Should I Even Consider Applying Next Cycle?

I’m feeling a little discouraged and I was wondering if I should even try applying next cycle.

  • Year in school: Graduated

  • Country/state of residence: CA, ORM Asian

  • Schools to which you are applying: Still building List, but Mainly DO, UC Riverside (ties to IE), and a couple more MD (Still Deciding). I’m still refining my list.

  • Cumulative GPA: 3.2 w/ slight upward trend. 3.177 > 2.93 > 3.207 > 3.597

  • Science GPA: 3.035

  • MCAT Scores: 509

  • Research: 9 months of Drosophila Neuroscience/Genetics Research (~350 hrs) no publications, own project (did not complete)

  • Volunteering (clinical) – include hours/sites :
    ~400 Hrs Volunteer (Hospital)
    ~100 hrs EMT Volunteer with Undergrad campus and underserved populations in Mexico
    ~500 hrs volunteer scribing
    ~75 hours to close language health disparities through helping coordinate transportation for underserved senior citizens and providing translation services (e.g. making appointments, helping patients call pharmacies, etc.) typically low-income medicaid patients.

Physician shadowing – include hours/specialties:

  • ~10 hrs ER
  • ~100 hrs IM
  • ~60 hrs Peds
  • ~60 hrs OB/Gyn Surgery in China
    Non-clinical volunteering:
  • ~10 hrs Homeless volunteering

Extracurricular activities

  • Founding Director at my school’s Emergency Medical Service Organization with strong ties to campus, SOM, Emergency management, Police Department, and recognized by the county as a first response organization
  • Leadership Team at the hospital volunteer program - Quality Management of volunteers at the hospital and maintaining Health Records (~300 hrs)
    *Employment history:
    • ~800 hrs paid scribing (primary care)
    • ~80 hrs paid EMT
  • Immediate family members in medicine? (y/n) : N
  • Specialty of interest : Open to all
  • Interest in serving underprivileged demographic: Yes, I come from a socioeconomically disadvantaged background
  • Strong LOR from SOM Faculty and Physician Supervisor (scribe position)

Should I strongly consider SMP/postbacc?

Where you apply will be huge. You have absolutely fantastic ECs, minus only 10 hours of non-clinical volunteering. Your GPA is obviously on the low side at 3.2, as well as your MCAT at 509 (but 509 is still a good score). That being said, that is just about spot-on for DO schools, with an average (+/-) GPA of 3.545 and MCAT of 503.8; MD for comparison is a GPA of 3.700 and MCAT of 510.2. Your ECs will by far be the standout of your application.

GPA/MCAT get you an interview, everything else gets you in. As long as you don’t have any obvious blemishes on your application, such as many failing grades, academic probations, poor letters of rec, poorly written personal statements, etc. etc., I say that you should definitely consider applying this coming cycle.

Is there something in particular that is making you question your decision to apply?

Thank you for your advice! So, most of my low grades come from the prereqs (ochem, gchem, physics, etc). Bit off a little more than I could chew 2nd year (hence the drop in GPA). Would that be a red flag?

Lots of Cs/Bs in prereqs can be a red flag, remember a C- is failing in the eyes of ADCOMs - You cannot use C- prereq grades. A 3.0 science GPA is quite low, but it is still just over the minimum threshold for filtering (2.75-3.0 usually). If you proved that you knew the sciences on your MCAT (didn’t get a 132 CARS and P/S and a 120 B/B and C/S), kept the sections above 125 and closely related, I wouldn’t be too insanely worried about it. GPA/MCAT for an interview, everything else to get in.