2+ Year Member
Feb 16, 2018
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I really need some help figuring out where to apply. I feel like I have a pretty solid app except for my MCAT history, and I’m trying to figure out how big of a red flag it is (more explained below).

CA resident, ORM
cGPA: 3.70, sGPA: 3.61
Undergraduate Major: Biology

MCAT Score(s): okay there’s quite a story here. I’ve taken the MCAT 5 times (I know, I know). My scores are as follows:
  • May 2018: 510 (127/128/127/128)
  • July 2018: 506 (123/128/126/129)
  • April 2019: 509 (127/127/130/125)
  • June 2020: 509 (126/126/128/129)
  • August 2020: 520 (129/129/131/131)
Basically I had a s***ty advisor who told me that I’d never get into medical school with a 3.7 and only a 510 MCAT score. I signed up for my first retake for July 2018 even though I was going through a lot in my personal life including a recent sexual assault that I was trying to keep from derailing my life (spoiler alert, it completely derailed my life starting with my retake). I did worse on my retake (should have voided or not retaken at all) and opted to take a year to process my trauma. I retook again in April 2019 and scored a 509 (I tanked P/S). I applied last cycle but didn’t get any II’s. I decided to retake again this year since my application is pretty decent other than my MCAT score. I was supposed to take it in April, then May, and finally took it June 19, which was the first date allowed in CA. I had a lot of anxiety because of covid (and my test center wasn’t following proper protocols) and scored the same score, 509. This was substantially lower than my practice scores so I retook one more time in August 2020 and scored a 520. I got the score increase I so desperately needed to fix my past mistakes, but obviously I know 5 tries doesn’t look good, but I haven’t been able to find anyone on here who is in my same position, with a substantial score increase after several scores that weren’t terrible but weren’t great either. I also don’t know how much to explain this on a future application. I don’t want it to seem like I’m making excuses. I’m definitely not going to devote my personal statement to it, but I’ve heard some advice saying to include it in the “academic gaps/other information” secondary questions while others have told me not to call attention to it on the primary or secondary and only bring it up if I’m asked about it in interviews. Thoughts?

Research Experience: 1 year in a microbiology lab (520 hours) and 1 semester in a drosophila genetics lab (150 hours); resented a poster at my university undergraduate research symposium.

Clinical Experience: 850 hours over 3 years volunteering at a hospital; direct patient contact/care in several units including Med-Surg, ICU, Pediatrics, PICU, and the Emergency Department.

Physician Shadowing: 560 hours over 2 years shadowing in a Top 5 nationally-ranked hospital in the following areas: shadowed interventional cardiology and congenital cardiology in the cardiac catheterization lab, shadowing the trauma team in a level 1 trauma center emergency department, and shadowed surgeons across a variety of specialties in an outpatient surgery center including orthopaedics, plastic surgery, ENT, urology, gynecology, and gastroenterology.

Non-Clinical Volunteering: 4 years (260 hours) in a mentoring program for high school students, 2 year (230 hours) volunteering at a senior center and for the Meals-on-Wheels program during covid, 3 years (150 hours) volunteering at a homeless shelter, 4 years summers only (270 hours) volunteering at an animal shelter

Other Extracurricular Activities: Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society member, some tutoring (volunteer), leadership position in my hospital volunteer program (I manage volunteers in 3 units), I received an award from my university before graduation for substantial community service and demonstrated commitment to working with the underserved

Other Employment History: I worked full time throughout college (and still do) in a non medically-related job in order to fully fund my tuition and living costs without help from parents/family; I also worked a second job during my first 2 years in the entertainment industry as a model.

Interest in Primary Care (Y/N): Y
Interest in Rural Health (Y/N): Maybe

Medical School List: so far I have:
  • UCLA
  • UCSD
  • UCSF
  • UC Irvine
  • UC Riverside
  • UC Davis
  • Kaiser
  • USC
  • University of Arizona Phoenix
  • University of Arizona Tucson
  • Loyola
  • Creighton
  • Georgetown
  • Hofstra
  • Dartmouth
  • Case Western
Where else do you think I should apply/would I be a strong candidate for? I want to apply to about 25-30 schools. Also I’m not opposed to DO, just haven’t done the research on schools yet.

Thanks for any feedback!!
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