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EastCoastin

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Hey what's up y'all! There isn't too much info on the web about underdog URMs who get into med school and succeed. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find motivation when you're application is looking pretty good except for that low GPA or MCAT. It can also be difficult to gauge what GPA/MCAT is reasonable to apply with as an underdog URM.

So, I thought it'd be a good idea to start a thread where people (urm) who got accepted into med school with low undergrad grades or mcat scores (below 3.2 or below 502 mcat), can share their stories and tips. I'd love to hear some cinderella stories..could really use the inspiration as I prepare to apply this cycle :)

Looking forward to hearing some gems, especially ones that are relevant to the URM underdog applicant experience. I know we have some amazing motivational stories scattered around this forum. Thanks in advance!
 
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Icantplayspades

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I consider myself and underdog but my grades are higher than you stated; can I still join in?
 

EastCoastin

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@azolesoul Yea of course! Anybody can join. I just didn't want to alienate those of us with very low stats.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
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beanaf

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This is a great idea. Definitely need some motivation for this upcoming cycle
 

carrots28

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Applied with low old MCAT score and was rejected/waitlisted my first cycle. I worked hard while holding down a full time and part time job to study for the new MCAT. Rocked it and received >20 invitations to interview in my second cycle. Main tip is to have people review your app thoroughly. I didn't do this the first time and probably could have had a stronger app the first time. Even better if you have mentors who are URM. I was aiming way lower than I thought because of traditionally having less opportunities (sadly many URMs/minorities feel this way). I was encouraged by non-health minority professionals to aim higher and this encouraged me to apply to schools I thought I didn't have a chance at and ultimately got interviews there.
 
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ScrubsnScalpels

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I applied with a 500 MCATand was accepted my first cycle. My biggest tips are to:

1. apply EARLY (be ready to submit the first day AMCAS allows you to and return those secondaries quickly as well);
2. Apply BROADLY;
3. have a couple of people, at least one of whom is familiar with the process and what adcoms look for in applicants, review your application;
4. Be very clear on why medicine and be prepared to discuss any weaknesses in your application
5. Don't lose your confidence! Have faith that with your very best effort, you will be successful if it's meant to be.

Best of luck

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Teddybearsrock

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Applied with 500 MCAT (3 times; took the old one got low verbal, voided second one new mcat, scored last one and still got low CARS but high every where else) and 3.2GPA and accepted this cycle.

Same as above poster said. Applying early is essential and if you don't hear anything back with regards to secondaries follow-up early. I had a secondary that was sent to me really early in the cycle for my top choice school but, it wasn't later until one of my friends told me that admissions was asking why I hadn't submitted the secondary that I was able to call them and straighten out the email issue. I ended being accepted to my top choice. If you really have a connection to a certain medical school show that piece in your secondary applications and make sure you know your in's and out's for the interviews that will come.

While, I agree applying broadly is important, don't apply places you couldn't see yourself at remember its 4 years.

Find mentors who will take the extra mile for you in talking through prepping for app season, pros and cons to applying now with your stats or waiting a year and strengthening your app, writing strong LOR's and discussing the financial cost of the cycle.

Tell your story and show how you are different. Remember out of the thousands and thousands of applications coming through, we are applying within a much smaller pool that have the diversity we can bring with our cultural / underrepresented upbringings. There are many says to answer why medicine.

Personally, I took two gap years to really identify and work through some of the traits I believe I possessed that I thought differentiated me from other candidates which for me was my dedication for migrant/refugee communities I showcased through my gender-based violence advocacy work. You learn a lot spending sometime outside of academia for yourself and get to put in some time for that self-care.
 
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dr.phoot

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I'm hoping to add the successful "part 2" of my story someday.... but here's part 1 (the underdog):

You'll NEVER meet a URM underdog like me. Never say never but I'm really confident about what I'm saying. I graduated college with a GPA below 2.3! Yes, 2.3! Inside of that is so many retakes, fails, withdraws, borderline academic dismissals, academic probation, etc. (Not a single A in any of the science prereqs!!!)

I went ahead and enrolled in a post-bacc after graduating and I'm sitting at less than a 2.0 for the post-bacc! Yes, less than a 2.0 in a post-bacc after a less than 2.3 undergrad GPA.

