SScrewed

10+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2007
29
0
Status
Pre-Medical
K, I'm waitlisted at Temple which I hear has good movement, but I'm not hopeful cuz this time last year I was waitlisted at SUNY Buffalo. There's pressure is on to get in this time around. Keep in mind, I know I'll make a good physician but if I don't get in this time around I will jump off a ledge (2nd time I've made such a threat, but still serious). I was told by GT that my PS wasn't specific enough, that my MCAT was slightly above average
and my GPA was right on par:

BMCP Gpa=3.67
Overall=3.47
MCAT= 11, 10, 11 Q

Activities:
Research: I did a poster presentation and am applying to get published for the clinical research I did this year. I've had other research experience--neuro lab, and cog sci lab--both only for 6months each and no publications.
Clinical: I've been shadowing a cardiologist all year, and some of his colleagues. He is also my research mentor. I'm signed up as a volunteer at the hospital he works at for my participation in his research and because I shadow him. However, this is sort of a sticky situation, because I've been working with him all year, but not recognized by the hospital as a volunteer until January and I don't sign in at volunteer office for hours.
Altruistic: During undergrad I was a mentor spring2006, environmental canvasser, hospital volunteer (for only 5months tho) ,etc. I also participated in various activities with the Pre-health for the Deaf club (I was an officer for) and a religious club (also an officer for). Currently, I've been working at my church and I recently applied to tutor foster kids at YMCA. I'm going to start looking for homeless shelters I can work at too--even tho the homeless scare me.

What do you think I can do to ensure I get in this year? I'm a cali resident and am willing to apply to 50+ schools. Any suggestions are appreciated--including what schools you most recommend I apply to.


THANK YOU
 
OP
S

SScrewed

10+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2007
29
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm also applying to do MPH at USC, Medicine Masters in Loyola and Physiology Masters in Georgetown in the fall--they're all 1yr programs.

Some input on what you thing my chances of getting into schools are as well--what reach schools would be worth applying to.
 

MilkmanAl

Al the Ass Mod
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2008
12,032
61
Kansas City, MO
www.facebook.com
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I didn't list my shadowing experience in AMCAS, but if you do, just give them the doctor's contact info. Let him know you did so, obviously.

Your stats are fine, so I'm assuming your lack of clinical experience is what killed you. A year of work should be enough to push you over the top, I'd imagine.
 

Weoh

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2007
62
0
In between here and there.
Status
Medical Student
Based on numbers alone, you should have a very good chance of getting into a number of MD programs. I can't say what kept you out last time around, or what may be keeping you out now, but I'd imagine that most of the work needs to be done with regard to rounding out your app- strengthening your PS and experiences (and this is just based on what you've said).

If you do end up having to apply again, definitely apply to the so called "low tier" programs: Howard, Meharry, Morehouse come to mind. These are not strictly URM programs and they have a lot to offer with regard to the MD education. Howard U was my first interview, and I was very impressed with the atmosphere of the program and the great lengths that the staff went to in order to facilitate success. Although I've chosen to go elsewhere, I would definitely recommend giving it a look. As for other schools, you might want to look through a MSAR- it'll provide you with average matriculation stats for the previous year, and give you a good idea of where you might be a more competitive applicant.

I think 50 apps is a bit over the top. It's possible to apply to a broad range with only 15 or so and still do well with regard to how your app is received.

Out of curiosity, how broadly did you apply this time around? If the answer is: "not very," then you might want to take a look at changing that rather than taking on the headache that is 50 secondaries.
 

MilkmanAl

Al the Ass Mod
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2008
12,032
61
Kansas City, MO
www.facebook.com
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I agree. I think with your numbers that 30 apps should be more than enough. I mean, if you've got the cash and time it'll take to fill out that many secondaries and attend that many interviews, go for it. Assuming everything else in your app is acceptable (PS, rec letters, essays, etc.), you should be good to go in this cycle with far fewer than 50 apps.
 

arlingtondoc

10+ Year Member
Apr 11, 2008
23
1
Status
Medical Student
it is a mystery how adcoms work....

you numbers are pretty good, average to above average... but that might not set you apart from the hundreds of other applicants out there.
my guess is that your resume side is weak. you have volunteer and research time but several are short term 5 to 6 month stints. they may doubt you know what you want. try to get a job in healthcare, EMT, ER tech, something clinical or even research in clinical evironment like an ER or ICU. show that you have seen medicine, know what you are getting into and still want it.

also maybe your interview skills are ok but not a knock out. to deal with this i would suggest outside help, like mock interviews with an advisor or physician. the PS was mentioned as a problem, I give it to a lot of people to read, docs, friends, advisors, etc. and see what they say.

