kevster2001

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Your MCAT and GPA are too low for a decent chance at UCs and the reaches. As for the rest, probably just a touch of bad luck
 

ADeadLois

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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.
There's nothing wrong with asking "how many students to a cadaver". While it's not necessarily a make or break kind of thing, it definitely more relevant to your medical school experience than a lot of "thoughtful" questions that applicants tend to ask.

You're better off being yourself than telling the interviewer what you think they want to hear. Not saying you did/didn't do this, but that's something that often trips people up at interviews.

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.
Honestly, I'm more inclined to chalk that up to coincidence than effect. Pre-interview, you don't know that much about the school, and while they have a lot on paper, the med school doesn't really know much about you. Expressing interest at that point is rather moot...they assume that anyone who has forked over an application fee is interested in attending. In general, schools interview people (but certainly not all) who they would potentially accept IF that person is shown to be a good fit for the school.

Post-interview, leverage tips somewhat towards the applicants, especially strong ones who have multiple acceptances. This is when a letter of interest is most effective. You have seen the school and can fairly judge it.
 

tulip08

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A couple of things.. again, my personal two cents! I think medical schools look for students who are genuinely interested in medicine. But more than that, I think they also want students who can handle the course load. I have no doubt that you can handle the course load if you survived Berkeley with the major you have. However, considering your gpa is low and you haven't taken a class in a while (it seems like), maybe over the summer, take a few challenging science classes and get an A?

Another thing I'd recommend is that you get a recommendation letter from one of your professors, not just doctors whom you shadowed. The professors could probably give the adcoms a much better idea of how you will do academically.

MCAT is definitely not high enough with a GPA that's on the lower end. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that in your application, I can tell you really really want to be a doctor. However, I can't really see that you will do well in med school classes (considering your major, I'm sure you can but it is not apparent on the surface). So I would focus on showing the adcoms that you are definitely cut out to do well in their medical school. Be this doing very well in the MCAT (32 +) or taking a few harder science courses and doing well in them.
 
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gplex86

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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.

I submitted AMCAS in December and got 6 interviews. One acceptance, one waitist. Still waiting to hear from two of them (interviewed in the last 2 weeks). 3.45 GPA and 30 MCAT. But my EC's and LOR's were crazy. As was my curriculum. So it can be done.
 

decafplease

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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.

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).
You have no idea what you're talking about. Seriously, an ER tech? MA's don't fold sheets. We assist in procedures, take history, work with pathology samples, get direct exposure to a doctor's lifestyle and interaction with patients, and more. No offense, but I've been in the ER a year now and most techs look like bumps on a log.

I personally believe (based on my experience) that working for an enthusiastic doctor as a MA is the ideal clinical experience. You smell patients, you touch them, you talk to them, you see how insurance billing works, you are the integral go-between for physician and patient. Nothing is more hands-on.
 

Little Etoile

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Okay, so since a few of you suggested that it may be my personal statement, are any of you willing to read mine over and give me some quick feedback? :D

I'm definitely considering doing a major overhaul now that I've gone through the admissions process and have a better sense of what they're looking for.

Thanks in advance!
 

DBR

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GOD I cant believe you are complaining. All those schools are great and you need to only chose one to get into a top residency program because there ARENT any low tier medical schools. You can go to BOSTON UNIVERSITY and major in psychiatry even and then get a minor in surgery. Residency directors will eat this **** up with a spoon my friend.

Sincerely yours,

DBR



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
 

Little Etoile

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GOD I cant believe you are complaining. All those schools are great and you need to only chose one to get into a top residency program because there ARENT any low tier medical schools. You can go to BOSTON UNIVERSITY and major in psychiatry even and then get a minor in surgery. Residency directors will eat this **** up with a spoon my friend.

Sincerely yours,

DBR



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

Um.... either you didn't read my post or I'm misunderstanding you. I didn't get into any of these schools. In fact, I only had one interview invite which resulted in a waitlist.
 

DBR

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Um.... either you didn't read my post or I'm misunderstanding you. I didn't get into any of these schools. In fact, I only had one interview invite which resulted in a waitlist.

Why did you WITHDRAW FROM ALL THOSE PLACES? GOD. First, you should write the dean of BOSTON UNIVERSITY ad inquire about your rank on the waitlist. (I AM ASSUMING that you are on the waitlist there as you seemed to be talking about that school with a fair bit of enthusiasm). There is a letter that you can write to them and if you say things about how you like the school then you might be able to convince them to accept you if you are sounding yearnful enough and dedicated to attending medicl school even at BOSTON UNIVERSITY.
 

Little Etoile

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Why did you WITHDRAW FROM ALL THOSE PLACES? GOD. First, you should write the dean of BOSTON UNIVERSITY ad inquire about your rank on the waitlist. (I AM ASSUMING that you are on the waitlist there as you seemed to be talking about that school with a fair bit of enthusiasm). There is a letter that you can write to them and if you say things about how you like the school then you might be able to convince them to accept you if you are sounding yearnful enough and dedicated to attending medicl school even at BOSTON UNIVERSITY.
Wow, seriously? Either you have an issue with reading comprehension or you're a troll. But:

1. I didn't withdraw from any of those schools. Not sure where in the world you got that.
2. I haven't mentioned BU whatsoever. I interviewed at Jefferson.
3. As I already stated in my post, I sent the dean at Jefferson three different letters.
 

