Jun 25, 2013
Hey everyone! I'm hoping someone can help me figure out my next step. I applied this past summer and have had 2 interviews with 1 more coming up next month. I still don't know about my status at one of the schools, but I've been waitlisted at the other one, so I'm just trying to figure out ways to strengthen my application in the event that I have to reapply next cycle. (Forgive me if this isn't the right thread to post this in.)

Strong upward trend throughout my last 3 years of undergraduate (last 3 years GPA = 3.74; first year alone GPA = 2.74)
MCAT = 30 (8PS/10VR/12BS)

- 9 months of research but no presentations, papers, recommendation letters, etc.
- 2 summers volunteering as a nurses' assistant in a family practice clinic (check patients in, take their vitals, ask about their symptoms, trained on how to interview patients to get medical histories, performed EKGs, urinalyses, and shots with supervision from the nurses)
- 4 months as a medical screener at a plasma donation facility (check donors' vitals, counsel them if their vitals are not within a healthy range for donation)
- leadership and internship positions in work related to increasing the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
- honors: dean's list for 4 semesters, graduated cum laude, received a grant from my university to conduct my research
- planned/currently: in training to become a volunteer with my city's medical reserve corps (respond to public health emergencies and provide public health education to the general population); looking for a job, preferably in the medical sector; planning to talk to my former pediatrician about shadowing him; planning a new personal statement centering around my experiences working with people of lower socioeconomic standing and educating them about their health at the plasma donation center

I think most of them are fairly to pretty strong (1 committee letter packet written by a science prof and composed of letters from 2 other science profs, 1 psych prof, and 1 MD). The MD one is weak because it's short, not printed on letterhead, and not glowingly positive (it's not negative either, however).

Basically, I'm wondering whether I should 1) do an SMP, 2) retake the MCAT, and/or 3) do all of the things that I have listed in planned/currently to become a stronger applicant for next cycle if I'll have to reapply. Thanks so much for your help!
Last edited:

N. Marin

Dec 22, 2013
Medical Student
Are you in the game for both MD and DO? If not, I suggest you give AACOMAS a shot as well.

Your GPA values aren't way off mark, but that sGPA in particular is a little damaging. I would not really recommend you to retake the MCAT but rather suggest you focus on bringing up your grades. An SMP would probably best help you do this.

Best of luck!
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Jan 2, 2014
Attending Physician
Some thoughts as someone who has interviewed applicants for residency, fellowship, and faculty positions...
1) GPA. With lower grades, a higher MCAT score becomes that much more important. Do you have the time/finances for a test prep course?

Basically, programs want to see that you took the time and effort to address any shortcomings in the initial application. An SMP provides an opportunity to show that your grades will continue to improve. Many people in SMPs will gain admission to med school, and to the host institution in particular. Some programs post their statistics online, and they can be pretty encouraging. Having said that, there are other ways to show continued improvement in grades, i.e. post-baccalaureate courses without a formal degree - which you could take while preparing for the MCAT and engaging in research or an interesting job. The only downside I see to an SMP is that it follows you around on your CV, indicating that you had reapplied to med school. While the med school admissions committees will generally know that this was the case, now your future residency/fellowship/faculty programs will see it as well.

2) Lukewarm LOR, and lack of a letter from your research advisor. I would advise obtaining some new letters if you reapply. I would ask someone if he/she has time to write a letter (ideally including your research advisor). And state if he/she does not, that you completely understand. That gives the person an "out" in case the letter would be unflattering.

3) That sounds like a good idea for a new personal statement - unique and interesting. Have someone review your new statement, who can give honest feedback.
Good luck!
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Urgent Care Physician
10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2005
Attending Physician
1. I would not take the MCAT over
2. You need better LOR's
3. Make sure your new PS isn't just a rehash of your clinical experiences, it needs to be about you, your journey, your future.
Jun 30, 2013
West Lafayette, Indiana
Medical Student (Accepted)
I agree with cabinbuilder and NRC. Your GPA and MCAT is not that bad. You have time, I would say do some volunteer in a couple of non medical related areas, 20-40 hour for each is enough. Definitely consider Osteopathic Schools. I would apply early next year, as early as you can. When you re-write your personal statement make sure you add new things and you didn't miss anything last time. I got 2 acceptances this year with Way lower MCAT and lower GPA. I did tour one of the schools earlier in the years and kissed their butt all the way. Also keep in touch with all the school you apply, show them you want them. I applied for 18 DO schools, and called everyone once a week and told them how much I wanted to be their student. Good luck.
Feb 4, 2014
Medical Student (Accepted)
I might take a few upper level science classes at a local university to bump up your GPA. I'm thinking about doing it, too. Only retake your MCAT if you can get >4pts on practice tests. Some schools average scores so financially, it doesn't make much sense for a 2 pt increase.