50 might be a bit much unless there are a ton of pre-secondary screens. try for less, 30 or 40 mixed up geographically and selectively. i sympathize with wanting to get in but do you really want to complete 50 plus seconaries? cut some down and apply broadly in a smart manner.

lastly any thought to a DO?
 
OP
S

SScrewed

10+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2007
29
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I really appreciate everyone's advice. I'm really scared that at this point they will see that I applied three times, then think there's something wrong with me cuz of that alone. I applied to 32 schools this year, but applied sort of late, like early Sept. The first time around I got interviews at Penn state, Suny Buffalo and Albert Einstein. The second time it was Suny Downstate, UCLA and Temple. My interview skills def aren't stellar, I felt really good about the UCLA interview, but I didn't have the one year of English required and I don't even think they sent my interview to committee to be reviewed....I explained that my undergrad's 1yr of Humanities functioned as English--UCSD doesn't even have an English department.

I don't know very much about DOs, but I get turned off by them because they accept people with really low stats. I know I'm not one to judge, but I just don't like the idea of settling when I've worked so hard.

Just a few more Qs: 1) Should I pay someone to write my PS? I was against it the first 2x, but now I'm thinking that there is a game to this whole applying thing. I've been honest and hardworking my entire life, but I feel like being too honest has been a disadvantage. And really is writing an essay going to make me a better physician?

2) On AMCAS there is this section where you send an evaluation to the people who wrote you letters of rec. What exactly is this about? I have all my letters on file at my undergrad's online career services website. Does it mean they're going to contact all those letter writers again for an eval?

3) I'm applying for a job at a hospital, and I haven't started to tutor foster kids yet. Should I wait to send my AMCAS so I can update these things?

4) As far as interviews go, what professional interview places do you guys know?

You all have been so great and you can't even imagine how thankful I am not to be alone in this process.
 

Pedsbro

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2008
860
3
Midwest (But always a Cali kid at heart)
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
I really appreciate everyone's advice. I'm really scared that at this point they will see that I applied three times, then think there's something wrong with me cuz of that alone. I applied to 32 schools this year, but applied sort of late, like early Sept. The first time around I got interviews at Penn state, Suny Buffalo and Albert Einstein. The second time it was Suny Downstate, UCLA and Temple. My interview skills def aren't stellar, I felt really good about the UCLA interview, but I didn't have the one year of English required and I don't even think they sent my interview to committee to be reviewed....I explained that my undergrad's 1yr of Humanities functioned as English--UCSD doesn't even have an English department.

I don't know very much about DOs, but I get turned off by them because they accept people with really low stats. I know I'm not one to judge, but I just don't like the idea of settling when I've worked so hard.

Just a few more Qs: 1) Should I pay someone to write my PS? I was against it the first 2x, but now I'm thinking that there is a game to this whole applying thing. I've been honest and hardworking my entire life, but I feel like being too honest has been a disadvantage. And really is writing an essay going to make me a better physician?

2) On AMCAS there is this section where you send an evaluation to the people who wrote you letters of rec. What exactly is this about? I have all my letters on file at my undergrad's online career services website. Does it mean they're going to contact all those letter writers again for an eval?

3) I'm applying for a job at a hospital, and I haven't started to tutor foster kids yet. Should I wait to send my AMCAS so I can update these things?

4) As far as interviews go, what professional interview places do you guys know?

