Resident Assistant for 1 year (about 600 hours of work)
    • Hobbies are soccer (playing/watching), weight lifting, and chess 5000 hours 2011-2021
  • LORs were from thesis advisor (great-strong), two doctors I scribed for (strong), my inorganic chemistry professor (good-strong), a humanities professor (great-strong), and the middle school teacher who ran the humanities camp (strong)
  • School list from 2020-2021 cycle: UA Phoenix (couldn't apply to UA Tucson due to them changing course prerequisites), Rochester, Stony Brook, USF Morsani, UCSF, UCLA, U Michigan, Mayo AZ, Boston University, University of Pittsburgh, Stanford, UChicago, Brown, Dartmouth, Tufts, Columbia, U Pennsylvania, Mt Sinai, Northwestern, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Hofstra, Washington University, CU Boulder, Kaiser Permanente, Weill Cornell, Albert Einstein
  • Primary submission: 06/29, verified 08/06
  • Secondaries: completed between 08/13-09/13
  • 4 IIs: UA Phx- R, Rochester- R, Morsani-WL (knew it was going to be a WL based off my interview date. Not expecting to move off WL based on the feel of my interview, it was my first one), Stony Brook -TBD, may not hear back for a long time admissions seems backed up
  • Other things to note:
    • I feel my personal statement was strong with a good story. and I think I might have made a mistake making the pre-health treasurer as my third most meaningful, I think it definitely should have been my camp counseling or precepting for chemistry
    • I think my activity descriptions, but especially secondaries could have been better. I don't think they were bad, but I really only had two people read over them since I didn't have many resources to reach out to review them.
    • COVID made me have to move back in with my family due to financial insecurity for the last year, my scribe job was furloughing and there was no guarantee of my job and my thesis advisor would not be able to pay me to keep me on as a research assistant. These were my expected hours as above and my main plans (focus on cancer research but still stay involved in scribing). They got uprooted in July/August when COVID was significantly worsening in AZ after I submitted my primary. It was just smarter to move back home.
      • Also, my parents are older, so I did not feel any way comfortable finding a job in person and putting them at risk of contracting COVID. BECAUSE OF THIS I DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES TO FURTHER MY APPLICATION COMPETITIVENESS
      • I know this was likely an objective mistake for potential reapplication, but my parents' health will never be a lower priority than other things in my life.

MAIN QUESTION: Do I reapply immediately?

  1. I have been applying to research assistant positions, scribe jobs, and the NIH IRTA program for the upcoming year. Is this sufficient for the renovation of my application? I started applying a few weeks ago, I have one interview on Friday for a research tech position at the cancer center I did my thesis at, and still waiting to hear back from others.
  2. My MCAT was taken in August 2019, if I wait a year to reapply I will likely have to retake the MCAT so it is within the timeframe of accepted scores.
  3. I am planning on submitting the first date possible, and prewriting secondaries. I have a lot of material to work with from this past year's application, but not sure how many of them I should rewrite.
  4. Will my lack of involvement in the last 7 months significantly hurt me? I used this time to improve hobbies I didn't have time to work on in the past and spend much-needed time with my family before I (was hopefully but ultimately looking like not) accepted into medical school.
Any information would be incredibly useful.
 
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KnightDoc

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  • COVID made me have to move back in with my family due to financial insecurity for the last year, my scribe job was furloughing and there was no guarantee of my job and my thesis advisor would not be able to pay me to keep me on as a research assistant. These were my expected hours as above and my main plans (focus on cancer research but still stay involved in scribing). They got uprooted in July/August when COVID was significantly worsening in AZ after I submitted my primary. It was just smarter to move back home.
    • Also, my parents are older, so I did not feel any way comfortable finding a job in person and putting them at risk of contracting COVID. BECAUSE OF THIS I DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES TO FURTHER MY APPLICATION COMPETITIVENESS
    • I know this was likely an objective mistake for potential reapplication, but my parents' health will never be a lower priority than other things in my life.

MAIN QUESTION: Do I reapply immediately?


  1. I have been applying to research assistant positions, scribe jobs, and the NIH IRTA program for the upcoming year. Is this sufficient for the renovation of my application? I started applying a few weeks ago, I have one interview on Friday for a research tech position at the cancer center I did my thesis at, and still waiting to hear back from others.
  2. My MCAT was taken in August 2019, if I wait a year to reapply I will likely have to retake the MCAT so it is within the timeframe of accepted scores.
  3. I am planning on submitting the first date possible, and prewriting secondaries. I have a lot of material to work with from this past year's application, but not sure how many of them I should rewrite.
  4. Will my lack of involvement in the last 7 months significantly hurt me? I used this time to improve hobbies I didn't have time to work on in the past and spend much-needed time with my family before I (was hopefully) accepted into medical school.
Any information would be incredibly useful.
I wouldn't, but I also don't understand why you weren't successful, given your app and your school list. That said, your experience is a living, breathing example of how and why expected hours don't receive a ton of weight. Things change, and adcoms know that.

