Sep 2, 2020
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Hi!

I am having trouble making a school list for this upcoming cycle. I know my stats are too low for T20s, but I may want to apply to a few. Do people have any suggestions on what I can do to improve my app. Should I retake MCAT? Should I apply next year?

GPA: 4.0 (from IVY LEAGUE)
MCAT: 514 (130/124/130/130) -> Extremely LOW CARS
Fluent in French, speak Spanish & Mandarin
ORM & from California

EC:
- NCAA D1 Athlete (500 hours)
- Medical assistant / shadowing physician in private practice (300 hours)
- General Chemistry TA (1 semester)
- Free Clinic Volunteer (300 hours) -> Free clinic volunteer near my school & traveled to El Paso Texas during summer to work in vocational center & shadow family medicine doctor!
- Tutoring refugee student (100 hours)
- Research analyst for a healthcare investment group (100 hours)
- Singing (musician) & volunteering in hospice (100 hours)
- French tutor (100 hours)

Research:
- Dermatology research related to COVID-19 (1 publication) & 100 hours
- Orthopedic research (Basic lab research & no publications) - 100 hours
- Undergraduate Poster Presentation in Biochemistry

School List:

Reach:
- UCLA
- UCSD
- Case Western
- UCSF
- Icann
- Cornell
- Stanford
- Harvard
- Mayo
- Duke
- UT Southwestern (Legacy)

Maybe have a chance???
- Brown
- Emory
- Dartmouth
- Tufts
- Albert Einstein
- Georgetown
- Wake Forest
- U. Pittsburgh
- UC Irvine
- UC Riverside
- UC Davis
- USC (Top Choice!!!)
- Kaiser
- Tulane
- University of Florida (I was interviewed as an early decision candidate)
- University of Miami
- UMass
- University of Colorodo
- Oregon Health & Sciences
- NYCM
- Thomas Jefferson
- Cali Northstate
- Cali Univ Sciences & Medicine
- UNC Chapel Hill
- Loma Linda
- U Wash
- George Washington
- Rush
- U Wisconsin
- U Rochester
- U Cincinati
- Ohio State
- BU
 
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Banco

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What was your CARS score on the practice tests? Would be worth a retake if you were consistently in the 129+ range and this was a fluke. Then again, a 514 is a solid score, even if a bit low for top 20 schools. You have good research and being a D1 athlete is going to catch some eyes too, so you can try to go for some reaches but don't expect too much. Your activities overall are great.

Of your list I think Rutgers is prob not worth it. Can and should be replaced with Jefferson, Temple, Drexel if you want that region. You should add about 5 or so more schools that are more in your target range.
 
Aug 20, 2019
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The 124 CARS score is a problem. If you can bring it up 3+ points, I'd retake it.
 
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What was your CARS score on the practice tests? Would be worth a retake if you were consistently in the 129+ range and this was a fluke. Then again, a 514 is a solid score, even if a bit low for top 20 schools. You have good research and being a D1 athlete is going to catch some eyes too, so you can try to go for some reaches but don't expect too much. Your activities overall are great.

Of your list I think Rutgers is prob not worth it. Can and should be replaced with Jefferson, Temple, Drexel if you want that region. You should add about 5 or so more schools that are more in your target range.
My CARS scores on the practice tests were 124,125,128,128...So not too good. I have one question - why do you say Rutgers is not worth it? Do you think going to an ivy league helps in getting into medical schools?
 

Banco

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My CARS scores on the practice tests were 124,125,128,128...So not too good. I have one question - why do you say Rutgers is not worth it? Do you think going to an ivy league helps in getting into medical schools?

Rutgers heavily prefers in state students; are you from NJ? And Ivy league prestige may help a bit admittedly but thats hard to quantify.

It seems like a retake might be risky if you hit 124 on the practice too. I wouldn't retake unless really confident and consistently scoring high.


If you want to aim for those top 20s, you can certainly apply, but you need understand they are reaches and should have 15-20 target schools too (mid tiers, your state schools).
 
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Aug 20, 2019
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I have heard many people tell me it is too risky to retake. So I am torn...
It's risky to apply with a 124 CARS score and at some schools this alone will be lethal. If you retake and your score doesn't improve, it isn't going to look good either. Practice some more and see if you can consistently get solid CARS scores.
 
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not an expert, but I've read enough on this forum that 4.0 GPA + D1 athlete is going to get you HUGE points
 

BRTC200

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Unfortunately, some schools may filter out anything below a 124 or 125 so you may run into that risk with a score like that. Conversely, it is also a risk for you to retake a 515 overall, especially if you weren't consistently scoring higher on practice exams. You'll actually likely have a fair shot at interviewing with a number of your reach schools with your stats and a cohesively put-together application, but it will always be a challenge in the end standing out from the rest of the pack who have stellar numbers; then again, I'm sure being a D1 athlete will benefit your application but to what extent I cannot say myself. Good luck!
 
