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HI!

So, I kinda expected these results, but it still stinks. applied to 7, interviewed at 1, rejected at all. I think the worst two parts of my application were my GPA (per AMCAS BCMP 3.11, AO 3.06, Total 3.09) and my experience (I have two years working for a neurologist who specializes in Multiple Sclerosis and clinical research). The experience itself isn't bad, but I'm not interested in neurology, I'm interested in trauma/ER medicine.

Knowing that those are my weak points, wherever I go from here I need to be able to work on academics and more focused experience. According to GPA calculators, it would take ~77 hrs of 4.0 gpa at the Undergrad level to reach a 3.4 gpa overall. That would be ~3 more years of full time study, but I don't really want a second bachelors (I couldn't afford 77 hrs out of pocket, and to get financial aid you pretty much have to be in a degree granting program).
I've taken all the prereqs except the reccomend math (statistics, calc--I only have algebra, 1 semester) and microbiology. This means that a lot of the post bacc programs won't accept me. Of the ones that would, I'm a bit nervous--if I don't do well thats my last shot. Should I try for a regular masters first? I think it should be science related but I"m actually finding I'm not eligible for a lot of those b/c I don't have any anatomy/physiology, but I'm willing to take a few classes over the summer or fall if needed.

If I did a certificate granting post bacc program (not an MS program) would that be the same as taking a special masters program (ie: mess up and your done)?

Should I retake organic chemistry? I know it wouldn't have much effect on my GPA for allopathic schools, but I got Cs the first time through and I think that my poor preformance in chemistry is hindering me from exceling in other areas (my MCAT was only 29S the second time--23R the first). I am willing to apply to Osteopathic schools, I simply have NO experience with DOs.

Thanks everyone for your advice and support, this site is wonderful.

Ambam


/Random Rant ON
P.S. The career councelor from my undergrad college sucks--she suggested I cold call DOs until I find one to shadow, continue working full time, and take grad courses at my undergrad institution (out of pocket) until I can get accepted. She knew nothing of med school applications, and the one book they had on medical school essays was 6 years old. I highly dislike my undergrad institution.
/Random Rant OFF
 

jboz

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Is there a reason you applied to so few schools with such a low GPA?
 
Oct 9, 2009
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Well, I was basically figuring it all out on my own, so I applied to the schools that were 1) in a region I wanted to live
2) I met the requirements for (quite a few of the schools I liked wanted more math than I have
3) I had a chance at based on where I live(d), experience, or other factors (such as working there)
4) I preferred schools that used the AMCAS letter service since getting LORs turned out to be equivalent to suggesting the teachers get a root canal with no anesthetic. (I'm not sure why, but one teacher took ~3 months to write the letter)

A wider range would have been good, but I was trying to maximize my chances. My interview school suggested I get more experience in the area I want (actually what the guy said was "You don't know what your talking about, medicine isn't like that at all") and my "safety" (state) school said they would be more receptive to my application if I "took a few" graduate courses and did well (basically invited me to reapply AFTER a semester of full-time grad school)

So...a few reasons ;)

Ambam
 

ziggydoc

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Well, beggers can't be choosers. So OP you need to apply to 20+ schools next time around, also, apply to DO schools becuase you will be much more competitive there, and the end result is the same, you'll be a doctor. You need to bring up your GPA, so taking a post-bac/special masters is pretty much needed in your case. Experience isn't that difficult to come by, email local hospitals/docs and do volunteering/shadowing, and try to enjoy life, aka do other things besides medically related stuff.
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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Spend a year or a half a year retaking classes( ones you got a c- or less if science, or c or less in non science) and apply DO. If your interested in DO research go to the pre-osteo fourm and do a search for chocolatebear he has a lot of data on DO schools. Also feel free to ask me via PM about DO schools.

Otherwise your only chance is to apply for SMP's. With a 29 you might not be able to get into one, so you might need a few more points 1-3+
 
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Geekchick921

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A few thoughts...

1. I don't know when you applied this cycle, but next time, make sure you apply as early as possible.

2. The fact that the experience you have is in a field you're not interested in shouldn't matter. Most people change their minds anyway.

3. I think you would be better served taking more UG courses to raise your GPA than a masters (they count graduate GPA separately), but as you said, I think that's going to take a LOT of time to really get your GPA up).

4. Retaking organic wouldn't be a bad idea at all, if you're sure you can get in the A-range this time. Are you aware that the AACOMAS calculates GPA by completely replacing the grade of retaken classes? AMCAS only averages the two. If you are willing to take some time to retake your pre-reqs, at least, you will see a much larger improvement in your GPA with AACOMAS than the AMCAS.

