Mar 12, 2018
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Graduated in 2012 with terrible stats -
Race: Indian
(for previous undergrad)
AMCAS cum GPA: 3.29
AMCAS "all other" GPA: 3.86
BCPM "science" AMCAS GPA: 2.9

(factoring in current postbac work)
AMCAS cum GPA: 3.41
AMCAS "all other" GPA: 3.86
BCPM "science" AMCAS GPA: 3.18


*Looks like my AMCAS stats turn out a bit lower than what shows up on my institutional transcripts. For example, my school cum GPA is 3.51
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Currently finishing up a DIY postbac at a state school. ~27-30 credits with all As in classes like Evolutionary Bio, Cell Bio, Genetics, Biochem, Statistics, Anatomy, Physiology, etc.

(Between graduation and start of my postbac I was working in retail - craft stores, food service, etc. nothing exciting)

Involved in genetics research - 1 paper published (second author), and another smaller paper (first author) later this semester
Volunteering ~100 hours with Red Cross and local group for kids with relatives who have terminal illnesses.

Still studying for mcat, have a decent grasp of Bio/Biochem, but nothing for Physics/Chem/Orgo/Psych. I'm hoping the 3 months left I can make a decent dent in them. Wondering if this is feasible?

I self-studied japanese and am literate at around a high school level. Is it possible to leverage this as some kind of diversity trait? I'm in a rural area, really hard to find opportunities with this specific language.

My question is if I can talk about patient contact I had while I was undergrad (circa 2012). Spent ~60h in Brain/Spinal Cord Injury ward. I'm trying to get some more this semester, but I'm feeling the squeeze, time wise.

I've shadowed physicians before but like ~8-9 years ago; However, I should have some more (~60 hours) in primary care by the beginning of this cycle

Honestly I have no current leadership experience; can I use sturff from my 1st undergrad?
 
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IsleyOfTheNorth

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Your sGPA is definitely going to hurt you. Are there any other science/math classes you could take to bring that up?

I wouldn't worry about your experiences expiring. I had some volunteering from 20 years ago along with military service, both of which definitely helped me. (Although I had some more recent volunteering and shadowing.)

I don't think Japanese is going to do much for you. Everything else seems to be in good order, although I'd have some of the adcoms here confirm.

Still studying for mcat, have a decent grasp of Bio/Biochem, but nothing for Physics/Chem/Orgo/Psych. I'm hoping the 3 months left I can make a decent dent in them. Wondering if this is feasible?
I think with fully-dedicated study you could pull it off. However, it's much better to take the MCAT when you are fully prepared, so take an AAMC practice test in advance of the real thing and cancel by the deadline if necessary. Ideally, you should only take the MCAT once. I think the average matriculant score is around 510.
 

GreenDuck12

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Still studying for mcat, have a decent grasp of Bio/Biochem, but nothing for Physics/Chem/Orgo/Psych. I'm hoping the 3 months left I can make a decent dent in them. Wondering if this is feasible?
This totally depends on you and how much time you have to dedicate to studying in the next few months and how effectively you are able to study in that time. I've had friends who self studied to a 524 with a 5 week full time study schedule and other friends who studied for 5 months to a 505. Three months is a lot of time to become familiar with the content and really do well on the MCAT. One thing is that I would highly recommend not taking the MCAT if as you're approaching your date you are scoring well below your goal score. I had a lot of friends "hope for a 510" when they were averaging low 500s. It never ended well.

My question is if I can talk about patient contact I had while I was undergrad (circa 2012). Spent ~60h in Brain/Spinal Cord Injury ward. I'm trying to get some more this semester, but I'm feeling the squeeze, time wise.
You can talk about it and include it in your application but my guess is any admissions committee is going to want to see more recent evidence of clinical contact / non clinical volunteer work. Additionally, its really helpful to have recent experiences to talk about in your application and in interviews. You've got plenty of time before you would submit an application to get these hours up.


Honestly I have no current leadership experience; can I use sturff from my 1st undergrad?
I applied this cycle and graduated in 2013. I included some things from undergrad but I doubt it was a factor in my application and did not come up during my interview.
 
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Mar 12, 2018
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Whoops, the stats listed at the top were from my original undergrad, before the post-bac.

After the post-bac my cumulative science GPA is ~3.1, overall GPA is ~3.5+, calculating in a 4.0 for ~27 hours.
 

IsleyOfTheNorth

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With a really good MCAT score that might be good enough for low-tier MD or DO schools.

Hopefully one of the adcoms here can confirm. You should update your original post with that new GPA to make things easier for them to review.
 
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Updated with recent stats.

So are there really some adcom members on here?

I was planning on applying early-mid June, but I don't want to screw up the MCAT. How fatal is it to send in applications in like september-october?

I'm also curious if it will make a difference "updating" your submitted app with a higher MCAT score a few months later.
 

IsleyOfTheNorth

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Yes. A good number of adcoms are here. @Goro @LizzyM @gonnif

It's not fatal to send in applications in September, however, it'll take a month for your MCAT score to be scored and, after everything is ready, it'll take another month for you to get verified in the AAMC system. So it's a balance between being as early as possible while still being ready for the MCAT. Common wisdom is that you can "apply" to a burner school just to get verified then add schools after your score comes back. That's what I did and it worked pretty well.

