guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
California
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UC Berkeley MCB 3.75 GPA
MCAT 31Q
EC:
4 times leadership award winner for various community related programs
2 times deans list (3.93 and 3.95 gpa)
2 Yrs hospital volunteer at UCSF
1 yr research at UCSF oncology dept
1 yr teaching Math/Science at a church school
Summer job at a biotech company
Happy with GRE score: Quantitative 167, verbal 163 (wish I could be in this percentile on mcat)
Applied for MPH in top 8 schools. Awaiting response.

Trying hard to increase my GPA slightly up but it's a wishful thinking at UCB...ha ha ha

My ultimate goal is medical school and I feel could have done better in MCAT. Would appreciate your suggestion:
1. Should I try another shot at MCAT?
2. What are my chances for med school with all the above?
3. What are my chances for MPH admission in top 8 schools?
4. Will my chances increase for med school with MPH? I am not pursuing MPH just for the sake of med school but to understand health issues from macro level.
5. I am planning to apply to med school in 2014. Any advise on doing other interesting thing if I decide not to pursue MPH?

Thanks for your advise.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
32,376
11,977
Camp SDN: The Place for Summer Fun
UC Berkeley MCB 3.75 GPA
MCAT 31Q
EC:
4 times leadership award winner for various community related programs
2 times deans list (3.93 and 3.95 gpa)
2 Yrs hospital volunteer at UCSF
1 yr research at UCSF oncology dept
1 yr teaching Math/Science at a church school
Summer job at a biotech company
Happy with GRE score: Quantitative 167, verbal 163 (wish I could be in this percentile on mcat)
Applied for MPH in top 8 schools. Awaiting response.

Trying hard to increase my GPA slightly up but it's a wishful thinking at UCB...ha ha ha

My ultimate goal is medical school and I feel could have done better in MCAT. Would appreciate your suggestion:
1. Should I try another shot at MCAT?
2. What are my chances for med school with all the above?
3. What are my chances for MPH admission in top 8 schools?
4. Will my chances increase for med school with MPH? I am not pursuing MPH just for the sake of med school but to understand health issues from macro level.
5. I am planning to apply to med school in 2014. Any advise on doing other interesting thing if I decide not to pursue MPH?

Thanks for your advise.
1) Was the first score a fluke, due to illness, anxiety, or such? Did you not study adequately, ie at least 2 months of dedicated study? Had you not yet completed all the prerequisites? If there are some yes responses, and you are consistently scoring at least three points higher on multiple practice exams, then a retake might be in order.

2) Historically, those applying to MD schools with a 3.75/31 had a 72% of at least one acceptance.

3) You're asking in the wrong forum.

4) No, except as you might gain additional substantive research and teaching opportunities (more common with two year programs). An MPH would potentially be more useful when seeking a residency spot.
 

Wonton Soup

II me plz?
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I agree with Catalystik, unless you are confident you can raise your MCAT significantly (at least to a 35+) do yourself a favor and don't retake. I have pretty similar stats as you and am currently sitting on an acceptance and another II. Statwise you should be competitive for a lot of schools, although CA might be more difficult. I would advise doing more physician shadowing, as I didn't see that in your list of activities. If MPH/MD are not in your future you can also look into doing research in epidemiology if you're interested in the public health sector. There are a lot of interesting avenues you can explore in research.
 

gyngyn

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You are a good candidate for many fine schools with the scores you have (just not in CA, for the most part). Retaking a good MCAT is often hazardous.
 
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Goro

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Jun 10, 2010
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Absolutely not.
1. Should I try another shot at MCAT?

Fine for all low and a few medium tier MD schools, all DO programs, including mine. Do not try for OOS public schools, they prefer the home team.

2. What are my chances for med school with all the above?

Don't know for this one.

What are my chances for MPH admission in top 8 schools?

Not likely.

4. Will my chances increase for med school with MPH? I am not pursuing MPH just for the sake of med school but to understand health issues from macro level.

Any EC that demonstrates your altruism and humanism.

5. I am planning to apply to med school in 2014. Any advise on doing other interesting thing if I decide not to pursue MPH?
 
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smarts1

7+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2010
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To be honest, if you are certain you can do much better on a retake (like your practice test averages come out to 35 or higher), retake it. Most people will say taking a 30+ score is dumb, but if you want to maximize your chances, retaking it would not be a bad idea (especially since you're from California).
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
California
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Medical Student (Accepted)
Thank you folks for sharing your views on my background.

