Little Etoile

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Guys.... I need help. I'm sorry, I get annoyed just as much as the next person with these type of "What are my chances?" threads, but I am seriously at a loss and could use any and all advice.

The quick summary: I applied to twenty-nine schools and only had one interview which resulted in a low-tier waitlist. I'm not sure where I went wrong.

The low-down on me
(sorry for the tl;dr length, but I don't have an apps page):

MCAT: 10P 9B 10V Writing: R
GPA: 3.6 cum, 3.3 science, 4.0 non-science, from UC Berkeley
Major: Molecular and Cell Bio, with emphasis in Neuro

Clinical:
-Volunteered in clinical program in India full-time for four weeks
-Volunteer in Oakland's Children's Hospital ER for ~100 hours
-Been working full-time as a medical assistant since last May (took a year and a half off since graduating)

So basically, I have over 2,000 clinical hours logged to date.

Research:

-Worked in a psych lab for a semester
-Published article in a student-run medical journal
-Annual attendant of neuroaesthetics conference at UC Berkeley

EC's:

-President of Alpha Gamma Honor Society
-President of Students for Integrative Medicine (which included organizing and running our annual Integrative Medicine Conference)
-Premed Honor Society Member
-Health educator in the underserved Oakland School District
-Wrote and directed my own short play
-Developed and taught integrative medicine course on campus for two semesters

Awards:
-UC Berkeley scholarship
-Alpha Gamma Sigma Excellence in Service award and scholarship

Work:
-Private tutor
-Floral designer all throughout college to support myself

General:
-Pretty interesting background: Dad is a Buddhist priest and head member of the Native American Church community so I grew up with a very diverse upbringing (I'm Caucasian, if you're wondering) and was exposed to a wide variety of cultures and medical practices
-My dad barely graduated high school, mom never did. Grew up low-income.


Schools I applied to:


Albany Medical College

Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Drexel University College of Medicine George Washington University Sch of Med & Hlth Sci Georgetown University School of Medicine Harvard Medical School
Jefferson Medical Coll. of Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Keck Sch. of Med.University of Southern California
Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medici
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
New York Medical College
New York University
Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Scien Stanford University School of Medicine Temple University School of Medicine
The Ohio State Univ. Coll. of Med.
The University of Vermont College of Medicine
Tufts University School of Medicine
UCLA PRIME
University of California San Diego University of California San Francisco University of California, Davis School of Medicine University of California, Irvine- College/Medicine University of Chicago - Pritzker
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine University of Rochester School of Medicine and Den




Some are reach schools, yes, and yes, I have lower stats for the UCs, but I am a California native so I had to give it a shot. I feel like other than that I had a pretty good list. I received secondaries from all but two schools which makes makes me think that my personal statement isn't the area of concern.

I realize that my science GPA is a little low, but sources on here indicate that since it's from Berkeley- one of the most notoriously difficult and competitive schools- maybe it would be theoretically bumped up a little in the admissions process. Also, my MCAT could be better, but it's not horrible, either.

Only other issue is that I didn't get my secondaries in until September/October. Again, not great, but not necessarily the kiss of death if everything else is good. There are plenty of people who applied when I did or later and were offered more interviews and even acceptances.

I'm fairly certain my LORs were good. Two were from MDs that I work for and I know those were strong.

As far as interviewing, I'm naturally *really* outgoing, friendly, etc.. I thoroughly prepared for the one interview I had and made an excellent case for why I would be a good fit. The interviewer even commented on it and agreed. I wrote a hand-written thank you note, and a total of three letters to the dean pre- and post-interview, including a letter of intent. Again, result was low-tier waitlist.

So what went wrong? What's holding me back that needs the most improvement? I'm thinking about reapplying this year and retaking the MCAT to get a better score (I spent way too much time prepping to study last time and not enough time actually studying), but I'm worried because nothing else on my app has changed since last year. On the other hand, if the MCAT is the only thing holding me back and I improve it, no changes otherwise shouldn't matter, right?

