What are my Chances? 4.0 GPA, 33 MCAT, very research-heavy

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DES1291

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Hi all,

This is my first time posting. I just received my MCAT scores and would really appreciate some feedback on the strength of my application overall. Here's my info (sorry if it's too detailed, wasn't sure what to include):

GPA: Graduated in 2013 with a 4.0 from well-established science/engineering school in Massachusetts (biochemistry major, biology minor, humanities sufficiency/focus in science writing)
MCAT: 33 (11 on all sections)
Physician Shadowing: 32 hours on the NICU floor of UMass Memorial Hospital
Teaching: Two full years as a TA in a variety of biology courses, including a graduate level biology course that I TA'd as an undergraduate (ran review sessions, tutored students, graded tests and papers)
Extracurricular Activities: Treasurer of Student Health Advisory Council (campus organization addressing health issues that affect college students) and Student Leader in the pre-health society at my school (advising younger students)
Public Health: Spent 3 months in Thailand developing a public health campaign to prevent lead poisoning in children, presented this work as a proposal to the Thai government
Research:
1. Undergraduate research assistant in Drosophila genetics lab (2 full academic years, 20 hours per week)
2. Summer internship at Pfizer Inc as a protein characterization scientist
3. Summer Internship at UMass Medical School as a research assistant in DNA replication studies
4. Senior thesis research project in viral protein biochemistry (1 year in the lab, 30-40 hours per week)
5. Postbac Research Assistant at Harvard Medical School in histological immunology (full time job, mainly working with KO mice, 1.5 year into a 2 year position)

Overall, I feel I have a decent application although I am somewhat disappointed with my MCAT scores as I was scoring higher on my practices. My target schools are:
  • Tufts
  • BU
  • Dartmouth
  • Georgetown
  • UMass (MA resident)
  • Mayo
Reaches are:
  • UPenn
  • Duke
  • UChicago
  • UMichigan
Safeties are:
  • Tulane
  • University of Vermont
  • New York Medical College
Again, any feedback is much appreciated!

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What about Clinical Volunteering? aka patient contact.

Also, you say your app is research heavy but it was unclear how many publications you got out of that? Please state that too.
 
What about Clinical Volunteering? aka patient contact.

Also, you say your app is research heavy but it was unclear how many publications you got out of that? Please state that too.

I have some clinical volunteering. The experience I listed as physician shadowing had patient contact in that I attended rounds, participated in conversations with parents of patients, and was allowed to assist with two births. I also spent about 30 hours as a volunteer in the recovery room of a local hospital helping to get patients reading material/drinks, that sort of thing, as well as about a month on a oncology infusion unit as someone who would chat with patients as they got their chemotherapy and keep them company.

Unfortunately I only got one publication, and have one more in review now. Since most of it occurred as an undergrad I didn't really push to publish, although I did contribute significantly to some progress. What I meant by research heavy was mostly that I thought I had many extensive and varied experiences, not so much publications. Sorry if that was wrong on my part or misleading.
 
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As far as the research goes, I wouldn't say its "research heavy" when it contains a bunch of independent and short experiences. Like many parts of your application, they want to see depth not breadth. This is especially crucial when it comes to research because of its long term, often laborious nature. However, you have a solid research and applying with a publication is a solid plus point to have on your application and will help. Just be careful not to trumpet this aspect of your application as truly amazing when you apply.

so whichever way you classify that shadowing experience, that's a total of <100 hours of shadowing and volunteering combined. This is an issue and sometimes can be a near automatic rejection at many schools even with the solid stats that you have. I would recommend on volunteering more ASAP.

As far as the schools you listed, I would never include "Mayo" as a target school instead of a reach school even for the strongest of applicants. UMass is your best shot by far and assuming you're Caucasian, you're nearing 90% chance of acceptance statistically for any MD school. However, once again, I would caution you that the clinical volunteering + patient contact is a big issue and may result in severe disappointment during your application cycle.
 
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As far as the research goes, I wouldn't say its "research heavy" when it contains a bunch of independent and short experiences. Like many parts of your application, they want to see depth not breadth. This is especially crucial when it comes to research because of its long term, often laborious nature. However, you have a solid research and applying with a publication is a solid plus point to have on your application and will help. Just be careful not to trumpet this aspect of your application as truly amazing when you apply.

so whichever way you classify that shadowing experience, that's a total of <100 hours of shadowing and volunteering combined. This is an issue and sometimes can be a near automatic rejection at many schools even with the solid stats that you have. I would recommend on volunteering more ASAP.

As far as the schools you listed, I would never include "Mayo" as a target school instead of a reach school even for the strongest of applicants. UMass is your best shot by far and assuming you're Caucasian, you're nearing 90% chance of acceptance statistically for any MD school. However, once again, I would caution you that the clinical volunteering + patient contact is a big issue and may result in severe disappointment during your application cycle.

I concur with this chettiar, make sure you emphasize all your clinical volunteering and patient contact experiences in your app because that seems to be the weak part of your app. Also apply to 2 more safety schools, just to be on the safe side.
 
As SkipJunior mentioned a couple more safety schools would be a good idea. Consider Quinnipiac, Hofstra and Albany if you want to remain in the northeast.
 
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