JeffSwag

2+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2016
57
40
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Hello!

Yesterday (8/9) I finally finished my AMCAS and received my MCAT scores. I submitted my primary app to Iowa (my in-state school) to get verification started -- I know I'm kind of late in the cycle but I plan to aggressively pre-write secondaries over the next month to hopefully be decently close to the Labor Day guideline for completion.

However, after a pleasant surprise on the MCAT, I'm starting to rethink my school list. I would be interested in top programs now that I know my stats, but question if my EC's (particularly clinical experience/shadowing) will make the cut. On the converse, I worry that some of the frequently recommended mid/lower tiers won't like my high stats. How would you recommend I balance this?

GPA: 3.92 cumulative, 3.9 BCPM
MCAT: 520 (129,131,130,130)
Major: Biochemistry and Spanish
Undergrad: Large public
Demographics: Iowa, White

Letters:
4 that should be super strong from science teacher/PI, another PI who is also an MD I shadowed, a non-science teacher, and the advisor for many of my extracurriculars and leadership positions, with 1 more that will just be an alright academic recommendation from a science teacher

Clinical:
-20 hrs shadowing (emergency, neurology and neonatology)
~150 hrs hospital volunteering (most "clinical" aspect was visiting patients and giving flowers/chatting)
-Unfortunately both the shadowing and volunteer experiences were during the summers and not in the same city where I go to school -- should I be looking to find a new place to add some more hours once I get back to school to be able to be able to talk about in interviews/update letters? All of you posters with 500+ hours of clincial experience have me paranoid :)

Research:
~130 hrs in a plant physiology lab (received small research grant from honors program)
~1000 hrs in biochemical research on neurological proteins (got a departmental research fellowship)
~400 hrs in a neurology lab (not sure if it's relevant but I did a lot of mouse brain surgeries that I loved and mentioned in my personal statement)
~I have done a poster from all three labs and a best poster award from the biochem lab.

Other volunteering:
~130 hrs giving campus tours and student panels
~35 hrs helping Spanish speakers practice English during a semester in Spain

Leadership/Involvement:
-Biochemistry club president
-Co-chair of a research symposium planning committee
-Vice President of Campus Visits (coordinating the tour/panel volunteers mentioned above)
-Academic chair on honors house council
-Orientation leader
-Learning community peer mentor
-Private spanish tutor

Initial School List:
Iowa (in-state)

Illinois
Wisconsin
Minnesota
Nebraska
Kansas
Indiana
(could I be competitive for limited OOS spots at these schools?)

MCW
Rosalind Franklin
Creighton
Loyola
Saint Louis

Wash U St Louis (DREAM school)
Mayo
Northwestern
Michigan


As you can see, I was originally leaning towards midwest schools, but now I could be lured away if I stood a realistic chance at some top 20's. I'd also be curious about any mid-tier places where I might be a good fit, but I can probably only apply to about 15-20 schools total. I'd love to hear any thoughts you have on schools I should consider adding or removing from the list! Thanks so much in advance!
 
Last edited:

EEtoPre-Med

2+ Year Member
Jun 30, 2015
266
248
Status
Medical Student
Your clinical volunteering seems okay not great but okay. But your shadowing is on the low side. My guess is this, you would actually have pretty good success applying to top 20's because of your stats and research. However, a lot of the other state schools are likely to not accept you because you are not a resident+ the lack of likelihood that you'll attend there. I say, apply to more top 20's and add more schools With high mcats like Pitt, Einstein, Sinai, etc. But go ahead and apply to Harvard, Yale, etc. It's worth a shot.

I would work in some time to do more shadowing before interview time. About 40 hours or so. That way you can talk about some more real clinical experience and discuss why you want to be a doctor.
 
OP
J

JeffSwag

2+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2016
57
40
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Your clinical volunteering seems okay not great but okay. But your shadowing is on the low side. My guess is this, you would actually have pretty good success applying to top 20's because of your stats and research. However, a lot of the other state schools are likely to not accept you because you are not a resident+ the lack of likelihood that you'll attend there. I say, apply to more top 20's and add more schools With high mcats like Pitt, Einstein, Sinai, etc. But go ahead and apply to Harvard, Yale, etc. It's worth a shot.
Thanks so much! I'm hoping Iowa will still pan out because I'm loving that in-state tuition, but kind of figured this may be where I'm at with the other in-state schools. Time to hit the MSAR!

I would work in some time to do more shadowing before interview time. About 40 hours or so. That way you can talk about some more real clinical experience and discuss why you want to be a doctor.
Good to know! I will definitely start searching around, but unfortunately don't know any doctors in my college town since we don't have a med school. Do you think I would have any shot emailing random doctors from the local hospital/clinic? Or would I be better off skipping class for a day to go back to my home town to shadow? Also with the timing of my app cycle, should I be hoping for interviews in like the November-ish time period?
 

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
You need more high stat schools. You have a very good shot at U of Iowa. Focus on OOS schools that you would seriously consider turning down your cheap IS tuition for.
RFU MCW Creighton types where your MCAT is above their 90th are not good choices for you with your stats.
 

EEtoPre-Med

2+ Year Member
Jun 30, 2015
266
248
Status
Medical Student
Thanks so much! I'm hoping Iowa will still pan out because I'm loving that in-state tuition, but kind of figured this may be where I'm at with the other in-state schools. Time to hit the MSAR!



Good to know! I will definitely start searching around, but unfortunately don't know any doctors in my college town since we don't have a med school. Do you think I would have any shot emailing random doctors from the local hospital/clinic? Or would I be better off skipping class for a day to go back to my home town to shadow? Also with the timing of my app cycle, should I be hoping for interviews in like the November-ish time period?
No idea when you should be looking for an interview. I have read a lot about this stuff on this forum but I am still an applicant this year myself. So your guess is as good as mine!

I would not email anybody. That doesn't work with shadowing in my experience. I'd go walk in some doctors offices and ask to shadow in the town that you currently reside. Go with the ones with the least paperwork because that sometimes can put off the experience another couple weeks.
 
OP
J

JeffSwag

2+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2016
57
40
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
You need more high stat schools. You have a very good shot at U of Iowa. Focus on OOS schools that you would seriously consider turning down your cheap IS tuition for.
RFU MCW Creighton types where your MCAT is above their 90th are not good choices for you with your stats.
Awesome, thanks for this advice!

No idea when you should be looking for an interview. I have read a lot about this stuff on this forum but I am still an applicant this year myself. So your guess is as good as mine!

I would not email anybody. That doesn't work with shadowing in my experience. I'd go walk in some doctors offices and ask to shadow in the town that you currently reside. Go with the ones with the least paperwork because that sometimes can put off the experience another couple weeks.
Great, I will get to work on that. Thank you and good luck to you this year too!!!