As it is, circumstances prevented you from doing anything to prepare for a reapp, so you'll be applying with the exact same application, with maybe different expected hours. What are you looking at that makes you think you'll achieve a different result with an immediate reapp?

Again, I can't explain why you didn't do better this cycle, but there is nothing in your post that points to a different result next cycle. You did the right thing by putting your safety and that of your parents first. Now, you need to get to work on building a competitive reapp. Since you haven't done that this year, you'll need at least one additional gap year.
 
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I wouldn't, but I also don't understand why you weren't successful, given your app and your school list. That said, your experience is a living, breathing example of how and why expected hours don't receive a ton of weight. Things change, and adcoms know that.

As it is, circumstances prevented you from doing anything to prepare for a reapp, so you'll be applying with the exact same application, with maybe different expected hours. What are you looking at that makes you think you'll achieve a different result with an immediate reapp?

Again, I can't explain why you didn't do better this cycle, but there is nothing in your post that points to a different result next cycle. You did the right thing by putting your safety and that of your parents first. Now, you need to get to work on building a competitive reapp. Since you haven't done that this year, you'll need at least one additional gap year.

I didn't know for sure I wanted to be a doctor until later in undergrad, so I took a 5th year of undergrad to allow myself to focus on my thesis and scribing, and I didn't apply during my 5th year knowing that expected hours meant nothing. I took my MCAT August 2019 so now I am really worried about having to take it again if I need to wait another cycle. That is honestly my biggest concern, especially considering how I performed the first and only time I took it. 131/125/131/131
 
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KnightDoc

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I didn't know for sure I wanted to be a doctor until later in undergrad, so I took a 5th year of undergrad to allow myself to focus on my thesis and scribing, and I didn't apply during my 5th year knowing that expected hours meant nothing. I took my MCAT August 2019 so now I am really worried about having to take it again if I need to wait another cycle. That is honestly my biggest concern, especially considering how I performed the first and only time I took it. 131/125/131/131
This sucks. I honestly don't know what to tell you. I'm not an adcom, but I think you have a great app, so I don't know why you didn't do better. Maybe Stony Brook will still come through.

Obviously, you know that your MCAT was GREAT other than CARS. On the other hand, CARS is so low, both in absolute terms and relative to your other sections (right at the cutoff for many schools), that maybe IT'S the reason you aren't doing better, in which case a retake might be just what you need. A 518 with 130/128/130/130 would be way better IMHO.

If you really want to take another shot this cycle due to the expiring MCAT, go ahead, but this time make sure you do things to improve an app assuming you'll need to take another shot in 2022-23. You should also probably apply to more mid-tiers (where at least you won't be a reapplicant) and fewer T20s, which your IIs indicate are not realistic with your current app.

I'd also strongly consider preparing for a MCAT retake, ASAP if you think you could pull up that 125, or, in any event, next year when your score will expire.
 
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Thanks, @KnightDoc I appreciate you taking the time to talk this through with me. Reading comprehension on standardized tests has been my bane since middle school...

Would @Goro @LizzyM @Faha @gonnif be able to comment advice based on my post? Especially regarding if my CARS may have been a significant factor and the overall MCAT aspect of things
 
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KnightDoc

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Thanks, @KnightDoc I appreciate you taking the time to talk this through with me. Reading comprehension on standardized tests has been my bane since middle school...

Would @Goro @LizzyM @Faha @gonnif be able to comment advice based on my post? Especially regarding if my CARS may have been a significant factor and the overall MCAT aspect of things
I'd also love to hear what the experts think, but nobody is going to know for sure what's happening in your case. That said, you already KNOW it's an issue, since you specifically call it out in your signature! :)
 
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Faha

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You are fine to reapply this June if not accepted at USF Morsani or Stony Brook. The GPA-MCAT grid shows that applicants with your stats have a greater than 90% chance for a MD acceptance. You should apply more broadly and I suggest these schools:
UA Phoenix
USF Morsani
Stony Brook
TCU-UNT
Tulane
Miami
Wake Forest
Virginia Commonwealth
Eastern Virginia
Georgetown
George Washington
Drexel
Temple
Jefferson
Seton Hall
Hofstra
Einstein
New York Medical College
Vermont
Quinnipiac
Rochester
Pittsburgh
Case Western
Ohio State
Cincinnati
Oakland Beaumont
Western Michigan
Medical College Wisconsin
Loyola
St. Louis
Creighton
Iowa
 
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I think most have hit on it, but I think you have three areas of concerns. Very top-heavy school list, CARS score, and maybe the quality of your writing. In terms of significance, I think the school list was probably the biggest issue. If 10-12 of those reaches had been mid-tiers, you probably would have had a better outcome. I would maybe get some help with the writing too if you think it was of mediocre quality. You'll get there sooner or later.
 
