Mar 24, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello,

I am a reapplicant this year from NJ. unbalanced w/ 123 in CARS (not sure what happened here, I got a 85% on the AAMC FL).

MCAT-
30 (9 C/P, 11 VR, 10 B; 4/14)
26 (7 C/P, 8 VR, 11 B; 5/14)
513 (130 C/P, 123 CARS, 129 B/BC, 131 P/S; 7/2015)
Biomedical Engineering - BS/MS program
GPA 3.74 sGPA , 3.77 cGPA, ~3.98 Grad
Strong upward trend (4.0 in last few years)

ECs:
- 3 MDs shadowed ~ 80 hrs (Interv. Cardiologist, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Surgery)
- 2500 hrs of Paid Employment @ Radiopharmaceutical company for co-ops as Data Management Intern
-6 mo clinical research assistant: involved clinical exposure, shadowing physicians, research

Any advice is appreciated
 
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OP
D
Mar 24, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi Faha,

I have yet to actually apply to any medical schools. I was waiting on my scores and my primary to be verified. I came up with this long list of schools to apply to and began prewriting a few secondaries with hope that my MCATs would be better (balanced).

My pre-health adviser reached out to a committee adviser/director who said that even though my CARS score might equal about a 6/7, my 2014 scores may balance things out. And that " because of all the uncertainty of how to interpret the new scores that you might be okay for 2016". I am hoping that's good news but am still hesitant. He said I should get several opinions from a few other schools.
 

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
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Non-Student
Hello,

I am a reapplicant this year from NJ. I recently received my MCAT score (3rd time overall, first 2015) . It's very unbalanced with a 123 in CARS (not sure what happened here, I got a 85% on the AAMC FL).

MCAT-
30 (9 C/P, 11 VR, 10 B; 4/14)
26 (7 C/P, 8 VR, 11 B; 5/14)
513 (130 C/P, 123 CARS, 129 B/BC, 131 P/S; 7/2015)
I graduated from Drexel University in a Biomedical Engineering dual-degree BS/MS program this past June;
Drexel reports combined GPA : 3.81 UG
AMCAS reported ~3.7 sGPA , ~3.76 cGPA, ~ 3.95 Grad - hoping to be verified soon
Strong upward trend (4.0 in last few years)

ECs:
- 3 MDs shadowed ~ 80 hrs (Interv. Cardiologist, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Surgery)
- 2500 hrs of Paid Employment @ Radiopharmaceutical company for co-ops as Data Management Intern
-6 mo full time co-op (unpaid) as clinical research assistant: involved clinical exposure, shadowing physicians, research
-weak Community Service - Non Clinical

I am willing to retake the MCAT next year if necessary and/or reapply early next June, I just don't want schools to dismiss me based on taking it so many times. :( Hoping to become an MD one day.

Any advice is appreciated
Given you have already had one cycle and not gotten any luck I would consider sitting out this cycle and giving it ago next year. The bolded will cause problems for you. You do not want to be a 3rd time applicant at a school(there are definitely schools gyngyn has said that won't even consider applicants who have applied more than twice).

Definitely do not re-take the MCAT. You'll hear ADCOMs on here say you are basically given 3 chances to take the MCAT in their minds. You've used up your 3 chances. Taking it a 4th time is going to cause more problems and considering you've gotten an 7 and 33rd percentile on the CARs your last 2 attempts there's a good chance you won't be pleased with the CARS even if you re-take. You've done a great job improving your science scores. You are just going to have to apply with the MCAT scores you have now.

If you apply this cycle the 3 schools that superscore MCATs(MCW GW and one other one I can't remember that gyngyn listed) should automatically be on your list. As should all the NJ state schools and any school that takes a good amount of OOS applicants where the 10th percentile MCAT verbal is at 7. I would give consideration to those where the 10th percentile MCAT is at 8 also that take a good amount OOS.

There are flaws with what your advisor said. Using the whole "people are uncertain on how to interpret your CARS score since its a new MCAT" isn't good logic; a medicore subsection is a medicore subsection period particularly when it is on a section that barely changed from the old MCAT and even on the old MCAT you had an 8 with your last attempt at it. So no, your old MCAT doesn't really do much to "balance out" the CARs.

