Resources for working on Plan B?

Hi everyone -
I am brand new to these forums and I would like to say I have enjoyed browsing the threads over the last couple of days.
I applied to med school this year and so far it’s not going well. I’ve received 4 rejections so far and they were from schools that I considered I would be competitive for. Like others, I am going crazy from the “waiting game” and I’m also not feeling too great about the rejections.
So I am basically looking for help on establishing a plan B. I will reapply next year and the year after that, etc… So I would like to know where I can find information on how to beef up my application for next year’s cycle.
Some information about my credentials:
GPA: 3.53 (science is a little lower due to FR year)
MCAT: 27Q composite (I’m guessing my biggest problem?)
EC’s: 8+ years in medical field; Air Force Medic, LVN/MOA experience; 2.5 years of volunteering experience; Other interesting things not medically/academically related
Oregon resident (moving to Texas this December though)
I’m probably forgetting some stuff, so I apologize if I miss some pertinent info.
Any advice would be great or any websites/books on reapplying would be helpful
Thank you

Actually, one of your best resources for improving your application can be the schools that rejected you. You can call and ask to speak to someone about how you can make your application more competitive next year. Also, were you applying to your state school in Oregon, or Texas schools? You probably already know there is a big advantage to being a resident (by the education system’s rules) of the state in which you apply.
Certainly bringing up your MCAT can only help you. How did you prepare this time?

Actually, I thought about calling the admissions office to see if I can get feedback on my rejection, but it appears that on most of the letters they state their decision is confidential, etc…
I am applying to my school here in Oregon and I have applied to some schools in Texas as well. I am an Oregon resident, but a native Texan. I am moving to Texas next month for job opportunities and becoming a Texas resident again should provide me with more opportunities for entrance next cycle.
I’m not sure what I can say about the MCAT… I was scoring in the range of 29-31 on my practice exams, but I’m getting beat up on the PS portion of the real test. My verbal fluctuates, which is disappointing because I usually get 10-11 on that section. My BS is pretty solid, I’ve always been good on that portion. Study-wise, I’ve used Kaplan materials and Examkrackers as well. I’ve done problem sets and taken many practice tests. I don’t have test anxiety. My main frustration is that I believe I have solid reasoning and critical thinking skills,but the MCAT disagrees. I feel like I should get in contact with someone who can evaluate my problems with the test or at the very least look for a study partner if I have to take it again.
I have yet to hear from 8 schools, so all is not lost. But I want to be prepared for next year just in case.

The school’s actual reasoning for rejecting you may be confidential, but you can take your application materials and meet with an admissions officer and ask them what you can do to strengthen your application for next year. I think some will be brutally honest, and some will give you the standard “we like to see shadowing, volunteer work, etc” without specifically commenting on YOUR experience.
Good luck!

Well I did call one of the schools back today and talked with the dean of admissions. Basically he stated the decision was based based on my GPA and MCAT score. He said, my MCAT probably accounted for about 30% while my GPA accounted for 70% (percentages as far as what made up their rejection decision).
So…my dilemma is that I can probably do a little better on the MCAT, but probably not MUCH better. It would be better to work on my GPA he stated; my science GPA is low because of my freshman year. The big problem is that I am moving and I will not be able to attend class anymore this year. So basically, am I screwed? I already have my degree, so I would have to go as a post-bacc or a graduate student. Can anyone think of any options? (FYI, I can’t go to school in the daytime)

My understanding is that Postbacc gpa is counted separately so that if you do well in your PB, it can count strongly for you. Also note that if you find a close grad school/med school, you can take the occasional class there, which will look nice if you do well. Another option which a friend of mine is doing is to enroll in MS program that is attatched to a med school. These apparently have very high rates of acceptance into med school. Keep in mind that if you start an MS, the med schools will expect you to finish it. If you do PB, do the tough courses & do well. Best of luck.

Graduate courses and GPA are counted separately but post-bac classes are counted as part of your undergraduate GPA. It will help you think clearly about your chances if you calculate out what would happen to your GPA if you took X number of classes and got As in all of them; this will tell you how much you can actually mathematically affect your GPA. However, the total turn-around–from a past not-great GPA to a current perfect or near-perfect GPA–may help some admissions committees look past the overall number.

It was nice that you did manage to get through with a helpful admissions director. Some schools may give you much more information after the admissions season is over (April/May). They are very busy now working with current applicants and are unlikely to take much time to help you.
One thing that admissions committees want to see when someone reapplies is “What’s better this time around?” Don’t reapply, if it comes to that, without having improved your application so that it is better than before.
And, as Joe said, undergrad gpa’s include post-bacc work. However, it is a separate line (just as frosh, soph, etc. are shown separately), so someone can see, easily, a much improved gpa for just your p/b work.

Hmm…from your comments, it appears that I shouldn’t apply next year. Since my wife and I are moving next month and there’s no way we can afford out of state tuition, I guess my application won’t be any different for the next cycle. At this time, I’m looking at delaying my application for 2 years? Seems kind of harsh due to some mistakes I made during my freshman year, but that’s the nature of this process I guess.

I’ve heard about these 1 year programs that could beef up your science background and medical school resume, such as the IRTA with the NIH. Does anyone know of any such program or 1 year master’s program in the Houston, Texas area?

One of the most critical things about the application process is determining which schools would make a good match. I’ve become convinced that getting into medical school is kind of like finding the “right” person to marry. On the one hand, you have to be the right person, but you still have to find the right one, too. Part of talking with admissions personnel about your application is trying to determine if they liked you. Were they at all interested in you? Do they think it would be worth your while reapplying? Perhaps they would rather not answer the last question directly, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Try to get a feel for the kind of people who work at the school. Are they helpful, friendly, do they seem eager to talk to you? Since you’re moving to Texas, you’ll have medical schools within driving distance at Galveston, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Ft. Worth. A little longer drive can take you out to Lubbock. Several options right there. Go see the campus, talk to the students, get a tour, and sit down with someone in the admissions office and let them get to know you. Tell your story, give them a face to connect with. If you like what you see and they seem interested, keep in touch with them. Send regular emails with updates on your grades, experience, etc. Don’t just assume they will remember you from one contact and don’t be afraid to remind them why you came to see them in the first place. When you consider the thousands of applications that some schools get, you have to do something to make yourself stand out. Now, one more thing. If you get a lot of feedback from the big schools that suggests they are using GPA’s and MCAT’s as cut-offs and they aren’t really thrilled with yours, you have to decide if you have the time to make corrections. GPA’s are more difficult to raise because of the number of classes one often needs to take to make a significant difference. MCAT scores, on the other hand, can be improved with less difficulty. Also consider schools that get fewer applications so that you have more opportunity to stand out. Get to know the folks up at the osteopathic school in Ft. Worth, for example. Hang in there!