View Full Version : Just looking for some advice
04-20-1999, 09:07 AM
I am committed to pursuing a career in Medicine, what kind of advice is out there for a person who has a low gpa in undergrad(2.8-BA in Anthropology) and needs to take most of the required courses for admission. I have worked in the Hospital setting as a clerk and am now working as an aide in an Osteopathic hospital. Don't bother writing if the advice is to pursue a business school apllication. Thank You.
04-20-1999, 10:05 AM
Take the necessary pre-req courses and get A's to improve your GPA. Then take the MCAT and do well. They admission committees look at the whole package, not just one area.
Spread out the pre-med requirements as much as time will allow for you. Take some easier classes along with them to raise your GPA. Psychology classes are usually easy As AND teach you a lot about people's behavior (normal or abnormal). Raising that 2.8 GPA should be your number one priority. I don't think ANY medical school here in the US or Canada will take you with that GPA, unless you have STELLAR MCAT scores and real life experience with medicine. My friend raised his GPA from like a 3.0 to 3.3 doing this. Of course he had to practically get all As with a sprinkling of Bs to do so, and attend school longer than he wished to. But, he is accepted to medical school. So, it can be done if you work HARD. I don't want to give you false hope, but point out that you may be able to do it. Hopefully your 2.8 GPA is because you made some mistakes early on as a student, and you are a much better student now. This will help come admissions time, but be sure to point out your improvement. They have so many applicants, that they may skim over your application and not notice the improvement.
The only thing I will add to Curious' outstanding advice is that you need to make sure you load up for a couple of semesters with these prereq.s. Show the admissions committee that you can take 15+ hours with 3 science courses and make A's. This is a big deal.
I respectfully disagree with you about loading up on the prereqs. Most admissions committees will look at the overall GPA, the Science GPA, and then year by year. They don't look at individual semesters or quarters very closely. Take whatever load that it takes for you to attain As. It is too tough for example to take Organic Chem, Physics, and a bio or math class in the same semester for some people. Do what it takes for YOU to attain As in these courses unless you can't take to long to finish up due to time or money.
In my opinion I think that it is important that you can be able to handle a challenging course load. If you need to take 15-18 units, do it. But if you work, that may be tough. You'll have to make some life altering sacrifices.I'm taking anatomy at a community college while working full time and I find myself complaining a little. That's only 4 units, think of it if I was taking a full load.
Application commitees have to determine if you are fit to survive med school too. If you spread your prereqs too thin, how can the admissions commitee determine how well you'll do when you have take a ridiculous course load in med school?
There are no easy solutions.. But if you are willing to bust your ass, you'll learn a lot about yourself and you can't learn that in class.
If you need help it might be better to email me because I'll be able to help you better if you have specific questions.
I think that you should get some advice from someone at the school. I don't think faculty who are in charge of admissions have a problem with people who are curious.. I may be wrong..
I think that having a reasonably challenging course load is something a admission commitee may look into. Every commitee is different,however, you don't know what to expect..
Admissions commitee have to determine if someone will be able to handle the rigorous course load in med school. If you work, they'll look into that too.. Just be careful. You will have to make some severe sacrifices socially and economically.
I think that it's really good that you work in a hospital and in a medical school.
That's the start to put you in the right direction.
If you have specific questions feel free to email me.
04-22-1999, 05:13 AM
In a way, you can make all of this work to your advantage. Since you have completed a your Ugrad degree already, the courses you take, pre-med reqs and others, will be placed into a seperate category for GPA calculations. They are considered post-bacc courses.
When I went back, I had not completed my original BS [Cardio-Pulm Sci-->for respiratory]. That meant all my old [read that as ****ty] grades were lumped in with new very strong grades. They averaged out to be mediocre and got me knicked at several schools w/o interview.
Whatever you do, EXCEL in your post-bacc courses...both pre-med and others. Also, take courses other than just pre-med ones. They really like to see well-roundedness and depth of exposure.
Another thing, in your personal statement, EMPHASIZE how different your grades are now vs. previously. Another HUGE mistake of mine...I assumed the schools got copies of my transcripts from AACOMAS and AMCAS to show the time-line and progress I've mad in my own grades--->THEY DO NOT! And, it enough of a chore to figure it out from the information AACOMAS & AMCAS send that they usually don't bother. So, take advantage of you personal statement to blatantly point it out!
