MD & DO WAMC: Preparing to Applying for 2025 Cycle and School List

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biryanisquish

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Demographics:
Asian (Hmong - potentially URM at some schools?), CA Resident

Hooks (?):
First generation American and College Student
Grew up poor living in the projects/hood - had government assistance, section 8, dad went to jail when i was young, etc
Parents do not speak any English, and I barely graduated from high school
Child of refugees fleeing from war (?)
Full merit tuition scholarship to T20 university
Will qualify for FAP
Degree is Business Administration

Stats:
cGPA: 3.77
sGPA: 3.74
Downward trend senior year due to personal life issues (ended that year with a 3.40 GPA, other years were solid though)
Transferred to T20 school with major grade deflation from community college junior year (took 75% of premed courses at T20)
MCAT: ~515 from practice scores (126/132/129/128)

Research:
2 years of visual science research (~1500ish hours)
Lab Manager and head research assistant 1 year
1 abstract publication

Clinical Experience:
1 year of full-time ophthalmic scribing for ophthalmologist (2000 hours)
1 year of part-time ophthalmic technician at state public hospital - primarily low-income community (500 hours)
10 hours clinical volunteering at hospital (might not even include in application to be honest)
100 hours volunteer translator at free clinic

Non-Clinical Experience:
1:1 ESL tutor volunteer (200 hours)
Private Math Tutor (since high school to end of sophomore year of college - don't know if I should include)

Shadowing:
30 hours shadowing internal med

LORs:
1 from science faculty, 1 from math faculty, and 2 from physicians that I worked with - all will be strong letters

Leadership:
Lab Manager of research group for 1 year

School List (MD so far, but open to DO - I don't want to be a reapplicant):
UCSF
UCSD
USC
UCI
UCLA
UC Davis
CUSM
Western Michigan University
Eastern Virginia
VCU
Tufts
New York Medical College
Thomas Jefferson
George Washington
UMiami
Temple
Drexel
Colorado
Vermont
Penn State
Medical College of Winsconsin
Albany
Wake Forest
Kaiser
UPitt
Emory
Dartmouth

Potential Beige Flags(?):
Had a big dip in GPA senior year due to personal issues in life, however, the bad grades were in non-science classes (3.40 GPA senior year compared to 3.70+ other years). Had a 3.8x GPA in community college and ended with a 3.5x GPA in T20...

Theme in Application:
Grew up being the only Hmong kid in a 1 hour radius from my town, parents had to search high and low for doctors that spoke our language and my mission is to ultimately fill this gap (super summarized version). I ultimately want to specialise in FM/IM or Opth

Closing Thoughts:
Basically, is there anything that is jumping out to you that I should work on from now to next May in preparation for the upcoming cycle? I am primarily worried that I have no clinical volunteering, but due to my finances I really can't afford to volunteer when I can rather work instead. Also, I am unsure on whether I have enough shadowing, but since I have a full year of scribing, I think I should be okay - I'm not positive though.

Also, I started studying for the MCAT a couple of months ago, and I am very happy with the practice scores that I've been getting, and I hope to get it to 520, but I have not gotten anything less than 515 recently.

Would also like to thank this forum and Goro especially for the plethora of information. I have been browsing these forums since high school, and I can't believe that I am about to apply soon.

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Get nonclinical volunteering hours with an underserved or disadvantaged population.
 
Knock out the MCAT. Mind any required SJTs.

Tutoring/teaching is not considered "service orientation". Your vulnerability is that you lack such activities that are separate from clinical exposure.

More variety in your clinical exposure will also help. It's not apparent you have more than just ophthalmology-related exposure, or that ophthalmology is your main exposure. Why not serve as an optometrist, where there is a similar lack of Cambodian/Hmong providers?
 
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Get nonclinical volunteering hours with an underserved or disadvantaged population.
Excuse my ignorance here, but would teaching recent immigrants english not be an underserved or disadvantaged population?
 
Knock out the MCAT. Mind any required SJTs.

Tutoring/teaching is not considered "service orientation". Your vulnerability is that you lack such activities that are separate from clinical exposure.

More variety in your clinical exposure will also help. It's not apparent you have more than just ophthalmology-related exposure, or that ophthalmology is your main exposure. Why not serve as an optometrist, where there is a similar lack of Cambodian/Hmong providers?Eould teaching recent immigrants english not be an underserved or disadvantaged population?
Excuse my ignorance here, but would teaching recent immigrants english not be an a service orientation? I really can't do anything else clinically since being a technician pays me at least $15 more per hour than other typical clinical jobs. I don't want to be an optometrist because I want to end up doing surgery, as well as potentially be a general doctor.
 