My stats are so bad, I'm ashamed looking at my own transcript. Year after year, semester after semester, I keep telling myself things will change, things will improve but nope. Same old story.....

I've yet to take the MCAT but I'm taking it in 2 months.

I'm not going into MD/DO programs. I'm going into podiatry. my stats aren't even good for that. but I can relate to that more after a podiatrist operated on my foot.

It's really bad what I've done. I've let so many people down who trusted in me, I've disappointed so many people who had high hopes for me; almost like that draft pick everyone thought would blow up and he just didn't live up to the hype.

Moving forward, I'm really not sure what will happen but I want to go ahead and apply this fall (1) to just get a feel for the whole process (2) to get my name out there so when I apply again next cycle schools will see the name and note my persistence, perseverance, and improvement. (3) by getting rejected I can ask schools what went wrong. Where should I improve?

I'm not denying that my grades suck. I'm not denying that if someone asked "are you sure medicine is for you?" They'll be wrong. What it comes down to is that I have a lot of growing up to do. I have to mature and make school a priority. And I just have to tell everyone to back off and stop putting pressure on me! Whether I'm the #1 draft pick or #60, just have to to what's best for me.

To fix things up I'm going to do my best on this first MCAT attempt and then prepare for a retake. I'm starting a masters program in June and I'm hoping good grades there can help.


will report back to this in a few years and update y'all on "part 2".

Take home message - unless your stats are worse than mine, you're no underdog!!!!
 
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Kathudoo

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I'll post my own story tomorrow as it's extremely into the wee hours. A friend of mine I know got into medical school (DO) with a 497. Her GPA was around a 3.2/3 with an upward trend moderate/strong. Also she was a D1 athlete
 
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ucsfstudents

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Great stories. Overall theme, don't give up on your dreams. Find those who will support you. Learn from your mistakes. Good luck!
 
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dr.phoot

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Great stories. Overall theme, don't give up on your dreams. Find those who will support you. Learn from your mistakes. Good luck!

I'll be pushing mid 30s when I'm done and I don't even want to think about loans. I just took out another one for my grad program.....
 
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eartwj

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Applied last year to 7 schools with 492 mcat (120 verbal), 3.3 cum/bcpm. Received 1 interview which turned into a wait list and subsequent rejection. Retook the mcat with different approach, scored 501 (122 verbal), 3.4 cum/bcpm and applied to 16 schools. Received 9 interviews and 3 acceptances total. Spend plenty of time on your essays/secondaries... those can really differentiate you as an applicant
 
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Kathudoo

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Applied last year to 7 schools with 492 mcat (120 verbal), 3.3 cum/bcpm. Received 1 interview which turned into a wait list and subsequent rejection. Retook the mcat with different approach, scored 501 (122 verbal), 3.4 cum/bcpm and applied to 16 schools. Received 9 interviews and 2 acceptances total. Spend plenty of time on your essays/secondaries... those can really differentiate you as an applicant
MD or DO?
 
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iqe2010

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Great stories guys.

I have a sub-3.0 GPA and I plan on applying this year. I haven't taken my MCAT yet but I'm hoping for a 510+.

Another thing is my app won't be early because of my MCAT date (late July). But I'm confident I can get into somewhere if I play my cards right.
 

Teddybearsrock

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The one downfall I will say of not applying with better scores and things that set you apart is you don't get offered as much scholarships or funding because most schools assume you're options are limited so no need to convince you to choose them.
 
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jcorpsmanMD

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I applied in the 2016-2017 cycle.
- 3.72 cGPA, 3.70 sGPA, 502 MCAT (1st attempt - 496)
- 7 II ( one top 10 ) & 1 acceptance (Texas resident)

Work hard, apply smart. Don't apply with a weak application bc being a reapplicant hurts you. My 1 tip of advice to everybody! ( I delayed applying with the 496 )
 
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OchemOficionado

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I applied in the 2016-2017 cycle.
- 3.72 cGPA, 3.70 sGPA, 502 MCAT (1st attempt - 496)
- 7 II ( one top 10 ) & 1 acceptance (Texas resident)

Work hard, apply smart. Don't apply with a weak application bc being a reapplicant hurts you. My 1 tip of advice to everybody! ( I delayed applying with the 496 )

Congrats!!


