I am a non-traditional applicant. Discovered I love medicine after graduating and spending time in the "real world." I am also a re-applicant. After last cycle (6 interviews, 5 waitlists and 0 acceptances), I took a few additional courses, volunteered extensively and intensively, and got involved in cancer drug development research. Sometimes us non-trads have to prove ourselves a little more, to show we are really in this for the long haul, not just applying to med school just to see if we get in.
MCAT: I took the MCAT before taking any Physics courses, and a few years after taking Chem/Bio/Orgo (in true non-trad fashion). I had been out of school for a few years, and spent 3 months re-learning everything myself. Bought a Kaplan review book, borrowed textbooks from friends, watched Khan Academy and used Wikipedia. Ended up doing pretty well, despite taking the test with a 103 fever and no sleep for the past 2 nights. I guess I like a challenge.
Extracurriculars: Shadowed 2 PCP's (1 DO, 1MD), and 1 Allergist/Immunologist Clinical Volunteer Work at 2 Cancer Centers - 500 hours Cell Biology/Genetics research Experience with "alternative"/"integrative" medicine, including Acupuncturists, nutritionists, naturopaths, chiropractors and even homeopaths. Knowledge of botanical/herbal medicine, and medicine from other regions (Ayurvedic, TCM, etc). Gives an important perspective on Western, evidence-based medicine. Plus, all these other "philosophies" of healing can teach MDs and DOs at least something, in my opinion. At the very least, it gave me something interesting to talk about during interviews.
Work: I worked as an organic farmer for 6 years. Does organic farming sound completely separate from the world of medicine? There are more threads connecting the two than you'd expect.
Interview Advice: Between last cycle and this one, I have been on so many interviews...I definitely have a lot to say. I've done poorly during some, and had others where, as soon as they are done, I KNOW that I will be accepted. The differences are subtle though, so I've learned to trust my gut. Anyway, here's my advice: RELAX! My worst interviews were those in which I was so nervous, I came across as awkward. Increasingly, I think med schools are looking not so much for all-stars as they are for people who can relate well to other people, who can establish a rapport with a patient (in a way, I think this has a lot to do with the future of healthcare in the country, the rising emphasis on chronic, degenerative conditions, an increasing need for primary care, preventative medicine, and an integration of the science of medicine with basic things like diet and lifestyle). What I've noticed is that the interview is 70% how you come across (the intangible things like how you conduct yourself, whether you exude confidence and composure), 20% how articulate you are (I sometimes have a problem with talking too quickly, or saying "like" or "umm," when nervous), and only 10% what exactly you say. I used to prepare so much about what I'm going to say, almost like studying for a test, that I worked myself up and didn't have the composure to come across as personable.