You all have been so great and you can't even imagine how thankful I am not to be alone in this process.
That would be a very huge and miscalculated risk...I would not do that. Nothing is worth is giving up your values for...and the fact you were against it the first 2 times tells me the guilt would eat at you for a long time. Of course there's the obvious scenario of you getting caught...adcoms aren't dumb. Someone else isn't going to use your sentence structure, vocab, or tone. There are 100 reasons not to do it.

I would seriously look into DOs. You said you don't know much about them...it's worth at least getting honest, first-hand, accurate info...which means, don't take anyone's word for it on SDN! (there are many DO-haters in disguise here). Go to a DO, shadow him/her, check out DO school websites and the AOA (American Osteopathic Association). If you still don't feel good about it, that's fine, at least you gave it a fair look.

Unless that job/tutoring is going to start within a few weeks of the AMCAS submission date, I wouldn't wait too long. Many secondaries, as I'm sure you know, ask about what you'll be doing while applying...you can stick it in there.

Hopefully other people know about professional interview places...I've never looked.

URM = under-represented minority. (Hispanic, African-American, Native American...I think that's it...).
 

bioteach

MSIV
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2007
836
1
Status
Medical Student
I would seriously look into DOs. You said you don't know much about them...it's worth at least getting honest, first-hand, accurate info...which means, don't take anyone's word for it on SDN! (there are many DO-haters in disguise here). Go to a DO, shadow him/her, check out DO school websites and the AOA (American Osteopathic Association). If you still don't feel good about it, that's fine, at least you gave it a fair look.
If this is the 3rd time around and you are serious about becoming a Doc, this is good advice. Contrary to what you may think, DO schools don't accept "really low stats". At least talk with someone who is a DO before writing it off entirely. You don't have to apply, but give it a fair look before dismissing it as a "low stats" option. There are PLENTY of people going the DO route with a higher MCAT score or GPA than yours.
 

Kernal83

10+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2008
117
0
Milwaukee
Status
Medical Student
I really appreciate everyone's advice. I'm really scared that at this point they will see that I applied three times, then think there's something wrong with me cuz of that alone. I applied to 32 schools this year, but applied sort of late, like early Sept. The first time around I got interviews at Penn state, Suny Buffalo and Albert Einstein. The second time it was Suny Downstate, UCLA and Temple. My interview skills def aren't stellar, I felt really good about the UCLA interview, but I didn't have the one year of English required and I don't even think they sent my interview to committee to be reviewed....I explained that my undergrad's 1yr of Humanities functioned as English--UCSD doesn't even have an English department.

I don't know very much about DOs, but I get turned off by them because they accept people with really low stats. I know I'm not one to judge, but I just don't like the idea of settling when I've worked so hard.

Just a few more Qs: 1) Should I pay someone to write my PS? I was against it the first 2x, but now I'm thinking that there is a game to this whole applying thing. I've been honest and hardworking my entire life, but I feel like being too honest has been a disadvantage. And really is writing an essay going to make me a better physician?

2) On AMCAS there is this section where you send an evaluation to the people who wrote you letters of rec. What exactly is this about? I have all my letters on file at my undergrad's online career services website. Does it mean they're going to contact all those letter writers again for an eval?

3) I'm applying for a job at a hospital, and I haven't started to tutor foster kids yet. Should I wait to send my AMCAS so I can update these things?

4) As far as interviews go, what professional interview places do you guys know?

You all have been so great and you can't even imagine how thankful I am not to be alone in this process.
Not trying to nitpick, but the bolded parts seem to be a problem. This was my third year applying too. It was a very humbling process, but it can be done if you have the drive and motivation. Applying late is like shooting yourself in the foot. If you know you can improve on your interview skills... practice, practice, practice with someone that you know and trust. That way you can be more comfortable answering questions and astound them on interview day. If it is your dream don't give up and you can make it!
 

MJB

Senior Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2005
2,848
24
Status
Attending Physician
I don't know very much about DOs, but I get turned off by them because they accept people with really low stats. I know I'm not one to judge, but I just don't like the idea of settling when I've worked so hard.

Just a few more Qs: 1) Should I pay someone to write my PS? I was against it the first 2x, but now I'm thinking that there is a game to this whole applying thing. I've been honest and hardworking my entire life, but I feel like being too honest has been a disadvantage. And really is writing an essay going to make me a better physician?
I think I just discovered the problem.

