Wow and I thought I was being excessive with 7 applications.
Ok, as you know I can totally relate to your position. I have a similar GPA when you average all 220 credit hours together. I was as you quoted applying in a vacuum. I thought my GRE was not that competitive. And I had done everything I could to make myself look good on paper.
With all of that in mind, and the experience of having gained a spot in my number one most desired program, I have this to say.
You will go nuts trying to organize 37 applications. I have to ask, have you actually gotten the applications from all 37 schools? Have you looked at them? Most of the apps I received, (I called 20 programs) have their own recommendation form, so you cannot usually just have someone write a letter for you and copy that multiple times. Each recommendation has to be done individually. Also, some schools are very specific as to whom they want to fill out your recommendations. Some want doctors, others crna's that you have spent time with, your boss, a charge nurse, an instructor. I personally think you will have a hard time convincing some of these people to fill out this many forms.
I personally took my seven apps, and tailored the individuals that I asked for recommendations to the schools I thought they would be best suited too. I asked no one person for more than four recommendations. Think about it this way, you want the people reviewing you to say the best things they can and you want them to be inspired enough to say those things. But around application 20, they are going to be thinking, you're a nut, and maybe not write as good of a recommendation. I was actually able to find a resident that prosected for one of the programs I applied to. I only had him do one evaluation, for the school he worked at.
You should also think about all the work those 37 apps are going to take. Would that time be better spent gaining more knowledge. I.e. do you have PALS, or TNCC, or are you an ACLS instructor? There are much better things you could do with that time.
What I would suggest is pick seven schools, and 6 people to get recommendations from. You should make all seven of those schools, picks that do early decision. Georgetown, where I will be going in August, picks their candidates within a week after an interview. If you send out apps as early as you can (like now, this is when I sent out mine. Some programs told me I was the first app they received.) you will look really good in their eyes, and also motivated. It shows that you are serious when you don't wait for the last minute.
Because I followed this strategy, I interviewed in September and was accepted before the end of the month. Thus saving myself countless dollars in travel fees to go to other interviews. Also, you may be able to choose between two or more schools this way. Then if you do no get into any of your first seven or so picks, go back and apply to schools with later dates of application deadline.
I bet you will be surprised with the results you achieve.
BTW some applications are such a pain in the ass, you will be quite proud of yourself to have completed them at all. I did not apply to Iowa, because of their overly thorough application. One school, I can't remember which, wanted my high school transcripts. What a Joke, I am 32 for goodness sake.
Ok, I have said too much, just keep in mind seven applications cost me about 400 dollars in transcript fees and mailing and actual fees of application. Some schools are 75 dollars a pop. So extrapolated out, you will need to spend around 2400 on your 37 apps.
I hope this helped.
p.s. I got seven interviews out of seven applications. Someone here once said that most schools interview every fully qualified applicant. This is something you should consider. do you really need to go to South Dakota when U. Pitt. could call you the next week? Where would you rather go? Pick your absolute favorites and pursue them.
BTW I have tattos, earings, and a tongue bar.