Any feedback on I interviews? What do you think was the hardest part?
 

dr.phoot

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The one downfall I will say of not applying with better scores and things that set you apart is you don't get offered as much scholarships or funding because most schools assume you're options are limited so no need to convince you to choose them.

I just want to get in so bad that I don't even care for scholarships. Either way I can't escape that I'll have loans to pay back when it's all over. I have some from undergrad and grad school..... that $4k in scholarship seems like a joke almost
 
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deleted851433

Hey y'all don't know if I am considered underdog with OP's parameters but I thought I'd share my story. No matter what it takes a lot of dedication to get into medical school.

By the time I graduated my science GPA was 2.9 with cGPA 3.1, with upward trend but I did not want to apply until this was improved.
First MCAT was slightly below 50th percentile rank

Got off the waitlist at my first choice school (in-state applicant, allopathic school) earlier this month. At this time I have graduated from undergrad 3 years ago. Here's what I did in the interval:

With postbacc was able to raise both science GPA and cGPA 0.2 points
MCAT retake 80 + percentile
Gained 1000+ clinical work experience
70+ clinical volunteering
15+ clinical shadowing
I had to apply twice, the year prior I was wait listed at a different school and rejected from the one I will be matriculating in this fall.

Some advice for the personal statement and interviews tell you to avoid mentioning any negatives in your application, and some advice tell you to be upfront about your struggles. I decided to go with the second idea. I chose to address the "elephant in the room" in my personal statement but made sure I spun it as a success story. I think this is the better way to go: You struggled with x, so you did y, and now your results are z. My example: initially struggled academically, unhappy with my first MCAT score. Took postbacc class & retook MCAT, studied 3-4 hours every day for 4 months while working full time, with above results. I was honest in that I could have done better in the past, but made sure that I emphasized my current maturity and commitment, and was able to back that up with numbers in my score/GPA improvement and a variety of clinical experience.
 
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dr.phoot

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Hey y'all don't know if I am considered underdog with OP's parameters but I thought I'd share my story. No matter what it takes a lot of dedication to get into medical school.

By the time I graduated my science GPA was 2.9 with cGPA 3.1, with upward trend but I did not want to apply until this was improved.
First MCAT was slightly below 50th percentile rank

Got off the waitlist at my first choice school (in-state applicant) earlier this month. At this time I have graduated from undergrad 3 years ago. Here's what I did in the interval:

With postbacc was able to raise both science GPA and cGPA 0.2 points
MCAT retake 80 + percentile
Gained 1000+ clinical work experience
70+ clinical volunteering
15+ clinical shadowing
I had to apply twice, the year prior I was wait listed at a different school and rejected from the one I will be matriculating in this fall.

Some advice for the personal statement and interviews tell you to avoid mentioning any negatives in your application, and some advice tell you to be upfront about your struggles. I decided to go with the second idea. I chose to address the "elephant in the room" in my personal statement but made sure I spun it as a success story. I think this is the better way to go: You struggled with x, so you did y, and now your results are z. My example: initially struggled academically, unhappy with my first MCAT score. Took postbacc class & retook MCAT, studied 3-4 hours every day for 4 months, with above results. I was honest in that I could have done better in the past, but made sure that I emphasized my current maturity and commitment, and was able to back that up with numbers in my score/GPA improvement and a variety of clinical experience.

Why the low stats during undergrad?

How did you deal with family pressure and seeing others around you move on while you wondered when your next big break will come?
 

Kathudoo

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I applied in the 2016-2017 cycle.
- 3.72 cGPA, 3.70 sGPA, 502 MCAT (1st attempt - 496)
- 7 II ( one top 10 ) & 1 acceptance (Texas resident)

Work hard, apply smart. Don't apply with a weak application bc being a reapplicant hurts you. My 1 tip of advice to everybody! ( I delayed applying with the 496 )
So did you not submit your application until you received your MCAT score?
 
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deleted851433

Why the low stats during undergrad?

How did you deal with family pressure and seeing others around you move on while you wondered when your next big break will come?

First two years of undergrad were pure immaturity/lack of commitment - I truly have no other excuse and I should have done better. Third year my gpa was improving but I was still struggling to adapt to better study methods. By the fourth year I "got it together" but I knew my GPA was not competitive so I took a postbacc class which thankfully was enough to where I at least meet GPA cut offs.

