Apr 20, 2017
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Hey, this is my first post and I was hoping someone could offer me some advice on how to focus on the strengths (and my correct the weaknesses) of my application. I've been lurking the forums for a while now, but finally I think my situation is unique enough to warrant a post.

Last cycle I finished secondaries super late (October-November '17) to 16 MD and 2 DO programs. Long story short, I only got a waitlist at TouroCOM Harlem, and despite being an unbalanced applicant, I still feel like I should've fared better.

Stats:
cGPA - 3.3
sGPA - 3.3
MCAT - 515 (130/125/129/131)
Research - NONE
Volunteer - musician that played for a few fundraisers, some other random events, and shadowed at a neurology clinic.
Misc - Ironically I was a neuroscience major that had a brain tumor hemorrhage in my Broca's area while studying for my MCAT which left me unable to speak properly for 6+ months. Despite being unable to speak/read/comprehend properly during my last semester, I broke my back to get a 4.0 GPA, and ended up shadowing with the same people who treated the golfball in my head. Both parents are ministers so my choice to go into medicine is pretty unorthodox. I have an EMT cert but never used it because I needed a more lucrative job for student loan repayment. I'm also a freelance artist that paints/sells custom work.

I'm in NY and applied to mostly mid-to-low tier schools, 11MD in the tri-state. (I really thought I was right up Tulane's alley)

So here's my question:
I have 16 MD applications - should I reapply to NY schools that rejected me, with the only significant change being my early cycle application? I heard that in-state is usually more forgiving of reapplication. It's almost June, is it even worth starting some sort of EC/volunteer work? After getting rejected from schools like NYMC I wonder if I'm even a competitive applicant or was it just the late app that screwed me. I think this time I will focus a little more on DO schools, but I am open to any suggestions.

Sorry for all the info, but any advice is welcome and appreciated!
 

Faha

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Besides shadowing do you have any clinical volunteering hours with patient contact?
 

Goro

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Most lethal was the lack of clinical and non-clinical volunteering.
Your medical story is remarkable, but that alone won't get you into med school. My own student interviewers would eat you alive with that lack of clinical exposure.

What are you going to say when asked how you know you are suited for a life of caring for the sick and suffering? “That you just know”? Imagine how that will go over!


From the wise LizzyM: I am always reminded of a certain frequent poster of a few years ago. He was adamant about not volunteering as he did not want to give his services for free and he was busy and helping others was inconvenient. He matriculated to a medical school and lasted less than one year. He's now in school to become an accountant.

Here's the deal: You need to show AdComs that you know what you're getting into, and show off your altruistic, humanistic side. We need to know that you're going to like being around sick or injured people for the next 40 years.

Here's another way of looking at it: would you buy a new car without test driving it? Buy a new suit or dress without trying it on??

We're also not looking for merely for good medical students, we're looking for people who will make good doctors, and 4.0 GPA robots are a dime-a-dozen.

I've seen plenty of posts here from high GPA/high MCAT candidates who were rejected because they had little patient contact experience.

Not all volunteering needs to be in a hospital. Think hospice, Planned Parenthood, nursing homes, rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, camps for sick children, or clinics.

Some types of volunteer activities are more appealing than others. Volunteering in a nice suburban hospital is all very well and good and all, but doesn't show that you're willing to dig in and get your hands dirty in the same way that working with the developmentally disabled (or homeless, the dying, or Alzheimers or mentally ill or elderly or ESL or domestic, rural impoverished) does. The uncomfortable situations are the ones that really demonstrate your altruism and get you 'brownie points'. Plus, they frankly teach you more -- they develop your compassion and humanity in ways comfortable situations can't.

Service need not be "unique". If you can alleviate suffering in your community through service to the poor, homeless, illiterate, fatherless, etc, you are meeting an otherwise unmet need and learning more about the lives of the people (or types of people) who will someday be your patients. Check out your local houses of worship for volunteer opportunities. The key thing is service to others less fortunate than you. And get off campus and out of your comfort zone!