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YCAGA

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You have an amazing application, just not for the majority of schools you applied to. And for the realistic schools on your list, I think you actually got an interview about half of them. So in my opinion your school list killed you.

Your list was extremely ambitious for anyone, but especially an ORM with below average EC’s for top schools and a 125 on CARS. I am honestly amazed any advisor green lit a list like this. You application screams to me "shoe in at a middle 40" and "T40 are reaches"; unfortunately your list is almost entirely top 40 schools.

You were a below average matriculant for all of the bolded schools and the schools with an * are low yield due to a huge number of applicants and/or heavy in-state preference. Parenthesis is USNWR ranking. Interview schools are in green. Here are the 27 schools you applied to:

Johns Hopkins (2)
U Pennsylvania (3)
Stanford (4)
Columbia (6)
Mayo AZ (6)
UCLA (6)
UCSF (6)
Washington University (6)
Weill Cornell (11)
University of Pittsburgh (14)
U Michigan (15)
Yale (15)
UChicago (17)
Northwestern (18)
Mt Sinai (20)
Boston University (29)
CU Boulder (31)
Rochester (34)

Brown (38)
Albert Einstein* (40)
USF Morsani (47)
Dartmouth (50)
Tufts* (53)
Stony Brook (58)*
Hofstra* (70)
Kaiser Permanente* (NR)
UA Phoenix

So you applied to 8 out of the top 10 schools and 15 out of the top 20. So already more than half of your school list is top 20 schools which were donations taking into account your CARS plus the rest of your app.

These top schools just have too many ORM's with very similar experiences to you but balanced 520+ and 3.9+. If someone doesn't believe me, look at MSAR (I no longer have a subscription) and I would be shocked if a CARS of 125 was not 10th percentile or worse at all of the top 20 schools.

I spent the time to include the USWNR rankings to highlight that the caliber of school you got interviews from was very different from where you focused your list. 20/27 of the schools on your list are in the top 40, but 3/4 of your interviews were outside the top 40. Your one top 40 interview, Rochester, is one of the "high yield" top 40 schools due to its location, low number of applicants, and lack of name recognition among uninformed premeds.

Anyways, I say all of this out not to give you a hard time or try and make you feel like an idiot, but to encourage you to reapply this cycle with your school list flipped upside down. Apply to 20 middle 40 schools (40-80 USNWR) and 5-10 top 40 schools. Since it is your second cycle, I would also add in 5-10 schools that are ranked 80+ and don't have a heavy in-state preference. You are too good of an applicant to be forced to go DO due to a third cycle (god forbid).

Also hopefully this is a warning to future applicants reading this that just because you have a 3.8+ and 518+ does not make you a shoe-in for these top schools. Betting almost all on top schools is one way you can end up in the 10% of this GPA/MCAT range that are not accepted.

Disclaimer about USNWR rankings: They aren't perfect and are somewhat arbitrary, but they are a good way to gauge how insane or reasonable a school list is before digging into MSAR.
 
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I think most have hit on it, but I think you have three areas of concerns. Very top-heavy school list, CARS score, and maybe the quality of your writing. In terms of significance, I think the school list was probably the biggest issue. If 10-12 of those reaches had been mid-tiers, you probably would have had a better outcome. I would maybe get some help with the writing too if you think it was of mediocre quality. You'll get there sooner or later.

You have an amazing application, just not for the majority of schools you applied to. And for the realistic schools on your list, I think you actually got an interview about half of them. So in my opinion your school list killed you.

Your list was extremely ambitious for anyone, but especially an ORM with below average EC’s for top schools and a 125 on CARS. I am honestly amazed any advisor green lit a list like this. You application screams to me "shoe in at a middle 40" and "T40 are reaches"; unfortunately your list is almost entirely top 40 schools.

You were a below average matriculant for all of the bolded schools and the schools with an * are low yield due to a huge number of applicants and/or heavy in-state preference. Parenthesis is USNWR ranking. Interview schools are in green. Here are the 27 schools you applied to:

Johns Hopkins (2)
U Pennsylvania (3)
Stanford (4)
Columbia (6)
Mayo AZ (6)
UCLA (6)
UCSF (6)
Washington University (6)
Weill Cornell (11)
University of Pittsburgh (14)
U Michigan (15)
Yale (15)
UChicago (17)
Northwestern (18)
Mt Sinai (20)
Boston University (29)
CU Boulder (31)
Rochester (34)

Brown (38)
Albert Einstein* (40)
USF Morsani (47)
Dartmouth (50)
Tufts* (53)
Stony Brook (58)*
Hofstra* (70)
Kaiser Permanente* (NR)
UA Phoenix

So you applied to 8 out of the top 10 schools and 15 out of the top 20. So already more than half of your school list is top 20 schools which were donations taking into account your CARS plus the rest of your app.

