turayza

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Aug 31, 2012
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Trying to make a school list!

Background
Washington State resident
University of Washington senior
Biochemistry and Public Health majors
3.87 cGPA / 3.78 sGPA
31 MCAT (BS 11/VR 11/PS 9) on the Kaplan mock exam, taken without preparation. I have 5 months to study (target score 36 to 37, reasonably certain this is achievable)

ECs:
Clinical Volunteer
Hospital volunteer in Taiwan: hospice, emergency, neuro outpatient, cancer care – 3 months (full-time)

Physician Shadowing
Pulmonology/Sleep Medicine/Internal Medicine (same guy) – 40 hours
Family Medicine – 20 hours
Emergency Medicine – 35 hours
General Surgery, Radiology – 40 hours

Research
3 years, same lab. Currently writing manuscript , will be first author (don’t know if will publish by time of application) ; the research is on plants (?!)

Nonclinical Volunteer
Tzu Chi Foundation (international aid org) – 500+ hours
Teaching Public Health in a high school – 50 hours

Employment
University of Washington Orientation Leader – 1 summer (full-time)

Leadership
Social sorority – leadership positions, 4 years, 5 hours/wk  450 hours
Healthcare Alternative Spring Break (pre-health club, rural healthcare) – leadership positions, 230 hours

+a gap year of not-sure-yet, probably Americorps or clinical research. Won’t be included in my primary.

School list so far:
First Choice:
Feinberg (Northwestern)

Love:
Emory
Perelman (UPenn)
UC SF
UW (Seattle)
Baylor

Like:
UC SD
WashU
UMich
Columbia
Hopkins
Weill (Cornell)
Rochester
UW (Madison)
NYU
Boston U
Geisel (Dartmouth)

I’m looking for schools that either incorporate public health, small group learning or have service in their curriculum. Interested in pursuing an MD/MPH; all but three of the above have that joint program offered.

Schools where the curriculum (from MSAR) didn’t mesh with interests: Yale, Case Western, Vanderbilt, Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Duke, USC

Would appreciate any suggestions! Or if you want to crush my MCAT plans hahah :) Thank you!
 

amad01

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Aug 19, 2012
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you could've saved some time and just said you wanna apply to the top 20 schools

kaplan FL scores are crazy inflated... take some AAMC's to get a better idea ( IMO still unlike the real test). Even with a 36/37 score, that's a dangerous list...
 
Jun 6, 2012
91
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There are 4 schools in there that are not tippy top. one of them is BU which is swamped with applicans. The other is Dartmouth which has tiny class size. Ur OOS for a cali school (UCSD) and oos for UW. You need to thrown in more "lower tier" schools. Many who take the mcat often say that the practice questions are not as the same level of difficulty as the real test. All that said ull prob land close to ur AAMC avg or bit below but I think AAMCs are much better predictor here. Kaplan is often inflated with huge curves and question types that don't resmeble the real deal too well. I didnt kill it but I did alright with a 34 for what its worth. My 0.02
 
Jun 6, 2012
91
9
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
tbh eliminate UCSF,UCSD,UW. UMich takes 50% of applicants OOS so more doable. Lastly, someone else please chime in here, ur ECs are definitely solid and show you have been involved but for the caliber of schools which your list is almost exclusively composed of there isn't anything (yet) which screams Top 20 but a 1st author pub would be huge along with a solid MCAT. Like @amad01 said it really really comes down to your MCAT and even if you rock it broaden your list.
 

mcloaf

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Hard to say how reasonable a list this is without an actual MCAT score. Without ties to the region UWisc probably isn't worth it.
 

Catalystik

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Three months of international active clinical experience, albeit for many hours, isn't going to pass muster with a lot of US adcomms. I suggest you get some US experience interacting with sick folks for a few hours every week. Shadowing, being a passive activity, won't cover this expectation.
 

nemo123

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Jul 22, 2011
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^ Yep, agreeing with Catalystik here. Do you have any clinical experiences done within the US? If not, I suggest you find something clinical to do here.
 

seeinghowitgoes

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I concur with sghos…I would take off the schools that likely won't take somebody from OOS, and I would add a couple more mid-range schools. It's impossible to predict without personal statement and really knowing about each experience, but nothing jumps out as guaranteeing admission to a top-20 school (not to say it won't happen, just might be more of a gamble than a sure thing).