To answer Catalystik, there's a serious family emergency during those days. Lost my uncle (who's like my 2nd dad) in the process of kidney transplant despite finding a match so quickly from his wife. It was devastating emotionally and hard to concentrate on MCAT prep. Then MCAT result came as a shocker, and I took some time to figure out what went wrong and how to prep better. I have spent about 1-1/2 months practicing and scoring between 40-41 (apprx 8-10 tests), which gives me little more confidence to try another MCAT test which is scheduled for next Sat.

To Thank You Based God: I did shadow my uncle (who's physician/OBGYN and died last year in kidney transplant) for almost 6 months in the last 3 years.

I had applied in MPH prog fall 2014: Columbia, Emory, UPENN, Yale, UCLA, UCI, Dartmouth and UC Berkeley. Got accepted in all except UC Berkeley :(
I am crossing my fingers for a decent MCAT score now.

Once again, thank you all.
 

Catalystik

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Are the MPH programs you got accepted to one or two year programs? Most med schools won't want to poach a grad student who isn't pretty sure to get a degree prior to med school matriculation. A request for a grad school advisor LOR regarding this issue is not uncommon. There can be exceptions to this general rule, if your advisor is on-board with your plan.
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
California
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Medical Student (Accepted)
All are 2 year prog. If I pursue MPH in fall 2014, it would mean my app for med school will go in June 2015.
I haven't met any of the advisors, however, spoke to the dean of admissions and shared my ultimate goal of attending med school.

Should I be concerned or clarify things further? From program, logistics and research potential Yale seemed to have a better fit especially from the perspective of 2 year research that I have been involved with UCSF Oncology. I have been accepted in MPH-Chronic Disease Epi at Yale, and MPH-Biostat in Columbia.

I am really thankful for any advise you all can give me.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
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Your best bet might be to communicate with current 2nd year MPH candidates in each program sand ask if they are on track to graduate on time and what the history has been for past others in the program. I've seen all too often that a candidate is deemed "not ready" (despite all previous reassurances) and essentially held hostage by their PI due to a current project in the works. I doubt you'd want to defer med school (if your petition were granted) for another year if this scenario is a common one in any program you're seriously considering.
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

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Jun 19, 2011
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Never imagined such scenarios.......you have opened my eyes and I can't appreciate enough for it. I will follow up on this after my MCAT tomorrow.....
Thx
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
California
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Hello Everybody
Just a little update.....
My MCAT is out today...scored 35....Phew!!!

Frankly, since I was continuously scoring 40-41 on MCAT practice tests, was hoping at least 36-37 but......moving from 31 -> 35 definitely feels much better...
In the meantime, I got couple of most prestigious leadership awards from UCLA which covers my entire tuition/living/summer practical and other expenses for MPH (2 yrs). And now I am struggling with few questions:
  1. If I apply in med school 2014 and get accepted can I request for deferral due to MPH? I heard only handful of med schools may allow.
  2. As some of you have shared earlier on this post that med school doesn't like poaching... Is there any way I can subtly mention UCLA awards on my med school app 2014, since it's their highest merit awards for potential future leaders. Of course, it's to make me competitive and not jeopardize my app. Should I mention on the app or not?
Thanks again
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
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Sep 4, 2006
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My MCAT is out today...scored 35....Phew!!!

In the meantime, I got couple of most prestigious leadership awards from UCLA which covers my entire tuition/living/summer practical and other expenses for MPH (2 yrs). And now I am struggling with few questions:
  1. If I apply in med school 2014 and get accepted can I request for deferral due to MPH? I heard only handful of med schools may allow.
  2. As some of you have shared earlier on this post that med school doesn't like poaching... Is there any way I can subtly mention UCLA awards on my med school app 2014, since it's their highest merit awards for potential future leaders. Of course, it's to make me competitive and not jeopardize my app. Should I mention on the app or not?
Congrats on a great score and 2-year award!

1) All med schools will take a dim view of an applicant who applies knowing he/she will need to defer to complete a current program. Sure, a few might grant it anyway because they are known to be lenient, but do you really want that to control which program you are able to attend?

If I could look into my crystal ball and know that UCLA would accept you to their med school, another possibility comes into play, namely that you could then take a leave of absence from the masters (assuming advisor approval) and finish it up between 2nd and 3rd year of med school, or somesuch (with an understanding that the award might not cover noncontiguous years). It's not impossible that another med school might allow a similar LOA, but your advisor would totally have to support you with this plan. Since you haven't even started the program, who could predict if it's possible?

