tabascosauce

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calm down. you have time still to bring them both up. whether you think you can or cant, YOURE RIGHT!
 
OP
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^^^ I don't think I can bring my gpas up, I have pretty much leveled off grade wise in the classes here. I should be able to get my overall gpa to around a 3.75 and science will stay at a 3.6 (I am a poli sci major) so I will take few upper level science classes. Even if I pull my gpa to a 3.75 and my science gpa stays at 3.6, I am still the bottom half of applicants to these schools gpa wise.


Other people on college confidential's pre-med forum have told me that these top medical schools mostly take kids who have 3.8+ at harvard/yale/stanford, my 3.7 (or my 3.75 AT BEST) from Vandy can't compete with that....:(
 

tabascosauce

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^^^ I don't think I can bring my gpas up, I have pretty much leveled off grade wise in the classes here. I should be able to get my overall gpa to around a 3.75 and science will stay at a 3.6 (I am a poli sci major) so I will take few upper level science classes. Even if I pull my gpa to a 3.75 and my science gpa stays at 3.6, I am still the bottom half of applicants to these schools gpa wise.
WHETHER YOU THINK YOU CAN OR CANT, YOURE RIGHT. besides a 3.7 gpa is fine
 

Catalystik

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If you find it impossible to have your cGPA stand out, then be sure your MCAT is terrific and that your ECs are so strong that they can't pass you by.

You have more than enough shadowing (though I think some time with a primary care doc would be good in addition). When will you start to gain clinical experience where you actively interact with sick people instead of passively observing? Why not start a volunteer gig at a hospital, hospice, nursing home, free/VA/family planning/low-income/private clinic and put some hand-on effort into helping patients?

Also, make your leadership experience count strongly by starting some new initiatives and making the organization grow. Demonstrate your capability as a future leader in medicine.

As you gain research experience, eventually propose your own project, get the funding, design it, run it, analyze it, come to conclusions, and get first authorship.
 

Narmerguy

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Is a 3.75 really that bad for these top schools?
 
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^^^ Catalystik what about my science gpa? I am a poli sci major so after this year (when I am done with orgo/physics) I only have like 3 or 4 math and science courses that I am going to take. Most likely my science gpa will remain around a 3.6. Is this sufficient?


No. Especially if they give him credit for coming from a school that is more difficult (which some med schools factor in).
^^^ The thing about top medical schools is that so many kids with 3.8+ from top ivy league schools will also apply. So they are at the top of their class at a top ivy league school whereas I am doing just average at an ivy league reject school. Those students will get more credit then me, because they were successful at much harder schools. Or at least thats how someone on college confidential's pre-med forum explained it to me.


BTW do you know which medical schools take into account the difficulty of a student's undergraduate institution. I don't think its many.
 

Catalystik

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A 3.6 is the mean BCPM for those applying to allopathic med schools. For general purposes, it's fine. To have your application appeal to more-selective schools, I'd suggest you get some As in upper-level science to boost it up.

If you are just doing "average at an ivy league reject school" (a characterization with which I would disagree) then you would probably struggle if you got accepted to the same schools as those with generally higher stats. Perhaps a readjustment of your priorities is in order? I'm sure you could be happy with a 15-25 ranked school per your first post, and they might be more in your range (if your MCAT score is terrific).

Med schools rarely tell applicants what their formulaic approach to ranking applicants might be, so it will be hard for you to find out which schools consider difficulty of undergrad institution.
 
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^^^ Speficially what kind of science gpa would I need to get if I had a 3.75 overall and around a 34-35 mcat score? This is also assuming my EC's are decent (as in the average for schools ranked 15-25).
 

lord_jeebus

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I don't think your ECs are compelling enough for most Top 25 schools, even if you pulled up your GPA some. I don't see how transferring would fix this issue. Fortunately, you have a lot of time to make your application more interesting.
 

Catalystik

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How high could you get your BCPM if you get straight As in the rest of your prerequisites as well as some upper-level Bio classes? Keep in mind that applying after junior year is not obligatory and you can spend all of senior year improving your stats, too.
 
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I honestly don't believe schools are as GPA obsessed as you think. Obviously if your GPA is in a school's bottom 10%, your chances at that school take a hit. But I don't know of any schools where a 3.7 is bottom 10%.
 
