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Reapplying, Can anyone help?

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by mzylstr1, Apr 13, 2012.

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  1. mzylstr1

    mzylstr1 2+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2012
    Hey All,

    This is my first post and first time using this web-site. I went through my first application last year on my own, everything was a little hectic because I was just returning from a year in Germany studying abroad.

    I applied to 15 schools, was interviewed at 3, of which I was denied at 2 and waitlisted at UMDNJ-NJMS

    Could anyone help me brainstorm what weak points there may have been in my application?

    science gpa 3.7
    overall gpa 3.7
    MCAT 34N
    Phys 14
    Bio 11
    Verbal 9


    Two semesters of research: over 400 hours
    I had no shadowing until after my amcas was out because I was abroad for the entirety of my junior year, but I shadowed about 100 hours by the time I interviewed
    Active in athletic clubs

    My AMCAS was verified late. The spring semester in Germany doesnt end until mid July, and I took the MCAT about 4 weeks after returning, so it was verified mid september.

    Its looking like i'll have to reapply, so here are my real questions:

    What could have gone wrong in my case?
    Where should I be looking to apply this second round?
    What should I hurry up and do beforehand?
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  3. sector9

    sector9 Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2011
    SDN Author
    hSDN Alumni
    Moved to "What are my chances?"

    I don't see any clinical volunteering, clinical employment, or clinical research listed. There's your problem
  4. huskydock

    huskydock MS4 5+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2012
    Could be a number of reasons, but I'll take a shot:

    1) You didn't apply broadly enough. Your list of schools might've been too top heavy (no way to tell unless you tell us which schools you applied to).

    2) The fact that you had no shadowing until the interview and what appears to be no clinical experience whatsoever (volunteering at a community clinic, hospice, hospital, in any medical/clinical capacity, etc)

    3) You applied pretty late.

    4) Weak personal statement or weak interviewing skills


    Apply EARLY. Apply broadly. And start getting some clinical experience. You have the numbers, but you don't have any evidence to show ADCOMs that you know what you're getting yourself into. Well, except that you did get the 100 hours of shadowing. But I'm assuming by then, you were already weeded out of the pile of applications since the experience came so late.
  5. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Adding to huskydock's list:
    5) You may have had legal issues or an Institutional Action that adversely affected decision making.

    6) The tone of your PS or essays may have been "off", or not crafted with the necessary care.

    7) Red flags may have been raised by LORs.

    Besides the serious concern raised about no clinical experience, did you fail to list nonmedcial community service? What about leadership and teaching?

    Did you discuss the shadowing at the interview? Did you send in an update letter so the information was in your file (just in case the interviewer didn't pass it on)?

    Other than the shadowing, how else have you improved your application since last applying?
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  6. NYCMS2

    NYCMS2 2+ Year Member

    Sep 14, 2011
    Not enough clinical - no volunteering (if I am reading it correctly) is the kiss of death.

    Shadowing after the AMCAS submission in your first cycle was a problem, too. The expectation of adcoms is that the PS and the motivation to become a doctor is reflected in your PS by activities done BEFORE you applied, not after. Otherwise, what exactly did you write about in your first PS? With no volunteering, what are you going to write about in this cycle's PS?

    Not to be too harsh, but why haven't you fixed this volunteering problem already? You may be repeating the very same mistake, applying with no volunteering - I didn't make the rules, but when I figured them out, I sure as hell followed them...
  7. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    I'm curious about this, too.
  8. mzylstr1

    mzylstr1 2+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2012
    My father had major back surgery a few years back - a disc replacement - which impacted all of our lives. My PS discussed the events surrounding the surgery and how it came to shape my decision to enter medicine.

    Any suggestions for volunteer? I live in a very rural town, more than an hour from any hospitals. I applied for a volunteer job there anyway, but they refused based on their minimum 6 month commitment.

    The reason I have no volunteer is that I've always held a job through and since high school, usually about 20 hours a week.
  9. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Any local skilled-level nursing home, home hospice care, clinics (private, family-planning, low-income, public health, VA), rehab facility?
  10. Mazdave

    Mazdave 2+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2011
    I had a similar situation to the OP where I was in a rural area with no local clinics/healthcare facilities that accepted volunteers, and the local hospital actually required a commitment of a year for volunteers -- I got into med school with 100% of my volunteer hours being non-clinical. However, this situation just means you need to be more creative. I'm sure that there are still community organizations in your area that provide social services to those in need (like cold weather shelters, food banks, soup kitchens, etc.), and most would only take a few hours a week.
  11. Jamie561

    Jamie561 5+ Year Member

    Sep 2, 2011
    No volunteering + no clinical volunteering + below average research + no shadowing = no MD.
  12. NYCMS2

    NYCMS2 2+ Year Member

    Sep 14, 2011
    No offense, but this is a weak sauce rationale for deciding to become a physician - i.e., not very persuasive to a reader.

    Your lack of volunteering and other clinical experiences with actual patient interaction is a red flag to adcoms - how do they know you have any idea what you are getting into when you haven't done even the most basic investigation of the field of medicine.

    Clinical experiences are the foundation of a good PS, and thus essential for a successful application.
  13. weezynation

    weezynation 5+ Year Member

    Jul 8, 2011
    OP, I agree with NYCMS2. I actually had a very similar experience as you and that is the basis for my personal statement. My dad had emergency back surgery for a herniated disk so I put the reader in my shoes with everything that happened, his recovery, and how it made me want to be a physician. However, this was merely when I decided to be a physician. After that, I explained how my shadowing and clinical volunteering allowed me to really see if the profession was for me. I am a reapplicant now and had an interview, and both of my interviewers both commented on how great my personal statement was. The reason I didnt get more interviews and got waitlisted then rejected at that school was because of my terrible mcat. So, I think you had a good basis for why you decided you want to go into medicine, but to an adcom, you had not truly investigated if this is the profession for you. There are a lot of people who like the idea of becoming a physician but once they see what it actually entails, they change their mind. Med schools are not going to take a chance on someone who may change their mind. Now that you have some shadowing under your belt, you should be a stronger applicant. Applying as late as you did (although it was not under your control) really hurt you as well. As someone else said, apply early and broadly, and tweak your personal statement to make sure adcoms know you dont have this very superficial idea of medicine; make sure they know you've investigated your future career and made your final decision to pursue medicine based upon that.

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