Examples include: Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Humane Society, crisis hotlines, soup kitchen, food pantry, homeless or women’s shelter, after-school tutoring for students or coaching a sport in a poor school district, teaching ESL to adults at a community center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or Meals on Wheels.
 

gonnif

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You are a weaker candidate

My standard reapplicant post with links to reapplications on medical school websites

***********
advice for reapplicants, something I find few students look into. This would be true whether or not you are a specific reapplicant to that school. Below are links to a few and please note most say the most common mistake among reapplicants is applying again too soon

Should I do a Masters in my gap year / WAMC / advice please


University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Reapplicants - Miller School of Medicine Admissions
Roughly 20% of the students who apply to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in any given year are reapplicants. Data that we have collected indicate they have a lower acceptance rate than do first time applicants

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Heath
http://www.med.wisc.edu/education/md/admissions/reapplying/31716
(emphasis in the original)
There should be significant improvements in your application before reapplying. This might mean not reapplying the very next year. The most common error made by reapplicants is that they submit their next application too soon.

The Ohio State University College of Medicine
The Ohio State University College of Medicine - Tips & Advice
To maximize the chances of giving off this perception, you must allow enough time before reapplying. This will undoubtedly be the hardest part of the process, but be patient; if you rush it, you may join the ranks of those who are applying for a third time.

University of Minnesota Medical School
Re-Applicant
Though you can submit a second application immediately after your first application, you may want to consider waiting a year if you feel you need more experiences that help you demonstrate the essential and desired qualities of an ideal medical student.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Reapplicants — admit
Our Ideal Candidate — admit

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
http://medicine.vtc.vt.edu/admissions/re-applicants/

LSU Health Shreveport
Re-Applicants

University of Missouri
http://medicine.missouri.edu/admissions/nontraditional.html

East Carolina University, Brody School of Medicine
whatif

Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC)
https://www.unthsc.edu/texas-college-of-osteopathic-medicine/admissions-and-outreach/reapplicants-home/common-mistakes-made-by-applicants/

Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
http://www.com.msu.edu/Admissions/Guidelines_For_Success/Reapplication.htm
 
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Lawper

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I agree with @Goro and @gonnif. I just need to especially point out that reviewers, interviewers and adcoms across schools care very strongly about clinical and volunteering experiences. You will be asked in interviews to discuss your volunteering experiences in depth. Having little or lacking in volunteering is a major red flag.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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I don't have any input regarding your application, but I thought I'd stop in and say your story is fricking awesome. Getting a 4.0 with a brain tumor hemorrhage!?!? That'll be one hell of a story to tell once you're a doc! Best of luck.
 
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sss1219

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That GPA is also pretty low for MD. Your MCAT can only pull so much weight. It seems like you're okay with the DO route which will definitely be possible with some EC polishing as mentioned above, but if you are boning for an MD then you may want to consider some postbacc work if you don't have any clear upward trend with that 3.3. Regardless, once you do reapply with a strengthened then your chances will be best with DOs + new MDs + lower tiered state schools, so be sure to focus on those.

Re the ECs, if you don't have ~100 hours of clinical and nonclinical volunteering each, then I would take the year off to work on that and reapply next cycle. You won't be able to get enough in this close to the upcoming cycle to really make a difference, you'll essentially be applying with the same application.
 
Apr 26, 2018
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Hey, this is my first post and I was hoping someone could offer me some advice on how to focus on the strengths (and my correct the weaknesses) of my application. I've been lurking the forums for a while now, but finally I think my situation is unique enough to warrant a post.

Last cycle I finished secondaries super late (October-November '17) to 16 MD and 2 DO programs. Long story short, I only got a waitlist at TouroCOM Harlem, and despite being an unbalanced applicant, I still feel like I should've fared better.