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How high could you get your BCPM if you get straight As in the rest of your prerequisites as well as some upper-level Bio classes? Keep in mind that applying after junior year is not obligatory and you can spend all of senior year improving your stats, too.
At best, it should be around a 3.65. I don't want to take a gap year, because spending one more year to become a doctor is not worth going to a top 25 med school (becoming a doctor is a really long process)

Right now, I am eying Mt. Sinai/Emory/UT-Southwestern/Brown/NYU as schools that I may have a chance at if my MCAT score is in the 34-35 range. My UT-Southwestern Gpa will be a 3.8 for sure (they recalcuate my gpa, because they don't use the +/- system there) and I am a Texas resident. Emory's average gpa for enrolled students is a 3.7 and their average mcat is a 34. Mt. Sinai's average gpa is 3.66 and average mcat is a 35. Brown's average gpa is 3.62 and Browns average mcat score is like a 33. NYU's average gpa is in my range, and their average mcat score is a 33. I got these figures straight from the schools' websites.
 

Catalystik

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Even if your GPA takes a bit of dip due to harder coursework to come, keep in mind that a correpondingly stronger MCAT score might keep you in the running.

An MSAR can show you the median cGPA, BCPM, and MCAT for all the med schools and help you to broaden the list of programs you'll apply to.
 

Obliquity

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/health/17chen.html?_r=1

But most of these popular rankings reflect a school’s highly specialized research funding and capabilities, not the general quality of its medical school graduates.
I see this "I want top 25" all too often on SDN... yes, these schools have excellent residency placement (which is very important to consider when choosing a school), but there are schools below the "top 25" that can also get you a great residency. Nothing against you, the OP, but I want to try to make people aware that the rankings (I assume you mean US News) are not measuring what you think they're measuring...
 

Narmerguy

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/health/17chen.html?_r=1



I see this "I want top 25" all too often on SDN... yes, these schools have excellent residency placement (which is very important to consider when choosing a school), but there are schools below the "top 25" that can also get you a great residency. Nothing against you, the OP, but I want to try to make people aware that the rankings (I assume you mean US News) are not measuring what you think they're measuring...
How will they impress the family at Christmas dinner gatherings?
 
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How will they impress the family at Christmas dinner gatherings?
Its hard trying to "impress" the family with my undergrad school because my cousins go to ivy league schools, so I figured I'd work really hard and try to get into an ivy league med. school, but that ship is starting to sail. :scared:
 

Catalystik

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It isn't over until it's over. If you give up, then for sure it won't happen. Just don't advertise your ambitions to your family. Rather, surprise them if it happens. Even if you get in somewhere that isn't top twenty-five, that will be a pretty impressive accomplishment.
 
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Its hard trying to "impress" the family with my undergrad school because my cousins go to ivy league schools, so I figured I'd work really hard and try to get into an ivy league med. school, but that ship is starting to sail. :scared:
No offense, but screw those prestige freaks. If they are truly your family members, they won't make it a point to rub the fact that you go to a "non-ivy" school in your face. This sort of **** just irks me to no end.

As far as a "top 25" medical school. Let me tell you- no one cares. Not even the residency directors at the top residencies. How do I know? For starters, I've talked to several residency directors, physicians who have been through the process and have established successful practices, and have read papers that details the criteria used in selecting candidates for residencies. Where the applicants went for medical school ranks 7 or 8 out of the 10 things they consider- and that's if you and another applicants are the SAME in the first six MOST important things. And what are the odds of that happening? Like 0.00001%? Give it a break, and enjoy undergrad.
 

ElChamaco

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No offense, but screw those prestige freaks. If they are truly your family members, they won't make it a point to rub the fact that you go to a "non-ivy" school in your face. This sort of **** just irks me to no end.

As far as a "top 25" medical school. Let me tell you- no one cares. Not even the residency directors at the top residencies. How do I know? For starters, I've talked to several residency directors, physicians who have been through the process and have established successful practices, and have read papers that details the criteria used in selecting candidates for residencies. Where the applicants went for medical school ranks 7 or 8 out of the 10 things they consider- and that's if you and another applicants are the SAME in the first six MOST important things. And what are the odds of that happening? Like 0.00001%? Give it a break, and enjoy undergrad.
http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Departments_and_Services/medicine/medical_professionals/residency/Medical/interns.aspx?sub=0

How many of those are from top 25s? The vast majority. In fact, without counting, it looks like most of them are from top 10s.

I'm not trying to argue causation, but clearly there is something going on here...

And here is the matriculants to Harvard's MSTP program in 2007: http://www.hms.harvard.edu/md_phd/downloads/MDPhDNewsletterSummer07.pdf

10 of 13 attended undergrad at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, MIT or Stanford.

Again not trying to argue causation, but for the most competitive and prestigious positions there seems to be a bias for people from top ranked institutions.