5. Your counselor is right in that you should shadow a DO. Plenty of DO schools require an LOR from a DO. Many more recommend one. There is a link to a DO mentor database/search that I lost, but I'm sure someone else here has it, especially on the Pre-Osteo board. If nothing else, you can check this out. http://www.aacom.org/INFOFOR/APPLICANTS/BECOMING/Pages/ShadowaDO.aspx

6. Check out the Pre-Osteo and Re-Applicant boards.

7. I think DO is a good option for you. Better luck next time. :)
 

Law2Doc

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Spend a year or a half a year retaking classes( ones you got a c- or less if science or c in non science) and apply DO. If your interested in DO research go to the pre-osteo fourm and do a search for chocolatebear he has a lot of data on DO schools. Also feel free to ask me via PM about DO schools.

Otherwise your only chance is to get apply for SMP's. With a 29 you might not be able to get into one, so you might need a few more points 1-3+
Basically good advice. Honestly, you did yourself a disservice applying with a 3.09/29 -- that's the kind of numbers that mandates spending some time rehabilitating. Also the fact that the MCAT was a retake means that not all programs looked at it as a hard 29. So you didn't really make the cut on the numbers game, in a field where the average matriculant has something like a 3.5/31. With your numbers, I would have suggested 20+ applications with a heavy concentration on the programs that aren't toward the top of the US News research ranking. That you got 1 interview out of 7 says you actually have something non-numerical going for you, which is good.

If I was in your shoes, I would (1) spend a year taking/retaking undergraduate science courses. Do what you can to bring that total GPA up a bit. Take things at a pace that you can ace them. Use your spare time to bolster your health related ECs, even if we are talking volunteering a few hours a week at a hospital ED. Once you have brought your undergrad GPA up a bit, reassess and see whether you are ready to apply or whether you would still benefit from topping it off with an SMP (graduate program used to prove yourself to med schools). Then apply very broadly -- I'm thinking 20+ schools with none of them being a program that appears in the top 25 on US News research ranking. And unless you have an ideological opposition to DO, you may want to take a look at those boards and see whether that might be a path to pursue as well. The fact that you got one interview means you probably could rehabilitate and fix things. The things I see that you have going against you are (1) low GPA, which you can fix, (2) low MCAT (which is also a retaken MCAT). I'm not sure I would retake unless you are scoring substantially higher on every practice exam, because honestly if you score a 29 or below it hurts you to have gone to the well 3 times and not gotten into the above average region, (3) inadequate number of applications, maybe not well targeted, (4) now you are a reapplicant -- this can be a surmountable hurdle, but some places will look at your application differently. Unknowns are how you do at interviewing, what your PS and LORs looked like, etc. Spend the time fixing the GPA for now.

The one thing you don't want to do is rush things. Rehabilitating your GPA will take time. You already f%(ed yourself by rushing things, first with the initial MCAT (which presumably you took before you were ready), and then with applying when most on here would tell you your GPA wasn't on par (particularly if you were applying to only 7 places). Adcoms are going to be really concerned with what appears to be a pattern of "winging it". This process rewards folks who take the time to do things right and then, and only then, take calculated leaps. Line up all those ducks in a row before pulling the trigger. So plan on a longer path, with at least a year sitting out of the application process IMHO. Then apply with a stronger GPA, a bit more in the health EC section to show you have dedication to this path, and no more rushing or missteps. And apply to a TON of places and maybe some DO too. And see what happens. You can still be a doctor, just don't be your own worst enemy and try to rush forward before everything is in place.
 
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Thanks for the great advice. I'm concerned that I don't have the knowledge to do this properly myself, and so a structured program would be good, but is taking a post bacc certificate program the same as taking a masters? I'm considering applying to this one http://ucollege.wustl.edu/programs/special-programs/post-baccalaureate-pre-medical-program (washington university, Post bacc program, St. Louis, MO). I've spoken once with the admissions person and she said that the GPA can be waived if the rest of the application is strong (I have at least one excellent LOR (the physician I work for) and some strong ECs). I think I would be able to repeat some of the needed courses, and add additional science courses while getting MCAT and application help. They also are near the DO school in Kirksville, so I should be able to find out more about those programs (DO sounds cool, I've just never met one) . Is this program a good idea for me? If not, does anyone know of "professional" advisors that could help me develop a plan for study and application? Despite all the help from SDN I still feel somewhat lost/overwhelmed.

Thanks!
 

