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Round two of PS

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by rhettoric, May 15, 2008.

  1. rhettoric

    2+ Year Member

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    I'm not sure if this is in the right forum, but I'll try.

    I'm a post-bacc. I got good marks (3.80 for post-bacc classes and 33O on the MCAT), but things look dismal for this application cycle. I'm on two waitlists and a high priority waitlist but the other 17 schools I applied to rejected me.

    I interviewed with the director of admissions at one of the schools who waitlisted me to see why I had such an ugly response. He said the main thing was how late my application arrived to him (My secondaries were submitted in late september). I explained that I had actually submitted my amcas application much earlier but that they had lost one of my transcripts which caused a ten week delay before I resubmitted the missing one and was able to get verified. He said I had to take responsibility for the tardiness and make sure it didn't happen again. That's fine. Yesterday I started a 2009 app and am requesting transcripts today.

    This last year has been pretty much limbo for me with one frustration after another regarding my applications. I've tried to make the best of it though. I started working in a physical therapy office as an aide. It's not a glamorous research or shadowing job and the pay is lowly but I love the patient contact and every day I leave work knowing I helped people get healthy. I've also audited biochemistry and worked as a Teaching Assistant with a bit of tutoring on the side.

    My question is regarding my PS for the 2009 app. Should I explain what went wrong in 2008 and how I'm addressing it for this application? Should I focus on what I've done over the past year? Also, should I try to find work that's more applicable to medicine? Obviously I wouldn't mind a more lucrative job, but I'd like something where I can be helping patients and ideally make me a more attractive candidate. I'm nervous physical therapy isn't good enough for adcoms.

    Incidentally I have had research gigs in the past and I've spent over a year volunteering in an ER. I just like the clinic I work in a lot more because I have much more therapeutic contact with the patients.


    any help would be very much appreciated. thanks!
     
  2. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    In general, keep your PS positive. It's one thing if you had a deficiency in your application that you've been working on this cycle (e.g.: no clinical experience, so started volunteering). When the reason is late application or blind luck, I'd focus on the positive. In your case, if you feel the need to address it, I'd keep it to one line at most, along the lines of "After applying late in 2007 and receiving no acceptances, I....". Don't dwell. Focus on your strengths.
    You're fine. Most applicants who are in the working world do jobs not related to medicine at all. Don't do a job you're less excited about for less money just because you think it "looks" better. You have a gig with direct patient contact that you love. It doesn't get much better than that. You won't get any big leg up by being an EMT, medical assistant, or whatnot. You're fine.

    Best of luck with the new application cycle. It isn't any fun, but I think you'll see a lot more traction this time 'round with an earlier application.
     
  3. Kateb4

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    I think that you should keep your job. PT is a great way to get patient contact (better than changing adult diapers and beds as a nurses aid). As far as your PS goes, I don't think that you should comment on your last year's app. I think that you should focus on the positive things. If you were deficient last cycle in any way that you have corrected, point out the work that you have done this year. Can you talk to the adcom's at the other schools that you were most interested in to see why you were not accepted? This may give you other ways that you can improve your app, or at least show them that you are not deficient in areas that they may have thought weak.
     
  4. nontrdgsbuiucmd

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    Totally concur with this, specifically about not mentioning the reason for reapplying. I'm reapplying and have spoken with a number of admissions directors, THINKING that I knew the reason for the rejections. Almost every school surprised me with their thinking, each was a bit different in what they were looking for. If a single thing is mentioned in your PS (I am applying earlier this year) and the school rejected you last year due to lack of broad shadowing experience, they're unlikely to be impressed by an earlier application. I'd stay totally away from the "I know I wasn't good enough last year, but.." line until its brought up by the school, in favor of focusing on all the additional experiences gained over the past year.

    A different approach would be to speak with the schools, learn as much as possible about what each is looking for that you lacked last year, and send a separate note to each school (some will consider these, others not so much) explaining in detail how you've strengthened component x,y, & z after speaking with the school last year. Schools are swamped witih applicants, a note that allows them to "check off" the boxes showing your experience matches their criteria easily would go a long way. Unfortunately, September secondaries were really not that late to be applying, Colorado is among the most competitive state schools for out of staters & an out-of-state MS1 I spoke with months ago was accepted after turning in an October secondary. There may be other things that could be strengthened (I presume overall GPA is not too much lower than post-bacc gpa? LORs? etc)
     
  5. rhettoric

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    For grades in undergrad, I think I ended up with a 3.5. I was an English major. Nothing terrible, nothing fantastic (I got a C in chem freshman year, but as the ADCOM rep said when I met him that's pretty much ancient history). I've got good rec letters, including a glowing one from my current employer at the PT clinic.

    I'm honestly extremely perplexed as to why my application did so poorly. It's been a very frustrating season because of that. The idea to ask each school what I can improve and writing individual notes is a good idea. I'll work on that.
     
  6. nontrdgsbuiucmd

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    You'll be very surprised. personal examples: One school did not consider volunteer alumni work because it was listed under the Aamcas category "mentoring/coaching" rather than "community service", the school commented on the small amount of recent community service work. One school relies heavily on NON-MEDICAL volunteer work, feeling that medical volunteer work is primarily beneficial to the applicant, whereas community service shows altruism. One school commented on lack of leadership experience, despite a PS largely focused on starting a company and building it a top-performing 7-person entity over 4 years.

    My impression is that an app gets considered very quickly, and if it is not immediately clear that it "fits" the school, it is set aside. good luck!!
     
  7. What was your overall and science GPA after undergrad alone? And what were they after your post-bac work? That may be the problem.
     

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