These top schools just have too many ORM's with very similar experiences to you but balanced 520+ and 3.9+. If someone doesn't believe me, look at MSAR (I no longer have a subscription) and I would be shocked if a CARS of 125 was not 10th percentile or worse at all of the top 20 schools.

I spent the time to include the USWNR rankings to highlight that the caliber of school you got interviews from was very different from where you focused your list. 20/27 of the schools on your list are in the top 40, but 3/4 of your interviews were outside the top 40. Your one top 40 interview, Rochester, is one of the "high yield" top 40 schools due to its location, low number of applicants, and lack of name recognition among uninformed premeds.

Anyways, I say all of this out not to give you a hard time or try and make you feel like an idiot, but to encourage you to reapply this cycle with your school list flipped upside down. Apply to 20 middle 40 schools (40-80 USNWR) and 5-10 top 40 schools. Since it is your second cycle, I would also add in 5-10 schools that are ranked 80+ and don't have a heavy in-state preference. You are too good of an applicant to be forced to go DO due to a third cycle (god forbid).

Also hopefully this is a warning to future applicants reading this that just because you have a 3.8+ and 518+ does not make you a shoe-in for these top schools. Betting almost all on top schools is one way you can end up in the 10% of this GPA/MCAT range that are not accepted.

Disclaimer about USNWR rankings: They aren't perfect and are somewhat arbitrary, but they are a good way to gauge how insane or reasonable a school list is before digging into MSAR.
I followed the WARS score recommendation for my school list as well as the advice of those on SDN, but I guess considering my CARS score I should've applied more broadly below.
 

LizzyM

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I've got nothing you haven't already heard. Your list was top heavy given the 125. Also, there was no real hook or theme that I could see with your activities. It looked somewhat scattershot.
 
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YCAGA

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I followed the WARS score recommendation for my school list as well as the advice of those on SDN, but I guess considering my CARS score I should've applied more broadly below.
WARS is an arbitrary system made by one person on SDN 6 years ago. It also is very aggressive about applying to top schools if you have good stats. It is easy to get points for EC's on WARS so it basically breaks down to another LizzyM score, only a little better because it doesn't let you hide a bad GPA with a great MCAT like a LizzyM score does.

I also looked up the WARS calculator and put you as more of an A tier applicant, not S tier, which is still great, but I think applying as if you are an S-tier applicant was your downfall. Even the A tier ratios that WARS gives are really ambitious. I don't think you truly fall into the 518-520, 3.85+ category for WARS because of your CARS score.
 
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You are fine to reapply this June if not accepted at USF Morsani or Stony Brook. The GPA-MCAT grid shows that applicants with your stats have a greater than 90% chance for a MD acceptance. You should apply more broadly and I suggest these schools:
UA Phoenix
USF Morsani
Stony Brook
TCU-UNT
Tulane
Miami
Wake Forest
Virginia Commonwealth
Eastern Virginia
Georgetown
George Washington
Drexel
Temple
Jefferson
Seton Hall
Hofstra
Einstein
New York Medical College
Vermont
Quinnipiac
Rochester
Pittsburgh
Case Western
Ohio State
Cincinnati
Oakland Beaumont
Western Michigan
Medical College Wisconsin
Loyola
St. Louis
Creighton
Iowa
@Faha, are you recommending this as a complete school list, or as schools to add in addition to the schools I have applied to this last cycle?
 
