MD & DO WAMC: Solid MCAT/sGPA, Poor EC/cGPA

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AmbientSquid

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Hi Everyone,

I am a 26 y/o white male living in Iowa. I graduated in 2014 with BFA in drawing/graphic design. I decided halfway through my degree that I was not happy with what I was doing and decided to pursue a career in EMS while finishing my degree. I worked as an EMT for three years before becoming a paramedic in August of 2016. During paramedic school, I made the decision to go back to school and complete prerequisites for medical school, which I began in the fall of 2016. Since then I have worked part-time as a paramedic(48hrs/wk) while completing prerequisites. I will be applying to MD and DO schools during the 2019 cycle.

I have several concerns regarding my cGPA and poor ECs. First, I am having trouble deciding which schools to apply to. I have been using MSAR and the prospective doctor predictor to put together a list, however, I am not sure what tier of schools I should be applying to. The prospective doctor predictor seems to base its decisions on my MCAT/sGPA, and is suggesting some higher tier MD schools. I am also concerned that my solid sGPA/MCAT is going to get me screened from DO/low-tier MD schools, and my lack of volunteering/research and lower cGPA will exclude me from mid-tier MD schools.

GPA: cGPA: 3.39/ sGPA: 3.99
My cGPA is brought down by my previous degree, however, there is an upwards trend during my junior and senior years at that school. My current school is not competitive.

MCAT: 515 (127/128/129/131)

Clinical Experience:
(All Paid)
EMT - Part-time and Full-time for local private services: ~4,500 hrs
Paramedic - Part-time for county 911 hospital-based service: ~3,000 hrs
These estimates are based on hours worked, and not patient contact hours.

Research:
None

Shadowing:
In progress. Will most likely have ~40 hrs across cardiology, pulmonology, family medicine, emergency medicine.

Volunteering:
None

LOR:
Confirmed:
2 from science professors at my current school that know me well.
1 from a DO emergency medicine doc that is the ER director at my current place of employment.
Pursuing/Pending:
1 from a non-science professor.
1 from a well known interventional cardiologist that is a family friend I will be shadowing.

Awards:
A faculty nominated health science student of the year award.
A patient nominated healthcare professional award from current place of employment.

School List:
(I plan to remove several MD schools and add several DO schools)
Iowa
DMU
Mayo
University of Minnesota
Creighton
Duke
Indiana U
U of MI
U of WI
Ohio State
Case Western
U of MO-KC
Perelman
Yale
Penn State

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Your sgpa and MCAT say you are academically prepared, the lower cgpa shouldnt be much of a problem.

What will be a concern is the complete lack of volunteering and/or research. Thats going to put you behind EC wise. I would start volunteering in some position where you are working with underserved people this next year.

Come application time, focus on schools with median MCATs around yours. I dont believe you will be “screened out” if you make a good school list, and be sure to include DMU on the DO side of things
 
Thank you for your response.

As an update, I have begun volunteering with the free clinic local to my EMS service in a nursing role. However, I won't have a subtantial amount of hours accumulated for the 2018-2019 application cycle. I have also completed shadowing with family medicine and interventional cardiology physicians.

I also updated my school list.

DO Schools:
  • DMUCOM
  • KCU-COM
  • Rocky Vista
  • Philadelphia COM
  • Alabama COM
  • Midwestern CCOM
  • Nova Southeastern COM
  • KCOM/AT Still
  • TCOM
MD Schools:
  • UofIA
  • Mayo
  • UofMN
  • Georgetown
  • Dartmouth
  • Temple
  • UofMI
  • Emory
  • Quinnipiac
  • VCU
Any further input on this updated school list would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Jake
 
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Honestly I would say you're well-equipped enough to shoot for some more MD schools. Your cGPA is essentially a nonfactor with an sGPA that stellar. Also your MCAT is solid and your BFA/journey/EMT experience really enriches your application. Again, lack of research and volunteering (the latter being rather easy to patch up) will stand out but I wouldn't say you have any red flags on your app. You definitely have what it takes round out your list with multiple tier 2/3 MD schools.
 
The lack of volunteering is close to lethal. My student interviewers would eat you alive. Medicine is a service profession, so do it right, take a gap year and apply with a good app.
 
You should receive interviews from your DO list. You could add MU-COM. For MD schools I suggest these:
Iowa
Medical College Wisconsin
Rosalind Franklin
Oakland Beaumont
Western Michigan
Loyola
St. Louis
Creighton
Vermont
Quinnipiac
New York Medical College
Seton Hall
Penn State
Drexel
Temple
Jefferson
George Washington
NOVA MD
Eastern Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth
California University (new school)
Kaiser (when it opens)
 
Thank you, everyone, for the feedback and school list recommendations.

The lack of volunteering is close to lethal. My student interviewers would eat you alive. Medicine is a service profession, so do it right, take a gap year and apply with a good app.
Goro, can you explain what you mean regarding your student interviewers? I can't argue that a gap year spent increasing my volunteer hours would make me a better applicant. I just don't know that a gap year would make me a better med student/physician and I am concerned about losing momentum due to being out of the classroom for so long.

Thanks,
Jake
 
Thank you, everyone, for the feedback and school list recommendations.


Goro, can you explain what you mean regarding your student interviewers? I can't argue that a gap year spent increasing my volunteer hours would make me a better applicant. I just don't know that a gap year would make me a better med student/physician and I am concerned about losing momentum due to being out of the classroom for so long.

Thanks,
Jake
Medicine is a service profession. Therefore we look for displays of altruism.

I particularly like your paramedic experience. If you engage in some service to others less fortunate to yourself starting now, you should have a decent amount by the time you interview.

Then see how the application cycle shakes out
 
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