DBR

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Wow, seriously? Either you have an issue with reading comprehension or you're a troll. But:

1. I didn't withdraw from any of those schools. Not sure where in the world you got that.
2. I haven't mentioned BU whatsoever. I interviewed at Jefferson.
3. As I already stated in my post, I sent the dean at Jefferson three different letters.
whatever.
 
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notdeadyet

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Why did you WITHDRAW FROM ALL THOSE PLACES? GOD. First, you should write the dean of BOSTON UNIVERSITY ad inquire about your rank on the waitlist. (I AM ASSUMING that you are on the waitlist there as you seemed to be talking about that school with a fair bit of enthusiasm). There is a letter that you can write to them and if you say things about how you like the school then you might be able to convince them to accept you if you are sounding yearnful enough and dedicated to attending medicl school even at BOSTON UNIVERSITY.
Are you reading the same thread as the rest of us?
 

Virtucon

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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
Wow. How did you get into all of these schools?
 

nu2004

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You have no idea what you're talking about. Seriously, an ER tech? MA's don't fold sheets. We assist in procedures, take history, work with pathology samples, get direct exposure to a doctor's lifestyle and interaction with patients, and more. No offense, but I've been in the ER a year now and most techs look like bumps on a log.

I personally believe (based on my experience) that working for an enthusiastic doctor as a MA is the ideal clinical experience. You smell patients, you touch them, you talk to them, you see how insurance billing works, you are the integral go-between for physician and patient. Nothing is more hands-on.
Give me a break. You're acting like "medical assistant" is a vaunted position the world 'round.

Titles are irrelevant. I've known PLENTY of people who have worked as "medical assistants" that end up filing charts and taking blood pressures. Just as I've known ER techs who show up to work, push around patients for 8 hours, and go home.

My experience as an ER tech was incredible - the doctors knew I was applying to med school and let me observe everything. Within a month of starting I was trained to draw blood, and quickly became the best stick in the whole place. I worked dozens if not hundreds of traumas, assisted with central lines, LPs, chest tubes, intubations, sutures, staples, etc. and observed/took part in the management of just about every medical condition imaginable. I even fished tiny bags of crack rocks out of puddles of stool (induced by us via NG tube, of course) from a patient that was brought in by the cops. How many times does an MA get to do that?

I was wrong to discount the OP's clinical exposure. The original description of the MA position sounded insubstantial, but that was rectified in a subsequent post. However, based on my personal experience, being an ER tech (particularly if you are assertive and have a receptive team of physicians) is the absolute best clinical exposure for a pre-med.
 

Dawktah Rawkah

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one thing that hasn't really been touched on ... I'm wondering if your involvement with integrative medicine worked against you. i say this because i know of other applicants who put in considerable time/energy towards CAM/Integrative Medicine stuff (CAM student orgs, EC's/LOR's from CAM/Integrative clinics) and found that some med schools were turned off by this (antagonizing questions during interviews etc and post-interview rejections) I don't know how much you mentioned this in your essays, but I would think carefully about this if you re-apply. So that you know, many of the folks on adcoms are conservative "Integrative Medicine = BS Quakery" type folks. This is especially true for non-west coast schools. As a result of student input, some of UC's are adding CAM electives, however, the old guard docs who run adcom's aren't always so keen on the trend towards Integrative medicine. I'm not saying that you shouldn't mention it, just be thoughtful in how you approach it. same goes for involvement in politics and religion. the person on the other end might not be down for your cause. They want to see dedication and enthusiasm for what you believe ... except, of course, when it challenges their own beliefs. get advice on how to address this from not-down-with-CAM MD's. and, as a side note, if you are truly interested in integrative med, DO curriculum may be better suited for you.

a year as a post-bacc at SF State/Mills, taking upper division science courses (and getting A's), could really help your chances - especially if you raise your MCAT by a few points. you'd be surprised what a huge difference a few mcat/gpa point can make if you are borderline for getting an interview. that said, i don't think your stats are horrible and i'm sure there were folks w/ similar stats that got into a few places. your list of schools seems balanced enough to me. the UC's admit a wide variety of folks - many of which don't have 4.0/40T's ...

often overlooked is the importance of secondary essays ... these are a big piece in getting you the interview. don't think they don't matter. they should be reviewed and checked out by another person just like your PS. one advantage you'll have if you reapply is that you have lots of ammo to begin re-working for secondaries (many schools keep the same prompts). Get these turned around FAST next time. this gets you an earlier shot at interview AND shows you are interested in the school.

one question i had: when did you submit your primary app? you said you completed secondaries in fall, but was that b/c you lagged in getting them back or b/c your primary was submitted later?

in any case, hope this helps. best of luck!
 

DrLuigi

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one advantage you'll have if you reapply is that you have lots of ammo to begin re-working for secondaries (many schools keep the same prompts).
Would the schools notice though if you wrote the same/very similar essays (both PS and secondaries)? Wouldn't they then deny you an interview?
 

