HomerJayBYU

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Hey guys, I'm in the middle of the application cycle right now and just want some advice on where to go from here. I've interviewed at UC Davis and Utah already, but haven't been invited to interview elsewhere.

I decided to pursue medicine in January 2010 (late decision explained in my Personal Statement). I knew it might be a long-shot this cycle, but decided to try anyway. I took the July MCAT, meaning my secondaries were submitted in Sept/Oct. Here's a picture of me:

32M on the MCAT (11PS 11BS 10VR). BCPM GPA 3.33 and overall GPA 3.56 (those will increase to 3.38 and 3.58 at the end of fall semester). I'm taking 10.5 credits of BCPM next semester (my last before graduation) and if I get all A's I can pull a s3.45 & c3.62. I was a Chemical Engineering major until January, when I switched to Exercise Science (my BCPM without upper level math & chem is 3.58).

EC's:
-20 hours physician shadowing (a few more since submitting)
-volunteer in ER since March 2010
-phlebotomy course & internship in Feb-June 2010 (still looking for a job)
-chairman of major university fundraiser
-Chem tutor for a couple years
-various other volunteer organizations
-currently the director of 1000+ volunteer tutors
-battery research for 2+ years (5+ hours/week). Co-author on one peer-reviewed, published article. One article on the way (I'm primary author on this next one)
-2 year proselytizing mission in Chile
-avid triathlete
-4 year, full-tuition academic scholarship recipient

I'm a CA resident. I decided not to apply to 'safety' schools this round, and I chose schools based on location primarily (where I have family, and where my best friend is applying). I regret not having a few 'safety' schools. Here's where I have applied:
UC Irvine (rejected pre-secondary)
UC Davis (interviewed in Oct)
UC San Diego
UCLA
Loma Linda
University of Southern CA
George Washington (rejected post-secondary)
Georgetown (rejected post-secondary)
UT Southwestern
UT Houston
UT San Antonio
UT A&M
Oregon Health & Sciences
University of Utah (interviewed in Nov)
Loyola
U of Illinois at Chicago
U of Minnesota
The Ohio State University

Is there anything I can do for this admissions cycle? Should I start preparing for the next round, and if so, what should I focus on? What kinds of things should I strive for in my off year? I think I can score higher on the MCAT - I took it immediately after finishing molecular bio without having physiology, genetics, or biochem (I'm currently in these courses).

Any advice would be great!
 

Catalystik

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1) Is there anything I can do for this admissions cycle?
2) Should I start preparing for the next round, and if so, what should I focus on?
1) Yes. Send in an update letter (to those schools that permit them) with your grades for pertinent fall courses (if they reflect positively on you; no need to include negative information), additional hours volunteered in a clinical setting since submission, the additional shadowing hours, and any interesting augmentations of old ECs. Close the letter with why the school is perfect for you and what you have to offer them. Say you look forward to an interview or acceptance offer, depending on your status. It should be less than a page in length. Include your AMCAS ID#.

2) Yes. Keep gaining weekly clinical volunteer hours until you resubmit. Add another 30-50 physician shadowing hours. Get straight As as planned next term. Consider an MCAT retake only if practice tests repeatedly suggest you can score 3+ points more.
 
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HomerJayBYU

HomerJayBYU

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1) Yes. Send in an update letter (to those schools that permit them) with your grades for pertinent fall courses (if they reflect positively on you; no need to include negative information), additional hours volunteered in a clinical setting since submission, the additional shadowing hours, and any interesting augmentations of old ECs. Close the letter with why the school is perfect for you and what you have to offer them. Say you look forward to an interview or acceptance offer, depending on your status. It should be less than a page in length. Include your AMCAS ID#.

2) Yes. Keep gaining weekly clinical volunteer hours until you resubmit. Add another 30-50 physician shadowing hours. Get straight As as planned next term. Consider an MCAT retake only if practice tests repeatedly suggest you can score 3+ points more.
Thanks a ton! I've had a ton of anxiety about applications lately and I think it's because I haven't actively been doing anything about it. In addition to helping my application, I think following your advice will calm my nerves a bit!
 
