Request for Advice - International Student 514 MCAT, 4.0 GPA

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Apr 17, 2017
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Hello folks,

I'm an international (non-canadian) student hoping to attend medical school in the US. A little backstory - I moved to the US for undergrad in 2011 - got an engineering degree, and in my junior year applied to medical school with a 36 MCAT and a 3.9 gpa. I was accepted at one place and waitlisted at a few more. I couldn't attend because the school I got into required all 4 years' worth of tuition upfront in an escrow account - something not possible for me at that time.

Now, I have graduated from undergrad, got a masters degree in engineering (sponsored, which is why I got one). I still want to go to medical school - it has always been my goal. I took the new MCAT since my score expired, and scored a 514 (got scores today). My GPA now is 4.0. I have really great med device research experience (1500 hrs + w/ 1 first author pub hopefully in the next month), decent volunteering ~250 hrs, and decent clinical experience ~250 hrs. I REALLY wanted to apply this year since I'm not getting any younger, but I feel like as an international student, a 514 will hold me back. This is because most schools that accept international students are among the top 20. This is why I ask for advice - would you recommend me taking a drop year and reapplying? My primary is almost verified, and I have secondaries pre-written. I don't, however, want to 'waste' an application cycle if chances are relatively low. However, this time around I can meet the escrow requirement.

If I take a gap year, I will have to work an unrelated engineering job - since visa issues limit my job prospects. However, I am positive I can get a 518+ MCAT ( I got a 514 while studying for 2 months working 60+ hours a week, with no biochem course or psych background, so with a full year to go it should be better). I can also get more volunteering experience and more clinical experience.

If I apply this year, I am thinking of not applying to top schools with an MCAT above my score. My tentative list (from the MSAR) is as follows:

Saint Louis University
U Kentucky
Rosalind Franklin
SUNY Upstate
Stony Brook
U Hawaii
Penn State
U Connecticut

Any advice is VERY appreciated. Thank you!
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