Good luck with your 3rd round of applications.
 

jyw003

just moving along.....PharmD, BCPS, BCPP, APP
10+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2007
527
3
San Francisco
Status
Pharmacist
If this is the 3rd time around and you are serious about becoming a Doc, this is good advice. Contrary to what you may think, DO schools don't accept "really low stats". At least talk with someone who is a DO before writing it off entirely. You don't have to apply, but give it a fair look before dismissing it as a "low stats" option. There are PLENTY of people going the DO route with a higher MCAT score or GPA than yours.
on the money...
 

spreebee

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2006
271
1
Status
Post Doc
K, I'm waitlisted at Temple which I hear has good movement, but I'm not hopeful cuz this time last year I was waitlisted at SUNY Buffalo. There's pressure is on to get in this time around. Keep in mind, I know I'll make a good physician but if I don't get in this time around I will jump off a ledge (2nd time I've made such a threat, but still serious). I was told by GT that my PS wasn't specific enough, that my MCAT was slightly above average
and my GPA was right on par:

BMCP Gpa=3.67
Overall=3.47
MCAT= 11, 10, 11 Q

Activities:
Research: I did a poster presentation and am applying to get published for the clinical research I did this year. I've had other research experience--neuro lab, and cog sci lab--both only for 6months each and no publications.
Clinical: I've been shadowing a cardiologist all year, and some of his colleagues. He is also my research mentor. I'm signed up as a volunteer at the hospital he works at for my participation in his research and because I shadow him. However, this is sort of a sticky situation, because I've been working with him all year, but not recognized by the hospital as a volunteer until January and I don't sign in at volunteer office for hours.
Altruistic: During undergrad I was a mentor spring2006, environmental canvasser, hospital volunteer (for only 5months tho) ,etc. I also participated in various activities with the Pre-health for the Deaf club (I was an officer for) and a religious club (also an officer for). Currently, I've been working at my church and I recently applied to tutor foster kids at YMCA. I'm going to start looking for homeless shelters I can work at too--even tho the homeless scare me.

What do you think I can do to ensure I get in this year? I'm a cali resident and am willing to apply to 50+ schools. Any suggestions are appreciated--including what schools you most recommend I apply to.


THANK YOU
I couldn't get into a U.S. school the 1st time so I went abroad... Where will I be in a few months from now? U.S. clinical rotatations and on to residency...Most of my professors abroad are U.S. M.D.s and they beleive there's nothing wrong with a foriegn education at "GOOD" institutions... Say Caribbean BIG 4....
 

doctorjoy

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2005
139
0
Status
TO be real honest, medicine is not going anywhere. If this is the profession that you are to be in. You will get in...

As far as apply to DO schools. The curriculum is no different than another medical school. The only difference is the Osteopathic Manipulative Training. We have the same books. Just for some clarification there are people in MD schools with low stats and those who have high stats. The stats posted are just averages. There are people above and below. I am currently in DO school and there are people in my class who had 33 on their MCAT and those who had 18. I applied to both DO an MD and decided on DO based on location and feel no less educated than if I went to MD school. I don't think going DO is settling, it opens more doors and avenues than you can imagine. And when someone calls your name it will be Doctor.
 

dragonfly99

10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
5,092
50
Status
Attending Physician
Dear Sccrewed,
as someone who has been through med school and residency (and by the way I didn't get in med school until my 2nd try and then got in to a "top 5" med school - go figure!) my best recommendation is to focus on your letters of recommendation.

Your numbers appear good enough to get you in. I would try and apply widely and including outside of California. Try St Louis University, because they take a lot of Cali applicants. Try Chicago Medical School/Rosalind Franklin. Consider that new med school in Florida that is just starting up (if they take out of staters - you may need to inquire). DON'T waste money applying to any out of state school unless you know for sure you have a connection there and that they take out of state applicants.