Eesh. Sorry for the novel, kiddoids, but I could really use some help. :(
 

RySerr21

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Only other issue is that I didn't get my secondaries in until September/October. Again, not great, but not necessarily the kiss of death if everything else is good. There are plenty of people who applied when I did or later and were offered more interviews and even acceptances.
thats the problem. everything wasnt "good." it wasnt bad, but like you said, it could have been better... a lot better. it was below average for most of the schools you applied to. and the fact that you applied late...that might have done it.

and i also wouldnt rely on the fact that you go to berkeley to "boost" your gpa. too many other people went to berkeley and did fine.
 

eikenhein

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My first feeling is that there might be something wrong with your personal statement. Your GPA and MCAT are decent, and you seem to have some interesting stories to tell.
 

HoorayForMed

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Grades (particularly non-science GPA) are a little low. I had a 3.6 overall / 3.48 science when I applied (but 3.9+ science last two years) and I think if I had waited and taken a year off so my senior grades were in I might have gotten more looks. But it still worked out because I had a major upward trend. Your 4.0 nonscience worries me a little (and might have worried the adcoms, because it looks like (whether or not it is) that you are either far more gifted in those areas or put more time into them... either way not a good thing.

Make sure you can do much better than a 29 before retaking the MCAT.

Applying late is the kiss of death for anyone with less than stellar stats. I know a lot of people with 3.7+ science and nonscience, 30 MCATs with no acceptances, and they too are from California. So when you do reapply, get everything in early!
 

ilovetoshop

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can you call the school that you interviewed at and ask them what was weak about your application?

before you reapply, you might consider taking some more science classes to boost your GPA
do lots of practice problems and tests before you retake the MCAT
get some more research experience (basic science research if possible)
apply more broadly the next time around

it's been a tough year and the whole process is kind of screwy. i have a friend who has a 30 MCAT and 3.8 that didn't get any interviews, but he did apply late.

keep your head up and work your butt off this year and i'm sure you'll have better luck the next time around! :)
 

paranoid_eyes

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what's wrong is your BCMP GPA and your MCAT. for a cali applicant, those are both below average

oh yea, and may be your LOR's or essays were bad?
 

JerryLundegaard

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Let's condense your application into adcom view:


MCAT: 29R: 10P, 9B, 10V
GPA: 3.6 cum, 3.3 science
Major: don't matter

Clinical:
-Vacation under the guise of "volunteering" 4 weeks
-Hospital Volunteer 100 hrs
-Med Assistant 1 year post graduation (under the pretense that you've already decided you want to go into medicine)

Research:

-Psych lab 1 semester
-Article in pseudo-academic journal

EC's: etc...
Awards:
etc...
Work:
etc...
General:
etc...

Schools I applied to:

Albany Medical College

Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Drexel University College of Medicine
George Washington University Sch of Med & Hlth Sci
Georgetown University School of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

Jefferson Medical Coll. of Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Keck Sch. of Med.University of Southern California
Loyola University
Chicago Stritch School of Medici
Mount Sinai School of Medicine

New York Medical College

New York University

Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Scien
Stanford University School of Medicine
Temple University School of Medicine
The Ohio State Univ. Coll. of Med.

The University of Vermont College of Medicine
Tufts University School of Medicine
UCLA PRIME

University of California San Diego

University of California San Francisco
University of California, Davis School of Medicine
University of California, Irvine- College/Medicine
University of Chicago - Pritzker

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Den


Only other issue is that I didn't get my secondaries in until September/October.


So to recap... you have a 29 MCAT, underwhelming grades and no shadowing experience from what I can tell. Nevertheless about half of the schools to which you decided to apply- and apply late for that matter, happen to be some of the most prestigious medical schools in the country. Your list looks like that of someone who got a 39 on the MCAT.
 

Margaux1985

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can you call the school that you interviewed at and ask them what was weak about your application?

before you reapply, you might consider taking some more science classes to boost your GPA
do lots of practice problems and tests before you retake the MCAT
get some more research experience (basic science research if possible)

it's been a tough year and the whole process is kind of screwy. i have a friend who has a 30 MCAT and 3.8 that didn't get any interviews, but he did apply late.

keep your head up and work your butt off this year and i'm sure you'll have better luck the next time around! :)

You might want to call the schools at which you were rejected and schedule an appointment with their admissions staff to find out what you need to improve in your application. You might be surprised by what they tell you.