Your second question was something I certainly struggled with. When I graduated high school I had no idea what I wanted to do, and my parents and I fought about what I would major in. Me studying Biology/premed was actually a compromise between us.Like I said, I wasn't the most mature person at 18-20 years of age and was not particularly interested. But because I am going to be the first doctor in my family and one could say that I'm the first one who could even have had any real opportunity to do so, the pressure was REAL. I thought about quitting medicine as a goal altogether many times because I did not think I would cut it, and I definitely felt anger at times because it seemed no one in my family knew how MUCH work it would take to cut it. I lost hope in my abilities altogether and was irritated because it seemed that everyone wanted this for me more than I even wanted it for myself. And yes, it totally felt like my peers ran circles around me.

At a certain point I had to be honest with my family and others about how I was struggling and had to break it to them that I had to consider other options, most were understanding even if they were disappointed. My big break was understanding that practicing medicine was in fact what I wanted to do through my clinical experiences which gave me the motivation to buckle down and improve myself. Although it caused me much frustration, my family's intentions were good. They saw potential in me that I did not yet understand. When your family is pressuring you it's because they believe in you. For me, it definitely kept me going. However, as general advice for anyone who is reading facing similar familial pressures do take the time to make sure whatever you do, it's what you want to be doing. It wasn't until I truly knew that I wanted to be a doctor, apart from my family's desires, that I could accomplish this.
 
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dr.phoot

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First two years of undergrad were pure immaturity/lack of commitment - I truly have no other excuse and I should have done better. Third year my gpa was improving but I was still struggling to adapt to better study methods. By the fourth year I "got it together" but I knew my GPA was not competitive so I took a postbacc class which thankfully was enough to where I at least meet GPA cut offs.

Your second question was something I certainly struggled with. When I graduated high school I had no idea what I wanted to do, and my parents and I fought about what I would major in. Me studying Biology/premed was actually a compromise between us.Like I said, I wasn't the most mature person at 18-20 years of age and was not particularly interested. But because I am going to be the first doctor in my family and one could say that I'm the first one who could even have had any real opportunity to do so, the pressure was REAL. I thought about quitting medicine as a goal altogether many times because I did not think I would cut it, and I definitely felt anger at times because it seemed no one in my family knew how MUCH work it would take to cut it. I lost hope in my abilities altogether and was irritated because it seemed that everyone wanted this for me more than I even wanted it for myself. And yes, it totally felt like my peers ran circles around me.

At a certain point I had to be honest with my family and others about how I was struggling and had to break it to them that I had to consider other options, most were understanding even if they were disappointed. My big break was understanding that practicing medicine was in fact what I wanted to do through my clinical experiences which gave me the motivation to buckle down and improve myself. Although it caused me much frustration, my family's intentions were good. They saw potential in me that I did not yet understand. When your family is pressuring you it's because they believe in you. For me, it definitely kept me going. However, as general advice for anyone who is reading facing similar familial pressures do take the time to make sure whatever you do, it's what you want to be doing.

^^^^^^^ perfectly sums up my life right now, my struggles during undergrad and how much things could have been soo much better if I just had the courage to tell my family leave me alone and let me decide for myself. Even if it meant going into a major like English!

I'm not at that stage where I need to come to medicine by myself like you did and things will fall into place.

Talk about others seeing something in you that you don't see, I failed microbiology 3x (same professor). I went to her office for some paperwork and we were chatting and she told me I'm smart enough to be a doc if I want to (this is no politically correct nonsense; this lady is very straight to the point & has no reason to lie!). I couldn't believe after failing her class 3x she said that.

I'm really happy for you and see a similar thing happening for me. I'm looking into podiatry instead of allo/osteo but I really need to come to medicine on my own.

I'm glad there's someone else out there like me. P.s., what you wrote is perfect for a personal statement!! (Will tweak it into my own words)
 
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Kathudoo

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Hey y'all don't know if I am considered underdog with OP's parameters but I thought I'd share my story. No matter what it takes a lot of dedication to get into medical school.