If you are applying this cycle I strongly recommend DO schools. You can't simply rely on MDs when you a CARs at the 33rd percentile. You will be fine for almost any DO school. And like I said the lack of volunteering will cause problems to an app that already has flaws in its MCAT track record; for that reason if you are insistent on applying this cycle you simply have to apply to some DO's.

Good luck to you.
 
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OP
D
Mar 24, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I was just wondering what the benefit of sitting a year would do for me? Wouldn't I still have the poor MCAT performance in my history?

Also regarding retaking... I am positive that I could improve my CARS performance and at least achieve a 10. On the AAMC FL I achieved an 85%. In the 5 Next Step practice Full Lengths my CARS score was 124, 125, 127, 127, 127 and these were taken with a week between each test.

I also have never shadowed a DO so I thought I could not apply there. And your right about not applying to a school more than twice. The schools I would plan on applying this year would be a) schools I have not previously applied to, or b) schools I would not plan to reapply to next year.

If only I stuck with my April 2014 scores I may already be in medical school...
 
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GrapesofRath

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May 5, 2015
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Thanks for the words of encouragement... kinda haha

I was just wondering what the benefit of sitting a year would do for me? Wouldn't I still have the poor MCAT performance in my history? And the advice was from a medical school admissions director, not the advisor himself.

Also regarding retaking... I am positive that I could improve my CARS performance and at least achieve a 10. On the AAMC FL I achieved an 85%. In the 5 Next Step practice Full Lengths my CARS score was 124, 125, 127, 127, 127 and these were taken with a week between each test.

I also have never shadowed a DO so I thought I could not apply there. And your right about not applying to a school more than twice. The schools I would plan on applying this year would be a) schools I have not previously applied to, or b) schools I would not plan to reapply to next year.

If only I stuck with my April 2014 scores I may already be in medical school...
The reason to sit out a year would be to improve the weak volunteering and building the best app possible not take the MCAT again for MD schools. If you are going to be a re-applicant you don't want clear holes in your app particularly when you have an up and down MCAT track record. Note this more if you are dead set on trying to go all in on the MD route. If you are open to the DO route obviously your stats are quite competitive(although the lack of volunteering can still cause problems at DO's; how big is hard to say). Like I said being a 3rd time re-applicant is not something you want to be at all costs so avoid it and build the best app possible if MD is what you are really gunning for.

There are many DO schools where you don't need to shadow a DO and shadowing an MD is fine. Also the DO time line for application is later; you could honestly shadow a DO within the next month and probably still be fine, particularly with your stats

Don't retake the MCAT. There is a reason you scored an 8 on your second attempt then 33rd percentile on your most recent one. The fact you did much better on so many practice tests before taking it a 3rd time is honestly more reason not to; there is clearly a gap in your performance between practice and the real deal(the real deal being alot harder) that is going to be really difficult to fix and more likely to cause more problems. You are only asking for more problems re-taking. Like I said gonnif and many other ADCOMs on here have said many ADCOMs use a 3 strikes policy with the MCAT and taking it more than 3 times is not beneficial.

As I said if you are 100% going to apply this cycle the 3 schools that superscore MCATs, your state schools and those with 10th percentile verbal scores in the 7-8 range that take a good amount of OOS students should be your priority. Throw in some DO's(you should be competitive for any) and I think that'll be a good list.

Note also I did some editing to the first post since I misread a little bit of what you said.
 
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OP
D
Mar 24, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Great, I am with you on not retaking it. I will apply to select schools this year and will consider DO. I will look at state schools, GW, MCW and any other scores that look at the best score.

Regarding volunteering, I will definitely work on that this year now that I have much more free time. Currently I only have my one volunteering co-op which is listed at 750 hours (6 months). My non clinical volunteering I only have 20 hours my Freshman year.

Thanks for the help. I truly appreciate it.
 