'Old Man Dave'
KCOM, Class of '03
04-23-1999, 05:16 PM
Here's what I would do:
1)take some more classes if you have not graduated. Make sure these are hard-science classes, not psych or anthro. If you have graduated do a 1 year master of medical sciences program (Boston U and a few others have these programs). Do well.
2)Do really well on the MCAT. I cannot emphasize this enough. Go for the mid-thirties. Anyone can do this. The MCAT is just a test of skill at a specific task, it does not test how smart you are. Hone your skill at that task. Take a course, devote serious time to it and take many many practice exams. Many schools take your GPA and your MCAT put those in a formula and plot the result of your scores alongside those of other applicants-you can imagine what they use this for. It is a hamburger factory.
3)Do something that will make you look different on your application. Try stand-out. Everybody looks the same on those damn things and a few schools (supposedly this is especially the case with DO schools, or so they tell me) try to find interesting people amongst the hording multitudes. Use one short paragraph (three or four sentences) to discuss the progression of your grades, emphasizing that you are gaining momentum as a student and that they should consider your performance based on what you have done recently (last two years), not what you did four years ago. Do not apologize or make excuses. Be unabashed.
4)This is most important: do NOT listen to any admissions counselors from your school. Especially if you are from a large undergrad program with a reputation for turning out succesful applicants. When I applied, one part of my application where not what they perhaps should have been (hint: overall GPA). You would not believe how much they tried to talk me out of applying. Their job is to one thing: improve that institutions pre-med success rate (ie. number of applicants who are succesful from that program). Their job is not to make you feel good or maximize your chances. If they are not sure that you have a pretty darn good shot at getting accepted somewhere, they will do everything in your power to discourage you from applying. In my experience, coming from Emory University, factualy the admissions counselors did not know what the hell they were talking about. Ignorance is quadruple about DO programs typically.
5)Keep your chin up and believe in yourself. If you get rejected from 21 schools on three different occasions, when you become a doctor you will be that much more human and understanding BECAUSE of your failures. What we survive makes us stronger.
04-23-1999, 08:40 PM
Did you get mid-thirties Jdasabo or whatever your name is? Don't go telling people anybody can do it because only about 1% of all the people who take it get mid thirties and I will bet you if you did you wouldn't be at DO school!
04-23-1999, 10:00 PM
It sounds like you are saying that a person with an MCAT in the mid-thirties would not choose a DO school. I disagree but am curious why it is that you think that.
04-24-1999, 09:04 AM
DOGBOY, how can you possibly say that someone with a 30+ on the MCAT should not be in a DO school? I'll give you myself as an example. I've been through the application cycle twice, the first time being waitlisted at every school applied to and ultimately rejected. The second time around, my GPA had increased to a 3.6, up from a 3.55, but my MCAT was the same, a 32.
Fortunately, and I thank God every day for this, I was accepted to the incoming class at TCOM. The only thing I'm trying to point out is that even with decent stats, this whole thing is a crapshoot. So I plead with you not to go around making statements which have so sound logic to them.
04-24-1999, 06:26 PM
I have a buddy who was accepted to 2 DO schools earlier this year and ultimately chose KCOM.
He had a double major in Bio/Psy with a 3.8 gpa and a 34 on the MCAT. He applied ONLY to Osteo schools.
I think there is a group of people applying to DO schools only as a fall back but I think that is sad. They could end up very unhappy always wishing they had those 2 other letters at the end of their names.
How many of you applied to MD schools?
04-24-1999, 06:55 PM
If you have some problem with me, why don't you e-mail me privately so we can talk about it.
FYI my stats were 3.4, 34 mcat (11,11,12).
04-24-1999, 07:58 PM
what's your problem anyway?
04-25-1999, 12:03 AM
Dogboy just like to act in a way to irritate you. Don't get excited because of him.
04-25-1999, 12:08 AM
The more reaction you give DOGBOY, the more acidic he will become. Ignore him, don't answer his sarcasm and he'll leave you alone. He wants you to stoop to the level of bickering and whining so that he can then point fingers at you for you behavior. Don't reward him, please.
