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Pre-med advice/chances?

13

Replies to: Pre-med advice/chances?

  • purplerocketmanpurplerocketman 25 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    @WayOutWestMom
    My GPA probably has the most signifanct upward trend of anyone I know. I’ve taken a full course load of at least 3 classes per quarter (~12 units never under). I’ve never failed a class, but received C’s in each quarter of the gen chem series.
    That’s also interesting what you say about adcomms caring about courseload. Because I’ve done research several times on several websites and it says to not over load yourself with work because they don’t care about the rigor of your quarter such as taking honors courses and/or taking a crazy (~17+) amount of units?
    And as far as the MCAT goes, that is just another reason why I would want to do a fifth year or 2 gap years.. to allow myself an entire summer to study for it.
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  • purplerocketmanpurplerocketman 25 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    @WayOutWestMom
    I forgot to mention.
    I have also spoken with a surgeon who was recently part of the UCLA med school admissions committee. He was the one who gave me the idea of taking a fifth year, he even recommended I change my major. He said the most important things I can do is to get volunteer hours, do research, emphasized getting my gpa up, and do very well on the MCAT.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10000 replies199 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,199 Senior Member
    edited August 2018
    Underloading means taking few units per semester/quarter than what is considered full time. If you only taking 1 science/math per quarter as hard science major--that is underloading.

    As long as you are carrying a full load of academic classes each term, that is sufficient rigor.

    GPA and MCAT are the first screen pre-med face, after that everything is fair game. Med school admission is a negative process. Adcomms, who get as many as 15,000 applications for 150 seats, are actively looking for reasons to reject applicants. You want as few dings on your record as possible.

    edited August 2018
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  • purplerocketmanpurplerocketman 25 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    Last year I only took the ochem series. In addition, I took 2 elective science courses, one during the 1st and one during the 3rd quarter. This upcoming year I’ll be taking the bio series along with two upper divs at the end of the year.
    Say I were to get an exceptional score on my MCAT... besides my GPA, what are some weak points about my application?
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  • thumper1thumper1 73028 replies3179 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,207 Senior Member
    @purplerocketman

    @WayOutWestMom can probably provide the exact statistics...but I believe something like 60% of medical school applicants don’t get accepted to ANY of the places to which they apply. Many apply to 20 schools.

    Oh...and the application costs are...high.

    So...it’s hard to identify a weakness in your profile. It could be anything. From my backseat...I see a lot of activities...but very little strong commitment. Lots of different things.

    Preparing for the MCAT will be your main challenge. Your ACT score wasn’t exactly tippy top...but your MCAT score will need to reach a certain bar for consideration.

    I am not a med school adcom, but I also think doing something medically related...with commitment, would be good. Like I suggested...maybe next summer, take a CNA or medical assistant course. Then get a job doing that work.

    You might also want to look into what it takes to become a physician assistant or APRN. Those folks specialize as well. Many do primary care, but not all. We know three...two dermatology, and one EM.

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  • purplerocketmanpurplerocketman 25 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    @thumper1
    I appreciate the constructive criticism.
    But, what are you thinking when you say strong commitment? Is being a competitive triathlete for 6 years, doing 1,000+ Hours of research, committing to one non-clinical organization for over 400 hours not enough dedication? (I’m not saying that sarcastically I’m just genuinely curious). What is considered a strong commitment? I obviously can’t make every extracurricular have over 500 hours because that would be impossible, but I do need clinical volunteering and shadowing. I guess the answer to this question is kind of biased, but is it better to just not have any shadowing or clinical volunteer hours but around 2000 hours of very few things or wind down a bit on the 2000 hours and have a little of other things to like the way I have it?
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10000 replies199 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,199 Senior Member
    is it better to just not have any shadowing or clinical volunteer hours

    Short answer--without shadowing and clinical volunteering, your application will be DOA.

    I wouldn't lean too hard on the triathletics to show dedication/commitment. Both D1 and D2 are marathon runners. (Both still compete several times each year, even now during residency when free time is all but non-existent.) D1 was a competitive climber in college. D2 solo hiked the John Muir Trail, large swaths of the Appalachian Trail, and the Torres del Paines. None of that even made it into their med school applications. Athletics (and other hobbies) are a grace note on your application; they shouldn't be one of the main pillars.
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  • purplerocketmanpurplerocketman 25 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    That helps a lot! Would it look bad if I had two things that I dedicated a lot of time to, instead of one?
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  • thumper1thumper1 73028 replies3179 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,207 Senior Member
    My point....you have a LOT of different activities...not showing a real passion for one...or even two.

    And think carefully because in med School of any type, you won’t have the option of taking a lighter load to keep GPA up.
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8399 replies241 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,640 Senior Member
    edited August 2018
    I agree. Instead of partake many different activities, med school like applicants who accomplished some thing in their ECs. Like you can find a vlog on youtube, the guy is an accomplished gymnast. He had low GPA, but he was able to get in a MD school. If it is a research, they like you take the project from soup to nuts all by yourself, including the proposal and funding.