Stats:
cGPA - 3.3
sGPA - 3.3
MCAT - 515 (130/125/129/131)
Research - NONE
Volunteer - musician that played for a few fundraisers, some other random events, and shadowed at a neurology clinic.
Misc - Ironically I was a neuroscience major that had a brain tumor hemorrhage in my Broca's area while studying for my MCAT which left me unable to speak properly for 6+ months. Despite being unable to speak/read/comprehend properly during my last semester, I broke my back to get a 4.0 GPA, and ended up shadowing with the same people who treated the golfball in my head. Both parents are ministers so my choice to go into medicine is pretty unorthodox. I have an EMT cert but never used it because I needed a more lucrative job for student loan repayment. I'm also a freelance artist that paints/sells custom work.

I'm in NY and applied to mostly mid-to-low tier schools, 11MD in the tri-state. (I really thought I was right up Tulane's alley)

So here's my question:
I have 16 MD applications - should I reapply to NY schools that rejected me, with the only significant change being my early cycle application? I heard that in-state is usually more forgiving of reapplication. It's almost June, is it even worth starting some sort of EC/volunteer work? After getting rejected from schools like NYMC I wonder if I'm even a competitive applicant or was it just the late app that screwed me. I think this time I will focus a little more on DO schools, but I am open to any suggestions.

Sorry for all the info, but any advice is welcome and appreciated!

Congrats on all of your hard work in your final semester!! What have you done in the year since applying? Have you contacted your school's pre-health team to ask for advice? Sometimes applicants overlook some things that could count as service. What were your extracurriculars/job in college, if you had any?
 
OP
terebellumjokes
Apr 20, 2017
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Hey guys, thanks for all the input!!!

Sorry, I've been working two jobs and taking care of my friends kitten this week so this forum totally slipped my mind until this morning since I haven't been receiving email notifications about your responses. Very grateful to all of your advice.


What have you done in the year since applying? Have you contacted your school's pre-health team to ask for advice? Sometimes applicants overlook some things that could count as service. What were your extracurriculars/job in college, if you had any?
Honestly, I did not anticipate my application would be as weak as it was, so as soon as I finished my apps (super late november yikes) I picked up more hours as a barista to tackle my $650/month loan payments. My family needed help paying for my medical expenses for tumor stuff so I also recently got a second job. The most important thing I may have done was study/learn Korean through youtube and self-study. I have a sick grandmother in Korea struggling with dementia, so I decided to save up money and fly out to see my Korean half of my family for the first time in 12 years. I don't know if this hold any weight, but I have also started creating a lot of art that has been selling well and it has been a nice outlet between working to pay my loans. I haven't contacted prehealth about reapplying because truly I was unsure about reapplying until recently (quarter-life crisis for premeds). I think I did a lot of things that represent my dedication to help others, but most of these things are not through an organization nor fit neatly on an AMCAS. For example, a childhood friend's father called me to tell me his son was in a hospital in New Orleans for smoking too much meth, and asked if I could live with him when he comes back to NY, which I did for over a year despite it being more inconvenient for school. He's better now and is a methless vegan cook, but I don't think these things count on my application really :/ I worked in a 1700s cemetery by myself freshman year, then worked at an internship in brazil sophomore year, then worked at my schools athletic's dept junior year, and senior year I was just medically unfit for any job haha.

Check out your local houses of worship for volunteer opportunities.
My father is the minister at my local house of worship. I have always been weary of volunteering here just in case it looks fishy on applications that my father is the contact info. I can start volunteering next week once I get the kitten off my hands, do you think it's even worth starting now and sending out primaries next week as well? I probably would not be able to add it to my primary app but IF I got a secondary prompt/interview it might save me from another waitlist. Or should I just suck it up and save my FAP for next cycle and do what I should've done last year (volunteer more).

but if you are boning for an MD then you may want to consider some postbacc work if you don't have any clear upward trend with that 3.3.
My GPA per semester was a sloppy but upward trend like 3.0/2.3/2.7/3.3/3.3/3.3/3.7/4.0
My plan B is education and would possibly look into spending time towards a master's in education but any more coursework for me is super expensive and I'd like to try my best to avoid it. I'm not married to MD, so this cycle I may hit more DO schools than just two.