Geekchick921

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Post-bacc work is undergraduate courses, so it will count towards your undergrad GPA. :)
 

Drexon

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Hmmm interesting post bac from looking at their curriculum it seems to be geared more towards a person who hasn't had their science pre-reqs finished or perhaps a person who has majored as a non-science. From my friends description of post baccs .. there seems to exist two types (according to her) one geared more towards students who did not major in science as a undergrad and one is geared more towards students who did major as a science but messed up during college which resulted in a low gpa.

So that being said i'm not sure if this might be the correct program for you since i believe you fit in the later. i would double check with people in charge to make sure that this program would fit you and would truly benefit you. Otherwise if this doesn't work out you could always do a SMP like Georgetown or BU . Or perhaps posting / checking the post bacc forums here to get more of your answers fulfilled.

Best of luck out !
 
Jul 21, 2009
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Thanks for the great advice. I'm concerned that I don't have the knowledge to do this properly myself, and so a structured program would be good, but is taking a post bacc certificate program the same as taking a masters? I'm considering applying to this one http://ucollege.wustl.edu/programs/special-programs/post-baccalaureate-pre-medical-program (washington university, Post bacc program, St. Louis, MO). I've spoken once with the admissions person and she said that the GPA can be waived if the rest of the application is strong (I have at least one excellent LOR (the physician I work for) and some strong ECs). I think I would be able to repeat some of the needed courses, and add additional science courses while getting MCAT and application help. They also are near the DO school in Kirksville, so I should be able to find out more about those programs (DO sounds cool, I've just never met one) . Is this program a good idea for me? If not, does anyone know of "professional" advisors that could help me develop a plan for study and application? Despite all the help from SDN I still feel somewhat lost/overwhelmed.

Thanks!
1. Go for this or other Post Bacs. If you don't get in simply take science courses at your University for a year.
2. In addition, get experience in ER if you're going to tell adcoms you're interested in it.
3. Do a random non-academic extra-curric or two.
4. IF you think you can do 30 or better on MCAT retake.
5. Be in the position to apply EARLY for next year
6. Have professionals look over your Personal Statement.
 

Law2Doc

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5. Be in the position to apply EARLY for next year...
I'd say to do any sort of decent grade rehabilitation you won't be in any position to apply for next year and may have to skip a cycle. See my comment on rushing things, above.
 

SoulinNeed

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Even applying DO won't be easy with your GPA (not bad with your MCAT [2nd time I mean]), but definitely retake classes and get As, and shadow a DO. Hopefully, you'll get into one and be a doctor in some years time. Good luck!
 

BenUstudent

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I agree with SoulinNeed. Retake the pre-req classes and take Anatomy and physio as well. IMO I would also consider shadowing a couple D.O.'s and at some point ask for a L.O.R.
go here http://www.osteopathic.org/directory.cfm to find a D.O. in your area.
Best of Luck, ambam
 

JJMrK

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I'll throw in my 2 cents here.

The biggest thing that I see right off the bat is your set of numbers, which are, to be honest, not good. Your MCAT score is sufficient but below average. Combined with a very low GPA, it's not enough.

On to the good news: I think your situation is very salvageable. Since DO schools replace grades, spend a few semesters retaking classes you did poorly in. You can bring your GPA up in a hurry doing this. While you're at it, take calculus and statistics. Those are fairly easy classes and there's no reason to limit yourself so fundamentally in your school selection. Retaking the MCAT is another possibility. If you do 3-4 months of solid studying there's a very good chance your score will improve; only take the actual thing again though if you can consistently hit the low 30's on practice tests.

When you are ready to reapply (which I think ideally will be in a few years), be sure you submit your application as soon as it is available, and to 20-30 schools.
 

CapnCrunch

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First, do not lose hope! If this is the path you truly wish to travel, then do not waiver...

You were able to get an interview at least (state school?) and many here would not have predicted such.

It seems as though DO schools might be your best shot and for that, I would recommend getting in touch with a DO doctor and eventually having him write you a letter of rec since some DO schools require them. Besides that, you'll need to beef up the semester grades and retake sci classes you did especially poor in (DO allows the grade to be replaced as many have mentioned here). Then, reevaluate your current LORs, personal statement, etc... and see if anything could be improved and then do it. You have a year to reapply (at least), so make sure you submit the app ASAP when it's available and that you're ready to go in all other aspects. Otherwise, I'm sure you'll post later anyways!

Good luck! :luck:
 

mvenus929

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/Random Rant ON
P.S. The career councelor from my undergrad college sucks--she suggested I cold call DOs until I find one to shadow, continue working full time, and take grad courses at my undergrad institution (out of pocket) until I can get accepted. She knew nothing of med school applications, and the one book they had on medical school essays was 6 years old. I highly dislike my undergrad institution.
/Random Rant OFF
I don't see how that's bad advice. Except that I don't think grad courses are going to do you much good... it's your undergrad GPA that's the problem. But you should call DOs to see if they'll allow you to shadow, and you need to do something to beef up your application. If your ONLY experience is with the neurologist, you have a problem... you should have at least 5 solid ECs (2-3 of which should be clinical).