Also, might want to re-look into some schools on your list if you love public health. For example, Northwestern, UPenn, Baylor, and even UCSF aren't really known as the leaders in public health (at least in a purely academic sense, which of course you may not be as interested in) whereas Columbia, Hopkins, and the University of Michigan put out what is generally regarded as fantastic work. That's not to say there aren't opportunities at all those places (let's be honest, they are all fantastic institutions overflowing with resources), but just something to keep in mind,
 
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turayza

turayza

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Aug 31, 2012
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This is great, thanks! I will look into non-shadowing clinical exposure. The plan is Community Healthcorps for the gap year, but that won't be in the primary--my pre-med adviser told me that shadowing was enough clinical exposure since I had other volunteering -__-;

Do you think it is a waste of time/money for an OOS applicant to apply to the UC schools? And I didn't realize UWisc wasn't OOS-friendly, I thought about 1/3 of the students were OOS.

seeinghowitgoes: I'm interested in public health, but was choosing schools mostly based on the curriculum they described in the MSAR (and website). I will look further into this, thanks.
 
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turayza

turayza

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A little puzzled about what rankings to use for "mid-tier", but looked at 21 more schools and like the following:
University of Cincinnati
Tufts
George Washington
University of Minnesota
Penn State
Wayne State
Albany
Oregon
New York Medical College

Do these balance out the school list a little more, taking off the UCs and UWisconsin?
 

nemo123

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Jul 22, 2011
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It's hard to really gauge a school list for you without having an MCAT score to be honest. Applying to the UC schools wouldn't be a waste depending on how you do on the MCAT (also depends on which UCs you are thinking of).
 
Mar 28, 2013
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I think it was brought up that you shouldn't apply to UW? You're in region so you definitely should.
 

Catalystik

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I didn't realize UWisc wasn't OOS-friendly, I thought about 1/3 of the students were OOS.
I'd consider it friendly to OOSers, but you do need a convincing statement about why you're interested in it. You don't necessarily need ties to the state (though they may phrase the question that way), as I've seen them accept folks who claimed they wanted to locate to the midwest for XXXXX reason.
 
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turayza

turayza

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nemo: hahah alright, I'll be back after my scores are up...right as the application cycle begins :)

invis: I think they're referring to the University of Wisconsin.

Catalystik: Ah I see. Sounds good, thank you!
 

karayaa

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You don't have to do the MPH at the same school as your MD - you could take a gap year and go to any MPH program that accepts you.
That might give you more flexibility wrt schools.
Maybe look at school that are community based rather than teaching hospital-based to increase the public health perspective: eg EVMS, Rosalind Franklin, and there may be others.

Do you know what you want to do within public health? Administration, programming, epi, etc?
Urban schools in poor areas that focus on underserved, eg USC other schools like USC, might be good. Maybe Tulane also.
Or any school in NYC. Or TX schools near the MX border.
 

solitarius

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May 20, 2010
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I’m looking for schools that either incorporate public health, small group learning or have service in their curriculum. Interested in pursuing an MD/MPH; all but three of the above have that joint program offered.
These are pretty basic demands that can be found at any school. Service can be done even if it's not built into the curriculum.

Your profile sounds like you're an Asian female. Simply put, there's a ton of Asian (or white) applicants with 3.87 GPA and 37 MCAT who will be applying to the schools you're targeting. There's just no way you can get into those top-tier schools just on numbers. You should research MdApps to get an idea for what it takes b/c it's really rough out there these days. Look for Asian female profiles who detail their EC's at length.

Even for mid tiers, your service seems too light (in short bursts). Your most extensive EC is a social sorority. Seems like you want to do the minimum volunteering & clinical. Not saying that it's true, but it appears that way.

Would suggest you shore up your clinical & volunteering significantly before applying. Your first cycle is your best shot, so don't waste it. As it stands right now, I don't think you're even competitive for mid tiers.
 
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nemo123

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Jul 22, 2011
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nemo: hahah alright, I'll be back after my scores are up...right as the application cycle begins :)

invis: I think they're referring to the University of Wisconsin.

Catalystik: Ah I see. Sounds good, thank you!
Let us know what you score on the MCAT! And nice avatar.
 
