I was not a stellar premed student during undergrad. To be honest my highest MCAT score I ever got was 499. My GPA was 3.4c/3.1s. With these stats my advisor told me it would be extremely difficult but not impossible to get in somewhere. On this application cycle I have received many rejections, but so far out of some good fortune from the heavens, I’ve been accepted to an osteopathic medical school and a Caribbean school. I definitely sighed in relief upon receiving the D.O acceptance, realizing I could stay in the country. So for those of you out there still on your journey to medical school, I just wanted to share my story.
I don’t think the highlight of my application was ever my stats. I took the MCAT 3 times. The first was the old exam where I got a 19, the second 493. I was asked in my interview about my MCAT experience, and they were definitely more focused on how I improved each time, how I learned, and what I learned out of the experience. And to be honest, I was not mature about taking it the first time. I didn’t study enough of the basic concepts that I was terrible at. By the third test I was better at that, but I still felt like I could’ve reviewed more from my practice tests that I took. If I gave myself another 2 months, perhaps my score would’ve actually gone a bit further beyond 500. So don’t be afraid to admit your faults if they ask in the application or interview, but emphasize the growth you’ve made and don’t concentrate on the negative. I’m not saying that someone with under a 3.0 GPA can’t get in. But with my MCAT score, if I had a 2.5 GPA, I don’t even think the D.O school that accepted me would’ve taken a second glance at my application. It will be a hard battle, and perhaps then one might want to consider doing a post-bacc to either raise that GPA or have another set of grades that are much better.
Now aside from stats, experience matters. Basically every premed shadows, volunteers in a hospital, scribes, becomes president of the premed club, and does science research. You can do all that, but then what makes you unique from all the other premeds? If you’re gonna hold an officer position for the premed club, don’t just have that title be the highlight, your experience should be the highlight. Maybe you were community relations person and helped established many service projects like a toy drive for the hospital or healthy cooking classes for diabetics, for example. If you scribed, like I did, focus on the interactions. I was bothered by the quickness of each patient visit and most of the time was spent checking the medication orders with the physician, so I researched different health care methods that would allow for more time for the patient and became really into holistic health care, which lead me to the D.O philosophy, which is a whole other story for another time. Anyways, strive to be different, as in be yourself through all of your experiences.
Definitely do your research on schools to apply to and APPLY EARLY. I submitted my primary application the first week of June and was done with secondaries by the end of August. If the school clearly states a cut off MCAT of 500 and you’re not there, don’t apply. Same goes for a GPA cut off. Look on forums and medical student blogs for hidden gem schools. For example, I read about a girl who got into a school with a low mcat score and I decided to give that school a try. If a school is willing to give someone a chance with lower stats then they are probably a friendly school who will look at you as more than just numbers. And guess what…I did end up getting into that school. And my assumptions prior were proven to be true. The school was so friendly and made interview day so comfortable for every interviewee.
As of now, I’m still just playing the waiting game for other schools to see if I’ll be lucky enough to have options, even though I’m already pretty damn lucky to have just one. But f there’s anything you take away from this blog post, I hope it’ll be that there is hope for those with average and less than average scores and grades. If you really want something just try and keep fighting for it. If I didn’t get in anywhere this year, I certainly would’ve reapplied another year. I wish all of you the best!