Your personal statement needs to have good grammar, punctuation, etc. and try to focus on any unique qualities that you have. It gets a lot of play, but I don't believe these are the determining factor in most cases. They do go for applicants with unusual backgrounds and/or hobbies (the juggler, the person who spent a year in India, etc.) sometimes though it shouldn't matter.

You need 3 letters of recommendation that are strong. Make sure one of the people isn't saying something that could be construed as lukewarm (either inadvertently vs. not). What about this doc you are shadowing? Can you talk to him/her and say, look, I'm really committed and dedicated to this career plan of being a doctor, but I don't think some of these admissions committees are taking me seriously. Is there someone you know (at a nearby medical school, or where he did residency or fellowship, etc.) at "x" medical school who I could talk to about how to strengthen my application? Or is there someone there you know who can "put a good word in" for me?

I agree that another degree could potentially make you a stronger candidate. Though I think it's kind of silly that they would care about a 1 year master's degree program, I think some admissions committees do. Also, it might give you a chance at another letter of recommendation, and it might give you a fallback degree in case things go bad in terms of med school apps.

However, I still think your problem is lack of connections/string pulling, and/or a problem in your letters of recommendation. It's not fair that the world works this way but it does. You need a doc who is willing to go to bat for you...I didn't have that either during med school admissions but I am certain it would have helped me get in quicker.

Alternate theory is your interviewing is hurting you, but I think that gets overplayed/overstressed by people. What one interviewer likes is not = to what another guy would like....it's subjective. The main thing to be careful about is not to offend anyone, and to seem pleasant and high energy/energetic without being goofy. Dress and act conservatively in interviews since medicine is a conservative profession. But you know that :)

One last thing I have to say - be really sure you want to do this. It might be cooler (and will be less stressful) to think about some alternative. For example, would you like to be an optometrist, a physical therapist, etc. They don't make the same money but also don't have to stay in training as long and don't have as much STRESS. Take it from one who knows (internist). I think you have to think about what your personality is and what you really want out of life, and how long you are willing to wait. A lot of these other medically related professions really do have a better lifestyle than us MDs, and honestly >50% of patients really do not know the difference betweeen me and a nurse practitioner.
 

spreebee

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2006
271
1
Status
Post Doc
Dear Sccrewed,
as someone who has been through med school and residency (and by the way I didn't get in med school until my 2nd try and then got in to a "top 5" med school - go figure!) my best recommendation is to focus on your letters of recommendation.

Your numbers appear good enough to get you in. I would try and apply widely and including outside of California. Try St Louis University, because they take a lot of Cali applicants. Try Chicago Medical School/Rosalind Franklin. Consider that new med school in Florida that is just starting up (if they take out of staters - you may need to inquire). DON'T waste money applying to any out of state school unless you know for sure you have a connection there and that they take out of state applicants.

Your personal statement needs to have good grammar, punctuation, etc. and try to focus on any unique qualities that you have. It gets a lot of play, but I don't believe these are the determining factor in most cases. They do go for applicants with unusual backgrounds and/or hobbies (the juggler, the person who spent a year in India, etc.) sometimes though it shouldn't matter.

You need 3 letters of recommendation that are strong. Make sure one of the people isn't saying something that could be construed as lukewarm (either inadvertently vs. not). What about this doc you are shadowing? Can you talk to him/her and say, look, I'm really committed and dedicated to this career plan of being a doctor, but I don't think some of these admissions committees are taking me seriously. Is there someone you know (at a nearby medical school, or where he did residency or fellowship, etc.) at "x" medical school who I could talk to about how to strengthen my application? Or is there someone there you know who can "put a good word in" for me?

I agree that another degree could potentially make you a stronger candidate. Though I think it's kind of silly that they would care about a 1 year master's degree program, I think some admissions committees do. Also, it might give you a chance at another letter of recommendation, and it might give you a fallback degree in case things go bad in terms of med school apps.

However, I still think your problem is lack of connections/string pulling, and/or a problem in your letters of recommendation. It's not fair that the world works this way but it does. You need a doc who is willing to go to bat for you...I didn't have that either during med school admissions but I am certain it would have helped me get in quicker.