Little Etoile

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one thing that hasn't really been touched on ... I'm wondering if your involvement with integrative medicine worked against you.
Yeah, another student mentioned this as well, and I always worried if it would be the thorn in my side. I went back and forth about it. On one hand, I get it: integrative medicine is still seen as hippie crystal crap by a lot of people. I don't believe this to be entirely true and since it's what I'm passionate about, I felt it would be dishonest to not represent this on my application, both in terms of my personal ethics of standing up for what I believe in and also to give an accurate picture of who I am and what my interests are to the adcom. In regards to that latter, I felt like I really wanted to find a school that supported my interests in integrative medicine and... well, I wanted to put my cards out on the table so I knew that if a school still invited me to interview, it must mean they were open-minded about integrative medicine.

I definitely see your point though. While the school *overall* or in specific departments might support integrative medicine, the individuals on the adcom may not, so best to play it safe and not show that card until I'm already accepted. I think I will rewrite my PS and tone down the integrative medicine aspect.

and, as a side note, if you are truly interested in integrative med, DO curriculum may be better suited for you.
Yeah, I thought this too and actually applied to DO schools. However, in speaking with DO students and posting inquiries on the SDN forum, I was told again and again that this is a myth. The only *real* difference is the OMM.

a year as a post-bacc at SF State/Mills, taking upper division science courses (and getting A's), could really help your chances - especially if you raise your MCAT by a few points.
I did some calculations and if I take a science course and earn an A, I will raise my science GPA to 3.4. Unfortunately it would take ~30 units of A's to get to 3.5 and I just don't have the time/resources for that. I think if I can raise it to 3.4 and raise my MCAT, I will be in a much better position.

often overlooked is the importance of secondary essays ... these are a big piece in getting you the interview. don't think they don't matter. they should be reviewed and checked out by another person just like your PS. one advantage you'll have if you reapply is that you have lots of ammo to begin re-working for secondaries (many schools keep the same prompts). Get these turned around FAST next time. this gets you an earlier shot at interview AND shows you are interested in the school.
Yeah, the writing of my secondaries is actually what took me so long. I borrowed one of my best friends who was an English major and together we combed over the essays again and again (and again). Between the two of us, I think we refined them really well. I mean, there's a reason I have a 4.0 in non-science classes. ;)

As the other person asked, are you suggesting submitting the same secondaries? Or just using them as a foundation and reworking them? Problem is that with how long I spent on them and with such dedication, not much has changed since then (as I turned them in only a few months ago) and I honestly can't imagine making them any better. :cool:

one question i had: when did you submit your primary app? you said you completed secondaries in fall, but was that b/c you lagged in getting them back or b/c your primary was submitted later?
I submitted my primary the first week of July. I lagged on the secondaries (see above). Also, applying to that many schools and receiving secondaries from all but two was really overwhelming.

in any case, hope this helps. best of luck!
It definitely did. Thank you so much! :)
 

brianmartin

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Preaching integrative medicine tends to come off as naive and conceited unless you pull it off really well. How did you present it in your PS?
 

decafplease

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Give me a break. You're acting like "medical assistant" is a vaunted position the world 'round.

Titles are irrelevant. I've known PLENTY of people who have worked as "medical assistants" that end up filing charts and taking blood pressures. Just as I've known ER techs who show up to work, push around patients for 8 hours, and go home.

My experience as an ER tech was incredible - the doctors knew I was applying to med school and let me observe everything. Within a month of starting I was trained to draw blood, and quickly became the best stick in the whole place. I worked dozens if not hundreds of traumas, assisted with central lines, LPs, chest tubes, intubations, sutures, staples, etc. and observed/took part in the management of just about every medical condition imaginable. I even fished tiny bags of crack rocks out of puddles of stool (induced by us via NG tube, of course) from a patient that was brought in by the cops. How many times does an MA get to do that?

I was wrong to discount the OP's clinical exposure. The original description of the MA position sounded insubstantial, but that was rectified in a subsequent post. However, based on my personal experience, being an ER tech (particularly if you are assertive and have a receptive team of physicians) is the absolute best clinical exposure for a pre-med.
Look, I don't need to list the hundreds of procedures and surgeries I've assisted in. As for the record, I don't think med schools care about how many puddles of feces you (or I) have waded through. The PURPOSE of clinical experience is to get exposure to the medical field and the physician-patient relationship. I was simply saying that your interpretation of a medical assistant as a receptionist was pretty far off base. Your "tone" is condescending.
 
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beanbean

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Don't be so quick to jump all over the posters who questioned your clinical experience as a "medical assistant". The term is used broadly and although your position seems to have provided you with decent patient exposure, don't assume people reviewing your application will assume this. For myself, my initial thoughts are that you brought patients into rooms, took their vitals and maybe dipped a urine. If your postition holds more responsibility and more in-depth patient contact make sure this is clear on your application. However, there is a risk of building an experience as more significant than it really is, so make sure you don't pump things up too much

I think you should emphasize you experiences in India and perhaps use that a focus in your personal statement. Don't focus on how many procedures you did or how you were "implored" to give vacinations. Instead, focus on how this experience affected you and helped shape your desire to pursue a career in medicine. What the experience did to you is just as important as what you did in the experience.