Where you went to school doesn't matter in most cases, but in some it can make a difference. Most of us are not shooting for Harvard MSTP or a residency at the Brigham though.
 
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I guess I am in a good position to tell you to not worry about your GPA at Vandy. Obviously there are a lot of smart kids and lots of kids get into decent schools every year. Ok so here is the truth, there are two and only two things that matter for top 25 schools:

MCAT!!!!!!!!!!! AND it is buttraping hard...I hate it and it hates me. we are not a happy family.

EC/Research MUST BE STELLAR or Bye Bye top 15---unless URM
 

phantompanda

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OP, you're worrying too much. First of all, you are a sophomore. You're GPA is fine. It's below the average if you're looking at the top tier schools but it's still within range. You have more time to pull up your GPA. As you probably know, an upwards trend looks good. Secondly, your EC's look fine. Make sure you are continuing with those and not just doing them for a few months and then stopping just to be able to write that you have 50 EC's on your apps. Third, as the other posters have said, MCAT matters. When I interviewed at top tier schools, when the topic of MCAT score came up (rarely and after the interview day), everyone I talked to had 36+. Fourth, ranking probably doesn't matter as much as you think it does. What matters is how you do on your boards at whichever medical school you go to. Lastly, if you're really hung up on rankings, speaking from my own experience, it is possible for you to get into a mid-tier like Dartmouth with a 3.7 :)
 

Ursa

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how do you figure that for texas schools your GPA will go UP from 3.7 to 3.8. They don't count pluses, that means your GPA will go DOWN depending on how many pluses you have. Whether its a few or many pluses, your GPA cannot go up from an undergrad institution that uses the +/- system.
 
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LOL, do you have even an ounce of correct information in that post of yours? First off, let me tell you that you sound like a bumbling idiot.

Residencies are a whole another ballgame than medical school "ranking lists"- Harvard DOES NOT have the best residencies- in fact, not even close.

It is much more complicated than that, and I don't have time to go into it, so I will leave you with this. Since you are so obsessed with rankings and undergraduate "prestige" (when what it really is is self selection, if you know what that means) take a look at this list of the best internal medicine residencies in the United States.

HMS ranks 60 : http://www.residentphysician.com/Medicine_rankings.htm

What now?
 

Obliquity

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LOL, do you have even an ounce of correct information in that post of yours? First off, let me tell you that you sound like a bumbling idiot.

Residencies are a whole another ballgame than medical school "ranking lists"- Harvard DOES NOT have the best residencies- in fact, not even close.

It is much more complicated than that, and I don't have time to go into it, so I will leave you with this. Since you are so obsessed with rankings and undergraduate "prestige" (when what it really is is self selection, if you know what that means) take a look at this list of the best internal medicine residencies in the United States.

HMS ranks 60 : http://www.residentphysician.com/Medicine_rankings.htm

What now?
For the ranking you give, are those dollar amounts research money awarded ? Does research money have anything to do with the quality of the residency in terms of preparing a doctor to practice medicine?

This is an honest question - please correct me if I'm wrong, but to me it doesn't make sense that the most highly funded places in terms of research dollars are going to have the best residencies...
 
Jun 25, 2010
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For the ranking you give, are those dollar amounts research money awarded ? Does research money have anything to do with the quality of the residency in terms of preparing a doctor to practice medicine?

This is an honest question - please correct me if I'm wrong, but to me it doesn't make sense that the most highly funded places in terms of research dollars are going to have the best residencies...
Well guess what obliquity, the US News Lists are based in LARGE part exactly on the aforementioned statistic- research funding. And as stupid as that sounds, you can only imagine how irrelevant research funding is in terms of the school's ability to provide good quality undergraduate medical education.

But residencies are a whole another ballgame- here research funding counts, because the most productive departments will receive the most research grants- and this is important, because this means that the most productive departments have the necessary infrastructure and faculty support needed to train someone in the particular specialty very well. This is why research funding is very relevant for residency. Besides, to match into a competitive specialty, research is almost a requirement.
 

ElChamaco

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LOL, do you have even an ounce of correct information in that post of yours? First off, let me tell you that you sound like a bumbling idiot.

Residencies are a whole another ballgame than medical school "ranking lists"- Harvard DOES NOT have the best residencies- in fact, not even close.

It is much more complicated than that, and I don't have time to go into it, so I will leave you with this. Since you are so obsessed with rankings and undergraduate "prestige" (when what it really is is self selection, if you know what that means) take a look at this list of the best internal medicine residencies in the United States.

