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Second try: please help. Options for non-trad.

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by realmeaning, 05.26.12.

  1. realmeaning

    realmeaning

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    Hey everyone,

    I had posted earlier with little luck, but I'm going to try to present my question differently in hopes of getting it answered. I think this is the best place for this question, but feel free to let me know if I should move it.

    I'm starting on the postbacc journey after having made the 'formal' decision a few weeks ago to finally go for the MD. I graduated a few years ago from a top school, and have a weakish 3.3 in liberal arts. I started college thinking I was going to be a doctor, but felt like I was just doing it for my parents and quit my science courses (although not before getting a C in general chem). I did however manage to get in on three research projects which were very cool.

    Anyway, I'm back in my home state now, and am free to be a full time student. I missed the deadline for the postbacc program at my state university, and have a few options now I'm hoping you can help me sort through.

    My parents live in a city with a commuter state school. The more 'legit' state school that has a med school is two and a half hours away, and also has a much higher cost of living. I'm considering just doing all my prereqs at the commuter state school and getting those done within a year. Maybe after that, I could get loans to do an SMP at the legit state school.

    I don't really want to wait a year to do the postbacc program, although I'm open to advice-- if you guys think that that will significantly help me, I will definitely consider it. I'm just trying to start fresh, I'm prepared to work hard, and I want to aim for the best med school I possibly can. Money is a factor (when is it not?), but I'm prepared to take on more loans.

    Any help is greatly appreciated. I hope that I can contribute to advice after having been around the block.

    Cheers guys.
  2. Chip N Sawbones

    Chip N Sawbones Ship's Carpenter Gold Donor

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    As long as the commuter state school is a 4-year college and not a community college, it will be just fine. The prestige of the school doesn't matter much for med school admissions; it's your grades that count.

    Your current situation isn't too bad. If you retake general chem and get very good grades in all the prereq classes you take, you will be a good candidate for a DO school. Depending on your MCAT and exactly how well you do in your classes, MD isn't out of the question either. You shouldn't need to do an SMP.
  3. realmeaning

    realmeaning

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    OMG thank you so much for replying.

    Okay, that's good to hear about the state school thing.

    Let's say I'm looking only at MD, perhaps naively. Let's say I get mostly A's in my pre-reqs and a good, maybe not great, MCAT. An SMP would bolster my case heavily for MD, right, even though it's not necessary for DO? Or perhaps there's another way to spend that year that could improve my application?
    Last edited: 05.26.12
  4. cabinbuilder

    cabinbuilder

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    It really comes down to how many pre-req's you have already taken and are planning to take over vs how many you have never taken and these will be fresh grades.

    1. If you have already taken pre-req's and are taking them over to improve the grade then the DO choice would be the wiser one since the DO side replaces the grades while the MD side averages them

    2. If you have not taken the pre-req's before then your 3.3 liberal arts GPA really is irrelevant since you need the core science grades to determine your chances. Sounds like you only took one semester of general chem and nothing else? If that is the case then you would have chance at MD.

    However, it is very difficult to come back as a non-trad and expect to pick and choose where you get to go. Yes, it is naive to limit your options to MD only as nothing is a guarantee. You definitely should apply DO as well since they tend to look at the entire application and not just crunch the numbers.
  5. realmeaning

    realmeaning

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    Yup, I've only taken Gen Chem and nothing else. That said, thanks for the reality check. Do I need to do anything differently in terms of the courses I take or general approach if I'm including DO schools in my process?
  6. Chip N Sawbones

    Chip N Sawbones Ship's Carpenter Gold Donor

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    Not really. You'll want to retake chem 1 either way. If there are any D's or F's on your transcript you can try to replace those as well, since DO schools only include the retake grade in your GPA. The only difference is that you should try to find a DO to shadow and convince him to write a LOR.
  7. TriagePreMed

    TriagePreMed Removed

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    You should plan on two years of post-bacc work, not one. You can go to the commuter state school and it will be no problem. Forget the SMP. You likely won't need it. If by the end you have something like a c3.4/s3.7 with a 32, it's entirely within your possibilities to get into an MD program. During your first year, complete as many prerequisites as you can. You don't need to retake the gen chem. 1 "C" won't kill your chances at an MD school, but if you retake and don't do better, that will severely damage you. Apply at the end of your first post-bacc year and then focus your second year on taking elective sciences: Biochem, Genetics, Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology.

    Best of luck to you.
  8. realmeaning

    realmeaning

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    Triage, thanks, that's so helpful.

    As for the elective courses, should they be at an undergrad or grad level? Also, the adcom wouldn't get to see my grades on those, right, so why would I take those after sending in my app? Or is it as a backup if I don't get any invites the first time around?
  9. realmeaning

    realmeaning

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    Got it. Thanks Chip.
  10. TriagePreMed

    TriagePreMed Removed

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    Everything at the undergraduate level.

    You take them after only to save yourself the time of applying later. Once your Fall grades come out, you can send them as an update to each school. In addition, you're showing to the school that you're committing to coursework beyond the basics and that you're taking this seriously. The more you can do to prove commitment, the more positively it reflects on you. The other alternative is to apply after the second year, but you do lose that gap year.
  11. realmeaning

    realmeaning

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    Got it. That makes sense and is very helpful. Cheers.
  12. Matt In The Hat

    Matt In The Hat

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    Check the requirements for the schools to which you're thinking of applying. Some schools require that your pre-requisite classes are complete within five years of submitting your application. So, if you graduated a few years ago, and took Gen Chem 1 as a freshman, you could be out of date with that course.
  13. realmeaning

    realmeaning

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    Will do. I hadn't thought of that, even though I'll most likely end up re-taking gen chem anyway. As it was 7 years ago now (aah!), it's probably a good idea, even for the sake of MCAT and Ochem.

    Cheers.

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