Years of clinical/research experience, re-applicant, semi-low stats from the past, but willing to give it one last try!

Hi Dr. Gray! I love your podcast and I wish that I would have discovered it months ago. I desperately need your help and I hope that you can give me some insight. Here’s a quick background about me:

  1. Graduated college 6 years ago, undergrad GPA (BCPM 2.79 and AO 3.64). not that great but does show an upwards trajectory the last two years.

  2. Completed an intense two years science master’s program and that GPA was better (BCPM 3.61 and AO 4.00)

  3. Took an MCAT fresh out of grad school with minimal preparation and got 491. For some reason, during that time I was crazy enough to still apply (I know, don’t judge me, I didn’t know better). Needless to say I took a plunge, applied to 20 schools, and of course got 0 interviews/acceptances.

After that, I decided to take a break from the whole med school thing and just figure out life. I moved to a different state, got a job that I love as a clinical research coordinator where I get to work with cancer patients every day, and took time to build a life of my own. So now here I am 4 years later from my last application, realizing that I deserve to give myself one more shot. I love my interaction with patients and believe there’s so much more that I can do. I have countless hours of shadowing and volunteering, clinical experience, and research experience dating back to undergrad. My passion for medicine did not stop with my rejections. I wish I did not apply the first time and just saved the smoking gun for now, but I can’t take it back. I’ve been studying for the MCAT for the past couple of months, my practice tests creep in the high 490’s (aiming for at least 501-509), and I’m scheduled to take the MCAT August 1st. I have two months to decide whether the time is now. Even with a great story, my undergrad GPA and MCAT are things from the past that haunt me. I come from a low-income household and cannot afford to be spilling out money towards applications, exams, and courses every time I’m advised to. But this is my passion and I’m pretty much in a place where this is all I have left. I just hope that it’s enough.

A few questions that I gathered while listening to your podcasts…

  • Because my MCAT date is a little later in the cycle (due to COVID-19), should I wait until the score is back on August 18th to submit my primary or take a leap of desperate faith and submit my application without a score?
  • Do you think it would be wise to wait another year for the next application cycle if I do not see my goal score on my practice score weeks before my exam? When is it safe to “pull my cards out of the deck”?
  • Are there any big factors or red flags that you see on my application that I can work on or talk about in my personal statement/ECs? I do plan on discussing how I am a stronger applicant this time around
  • As a re-applicant, I hear you advising applicants to reconsider taking more undergrad courses to strengthen their application. A few of my C’s come from chem/phys courses so are you advising that I retake these courses? After 4 years of college credits, I honestly do not see the benefit of spending thousands of dollars to increase my GPA by 0.10 points. Even with my upwards trajectory, am I still at great risk?
  • When it comes to letters, I have plenty from physicians that I’ve worked with during my career, but should I have an equivalent number of academic letters? The only professors I’ve keep in touch with are from grad school.

Any insight will help right now. Thank you!