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HomerJayBYU

HomerJayBYU

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Let us know how it goes.
I'm officially re-applying this summer :-/

Some updates to my original post: my sGPA is now 3.37 (3.30 when I applied) and will be between 3.42-3.46 after graduation next month (I'm doing all I can to get a 4.0 this semester). My cGPA is 3.59 (3.52 when I applied) and will be 3.60-3.63 after this semester.

I've continued to volunteer at a hospital. I had 24 hours of shadowing when I applied last summer, and I will have 30-35 more hours by June 1 this year (55ish total).

Questions:
-Do I realistically have a shot at MD schools?
-What else can I do between now and June 1 to improve my application?
-I decided to pursue medicine in Dec. 2009. Should I mention my GPA since Dec. 2009 in my personal statement (sGPA 3.75, cGPA 3.82)?

Any other advice would be great!
 

zann0324

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I'm officially re-applying this summer :-/

Some updates to my original post: my sGPA is now 3.37 (3.30 when I applied) and will be between 3.42-3.46 after graduation next month (I'm doing all I can to get a 4.0 this semester). My cGPA is 3.59 (3.52 when I applied) and will be 3.60-3.63 after this semester.

I've continued to volunteer at a hospital. I had 24 hours of shadowing when I applied last summer, and I will have 30-35 more hours by June 1 this year (55ish total).

Questions:
-Do I realistically have a shot at MD schools?
-What else can I do between now and June 1 to improve my application?
-I decided to pursue medicine in Dec. 2009. Should I mention my GPA since Dec. 2009 in my personal statement (sGPA 3.75, cGPA 3.82)?

Any other advice would be great!
I'd say you have the stats for MD schools...I would take another look at your personal statement, EC's, and maybe secondary essays..and I would not add GPA unless you do it in some sly way like talking about working hard towards your goal of med school...they have stats and manipulate them how they wish--I do agree that it would be good to focus their attention to that, just be creative about it :)...as far as improving an app....leadership roles for EC's and being a re-applicant is usually a very good thing, especially at OHSU..I read some stat that their acceptance of re-apps is super high..can't remember exactly...Anyway, best of luck!! you'll make it...I just read that only about 1 in 3 applicants get in their first application round....oh, and call the schools you applied to, some are good about giving recommendations about improving apps :xf:...I'll be re-taking the MCAT this year...boo-hiss :D---haha--just re-read your post...I recant my statement about leadership EC's...looks like you have a good foundation...I guess, I would really take a look at the personal statement...and just keep increasing that GPA
 

aSagacious

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(@ Homer) I was just considering that avatar the other day... glad to see someone's getting good use out of it.

Anyway, keep up the hospital volunteering and shadowing. The only thing I suggest adding is a few more non-medical volunteering experiences (they don't have to be huge) before June.

Yes, I think you have a realistic shot at a few MD schools. As you mentioned in your prior post, you neglected to include safety schools last application cycle... so you know what to do this time around.
 
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HomerJayBYU

HomerJayBYU

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(@ Homer) I was just considering that avatar the other day... glad to see someone's getting good use out of it.
Yeah, I love me some Homer.

zann0324 said:
...I'll be re-taking the MCAT this year...boo-hiss
Good luck!

Whoa, I just looked at a calendar--since when is June only 2 months away?
 
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HomerJayBYU

HomerJayBYU

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What are your thoughts about retaking the MCAT?

In the interest of staying in California, have you considered applying to the two in-state DO schools?
I'm taking a practice test Saturday and will decide from there. I had hardly any Bio before my first test (and a ton since then), so I'm hoping I will score higher. That said, I'm mostly disappointed in my writing score. You mentioned earlier that I should consistently score 3+ points higher on practice tests to consider retaking the exam--does that include the writing portion?

I am considering DO schools, and will probably apply to 3 or 4, in addition to 20 or so MD schools.
 

aSagacious

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You mentioned earlier that I should consistently score 3+ points higher on practice tests to consider retaking the exam--does that include the writing portion?
I wouldn't worry too much about the writing section. Even if you chose to worry, how would you know what you are scoring on the writing sections of your practice tests?
 

Catalystik

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You mentioned earlier that I should consistently score 3+ points higher on practice tests to consider retaking the exam--does that include the writing portion?
US schools don't pay much attention to the Writing Score. Mainly, it's Canadian schools that regard it.
 