HMS ranks 60 : http://www.residentphysician.com/Medicine_rankings.htm

What now?
Are you responding to me? If so I encourage you to be more civil, as I am in my posts.

In any case, I think that you may be misinformed. I'm certain that if you went to the internal medicine forum and asked where the Brigham and MGH ranks in IM prestige you would be told they are among the best regarded programs in the country, not 20 programs below the University of Utah.

I'm not sure what this strange list is that you've produced but there is no "Harvard Medical School" Internal Medicine residency. All "Harvard" residencies are actually with affiliate hospitals, like the Brigham, MGH, BID etc etc. Perhaps that is why Harvard (Harvard Medical School) seems to rank so low in the strange "rankings" you provide.

Also for other schools there are sometimes multiple IM residency programs. Hopkins has at least two (Osler and Bayview, I believe), yet your list does not account for that. I'm not sure how to interpret the list you posted, but I guarantee you that it does not correspond perfectly to the perceived prestige of each program.

For someone who is so quick to malign another poster, did you even reflect for a moment at the absurdity of the University of Maryland (22) being ranked 40 programs higher than Harvard (60), as your interpretation of the list you linked to suggests?

Finally, I am not "obsessed" with rankings, or undergraduate prestige. I just think the notion that where you go to school plays no part in your career trajectory is incorrect, but often asserted here on SDN. Like I said in my first post I'm not trying to argue a direct causation, but it is clear from what I posted that there is a bias towards high ranked universities for the most competitive programs at the medical school (eg MD/PhD at Harvard) and residency level (eg IM at the Brigham).
 

jbz24

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The reason why Harvard is ranked 60 on that list is because it's taking into account NIH funding only to the school and not including "affiliates" such as MGH, BWH, BID, DFI, etc. If you were to add all of those together, it would be more than twice the NIH funding as the second ranked one.

That list is for medical school internal medicine departments and has no reflection on residency. I agree with the previous poster that in most specialties, harvard affiliated programs rank among the best of the best. This is most certainly true in internal medicine, where MGH and BWH are regarded as two of the four best programs in the country (at least in terms of academics and career advancement).
 
OP
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I guess I am in a good position to tell you to not worry about your GPA at Vandy. Obviously there are a lot of smart kids and lots of kids get into decent schools every year. Ok so here is the truth, there are two and only two things that matter for top 25 schools:
^^^ How are you in a "good" position to tell me not worry about my gpa? Do you go to Vandy? Have you been accepted by a top 25 medical school? Was your gpa in the same area as mine? If you answered no to any of these questions, I don't think you are in a "good" position to tell me anything.



@Ursa
how do you figure that for texas schools your GPA will go UP from 3.7 to 3.8. They don't count pluses, that means your GPA will go DOWN depending on how many pluses you have. Whether its a few or many pluses, your GPA cannot go up from an undergrad institution that uses the +/- system.
Vandy doesn't give out A+'s, its just A, A-, B+, B, B-,.... I have made a lot of A- that Texas medical schools will convert to an A, so all those grades will go from a 3.7 to a 4.0. I have only made 2 B's at Vandy (these are my lowest grades, everything else has been an A- or A). These B's will just be 3.0 at Vandy and 3.0 at Texas medical schools. So my gpa can only rise when Texas medical schools convert it, it can't fall.
 
Jun 25, 2010
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I concede your point. But, isn't it also a possibility that self-selection plays a huge role in this, in addition to location bias? It could just be that the best students end up at Harvard for undergrad, and the best of the best at Harvard end up at Harvard med for residency, etc. Therefore, it is also quite possible for a poor state school undergraduate to make it to Harvard MSTP (as someone did this year, from UMBC, a state school) if he/she should have been at Harvard in the first place (i.e was as good as those who got into Harvard, but did not apply/go due to financial reasons, etc, etc.)

However, I do admit that going to a top undergraduate will nevertheless give you panache and a level of branding that is hard to beat. Seeing an Ivy on the diploma is pretty impressive for the layman. However, I would imagine that adcoms and residency directors would be more holistic and discerning in their selection of applicants. For instance, if person A, who went to a state school, had better Step I/II scores, grades, and letters than person B, who went to Harvard, it would make little sense to choose the latter.

And if adcoms are choosing the latter, then all I can say is: Ah well. Too bad then.
 

ElChamaco

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The reason why Harvard is ranked 60 on that list is because it's taking into account NIH funding only to the school and not including "affiliates" such as MGH, BWH, BID, DFI, etc. If you were to add all of those together, it would be more than twice the NIH funding as the second ranked one.