Also, I couldn't help but notice that most of the schools to which you applied have higher median MCAT scores, cumulative GPAs, and science GPAs. You might be OK if you have a higher than average GPA and a lower than average MCAT or vice versa, but very few schools interview applicants whose MCAT scores and GPA are all lower than their average.
 

JerryLundegaard

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Some are reach schools, yes, and yes, I have lower stats for the UCs, but I am a California native so I had to give it a shot.
Don't worry, tons of people don't understand the concept of a "reach" school. You're not alone, don't feel too bad.
 

ChubbyChaser

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Hmm..Im really surprised you didnt get a few more interviews, especially from albany, penn and drexel...

I would guess it might be something other than stats, since your stats are decent, but definitely not great.
 

dienekes88

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Your list looks like that of someone who got a 39 on the MCAT.
A 39 MCAT won't save you if you apply that late.

Next cycle, get those secondaries in early/mid-August.

I'd take a prep course and retake the MCAT.

Regarding grades... it's hard to say. You can't compare grades from school to school, so having someone say your grades are "underwhelming" is a little much. You can only ask your premed committee for the average stats for Berkeley students accepted to each med school to find out your competitiveness. Berkeley has sent enough kids to med school that the adcoms are familiar with what is considered "good" and what is considered "mediocre."

Apply early.

Apply early.

Apply early.

Oh yeah. One more thing. Apply early.
 

medisforme

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next time you apply i would only apply at harvard, stanford and georgetown from your list. forget the lower tier schools.
 

ChubbyChaser

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btw I dont think many ppl consider Boston, GT, and AECOM top tier....competitive maybe.
 

nontypicalazn

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29 might've been able to get you into a school a couple of cycles ago, but now with the computerized MCATs, I believe scores are/have been on the rising trend.

I agree that you applied late with your stats. You should submit primary in June, and hopefully finish the secondaries by July/August. That way, you can get interviewed perhaps late August or early Sept, which greatly enhances your chance of getting accepted.

How's your personal statement, LOR?
 

Cegar

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Your application is below the average.

A 3.3 science GPA coupled with a 29 MCAT is not competitive.
 
OP
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Little Etoile

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Let's condense your application into adcom view:
So to recap... you have a 29 MCAT, underwhelming grades and no shadowing experience from what I can tell. Nevertheless about half of the schools to which you decided to apply- and apply late for that matter, happen to be some of the most prestigious medical schools in the country. Your list looks like that of someone who got a 39 on the MCAT.
To correct your, IMHO, inaccurate rewrite of my app:

-My non-science 4.0 does count for something. Adcoms are looking for well-rounded physicians.

-I hardly think volunteering in India FULL TIME for FOUR WEEKS would be considered a "vacation under the guise of volunteering" by any standards. I got more clinical experience there than my time spent in the ER back home by far. They had me regularly reading EKGs, listening to patients' heart murmors, examining ears, eyes and noses, and imploring me to provide injections. This was all made clear in my app.

-Why should hours logged working full time as a medical assistant *after* I made the decision to go into medicine belittle the value of that experience? By your argument, any clinical or research or, well, *any* experience after you made the decision to go into medicine is similarly meaningless. Gosh, guess I should have stopped after the first time I said "I want to be a doctor when I grow up."

-You're saying ECs and awards don't matter whatsoever? Uhm...

-The fact that I worked to support myself through college is pretty important, I think, but maybe I'll give you that one. However, working as a tutor *is* relevant because as a physician, you are also a teacher and thus experience in this field is important.

-Lack of shadowing experience? My four weeks in India was nothing but and I've worked as a medical assistant full-time for the last year. Taken from the 3/22 SDN article on shadowing:

If you already have worked as a nurse or medical assistant with ample patient and physician contact and interaction, you really don't need any shadowing, or at least not much.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you just didn't read my post since it was pretty clear that I have more than ample hours of intimate clinical exposure. Please give the OP the courtesy of actually reading the content of his/her post before you reply back.