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HomerJayBYU

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Anyone want to offer suggestions for schools I should apply to?

The list of schools where I applied last cycle are in the first post. Here are some schools I'm definitely applying to this coming round:

UC Irvine
UC Davis
UCLA
Oregon Health & Sciences
University of Utah

I want to apply to around 20 MD schools with my preference being west coast > northeast/new england > midwest > southeast. And let's say that coming of of this semester my stats are as follows: sGPA 3.43, cGPA 3.61, MCAT 32M, a year of volunteering in a hospital, 50 hours shadowing, extensive research, extensive leadership and non-medical volunteering. I'm a white male CA resident who goes to a Utah school. Oh, and I also hablo español. Thanks!
 

Adaggiote

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US schools don't pay much attention to the Writing Score. Mainly, it's Canadian schools that regard it.
I know. I was looking at stats for Canadian schools the other day and almost had a heart attack (God forbid). Anyways, there was one school that had a 4.0 mean GPA. It was crazy....
 

SLC

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HomerJayTDS (Just kidding, U of U undergrad student here).

I wanted to give you a heads up about something I read a while back with respect to LDS mission service and med-school applications.

Dr Wayne Samuelson, associate dean of admissions at the U of U, authored a document about applying and interviewing to medical school, many of the target audience for this particular document have served missions (I did mine in Portugal), there was a page pointing out how they should use them in their apps. They say that med-schools LOVE to see the two year dedication. But that to tread lightly when describing it as service. Mainly because many adcom's might not see proselytizing as a service. It's probably counterproductive to try and point out all the "traditional" service we are required to perform in addition to our other duties.

Instead, they recommended discussing the mission as an event that gave you opportunities for personal growth. It's a strenuous two years, filled with a lot of disappointment and discouragement at times, as well as a lot of fantastic points where things went really well.

Try to point out the fact that this experience will provided you with strategies to help you deal with some of the tough times ahead in Medical School. That you are a stronger, more level headed and well rounded person because of the time you spent in Chile. Also point out that the experience of immersing yourself in another culture has given you an appreciation for diversity (if it has).

If you want to look over the document it can be found by following this link: http://www.premed.utah.edu/umedia/documents/medicalschoolinterviews.pdf

In addition to all of that, the U of U is a really unique school when it comes to admissions. They claim (and I've heard them say myself) that they care far less about Grades and MCAT (once a student meet's their requirements), and far more about real world experience. All this means is that they expect a lot of EC's, and they expect them to be valuable. You've got to be able to intimate how your extra curricular activities will help you be a great doctor.

So if you're still going to apply to the U of U, I'd look long and hard at how you can craft that secondary to reflect what you've done as an undergrad, and how it represents what they're looking for. They don't like generic volunteering, done merely to "fill the requirement", they want meaningful service that teaches you how to care about people.

Hope that helps!
 
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HomerJayBYU

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Instead, they recommended discussing the mission as an event that gave you opportunities for personal growth. It's a strenuous two years, filled with a lot of disappointment and discouragement at times, as well as a lot of fantastic points where things went really well.

They don't like generic volunteering, done merely to "fill the requirement", they want meaningful service that teaches you how to care about people.
Thanks for the tips!
 
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HomerJayBYU

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I want to apply to around 20 MD schools with my preference being west coast > northeast/new england > midwest > southeast. And let's say that coming of of this semester my stats are as follows: sGPA 3.43, cGPA 3.61, MCAT 32M, a year of volunteering in a hospital, 50 hours shadowing, extensive research, extensive leadership and non-medical volunteering. I'm a white male CA resident who goes to a Utah school. Oh, and I also hablo español. Thanks!
Ok, I have added a whole bunch to my list. For most of these I looked at the school's median MCAT, GPA, and the percentage of out-of-staters they interviewed. Any that I should add/remove from my list? I want around 20 total.

