MintMonkey

2+ Year Member
Feb 29, 2016
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Hello,

This my first post here, although I have been lurking around the forums the past few months.

I have not completed/submitted the primary AMCAS app for verification for this cycle. I am also a Canadian, but I attended an American undergraduate institution. My school's pre-med adviser seems to think that I could still get into some schools even applying this late, just not into any schools in the NY/NJ area. NY/NJ schools are my first choice due to the fact my wife is starting a 2 year program at NYU this September (she will be done by May 2018).

My pre-med adviser seems to think overall MCAT is "good enough," but that the score distribution is less than ideal, especially considering I am Canadian ( according to her Canadians need to have higher MCAT scores than Americans to be competitive for american med schools). She suggested that I should possibly consider retaking the MCAT and trying to bump my scores 1-2 points in chem/physics and bio.

Apparently my three options are as follows:
  1. Try and complete the app for this cycle with current score and see which schools bite if any (try and defer if school is outside NY/NJ to avoid conflict with my wife's schooling)
  2. Don't Retake the MCAT and early apply next cycle for Fall 2018 and not have to worry about conflicting with my wife's 2 year program. (would be more willing to go to schools outside of NY/NJ then).
  3. Retake the MCAT and apply early next cycle for Fall 2018 and not have to worry about conflicting with my wife's 2 year program. (would be more willing to go to schools outside of NY/NJ then).
On a slightly separate but related note, I am also interested in applying to Canadian med schools (especially if end up applying next cycle).I was wondering if my MCAT score is more competitive for Canadian schools vs American schools considering I am A) Canadian and B) have a good CARS score and from what I hear Canadian med school's emphasize CARs (eg. McMaster).

So do you kind individuals recommend I just apply now and see if I get in anywhere, or considering the fact its late in the current cycle, my MCAT score distribution is skewed and my wife's schooling grounds us in NYC for 2 years, wait another year and apply next cycle? Would being a re-applicant hurt my chances? Lastly would anyone be able to comment on my MCAT in the context of Canadian schools?

Thank you very much for your time and thoughtful consideration :) .

cGPA: 3.843 and sGPA: ~3.79 (neither GPA are calculated by AMCAS)
MCAT: Overall 514 (92nd percentile = ~33 old MCAT)
o Chem/Physics: 127 (79th percentile)
o CARS: 129 (95th percentile)
o Bio/Biochem: 127 (78th percentile)
o Psych/Soc: 131 (99th percentile)​
Country of citizenship: Canada (Ontario)
Ethnicity and/or race: White
Clinical experience: 100-120 hours (reading to children in pediatric waiting room).
Research experience: 2 summers of research (one wet lab, other clinical) and one academic year of research while at school. One poster presentation, and one paper on the way soon hopefully (from clinical research summer). This year (2016-2017) I am working full time in a lab in NYC.
Shadowing experience: ~6 hours (yup, not so much…)
Non-clinical volunteering: Tutored math/sciences to 6/7/8th graders. Taught and organized weekly, fun “mad science” lessons for fourth graders. Spent two weeks one summer volunteering in a camp for kids with special needs.
Other extracurricular activities: Wrestled for one academic year NCAA III; was biology tutor and introductory biology lab TA. Was part of leadership for my schools “Canada club.” I played intramural ultimate Frisbee, and strength train regularly,
Relevant honors or awards: Won a first place in a competition for an oral presentation detailing my clinical research; dean’s list all semesters; Won an award for “excellence in the sciences” upon graduation from undergrad.
 
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gyngyn

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Your chances for US MD are fair if that is your only MCAT. I do not understand Canadian admissions so I can't help you there.
An early application is preferable and if you have not even started the primary, it is getting late for this cycle.
MCAT retakes come with significant risks in the US. Your score is not "unbalanced" in a way that disfavors you. Your current score is consistent with the median score of successful international applicants.
You don't want to be a re-applicant in the US.
https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/article/applying-international-applicant/
 
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MintMonkey

2+ Year Member
Feb 29, 2016
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Hi, Gyngyn, thank you very much for your reply.
That is my only MCAT score.
So it sounds like you would recommend waiting for the next application cycle, applying early, and not bothering to retake the MCAT. Is that correct?
Is there not a distinction between Canadian applicants (especially with US undergrad degrees) and other international applicants to US med schools?
Are you suggesting that being re-applicant is the US is bad in general, or do you mean particularly in the context of Canadian and/or international applicants?
Would you be willing to elaborate on the risks associated with MCAT retakes? Is it simply that some schools might average your scores as opposed to just looking at your best and/or most recent one?
Lastly, I am slightly intrigued by the possibility of pursuing an MD/PHD instead of just MD. Would you suggest retaking the MCAT if am serious about MD/PHD?My pre-med adviser also warned me that without permanent residency I'd be ineligible for MD/PHD MSTP programs...
 

gyngyn

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514 is equivalent to the median for successful internationals. A similar or lower score on re-take hurts you. Another point or two won't make a difference. Multiple re-takes are an independent risk factor. Everyone sees all your scores without regard to the party line on re-takes. The AAMC recommends averaging scores but there is no way to control an individual reviewers perception of re-takes. In summary, sometimes a re-take is necessary. Avoid them when they are unnecessary.

Only 57 MD schools consider internationals. Most of these matriculate 2 or less. Some prefer Canadians.

The first application has the best chance of success for everyone. Re-applicants are viewed "differently."

The bar for MD-PhD is much higher and the number of potential slots for internationals is very small. MSTP's are for domestic applicants.
 
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MintMonkey

2+ Year Member
Feb 29, 2016
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Thank you for response gyngyn. I will mull over your advice and possibly follow up with my school list