That list is for medical school internal medicine departments and has no reflection on residency. I agree with the previous poster that in most specialties, harvard affiliated programs rank among the best of the best. This is most certainly true in internal medicine, where MGH and BWH are regarded as two of the four best programs in the country (at least in terms of academics and career advancement).
Just curious, are the other two Hopkins Osler and UCSF?
 

Geographer

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The thing about top medical schools is that so many kids with 3.8+ from top ivy league schools will also apply. So they are at the top of their class at a top ivy league school whereas I am doing just average at an ivy league reject school. Those students will get more credit then me, because they were successful at much harder schools. Or at least thats how someone on college confidential's pre-med forum explained it to me.


BTW do you know which medical schools take into account the difficulty of a student's undergraduate institution. I don't think its many.
Returning back to the OP... why do you ask for others' opinions only to disagree, giving your (rather limited) opinion of what you think the situation is? Catalystik knows what (s)he's doing so trust him/her that schools are much more thoughtful about their decisions than you would give them credit for (sorry Cat- I don't know your gender!).

As for your question, no school can be composed of all Ivy League grads. Schools want diversity and that's where you might fit in, but only if you give them a reason to like you.

Most of all, however, med schools want people who are passionate about and deeply committed to some task or intellectual endeavor that interests them. You've stated a lot in this post about your ECs, but you've yet to convince me that you do anything for a reason other than the fact that it will help you get into a "top" med school. You've got two and a half years of college left. You can spend them boosting your resume, or you could spend them exploring the considerable range of activities and academic pursuits that Vandy has to offer, letting your curiosity rather than your raw ambition guide you.

And that brings me back to grades. If you let your interests rather than your desire for admittance into an Ivy League med school guide your next two and a half years in school, I can promise you that you'll be more engaged with your classes, that you'll do better in those classes, and that you'll make a much better applicant (not to mention physician).
 

YouNeverKnow22

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people consistently get into top 25's with <3.6 gpas, the fact you are complaining is a terrible cry for attention
 

karayraisu

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Relax. I was in your shoes a year ago, and although I haven't gotten into a Top 25 school yet, I can tell you that you have a better cGPA and sGPA than me (<38 MCAT). In fact, my sGPA is bottom 10% or less than bottom 10% at almost all the Top 25 schools but four of them have offered me interviews out of my 8 so far. By the way, I am as non-URM as one can probably get demographics-wise also.

I think ECs play a big role. If I were you, I would stop worrying about grades and start focusing on exploring your motivation to pursue medicine and emphasize that on your application.
 
OP
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people consistently get into top 25's with <3.6 gpas, the fact you are complaining is a terrible cry for attention
^^^^ Are a lot of those people URM's, because if medical school admissions is anything like college admissions, a lot of people who have subpar stats that attend top schools are usually URM. Don't get me wrong, there are URMs who have stats higher than 90 percent of the student body at a top school, but there aren't many.

Relax. I was in your shoes a year ago, and although I haven't gotten into a Top 25 school yet, I can tell you that you have a better cGPA and sGPA than me (<38 MCAT). In fact, my sGPA is bottom 10% or less than bottom 10% at almost all the Top 25 schools but four of them have offered me interviews out of my 8 so far. By the way, I am as non-URM as one can probably get demographics-wise also.

I think ECs play a big role. If I were you, I would stop worrying about grades and start focusing on exploring your motivation to pursue medicine and emphasize that on your application.
Could you elaborate on your Ec's so I can understand what "depth" in Ec's means?



Thanks for all the help guys, you guys have calmed my nerves a little......
 

Techmed07

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^^^^ Are a lot of those people URM's, because if medical school admissions is anything like college admissions, a lot of people who have subpar stats that attend top schools are usually URM. Don't get me wrong, there are URMs who have stats higher than 90 percent of the student body at a top school, but there aren't many.

Could you elaborate on your Ec's so I can understand what "depth" in Ec's means?



Thanks for all the help guys, you guys have calmed my nerves a little......


Can you please pick up a MSAR and cite number of URMs that get in.

1. You have NOT taken the MCAT..you're wasting your time here until you do.

2. See above
 
Dec 22, 2012
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First of all, this was incredibly entertaining to read.
Second, seeing that two years have passed, I'd love to know where the OP is with his applications and how the process is going.
 

sliceofbread136

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No one can tell you anything substantial until you have an mcar score.

Just focus on doing your best on that.

Also let me just say that Baylor and southwestern are not as competitive to get into as the other top 25 if you are a Texas resident (at least in my experience)