Last edited:

Faha

7+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2012
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Attending Physician
You would probably be better off to apply next June and submit all your secondaries by July. You are competitive for most DO schools and if you apply broadly to at least 10 you should receive several interviews. For MD consider these schools:
Your 3 NJ state schools
Seton Hall (scheduled to open in 2017)
Albany
New York Medical College
Drexel
Temple
Jefferson
Penn State
Oakland Beaumont
Western Michigan
Rosalind Franklin
Creighton
Tulane
Loyola
St.Louis
any new private MD schools that open in 2017
 
OP
D
Mar 24, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
ChrisMack... tell me about it. That quick decision lead me to at least an unnecessary year of suffering.

Faha - I appreciate your help. I plan to still apply this year but only to a fraction of the MD schools I was considering. I want to reach out to a few ADCOM's to see how they respond to my situation.

Here is my list
NJMS - 1st time applicant IS
CMSRU - 1st time applicant IS
RWJMS - reapplicant IS
Drexel - reapplicant, alma matter
Jefferson -1st time applicant
GWU - reapplicant but superscores MCAT (I guess that translates to like a 36 [13/11/12] + 14/15 in Psy/Soc)?
MCW - 1st time applicant w/ Superscores MCAT

Maybes:
Rosalind Franklin - 1st time applicant
Tulane - 1st time applicant

Any other schools that Superscore?

I would hate to sit out a complete year. If necessary I will plan to retake in April/May of next year and reapply broader in June/July.
 
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GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
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Non-Student
ChrisMack... tell me about it. That quick decision lead me to at least an unnecessary year of suffering.

Faha - I appreciate your help. I plan to still apply this year but only to a fraction of the MD schools I was considering. I want to reach out to a few ADCOM's to see how they respond to my situation.

Here is my list
NJMS - 1st time applicant IS
CMSRU - 1st time applicant IS
RWJMS - reapplicant IS
Drexel - reapplicant, alma matter
Jefferson -1st time applicant
GWU - reapplicant but superscores MCAT (I guess that translates to like a 36 [13/11/12] + 14/15 in Psy/Soc)?
MCW - 1st time applicant w/ Superscores MCAT

Maybes:
Rosalind Franklin - 1st time applicant
Tulane - 1st time applicant

Any other schools that Superscore?
I heard Vandy does but my chances seem slim to none there.Right?

I would hate to sit out a complete year. If necessary I will plan to retake in April/May of next year and reapply broader in June/July.
Well this is a simplification of the thought process you need but in many ways this the decision you will have to make in some way or another. The two options

a) You are hell bent on applying this cycle and matriculating next year. In this case you need a number of DO's.
b) You are hell bent on going after the MD. In this situation it is best to boost your app(the lack of volunteering is a pretty significant issue) and apply early next year.

Note two things here
a) you should not under any circumstances re-take the MCAT
b) you should do everything imaginable to not be a 3rd type re-applicant. Even schools you haven't applied to before will note you are a 3rd time re-applicant in general as ADCOMs have said and the thoughts that come in their mind from that are not things beneficial to your app. So the strategy of "oh let me just apply to some MDs this cycle and if I don't get in well at least next cycle I'll have more volunteering" isnt a good one. You need to decide what you really want a) do you really want the MD b) do you really want to matriculate next year. Which is more important to you? Pick one.

Also get gyngyn's input about the superscoring thing(he's the one who listed 3 schools that do it). While my guess is they never even consider the fact you took it three times and have a declining verbal trend, I'm not 100% on that and don't want to give you wrong info.
 
OP
D
Mar 24, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I think you are slightly oversimplifying here but I respect your opinion. I plan to stick with my path of applying to the few MD schools I listed this year around. I do not think this is an either/or scenario. I have nothing wrong with DO's or the DO route but I am pretty set on going MD. Regardless I will work on volunteering and try for an ER scribe position.
 
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GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
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Status
Non-Student
I think you are slightly oversimplifying here but I respect your opinion. I plan to stick with my path of applying to the few MD schools I listed this year around. I have nothing wrong with DO's or the DO route but I am pretty set on going MD. Regardless I will work on volunteering and try for an ER scribe position.

By the way have you ever been through an application cycle or taken an MCAT? You some to give career altering advise pretty easily when you do not know how things will turn out. Not to mention the effect of going through an entire cycle without a single interview.