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      • Honors undergraduate thesis on prostate cancer research 500 hours by date of app (put 1200 expected)
      • Urology scribe 700 hours by date of app (put 1200 expected)
      • Treasurer of pre-health club for 2 years and member for 4 years 300 hours as treasurer
    • Research:
      • Thesis as stated above, I had abstracts accepted to two conferences at my University for my thesis but the conferences were canceled
      • Analytical Biochem research assistant 750 hours w/ one 4th author pub, a poster co-presentation at a national conference, and a poster presentation at a conference at my university
      • organic chemistry synthesis research assistant 600 hours
      • Undergrad research program at my school that is selective (this is how I got started in research)
    • Preceptor for Honors Gen Chem for 1 year and the for chemistry/biochemistry majors Organic Chemistry for 1 year, 1on1 tutoring within my prehealth club for those who were especially struggling, ran review sessions before exams. 160 hours total
    • Middle School Humanities Camp Counselor (volunteering) 600 hours from 2011-2016, camp to open the minds of 8th graders and prepare them for high school, be more accepting, and build teamwork. This camp helped me through a rough time in my life so I continued to be a counselor as long as I could
    • 50 hours volunteering at a medical clinic in Rocky Point, Mexico over multiple months (not just one and done)
    • 100 hours volunteering at organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Food Bank, and Ronald McDonald House
    • Resident Assistant for 1 year (about 600 hours of work)
    • Hobbies are soccer (playing/watching), weight lifting, and chess 5000 hours 2011-2021
  • LORs were from thesis advisor (great-strong), two doctors I scribed for (strong), my inorganic chemistry professor (good-strong), a humanities professor (great-strong), and the middle school teacher who ran the humanities camp (strong)
  • School list from 2020-2021 cycle: UA Phoenix (couldn't apply to UA Tucson due to them changing course prerequisites), Rochester, Stony Brook, USF Morsani, UCSF, UCLA, U Michigan, Mayo AZ, Boston University, University of Pittsburgh, Stanford, UChicago, Brown, Dartmouth, Tufts, Columbia, U Pennsylvania, Mt Sinai, Northwestern, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Hofstra, Washington University, CU Boulder, Kaiser Permanente, Weill Cornell, Albert Einstein
  • Primary submission: 06/29, verified 08/06
  • Secondaries: completed between 08/13-09/13
  • 4 IIs: UA Phx- R, Rochester- R, Morsani-WL (knew it was going to be a WL based off my interview date. Not expecting to move off WL based on the feel of my interview, it was my first one), Stony Brook -TBD, may not hear back for a long time admissions seems backed up
  • Other things to note:
    • I feel my personal statement was strong with a good story. and I think I might have made a mistake making the pre-health treasurer as my third most meaningful, I think it definitely should have been my camp counseling or precepting for chemistry
    • I think my activity descriptions, but especially secondaries could have been better. I don't think they were bad, but I really only had two people read over them since I didn't have many resources to reach out to review them.
    • COVID made me have to move back in with my family due to financial insecurity for the last year, my scribe job was furloughing and there was no guarantee of my job and my thesis advisor would not be able to pay me to keep me on as a research assistant. These were my expected hours as above and my main plans (focus on cancer research but still stay involved in scribing). They got uprooted in July/August when COVID was significantly worsening in AZ after I submitted my primary. It was just smarter to move back home.
      • Also, my parents are older, so I did not feel any way comfortable finding a job in person and putting them at risk of contracting COVID. BECAUSE OF THIS I DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES TO FURTHER MY APPLICATION COMPETITIVENESS
      • I know this was likely an objective mistake for potential reapplication, but my parents' health will never be a lower priority than other things in my life.

MAIN QUESTION: Do I reapply immediately?

  1. I have been applying to research assistant positions, scribe jobs, and the NIH IRTA program for the upcoming year. Is this sufficient for the renovation of my application? I started applying a few weeks ago, I have one interview on Friday for a research tech position at the cancer center I did my thesis at, and still waiting to hear back from others.
Your app is already research heavy. The research who...um, sex workers apparently didn't even give you the time of day. There's a lesson there.
  1. My MCAT was taken in August 2019, if I wait a year to reapply I will likely have to retake the MCAT so it is within the timeframe of accepted scores.
So be it. Your app has several lethal deficiencies and your CARS score or essays are not the reason.
  1. I am planning on submitting the first date possible, and prewriting secondaries. I have a lot of material to work with from this past year's application, but not sure how many of them I should rewrite.
See above. You are also ignoring the good advice given by tons of med schools about reapplying right after a failed cycle.
  1. Will my lack of involvement in the last 7 months significantly hurt me? I used this time to improve hobbies I didn't have time to work on in the past and spend much-needed time with my family before I (was hopefully but ultimately looking like not) accepted into medical school.
Lack of hobbies? Not knowing your app, this deficit is hard to tell. But what I see is the app of a typical lab rat. You are extremely research heavy and your volunteering is all with people very much like you. You need to get off campus and out of your comfort zone, and engage in service to others less fortunate than yourself. Medicine is, after all, a service profession. I recommend > 200 hrs, as you need to have the ECs to match your stats. Even the scribing, while admirable and normally fine, is a passive activity.

Also, work on interview skills, and as mentioned, have a broader school list.

I suggest:
NYU
Columbia
JHU
U Penn
WashU
Northwestern
Vanderbilt
Harvard
Yale
Cornell
U Chicago
Mayo
Case
Stanford
Duke
Sinai
U VA
BU
Baylor
UCSF
Pitt
UTSW
USC/Keck
UCSD
UCLA
U MI
Rochester
Hofstra
Ohio State
U Cincy
Dartmouth
Western MI
USF Morsani
SUNY-SB
Brown
U MA
U IA
Albert Einstein
Emory
Tufts
NYU-LI
Jefferson
Miami
SLU
U WI
U CO
U VM
Your state schools

As you'll be going into your second app cycle, throw in some DO schools for insurance
 
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Faha

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@Faha, are you recommending this as a complete school list, or as schools to add in addition to the schools I have applied to this last cycle?
Yes, this is a complete school list. Most of the other schools you applied that are not on my list were reaches as noted above.
 
