Was the third time the charm?

EdgeTrimmer

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Did you apply 3 times before gaining admission? How many years between your first cycle and the successful cycle. Were you successful in being admitted to a US MD school, DO school, or off-shore school? Please tell your tale.
My niece went thru three cycles! first as traditional (rising senior) got one interview, 2nd time after 1 gap year got 1 interview and WL, 3 time after grad school and got admitted to a DO school. She refused to apply to DO during first two cycles (despite my advice and my sibling's). She had 80th percentile MCAT score and 3.6 GPA (from T20 public school). She couldn't improve her MCAT score (old mcat, 4 attempts).
 
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Hi_I'mPaul

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My best friend took 3 cycles! 3.6 GPA, 510 MCAT for first two cycles. Awesome personality (gift of gab), good ECs. The first two cycles, they had 3+ MD interviews each time that unfortunately didn't turn into acceptances. During the second cycle, he did an SMP with me and retook the MCAT (4.0 GPA, 520+ MCAT). He was accepted the third cycle and is going to a flagship MD in our state.
 
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M&L

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Did you apply 3 times before gaining admission? How many years between your first cycle and the successful cycle. Were you successful in being admitted to a US MD school, DO school, or off-shore school? Please tell your tale.
oh i love this thread!
Yes, i was accepted on my third try. all back to back to back
1). First year: took MCAT before taking organic chemistry II or biochemistry (i was an idiot. no idea why i thought that was a good idea). Got 498 on MCAT (of course). Had about 300 clinical hours, veteran status, 3.6 GPA, but nothing more. Applied to 4 schools across the country that showed up as lowest MCAT and GPA schools (now i understand, - bad idea, because a lot of them are for local residents and would never ever accept out of state). Of course was flat out rejected by all. Decided to go back to school for second Bachelor's degree in something science related.

2) Second year: took MCAT twice more (still havent done organic chemistry II or biochem - i was stationed overseas, and simply did not have access to normal schools). I really wanted to get in somewhere ASAP. Meanwhile, i got out of the military at that point, and i was stressed out about being able to support myself being out of school. Got 504 and 506 on MCAT, applied to 10 MD schools (no DO). My clinical hours were up to 500, but no other changes. After failing that cycle everyone i know started telling me that i needed to choose a different career. Switched my major from biology to biochemistry and math (loved both, and i knew i would be happy going PhD in biochemistry route with applied math, for example).

3) Third year - discovered SDN. Spent hours here. Realized how wrong i was about EVERYTHING i did up to that point. In October 2017 my brother tragically dies in the middle of the semester.... Meanwhile,i finished biochemistry and organic chemistry, studied over winter break, took MCAT in January. Studying for MCAT with that recent loss, having students that i was responsible for as a learning assistant, and working full time was the toughest thing i have ever done.... When i Got 511 on MCAT after all that i told myself that if i could pull through that, i can get into medical school. By then i had about 500 clinical hours as a provider (i was working full time while doing to school full time). In january i got a new job in addiction treatment facility (ppl told to not do this because i just lost my brother, but honestly, i found it inspirational instead and healing, in a way) (by the time i matriculated i had over 3000 clinical hours, or something like that). Also got a position as a learning assistant in chemistry department for 3 semesters in a row. After getting my scores back at the end of february, i made an anonymous post here in the questions section, asking honestly if i had a chance (majority of ppl believe that 4 MCAT attempts is a death sentence). @LizzyM - you were actually the one who told me that it is risky, but can be done, and suggested some additional schools that i could put on my list. I applied to 35 schools, - very broadly.

I knew i needed research and volunteering (dont forget - i already had clinical, and veteran status), - i found a volunteering spot in homeless shelter (just did 40 hours). And i applied for a research position in NIH (summer). I submitted by application literally 30 min after the applications were open, and it took them only 24 hours to verify it. During june i started working on secondaries, while waiting for the schools to send them out. By the time i started getting secondaries from schools, they were pretty much ready. Every school got their application back within 1-5 hours of sending it out to me. Then waiting started.... didnt hear anything till October (started by senior year that fall). Seeing people here getting interviews and acceptances before i even got one interview was so discouraging... Then got 6 interview invites that trickled through the year: 2 in October, 1 November, 1 December, 1 January, and one more that i canceled (work conflict). By end of February i was on 2 WLs, and pending decisions from the rest... No acceptances. I started looking into Master's programs, and decided that maybe i needed to stop. Then, last week of February, i got 3 acceptances in one week (i was actually crying). Decided on ETSU (loved that school so much, Amazing people, amazing town). Then, at the end of April (23rd) got a call from EVMS (my all-time first choice) that i got off the WL (my instate school). I sent a long warm apologizing letter to ETSU, graduated with BS in Chemistry in May, quit my job in addiction treatment, broke up with my partner (not because of school, that was all brewing for a while), packed up my "zoo" ( i have a lot of animals) and moved to Norfolk in July. The rest is history.

