what do I REALLY need to do?

Anyway, I had conflicting advises from admission counselors (I’ve talked to 2 so far - but each time I visit them, I get different suggestions - I’m starting to think that those counselors are schizophrenic or something…)
My background:
Undergrad: Northwestern U. I did miserably! science gpa = 3.0. Major: anthro. I had the mistake of taking genetics, molecular bio, biochem, neurobio and orgo at my sophomore year (got B’s and C’s) – but I rebounded by taking physics and gotten all A’s which gave me a reason to continue my premed trek. Well, I’m not even sure if NU is considered a competitive school – but I took all of my undergrad courses there…
MCAT: It’s also bad… 7v 9p 9b (25 total) … The worst part, I took it 2x and got the same score. (I was focusing mostly on my verbal - as my practice tests indicated I am practically illiterate…so, I barely studied for the sciences).
Job Experience:
Baxter – good $$ - but inevitably, I found it dull … I realized that I really wanted to be an MD.
Research Tech Jobs: 1 year at University of Chicago and 1 year at UIC (college of medicine). At UIC, I had a good experience. I learned animal surgery (thoracotomy) (by researching science journals, talking to surgeon friends about suture techniques, reading animal atlas etc.) Postdoc passed off my techniques as his (which I found out the hard way…). I was miserable. With the suggestion of an admission counselor, I applied to an MPH program. I told the PI that I wanted to get an MPH and eventually go to Med school, he said that it was a waste of my time and that I should just get a PhD in his lab. (he hated med students!) He gave me a great offer to stay (early work on the thesis, etc) – I was tempted. (actually both PIs that I’ve worked for wanted me to get a PhD – so it must be a common thing)…But I really really wanted to become an MD!
MPH: Aaah, grad school. I was terrified at the first semester – so terrified that I got 2 B’s… but I got over that and got As for the rest of classes. (well, I still have 2 classes left). I took epidemiology and biostat classes. Unfortunately, AMCAS did not use my epi classes as science classes!!! (it was health sciences). Luckily I aced my biostat classes which counted as math – but they weren’t enough to offset my 48hrs of crappy science gpa. (current mph gpa: 3.8)
Publications: (3rd author) submitted manuscript to J. Neurosurgery – I did the stats for the clinical research… still waiting, though.
I’m also working on another paper that does not seem to be ending!!! (promised to be 1st author - as it was originally my paper/concept)
LOR: a letter from the chief of endo, neurosurgeon, and infectious diseases MD, and a clinical statistician - the admission counselor said they were ok.
Volunteering: NICU, peds. (asking for a transfer to ER)
Result: applied to three not-so-good schools – NO INTERVIEWS!
Future plans: planning to work part-time this summer and fully prepare for the MCAT (argh!) I’m really bad at the verbal and really afraid to get a lower score!!!
Question: I’m graduating MPH … but it seems like I should still be taking classes to repent from my past bad gpa. Should I retake my premed classes? or can I take undergrad stats classes, instead? I’m not sure if I can improve my MCAT verbal … any suggestions? Am I a lost cause, then?
I would really like to re-apply and would be willing to do anything to get a spot at a US med school (or even an interview!)

I am in the same situation that you are in. I had a crappy UG GPA and a 26, 20 MCAT when I took it twice. I am graduating with a MA Biology next year and my grad GPA is great.
The best thing to do is this. If your graduate GPA is good then I would not worry about the pre-med classes. You spent time in science and you have authored and you have good LORs. Therefor, the past is the past.
Your focus should be on the MCAT. Take some time to really study, if you need to, audit a class at your local community college to get a refresher. You MUST get at least a 30 on your MCAT to prove to the schools that you can hack it.

Have you gotten rejections yet from those 3 schools? Have you been in contact with them to check your status?
Let’s assume you are rejected from all 3. I would suggest you contact the dean of admission at all of them and have them go over your application with you to find out why they rejected you. They are more than willing to do this. I think that is really the only way to see what you need to work on for next time. It could be your GPA, or or MCAT or maybe both, but you need to hear it from them so you can work on the main thing that is holding you back.
I mean you seem to have a really great application. What does your personal statement sound like? Have others read it and given you advice about it? Does it project your reasoning behind wanting to become a doc? Does it sound sincere or does it come off as sounding cold? Your personal statement could also be a reason behind no interviews.
I do believe calling the schools is your first step. If you truely think you can improve your MCAT, then go ahead, but if you think you did your best, then I would worry about getting a lower score.
Good luck.

Amy’s questions are excellent and far more succinct than I would’ve been.
I would add, why only three schools? Note I only applied to two (I was unwilling to move) so this is not a criticism. But definitely casting a wider net could be to your advantage.
I agree that there is a lot of good stuff in your ‘package,’ so feedback about what needs improvement would help you a lot.

(I got something nearly completely written and my computer crashed! :-(( I’ll try to re-create it.)
Except for your ugrad academic record (which of course is important) and MCATs, you appear to be a compelling applicant. I think your biggest mistake was applying to only 3 schools. Depending on the application year, applicants apply to an average of 14-17. I think 20 is a good round number. Many more than that doesn’t much improve the cost/benefit ratio and only brings more secondary essays to worry about. :slight_smile:
While it would be good to see if you can improve your MCAT scores, I disagree with the idea that you HAVE to get a 30. Remember that 30 is an AVERAGE for matriculants into med school. And all 30s are not equal. (e.g. 10/10/10 vs. 13/13/4.)
NU has a fine reputation, so I wouldn’t worry about that. (This is an unbiased opinion, based-on-med-admissions-experience comment.)
(Wildcat alum)

Thanks for all of your replies! I will try to contact those schools…
To answer the question of applying to only 3 schools - it’s because I don’t what schools I should apply to… it’s seems completely random - almost like flipping a coin… Do you guys have any suggestions on books to purchase or websites about the medschools?
ps - This is really a great website. I’m glad I found it.

If you are free to move from your current location, you will definitely want to expand your list of schools. The “bible” for allopathic schools is the MSAR - Medical School Admissions Requirements. It has a two-page synopsis of each school that is a member of AAMC (Ass’n of American Medical Colleges) including (usually) average MCATs, prerequisites, tuition, # applied and accepted. It’s available at most college libraries or can be purchased from AAMC. I don’t know if there’s a similar book for osteopathic schools, sorry.
But you can go to AAMC’s website, here and find a complete listing of schools with links to individual schools’ websites. You can do the same for osteopathic schools by going here.
How to choose schools? Well, state schools generally have a strong preference for their own residents - but this varies, look at the percentages from out-of-state to determine if any are worth applying to. Private schools may state geographic preference (mine does). Cost is always an issue. Location is important in terms of where you think you’d be happy. Lots to factor in.
Most people who can, apply to 15-20 schools.

Note also that your letters are not from professors who have taught you in classes (unless I am wrong?), as some schools require. Something to ask about.

Maybe you can apply to some more schools with rolling admissions. Be prepared to move to the school if you really want to become a Doc. I’m selling my house and moving my family to England.