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Your app is already research heavy. The research who...um, sex workers apparently didn't even give you the time of day. There's a lesson there.

So be it. Your app has several lethal deficiencies and your CARS score or essays are not the reason.

See above. You are also ignoring the good advice given by tons of med schools about reapplying right after a failed cycle.

Lack of hobbies? Not knowing your app, this deficit is hard to tell. But what I see is the app of a typical lab rat. You are extremely research heavy and your volunteering is all with people very much like you. You need to get off campus and out of your comfort zone, and engage in service to others less fortunate than yourself. Medicine is, after all, a service profession. I recommend > 200 hrs, as you need to have the ECs to match your stats. Even the scribing, while admirable and normally fine, is a passive activity.
This might be my CARS score showing, but could you elaborate on the sex workers aspect of your response. It completely went over my head.
 

YCAGA

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Your app is already research heavy. The research who...um, sex workers apparently didn't even give you the time of day. There's a lesson there.

So be it. Your app has several lethal deficiencies and your CARS score or essays are not the reason.

See above. You are also ignoring the good advice given by tons of med schools about reapplying right after a failed cycle.

Lack of hobbies? Not knowing your app, this deficit is hard to tell. But what I see is the app of a typical lab rat. You are extremely research heavy and your volunteering is all with people very much like you. You need to get off campus and out of your comfort zone, and engage in service to others less fortunate than yourself. Medicine is, after all, a service profession. I recommend > 200 hrs, as you need to have the ECs to match your stats. Even the scribing, while admirable and normally fine, is a passive activity.
Who are the sex workers in this situation? 😬

I probably am about to get “whooshed”
 

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Also if a top 40 school didn’t give you an interview this cycle, they aren’t going to suddenly give you one next cycle if you have a few hundred more hours of scribing or research. Those schools are dead to you for at least the next cycle. As is every school you applied to but your state schools. Reapplying to the exact same school back to back is the ultimate donation.
 
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YCAGA

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SDN censors the pejorative for those that sell their bodies.
i may not be smart GIF by Tony Awards

^me right now
 
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Okay, so what type of job should I land for the upcoming year? I have been applying to cancer biology research tech jobs at various cancer centers, the NIH Research Training Award (in hopes of working at their cancer institute) as well as scribe jobs. Worst case, I can always return to my Urology Scribe position, but like Goro said this may not actually improve my app if I have more hours. I realize I need more volunteering as well.

Also, if I do want to apply to these T40s with a chance, can you please give suggestions on ways to improve my application further than just volunteering (I'm assuming it would take 2 years to accomplish this)? Obviously I am applying much more broadly this time around

I feel at a loss because I did activities that I cared about, like the free clinic in Mexico and finally pursuing research that I cared about, that was pertinent to medicine.

Also, @Goro, with reference to me working on hobbies over the past 7 months, that just means becoming much more proficient at them rather than completely building them from the ground up.
 
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Also if a top 40 school didn’t give you an interview this cycle, they aren’t going to suddenly give you one next cycle if you have a few hundred more hours of scribing or research. Those schools are dead to you for at least the next cycle. As is every school you applied to but your state schools. Reapplying to the exact same school back to back is the ultimate donation.

I qualified for FAP so this wasn't as big of an issue in my eyes.
 
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What Goro is trying to say is that the top research schools, some of which are stat-wh0r3s, did not appear to give you the time of day.
 
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KnightDoc

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What Goro is trying to say is that the top research schools, some of which are stat-wh0r3s, did not appear to give you the time of day.
And, at the risk of beating a dead horse, while a 518 is far from shabby, a 125 on any section is at the very low end of what is acceptable, since that is equivalent to a 500 across all sections. Schools that care about such things (the top schools) already had a crack at your app and they all took a pass. As a result, it would probably be a waste of time and effort (if not money with a FAP) to try again at those schools without first doing something about the 125.
 
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Goro

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Okay, so what type of job should I land for the upcoming year? I have been applying to cancer biology research tech jobs at various cancer centers, the NIH Research Training Award (in hopes of working at their cancer institute) as well as scribe jobs. Worst case, I can always return to my Urology Scribe position, but like Goro said this may not actually improve my app if I have more hours. I realize I need more volunteering as well.

Also, if I do want to apply to these T40s with a chance, can you please give suggestions on ways to improve my application further than just volunteering (I'm assuming it would take 2 years to accomplish this)? Obviously I am applying much more broadly this time around

I feel at a loss because I did activities that I cared about, like the free clinic in Mexico and finally pursuing research that I cared about, that was pertinent to medicine.