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Im going to disagree with some of the other commenters here. 124 is not lethal check around some previous threads with adcom answers. CARS gets the most slack and retaking a 514 is too much of a risk. At 130s in the other sections missing 1-2 questions can significantly change score and with exam variability your strengths could be missed, it is too much of a risk getting lower.
 
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Ultravox Vienna

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Im going to disagree with some of the other commenters here. 124 is not lethal check around some previous threads with adcom answers. CARS gets the most slack and retaking a 514 is too much of a risk. At 130s in the other sections missing 1-2 questions can significantly change score and with exam variability your strengths could be missed, it is too much of a risk getting lower.
1000000% agree. Advising to retake just for CARS despite having 130s in all other sections is suicide. A 514 is still 89-90%ile and CARS is undoubtedly the most difficult section to improve. People always mention you'll get screened for a 124 but I've only ever found Georgetown to specifically mention <125 is not competitive. With a 4.0, multi-lingual, D1 athlete, and other ECs, you are more than fine.

I would rely on the experts for tailoring your list @Faha @Goro
 
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Goro

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- UCLA
- UCSD
- Case Western
- UCSF
- Icann
- Mayo
- Duke
- Brown
- Emory
- Dartmouth
- Tufts
- Albert Einstein
- Georgetown
- Wake Forest
- U. Pittsburgh
- UC Irvine
- UC Riverside (ONLY if you are from the Inland Empire)
- UC Davis
- USC (Top Choice!!!)
- Kaiser
- Tulane
- University of Florida (I was interviewed as an early decision candidate)
- University of Miami
- University of Colorodo
- Thomas Jefferson
- Loma Linda (ONLY if you are SDA or extremely devout Christian)
ADD:
U Cincy
OH State
U VM
Seton Hall
NOvaMD
U WI
TCU/UNT
Rochester
Miami
SLU
Western MI
Crieghton
EVMS
VCU
Rosy Franklin
Loyola

You do have a fair amount of donations on your list. I have modified it to be more realistic. "Shooting your shot"? They don't need the money...take your Mom our for Mother's Day once COVIUD is over.
 
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Feb 6, 2021
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My CARS scores on the practice tests were 124,125,128,128...So not too good. I have one question - why do you say Rutgers is not worth it? Do you think going to an ivy league helps in getting into medical schools?
We are almost score twins lmao. My CARS scores on FLs were 127 128 125 128, then I got a 128/125/130/130 on the real thing :(
 
Sep 2, 2020
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U Cincy
OH State
U VM
Seton Hall
NOvaMD
U WI
TCU/UNT
Rochester
Miami
SLU
Western MI
Crieghton
EVMS
VCU
Rosy Franklin
Loyola

You do have a fair amount of donations on your list. I have modified it to be more realistic. "Shooting your shot"? They don't need the money...take your Mom our for Mother's Day once COVIUD is over.
Thanks! Do you think I have any chance at brown, Dartmouth, emory, usc, ucsd? Those are my top choices and I dont want to get my hopes up haha!

Also do you recommend I retake the mcat to have a better shot?
 
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Thanks! Do you think I have any chance at brown, Dartmouth, emory, usc, ucsd? Those are my top choices and I dont want to get my hopes up haha!

Also do you recommend I retake the mcat to have a better shot?
Not an adcom, but there is of course always a chance, but with med schools you really can't say that you are "likely" to get in one school or another. IIRC, Brown favors their alumni heavily, Dartmouth is low-yield, and I think Emory is too but I don't really remember the numbers so don't hold me to that. MSAR is down on my end so I can't check.

Definitely apply to these schools when you're ready - but in general, nobody will tell even a 4.0/528 applicant to get their hopes up for any one school. I know that sounds really blunt and I'm sorry about that; having just gone through the cycle, I'll tell you that the schools I thought I had a chance at swiftly ghosted or rejected me (which sucked a$$), and the schools I was expecting a pre-II R from swiftly interviewed me (including 1-2 far out of my stat range). I'm still reeling from the whiplash! So just go into the cycle with an open mind, do your best, write secondaries and your PS like your life depends on it, and what happens will happen.
 
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Goro

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Thanks! Do you think I have any chance at brown, Dartmouth, emory, usc, ucsd? Those are my top choices and I dont want to get my hopes up haha!

Also do you recommend I retake the mcat to have a better shot?
Brown is quirky and the hardest to predict.

I believe that you are competitive for the list I gave you, for IIs. Getting accepted is 100% on you.

Do NOT retake the MCAT.
 
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