Regarding medical schools knowing how many times I applied to other schools, and whether I am a 3rd time applicant at some schools yet only a 1st time at another I don't think that is true. From what I know, a school can only see how many times you applied previously to THERE school, in which they have your previous primary app to compare. This is done by selecting the "I have previously applied here button" on the AMCAS. The only way a school may get the idea that I previously applied at other schools/ medical school in general is if they look at the dates in which I took the MCAT... in which case there would be no way to differentiate if I took the year off or reapplied. With that, and given the fact that I believe I have been adequately exposed to the field of medicine and worked hard enough through the last 5 years in preparing for that White Coat.. I think it is a good idea to apply this year.

Edit: see link https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/amcas/faqs/305002/canschoolsseeotherschools.html

And I am assuming that even the schools that superscore will see my low verbal scores. But it's possible that the computer program that screens will present the "superscored" scores. Also, with there being a new scoring system in 2015 I think superscoring will be even more complicated. I think GW plans to superscore percentages.
When you complete secondaries you will see that most schools ask if you are re-applicant in general, not to their school but in general. So they will in the vast majority of cases know. This is not the same as the AMAC question regarding applying previously to a specific school. IF you don't believe that schools at least take some kind of note(however significant or insignificant it maybe) of the fact you've already had an unsuccessful cycle even if it wasn't involving there school, maybe going through LizzyM's or gyngyn's post and seeing them say that will help show you that.

What you want to do is your prerogative it literally makes zero difference to me. I'm giving you my input on how I would approach the situation. You are applying without hardly anything in the way of volunteering and have already gone through an unsuccessful cycle. Most reasonable people would say just applying to a handful of MD schools again(without DO's) after not having any success with two clear flaws(the MCATs and the lack of volunteering) might not be the best strategy. But that is your decision. Good luck to you.
 
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Lawper

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@GrapesofRath probably gave you a brutal advice, but it is very realistic. There are some red flags on your application so you should step back a moment and reassess.

I am a reapplicant this year from NJ.
You probably know of this but adcoms tend to look at reapplicants with increased skepticism. In fact, the SDN adage that "do it once and do it right" is standard, although there are many exceptions where reapps can succeed immensely in the second cycle. This is usually due to significant changes and repairs in their application.

MCAT-
30 (9 C/P, 11 VR, 10 B; 4/14)
26 (7 C/P, 8 VR, 11 B; 5/14)
513 (130 C/P, 123 CARS, 129 B/BC, 131 P/S; 7/2015)

A 513 is roughly a 32-33, so your cumulative MCAT trend is great. Yeah it's V-shaped, but you did the best in your last attempt, so that's a plus. Your VR went from a 11 to a 6 equivalent though, which puts into question as to how you got an 11 in the first attempt. However, what's troublesome is that you're an engineering major and did worse on the PS section, only improving in the final attempt.

Usually with three MCAT attempts in close proximity, the best metric is to average the scores. Doing so yields your MCAT of roughly 29-30.

ECs:
- 3 MDs shadowed ~ 80 hrs (Interv. Cardiologist, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Surgery)
- 2500 hrs of Paid Employment @ Radiopharmaceutical company for co-ops as Data Management Intern
-6 mo full time co-op (unpaid) as clinical research assistant: involved clinical exposure, shadowing physicians, research
-weak Community Service - Non Clinical
Your ECs are subpar but OK for DO schools, since you have covered shadowing and clinical exposure. However, your ECs are essentially inadequate for MD schools, since the lower/mid-tier schools focus heavily on service and nonclinical volunteering (which you lack), while the top tiers focus heavily on research (which you also lack, since 6-month internship experience is insufficient).

I strongly urge you to apply to DO schools (DO application cycle is a lot longer, so apply now), Drexel, maybe Temple and Jefferson, and your NJ state schools, since you're an NJ resident. But realize that you essentially have three red flags (reapplicant, 3x MCAT with declining VR and alarming PS in first two attempts despite being an engineering major, and subpar ECs). Do not retake the MCAT and do what you can to avoid a third application cycle.