Also, when you're doing your application, you should be using the space they give to describe your ECs to explain how doing that experience will make you a good doctor.

2) I met the requirements for (quite a few of the schools I liked wanted more math than I have
Do the extra math courses. It'll allow you to apply to more schools and should help bring up your science GPA.

4) I preferred schools that used the AMCAS letter service since getting LORs turned out to be equivalent to suggesting the teachers get a root canal with no anesthetic. (I'm not sure why, but one teacher took ~3 months to write the letter)
There are only a handful of schools that don't participate in the letter service, so this really shouldn't be a limiting factor for you, but if you're that paranoid, get a Interfolio account. Professors are busy, and don't always have the time to sit around and write you a letter. I had good experiences in general, in that my professors were very enthusiastic about writing me letters (as was my supervisor at work... I asked her to write one, and she had uploaded it half an hour later).
 

GoWiththeFlo

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The OP stated in his initial post that in order to get his undergrad GPA up to 3.4 he would need an additional 77 hrs of undergrad classes. Given those facts, that might be a tall order, and he would have to get A's in all classes to do so, so he stated.
I am just wondering if he should stop tinkering with his undergrad GPA and do some sort of a Masters, this way the schools will see the separate GPA's, and if he does real well, which we assume he will, it shows an upward progression and that he can do the Med school program. Perhaps a Med School will average the 2 programs. Any comments on this thought?
 

mvenus929

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The OP stated in his initial post that in order to get his undergrad GPA up to 3.4 he would need an additional 77 hrs of undergrad classes. Given those facts, that might be a tall order, and he would have to get A's in all classes to do so, so he stated.
I am just wondering if he should stop tinkering with his undergrad GPA and do some sort of a Masters, this way the schools will see the separate GPA's, and if he does real well, which we assume he will, it shows an upward progression and that he can do the Med school program. Perhaps a Med School will average the 2 programs. Any comments on this thought?
I don't know from experience, but I've heard that schools don't look at Master's degree classes as much as they do undergrad classes. So, he'd have a separate GPA, but it wouldn't amount to much unless it was a SMP (whereby he actually takes med school classes).
 

GoWiththeFlo

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I don't know from experience, but I've heard that schools don't look at Master's degree classes as much as they do undergrad classes. So, he'd have a separate GPA, but it wouldn't amount to much unless it was a SMP (whereby he actually takes med school classes).
Would like to hear from someone who went to Grad School, not SMP, with experience applying to Med School. Thanks.
 

GoWiththeFlo

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Please accept my apologies, was not trying to be rude to you, very much appreciate your opinion, just wanted to hear any actual experience. Again, my apologies, did not mean it that way.
 
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Hi! So I got smart....I knew my so called advisor sucked...so I started looking for options for other advisors...I found this site http://www.naahp.org/ and checked the list of participating schools...since my school DOESN'T have a certified advisor, I contacted them through the request form. With in hours I had a response, and the gentleman is reviewing my AMCAS application and will be meeting with me over the phone Tomorrow. Awesome.
I've also posted in the Post-bacc forum as reccomended. I think I'll be doing post bacc, just have to decide what programs to apply to.
When applying to post bacc, how many programs did you/should you apply to? 1? 3? 5? more?

Thanks all!!

Ambam (who is actually female, not that it matters much)
 
Oct 9, 2009
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I believe (prior to talking to the adviser tomorrow) that I will be applying to (in order of preference) the following post bacc options:

Washington University (St. Louis)
UT at Dallas

And 2/3: Penn, Oregon, UC Berkley

If you have an opinion for or against this plan or any of those programs, please let me know.

Ambam
 

bringindafunk

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I took one course through their extension program but it was informal. I'm not sure they offer an official postbac. I would definitely reconsider and go with some schools with good linkages. All the UCs and CSUs are relatively independent... in that you make what you want out of the situation.
 

ucsfstudents

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Sorry you find yourself in this situation. I would recommend these:

1) Do not repeat any undergraduate courses (it won't matter)
2) Do a postbac (if you can afford it); shoot for A's
3) Take upper division courses in biology to demonstrate that you a) now know how to study effectively b) can learn the material well
4) Apply to at least 20 schools next time

Good luck!
 
