Would it be wise to apply this upcoming cycle?

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Mar 31, 2019
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I wasn't sure if I should have placed this in the WAMC thread or not but I figured I'd post it here seeing as I have no MCAT yet and no school list. Mods please feel free to move it if necessary. I am strongly contemplating applying this cycle and would like some honest advice as to whether I am ready or not.
Here is my info for reference:
cGPA:3.31 sGPA: 3.55 (3.58 AMCAS)
- I have no MCAT yet but I am signed up and am considering moving it to June or July at the latest
- I am from NC
- URM - Hispanic
- Undergrad: State School
- Clinical experience: Currently working as a scribe. I have about 400 hrs, will likely have about 800 by application time and since I am planning to work more, I can easily get 1000+ by May or June.
- Research: I have about 1000 hours of research in the neurobiology lab. PI would very likely be my strongest LOR.
- Shadowing: I have about 50 hours of virtual shadowing. I definitely plan to increase this number prior to this upcoming cycle. I have been unable to obtain IRL shadowing as most of the opportunities to shadow in my area (even the clinics) are controlled by a large health care system that currently does not allow in-person shadowing due to COVID.
- Volunteering: ~1500 hrs as a coordinator for a Hispanic group, where I am in charge of setting up fundraiser events and a yearly retreat.
- ~400 hrs tutoring while in undergrad in organic chem.
- ~2500+ hrs working as a server at a retirement home.
- ~200 hrs as a contact tracer back in 2020
- I also have a hobby which I have had numerous hours doing, which is playing competitive YuGiOh but I am not sure how appropriate that would be to include.

I should mention that I am pretty much a non-trad at 28 yrs old. I was in undergrad for about 9 years on and off and just graduated Fall 2021. I started at a CC, and the only pre-reqs I completed there were the Intro Bios, English, psychology and the first semester of Gen chem. I finished Orgo, biochem, Gen chem II and all other pre-reqs and higher level science courses at the 4 year institution. I have about 8 Fs in my undergraduate career from 2012-2016. I also have 12 Ws which are mostly from that same timeline (2 Ws are from the beginning of the pandemic where I had to drop some labs and a class because they were still going to be in person and as I lived with my parents at that time and my mom is high risk, I could not stay in them). From 2017 onward, I only ever received mostly As, 1 C, and a few Bs here and there. I practically started a "new degree" if you will, when I switched from Biology to Biochem in 2019. Here are my class standing GPAs for reference: Freshman: 1.83, Sophomore: 3.18, Junior: 3.74 and Senior: 3.95. My upward trend is very solid IMO. I truly appreciate any and all honest input. Thanks!

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This is difficult to answer without an MCAT score, as that can make or break an application. I recommend taking that or having some practice exam scores and then coming back to ask this question.

If you do well on the MCAT, you should be competitive for mid/low tier MD and all DO schools.

I would mention the competitive yugioh. Definitely something that would pique my interest.
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Hard to tell without an MCAT. If you do get a respectable score (>505), then I think you are good to apply.

The Yu-Gi-Oh is particularly interesting since I used to also play competitively, so I know a thing or two about the game. If you are able to spin it into something positive, then I would mention it. If you have some major tops, then maybe mention that in the achievements section. If you can explain how Yu-Gi-Oh has shaped you as a person or helped prepare you for medical school, then I would put it under the activities section.
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I would include the hobby for sure! I did a summer of competitive marching band (Drum Corps International) and included it in my applications for this cycle. I brought it up during my interviews and was asked about it multiple times. I feel like the more abstract and unknown hobbies are the ones the admissions committees enjoy reading and talking about the most.
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As others have said, hard to say without an MCAT score. Shoot for 505+ and be sure to apply to Campbell. Hobby is always nice to include to show interests outside academics and how you spend downtime. Make sure to describe it as a strategic trading card game as readers may not know what YuGiOh is. However, it was very popular for kids and teens when it first started, so you may have a reader who was a parent of a somebody who got into it.
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