2) You could mention being recipent of the leadership award without commenting on the monetary component. But how would you explain how UCLA even knows who you are?
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
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Thanks Catalystik for your feedback.

It took me a while to go through various pros/cons for MPH full scholarship study vs med school in 2014. During undergrad I have been involved over two years in a research related to breast cancer at UCSF which gave me an opportunity to explore the epidemiology and risk factors of the disease. Its variation among populations, age incidence curve, racial and ethnic groups and migrants etc was very interesting. That’s why I gave a lot of thinking and decided to take the opportunity for MPH and get more in-depth exposure to epidemiology before starting med school in 2016.

I do want to thank each of you for your guidance and hopefully will seek your advice in the future again.:)
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
California
Status
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Hello there,
Wish you all a very Happy New Year!!

Just a little update. I have completed Q1 (MPH in Epi Fall 2014) and scoring close to 4.0 GPA (took 5 courses=20 cr) and will be starting 2nd Q early Jan 2015. I am planning to submit my med school application by Jun 15th 2015 and have a question.

I believe earliest acceptance letters from most schools in Calif (even other States) are sent by Oct, for example UC Irvine, UC Davis etc. And they will allow maximum time of 2 weeks for an applicant to respond. However, there are many schools like UCLA/UCSF (many tier 1 other States) which sends their earliest acceptance in Dec-Jan with 2 weeks time for decision. How does this work if one wants to weigh all the options for acceptance before making a decision? Is there a way one can defer the decision for Oct accepted schools till Dec? (have no plans for deferring due to grad/thesis etc).

Thanks a lot.
 

Lamel

5+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2013
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Hello there,
Wish you all a very Happy New Year!!

Just a little update. I have completed Q1 (MPH in Epi Fall 2014) and scoring close to 4.0 GPA (took 5 courses=20 cr) and will be starting 2nd Q early Jan 2015. I am planning to submit my med school application by Jun 15th 2015 and have a question.

I believe earliest acceptance letters from most schools in Calif (even other States) are sent by Oct, for example UC Irvine, UC Davis etc. And they will allow maximum time of 2 weeks for an applicant to respond. However, there are many schools like UCLA/UCSF (many tier 1 other States) which sends their earliest acceptance in Dec-Jan with 2 weeks time for decision. How does this work if one wants to weigh all the options for acceptance before making a decision? Is there a way one can defer the decision for Oct accepted schools till Dec? (have no plans for deferring due to grad/thesis etc).

Thanks a lot.
You put in a deposit for whatever school you want to consider and hold a spot until around ~May. Then you can withdraw from schools and most will refund the deposit. This way you can hold multiple spots until you finally decide in the Spring.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
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It's considered to be perfectly acceptable to hold multiple acceptances with a deposit-usually $100, until all your options are known and scholarship offers have been received. This year the AMCAS "traffic rules" require that you make up your mind by April 30 and drop all but one acceptance by that date. You can still remain on multiple waiting lists after deciding on your primary preference, however. If a more desirable offer should come in later, you can drop the other acceptance (though you will not get back the deposit) until the first day that you matriculate at a med school.
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

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Jun 19, 2011
83
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California
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Hi
I think I found the answer. My reading suggests applicants are typically given 10 - 14 days from the day they receive the acceptance letter to make a deposit and indicate that they are interested in attending there. Once the deposit is made and they respond to the school, the school will hold a spot for them in the incoming class.

This does not mean that they actually have to attend this particular school in the end. Once they have made deposits at several schools (with several offers), they can still decide where they really want to study medicine, after considering all of their options. So, by making the deposit, applicants don't promise or commit to attend that particular school.

Thanks
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
California
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You put in a deposit for whatever school you want to consider and hold a spot until around ~May. Then you can withdraw from schools and most will refund the deposit. This way you can hold multiple spots until you finally decide in the Spring.
Thank you so much
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
California
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
It's considered to be perfectly acceptable to hold multiple acceptances with a deposit-usually $100, until all your options are known and scholarship offers have been received. This year the AMCAS "traffic rules" require that you make up your mind by April 30 and drop all but one acceptance by that date. You can still remain on multiple waiting lists after deciding on your primary preference, however. If a more desirable offer should come in later, you can drop the other acceptance (though you will not get back the deposit) until the first day that you matriculate at a med school.
Thanks again Catalystik
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
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Hi Everybody,
There's nothing better than having a few mentors like you folks who have been in the field and are willing to help out people along the way. While I am at a critical juncture of applying to medical school in Jun 2015, the next big decision I have to make is where to study. It's certainly not an easy task, and making me a little nervous. I do not have any premed adviser and wondering if you can shed some lights on these:-

1. Selecting Medical Schools/MSAR: Location, reputation, and curriculum - will remain key factors. Having said that, one can't have enough knowledge in selecting the right schools in the application.

a. GPA/MCAT numbers that the schools are publishing gives me a sense of how competitive a school to get into. My confusion is due to a huge gap between undergrad vs grad scores, should I consider schools whose students have a mean GPA of 3.7 (matching with UG) rather than 3.8 (grad) and MCAT: 35?
I am told schools put more emphasis on undergrad scores. If that's true, then am I not better of applying to schools w mean GPA 3.7 or less?