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Excuse my ignorance here, but would teaching recent immigrants english not be an a service orientation? I really can't do anything else clinically since being a technician pays me at least $15 more per hour than other typical clinical jobs. I don't want to be an optometrist because I want to end up doing surgery, as well as potentially be a general doctor.
Tutoring is an extension of an academic responsibility to teach what you know. Thus, it's an academic competency.
 
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There is a substantial Hmong population in Minneapolis.
Even though U of Minnesota takes only about 17% OOS , they might make an exception for you
 
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Tutoring is an extension of an academic responsibility to teach what you know. Thus, it's an academic competency.
I see, thanks for the help. I was thinking of being a crisis hotline volunteer, would you suppose that would qualify as nonclinical volunteering? Also, do you think I should get clinical volunteering as well I now realize that I don't have any.
 
I see, thanks for the help. I was thinking of being a crisis hotline volunteer, would you suppose that would qualify as nonclinical volunteering? Also, do you think I should get clinical volunteering as well I now realize that I don't have any.
Crisis hotline is nonclinical but not patient-facing compared to being a shelter volunteer counselor (for example). High-touch opportunities are always preferred.
 
I see, thanks for the help. I was thinking of being a crisis hotline volunteer, would you suppose that would qualify as nonclinical volunteering? Also, do you think I should get clinical volunteering as well I now realize that I don't have any.
The thing is, for nonclinical volunteering you are expected to get outside of your comfort zone., get your hands dirty, deal with people very unlike yourself. IMO being a crisis line volunteer does fit the bill. Find a soup kitchen or homeless shelter and start volunteering.
As to getting clinical volunteering: it is a good thing to expand your experiences and focus. All of your experience is with ophthalmology. It would be good to expand out. Maybe to family med or internal med since you have expressed an interest in pursuing those areas. But it doesn’t have to be volunteering. You could get a job in either of those areas and leave ophthalmology behind.
 
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The thing is, for nonclinical volunteering you are expected to get outside of your comfort zone., get your hands dirty, deal with people very unlike yourself. IMO being a crisis line volunteer does fit the bill. Find a soup kitchen or homeless shelter and start volunteering.
As to getting clinical volunteering: it is a good thing to expand your experiences and focus. All of your experience is with ophthalmology. It would be good to expand out. Maybe to family med or internal med since you have expressed an interest in pursuing those areas. But it doesn’t have to be volunteering. You could get a job in either of those areas and leave ophthalmology behind.
Hi, and thank you for all your advice so far. I would love to find a job in family med or internal medicine, it just unfortunately doesn't pay me nearly enough to sustain living. I'm a pell grant student, and have been working part time while being a full-time student, it just really isn't possible for my current situation. My opthalmology job pays me nearly double the minimum wage, so I can't leave it. Would shadowing a FM or IM doctor suffice to show interest?
 
You should shadow anyway, so yes do that but you only really need 50 hours of shadowing. You still need nonclinical volunteering and not a crisis text line. That was okay during the pandemic but now you need to find some face to face experiences. You have to get out of your comfort zone. Get your hands dirty and deal with people unlike yourself.
Good luck on the MCAT.
 
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As someone who volunteers for the crisis text line, I believe that this is quite insensitive to the impact of the organization. The crisis text line is an AMAZING resource for individuals who need, free immediate support and cannot access in-person therapy. I can assure that I have gotten out of my comfort zone volunteering for this organization, as I de-escalate people from experiencing suicidal thoughts or actually committing the act. Not very many people are comfortable doing this. Do not look down on other people's experiences bc they're not "face to face". If something is personally meaningful to people, they should do it. Crisis prevention and management is important in any specialty, not just psych (which I happen to be interested in, anyways) and I have been able to enhance several interpersonal skills. Granted, this person should not apply to Rush, for example, with little in-person non-clinical volunteering hours, but again, do not toss the crisis text line aside bc it's a virtual experience.
I believe the 988 is extremely valuable and important. But this is what experiences and discussions with adcoms who vote on applications tell me and what we see in other application cycles. I don't "look down" on the value of these experiences, but until all of medicine is performed through virtual means, adcoms want people used to seeing and touching (when allowed) sick or disabled people up close and in person.

As I suggested, apply those lessons in real face to face situations such as in a shelter counselor position. Do I think it would help health care if we had more people with these skills? Do you believe we don't have enough professionals who do? Why do they not believe this experience is important?

We absolutely need more mental health professionals, and you should be encouraged to pursue clinical psychology. But we are only telling you what we observe or know. Argue the points after you get admitted or get on an admissions committee.
 
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