The number's game in medicine is a pain in the a$$, but it is reality. Even taking a few classes and getting 'A's may not improve your overall science GPA much, but it shows a commitment to academics and improvement.

To me, just working as a medical assistant after obtaining a 4 yr degree would be a little bit of a red flag. As I mentioned, some people view this as more of a receptionist type position and may wonder why you are not working full-time is a job more related to your field of study. Just playing devil's advocate here, I know it is tough to find a decent job while applying to med school.

So, take a few science classes, do some direct shadowing with a physician, apply early and if you are retaking the MCAT make damn sure you are prepared and your practiced tests are above your previous score. A 29 ain't bad and to go down would be not look good.
 

Little Etoile

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Don't be so quick to jump all over the posters who questioned your clinical experience as a "medical assistant". The term is used broadly and although your position seems to have provided you with decent patient exposure, don't assume people reviewing your application will assume this.
'Ey! I never jumped on anyone. Reread through the user comments. That wasn't me.

And to clarify, I outlined my position in detail in my app so I don't think assumption that medical assistant=receptionist is an issue.

I think you should emphasize you experiences in India and perhaps use that a focus in your personal statement. Don't focus on how many procedures you did or how you were "implored" to give vacinations. Instead, focus on how this experience affected you and helped shape your desire to pursue a career in medicine. What the experience did to you is just as important as what you did in the experience.
Yeah, I did focus on it. And the only reason I used the word "implore" in my post was because, without having to go into too much detail, I was getting at the fact that they asked me, but I declined because I felt like I didn't have the proper training to do it.


To me, just working as a medical assistant after obtaining a 4 yr degree would be a little bit of a red flag. As I mentioned, some people view this as more of a receptionist type position and may wonder why you are not working full-time is a job more related to your field of study. Just playing devil's advocate here, I know it is tough to find a decent job while applying to med school.
"Just" working as a medical assistant? I think this is where people are getting into trouble and why decafplease had an issue with previous user's responses to my job title. Your language suggests that my position is not respectable and holds little value. I want to emphasize that this isn't about my ego- I couldn't care less- but it *is* about getting your facts straight and giving proper credit to individuals in this field. Many medical assistants have an intimate level of patient contact, myself included, and have a higher degree of medical training than many applicants on here. You may be playing devil's advocate, but you're also border-lining on disrespectful and inaccurate.

Similarly: "...may wonder why you are not working full-time is a job more related to your field of study." More related to my field of study? I'm not sure that I could get a job more related to my field! I would think that people who spend their gap year working in a lab, as many people often do, would be considered further from the field than I am and I don't see anyone on here criticizing that choice.

I also don't understand your suggestion that working as a medical assistant after graduating would be a red flag. What in the world could I be doing in my gap year that would be more relevant? Take classes in addition? I'm going to take a class next year to raise my GPA a bit, but I wanted to decompress after Berkeley and after going non-stop for so long. I really don't think that's a red flag and from what I've heard and read, many schools actually appreciate when students take a break from academia as I have.

In regards to the medical assistant thing, again, I honestly don't care on a person level, I'm just trying to emphasize that while some people may regard medical assistant as a receptionist, I would venture to say that that isn't the standard and to continue to suggest that or generalize it in that way does a disservice to those in the field and/or those perhaps interesting in going into it. For the record, I highly recommend it. I've learned an amazing amount about doctor-patient etiquette, pathology, insurance companies and the role they play in medicine, and have grown much more comfortable with patients and handling delicate medical situations.

So, take a few science classes, do some direct shadowing with a physician, apply early and if you are retaking the MCAT make damn sure you are prepared and your practiced tests are above your previous score. A 29 ain't bad and to go down would be not look good.
Er... I still don't get this. "Do some direct shadowing with a physician"? I do that every day and more when I step into work. Why would I need to shadow a physician?

So sorry, this isn't to discount the good advice you had thrown in there. I do really appreciate the feedback and you had some nuggets, for sure. I just wanted to clarify some things for the record. :)
 

Little Etoile

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Preaching integrative medicine tends to come off as naive and conceited unless you pull it off really well. How did you present it in your PS?
I'll e-mail it to you if ya like. :)

But basically I first presented my upbringing and the way it was woven into my childhood and adolescence. Then I briefly talked about how it inspired me to go abroad to study it a little more. In my conclusion I wrap with a brief note of how I hope to further research in the field to develop a more integrative form of health care.

If it helps, the only specific types of integrative medicine I touched on were psychoneuroimmonoendocrinology and when a Shinto priest that lived with us used eastern and allopathic medical practices together when we was ill with cancer.

I should note that I did talk about other things in between the parts I mentioned above. I was just addressing your question. :)
 

nu2004

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Your "tone" is condescending.
So's yours. And beanbean's assertions (this is coming from a resident, someone a little closer to the average experience/life position of an admissions committee member) vindicate my claim that the title "medical assistant" is ambiguous. I'll let you get back to your life-saving procedures now.
 

decafplease

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So's yours. And beanbean's assertions (this is coming from a resident, someone a little closer to the average experience/life position of an admissions committee member) vindicate my claim that the title "medical assistant" is ambiguous. I'll let you get back to your life-saving procedures now.
Your condescending tone was unprovoked. OP said, "Working as a medical assistant" and you take that as "receptionist" and suggest he become a ER tech instead?