    My cousin she was captain of the swimming team in HS and 4 years in Yale, along with her flawless stats, she was admitted in many tier 1 med schools, including Harvard.
    edited August 2018
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10000 replies199 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,199 Senior Member
    edited August 2018
    I think what @thumper1 may be trying to suggest is to have a central theme or two to your ECs, not just a checklist of stuff you've done.

    For example, D2 did neuroscience research in the cognition of mathematics (>2000 hours + senior thesis), did a summer research program that developed mathematical models to predict outcome of various glioma treatment protocols, did on-on-one mentoring w/mentally ill teenagers, tutored autistic teenagers in math, coached a high school math competition team at an under-achieving high school, volunteered in the neuro rehab ward with TBI patients, did volunteer therapeutic counseling w/elementary school aged victims of gun violence, TA-ed calc for 4 years... <---are you seeing a common theme?

    D1--the competitive climber--became a wilderness certified AEMT and volunteered with the local mountain search and rescue team. She also volunteered in the ED and in the psych ED and spent 6 months as a volunteer EMT in the EDs of inner city township hospitals of South Africa. She centered her other ECs around her physics & math degree--she TA-ed calc & P-chem, did medium energy particle beam research, taught acoustics at her university for a semester and remedial math at the local CC, tutored at risk inner-city high school students in math, physics & chemistry.
    edited August 2018
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  • thumper1thumper1 73028 replies3179 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,207 Senior Member
    edited August 2018
    Thank you @WayOutWestMom

    My point is...having a huge and varied laundry list of ECs is not as importent, it seems, as having some related and focused ones.

    The OP has a ton of worthwhile ECs...but I’m not clear what his focus is...it reads like he was just trying to accumulate lots and lots of different kinds of experiences...and that is fine for those who don’t know what they intend to do.

    But my impression is that DO and Med schools want commitment to something with a strong of relatedness...that ties in with medicine.
    edited August 2018
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  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 1516 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,534 Senior Member
    edited August 2018
    @purplerocketman
    Sorry to be repetitive

    There’s a saying about med school application process that one’s stats will get one to the door, but it’s the rest of the application that will get one through the door. Med schools will first ask themselves if an applicant can cut it academically. As the application process is opaque, it’s impossible to weigh how any one adcom/school will view an applicant’s ECs, LoRs, PS, secondary essay, interview. But at least with help of MSAR data, one can answer a question about one’s chances with a straight face by comparing an applicant’s stats to MSAR data and saying you probably have/don’t have a chance at a particular school.

    Here as to MCAT: to say if “I were to get an exceptional score on my MCAT..” (#34), or “do very well on MCAT” (#32), it’s great you have hope, but even the best test takers can have a bad day, or a bad section score that can end their chances. Speculation about one's chances without MCAT score is useless to you. As to your GPAs: ~3.5 sGpa: ~3.4 (#1), you acknowledge and others have mentioned, you are not competitive stats wise. It may be somewhat more helpful in answering your chances question if you could provide info on what specific courses/grades you took to earn these GPAs, and what courses you are planning to take by graduation. But again without MCAT, it’s a disservice to you to endlessly speculate based on ECs whose weight varies from school to school. It does come across that you think ECs/hours are just boxes to be checked. Med schools look in ECs, LoRs, PS, secondary essay, interview to show an applicant has attributes adcoms believe MDs should have (eg compassion, altruism, compassion, etc).

    If you’re dead set on MD/DO, keep working hard to raise GPAs, think about and be prepared to articulate in person or on an essay why those experiences helped you choose medicine as a career, and come back with an MCAT score. Good luck

    Random thought if you follow UCLA admission advice (#32) what major would you change to? Would new major have several science courses to help raise sGPA?
    edited August 2018
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  • thumper1thumper1 73028 replies3179 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,207 Senior Member
    @purplerocketman

    Have you actually already taken the MCAT or is this a hopeful projected score?

    What is your current GPA...not a guesstimate of what you hope it will be when you apply?

    I’m curious why your advisor says you should switch majors. Why can’t you just take the prerequisite to apply to Med schools courses with your current major?
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  • AnalMomAnalMom 77 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    I'm seeing some red flags: "but received C’s in each quarter of the gen chem series . . . And as far as the MCAT goes, that is just another reason why I would want to do a fifth year or 2 gap years.. to allow myself an entire summer to study for it."

    In addition, all your extracurriculars read more like a business major, not a future physician. Appears you have way too many extracurriculars to be focused on med school.

    Most people study for the MCAT while they are in undergraduate classes. Your ACT was also low and that is concerning. Med school students are expert test-takers and high academic experts. My physician husband says that most pre-med students never make it to med school.

    My advice to you is to interview med students and DO students for more information on their stats and resumes before planning for 2 gap years to study for the MCAT because a person shouldn't have to study for two years to do well enough on the MCAT. See if your GPA and scores are in the range for acceptance.
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