Also, @Goro, with reference to me working on hobbies over the past 7 months, that just means becoming much more proficient at them rather than completely building them from the ground up.
I mentioned hobbies because your post implied that you didn't list any on your app. If I'm wrong, then never mind my comment.

You have a ton of hours scribing, and it's OK to have a research job. But you need ot volunteer in a nonclinical way because that's the weakest part of your app and the reason why I think you're getting shut out (along with the lowish number of schools you applied to). So don't gild the lily, but work on the holes in your app.

And do what you love, and love what you do.

What Goro is trying to say is that the top research schools, some of which are stat-wh0r3s, did not appear to give you the time of day.
To reiterate, all your research didn't impress them not one bit.
 
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YCAGA

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What were you scoring on AAMC practice exams for CARS? Was the 125 a fluke in a bad way, a good way, or expected?
 
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What were you scoring on AAMC practice exams for CARS? Was the 125 a fluke in a bad way, a good way, or expected?

It went 125 (515 overall), 126 (516 overall), and 127 (519 overall). I took the MCAT when there were only 3 practice tests available. Critical reading has ALWAYS been my weakest section on any standardized test I've ever taken.
 
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I mentioned hobbies because your post implied that you didn't list any on your app. If I'm wrong, then never mind my comment.

You have a ton of hours scribing, and it's OK to have a research job. But you need ot volunteer in a nonclinical way because that's the weakest part of your app and the reason why I think you're getting shut out (along with the lowish number of schools you applied to). So don't gild the lily, but work on the holes in your app.

And do what you love, and love what you do.

What Goro is trying to say is that the top research schools, some of which are stat-wh0r3s, did not appear to give you the time of day.
To reiterate, all your research didn't impress them not one bit.
Does my time as a camp counselor not really cut the bill for volunteering? This was an activity that really meant a lot to me (I mentioned it probably should've been my third most meaningful rather than my treasurer position) since I was bullied for my heritage/ethnicity and it helped me build confidence in myself before starting high school and fosters acceptance. So I volunteered as a counselor to further promote a mentality of acceptance.

Again, thank you ALL so much for your responses.
 

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It went 125 (515 overall), 126 (516 overall), and 127 (519 overall). I took the MCAT when there were only 3 practice tests available. Critical reading has ALWAYS been my weakest section on any standardized test I've ever taken. My ACT essentially had the same distribution as my MCAT.
Okay, then, it is what it is, and there is no reason to expect a big improvement on a retake. Given this, whoever advised you to apply top heavy based on your GPA and 518 gave you bad advice.

You have basically a 524 equivalent with your three 131s, but the 125 is lethal at schools that heavily weight stats (i.e., the top schools). So, now you know, and you'll have a more realistic school list. I agree it's definitely worth taking another shot now before you have to sit for the exam again.
 
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YCAGA

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Does my time as a camp counselor not really cut the bill for volunteering? This was an activity that really meant a lot to me (I mentioned it probably should've been my third most meaningful rather than my treasurer position) since I was bullied for my heritage/ethnicity and it helped me build confidence in myself before starting high school and fosters acceptance. So I volunteered as a counselor to further promote a mentality of acceptance.

Again, thank you ALL so much for your responses.
Was it just a generic summer camp for kids or was it specifically for some underserved group?
 

KnightDoc

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Does my time as a camp counselor not really cut the bill for volunteering? This was an activity that really meant a lot to me (I mentioned it probably should've been my third most meaningful rather than my treasurer position) since I was bullied for my heritage/ethnicity and it helped me build confidence in myself before starting high school and fosters acceptance. So I volunteered as a counselor to further promote a mentality of acceptance.

Again, thank you ALL so much for your responses.
I'm not an adcom, so please forgive me if I am overstepping, but I don't agree with anyone telling you your app was deficient. Your 4 IIs indicate otherwise. I agree with @YCAGA, who pointed out that you did fine with the schools that were realistic targets given your ORM status and 125.

Your biggest problem was that you didn't apply to enough of those schools and applied to too many where you never had a shot. Not due to your lack of volunteering, nor because you have too much research, but because you are an ORM with a CARS score in their bottom 10%. You just need to aim a little lower.
 
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Okay, then, it is what it is, and there is no reason to expect a big improvement on a retake. Given this, whoever advised to you apply top heavy based on your GPA and 518 gave you bad advice.