And for the record, beanbean is a PGY-1 in EM. (S)he's probably not well-versed in the day to day interactions between private practice MAs and physicians. I'm pretty sure an adcom member has more experience (and can attest to MAs NOT being receptionists) than a PGY1. And if they don't, they know better than to write someone off without doing a bit of research about the position.
 

nu2004

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Your condescending tone was unprovoked. OP said, "Working as a medical assistant" and you take that as "receptionist"?
It's not an uncommon perception. The fact that you see medical assistant and think "right hand of God" and I see medical assistant and think "receptionist" PROVES that the term is viewed differently by different people.

And my tone was unprovoked? You said "you have no idea what you're talking about wah wah wah." Try not to be a smug ashole and I'll try not to condescend.
 

nu2004

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And for the record, beanbean is a PGY-1 in EM. (S)he's probably not well-versed in the day to day interactions between private practice MAs and physicians. I'm pretty sure an adcom member has more experience (and can attest to MAs NOT being receptionists) than a PGY1. And if they don't, they know better than to write someone off without doing a bit of research about the position.
beanbean's assertion was like mine -- there is ambiguity to the term. he didn't discount the position at all, but rather cautioned the OP to use it sparingly/support it with lots of evidence.

are you even reading any of this?
 

decafplease

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Don't be so quick to jump all over the posters who questioned your clinical experience as a "medical assistant". The term is used broadly and although your position seems to have provided you with decent patient exposure, don't assume people reviewing your application will assume this. For myself, my initial thoughts are that you brought patients into rooms, took their vitals and maybe dipped a urine. If your postition holds more responsibility and more in-depth patient contact make sure this is clear on your application. However, there is a risk of building an experience as more significant than it really is, so make sure you don't pump things up too much

If if that were true (which, in my case, it's not), isn't that a heck of a lot better than most applicants that have 150 hours in the ED running lab specimens?

I'm assuming that you, at some point, did a rotation in a private practice setting? Did you notice the people running the show, taking vitals, assisting in procedures, and showing you around? Those were most likely medical assistants. The receptionist sit in the front and read magazines while the MAs sweat it out in the trenches with the doc's.
 

decafplease

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beanbean's assertion was like mine -- there is ambiguity to the term. he didn't discount the position at all, but rather cautioned the OP to use it sparingly/support it with lots of evidence.

are you even reading any of this?


I wasn't talking about beanbean's response. I was talking about you using beanbean's resident status to support your own claim.
 

decafplease

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It's not an uncommon perception. The fact that you see medical assistant and think "right hand of God" and I see medical assistant and think "receptionist" PROVES that the term is viewed differently by different people.

And my tone was unprovoked? You said "you have no idea what you're talking about wah wah wah." Try not to be a smug ashole and I'll try not to condescend.
In that case, "ER Tech" is ambiguous as well. Use it with caution.

I never called you a profanity, I think you're being inappropriate. Perhaps my less-than-courteous assertion that you didn't know what you were talking about was rude (though accurate, because you are not familiar with medical assistants), but I certainly didn't call you names.
 
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nu2004

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I never called you a profanity, I think you're being inappropriate.
Uh, okay, I think you're being a smug ashole.

The receptionist sit in the front and read magazines while the MAs sweat it out in the trenches with the doc's.
LOL, okay dude, we get it. YOU'RE AWESOME MAN! Sweat it OUT brother!

You got a real stomach fer internet arguin, I'll give you that.
 

decafplease

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Uh, okay, I think you're being a smug ashole.



LOL, okay dude, we get it. YOU'RE AWESOME MAN! Sweat it OUT brother!

You got a real stomach fer internet arguin, I'll give you that.
And you're being pretty smug, yourself.

I'm female, BTW.
 

nighttrain

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And you're being pretty smug, yourself.

I'm female, BTW.
Look, i think there's a misunderstanding here--equating a med assistant to a receptionist stems not from the fact that they do the same work, which they clearly do not, but that both are associate's degree level jobs. Like those adds you see on daytime tv for medical assistants. They require the same amount of education and intellect.

Medical schools don't care if you've shadowed for like a million hours, but they do want to see that you succeed and excel in independent and challenging academic (or otherwise) work. Honestly, you can train a monkey to do most routine and procedural things that you are doing at your job... it is not impressive or interesting (and not as relevant to actual physician-level clinical medicine as you might think) as you are a graduate of one of the finest universities in the country (though my alma mater's arch rival). If i were on an adcom or interviewing you I would wonder why such a highly educated person is doing this full time...