UG/UC Berkeley overall GPA: 3.72, BCPM: 3.77
Grad/UCLA overall GPA: 3.87, BCPM: 3.9

b. How many schools should I apply?
c. How should I distribute between highly competitive/middle-tiered/backup safety schools? ( although I have heard there's no such thing as "safety schools" in med school).

I want to be realistic about my admission chances and not too hung up on a school's reputation and want to apply to schools of varying degrees of competitiveness.
Any suggestions on this will be highly appreciated.

Thank you very much
 
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tea guzzling traveler

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Oct 8, 2014
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I would use the GPA from UG (with maybe a slight push up like 3.72 to 3.75), and remember to average the MCAT's when thinking, so not 35, but 33. Use the MSAR, and with the exception of the reaches, which maybe have a few, i.e. harvard, duke UChicago, Upenn and UCSF or something like that, then a bunch of mid schools, like in the US news 20-50, and then a few safeties. You should be fine for MD, and won't really need to apply to DO as backup. The low tiered should suffice (but you can if you want.

I think 15-20 would be a good number for you, as you seem like a fairly solid applicant. Make sure you apply broadly and it should all work out.
 

tea guzzling traveler

2+ Year Member
Oct 8, 2014
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Oh, one other thing. Make sure to check the MSAR's out of state vs in state acceptances. Many state schools often exhibit an extreme in state bias, and it is almost like handing them money to apply there.
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
California
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Hi Everybody,
I am back again.....juggling between mid-terms and med school application for June 2015. Can't deny, little nervous......have a question.
If I submit my application during 1st week of June 2015, I was wondering when do school usually conduct interviews? I am getting a little mixed information. Some of my friends said, Calif schools usually start interviewing from early Aug to Sept, and pvt schools around Oct. I am going to Africa with a graduate research project for 10 weeks starting mid June and hope if I get any interview it doesn't conflict. Can I request for a change of date giving my situation? Otherwise I have to find out if UCLA will allow me to head back early, which I doubt.

Thanks a lot
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
California
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Oh, one other thing. Make sure to check the MSAR's out of state vs in state acceptances. Many state schools often exhibit an extreme in state bias, and it is almost like handing them money to apply there.
Yes, I heard that from my school adviser too. Thanks for sharing.
 

Lamel

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Jan 17, 2013
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Hi Everybody,
I am back again.....juggling between mid-terms and med school application for June 2015. Can't deny, little nervous......have a question.
If I submit my application during 1st week of June 2015, I was wondering when do school usually conduct interviews? I am getting a little mixed information. Some of my friends said, Calif schools usually start interviewing from early Aug to Sept, and pvt schools around Oct. I am going to Africa with a graduate research project for 10 weeks starting mid June and hope if I get any interview it doesn't conflict. Can I request for a change of date giving my situation? Otherwise I have to find out if UCLA will allow me to head back early, which I doubt.

Thanks a lot
Usually you schools give an option of dates to select from, so you will often get the chance to choose the ones you can make; if there really is an issue, they can probably accommodate you. If you're back before September you will be okay.

For reference, nearly all of my interviews were scheduled for september or later.
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
California
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Hello There,
Deep neck in completing the secondaries. One question I am struggling with that came out of Oregon Health....What will be your greatest challenge in becoming a physician?
How to comprehend this? (a) Greatest challenge after you become a doctor ?or (B) while you were developing from layperson to physician?

Any help will be really appreciative.
Thanks so much


Just a little update
Have applied in 17 schools. Didn't touch any Ivys....I think selections are either meeting or below avg my GPA/MCAT
Received 3 interviews, 2 rejections and rest "under review" . This is my first experience so don't know if it's common, but I found it to be little funny getting rejected in less than 3 weeks from my application. These are from top 10 schools with most applicants w avg GPA 3.5 and MCAT 3.1, so I am bit confused and don't know what to think. My AMCAAS was sent out by 9th June and I was rejected by Jun 24th.... It didn't take them too long to throw me out....ha ha ha ha.