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Sorry you find yourself in this situation. I would recommend these:

1) Do not repeat any undergraduate courses (it won't matter)
2) Do a postbac (if you can afford it); shoot for A's
3) Take upper division courses in biology to demonstrate that you a) now know how to study effectively b) can learn the material well
4) Apply to at least 20 schools next time

Good luck!

1) Why won't it matter? Wouldn't I be showing I could do the coursework and that my initial low grades were due to something other than my abilities? Also, don't DO schools do grade replacement?

2) thats the paln
3) in the post bacc

4) Will do. On another note, how did/do people pay for all those applications? I don't have much in the way of savings or Credit cards (and less after the last application cycle), do you take out loans? or some other method? If you got a loan, how hard was it to qualify? Are there banks/CU/etc that are open to loans for applying to school?
 

MiniMoo

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1) Why won't it matter? Wouldn't I be showing I could do the coursework and that my initial low grades were due to something other than my abilities? Also, don't DO schools do grade replacement?
I'll try to answer this question. I think he was saying it "won't matter" because retakes just get averaged into your GPA for allopathic schools. If you got less than a C, I would definitely retake if it's a prereq and would probably retake even if it's not. But to show real mastery of the material, you would ideally take more advanced courses in the same subject. Yes, DO schools do grade replacement, so retaking courses and doing better will most definitely make you more competitive when applying.

In all honesty, if you're not adverse to DO, I think that would be your best bet. Going the MD route, while not impossible, would be much more costly in terms of money and time. Not only would you have to invest in retaking the MCAT, but you would also need to do intensive post-bacc and/or an SMP. By retaking classes, you could improve your GPA in a very short amount of time for DO programs. Raise it up to ~3.3-3.4 and I think you'd be good to go. No MCAT retake needed. Just find a DO to shadow and get a letter before applying.
 
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Go DO

I have one lone acceptance and a ton of waitlists. The waitlists are MD schools and my lone acceptance is from a DO school. I only applied to one DO school and I didn't even have experience shadowing a DO or a DO recommendation (but I also had better stats than you).

I know people with stats like yours who got into multiple DO schools. If you're serious about being a physician I would do it. Just make sure you get in some shadowing and a recommendation from a DO. It's really the better route to go in your situation.
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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Go DO

I have one lone acceptance and a ton of waitlists. The waitlists are MD schools and my lone acceptance is from a DO school. I only applied to one DO school and I didn't even have experience shadowing a DO or a DO recommendation (but I also had better stats than you).

I know people with stats like yours who got into multiple DO schools. If you're serious about being a physician I would do it. Just make sure you get in some shadowing and a recommendation from a DO. It's really the better route to go in your situation.
I echo this. DO's are very big on EM( emergency medicine) some DO schools match over 1/3rd of there class into emergency medicine.
 
Oct 9, 2009
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Hi,

So I just got off the phone with a GOOD adviser. Guy is awesome, has more experience than I can count wife is on an admissions committee for med school, etc etc.

Here's the thing: His advice was NOT what I expected. Everyone has been pushing me to retake classes and work on GPA, and he didn't really stress that. He said "if you can take some upper classes and get a few A's great, but you really need to get more hands on". Basically, his concern was with my ECs, and that I either didn't have the hands on experience that was needed or else I was doing a poor job of describing the experiences.

He suggested things like working for hospice, getting a nursing assistant certificate (and using it), or doing work with programs like planned parenthood.

He also totally destroyed my personal statement. Wish that had been done by my old adviser. Or any of the 6 or so people I had read it :(

On the upside, He's all for DO, thinks I should talk to the local DO school (there's one in my city) about my application and if they think I should apply this year or work on it for a year first.

It was interesting advice, and now I'm stuck. Should I still try for a post bacc program? Would I be better off seeing if I can cut back on work hours to get more hands on experience here? Should I find a different job entirely?

The only thing I really impressed him with was when he asked if I was applying this year, I said "no, I don't feel that I've significantly changed my application from last year". He said it was very rare for students to say that and to recognize that rushing to get an app out there isn't always the best choice.

SO, if you were told that the worst part of your application was your EC's, what would you do to improve it?

thanks,

Ambam
 

drizzt3117

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Let's do a quick reality check.

http://aamc.org/data/facts/

If we average your two MCAT scores, which many schools will do, only 16.8% of applicants with your stats were accepted to medical school. If we give you the benefit of the doubt and use your higher score, ~25% did.

Your MCAT (using the highest score only) is 1 SD below the average matriculant and your GPA is more than two SDs below the average.

What do you think is the problem here? You could get 234908238 hours of clinical experience and you still wouldn't be a competitive applicant. All you're going to do is waste your time and money doing this unless you quantitatively and qualitatively improve your application.