Good luck. :luck::luck:
 
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OP
D
Mar 24, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Yes, I am aware that some (not most) secondaries ask if you have previously applied... and that is traditionally to that specific medical school. At least that is what I have seen in secondaries I received.

750 hours of clinical volunteering is "not hardly anything". I do agree that I have less than usual non-medical volunteering. I'm hoping that ADCOMs will see that I did the best with what I had. In 5 years I got both a bachelors and masters in an engineering program. With a near 4.0 in the last 3.5 years taking both grad and undergrad classes. Not to mention I fit 1 year of full time work experience, and 6 month of full time research (this isn't a side project, this was full time). And I worked part time during my studies in my last year of school. I am not trying to make any excuses, just it was challenging to commit completely to a volunteering project with my workload.

But none the less, thanks for your advise. I don't mean to be defensive or unappreciative. I just want to get the facts straight.
 
OP
D
Mar 24, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Lawper... thanks for your response too and I have nothing wrong with good criticism but...

This is the first time I've heard I have weak EC's. To me 6 months of full time exposure, in addition to nearly 2000 hours of paid employment in the pharmaceutical industry does not quality as "weak". But maybe I'm wrong?. What is considered on par? Maybe I should pursue another research position for my current gap year - especially if I have to apply again (which I hope to avoid).

Regarding the MCAT. You're right, I screwed up last year and I acknowledge that trying to study while taking the max amount of credits every term wasn't a good idea. (That's why I waited to study again till my last month of college) Even worse... I regretfully repeated my mistake and did worse in my second attempt (the second time around I focused exclusively on content review = big mistake). But knowing my abilities I am confident that the 90's percentile scores I got in July was no fluke and reflects my true abilities. I worked 8-6 every day for a month. The reason I did poorly in PS in the beginning is because I neglected the early gen chem and physics which was barely covered my freshman year in college. Completely my fault but don't let it reflect on my engineering education.

As always, I appreciate your guys responses.
 
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Lawper

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@doctorlove416 the problem is that lower tier MD schools want to see a lot of service, while mid and top tier schools want to see a lot of research, leadership and teaching experience. Given your background and a 29-30 average MCAT, your best bet now is to focus on having a lot of service experience.

Work in homeless shelters, teach students in destitute areas etc. You will have a lot of love from lower tier MD schools even with the MCAT setback.
 
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OP
D
Mar 24, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Another question for you Lawper... if the unfortunate event arises where I have another lackluster application cycle next year. Would you advise on retaking the MCAT in April/May and trying for a third cycle? Of course I know that retaking/reapplying is looked down upon but I would not be ready to give up on my dreams and do nothing. In that case I would intend to have an improved MCAT score (~517) and improved EC's.
 

Lawper

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Another question for you Lawper... if the unfortunate event arises where I have another lackluster application cycle next year. Would you advise on retaking the MCAT in April/May and trying for a third cycle? Of course I know that retaking/reapplying is looked down upon but I would not be ready to give up on my dreams and do nothing. In that case I would intend to have an improved MCAT score (~517) and improved EC's.
Apply heavily to DO schools and NJ state schools etc right now. You will likely have an acceptance because your average MCAT score is a 29-30, which is above DO school matriculated averages. There is no reason for you to end up applying a third time.
 
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OP
D
Mar 24, 2015
10
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Ahh I tried to quote and respond to your previous post but it disappeared. Anyway I will follow your advice :) Thanks for the vote of confidence. Hopefully people choose to see the good in my application and invite me to interview. By the way are you BME too? Regardless good luck in all your endeavors as well.
 

Lawper

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Ahh I tried to quote and respond to your previous post but it disappeared. Anyway I will follow your advice :) Thanks for the vote of confidence. Hopefully people choose to see the good in my application and invite me to interview. By the way are you BME too? Regardless good luck in all your endeavors as well.
It's a complex route for me but i have a lot of engineering friends, so i can sympathize your situation (i focused mainly on math and physics). I'm just giving an overall feel with harsh adcoms will think.

But really, don't get discouraged. There are many cases where schools are very forgiving to applicants in your case and even worse. It really depends now on where to apply so that you can succeed effectively without having the added burden on retakes and whatnot.