By the time I graduated my science GPA was 2.9 with cGPA 3.1, with upward trend but I did not want to apply until this was improved.
First MCAT was slightly below 50th percentile rank

Got off the waitlist at my first choice school (in-state applicant, allopathic school) earlier this month. At this time I have graduated from undergrad 3 years ago. Here's what I did in the interval:

With postbacc was able to raise both science GPA and cGPA 0.2 points
MCAT retake 80 + percentile
Gained 1000+ clinical work experience
70+ clinical volunteering
15+ clinical shadowing
I had to apply twice, the year prior I was wait listed at a different school and rejected from the one I will be matriculating in this fall.

Some advice for the personal statement and interviews tell you to avoid mentioning any negatives in your application, and some advice tell you to be upfront about your struggles. I decided to go with the second idea. I chose to address the "elephant in the room" in my personal statement but made sure I spun it as a success story. I think this is the better way to go: You struggled with x, so you did y, and now your results are z. My example: initially struggled academically, unhappy with my first MCAT score. Took postbacc class & retook MCAT, studied 3-4 hours every day for 4 months while working full time, with above results. I was honest in that I could have done better in the past, but made sure that I emphasized my current maturity and commitment, and was able to back that up with numbers in my score/GPA improvement and a variety of clinical experience.
How many schools did you apply to
 
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deleted851433

How many schools did you apply to

Hello, I applied to 5 schools this cycle, last cycle I applied to 6. All allopathic. Each year got one interview, both in-state schools. Waitlisted both times. Luckily came off it this time. I'll admit my applications were not sent early so that may be a factor in why I did not get interviews at some schools or got waitlisted.
 
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Icantplayspades

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Officially joining the train: 2.98s, 3.25s and 3.91AO! I only applied M.D. and I think I'm going to have and uphill battle.
 

mushroomed

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What's up guys?

I thought and introduce myself as I'm applying this cycle.
 
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Kathudoo

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Officially joining the train: 2.98s, 3.25s and 3.91AO! I only applied M.D. and I think I'm going to have and uphill battle.
Good luck. Keep us updated on your journey. What does the AO stand for?
 

Icantplayspades

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Good luck. Keep us updated on your journey. What does the AO stand for?

All other (non-BCPM). Quick question- I'm taking the Mcat 8/19 but my prep doesn't seem to be effective; anyone have any tips?
 

debzz

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Applied last year to 7 schools with 492 mcat (120 verbal), 3.3 cum/bcpm. Received 1 interview which turned into a wait list and subsequent rejection. Retook the mcat with different approach, scored 501 (122 verbal), 3.4 cum/bcpm and applied to 16 schools. Received 9 interviews and 3 acceptances total. Spend plenty of time on your essays/secondaries... those can really differentiate you as an applicant
What were your ECs like? Average? If you don't mind me asking
 

eartwj

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What were your ECs like? Average? If you don't mind me asking
Yeah I thought they were pretty basic. High school research, tutoring, shadowing, non clinical volunteering, clinical work experience. Gap year wasn't any more impressive as I volunteered and worked retail for the holidays lol
 

stu403270

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Hey guys!
Lovin' the vibes in this thread and thought I'd chime in.
cGPA 3.45, sGPA 3.37, MCAT: 502
First time applicant apply both MD and DO, Mexican and disadvantaged.
I know I should stop doing this, but I always go on SDN and just feel so discouraged by everyone's high stats I'm always doubting myself and it's so difficult not to think I'll probably just get rejected this cycle. But I'm glad I have like-minded people who are in similar boats as me to vent to :)
 
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jcorpsmanMD

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Hey guys!
Lovin' the vibes in this thread and thought I'd chime in.
cGPA 3.45, sGPA 3.37, MCAT: 502
First time applicant apply both MD and DO, Mexican and disadvantaged.
I know I should stop doing this, but I always go on SDN and just feel so discouraged by everyone's high stats I'm always doubting myself and it's so difficult not to think I'll probably just get rejected this cycle. But I'm glad I have like-minded people who are in similar boats as me to vent to :)
You'll make MD if you have good EC's, hopefully you applied intelligently though! Échale ganas, necesitamos más hispanos en medicina, como me dijo mi entrevistador en unos de mis entrevistas! :)
 
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stu403270

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You'll make MD if you have good EC's, hopefully you applied intelligently though! Échale ganas, necesitamos más hispanos en medicina, como me dijo mi entrevistador en unos de mis entrevistas! :)
Mil gracias, amigo! I did my best to make a reasonable school list and got some feedback on it, so hopefully that gets me somewhere!
 

