Should I re-apply asap if so where

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deleted1038397

Hi, I am totally new to this website, but I was just looking for some honest feedback on mistakes that I made and ways to improve in the future for applying again. To begin, I'm a black male from a low economic background who grew up in Ohio with a relatively unique life story. I graduated from Johns Hopkins in 2018 with a 3.48 cGPA and a 3.39 sGPA. My major was Molecular and Cell Biology. I initially wanted to be an MD/Phd, and I've had a lot of research experience in undergrad. Since graduating, I've been working for two years at a top academic research institute in Cambridge, MA studying cancer. I ended up getting a 515 on my MCAT but when it came time to fill out my primary application, I just didn't see myself wanting to do a PhD after working in research full time, so I applied as a regular MD, but all of most of my LORs and my committee letters were in the context of MSTP because I had done them a while ago.

Moreover, while I submitted my primary pretty early, I had a difficult time submitting my secondaries early. I work 10-14 hours a day 6-7 days a week, so it was really tough for me to fill everything out promptly. In the end, I submitted 4-5 secondaries in August and the other 10-12 between September and early November. I am currently on the waitlist at UCSF, and I interviewed at Emory in February, but given that I haven't been accepted or rejected at Emory so I'm assuming that I'll be on the waitlist at Emory as well. I applied to 16 schools all md.

Moving forward, I was thinking about switching over to a job in biotech and applying again to med school if i don't get into UCSF or Emory. Is switching into a biotech/pharma job over academia a bad idea? I wouldn't want to signal to med schools I am not interested in med school as much.

Some other things in my application
~Thousands of hours of research
~200 hours of volunteering at Johns Hopkins Hospital. ~100 hours of volunteering at Habitat for Humanity. ~10-20 hours of shadowing. ~ presented at scientific conferences


My questions were

1. Would it be fine to apply again this upcoming cycle. I haven't really changed much as an applicant. I'd just have a new job that would give me more free time to work on applications. Or should I wait a year and apply after doing more shadowing and volunteering. Also if y'all do recommend I wait a year would it be worth while to retake the MCAT. I also was takin the MCAT while working pretty long hours so if I were to be able to get a job in industry where I work 9-5 I think I can be able to get a 518ish on my MCAT.

2. Im assuming I'd have to ask all my letter writers to update my LORs to reflect the fact that I don't want to be an MSTP. Correct?? I have a very good relationship with all of them. Some are just very busy people, and I don't want to bother them with this.

3. I was about to apply to jobs in biotech after I left my current job? Is working in phara/biotech something that is looked down upon by medical school committees or would it signal a disinterest in medicine?

4. What is a good list of schools for me to apply to?
 

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1. Would it be fine to apply again this upcoming cycle. I haven't really changed much as an applicant. I'd just have a new job that would give me more free time to work on applications. Or should I wait a year and apply after doing more shadowing and volunteering. Also if y'all do recommend I wait a year would it be worth while to retake the MCAT. I also was takin the MCAT while working pretty long hours so if I were to be able to get a job in industry where I work 9-5 I think I can be able to get a 518ish on my MCAT.

Yes, apply this cycle. You have a strong application and likely didn't get in due to your school list. I would reapply to 20-30 schools this cycle. If you did decide to take a second gap year, retaking the MCAT would only help you if you score 520+. Only improving 3 points to a 518 won't do very much.

2. Im assuming I'd have to ask all my letter writers to update my LORs to reflect the fact that I don't want to be an MSTP. Correct?? I have a very good relationship with all of them. Some are just very busy people, and I don't want to bother them with this.

It would probably be a good idea to request this. For most of your writers, I'm sure they would only need to take out a few sentences relating their LOR to research. I understand not wanting to bother them, but the worst that can happen is they ignore you (which I'm sure they won't).

3. I was about to apply to jobs in biotech after I left my current job? Is working in phara/biotech something that is looked down upon by medical school committees or would it signal a disinterest in medicine?

I don't think this is looked down upon, but you need to be able to explain why you're doing this in the context of medicine if asked in an interview.

4. What is a good list of schools for me to apply to?

I would consult one of the adcom members on SDN.

Kevin W, MCAT Tutor
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lord999

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On 2 - Yeah, I can say if I see an MSTP letter for a plain MD candidate, I would flag it as questionable to the adcom staff on whether I received the right letters or not. I would not submit MSTP letters for a standard MD.

On 3 - No. The only jobs that the committees look harder on are the ones that have moral turpitude definitions in the state you are applying in (because most states will discipline licensees who concurrently work in a field that is that). So for my state, the only legal jobs that would be concerning would be adult entertainment and specific forms of call center work (I am being ambiguous here where most call center work is fine, but there are two categories that would flag). There is also unusual consideration of someone who already has a health professions degree and is or is not working in it, and the context for what happens is very school and situation specific.

4 - See LizzyM and Goro's list. Solves a bunch of questions in a DIY manner.
 

Mr.Smile12

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Boiling down some key points.
* … a black male from a low economic background who grew up in Ohio with a relatively unique life story
* … graduated from Johns Hopkins in 2018 with a 3.48 cGPA and a 3.39 sGPA
* … My major was Molecular and Cell Biology
* … working for two years at a top academic research institute in Cambridge, MA studying cancer
* ... 515 on my MCAT
* … applied as a regular MD, but all of most of my LORs and my committee letters were in the context of MSTP because I had done them a while ago.

Did you contact the HPA office at Hopkins and update them on your goal change to just MD programs? While they may not redo your evaluation completely, they can put an addendum noting your interest now in MD instead of MD/PhD. Considering who is involved in your letter, if you did let them know, this shouldn't be a problem for adcoms.