You have basically a 524 equivalent with your three 131s, but the 125 is lethal at schools that heavily weight stats (i.e., the top schools). So, now you know, and you'll have a more realistic school list. I agree it's definitely worth taking another shot now before you have to sit for the exam again.
Yeah :/ I'm really upset with the CARS section honestly because personally, I feel like the other sections assess critical thinking. But beggars can't be choosers. Plus, I know my writing isn't weak, it is just comprehending non-scientific/medical material that takes me much longer to process. I realize that it is supposed to be a section that you can't just rote memorize for, but the new MCAT I feel accommodated for that weakness in the old MCAT by implementing scientific excerpts into the other sections.
Was it just a generic summer camp for kids or was it specifically for some underserved group?
It was specifically for MY public middle school that I went to for their 8th graders, the population is rough 29% white, 20% black, and 30% Hispanic, and the rest is other. It is a very diverse school with students who are both very economically well off (but this is a SIGNIFICANT minority) and those who are struggling (41% receive free/discounted lunch). This is a camp that would happen during the middle of the students' 8th grade year and it's focus was to promote acceptance, inclusion, teamwork, and confidence before entering high school. So even when I went to university, I continued to be a part of my middle school community trying to help and promote these aspects. It was free for the students, so all could go.
 
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Goro

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It was specifically for MY public middle school that I went to for their 8th graders, the population is rough 29% white, 20% black, and 30% Hispanic, and the rest is other. It is a very diverse school with students who are both very economically well off and those who are struggling. This is a camp that would happen during the middle of the students' 8th grade year and it's focus was to promote acceptance, inclusion, teamwork, and confidence before entering high school. So even when I went to university, I continued to be a part of my middle school community trying to help and promote these aspects. It was free for the students, so all could go.
Hmmmmm...I'm on the borderline on this one. You still should get some more volunteering in.
 
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gonnif

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I'm not an adcom, so please forgive me if I am overstepping, but I don't agree with anyone telling you your app was deficient. Your 4 IIs indicate otherwise. I agree with @YCAGA, who pointed out that you did fine with the schools that were realistic targets given your ORM status and 125.

Your biggest problem was that you didn't apply to enough of those schools and applied to too many where you never had a shot. Not due to your lack of volunteering, nor because you have too much research, but because you are an ORM with a CARS score in their bottom 10%. You just need to aim a little lower.
I agree with this, 4II indicate sufficiently solid application, doesnt mean it cant be improved as seemed to be later invites (indicates lower priority some weakness) but just on a cursory reading of OP post, schools list, interview skills, seem place to focus, 125 CARS wont kill you.
 
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ThatSerb

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im sorry to hear about your situation. seems like overall you really had a stellar app, I hope something still works out this cycle and you can forget all about this. i was curious, how did you feel about your Rochester interview? i am still waiting to hear back from them. and your app seems stronger than mine. did you feel confident about it? connect well with the interviewers? or did you finish with not having high hopes for an acceptance?
 
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im sorry to hear about your situation. seems like overall you really had a stellar app, I hope something still works out this cycle and you can forget all about this. i was curious, how did you feel about your Rochester interview? i am still waiting to hear back from them. and your app seems stronger than mine. did you feel confident about it? connect well with the interviewers? or did you finish with not having high hopes for an acceptance?

I felt really good after my interview day. Really connected with the medical student and felt I said what I needed to say to my faculty interviewer. Im feeling surprised especially since the majority of those who heard back yesterday were waitlisted not rejected. Best of luck
 
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To provide a bit of context - most of the advice that people here have given you has been from the mindset of “nothing appears wrong here - let me dissect a bit and try to find any small thing...”

The reality is that your application was competitive at nearly all the schools you applied to. A minority of schools might have snubbed you for one low section score here, or Mis-alignment of activities/hours with mission there, but these likely had a small effect.

This cycle was unprecedented (at least, so far) - both because of the dramatic increase in average applications to programs, but also because of the difference in interview allocation among students. With everything being virtual, many students have been able to “hog” interviews from the convenience of their own home, rather than turning some down due to cost and time barriers. Worse yet, there is already some evidence that students with multiple acceptances are hogging them, too, until the last second, even more so than previous years (which might actually pan out in an acceptance for you later this cycle).

Regardless, if this cycle doesn’t pan out, dependent on your life circumstances, I think taking an additional year (which really means two additional years before matriculating) would be fine. But so would applying again directly, as long as you note any improvements you’ve made and applied to additional schools you are not a re-applicant at, and you come across as humble and resilient in your reapplication.

MD admissions is a high-throughout process. Even in normal years, people with impressive applications and good personal qualities do not get in anywhere. All the factors that people have noted above (academic benchmarks, research, extracurriculars, interview skills, broad school list) all help increase confidence in an acceptance, but none guarantee one.

You’ll make it through - and, with the grit you’ve had to build from going through this hellish, meaningless process, you’ll be better prepared to endure the further hellish, meaningless process needed to get to the other side of graduation. You’ve got this 👍
 
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