Also, if I applied to twenty-nine programs and, as you pointed out, half of my schools are out of my reach, that still leaves fourteen or fifteen schools that are closer to my range. That's close to what most people apply to, *including* reach schools.
And tell me, what are you basing your "adcom" point of view on?
 
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Little Etoile

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29 might've been able to get you into a school a couple of cycles ago, but now with the computerized MCATs, I believe scores are/have been on the rising trend.
Yeah, you know, after reading everyone's responses on here and doing some more research I realized/came to terms with the fact that my scores and GPA are just too low. I first started the MCAT and application consideration back in 2005 and then took time off from it. It's apparent that things have changed since then.

Thanks for your help everyone!
 

Bananas Foster

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29 might've been able to get you into a school a couple of cycles ago, but now with the computerized MCATs, I believe scores are/have been on the rising trend.
MCATs have shown a rising trend of the past 15 years, though recently they have leveled off. Word is from my sources the computerized MCATs havn't made any appreciable difference on the scoring of the beast.

Oh, and to dienekes who said a 39 won't help you if you apply in october, well, I put my secondaries in during november. Just remember there are a lot of schools that arn't completely rolling admissions. Not that I'm I'm against applying early, but its not the holy grail of admissions.
 
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Little Etoile

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You might want to call the schools at which you were rejected and schedule an appointment with their admissions staff to find out what you need to improve in your application. You might be surprised by what they tell you.
Yeah, that was my game plan for this week. When you say appointment, do you mean by phone? Most of the schools I applied to are across the country! :)

Also, I couldn't help but notice that most of the schools to which you applied have higher median MCAT scores, cumulative GPAs, and science GPAs. You might be OK if you have a higher than average GPA and a lower than average MCAT or vice versa, but very few schools interview applicants whose MCAT scores and GPA are all lower than their average.
Yeah, as I said above, I guess I'm coming to terms with the fact that my scores are too low. I started this process in 2005, took time off, and it's becoming very clear to me that I'm not at all where I need to be now.

So on that note, the next obvious inquiry is regarding which schools I *should* be applying to. Any recommendations from you, or anyone else on here? I'm planning on retaking the MCAT, but assuming the worst case in which my scores don't improve too much...

Again, thank you all so much for your help. This board really is amazing. :)
 

loganhayes

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1. You applied late. Please do yourself a favor and apply wayyyy early next time.

2. Low science GPA. Try taking more science courses and get all As in them. If you have to take low div sci courses to get all As, by all means, do it. Even if it means you have to take Algebra 1, Calculus 1, or Bio 101. What adcoms see first is the number, then the courses.

3. MCAT is okay. That should have gotten you somewhere, especially with your list. Rosalind Franklin, MCW, etc. A bit hard for top schools, but still possible depending on what you say in your PS. If you decide to retake the MCAT, make sure you actually do better. If you get a lower score, it could very well be a kiss of death for you.

4. Possibly your personal statement is not convincing enough? Adcoms see red flags, perhaps? Something to look into...
 

Wylde

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Also, I couldn't help but notice that most of the schools to which you applied have higher median MCAT scores, cumulative GPAs, and science GPAs. You might be OK if you have a higher than average GPA and a lower than average MCAT or vice versa, but very few schools interview applicants whose MCAT scores and GPA are all lower than their average.
Actually, I'd say a majority of schools do!

They are averages because approximately HALF the students are below them (and thus were interviewed).
 

RySerr21

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Yeah, that was my game plan for this week. When you say appointment, do you mean by phone? Most of the schools I applied to are across the country! :)



Yeah, as I said above, I guess I'm coming to terms with the fact that my scores are too low. I started this process in 2005, took time off, and it's becoming very clear to me that I'm not at all where I need to be now.

So on that note, the next obvious inquiry is regarding which schools I *should* be applying to. Any recommendations from you, or anyone else on here? I'm planning on retaking the MCAT, but assuming the worst case in which my scores don't improve too much...

Again, thank you all so much for your help. This board really is amazing. :)
your scores would be competetive as is for DO schools....i wouldnt rule them out next time around. i would at least apply to a few. the goal is to become a physician right?
 

RySerr21

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You might want to call the schools at which you were rejected and schedule an appointment with their admissions staff to find out what you need to improve in your application. You might be surprised by what they tell you.