My advice would be to take that experience (along with your trip ti india, which sounds great) and let it show that you understand what it's like to work in a medical setting, and are as close to understanding what it's like to practice medicine as a premed can get, then go do something that is interesting and on your level of intellect and education. When I applied to med school 4-5 yrs ago, i had 2 days shadowing, some extracurricular work at a free clinic during college, and was working full time after graduation on very interesting policy research in washington DC. The research was what came up in every interview (even every residency interview this season, too!). I think premeds often make the mistake of going all out on the "clinical experience" part of the app at the expense of showing what it ACTUALLY takes to succeed in medicine. Hopefully this is helpful, good luck!
 

beanbean

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Thank you to to the pre-med student giving advice to the OP who discounted my experience because I am a PGY1 resident physician and therefore do not have the adequate experience to give advice to the OP.

I have no disrespect for MAs, PCAs, CNAs, etc. They perform an integral role in the care of patients; however, they do not "run the show" as quoted above. These jobs do vary widely in scope and level of patient care, and individuals will have different perceptions of the job.

In regards to shadowing, I know it seems silly to you, but additional formal shadowing can only help your application. I had almost 20 years of professional and volunteer healthcare experience and was still advised to shadow prior to applying. So I did.

OP you are free to take any and all advice you wish from any of us and throw away the rest. However, quoting posters and defensively pointing out why they are wrong really doesn't encourage others to give you advice and derails the thread.

Again, good luck luck next year.
 

littlealex

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Just want to throw in my 2 cents to the battle that rage above me. Medical assistant is ambiguous, and most people probably think they're the blood pressure girls that fill out some paperwork before the doctor comes in. I think a lot of it depends on where you work, and if you work as an MA in a primary care clinic, you're probably just doing busy work.

ER tech on the other hand is rarely mistaken for something else. You're in the ER, probably changing sheets for the 5150 that just urinated all over himself.
 

Dawktah Rawkah

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I think I will rewrite my PS and tone down the integrative medicine aspect.
this sounds like a good idea. definitely talk about your life, where you came from, and how that's been an influence on your path toward medicine. but also spend time discussing your traditional clinical/research experiences (and how that's prepared you to be a kick-*** med student and future-doc)

I did some calculations and if I take a science course and earn an A, I will raise my science GPA to 3.4. Unfortunately it would take ~30 units of A's to get to 3.5 and I just don't have the time/resources for that. I think if I can raise it to 3.4 and raise my MCAT, I will be in a much better position.
yeah, i hear ya ... changing four years' worth of gpa is tough. you can bust your hump for a year and see only a 0.1 improvement. however, taking even a few classes (and getting A's) shows an upward trend and that you are serious about your re-application. bringing your MCAT up a few points is huge. the hard cut-off for most schools is 30. A 29 won't do unless you have special circumstances. as folks mentioned, don't re-take until you are consistently scoring above a 30. for all we know, lots of school may have loved your app but shut you down purely b/c of numbers.


Yeah, the writing of my secondaries is actually what took me so long. I borrowed one of my best friends who was an English major and together we combed over the essays again and again (and again). Between the two of us, I think we refined them really well. I mean, there's a reason I have a 4.0 in non-science classes. ;)

As the other person asked, are you suggesting submitting the same secondaries? Or just using them as a foundation and reworking them? Problem is that with how long I spent on them and with such dedication, not much has changed since then (as I turned them in only a few months ago) and I honestly can't imagine making them any better. :cool:

sounds like you put in a ton of effort on secondaries and that they were well-written. as far as re-hashing vs. re-using them ... hmm ... might be a little of both, depending on how many of those 29 schools you reapply to. it's not that uncommon for folks to re-use secondaries. in fact, on some secondaries i recall seeing a "check this box if you are a re-applicant" and "check this box if you're re-using your essay". my disclaimer - i'm just a fellow applicant going off of what i've seen heard from other applicants and re-applicants. but, i recall reapplicants saying that they did directly re-use some of their essays. some reused their whole PS without changing a thing.

if you haven't already, i'd show your PS and secondary essays from this cycle to a wide variety of folks - preferably MD's, med students, Pre-Med advisers and other people who might sit on admissions committees ... get an outside perspective from somebody that knows about med school admissions and is NOT a peer/friend. content, angle and tone are probably more important than grammar and eloquence. make sure there aren't any red flags in your essays.

I might even call a few schools ... state that you are re-applying and see if they can give you any feedback on your app (although most probably won't) and ask what the deal is with re-using secondaries. For small stuff it might be fine to re-use verbatim, for big stuff (like UCSD's biographical sketch) you may want to highlight different things ... all of the UC's admissions departments are pretty helpful (so long as you're not calling for status updates, which makes them cranky) ... give them a shout. it can't hurt.

I submitted my primary the first week of July. I lagged on the secondaries (see above). Also, applying to that many schools and receiving secondaries from all but two was really overwhelming.
i hear ya ... i applied to almost as many schools ... writing secondaries was a full-time job over summer. damn near broke me. if you do reapply, at least you'll know what you're dealing with. get things in much earlier.

It definitely did. Thank you so much! :)
Glad to help. and again, Best of Luck!!!
 

littlealex

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What I did w/ my secondaries is that I wrote 2 large frameworks, one focused on research and my approach to learning, another focused on my upbringing and how it shaped me. I adapted these two essays to fit all of my secondaries.
 

cpants

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again. Unless you were sick on the day of or something, you shouldn't take it again. If you perform worse on a retake you are dead in the water.