Commonwealth
Arkansas
West Virginia
George Washington
NY Med college
Paul Foster at TX Tech (El Paso)
Utah
U. of Nebraska
UI at Chicago
Drexel
Wayne State
U at Buffalo
Vermont
UC Davis
Creighton
UT at Galveston
UC Irvine
State U of NY (Downstate)
Iowa
Indiana
Penn State
Colorado Denver
Georgetown
Oregon HSU
UCLA
 

aSagacious

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Here are the ones that I'd scrap:
-Oregon - they state that OOS applicants need a 3.65+ and 32+ to be considered
-UT Galveston - only 7% OOS matriculants
-Vermont - 74 OOS matriculants out of 5300 applicants
-SUNY Downstate - 36 OOS matriculants out of 3000 applicants
-Utah - 21 OOS matriculants out of 1000 applicants
 

Catalystik

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Commonwealth-Would probably like to see some rural experience.
Arkansas -wants to see state ties
West Virginia-wants to see state ties
George Washington
NY Med college
Paul Foster at TX Tech (El Paso)-low OOS matriculation rate
Utah-requires 500 hours of community service
U. of Nebraska
UI at Chicago
Drexel
Wayne State
U at Buffalo
Vermont
UC Davis
Creighton
UT at Galveston-low OOS matriculant rate
UC Irvine
State U f NY (Downstate)
Iowa-wants to see state ties
Indiana-wants to see state ties
Penn State
Colorado Denver-prefers nontrads
Georgetown
Oregon HSU-prefers nontrads
UCLA


For your stats, did you consider:
FIU, Louisville, Tulane, Arizona (planning to go to 25% OOS), UNevada (from region, if adjacent county), MUSC, SCarolina, EVMS, Rush, Michigan State, Oakland (new)?
 
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HomerJayBYU

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Commonwealth-Would probably like to see some rural experience.
Utah-requires 500 hours of community service
Indiana-wants to see state ties
Colorado Denver-prefers nontrads
Oregon HSU-prefers nontrads


For your stats, did you consider:
FIU, Louisville, Tulane, Arizona (planning to go to 25% OOS), UNevada (from region, if adjacent county), MUSC, SCarolina, EVMS, Rush, Michigan State, Oakland (new)?
Commonwealth: What counts as 'rural experience'? Does it need to be medical experience?
Utah: I have well over 500 hours of service.
Indiana: My sister currently lives there. Is that enough of a tie to the state?
Colorado/OHSU: I'm turning 26 soon and will just be working for the next year, as I graduate in April. But I'm assuming that I'm still 'traditional?'

I have considered FIU and EVMS. I've checked with UNevada and I'm not in an acceptable county. Arizona will be a definite yes now! I'll look into the other schools.

Thanks!
 

Catalystik

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1) Commonwealth: What counts as 'rural experience'? Does it need to be medical experience?
2) Indiana: My sister currently lives there. Is that enough of a tie to the state?
3) Colorado/OHSU: I'm turning 26 soon and will just be working for the next year, as I graduate in April. But I'm assuming that I'm still 'traditional?'
1) Shadowing a rural physician for a week, growing up in a rural area.

2) Yes.

3) No, you are of nontraditional age. So I think you're good to go for Colorado. For OHSU, per aSagacious, your GPA isn't high enough to meet their screening criteria for OOSers. I think I recall reading that before. But moreso, the OOSers they take who aren't from the region are mainly MD/PhD.
 
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HomerJayBYU

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Thanks for all the help.

How much should I mention that I am a reapplicant in my personal statement? Should I address it at all? If it matters, I will probably reapply to about 5 schools, while the rest will be first-time applications.
 

Catalystik

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Use your judgement depending on how reapplication falls into the explanation of "Why Medicine" that your PS should address. It might be more suitable as an appropriate Secondary essay topic.
 
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HomerJayBYU

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Would I be crazy to declare Utah state residency instead of California? While I am planning to apply to 3 CA schools (UC Davis, UC Irvine, and UCLA), UT has a crazy high matriculation rate for in-state residents (60/393 or ~15%). UCD & UCI each have 2.6% matriculation rates and UCLA has a 3% matriculation rate for in-state residents.

What are your thoughts?
 
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HomerJayBYU

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Here is my final school list, unless anyone sees a reason not to apply to one of these schools. You can see my full stats above, but basically I have a 32M MCAT, 3.42 sGPA, 3.59 cGPA with lots of extracurricular and average clinical/shadowing experiences. Any comments are appreciated!