Currently doing a graduate field work in an underdeveloped nation with very minimal access to the Internet. However, it's absolutely fantastic to experience the world I had never seen before. To access the Internet I have to travel 2 hours each way in a bus and then wait patiently hoping the guy will open his shop today....ha ha ha...people are so content....I am behind with my secondaries due to such logistics, now I have so much appreciation for people who are doing such fabulous job in saving lives with such limited resources.

Thanks again.....
Guppy
 

Banco

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May 28, 2014
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If you already have 3 interviews, you're doing great.

The schools that rejected you that fast were likely highly IS biased (like UWash).
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
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Thanks Banco,
But both were private schools, mostly OOS takers.. ....oh well, can't dwell on that. Once I am back, may be will write a small note asking them where can I make progress.
 

Doug Underhill

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Sep 2, 2011
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If you're getting rejected from private programs like Temple, they have to reject many, many qualified people simply because of the number of applications they receive.
 

GrapesofRath

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May 5, 2015
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Hello There,
Deep neck in completing the secondaries. One question I am struggling with that came out of Oregon Health....What will be your greatest challenge in becoming a physician?
How to comprehend this? (a) Greatest challenge after you become a doctor ?or (B) while you were developing from layperson to physician?

Any help will be really appreciative.
Thanks so much


Just a little update
Have applied in 17 schools. Didn't touch any Ivys....I think selections are either meeting or below avg my GPA/MCAT
Received 3 interviews, 2 rejections and rest "under review" . This is my first experience so don't know if it's common, but I found it to be little funny getting rejected in less than 3 weeks from my application. These are from top 10 schools with most applicants w avg GPA 3.5 and MCAT 3.1, so I am bit confused and don't know what to think. My AMCAAS was sent out by 9th June and I was rejected by Jun 24th.... It didn't take them too long to throw me out....ha ha ha ha.

Currently doing a graduate field work in an underdeveloped nation with very minimal access to the Internet. However, it's absolutely fantastic to experience the world I had never seen before. To access the Internet I have to travel 2 hours each way in a bus and then wait patiently hoping the guy will open his shop today....ha ha ha...people are so content....I am behind with my secondaries due to such logistics, now I have so much appreciation for people who are doing such fabulous job in saving lives with such limited resources.

Thanks again.....
Guppy
Huh? The applicant pool for top 10 schools is very very competitive; it's not uncommon at all for people with your stats to get rejected within a matter of weeks or even days in some cases. I can assure you most of the applicant pool for top 10 schools is not 3.5/31 borderline applicants; top 10 schools turn away TONs and TONs of 3.8+/34+ apps.

As was said above look at the acceptance rates for OOS applicants at many of these private schools. They are very very low. Many private schools that claim no IS bias actually have stats that show it is much easier to get a II in-state. You're fine; many schools have an acceptance rate for people who interview that is at least 50%. You have 3 II's; odds say if you can be a solid interviewer you have a good chance of nabbing an acceptance letter somewhere.
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
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Hi GrapesofRath,
Thanks for the encouragement.
Sorry I did not communicate clearly in my earlier email. Actually I meant the rejections came out of schools that attracts the most applicants (Georgetown and George Washington).... :(

And I totally agree with you, that's why remained very conservative and applied in schools with closer match with my UG GPA: 3.72, BCPM: 3.77

I am very grateful to make a difference in MCAT 2nd attempt (from 31 to 35), and the schools I have received interviews considers the highest or the last MCAT, score.
 

UTUT

5+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2013
37
13
With 3.77 and 35 MCAT, esp from Berkeley, I'm pretty sure you can aim for high to mid-tier med schools. Most med schools use the last MCAT and retaking it once is not a big deal. You seem to be underestimating yourself.
Esp with substantive research from the MPH degree.
If you can weave a compelling story with why you want to do medicine supporting it with past experiences, I'm sure you'll be a strong candidate.
Hope your interviews are going well (how is that going)!
 
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guppythefish

guppythefish

7+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2011
83
43
California
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Thank you Banco, UTUT and others,
Since I have been taking your guidance in several occasions I want to share that I got my first acceptance from Univ of Rochester. I cannot express my gratitude for the kind of energy, confidence, warmth University of Rochester has showered on all of us during II. It was just incredible experience and I am super excited to realize finally I am on my way to be a physician......Thank You God!!!

Once again, thanks to all of you for your assistance.