Besides shadowing do you have any clinical volunteering hours with patient contact?
Not at all, I know I probably squeezed some time in for it during school but being stretched out on money makes you kind of hoard your time and resources haha. I could possibly volunteer at the same hospital I shadowed at, but it's so late considering primaries open up next week.


OVERALL
Sorry for the delay and length of my post. You all make this application process slightly less excruciating.
 

Goro

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My father is the minister at my local house of worship. I have always been weary of volunteering here just in case it looks fishy on applications that my father is the contact info. I can start volunteering next week once I get the kitten off my hands, do you think it's even worth starting now and sending out primaries next week as well? I probably would not be able to add it to my primary app but IF I got a secondary prompt/interview it might save me from another waitlist. Or should I just suck it up and save my FAP for next cycle and do what I should've done last year (volunteer more).


My GPA per semester was a sloppy but upward trend like 3.0/2.3/2.7/3.3/3.3/3.3/3.7/4.0
My plan B is education and would possibly look into spending time towards a master's in education but any more coursework for me is super expensive and I'd like to try my best to avoid it. I'm not married to MD, so this cycle I may hit more DO schools than just two.
A single solid year in UG will not be enough to convince Adcoms that you can handle med school.
Read this:
Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention

Instead of doing volunteer work via your dad's church. you can always pick a different one.

You are not a viable candidate for emd school this cycle. Take the time to build up your app to become competitive. Med schools aren't going anywhere, and in fact, by the time you do apply, more will have opened their doors.

One more thing: you're doing a lot of nice things for friends and family, which is commendable, but do nothing to make you a more competitive candidate for med school. So start becoming a bit more selfish with your time.
 

Cardboard101

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I think you'd be a shoo-in for DO schools if you get 100-200 hours of clinical volunteering and apply in September.
If you really wanted MD, you'll probably need another year of classes+EC buffing.
 

candbgirl

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Hey guys, thanks for all the input!!!

Sorry, I've been working two jobs and taking care of my friends kitten this week so this forum totally slipped my mind until this morning since I haven't been receiving email notifications about your responses. Very grateful to all of your advice.




Honestly, I did not anticipate my application would be as weak as it was, so as soon as I finished my apps (super late november yikes) I picked up more hours as a barista to tackle my $650/month loan payments. My family needed help paying for my medical expenses for tumor stuff so I also recently got a second job. The most important thing I may have done was study/learn Korean through youtube and self-study. I have a sick grandmother in Korea struggling with dementia, so I decided to save up money and fly out to see my Korean half of my family for the first time in 12 years. I don't know if this hold any weight, but I have also started creating a lot of art that has been selling well and it has been a nice outlet between working to pay my loans. I haven't contacted prehealth about reapplying because truly I was unsure about reapplying until recently (quarter-life crisis for premeds). I think I did a lot of things that represent my dedication to help others, but most of these things are not through an organization nor fit neatly on an AMCAS. For example, a childhood friend's father called me to tell me his son was in a hospital in New Orleans for smoking too much meth, and asked if I could live with him when he comes back to NY, which I did for over a year despite it being more inconvenient for school. He's better now and is a methless vegan cook, but I don't think these things count on my application really :/ I worked in a 1700s cemetery by myself freshman year, then worked at an internship in brazil sophomore year, then worked at my schools athletic's dept junior year, and senior year I was just medically unfit for any job haha.


My father is the minister at my local house of worship. I have always been weary of volunteering here just in case it looks fishy on applications that my father is the contact info. I can start volunteering next week once I get the kitten off my hands, do you think it's even worth starting now and sending out primaries next week as well? I probably would not be able to add it to my primary app but IF I got a secondary prompt/interview it might save me from another waitlist. Or should I just suck it up and save my FAP for next cycle and do what I should've done last year (volunteer more).


My GPA per semester was a sloppy but upward trend like 3.0/2.3/2.7/3.3/3.3/3.3/3.7/4.0
My plan B is education and would possibly look into spending time towards a master's in education but any more coursework for me is super expensive and I'd like to try my best to avoid it. I'm not married to MD, so this cycle I may hit more DO schools than just two.


