watsupdoc

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I've been feeling down lately as I study for the MCAT. It will be my second time taking it because my first MCAT score was terrible. I recently graduated in December. What are my chances of getting into medical school? I have an overall GPA of 3.53. I have a few volunteer experience: a little over a year at a local hospital; another year at another hospital; assistant basketball coach at my elementary school; teacher assistant for a semester for an introductory biology lab at my college; I am recently working at a nursing home as a CNA. I will soon be volunteering at a local shelter helping under-served women with children. I have no shadow experience because none of my local hospitals participate in that or have no time to place me with a physician. I am really afraid of not getting in due to my low GPA. I need some advice...Do you think I still have a shot?
 

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I've been feeling down lately as I study for the MCAT. It will be my second time taking it because my first MCAT score was terrible. I recently graduated in December. What are my chances of getting into medical school? I have an overall GPA of 3.53. I have a few volunteer experience: a little over a year at a local hospital; another year at another hospital; assistant basketball coach at my elementary school; teacher assistant for a semester for an introductory biology lab at my college; I am recently working at a nursing home as a CNA. I will soon be volunteering at a local shelter helping under-served women with children. I have no shadow experience because none of my local hospitals participate in that or have no time to place me with a physician. I am really afraid of not getting in due to my low GPA. I need some advice...Do you think I still have a shot?

I cringe everytime I see questions like, "do I have a chance?" Essentially, everyone has some kind of chance as long as their numbers are within reasonable range of the average. The right question is to ask is, "how can your chances be maximized given your current situation?"

Given that the average GPA for a matriculant to allopathic schools is around 3.6, you seem to be within reasonable range of acceptance. I don't think that's your main problem. I suspect that it's your MCAT. But it's hard for me to tell without a baseline score. What is your previous MCAT score? I can't say much without knowing that number. I think the two primary factors in allopathic admission are your GPA and your MCAT score. The rest of your package, EC's, etc., are also important and not to be minimized, but they can be, and often are, overshadowed by poor numbers (unless your EC was something very great). I think it is important for you to perform well on the MCAT. If possible, I would aim for a score greater than the average for a matriculant (30+); really, you should aim as high as you can, but ensure that you can score at least 30. Find out what your problems were from the first time you took the MCAT and work to resolve them. Study hard, but also do so smartly. Don't just blindly plug away.

After that, it really depends on how well you market yourself and how early, broadly, and realistically you apply. Each school has their own way of evaluating an applicant's package. Do some research on the average statistics of medical schools in which you are interested in apply, by reading the MSAR. You can rapidly assess your chances at the schools by looking at a basic calculation. You can calculate a factor = (GPA * 10) + (MCAT Score). Compare your calculated factor with the factor calculated from the mean numbers listed for your schools of interest. This will give you some idea whether it will be wise to apply there, or not. There is an adcomm member here who posted about how to do this; here is her exact recommendation:

Take a given school's average MCAT. Add 10 times the school's average gpa. Subtract 1. Call this the school's NUMBER.

If your (gpa)(10) + MCAT = NUMBER then you are an adequate candidate academically (your ECs can raise or lower your strength as an applicant). (if you did a post-bach to make up for a poor undergrad gpa use the post-bach gpa times 8 rather than your undergrad gpa times 10).

If your NUMBER is 1-2 points higher, then you are an average candidate. More than 2 points higher, you have a better than 50-50 chance of getting an interview (most schools only interview a small fraction of the applicant pool).

If your NUMBER is 1-5 points lower but you bring some special skills or experience to the table, then you may be suitable for admission and have a shot at getting an interview if the circumstances are right.

If your number is >=79 you've got nothing to worry about. If your number is <50, you do not have a prayer.

In any case, please apply broadly, early, and to many schools. Look at the locations and how many in-state vs. out-of-state students they accept, etc. These all help you determine where to apply.
 

Scottish Chap

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I've been feeling down lately as I study for the MCAT. It will be my second time taking it because my first MCAT score was terrible. I recently graduated in December. What are my chances of getting into medical school? I have an overall GPA of 3.53. I have a few volunteer experience: a little over a year at a local hospital; another year at another hospital; assistant basketball coach at my elementary school; teacher assistant for a semester for an introductory biology lab at my college; I am recently working at a nursing home as a CNA. I will soon be volunteering at a local shelter helping under-served women with children. I have no shadow experience because none of my local hospitals participate in that or have no time to place me with a physician. I am really afraid of not getting in due to my low GPA. I need some advice...Do you think I still have a shot?
The only thing missing from your application is a presentable MCAT score. Nothing else is needed. I don't see any issues.
 
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I agree with basically everything SM said. Do you want to go to med school, or do you want to give up? If you are sure you really want to go to medical school, you need to stiffen up that spine, friend. Stop throwing your hands up and crying woe is me, and start thinking about how to maximize your chances. Med school is not for people who give up when they hit the first bump in the road they come across.

How low of an MCAT score are we talking about here? If you're below the national mean (which is 24-25), you're probably going to have a tough time, particularly for allopathic schools. The MCAT average for allo matriculants is about a 30. Like SM, I would advise you to spend some time thinking about what you did wrong the last time you took the MCAT. Did you just not study? Not study the right things? Not take enough practice tests? Don't retake the MCAT until you are consistently scoring in at least the mid-twenties range on your practice tests. The only thing that is worse than one awful score is two of them.

If you want to get shadowing experience, you're going to have to be more proactive. Start by calling your own primary care physician and ask if you can come in and watch him/her. If that person says no, ask if they know of someone who would be willing to help you. Talk to other premeds you know and ask which docs they shadowed so that you can find out who is willing to work with students. Again, don't give up just because the first, second, tenth person says no. Are you noticing a trend in my advice here?

Finally, I'd advise you to make an appointment with the admissions office at your local state school, if you have one. Bring copies of all your transcripts, your CV with all ECs listed on it, and your MCAT scores. Talk to this person about how to improve your app. Write down the advice, and follow it to the best of your ability.

No one has more control over your destiny than you. The one single thing you can do to guarantee that you definitely won't make it is to not even try. Best of luck to you. :)
 

oldpro

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I've been feeling down lately as I study for the MCAT. It will be my second time taking it because my first MCAT score was terrible. I recently graduated in December. What are my chances of getting into medical school? I have an overall GPA of 3.53. I have a few volunteer experience: a little over a year at a local hospital; another year at another hospital; assistant basketball coach at my elementary school; teacher assistant for a semester for an introductory biology lab at my college; I am recently working at a nursing home as a CNA. I will soon be volunteering at a local shelter helping under-served women with children. I have no shadow experience because none of my local hospitals participate in that or have no time to place me with a physician. I am really afraid of not getting in due to my low GPA. I need some advice...Do you think I still have a shot?
Whats the MCAT is like the GPA is well within what is accepted. I think if your MCAT is 28 or higher and you get the Shadowing experience and do the Volunteering work you just mentioned I think you have a chance, MCAT higher than 30 then a really good chance. Really you are doing well do not let too many people discourage you.

Try www.olpremeds.org there is some really good info there too. (I think better then here)

Infact maybe you can get "Hooked up for shadowing" through oldpremeds you never know!
 
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