Also, I couldn't help but notice that most of the schools to which you applied have higher median MCAT scores, cumulative GPAs, and science GPAs. You might be OK if you have a higher than average GPA and a lower than average MCAT or vice versa, but very few schools interview applicants whose MCAT scores and GPA are all lower than their average.
do you see how that sentence makes absolutely no sense whatsoever?
 

fizzle

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Actually, I'd say a majority of schools do!

They are averages because approximately HALF the students are below them (and thus were interviewed).
Actually, what he's saying (and what many of you misunderstood) is that schools don't tend to interview people for whom ALL the numbers are below average. Maybe an interviewee has a below average GPA OR MCAT OR some other aspect (assuming that ECs and letters can be boiled down to just numbers), but he/she must have other parts that make up for the deficit by being above average.

To the OP: I'm in the same boat as you...3.6 GPA, 36 MCAT at UC Berkeley and only one waitlist from one interview, no acceptances... sigh...
 

Margaux1985

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Yeah, that was my game plan for this week. When you say appointment, do you mean by phone? Most of the schools I applied to are across the country! :)



Yeah, as I said above, I guess I'm coming to terms with the fact that my scores are too low. I started this process in 2005, took time off, and it's becoming very clear to me that I'm not at all where I need to be now.

So on that note, the next obvious inquiry is regarding which schools I *should* be applying to. Any recommendations from you, or anyone else on here? I'm planning on retaking the MCAT, but assuming the worst case in which my scores don't improve too much...

Again, thank you all so much for your help. This board really is amazing. :)

Schedule it in person if the schools are within driving distance. By phone if the schools are too far away to drive. The reason why I'm saying you might be surprised by what the schools tell you is because you might have overlooked something in your application.

For example, I met with the dean of one of the schools from which I was rejected and he told me outright that I didn't have enough clinical experience (this wasn't true, I did hundreds of hours of volunteering and shadowing). But the fact was, I didn't emphasize it enough in my AMCAS application and that's the only thing that most schools are going to judge you by. Also, a lot of schools require certain prerequisites math classes or accept only state residents, so your application may have been rejected outright even if you were qualified because you didn't meet one of those prerequisites.

As for schools that you should apply to in your next application cycle. It really depends on how well you score on your MCAT. Schools accept applicants who have MCATs or GPAs that are less than their median, but rarely do they accept someone whose MCAT and GPAs are both lower than their median. When you look up the range of scores on the MSAR, realize that it only lists collective scores, so in most cases an accepted applicant who has a GPA lower than their average will almost certainly have a higher than average MCAT to compensate for that. I think your best shot would be to reapply to schools that has an average score lower than yours.
 

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The quick summary: I applied to twenty-nine schools and only had one interview which resulted in a low-tier waitlist. I'm not sure where I went wrong.

Some are reach schools, yes, and yes, I have lower stats for the UCs, but I am a California native so I had to give it a shot. I feel like other than that I had a pretty good list. I received secondaries from all but two schools which makes makes me think that my personal statement isn't the area of concern.
From what you've posted here, your stats are good. Yeah they may be on the low side for matriculants (but those are just averages, people get in with scores below that obviously), but seeing as you only got one interview out of 29 schools (assuming you applied to a mix of upper/lower tiers) throws up some major red flags to me. Your stats should at least be getting you interviews I would think

1)check your personal statement again--talk to some adcoms to see if they think anything in your personal statement is iffy. The PS is quite crucial.

2)Are you sure the LORs you got gave a good idea as to your personality or work ethic?

3)Maybe you aren't selling yourself enough in your application?

Other than that, I would say apply earlier and retake the mcat--aim for a 32
 

notdeadyet

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Schools accept applicants who have MCATs or GPAs that are less than their median, but rarely do they accept someone whose MCAT and GPAs are both lower than their median.
What's your source on this? Just curious because I don't know any med school where that is true. Definitely not the one I'm at. And I don't know any schools that use that as any kind of criteria.

The median is just that: half do better, half do worse. Some will be above the median in one number and below the mean in the other. Some vice versa. Many will be above the median in both and many will be below the median in both.