Not at all, I know I probably squeezed some time in for it during school but being stretched out on money makes you kind of hoard your time and resources haha. I could possibly volunteer at the same hospital I shadowed at, but it's so late considering primaries open up next week.


OVERALL
Sorry for the delay and length of my post. You all make this application process slightly less excruciating.

What makes you think you even want to be a doctor? Whose idea was medical school? No place in your above responses have you indicated a desire to help the sick, injured or dying for the next 30+ years. Everything is about you and not about those less fortunate than you. (The kitten doesn’t need taking care of-make sure he has food, water and clean litter and he’ll be very happy and content.)Yout ECs are very weak, Your GPAs ; especially for MD, are very weak. Where did you apply? Don’t reapply until you strengthen your application. It would be a waste of money. And then focus on DO and toss a wide net for schools.
 
OP
terebellumjokes
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What makes you think you even want to be a doctor? Whose idea was medical school?
Thanks for the feedback. In high school I went on a missionary trip to Haiti and was close to a church member who worked through doctors without borders. I was inspired by him and felt that many people may not have the same opportunities to pursue MD. I loved the movie Big Fish too, and like the idea of going through life positively impacting everyones life throughout mine. Dying satisfied. I think there's a lot of careers I'd be good art, that could help others, or ones I might even enjoy more. But I think medicine may be the most fulfilling, and I wonder if this was my "fate", am I squandering that opportunity? I know it's a messy answer, but I figure I'll give applications another honest go before I switch gears on careers.
Also applying is not a huge expense for me since I was granted FAP, so I get 16 primary applications and most secondaries waived.


You are not a viable candidate for emd school this cycle.
Ugh, I was hoping to avoid postbacc or SMP but I may have to depending on how promising (or unpromising) this cycle pans out. I live somewhat near a community college so I may end up doing the DIY for a few credits fall semester if I don't get any good responses. Theres also the razor-thin chance I get moved off the waitlist haha pray for me.


I think you'd be a shoo-in for DO schools if you get 100-200 hours of clinical volunteering and apply in September.
Thanks for that idea, I think I will ultimately do this.
Work on 8 primaries for some low-tier MD and start volunteering next week (Project Hospitality - drug rehab and mental health training for impoverished and marginalized individuals).
Hopefully get ~100 hours by late august and once again apply late cycle to 8 other MDs and a handful of DOs.
@Goro if you think this is a decent strategy for now.
 

Goro

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Thanks for the feedback. In high school I went on a missionary trip to Haiti and was close to a church member who worked through doctors without borders. I was inspired by him and felt that many people may not have the same opportunities to pursue MD. I loved the movie Big Fish too, and like the idea of going through life positively impacting everyones life throughout mine. Dying satisfied. I think there's a lot of careers I'd be good art, that could help others, or ones I might even enjoy more. But I think medicine may be the most fulfilling, and I wonder if this was my "fate", am I squandering that opportunity? I know it's a messy answer, but I figure I'll give applications another honest go before I switch gears on careers.
Also applying is not a huge expense for me since I was granted FAP, so I get 16 primary applications and most secondaries waived.



Ugh, I was hoping to avoid postbacc or SMP but I may have to depending on how promising (or unpromising) this cycle pans out. I live somewhat near a community college so I may end up doing the DIY for a few credits fall semester if I don't get any good responses. Theres also the razor-thin chance I get moved off the waitlist haha pray for me.



Thanks for that idea, I think I will ultimately do this.
Work on 8 primaries for some low-tier MD and start volunteering next week (Project Hospitality - drug rehab and mental health training for impoverished and marginalized individuals).
Hopefully get ~100 hours by late august and once again apply late cycle to 8 other MDs and a handful of DOs.
@Goro if you think this is a decent strategy for now.
You will be fine for any DO school once you get those EC hours in. Even mine!
 
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