Reapplying Advice

I got an email yesterday notifying me that I would not be receiving an interview from my local medical school. I have yet to receive an interview this cycle, and I was really hoping I would get one from this school as I viewed it as my best chance at getting an interview. I still haven’t heard from 3 schools I applied to, but 2 of them are out of state and I don’t really have high hopes of getting an interview invite from any of them. I’m leaning towards preparing to reapply now, however, there are a few complications I need to figure out how to deal with. Firstly, I never completed Orgo II, and as a result, only applied to schools that would accept Biochem as a substitute for this class. This severely limited the schools I could apply to, so I want to take Orgo II this Spring (last semester of undergrad). However, this would put me at 16 credits for the semester, including taking A&P II. This may not be an issue by itself, but I also want to retake my MCAT, and am planning on taking a Kaplan course during the semester on Saturdays, and then take my MCAT in May, and reapply in early June. Is this doable, or am I overstretching myself and will end up regretting it? Is there any other way to space this out so it isn’t so crammed without taking more than one gap year? Any advice is welcome!

Applying to medical school is tough and reapplying is the right thing to do here. Definitely take Orgo 2 this semester and I agree with your thinking that taking 16 credits + studying for the MCAT is a overload in one semester. If you want to retake your MCAT, I would suggest not taking one of your other classes this semester that doesn’t include the general courses required by med schools. For example, do you really need to take A&P II this semester? I’m assuming you already have A&P I and this shows your interest in medicine already. Taking 12-13 credits with MCAT prep should be doable.

Let me know if you have followup questions.

Edit 1: I don’t know your personal learning style, but I know that I do well when I focus on one thing at a time. I’m also retaking the MCAT in January and studying during my Winter break. I feel like it is more effective to study only for the MCAT over a one month span rather than studying for classes and MCAT over a 5 month span (which I did the first time). Just my two cents.

Unfortunately, all the classes I am taking this semester are required to complete my degree. Would I have any other option to make my course load more manageable while studying for the MCAT, or would I have to choose between delaying graduating by a semester, or simply trying to study while taking 16 credits?

If you are up for taking 16 credits and know that you can be hardworking and focused, then I think it will be fine. I am not sure what your classes are, but if they aren’t too hard and you are confident you can study for the MCAT at the same time, then go for this option. You have to be honest with yourself and know if you can or can’t handle the workload. Don’t oversubscribe yourself - remember your GPA is just as important as your MCAT score, so if you screw up your GPA, it may be worse.

Another option is to wait to take the MCAT until June, studying for a month or so right after you take those classes. But, this will delay your application.

I know I personally won’t be able to handle the workload and it’ll just end up worse then if I broke it up into studying the MCAT and taking classes separately. But, if you think you can do it, then by all means go for it, just know your semester is going to tough.

Not knowing anything about you or why you haven’t had any success with the current cycle, general advice is you may want to review your whole application while preparing your next application. MCAT and GPA are only a portion of what goes into the app. Have people who aren’t that familiar with your story read your personal statement to see if it delivers the message you’re trying to portray. Read over your “experiences” section and make sure that your entries state not only what the experience entailed (briefly) but highlight what you learned and how you grew personally from each and every experience. A lot of the job/school application and interview process is selling yourself, not necessarily just your accomplishments. For example, anyone selling widgets can sell a million of them. The person that stands out is the person who can say what they learned and how they adjusted, so that next time they can sell 2 million widgets in the same amount of time. The person that really stands out can say how what they learned and how they adjusted can be applicable to whatever next job they’re applying for or life in general.

Update: I completed my semester with a 3.27. I feel like my GPA suffered as a result of my course load and studying for the MCAT on top of that, but worked really hard studying for my MCAT and figured my score improvement would be drastic enough to minimize the impact of my GPA drop off (I had been at about a 3.5 the last 4 semesters). My cumulative GPA ended up as a 3.41 upon graduation. I scored as high as a 508 on my practice tests, and felt confident after test day, and submitted my primary application. Then I got my score today. A 498. I can’t even fathom how I actually scored WORSE than my first attempt (499), despite taking a prep course and having a tutor. I was planning on spending my gap year working as an EMT, but now feel pressured to do a post-bac to prove myself academically. I would really appreciate any advice anyone is willing to give. Should I bother submitting any MD secondaries? I’m not too far out of the average range for some of the DO schools I’m applying to, so I plan on submitting those secondaries, but none of my MD schools accepted anything lower than a 505 last year according to MSAR. I’m shocked and have no clue what to do. Is this the end of the road for me?

I agree with your strategy for DO schools - you are definitely in their range and I think you can definitely get into a DO school. From your stats, you have a 3.41 GPA and 498/499 MCAT score, which is just in the range for some DO schools (see WVSOM).

For MD schools, first, when you looked at the MSAR, was that 505 the 10th% or average? It also depends on what kinds of ECs you have. What kinds of clinical experience do you have? Have you done any research? It really depends on many other things, not just your stats.

How many MD schools did you apply? If not too many, I would recommend just finishing those secondaries and just going ahead and submitting them if money isn’t a concern.

What I would do is the following: Finish all your DO school application with good quality. Then, do your MD applications for the schools you really want to go to and have good reasons to. Then, start working as a EMT during your gap year. If you get an acceptance, then you are good. If you don’t get any acceptances, I would recommend doing a postbacc to increase your GPA.

Hope that helps.

Yes, the 505 I was referring to was the 10th percentile for a bunch of the MD schools I applied to. I feel pretty good about my ECs. I was a college athlete, ran a tutoring program, volunteered in the ED for about 170 hrs and another 150 at a dialysis clinic. I also have about 70 hrs of shadowing and a letter from an MD, but no research. I applied to 24 schools, 18 MD, 6 DO. I just feel like I kind of screwed myself over with my most recent MCAT. If I got even a 505 I would feel much more confident, but a downward trend for both GPA and MCAT makes me really nervous.

Like I said, I think you will find yourself with a few DO school acceptances for sure. Just make sure you know how to explain your downward trends. I would still apply to MD schools, but just know it may be a tough road ahead.

Bottom line is: Don’t give up, stay focused, you will be fine!