A 29 is enough to get in to mid/low level schools. Your low stat isn't the MCAT, it is the 3.3 GPA. This year, take a bunch of science classes and get A's. Consider a biomedical sciences masters program, especially if it is affiliated with a medical school. Get that GPA up! Don't apply to Harvard next time.
 

Little Etoile

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again. Unless you were sick on the day of or something, you shouldn't take it again. If you perform worse on a retake you are dead in the water.

A 29 is enough to get in to mid/low level schools. Your low stat isn't the MCAT, it is the 3.3 GPA. This year, take a bunch of science classes and get A's. Consider a biomedical sciences masters program, especially if it is affiliated with a medical school. Get that GPA up! Don't apply to Harvard next time.
Really? I dunno... a lot of schools have a 30 cut-off, from what I hear. Also, I *know* I could have done better on the MCAT. I didn't give myself enough time to study for it last time and had way too much going on.

You definitely have a good point though, which is why I didn't retake it before. Based on data collected by AAMC, I have a higher chance of dropping points than gaining. However, right now I see this as the quickest, most effective way to raise my stats. Raising my GPA enough would take too long and would require me going back to school full-time. I'm not ruling it out if I need to do that, but I'm going to shoot for the MCAT first.

Thanks for the help!
 

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Really? I dunno... a lot of schools have a 30 cut-off, from what I hear. Also, I *know* I could have done better on the MCAT. I didn't give myself enough time to study for it last time and had way too much going on.

You definitely have a good point though, which is why I didn't retake it before. Based on data collected by AAMC, I have a higher chance of dropping points than gaining. However, right now I see this as the quickest, most effective way to raise my stats. Raising my GPA enough would take too long and would require me going back to school full-time. I'm not ruling it out if I need to do that, but I'm going to shoot for the MCAT first.

Thanks for the help!
You still need to raise the GPA, and unless you can "rock" the MCAT with a mid 30s score, you will still be in the same boat (raising the MCAT a couple of points is not going to make up for your low science GPA - your cum looks OK).

It really sounds like you think that if you can only get your MCAT to 30, you will be golden and will not need to work on the GPA, and that is pretty far from the truth. You are lucky, though, that you are trying to raise the science GPA, and a couple of semesters of As will do the trick...not like you are trying to rehabilitate a low cumulative GPA that so many people need to do - and find out that they really can't do much for a low GPA weighted down by 4 years of grades...
 

gplex86

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Thank you to to the pre-med student giving advice to the OP who discounted my experience because I am a PGY1 resident physician and therefore do not have the adequate experience to give advice to the OP.

I have no disrespect for MAs, PCAs, CNAs, etc. They perform an integral role in the care of patients; however, they do not "run the show" as quoted above. These jobs do vary widely in scope and level of patient care, and individuals will have different perceptions of the job.

In regards to shadowing, I know it seems silly to you, but additional formal shadowing can only help your application. I had almost 20 years of professional and volunteer healthcare experience and was still advised to shadow prior to applying. So I did.

OP you are free to take any and all advice you wish from any of us and throw away the rest. However, quoting posters and defensively pointing out why they are wrong really doesn't encourage others to give you advice and derails the thread.

Again, good luck luck next year.
Right - working in a hospital and shadowing a physician are actually quite different. Working in the hospital or doing EMT work is great for learning about patient care, but says nothing about why you specifically need to be a doctor. If you want to "help people" and like the sciences then you can do all that with a master's or PhD. You really need to shadow a physician and get a letter of recommendation/evaluation to show why you want to be a medical doctor and prove that you know what the career involves.
 

gplex86

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In my opinion (for what that's worth) he should do some practice tests and if they're good, retake the MCAT. A few hours of his time could remove a large red flag. Just get an even 10 in each section and all but the top schools will be satisfied.

As for the GPA, is a 3.3 really that bad? If he takes a few more science classes and does well, then it will show a good trend. Can you really call him "dead in the water" if he can get a few good science classes to show a trend and a 30 MCAT? I think he'll be in decent shape, especially for DO schools.

EDIT: Actually, I forgot that 3.3 is the science GPA and the cum GPA is 3.6. And you're from a good school. That's better than what I had (3.3 science, 3.5 cum) and I got 6 out-of-state interviews with my AMCAS submitted in DECEMBER. You need to take a second look at your letters of rec, your personal statement, and how those activities were portrayed on the AMCAS. That means start taking people's suspicions seriously! Something must be wrong. That bio section is weak, too. It's what premed students historically do the best on - get it up to a 10.
 

Little Etoile

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OP you are free to take any and all advice you wish from any of us and throw away the rest. However, quoting posters and defensively pointing out why they are wrong really doesn't encourage others to give you advice and derails the thread.
I don't know if you're confusing me with decafplease, but I don't think what I was doing was "defensively pointing out why they are wrong." I was trying to clarify what I actually do as a medical assistant, since people informed me that it's considered an ambiguous term, and give the other side of the story so that people on here who might be interesting in pursuing the position wouldn't be discouraged by those saying it's just receptionist work.

