Mar 24, 2010
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I want to see if I am competitive enough to apply for the 2011 cycle, so I would appreciate any responses (be honest!) to my questions. Thank you!

- CA resident, currently junior at UC school, Major: Biomedical Engineering
- cGPA: 3.35 for all university classes (sGPA don't know how to calculate it)
I have taken 5 classes (got all A's but they're non-science) at a community college, but I am not sure how to factor those into a GPA calculation

MCAT: 11PS, 10VR, 10BS (31O) (considering taking it again)

Extracurricular: (Assuming only from college and beyond)
- Research: I have been working with a cardiologist professor for about a year now. I have written a few papers with him but publication has not been approved yet (is this worth anything then?)
- My research lab has health fair events where I volunteered (7 hrs)
- Student Council : 2 years with various volunteering and organizing events
- Hospital Volunteering: I am currently working on this (started in February this year), and I will have 100-140hrs before I apply. I am working with hospital transport, so I do get plenty of patient contact (I know that the short-timespan of my volunteering immediately before the application is probably some sort of red flag, so I'd like some feedback on this)
- Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society since Freshman year: required about 6 hrs. of volunteering

I am looking to shadow an associate of my research professor (a pulmonologist) and hopefully get a LOR from him before I apply in June/July.

Bottom line:
Am I competitive enough to get into a medical school for the 2011 cycle? What should I do to better my chances?

Thank you for reading my VERY long post
 

canjosh

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sGPA is all biology, chemistry, physics, and math courses ever taken. CC courses count equally in the GPA--just calculate 'em in with the rest.

As J Dub referred to--you're cursed by your state of residence. I think you might be ok to apply DO this year with that MCAT score. Perhaps a DO expert has a different opinion though. Does your GPA have an upward trend? Any glaringly bad grades, or just a lot of Bs?

You'll still report your research experience--if you publish--huge bonus.
 
Mar 24, 2010
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It's just a lot of B's unfortunately, so not much has changed over the past year.

In regards to my state, does the state I live in significantly affect my chances, or is it the state I plan to apply to?
 

shepardsun

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Feb 5, 2010
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The unfortunate situation that J Dub and canjosh are referring to stems from the fact that public California schools do not display the behavior of most in-state public schools. If you lived in Arizona, where I do, your stats would be decent enough to probably snag you a spot at the University of Arizona. Not so for any of the UC med schools, as they are uniformly competitive schools with great reputations that see, on average, somewhere around 3-4k in-state applicants alone. ULCA had 6k in 2008. My in-state school had about 600 in-state applicants. With each UC school giving about 100 spots to ISers, you can do the math for yourself. So you find yourself in the difficult situation of having a public school system that is just as difficult, if not more-so, to get into than a private OOS school. And where your stats might be good enough to get into a different state's public school were you a resident, you will be classified as OOS for all other schools and your chances go waaay down from there. So as the two previous posters recommended, I would either get comfortable with applying to DO school (nothing wrong with that) or take a year to do some major work on your application.
 
Mar 24, 2010
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Thank you for clearing up that state issue...I've heard about this but never really got why California was specifically so hard to apply in.
How much of a percent do your chances go down applying out of state? I've seen it is about 30% max of a school is OOS, can you confirm that?
 

bravofleet4

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if you can get ahold of an MSAR book you'll can look at the relevant states for every medical school. Yes, you are a little bit at a disadvantage applying as an OOS and being in California I would recommend applying to 20+ schools. That's not a problem though b/c there are many reputable schools out there that accept out of staters in large numbers. If you examine the numbers closely, you'll notice a few things.

1. some schools accept OOS in large numbers meaning they make up a significant portion of the matriculating class (>40%).
2. however those same schools receive as much as 10x the number of OOS applicants as in-state applicants. This means that being out-of-state you're competing with a much larger pool and have to higher than average stats for much fewer interview spots.
3. once you get an interview, though, even as an OOS applicant, your chances can vary from 30% to as high as 60% (which almost as high as in-state applicants).

no matter what you have a MUCH HIGHER CHANCE of getting in another state than getting in california. this does apply to you specifically but for all california applicants. people with fantastic stats get rejected from the UC's.

in your case, i would recommend waiting another year and bringing up your GPA. That might be more doable than trying to raise your MCAT. Also it's clear you could benefit from more extracurriculars. If you manage to get published it would be a great boon to you and you can get in shadowing as well.
 