Better scores are better. Always. But to say that schools "rarely" accept folks who are below median, even in both MCAT and GPA, is just patently not true.
 

ChubbyChaser

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What's your source on this? Just curious because I don't know any med school where that is true. Definitely not the one I'm at. And I don't know any schools that use that as any kind of criteria.

The median is just that: half do better, half do worse. Some will be above the median in one number and below the mean in the other. Some vice versa. Many will be above the median in both and many will be below the median in both.

Better scores are better. Always. But to say that schools "rarely" accept folks who are below median, even in both MCAT and GPA, is just patently not true.
It does make a little sense that a high gpa can compensate for a low MCAT and vice versa...but i believe you.
 

flip26

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For your stats, your list of schools was not nearly broad enough, too focused on high tier and very competitive national schools with GPA and MCAT cutoffs.

Are you CA instate? Why no Loma Linda?

Let me guess - you got an interview at Albany? Or was it Temple?

You would be much better off dropping schools like Stanford, Keck, UCSF, Chicago, Tufts, AECOM, Pitt, MSSM, BU, Georgetown, GWU, and instead applying to Creighton, Drexel, Eastern VA, VCU, Tulane.

Consider an SMP, too.
 

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Sorry, dear, but your app is simply okay. In this competitive cycle, okay is simply not good enough. Your GPA is low, and your MCAT is average at best. Work on those and reapply, IMHO.

BTW, I'm a 4.0 and 37 with only one acceptance and a few waitlists. This was an uber-competitive cycle.
 

dienekes88

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Oh, and to dienekes who said a 39 won't help you if you apply in october, well, I put my secondaries in during november. Just remember there are a lot of schools that arn't completely rolling admissions. Not that I'm I'm against applying early, but its not the holy grail of admissions.
Yeah, I was a little late (mid-Sept) and was also accepted... so that 39 definitely helps. However, we should've gotten more interviews: 3/12 for you and 6/22 for me is not typical for a couple dudes with a 39Q and a 39R.

Am I trying to be greedy? Hell no. Having a choice is nice, though.
 

HoorayForMed

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I received secondaries from all but two schools which makes makes me think that my personal statement isn't the area of concern.
Just noticed this... don't like bringing this up but maybe it's necessary... has anyone else mentioned that getting secondaries doesn't necessarily mean anything? I'm not saying your personal statement was a concern, but keep in mind: The UCs screen out people before sending secondaries, as do some other schools, but I know plenty of schools will send it to you without screening :( I was excited about a few top tier school secondaries only to receive a rejection soon after
 

nu2004

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Only other issue is that I didn't get my secondaries in until September/October. Again, not great, but not necessarily the kiss of death if everything else is good.
everything else is not so good, though. your science GPA is below the median for every school to which you applied. so is your MCAT. your clinical experience doesn't jump out as being particularly... in-depth. research experience: zilch (psych lab? come on).

add to that the late applications. we have no way to see your essays, but they probably weren't quite at the level of "heartbreakingly convincing."

so even though it sounds harsh, you are a below-average applicant in every way, and you applied by and large to above average (and some excellent) medical schools. it just sounds like over the last four years you have spread yourself too thin, and there's no one thing on your application that stands out.

how much clinical exposure are you getting as a medical assistant? i'm not on an adcom, but when i read "medical assistant," my brain says "receptionist." be honest with yourself. if you aren't getting good hands-on experience working as a medical assistant, do something else (like working as a tech in an ER. you might be folding sheets, but you'll also be around to see how ER docs manage acute situations like gunshot wounds, falls, and car accidents, as well as chronic conditions like diabetes, AIDS, and cancer).

