I have been honored to have been offered 2 interviews: the first to a school to which I applied early decision, the second last week (obviously late in the cycle.) The outcome: I was rejected from both. Clearly, there is something wrong with the way I am presenting myself. I practiced substantially more for my second interview, doing 3 mock interviews and rehearsing. I believe I was warm and friendly (scanning what went wrong, maybe too garrulous?–especially as a female interviewing in very “red” areas? Maybe each a poor culture fit for me and the school?–there was no political commentary or political turn of question to avoid) with all staff and fellow interviewees at each event.
Knowing I will have to re-apply, I am starting my preparation for this journey. I have been listening to all of the Medical School HQ podcasts and understand that closing deficiencies ASAP is ideal, but I should not reapply too early. And frankly, call it poor self-study–but I am somewhat at a loss on where I have gone wrong.
The first order of business I can do to improve my overall competitive quality will be retesting MCAT (taken in 09/2017–it will be expiring soon anyway). My total score was like 70%ile-but I under-performed in chemistry/physics (56%ile, 128-130 on practice exams) and biology was also average (51%ile–at the time of testing, I was deficient in Molecular Biology and have since studied on my own, with friends, taken Coursera, etc attempting to close these gaps.) I have heard from an admissions committee a low biology score is a marker for those who will not perform well on boards. Obviously, I was able to be offered interviews with my rather mediocre score, but to improve overall level of competition for my application, MCAT is certainly an area I believe I am capable of making a possible 10 point improvement.
But my more pressing question is how to handle further gaps. I left my career in analytical chemistry in order to fulfill gaining clinical experience (eliminating 70% of my salary, moving home with my mother). While I love working as an ED scribe (and also now as scribe leadership in training, quality, and continuing education), I wonder if continuing in the same path after rejection would show weakness in regards to not adapting to change after rejection–begging the question “why did you continue in the same path following rejection”. Should this be a concern? One school told me I didn’t have enough shadowing–following my interview–although I now have well over 800 hours in the ED (my specific ED has a wide range of cultures which I have noted: people from the Amish community to patients from urban poverty. And also in the ED, I feel you did get exposure to the full range of people and complaints. However, after this feedback, I shadowed family at a local clinic, rheumatology, and palliative care (which is where I think I would like to land).
My other activities include: volunteering at a rape crisis center (about 12-24 hours a week on crisis hotline–also as a medical advocate), volunteering tutoring local high school students as needed (approx 3 hours a week), volunteering (just a back-up. fill in.) for delivery service for the library for community members who are home-bound, teaching 2-3 yoga classes per week as a certified instructor, and working with a local doctor on his small business (not a clinical practice, more lifestyle-related). At this point, I feel I am fully loaded as there are only so many hours in a week, and I hope all my current activities maximize my application.
On GPA, I built a spreadsheet and figured the numbers, if I did full time class for 2 years with all A’s, I could increase my overall GPA by only 0.7. This seems like a lot of financial commitment, time, and effort for little gain–especially after listening to so many of the HQ podcasts. However when I look at the core competencies, I did have somewhat of a downward trend in GPA in advanced chemistry curriculum. . .but honestly A-'s. (at best I had 4.0 semesters, but my worst semester was like 3.6). I do have a few community college courses including 1 B. I finished my BS in chemistry from a small liberal arts college in 2010 in 3 years. Is there a problem with how long it has been since school? I have no further research experience aside from a 6-month internship in renewable fuel when I was in chemistry a decade ago.
In an honest assessment, I think I am a good candidate and an affable and trustworthy person. However, I continue to receive rejections post interview. All clinical staff with whom I am acquainted have been thoroughly supportive of me–and seem to believe I have “what it takes”–unless they are talking through their teeth. I don’t know how to close the gap in gaining respect and trust as I do in my day to day work in a 6 hour interview day–I wonder where I am failing.
What more should I do in the meantime? I would love any ideas you guys have!
I don’t know what to modify, change up, to find an acceptance. Please advise.