'Old Man Dave'
KCOM, Class of '03
04-25-1999, 06:03 AM
Again you all missed my point. Getting mid-thirties is not that easy, so telling someone that anyone can achieve 35 or greater is not sound advice. Sure if you can get that great but first of all it isn't necessary although I know the original poster has a low GPA and the higher his MCATS the better. If anyone can get a 35 and all of us are so motivated and dedicated to going toward medical school than why don't we all have mid-thirties. I got a 30 (Henry, for your information) and i am sure many others here did fine also but a 30 is a long way from a 35. As for most people prefering to go to MD school over DO school I still believe that. Remember there are only 446 registered members here so you are probably hearing from the die-hard osteopathic pre-meds. I myself have been accepted to both and am 95% certain I will atend DO school even though the MD school I have been accepted to is my state school.
VM, are you on an admissions committee?
The fact is, yes they do look at individual semesters quite often; especially if it is a bad one. Showing that you can handle the workload that you will have to in medical school by taking a few of the science courses at once is GOOD advice. I'm not trying to set someone up for failure. Of course, it will be hard. You have to make A's. The point is though, if all you really have left are the prereqs. then I suggest you take a few per semester instead of dragging it out. Respectfully, VM, your advice doesn't work for "rstev". He already has his degree.
04-25-1999, 09:14 AM
poochie poochie........woof woofffff
heeeere doggy!!! fetch..fetch..
04-25-1999, 10:40 AM
I am a little new to this game, but it seems to me that a lot of admissions committees are shifting more and more to looking at other qualities, and not just making decisions based on total GPA and MCATS. In a way I was sort of like you, when I returned to undergrad school to complete my degree in Biology and my pre-reqs, my GPA was only a 2.7 because of some bad earlier years. Two years later, when I applied to D.O. school I had raised it to a 3.2 (and that was getting practically straight A's, it doesnt go up very fast). I had a total GPA of 3.2, and an MCAT of 26. I applied to ten D.O. schools and have been accepted to 5 of them. I have been told by admissions members that my biggest strengths were: My most recent school work. ( showing a drastic improvement counts!) but more importantly my life experience. I have worked as an EMT, a rancher, a diesel mechanic, I served as a Firefighter/EMT in Desert Storm, etc. I guess what I am saying is, I think they are really looking for people that can actually relate to the real world and the real people that live in it, not just simply people that get the highest grades.
If medicine is what you want, just set your mind to it and go for it, you will never know until you have tried. I am a good example of someone who beat some of the number odds.
04-25-1999, 03:10 PM
Does anyone remember when John Lennon said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ? He never said he thought it was OK that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus; he merely reported what he saw as fact. And he caught a WORLD of **** for it!
It seems to me that the same thing happens to DOGBOY around here. He sees it as fact that a lot of people who go to DO school do so because they didn't get into MD school. He does not say he agrees with this behavior; he merely reports it as his observation.
It seems many people see DOGBOY's name, and immediately become too enraged to even READ his posts. Responses range from missing-the-point (e.g. "how can you possibly say that someone with a 30+ on the MCAT should not be in a DO school?"...he never said that!) all the way to childishness (e.g. "poochie poochie........woof woofffff"...how embarrassing!).
Please, people, read more closely.
I would have to agree about DOGBOY. If somebody else wrote some of his posts, no one would be so defensive. But, DOGBOY has been inflammatory in the past, so he made his bed. Plus, in case you didn't know, he lied about getting into NOVA, and I wonder if he is lying about getting into medical school (DO & MD). DOGBOY, if you didn't get into medical school, you're not alone. I didn't get in the first time I applied. Anyway, I am someone who returned to school to become a PHYSICIAN. I didn't even know what a DO was back then. When I found out about DO medical schools, I decided to apply to them also. Anyway, now that I found out more about osteopathic medicine, I am very excited about it. I believe I will be accepted to an M.D. medical school now. I am planning to go to a DO medical school. Now many people are telling me that I should choose the MD school since I probably will have a choice. It is starting to get on my nerves because ultimately it is my decision. Many feel that I will have more opportunities as an M.D. and that DOs don't get as much respect. We all know that it depends on the individual doctor, whether M.D. or D.O. as to how good of a doctor one is. Anyone have any similar experiences or thoughts on this?
[This message has been edited by VM (edited April 25, 1999).]