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All other (non-BCPM). Quick question- I'm taking the Mcat 8/19 but my prep doesn't seem to be effective; anyone have any tips?
Some people posted tips in the application thread. But what you need is content review. I said a solid month of that. After that, just practice until you drop. Review ever question and every answer of things you got right or wrong.
 
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Manzielf

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Decided to join this thread.

2.8sGPA, 3.2 cGPA 514 MCAT - Mexican American re-applicant non-trad.

Good luck everyone!
 
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xochitl

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Decided to join this thread.

2.8sGPA, 3.2 cGPA 514 MCAT - Mexican American re-applicant non-trad.

Good luck everyone!
why do you think you didn't get in the first time? My stats are somewhat similar to yours (both GPA ~3.3 and 520 MCAT) and im also mexican-american. Im planning on also applying DO because Im non trad and dont want to waste any more years of my life
 
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OchemOficionado

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why do you think you didn't get in the first time? My stats are somewhat similar to yours (both GPA ~3.3 and 520 MCAT) and im also mexican-american. Im planning on also applying DO because Im non trad and dont want to waste any more years of my life

I don't think your stats are similar at all. 2.8 vs 3.3? Complete different. Good MCATs yeah, but a big difference between 514 and 520 on the normal scale. I think both MAY be 100 percentile for Mexican Americans, but I really think it's only the latter. If your sGPA is correct stats make you competitive for Harvard. You don't really need to apply DO because with good ECs, all the other boxes checked and a good MD list, you're definitely getting plenty of interviews. Why are you on the underdog thread again? Lol
 
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Manzielf

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why do you think you didn't get in the first time? My stats are somewhat similar to yours (both GPA ~3.3 and 520 MCAT) and im also mexican-american. Im planning on also applying DO because Im non trad and dont want to waste any more years of my life

Magnificent MCAT btw. With those stats you'll definitely get in somewhere.

Last time, I wasn't verified until late August and with my GPA I was already at a disadvantage. I had a 35 MCAT which got me 2 interviews but, unfortunately, I didn't do well in either one and wasn't accepted. I've worked on my ECs (research position with pubs, volunteer, shadowing) and I submitted my apps on day one this cycle. I am also applying DO in August.
 
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sweetgreen342

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Hi everyone! Checking in to mark my spot, 3.5 cGPA, 3.4 sGPA, and 501 MCAT! Crossing my fingers we all have success this cycle!
 
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xochitl

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I don't think you're stats are similar at all. 2.8 vs 3.3? Complete different. Good MCATs yeah, but a big difference between 514 and 520 on the normal scale. I think both MAY be 100 percentile for Mexican Americans, but I really think it's only the latter. If your sGPA is correct stats make you competitive for Harvard. You don't really need to apply DO because with good ECs, all the other boxes checked and a good MD list, you're definitely getting plenty of interviews. Why are you on the underdog thread again? Lol
Ive been looking at underdog threads for more than 5 years lol I started my journey at a low GPA like barely above 3.0 and then did better senior year and did a post-bac. So i guess im part of the comeback portion of this thread
 
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OchemOficionado

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Ive been looking at underdog threads for more than 5 years lol I started my journey at a low GPA like barely above 3.0 and then did better senior year and did a post-bac. So i guess im part of the comeback portion of this thread

Nice. You're going to have a great cycle.
 

BurntFlower

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Underdog chiming in hoping for some luck this cycle! :luck:
 

puchi

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Hi everyone! I've been around these boards for ages. I'd consider myself an underdog and I'll tell my story to any one who will listen lol.

Graduated with a 2.6 cGPA; 2.0! (sGPA)
When I took the MCAT it was a two digit number and a letter (I think I got 21O or something, essentially it was crappy)
Did a self post-bacc which got my GPA up to > 3.0
Applied to Caribbean schools, matriculated to AUC (St. Maarten), graduated in 2015.
Currently a PGY-3 in OB/Gyn!

I had an advisor tell me I'd never be a doctor in undergrad. Never listen to those who doubt you. If you put in the work, you can achieve your goals. It may take an alternate route but as long as you get there, that's what matters. Good luck!
 
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