Furthermore, I repeatedly thanked everyone for their input, including you and others who were discussing the downsides of being a medical assistant, so I don't see how my comments would discourage people from giving advice. I was merely interested in having a discussion, trying to gain more insight on other's perspective and to provide my own. You made it sound like all I've done on here was respond to those MA-specific posts with knee-jerk reactionary comments. Again, maybe you have me confused with the other posters on here? I honestly was just probing the subject deeper. Sometimes over the internet this can be mistaken for being argumentative or defensive and I apologize if it came across as that. Just trying to get to the bottom of this! :)
 

Little Etoile

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You still need to raise the GPA, and unless you can "rock" the MCAT with a mid 30s score, you will still be in the same boat (raising the MCAT a couple of points is not going to make up for your low science GPA - your cum looks OK).

It really sounds like you think that if you can only get your MCAT to 30, you will be golden and will not need to work on the GPA, and that is pretty far from the truth. You are lucky, though, that you are trying to raise the science GPA, and a couple of semesters of As will do the trick...not like you are trying to rehabilitate a low cumulative GPA that so many people need to do - and find out that they really can't do much for a low GPA weighted down by 4 years of grades...
Yeah, I'm definitely shooting for mid 30s. I know just a 30 won't do it for me. Like I said above, I think if I put in the proper effort this time- which includes me taking off a month from work and retreating to the mountains to study- I can rock it.

In terms of the science GPA, I calculated it out and to get it to a 3.5 (well... a 3.45 techinically :D) I would need to take 19 BCPM units of straight A's. (Note that to get it to a 3.35 I only need three units, which I will be taking this semester). Again, not that 19 units of straight A's is out of the question, but raising my MCAT and getting my GPA to 3.35 seems like a more efficient dedication of energy and resources right now.

Thanks for the input. This has all been very helpful!
 

Little Etoile

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In my opinion (for what that's worth) he should...
I'm female, just to clarify. ;)

EDIT: Actually, I forgot that 3.3 is the science GPA and the cum GPA is 3.6. And you're from a good school. That's better than what I had (3.3 science, 3.5 cum) and I got 6 out-of-state interviews with my AMCAS submitted in DECEMBER. You need to take a second look at your letters of rec, your personal statement, and how those activities were portrayed on the AMCAS. That means start taking people's suspicions seriously! Something must be wrong.
Yeah, see... this is all starting to make me think that something is seriously wrong with my app beyond the stats. I can't figure quite figure it out though! I'm going to rewrite my PS and downplay the integrative medicine aspect, to start.

In terms of your and others' recommendation to take a second look at my letters of rec, how do I do this? I'm confused, since I signed away my rights to look at them. I have one from each of the physicians I work for, two from neuro professors whom I had close relationships with and did well in their class, and one from a public health professor whom I likewise, was close with and did well in her class. Any tips?
 

cpants

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Really? I dunno... a lot of schools have a 30 cut-off, from what I hear. Also, I *know* I could have done better on the MCAT. I didn't give myself enough time to study for it last time and had way too much going on.

You definitely have a good point though, which is why I didn't retake it before. Based on data collected by AAMC, I have a higher chance of dropping points than gaining. However, right now I see this as the quickest, most effective way to raise my stats. Raising my GPA enough would take too long and would require me going back to school full-time. I'm not ruling it out if I need to do that, but I'm going to shoot for the MCAT first.

Thanks for the help!
Few, if any, med schools have a 30 cutoff. This might interest you:
http://www.aamc.org/data/facts/2007/mcatgpastatemat07.htm
(Mean stats for 2007 matriculants)

Notice the mean MCAT scores for U.S. and CA. Plenty of students get in with an MCAT of 29. You are fine on the MCAT, and your score is likely to stay the same or go down if you take it again.

Now look at the GPA columns again means and SD's. You are bordering a whole standard deviation below mean on your science GPA. This is your weakness, and believe it or not, your science GPA, not your MCAT, will be the easiest thing for you to improve upon. Take the classes. Get A's.
 

Little Etoile

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Right - working in a hospital and shadowing a physician are actually quite different. Working in the hospital or doing EMT work is great for learning about patient care, but says nothing about why you specifically need to be a doctor. If you want to "help people" and like the sciences then you can do all that with a master's or PhD. You really need to shadow a physician and get a letter of recommendation/evaluation to show why you want to be a medical doctor and prove that you know what the career involves.
Man... okay... forgive my stupidity here, but now I'm all confused. Does working full-time as a medical assistant for a year in a private practice under two specialty physicians not count as shadowing? Nor does working with various physicians full-time for a month in India? The suggestion for me to shadow physicians keeps getting brought up and I don't understand why. It seems like my experience as a medical assistant alone is a step above and beyond shadowing since I hold more responsibility and have greater patient contact.

So to clarify, I've both volunteered in a hospital (ER), volunteered under various physicians in India during which I was examining and working directly with patients- including an OB/GYN, free clinic, government hospital and ER- and currently work in a private practice, where I received a letter of rec from both the physicians I work for.

Er... so what am I missing here? I'm not challenging the suggestion of shadowing a physician, I just don't quite understand how my previous experiences don't fulfill that already.
 
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