As an immigrant, veteran, someone who experienced violence, hunger (like, starvation hunger), who does not have family here, etc etc etc getting accepted to medical school against all odds felt like a miracle (because of which i was struggling with horrible imposter syndrome the first semester of medical school, - i am fine now). And honestly, I owe @LizzyM everything, because LizzyM was the first person who told me that it was possible. After i heard that, i did not listen to any more negativity and kept pushing forward. Btw, @LizzyM - out of my 4 acceptances and 1 WL, 3 schools were actually suggested by you. I would have never even considered them. @Goro was the person who taught me HOW to do it from famous "reinvention" thread. And @gyngyn who was there for ongoing advice as well. Honestly i owe three of you EVERYTHING. literally. I have so much gratitude for what you guys do, which is why i try to give back, and offer encouragement and helpful information for pre-meds.

so, thats my story. Now, just a year later, it all seems so far and so unreal, but i am very grateful that i did not gave up.
Important points though: 1) i DID have a plan B, 2) i did listen to ppl, but still made my own decisions, - so instead of blindly doing what people told me i filtered it through my own mind, if it makes any sense.
 
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M&L

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I applied three times in a row in back to back cycles and I’m finally going to be a doctor at a top MD school! I definitely do not recommend this and I think I had a very unique situation which led me to having a very successful cycle. The first cycle I didn’t have any volunteer work, zilch, I naively thought all my research I did was volunteer work as I wasn’t paid at all. I also was rather burned out and I didn’t take my application as seriously I should have. The feedback I received was that my application was too one dimensional because I had 3 publications at the time, several hundred hours shadowing (it’s hard to believe but it’s true. It’s very easy to rack up hours when you worked closely with several docs), and of course my essay was purely about my desire to go into medicine to cure cancer because of my dad.

Onto round two, after doing some soul searching I realized that while my dad’s cancer played an important role in my decision to pursue medicine, being bullied as a kid was the main motivation. Knowing what it’s like to not have anyone to turn to or have any self confidence made me realize I wanted to inspire people as a doctor. That led me to volunteering with several organizations serving disadvantaged groups and me writing about being bullied in my personal statement. When writing my personal statement, I may have taken the previous feedback a tad too far and made my personal statement incredibly negative. No one wants someone with possible unresolved issues and I certainly didn’t do myself any favors with my strategy of using the heroes journey archetype. Think Hercules without the muscles and a lot more tragic beginning.

Now for my last cycle. Honestly, I prepared for it as if it was my last cycle since it was my third try. I actually turned down a 75k research coordinator job for a 10 dollar an hour scribing position thinking that if I didn’t get in, at least I knew I gave it my all. I think the amalgam of my scribing, absurd shadowing hours, 2 years of weekly volunteer work with the underserved, 8 publications in international journals, strong letters from my mentors (med school faculty interestingly enough in the residency I’m interested in), and proven resiliency as a 3x applicant helped me finally get the A at the University of Washington. I also helped raise 200k for the school which may or may not have helped. To be clear, I didn’t do this to bribe the school. My mentors helped me discover my passion for medicine and I knew I could leverage the power of my parents companies to fundraise. Think go fund me for Microsoft and other tech companies.

Looking back, I gotta say that I’m really fortunate. If I had been born into a less privileged family I probably wouldn’t have been able to apply three years in a row. I also wouldn’t have been able to dedicate so much time to research and bettering my app which in the long haul, may actually help me attain my goal of becoming a radiation oncologist.

That’s pretty much my story. I do apologize if it’s too long to read.
The more i get to know you, the more i am impressed!!!!!
 
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RJ McReady

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Very inspiring thread and comments.
Reminds me of a quote from one of my history classes:

"Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguish the strong soul from the weak." -- Thomas Carlyle
 
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