LittleEtoile said:
As far as interviewing, I'm naturally *really* outgoing, friendly, etc.. I thoroughly prepared for the one interview I had and made an excellent case for why I would be a good fit. The interviewer even commented on it and agreed. I wrote a hand-written thank you note, and a total of three letters to the dean pre- and post-interview, including a letter of intent. Again, result was low-tier waitlist.
many (if not most) pre-meds would describe themselves as "really friendly and outgoing" blah dee blah. a friend of mine had a near-flawless interview record and his style is far from "really friendly and outgoing." sometimes being overly energetic comes across as being 1) immature and 2) insincere. it's way more important to have good questions, to have well-grounded views about medicine in general and to be personable and genuine - not "really friendly." i interviewed students applying to my alma mater, and believe me, it wasn't the ones that were the most bubbly that i gave the highest marks -- it was those with the most perspective and genuine interest in the school. also - you wrote to the dean pre-interview? i'm not sure that's a great idea. i have heard people say that "i was in touch with dean so-and-so" but usually it is post-interview when they haven't gotten in anywhere, or they have other extenuating circumstances (their husband/wife is being relocated to a city with 1 medical school, for example).

i'm sure i've come across like a dick in this post, but i really do wish you luck. if you think i can help at all, let me know. my grades were pretty bad too, but a good MCAT and PS got me through to the finish line.
 

nu2004

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Are you CA instate? Why no Loma Linda?
maybe "Jesus Camp" wasn't her idea of medical school.

From what you've posted here, your stats are good. Yeah they may be on the low side for matriculants (but those are just averages, people get in with scores below that obviously), but seeing as you only got one interview out of 29 schools (assuming you applied to a mix of upper/lower tiers) throws up some major red flags to me. Your stats should at least be getting you interviews I would think
you haven't applied to medical school, have you?

i'm not sure if you're trying to be a nice guy or if you're just uninformed. purely from numbers, the stats posted do not match up to the schools posted... not even close.
 

Nevadanteater

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I realize that my science GPA is a little low, but sources on here indicate that since it's from Berkeley- one of the most notoriously difficult and competitive schools- maybe it would be theoretically bumped up a little in the admissions process. Also, my MCAT could be better, but it's not horrible, either.
Although you've already worked out what went wrong and what you're going to be doing, I'd like to put my two cents in here...

Berkeley or no, if you're trying to explain away your low BCPM GPA by virtue of being a Cal student, It would be a lot easier if your MCAT scores were higher. This is the entire purpose of the MCAT, to compare students on a (somewhat) level playing field.
 

flip26

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maybe "Jesus Camp" wasn't her idea of medical school.
Maybe so, but "beggars can't be choosers." Why does somebody overlook an in-state school?

I also don't understand these people with sub-marginal stats who do such a lousy job applying - the OP could cut at least 15 to 20 schools from that list of 29, and then add about 5 missing schools I listed previously, and he/she probably would have had a better outcome (couldn't have been any worse). That was a highly unrealistic list of schools.

Oh, and apply EARLY. September/October is not a little late - it is way late, especially for a marginal app.
 

nu2004

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Maybe so, but "beggars can't be choosers." Why does somebody overlook an in-state school?
i dunno, i think the question of "fit" really is important. i wouldn't be comfortable saying i went to Loma Linda. if someone is going to be miserable attending medical school X, then maybe it's better if he/she wastes a year applying to unrealistic schools rather than wastes a year (plus tuition) some place where he/she is miserable. it is 4 years of one's life, after all.

but yeah, i agree with your other points.
 

ADeadLois

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September/October for secondary submission isn't that late. It's probably the average time for secondary submission, actually.

Although he numbers are "low", they are definitely in range. My guess would be something in your PS or an LOR that raised a red flag to the adcoms.
 

amidoinitrite

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you haven't applied to medical school, have you?

i'm not sure if you're trying to be a nice guy or if you're just uninformed. purely from numbers, the stats posted do not match up to the schools posted... not even close.

I have to admit I am uninformed as to the numbers on alot of those schools (harvard and some of the cali schools are obvious reaches), but according to the OP, she applied fairly broad--I don't know the rest of the schools on the list but I'm just saying that the fact that she only got ONE interview out of 29 schools, with decent stats means that there is a possibility that something other than her numbers could be a red flag on her application.


For the record I'm going to Baylor this fall, thanks for your curiosity ;)
 

Jolie South

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September/October for secondary submission isn't that late. It's probably the average time for secondary submission, actually.

Although he numbers are "low", they are definitely in range. My guess would be something in your PS or an LOR that raised a red flag to the adcoms.
really? i was under the impression that the admissions timeframe had shifted with all the mcat test dates offered.
 