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turayza

turayza

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Aug 31, 2012
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You don't have to do the MPH at the same school as your MD - you could take a gap year and go to any MPH program that accepts you.
That might give you more flexibility wrt schools.
Maybe look at school that are community based rather than teaching hospital-based to increase the public health perspective: eg EVMS, Rosalind Franklin, and there may be others.

Do you know what you want to do within public health? Administration, programming, epi, etc?
Urban schools in poor areas that focus on underserved, eg USC other schools like USC, might be good. Maybe Tulane also.
Or any school in NYC. Or TX schools near the MX border.
I know the MD/MPH don't have to be done together, but it would be fantastic if they could be... saves a little time since I already know that I intend to do both. I'm interested in policy/advocacy. Technically you don't need an MPH to be very involved but I spoke to a couple MDs who went back for MPH, and they said even if I love clinical work, if I'm interested in public health I will eventually drift back to get an MPH.

Thanks for the school suggestions, I'll take a look!
 
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turayza

turayza

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Aug 31, 2012
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These are pretty basic demands that can be found at any school. Service can be done even if it's not built into the curriculum.

Your profile sounds like you're an Asian female. Simply put, there's a ton of Asian (or white) applicants with 3.87 GPA and 37 MCAT, especially at the schools you're targeting. There's just no way you can get into those top-tier schools just on numbers. You should research MdApps to get an idea for what it takes b/c it's really rough out there these days. Look for Asian female profiles who detail their EC's at length.

Even for mid tiers, your service seems too light (in short bursts). Your most extensive EC is a social sorority. Seems like you want to do the minimum volunteering & clinical. Not saying that it's true, but it appears that way.

Would suggest you shore up your clinical & volunteering significantly before applying. Your first cycle is your best shot, so don't waste it. As it stands right now, I don't think you're even competitive for mid tiers.
Service can be done for all schools, but schools that explicitly talk about public health or service in their curriculum description or mission statement must have some special interest in them...yes? That is like saying that all schools are the same because you can do what you are interested in at any school.

I think you may have missed my volunteering with Tzu Chi Foundation, which has been 500+ hours over four years in undergrad, and who knows how many hours in high school before that. Taking that into account, does it still look like my service is in bursts? If so, which ECs look like they're brief engagements?
But agreed that clinical is lacking, looking for opportunities for engagement now :)


Let us know what you score on the MCAT! And nice avatar.
That reminds me to...go enjoy winter break with an MCAT prep book :) Thanks!
 

solitarius

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I think you may have missed my volunteering with Tzu Chi Foundation, which has been 500+ hours over four years in undergrad, and who knows how many hours in high school before that. Taking that into account, does it still look like my service is in bursts? If so, which ECs look like they're brief engagements?
Sorry for that. Your original note did not detail the length of service for the Tzu Chi foundation. Do clinicals in areas you're truly interested in, and avoid seeing them as a checkbox for your apps.

At this point, I think if you're looking for service built into the curriculum, you need to look beyond the "Top 20" because those schools build research into the curriculum like scholarly research projects.

Exceptions are there like Northwestern and UCLA's Drew program, but schools like Loyola, etc. might have more of what you're looking for. You are more likely to find that type of program in non-research intensive schools. As for public health, they all cover epidemiology in the curriculum, and I'm sure you can find a way to pair an MPH at most schools. Even schools without an MPH program have partnerships with MPH programs at other schools. Not a deal breaker, IMO.

Anyways, good luck. You just can't really appreciate how competitive the app cycle is until you go through it.
 
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turayza

turayza

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At this point, I think if you're looking for service built into the curriculum, you need to look beyond the "Top 20" because those schools build research into the curriculum like scholarly research projects.

Exceptions are there like Northwestern and UCLA's Drew program, but schools like Loyola, etc. might have more of what you're looking for. You are more likely to find that type of program in non-research intensive schools. As for public health, they all cover epidemiology in the curriculum, and I'm sure you can find a way to pair an MPH at most schools. Even schools without an MPH program have partnerships with MPH programs at other schools. Not a deal breaker, IMO.

Anyways, good luck. You just can't really appreciate how competitive the app cycle is until you go through it.
Thanks for the advice! I've been looking for schools that aren't as research-intensive, and it's helping narrow down the list quite a bit.
That's why I'm here! The uncertainty is exhausting...but it's good that schools want a person and not just stats :)