Sep 4, 2006
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Here is a GPA calculator to help you figure your overall application GPA:
http://medschool.ucsf.edu/postbac/pdf/AMCAS%20GPA_Calculator%20Version%204%20Final.xls

From the looks of it, your cGPA is well below the median of those accepted to med school of 3.65. I'd strongly suggest at least another year of GPA repair, as your MCAT is not strong enough to compensate (except at some DO schools). Aim for straight As, as every B you earn sets you back again.

Your clinical experience will be weak (for MD and DO expectations) as about 1.5 years of such involvement is typical. Nonmedical/noncampus community service would help you. Try to get involved in a regular weekly activity. You have leadership and an average amount of research. You need the shadowing and already plan on it, but for some DO schools you need a DO LOR, so strategize to acquire one. In many respects you'd benefit by waiting a year and beefing up your application.
 
Mar 24, 2010
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Thanks Catalystik for the GPA calculator, with it I was able to revise my GPAs:
cGPA 3.47
sGPA 3.45
I can see that this isn't much of an improvement (comparing to the 3.65 average), but I wanted to ask again if this would significantly improve my chances for the 2011 cycle.
 
Sep 4, 2006
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I think the recalculation certainly helps you. You're now at the average for those accepted to DO schools. If you retook the MCAT and got a 33, you'd have a shot at the less-selective MD schools.

But there is still the issue for either pathway of not having sufficient exposure to medicine yet. Having 4-6 months of last minute clinical experience isn't going to impress any adcomms, especially when you have no overriding strength in another area. If the research you did was clinical, where you worked one-on-one with sick people, that would change my opinion, as that activity would augment the hospital volunteering.

Having a year of research is average. Most have shadowed 2-3 types of doc for a total of 60-80 hours; one should be in primary care (internal med, peds, family med). You don't really give a total for nonmedical community service; maybe you're stronger here than seems apparent? You do have a two year leadership postion, so that helps. Do you have any teaching, any hobbies, sports, artistic endeavors to make you look interesting? Is there any EC you can list that says you had an interest in medicine more than 6 months ago? Adcomms don't want folks who have impulsively applied to med school, as they'll worry you might change your mind again.

Having a citable publication is impressive. Having submitted for publication gets you no more than having done the research alone.

I see that you really, really want to apply this season, and if money is no object, I don't see that it would hurt much to give it a try, but you must live the application year as if you know you'll need to apply again and continue to improve all aspects of your application, including continuing to raise your GPAs with near-straight As if you want a shot at allopathic med schools. The additional activities can be mentioned in update letters in midseason to help strengthen your position. I do not encourage you to do this, though, as I don't see your chances as good from what you've presented to us.
 
Mar 24, 2010
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Thanks for elaborating on my question about the GPAs and ECs. The only experience I have had with medicine prior to 6 months ago would be the 100hrs I completed prior to college at another hospital where I worked with outpatients, but I have seen that pre-college ECs don't really count (do they?).
Overall thank you for your advice on this issue. I will probably reconsider applying this for 2011 and work on building up for 2012.
 
Sep 4, 2006
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How long before college, and in what hospital department did you volunteer back then? (It sounds like you didn't do the same thing.) If it was the summer before college, you can consider it acceptable to list. If not, you can still mention it in your Personal Statement as part of your story on "Why medicine?"
 
Mar 24, 2010
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I was working at this hospital from the end of junior year to right before I left for college (~1.5 years), and I worked in Outpatient Services, so I basically helped out patients with their food and transporting them around the building.
 
Sep 4, 2006
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Sounds to me like you're good for clinical experience with that extra ~15 months or so. (I'm so glad we had this little conversation, aren't you?) You should call the old hospital and see if they still have a record of your volunteer time, and to ask who to list as a contact person to confirm that experience.