StephO

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What have you done academically since graduation? If you haven't taken any courses, maybe they see a lack of committment. You should stay involved in school to raise your gpa and maintain your academic stamina.
 

decafplease

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i dunno, i think the question of "fit" really is important. i wouldn't be comfortable saying i went to Loma Linda. if someone is going to be miserable attending medical school X, then maybe it's better if he/she wastes a year applying to unrealistic schools rather than wastes a year (plus tuition) some place where he/she is miserable. it is 4 years of one's life, after all.

but yeah, i agree with your other points.
may I point out that Loma Linda is a private SDA funded school. As far as I know, their only stated preference is SDA students. In-state doesn't matter.
 
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What have you done academically since graduation? If you haven't taken any courses, maybe they see a lack of committment. You should stay involved in school to raise your gpa and maintain your academic stamina.
I took a permaculture course (outside of a formal academic setting) but other than that, I've been working full-time as a medical assistant. I don't see how taking a break from school would be a detriment. In fact, I've heard over and over again that adcoms appreciate students who take time off.

Regardless, thanks for the suggestion. I'm thinking about taking some science courses over the next year to raise my science GPA.
 
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Little Etoile

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Berkeley or no, if you're trying to explain away your low BCPM GPA by virtue of being a Cal student, It would be a lot easier if your MCAT scores were higher. This is the entire purpose of the MCAT, to compare students on a (somewhat) level playing field.
Very true, which is why I'm scheduled to retake the MCAT June 13th. :)
 
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Little Etoile

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your clinical experience doesn't jump out as being particularly... in-depth.

how much clinical exposure are you getting as a medical assistant? i'm not on an adcom, but when i read "medical assistant," my brain says "receptionist." be honest with yourself.
Well I don't know about other practices, but we have a receptionist who... you know... does receptionist stuff. I room patients, take a brief patient history, prep for surgery, assist with all surgeries, route/record all biopsy specimens and path results, remove stitches, and coordinate all prescriptions. I'm also responsible for patient education and sterilization of medical equipment, as well as all doctor correspondences with labs, other doctors, etc. among a host of other things.

Also, volunteering full time in a comprehensive medical program for four weeks in a developing country isn't considered in-depth? There were fourth year medical students in the program with me who earned elective credit for doing the same exact thing I did in the program.

many (if not most) pre-meds would describe themselves as "really friendly and outgoing" blah dee blah. a friend of mine had a near-flawless interview record and his style is far from "really friendly and outgoing." sometimes being overly energetic comes across as being 1) immature and 2) insincere. it's way more important to have good questions, to have well-grounded views about medicine in general and to be personable and genuine - not "really friendly." i interviewed students applying to my alma mater, and believe me, it wasn't the ones that were the most bubbly that i gave the highest marks -- it was those with the most perspective and genuine interest in the school.
Friendly and outgoing doesn't necessarily equate to bubbly and overly energetic. I just meant I wasn't one of those premeds with no social skills and a personality as exciting as cold fish.

And I did all of the things you said were important. Throughout the interview day I asked a host of thoughtful questions, i.e. none were along the lines of the faved, "How many students to a cadaver?" Then when the interview wrapped, my interviewer said, "Well, everything you're looking for is what Jefferson has and everything you talked about today is what Jefferson is!" not to mention that throughout the interview she mentioned a few things about the school that she thought I would be interested in. Seemed to me like that would indicate that I expressed my interest in the school and made a good case for why I would be a good fit.


also - you wrote to the dean pre-interview? i'm not sure that's a great idea.
I wrote a letter of interest and I am 95% sure that that's what landed me the interview. I got the interview invite just over a week after I sent it and Jefferson stresses again and again to their prospectives how important it is to express interest in the school. I have no regrets and don't see much harm in writing a letter to let a school know that you are still considering them and making a case for why you're a good applicant. This is especially true for places like Jefferson that encourage it and also don't provide room in their secondary to express this.

i'm sure i've come across like a dick in this post, but i really do wish you luck. if you think i can help at all, let me know. my grades were pretty bad too, but a good MCAT and PS got me through to the finish line.
Thanks. Very much appreciated. :)