* … I submitted 4-5 secondaries in August and the other 10-12 between September and early November ... applied to 16 schools all md
If you could list, we can give you an idea of how well distributed your list is.

Moving forward, I was thinking about switching over to a job in biotech and applying again to med school if i don't get in … . Is switching into a biotech/pharma job over academia a bad idea? I wouldn't want to signal to med schools I am not interested in med school as much.

How much networking with MD programs have you done prior to or since applying (since you are reapplying)? People do change careers, and job-hopping I think is more prevalent now. Given there are many successful applicants who have changed careers, you need to know which schools are more accommodating.

Some other things in my application
~Thousands of hours of research
~200 hours of volunteering at Johns Hopkins Hospital. ~100 hours of volunteering at Habitat for Humanity. ~10-20 hours of shadowing. ~ presented at scientific conferences

The shadowing hours are not comparable to strong applicants. Can you break that down as well as your volunteering hours? H4H is great but any other opportunities where you have had to go beyond your comfort zone and work with people who are not like you?

My questions were

1. Would it be fine to apply again this upcoming cycle. I haven't really changed much as an applicant. I'd just have a new job that would give me more free time to work on applications. Or should I wait a year and apply after doing more shadowing and volunteering. Also if y'all do recommend I wait a year would it be worth while to retake the MCAT. I also was takin the MCAT while working pretty long hours so if I were to be able to get a job in industry where I work 9-5 I think I can be able to get a 518ish on my MCAT.

I'd first establish networks with schools you are interested in. Your Hopkins ties and work in biotech can be pluses to getting connected, but you should reach out to AMSA and SNMA chapters seeking similar people who made it to medical school for support and advice.

I would NOT retake your MCAT unless there is a question on whether an admissions committee at a highly desired school wants a new score before you apply. Hence, networking with admissions staff.

Keep connected with the schools you are waiting to hear from. Who knows... this may be a moot point.

2. Im assuming I'd have to ask all my letter writers to update my LORs to reflect the fact that I don't want to be an MSTP. Correct?? I have a very good relationship with all of them. Some are just very busy people, and I don't want to bother them with this.

Check with the Hopkins prehealth advisors about whether they can accept updated LOR's. I'd still try to maneuver with the committee letter unless the admissions staff you networked with say otherwise. If Hopkins is okay with you compiling your own letters to supplement their committee letter because of time since graduation, then I would ask people who have known you more recently to provide letters for you.

3. I was about to apply to jobs in biotech after I left my current job? Is working in pharma/biotech something that is looked down upon by medical school committees or would it signal a disinterest in medicine?

No, but the shadowing or clinical exposure hours need to continue/build and be consistent throughout your time. Your issue working against you is priority/time management as you have written. You need to set aside the time to do things that are going to be important to you while still maintaining your job. I think most of us are all for paying off as much of your undergrad debt before taking on the magnitude of medical school debt so I don't think the stigma is as concerning compared to 30 years ago.
 
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deleted1038397

@sb247

@Mr.Smile12

@Goro

My school list was UCLA, UCSD, UCSF, Hopkins, UPenn, Brown, Georgetown, OSU, Case Western, Tufts, Northwestern, U Chicago, Emory, Harvard, Rush, Jefferson,

The Hopkins Prehealth office has us rewrite our application for our committee letter each cycle that we reapply so I’d make it clear that I’m applying to MD programs and not MSTP programs. And I’d ask my letter writers to change their letters accordingly as well.

I’ve written a letter of intent to UCSF so if I get in there this would all be moot.

Because I wanted to be an MSTP for a very long time I prioritized research over shadowing because I thought that would be more relevant. Now I’m sure that the weak shadowing hours are an issue. Is it worth taking another year to get more shadowing experience and volunteering done and then reapply. If that’s the case I took the mcat in March 2019 would it still be valid for most schools.


Lastly if I do reapply now I wouldn’t really have changed as an applicant how would I address the why should we take you now questions the AMCAS raises?
 
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D

deleted1038397

Just have to ask this, why are you working so many hours per day? My 2 cents is to not overwork yourself like this, esp if it’s just a tech position


It’s a complicated situation. In short my boss is demanding.
 

Faha

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@Faha My state of residence is Ohio but I’ve been living in Massachusetts for almost two years now.
You do not need to retake the MCAT. You are fine to reapply in June but submit all your secondaries by July.
I suggest these schools:
Toledo
Wright State
NEOEMD
Ohio State
Cincinnati
Case Western
Tufts
Boston University
Dartmouth
Brown
Hofstra
Einstein
Mount Sinai
NYU
Rochester
Pittsburgh
Jefferson
Georgetown
Duke
Miami
USF Morsani
Mayo (both schools)
Washington University
Northwestern
U Chicago
Tulane
St. Louis
USC Keck
UCSF
Emory
Johns Hopkins
 
D

deleted1038397

You do not need to retake the MCAT. You are fine to reapply in June but submit all your secondaries by July.
I suggest these schools:
Toledo
Wright State
NEOEMD
Ohio State
Cincinnati
Case Western
Tufts
Boston University
Dartmouth
Brown
Hofstra
Einstein
Mount Sinai
NYU
Rochester
Pittsburgh
Jefferson
Georgetown
Duke
Miami
USF Morsani
Mayo (both schools)
Washington University
Northwestern
U Chicago
Tulane
St. Louis
USC Keck
UCSF
Emory
Johns Hopkins


@Faha thanks so much for the list. It’s really helpful. I’ll go call some of the Ohio schools to see if they consider me a resident because at least last year Ohio State didn’t. Hopefully I’m still a resident.
 

DokterMom

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Fill the shadowing gap ASAP. You really only need ~40 hours, so make it happen before you reapply! The relative lack of shadowing / disproportionate 'lab geek' vibe and your late submissions are probably what hurt you this year.
 
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