I'm also curious if it will make a difference "updating" your submitted app with a higher MCAT score a few months later.
While you can do that (I think), I don't think the schools will see the new score (I think). Definitely double-check to be sure.

Ideally, you only want to take the MCAT once. If you think you can significantly improve your score, it's worth waiting a cycle. The last thing you want is to waste the time, effort, and money applying when you're not ready. And be aware - it's a lot more time, effort, and money then you might assume.
 

Goro

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Updated with recent stats.

So are there really some adcom members on here?

I was planning on applying early-mid June, but I don't want to screw up the MCAT. How fatal is it to send in applications in like september-october?

I'm also curious if it will make a difference "updating" your submitted app with a higher MCAT score a few months later.
Let's see...Adcom members here include Moko, Faha, gyngyn, Med Ed, Homeskool, Angus Avagadro, me, Winged Catalystic, gonnif (retired), LizzyM.

You should apply when you have the best possible app.

October is too late for MD schools, but fine for DO.

Take the mCAT only when you are 100% ready for it. Med schools aren't going anywhere.
 

LizzyM

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You are a long-shot, frankly. Unless you can put in 20 hr/wk for the next 3 mos, your likelihood of doing well (510 or higher) on the MCAT is slim. You'll need to spend at least 14 hrs/wk for 3-4 weeks taking one practice test per week and spending as many hours reviewing your answers as you did taking the test. This is a tried and true way of seeing how well you are doing, to become familiar with the test, build your endurance for the test day, and find out what you got right and why (was it a lucky guess or do you know this cold) and what you got wrong and why.

Don't half-a$s an application cycle and end up at this time next year much poorer and discouraged. You need to apply early to get the most out of the application cycle. That means having your MCAT and primary application in by July 4th, all letters and secondaries complete by Labor Day.

Medicine has changed in the past 4-6 years so some fresher shadowing experiences are needed. Ditto for community service and work/volunteering in a clinical setting where you are face-to-face with patients. This, too, argues for a 18 month prep for the 2021-2022 application cycle rather than rushing things now, particularly if you are a bit fuzzy on some of the MCAT material and your sGPA in no way assures an adcom that you know this stuff but just had a bad test day.
 
Feb 5, 2020
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I have an extended timeframe between graduation and application as well, here are my thoughts.

My question is if I can talk about patient contact I had while I was undergrad (circa 2012). Spent ~60h in Brain/Spinal Cord Injury ward. I'm trying to get some more this semester, but I'm feeling the squeeze, time wise.
Yes. The general rule-of-thumb here is do not include anything from high school (unless it continued significantly thru college); but everything college and beyond is fair game. I believe including my college volunteering (clinical and non-clinical) and more recent post-college volunteering (again, clinical and non-clinical; for me I kept it to the last 3-4 years) helped me reflect on my personal journey to medicine. At the very least, putting it all down on paper helped me recognize themes and tie things together when secondaries came along.

I've shadowed physicians before but like ~8-9 years ago; However, I should have some more (~60 hours) in primary care by the beginning of this cycle.
My gut feeling says you might be able to use stories you remember from that shadowing 8-9 years ago in essays; I only included my shadowing hours from the previous 3-4 years in my AMCAS. I did not include my decades-old shadowing. I think 60 hours of recent shadowing is great. I found it helpful for me to shadow a couple different specialties within primary care so I had a wider set of experiences to reflect on (for example you might choose to do 20 hours each for 3 of these: peds, FM, OB-Gyn, EM, IM, Gen surg).

Honestly I have no current leadership experience; can I use sturff from my 1st undergrad?
Yes. I categorized my undergraduate leadership experiences as leadership and used it as 1 of my 15 ECs.
However, I bet you do have leadership experience, retail work is tough. Were you promoted to manager, were you mentoring/training other employees in a formal capacity, were you in charge of something ongoing that required being organized and communicating? Assuming you worked more than one place, you might be able to have one of your retail jobs listed as non-clinical work and a separate job as leadership. In the text of it, you would indicate that it was paid.

All that said, I do not recommend you apply this cycle. I would use this summer to destroy the MCAT while you beef up clinical and non-clinical volunteering and shadowing. If you can afford it, wait until your MCAT is done to find a job. A theme I've seen a lot on this site is that rushing into an application cycle reflects poor judgement. I have to imagine it reflects even more poorly on older applicants like us who should definitely know better.

P.S. You get to list your language fluencies on AMCAS, but that on its own won't do much (especially because you specifically said literate, not that you can speak it). BUT, gaining that level of literacy through self-study is impressive to me, you could list it as a hobby EC. It seems like the sort of thing that exemplifies learning for its own reward. So, reflect on why you chose to do that: Why Japanese, specifically? What do you like to read? Can you communicate with people over the internet using that skill? I think the next step is to find ways to practice speaking Japanese and get verbally fluent. Have you ever felt drawn to serving the Japanese American community? Perhaps you could look into hospice volunteering and request a Japanese-speaking family? I know you say options are limited in your area, could you instead start researching the unique health issues encountered by Americans of Japanese origin vs. Japanese? It seems like there is a really cool opportunity hiding in here. You just need to find it!
 
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