Sep 6, 2016
Hello to the visitors of the SDN forum. I have been a long time lurker and have decided to finally post a WAMC thread to gauge myself as I apply next cycle for the 2018 school year. I am applying to both MD and DO schools. I will try my best to accurately give information without embellishment and bias. I have a rough idea of where I stand but would greatly appreciate your input and suggestions, especially in what I should do in these crucial coming months.

I graduated from UC Davis with a BS in Biological Sciences with a GPA of 3.36 in 2015. I had a science GPA of 3.27. I have 2 minors in English and Humanities. I understand my GPA is not stellar but I am having difficulty thinking of feasible ways to possibly retake any classes or join a Post Bac program due to time, funds, and family.

My MCAT Score: 505 (126/127/126/126) taken 7/22/2016. I am actually quite disappointed in myself here. Before the MCAT, I had been consistently scoring 508 (126/128/127/127). I have been struggling with the question of whether or not retaking the exam in February or March. I feel even more pressured and am terrified of potentially doing worse. I would really appreciate any input!

State of residence/Ethnicity
I am a California resident. I am Asian – Vietnamese

Clinical Experience
I volunteered and interned at a university endorsed free clinic for about 2 and a half years. Originally, I was an intern and then became an intern coordinator. Additionally, I also volunteered at a Sacramento hospital for about 1 year in various departments (Transplant, ER, pharmacy).

Reserach Experience
I volunteered at a Plant Genetics research laboratory for 1 year (no publications/abstracts)

I am currently looking in my area (South Bay) to find a DO willing to allow me to shadow.

Nonclinical Volunteering
I have volunteered sporadically over the last 3 years with various aid clubs and organizations including: habitat for humanities, food kitchens, and local clubs to help the homeless

I am currently working at a large biotech company (think Abbott, Siemens, Gilead) as a scientist with the R&D department. I have been here for about a year since I've graduated.

Due to the unfortunate passing of two of my professors, I now only have 2 letters of recommendation. One from my writing professor and one from the PI at my lab. I am thinking about asking the lead scientist at my workplace to write a letter for me and to hopefully find a physician willing to allow me to shadow and to write a letter for me. I am worried about my lack of letters from science professors. But the only 2 professors that knew me well are no longer here. I have sent a few emails to my other science professors asking for a letter and to meet so that we can discuss the possibility. Unfortunately I have had no responses. A friend suggested to enroll into a science course at my local community college and ask for a letter of recommendation there. But due to the quarter already starting and my lack of knowledge in taking courses after a BS, I am not so sure about the idea. I am also aware that some schools require a letter from a DO physicians.

School List
I am hoping to apply to 15 M.D and 15 D.O schools. I am the first to admit that I am not very familiar with the process of selecting schools and would value any input anyone has.

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (Cali and NY)
Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences
WesternU College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine
Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine.

UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside (medium-longshots imo)
Albany School of Medicine
Drexel University College of Medicine
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine
Tufts University School of Medicine
The Commonwealth Medical College
Howard University College of Medicine
Buffalo School of Medicine
Virginia Commonwealth School of Medicine
San Antonio School of Medicine

There are fewer schools here than I intend to apply to. This is because I have not yet completed a final list of schools. I may even make the list 20+ DO schools and ~10 MD schools. If you feel that I am way over my head in any of these choices or if you have a school that you think may be a good choice, I would be very thankful for your input.

I believe this is all. Please ask any questions you would like. I will do my best to give clear responses. I thank anyone who reads this thread for their help.


7+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2012
Attending Physician
Your chances for a MD school are low with your stats. From your list San Antonio and Buffalo accept very few non residents with your stats and Tufts is also unlikely. Howard accepts mainly URM. You are a good candidate for the majority of DO schools. From your list remove Ohio University and Michigan State since they accept few non residents. Add a few more DO schools such as:
VCOM (all 3 schools)
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7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
Somewhere west of St. Louis
OP, your stats are not competitive for MD schools. You're fine for DO schools, starting with all on the West Coast.
Sep 6, 2016
Thank you for both your input. I will look up the schools suggested! I'm not sure if is a bit off topic, but do you believe retaking the MCAT for the possibility of a 3pt increase a viable option? Or is this not a large enough difference for schools.


7+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2012
Attending Physician
Thank you for both your input. I will look up the schools suggested! I'm not sure if is a bit off topic, but do you believe retaking the MCAT for the possibility of a 3pt increase a viable option? Or is this not a large enough difference for schools.
A 3 point difference would make no difference for DO schools since you are already competitive for many DO schools. It probably would make little difference for MD schools since your GPA is low for most MD schools.


Gin no Samurai
5+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2012
Medical Student
You should shoot for a 5 pt increase if you were to retake the MCAT for MD. I definitely think it's possible if you study a bit more for the sciences since your CARS score is decent.