Alternate theory is your interviewing is hurting you, but I think that gets overplayed/overstressed by people. What one interviewer likes is not = to what another guy would like....it's subjective. The main thing to be careful about is not to offend anyone, and to seem pleasant and high energy/energetic without being goofy. Dress and act conservatively in interviews since medicine is a conservative profession. But you know that :)

One last thing I have to say - be really sure you want to do this. It might be cooler (and will be less stressful) to think about some alternative. For example, would you like to be an optometrist, a physical therapist, etc. They don't make the same money but also don't have to stay in training as long and don't have as much STRESS. Take it from one who knows (internist). I think you have to think about what your personality is and what you really want out of life, and how long you are willing to wait. A lot of these other medically related professions really do have a better lifestyle than us MDs, and honestly >50% of patients really do not know the difference betweeen me and a nurse practitioner.
And what's wrong with the foreign route? You might say that if he/she applies and doesnt obtain admission on a 4th try, how much more time in your life and money do you need to waste when SGU or Ross admission is right around the corner? I know a few hundred people from these institutions and not one person has missed out on a U.S. residency that wanted one from those schools after making it through basic sciences....
 

a817

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2008
617
0
Status
Medical Student
And what's wrong with the foreign route? You might say that if he/she applies and doesn't obtain admission on a 4th try, how much more time in your life and money do you need to waste when SGU or Ross admission is right around the corner? I know a few hundred people from these institutions and not one person has missed out on a U.S. residency that wanted one from those schools after making it through basic sciences....
he/she has no need to apply to the Caribbeans, optometry schools, etc. This is what i would do if i were you. apply to a ton and pretty much any OOS friendly MD schools. Also apply to 5-10 DO schools. See what happens, if you only get into a DO school, then so be it. Just go if you want to be a doc, because you sure don't want to apply to another school. Your undergrad gpa is not the greatest, and it is actually lower than the average DO student. You do have an above average mcat score for DO schools and slightly above average for MD schools.

You have a decent shot to get into allopathic school, if you don't get in use it as motivation when you attend a DO school, to graduate atop of your class and many residencies will be open to you. If you are atop of you class at a well reputable DO school, you can get a great osteo residency from the AOA.

If you really need the MD, then apply to st. george. But you can check their match list, its not that great (they had more family med residencies then rads, anesthesiology, derm, ortho, pathology, ent, rad oncology opto, and gen surgery all combined and yes that is their pgy 2 list). DO's have there only residencies including about 20 derms, and 40 orthopedic surgeries, You wont get access to that as a carib md. You will be going for the same residency, which can a DO can go too, without the benefit of having your own residencies to fall back on. No one is arguing that you wont get into a residency from the carib, but its tough to get competitive residencies, but its has been done.

If you get into an allopathic school great, but do not apply for a forth year, you could have graduated med school in all that time
 
Last edited:

aaabbbccc

10+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2008
3
0
Status
Post Doc
I don't know very much about DOs, but I get turned off by them because they accept people with really low stats. I know I'm not one to judge, but I just don't like the idea of settling when I've worked so hard.

Uhhh...you just did judge. Keep judging away and if you do happen to luckily get in this 3rd round (or 4th, or 5th...) keep that attitude with you. But don't be surprised if you are judged by both MDs and DOs.
 

gman33

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Aug 18, 2007
2,188
495
Status
Attending Physician
OP - You said you applied in mid-Sept.
Was this when your file was complete at schools or when you submitted the primary?

Your overall gpa is a little low, but still competitive at many schools.
Try to get feedback from schools to see if there is anything else holding you back. Maybe there's a poor LOR or something you are not aware of.

Just reapply early (like right now) and broadly.
I'd also throw in some DO schools. Get a DO letter if you do.

:luck: with Temple.
 

eforest

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 13, 2007
200
5
bipolarinmedschool.blogspot.com
Status
Your activities are fine- you just need to figure out a way to describe what you've done so that it tells a story and brings together everything in your application. Also, practice your interview skills.

And, sure, DO schools on average have lower stats- but this is your third time applying and you probably want it to be your last. Cast out a broad net- I've rotated with DO students and been taught by DO residents. Nobody thinks about stats in the hospital.