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New leaf, but now what

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by K015h1k, 05.16.14.

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  1. K015h1k


    hey guys, i'm a 25 year old, bangladeshi, male, non-traditional student. i am the first generation in my entire family to go to school in america and graduate from college. i graduated with a bachelor's in autumn of 2012 and returned to college in spring 2014 for my first semester as a non-traditional student.

    as an undergrad i had 2.6 cumulative gpa. things were bad. like many others, there were non-school related factors that affected my well being and this affected my ability to do well and desire to succeed. for instance, as an undergrad i took general chemistry a total of 4 times. i dropped the class 3 times and finally passed the last time with a d+.

    fast forward a few years...

    recently, i quit my job at morgan stanley and returned to school in spring 2014 because the only thing I can ever see my self doing for the rest of my life is helping others as a physician. having a big boy job and working a 9-5 doing something i hated was a slap to my face that really woke me up. i was very nervous quitting my job and coming back to school, but i also knew i had a lot of will to succeed. i took general chemistry 1 and biology 1 this past semester. i received an A in general chemistry 1 and a B+ in biology 1.

    i now have the confidence and belief that i will excel as a non-traditional student and get grades that would have gotten me into medical school if i had done this well as an undergrad. i will continue to take the pre-recs for medical school and should be ready to apply around spring 2015.

    the question is, WHAT NOW? i firmly believe that a goal without a plan is just wishful thinking...
    - i don't think i have the ability to get into a medical school in the states with a 2.6 cumulative gpa (what do you guys think?).
    - i don't know if i should aim for DO schools in the states or MD schools in the Caribbean. also, i keep hearing that things in the medical field are currently changing drasticlly and something about dual accreditation (what are your thoughts on going for DO vs MD in the Caribbean? also, i'd appreciate if someone would be willing to provide some links explaining some of these new changes in the medical field).
    - with respect to DO schools and grade replacements, i can end up with a pretty solid science gpa, but i will not be able to repeat a physiology class that i received a d in as an undergrad do to a shift from quarter to semesters system at my college. this is really going to mess with my science gpa and i don't know what to do about that. Any thoughts?
    - i don't know which schools to look at in the Caribbean or which ones i might have a shot at. i've heard of the "big 3" or the "big 4" but don't really know much other than that (what schools do you think i might have a shot at? i'd appreciate any links or info regarding Caribbean schools in general. what makes them different from each other, etc).
    - if i do go to the Caribbean for medical school, all i know is that i need help paying for school and that i don't want to be strictly limited to which field i can get into in the states. currently i think that i want to become an endocrinologist or a psychiatrist. i am also interested in neuroscience. again, i want to be able to get into these fields and need financial help. any information is appreciated.
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  3. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion 7+ Year Member

    Resident [Any Field]
    First things first, what's your US residency status? If you aren't a US permanent resident or citizen, you can't get federal student loans (as you probably know). For the sake of planning, med school on the US system costs $250k, and unless you have wealth you have to borrow that, and you can't borrow federal student loans until you get that green card.

    Second, you've got some basic misunderstandings about how things work. Which is fine for now. But you'll want to start building a network of people who can reliably advise you. SDN can help, but you need real people. A convenient way to build this network is among your premed classmates, and at a regular clinical volunteering gig, 4 hrs/wk, such as pushing stretchers in an ER, start now and keep doing it forever. To repeat, get a clinical volunteering job, now. This isn't optional.
    You should feel great about being able to get better grades.

    But. It took you 5 tries to get an A in genchem 1, and every grade you get that isn't an A is a step away from med school. So yes, feel great, but you still have to step it up.
    No, you won't. You can't fix 4 years of undergrad damage with one year of new coursework. You're looking at 2-3 more years of full time school before you'll be ready to apply.
    This forum is full of people who recovered from that kind of damage, but understand that it's a ridiculous thing to do. You have not yet produced the academic assets that get normal premeds into med school. Producing those assets now is crazy expensive and goes against all rational thinking about financial and emotional stability. You have to do better academic work than you've ever done, for many years, before you have a decent chance to get into med school.

    Also understand that any further undergrad coursework is included in your cumulative GPA. Old and new together.
    DO is a much better bet. Carib is a stupid move. But don't get too far ahead of yourself - you're not in range of applying DO for 2-3 years either.

    There are no DO schools in the Carib. US student loans will cover Carib schools but again, Carib schools are a stupid choice.
    Don't worry about one class in your past. Don't worry about the quarter/semester conversion. Worry about the years of classes in your future in which you need to get straight A's.
    You'd be foolish to consider a Carib med school. You have too much stacked against you already. Don't add the stigma of being a sort-of-US-IMG to your troubles.
    One last time, forget about the Carib. Get your residency status, start clinical volunteering, figure out how to take 2-3 more years of undergrad, and get straight A's. That's all you should be doing for a good long time.

    Best of luck to you.
  4. K015h1k


    firstly, thank you for your response. i noticed that you posed a question to me. i wanted to answer your question, clarify some things, and ask you a few questions if that is okay. while these questions are in response to your response it is fine by me if anyone else wants to reply to my new questions (they are underlined). considering i'm kind of a noob at this point, the more info the better.

    - First things first, what's your US residency status?
    i am a US citizen

    No, you won't. You can't fix 4 years of undergrad damage with one year of new coursework. You're looking at 2-3 more years of full time school before you'll be ready to apply.
    my first semester was spring 14. i will be taking classes this summer up until spring 15. that is a total of 4 semesters. 2 years. IF assuming that i will be applying after spring 15 to DO schools that allow grade replacement, hypothetically assuming that i will get straight A's here on out, and that i wont be able to replace my physiology D+ grade, i calculated that i will have a cumulative gpa of 3.173 and a cumulative science gpa of 3.636. in this hypothetical case, i know that the cumulative gpa will not be very competative and that the cumulative science gpa will be just okay. do you think that i might have a shot in this case? what are your thoughts considering the hypothetical upwards grade trend? i have heard that some schools look at your most recent credit hours as well...
    also, i have not made up my mind on whether i want to stay in school for another year (repairing my gpa or doing some type of special masters or post bac) after taking all the pre-recs for medical school and applying. i have a feeling that i might have a shot at some of the top carib schools if i apply after spring 15, but i don't know if i want to dive into that or hold back for DO...

    - DO is a much better bet. Carib is a stupid move.
    everyone seems to have their own opinion about this. can you please elaborate on this please? why is DO a much better bet in your opinion and why is the carib such a stupid move? i know that you can probably write a whole 10+ page essay on this topic, but some of the main and important facts would be very much appreciated... on a side note, i do have a few friends that got into the "big 3/4" and matched.

    - US student loans will cover Carib schools but again, Carib schools are a stupid choice.
    by any chance, do you know off the top of your head if US student loans will cover all or at least most carib schools?

    - start clinical volunteering
    you mentioned volunteering several times in your response and this is something i am really struggling with. i spent most of this past spring semester focusing on my studies. i didn't want to dive in head first and take a bunch of credit hours or get too carried away with extracurriculars. i basically have this summer up until spring 15 to build up my extracurriculars and I am really struggling with what i want to devote my time to. for now, i know that i will be a founding father of a south asian fraternity. i also plan to join REACH, a suicide prevention organization. i will also shadow a MD and a DO (how many doctors and how many of each type do you think i should aim for?) i want to get involved in some time of research, but am having a hard time doing that. what is your opinion on exactly what i need to join/do? specifically, what should i defiantly do vs. what can i get away with not doing if i cannot squeeze it in this upcoming school year? for instance, i have a few medical student friends who say to make sure to volunteer, and try to do research but don't stress if i cant.

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