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MD WAMC / state residency issues / should I take a gap year?

ems22

New Member
Mar 2, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hi y'all, I'm currently in a weird situation where it'd be really helpful to have a rough idea of my med school chances a year before I want to apply (basically, my family is selling our house in Alabama and we're trying to figure out if/how I should keep my AL residency- cheaply rent if it'll help me enough, nicer condo if I'll probably go to UAB, or just apply with a different state residency). I also need to figure out if I'll take a gap year or not- also due to family stuff, I would probably have to pay for half of my app cycle if I take a gap year, but my parents would pay for all of the app cycle if I don't take a gap year. So naturally, I'd like to avoid a gap year if possible, but it seriously hurts my chances at a good med school, then I'll suck it up and blow through my savings.

Year in School: Rising junior Russian major at a non-HYP Ivy (I wouldn’t be posting this early, except for my strange residency situation!)
Race: white Cuban
Country/state of residence: Currently AL- if I lose AL residency, I think I could get residency in NY, CT, or IL.
GPA: currently 3.96 cGPA, 3.86 sGPA
MCAT: Guessing at MCAT scores is obviously bs, but my plan was to figure out the score I need (probably 517+?) and definitely take a gap year if I wasn't scoring what I wanted to on my FLs.

Note: The initial number I list here is what I have done as of today, and I plan to continue to do all of these- I’m just having trouble projecting my hours for obvious reasons. I tried to make projected hours very clear.

Volunteering (Clinical): 175 hours volunteer EMT (goal is 500 by next May).
Volunteering (Nonclinical): Current total = 35 hours, goal total = 150 hours
  • 25 hours volunteering to give prefrosh an "online accepted students' day", hold Q&A sessions, etc
  • 10 hours Tutoring STEM in a failing high school (1-2 hours per week, which will resume whenever the heck I get back to campus- I don't think I can put this on my app until I get more hours in it, though)
  • 80 projected nonclinical volunteering hours this summer - hopefully with an organization related to my sport, but likely with Ronald McDonald house (RMDH is almost guaranteed)
  • Hoping to volunteer as a mentor to sophomore students in my college next year (likely to get the position, but unsure of the hours involved)
Research:
  • Biotech research internship- 350 hours in college + 350 hours in high school with the same company (I've heard I can combine them since it's the same company)
  • Hopefully either do a poster presentation or try to publish my Russian-related linguistics research- my prof told me that it’s definitely worth attempting to publish once I polish the data a bit, but I’m afraid that I couldn’t refine the data, go through the editing process, and have it accepted for publication by next summer when I apply, so I think I should go for the poster instead.
Employment:
  • TA for intro to linguistics- 150 hours
  • Hoping to work with a prof to develop an online counterpart to intro to linguistics this summer (prof wants to give me the project, but might not be able to due to administrative issues)
Shadowing: 75 hours: 35 cardiology (15 in a Russian clinic), 12 andrology, 10 emergency medicine, 8 gastroenterology, 8 pediatrics
ECs: 550 hours of varsity athletics (D1, "uncommon" sport), and I'm the team's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee delegate (I get about 225 hours every fall semester on campus and 100 hours every spring semester on campus- we’ll see how this continues with coronavirus).
Immediate family in medicine: aunt & uncle, but I don't think that counts
Graduate degrees: no
Specialty of interest: emergency medicine (possibly focusing on disaster med or wilderness med?) or internal medicine (probably gastroenterology, cardiology, or another cool specialty)
Interest in rural health/primary care: possibly rural health in conjunction with wilderness med

I’d really like to know my chances at NYC schools, Boston schools, Yale, Brown (my alma mater), UAB, and T50s in the Northeast. In particular, how would these chances change if I took a gap year and did the right kind of activities in my gap year? Could I give myself a shot at T20s or T10s (given a good MCAT)? My current understanding from a UAB alumna is that I have a very good shot there even without a gap year, but every similar-tier school in the Northeast would be kind of a crapshoot, and I'm unsure how a gap year would change things.

Also, I have no idea what the right kind of activities for a gap year would be, besides beefing up my nonclinical volunteering (but I need to support myself!)- my ideas so far are applying to be a wilderness medicine instructor with NOLS, doing FEMA corps in case that helps with disaster medicine, or working full-time as an EMT. From what I’ve seen, most academic labs require a 2 year commitment, and I don’t want to take 2 gap years. When I asked my advisor for ideas, she said “oh, just apply for a Fulbright in Russia!”- I’m trying to keep things realistic lol, but it would be cool to do something with my major.
 
Oct 14, 2011
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226
  1. Academic Administration
No bets until an official MCAT score is reported, and I think you will have to do your due diligence on domicility rules. A gap year isn't going to prevent you from getting into medical school, let alone a "top" one. Yes, the dearth of your non-clinical hours is going to be a problem but not necessarily lethal, but you are trying to position yourself for the top-20/40. That said, you've mentioned a lot of teaching and tutoring, which is common among prehealth applicants... but it seems like that's the major thing you've been able to do (granted, as a varsity athlete, you're also very busy).

I’d really like to know my chances at NYC schools, Boston schools, Yale, Brown (my alma mater), UAB, and T50s in the Northeast. In particular, how would these chances change if I took a gap year and did the right kind of activities in my gap year? Could I give myself a shot at T20s or T10s (given a good MCAT)? My current understanding from a UAB alumna is that I have a very good shot there even without a gap year, but every similar-tier school in the Northeast would be kind of a crapshoot, and I'm unsure how a gap year would change things.
Again without an MCAT, we can't and won't really speculate. Crush the exam, and stop trying to please the schools. Make them want you to be at their school.
 

Faha

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2012
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  1. Attending Physician
An Alabama residency is more advantageous than one in Connecticut, NY or Illinois. The 2 Alabama state public schools matriculate 37% of Alabama residents who apply to MD schools. The percentage is only half of that for the applicants to the state public schools in those other states.
 
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