NY Medical College
Indiana
Vermont
Colorado
Arizona
Utah
George Washington
Eastern Virginia
Virginia Tech Carillion
Virginia Commonwealth
Wright State
Georgetown
Drexel
UC Davis
UC Irvine
UCLA
Wayne State
Creighton
Kentucky
Hofstra

Plus 4 DO schools:
AT Still & Midwestern (in AZ)
Touro & Western (in CA)

Also, I think I will claim Utah residency (instead of CA), since the in-state matriculation rate is crazy high, and I will be working in UT, not CA for the next year.
 

sector9

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Wright only takes about 9% OOS, unless something drastic changed for last year's admissions policy.
I think something did change. The 2011-2012 MSAR lists 89/443 interviews for OOS kids and 9 matriculants. The 2012-2013 MSAR says 135/464 OOS interviews and 24 matriculants. That means that their newest class has 24/101 OOS (~24%). Both versions say "Non-residents of Ohio are encouraged to apply" though, but maybe that was a policy change that took a while to reflect in the stats? I don't have any earlier MSARs so I don't know
 

Catalystik

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In the 2010-2011 MSAR they took only 8, also encouraging OOS applicants, so that would support last year's stats as being a new policy. They must have a need for the higher OOS tuition dollars. Thanks for providing detailed updated info, sector9.
 
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HomerJayBYU

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I'm also a BYU grad applying this cycle (first time for me):thumbup:

Why did you cut out the Texas schools? I've heard that BYU kids have success there.

I'm still working on my schools list, but we have a lot of the same schools down. Maybe I'll run into you at an interview
Yeah BYU! (I was just in Scotland last week and I saw "The Jimmer" written in stone near a big hill in Edinburgh haha) I don't really have any ties to Texas and they seem to have low OOS acceptance rates. Since it's a separate application and there are other schools in my range with similar OOS acceptance rates, I decided to forgo Texas schools.

Good luck with your cycle! PM me if you have questions--this is my second time applying and there are a few things I wish I would have known the first time around.
 
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HomerJayBYU

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I'm a recent college grad and I just got a job offer to be a wilderness adventure guide for troubled teens (the company does adventure therapy). Mostly I would be in charge of supervising the kids as we backpack through the wilderness, but I would also teach them how to mountain bike, snowboard, rock climb, etc. The company would also pay for me to become a certified first responder.

I've also been thinking about taking a course to become a certified medical assistant, because there are fair number of jobs and it's good patient exposure. The EMT market in my area is super-saturated, so that's not an option.

I'm applying this round and am in the mix of secondaries right now. Which job would be better for my off year? I like the adventure guide gig because it's fun and has really flexible hours (nice for interview season), but it's not exactly medically related.

Let me know what you all think. My stats are listed below for reference.

MCAT 32M, cGPA 3.55, sGPA 3.42
EC's:
-51 hours physician shadowing
-volunteer in ER since March 2010
-phlebotomy course & internship in Feb-June 2010 (never landed a job)
-3 week medical trip to India (no worries, I didn't do anything unethical)
-chairman of major university fundraiser
-Chem tutor for a couple years
-director of 1000+ volunteer tutors
-various other volunteer organizations
-battery research for 3+ years (5+ hours/week). Co-author on one peer-reviewed, published article. Two articles on the way (I'm primary author on one)
-2 year proselytizing mission in Chile
-avid triathlete
-4 year, full-tuition academic scholarship recipient
 

Catalystik

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Which job would be better for my off year? I like the adventure guide gig because it's fun and has really flexible hours (nice for interview season), but it's not exactly medically related.
I'd take the adventure guide gig (which is unique and helps you stand out) and do something volunteer-wise that is flexible and has clinical relevance. Your clinical experience and shadowing are fine now, but you want something to include in future update letters.
 
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HomerJayBYU

HomerJayBYU

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I'd take the adventure guide gig (which is unique and helps you stand out) and do something volunteer-wise that is flexible and has clinical relevance. Your clinical experience and shadowing are fine now, but you want something to include in future update letters.
I know this is an old thread, but I just got my first acceptance (Drexel)! Thanks so much for your help Catalystik & others!!