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35yr old Career Changer - Poor Undergrad

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by RebootIT, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. RebootIT

    2+ Year Member

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    I'm a 35 yr old African American male and looking to change careers.

    History:
    I graduated from college in 2004 with a GPA of 3.35 and my BCMP GPA was 2.96. My transcript reads like a horror story. It's filled with Ws and Fs.
    In 2008, I completed an MS in Computer Science with a GPA of 3.59.

    Situation:
    In my current field, I am successful, make oodles of money, have tons of free time, and hate every minute of my work. I have researched other fields, and medicine is the only thing I can see myself doing. At this point, I have zero debt and enough to pay for medical school.

    However, with my poor undergraduate grades, I feel kind of hopeless. I would like to apply to medical school in 2 years, and I realize that I need to retake courses as well as complete any missing pre-reqs.

    Questions:
    The main question, is it completely hopeless with my undergraduate studies? There were extenuating circumstances that contributed to my poor undergraduate performance. In order to achieve success at my current profession, I've had to resolve most of those issues.

    If not, would a community college or MNSCU (Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System) be a good place to take those courses? Or should I take them at the U of MN?

    TLDR: Did poorly in undergrad, looking to change careers. Is it hopeless? If not, where should I retake my courses?
     
    MrsNonTraditionalMD likes this.
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  3. Eccesignum

    Eccesignum I Narcanned Your Honor Student
    Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

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    Hello!

    35 y/o African-American female here, welcome to the party. I only wish I'd had your 3.35 cGPA when I started this :) Mine was lower than yours and was also littered with W's and F's.

    I'm just a current applicant, and there will be people further along the chain who know more than I do. But here's what I say from what I know:

    It isn't hopeless, but it does take a lot of work. You sound you've already come to terms with that, so that's good. Your science GPA is extremely important (at some places even moreso than your cumulative GPA) so the BCPM needs to come up. I think you realize this already. Without knowing how many credits of science you've taken, my advice on that is this: 1) Get your transcripts, 2) Search SDN for a GPA calculator, 3) Plug n play. This way you can put in some theoretical credits and see where it brings your cumulative and science GPA to. You will probably have to do more than just the basic pre-reqs if you've already had significant science credits, but I'd advise that anyway. I was very grateful to my upper-level sci classes when the MCAT rolled around. Plus taking a solid load of upper-level science helps prove you can hack this.

    MD programs won't care about the MS. DO programs will. By the way if you don't already know this: if you retake any class AMCAS (MD) will average the grades but AACOMAS (DO) will take the latter of the two and use that exclusively in GPA calculation. This has a huge impact for many people. Take classes at a 4-year if you can (and it sounds like you can).

    Start your clinical experiences, shadowing, and volunteering early. Quality and depth over quantity. By the time you have the stats you needs, you should also have exposure to medicine that shows you understand what you're getting into. Don't underestimate this part.

    It'll take time and nothing is guaranteed, of course. It's a long process and at the end 60% of people still don't make it. But I don't think your initial position is terrible (from the little you've said).
     
  4. RebootIT

    2+ Year Member

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    Eccesignum,

    Thank you for the quick response!

    My science GPA, based on 33 credits, is the same as the BCPM - 2.96. They include general biology, chemistry I, full year of physics, stats, and calculus. My other courses do not qualify as science. Based on the coursework required, and working full-time, I'll extend my timeline another year.. which sucks.

    I'll start by taking biology this fall, and work on clinical experiences, shadowing and volunteering as well.

    After you completed your grade repair, did you apply to MD, DO or both?
     
  5. Eccesignum

    Eccesignum I Narcanned Your Honor Student
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    I've applied to both. Happy to give you the more complete story over PM if you like.
     
  6. ehwhatsupdoc

    2+ Year Member

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    I'm just curious what you consider oodles of money? I'm having a hard time with deciding on Medicine or Computer Science as my second career (I currently work as a Clinical Laboratory Technologist). I've taken only 1 C++ course and I seem to enjoy it. But to be honest, I wouldn't consider software engineering unless it paid over 100k. One aspect I like about computer science though is that the sky is the limit with how much you want to learn. That's somewhat the case in medicine but there are more barriers to getting opportunities for cutting edge research(like needing a PhD as well as funding, FDA regulations etc.), in computer science you can do innovative research with limited funding and you don't need any graduate degree. I want to enter a field that I can always learn something new and innovative. I'm not sure which is better for that. I don't want to commit to 10 years of Medical training only to get bored with medicine after 10 years of practice.

     
  7. gyrfalcon

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    I'm in the middle of switching from computer science to medicine, and one of the main reasons was because I ran out of things to learn in CS. It may seem like there is an infinite amount to learn in computer science, but the reality is that programming languages and computing environments are really all the same at their core. Although you might sometimes be scratching your head at a problem in CS, it will always be the result of something that you can logically work out with a little bit of thinking. After all, everything running on a computer is there because someone, somewhere wrote it.

    Compare that with medicine. We're still finding new cell types, proteins, and circuits. It is highly unlikely that we will even fully figure out the structure of the human body within our lifetimes, much less the way it all works together.

    All that being said, wanting a job where you keep learning new things is not in itself enough motivation to pursue medicine, at least in my opinion. If you aren't really into the human aspect of healing then it probably is not worth the time and effort.

    Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss it further.
     
  8. gyrfalcon

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    I was in a very similar situation when I decided to try for med school: in my mid 30s, with a sub 3.0 GPA including lots of Ws and an F, working in computer science. You'll certainly be at a disadvantage compared to the students with spotless transcripts, but it can be done. I just got my third interview invite this morning, for a well-ranked MD program, so it is possible!

    There is a lot of good information in this forum. Be sure to check out the stickied post at the top: Nontrad FAQs and Helpful Links. Feel free to PM me if you want help with anything.
     
  9. EMT2ER-DOC

    EMT2ER-DOC Why so Serious?????
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    No it is not hopeless. I did poorly in undergrad and I know may people who did as well and are now doctors. But you have to understand that this will take time. And I do not mean a few months, but a few years. You MUST keep that in mind.

    First thing you need to do is take your pre-requisites. If you have not done so in your previous undergrad, then this is where you need to start. IF you were a science major and then fell into CS, then you may have these and may need to take them over depending on their age. It really should be done at a four year college and no, you do not have to do a formal post bacc program. You can do it on your own. Further discussion of where you should go from there is moot until this is resolved.

    I would also encourage your to go to the next old pre meds conference as it will give you tons of information. The 2016 conference site has not been decided on yet and it will be announced probably sometime in the fall.

    Just remember, this is a marathon and never, ever a sprint.
     
  10. EsmeraldaJellyB

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    Grades-wise, you're fine. Most ad-coms will be looking at an upward trend, so providing you ace the classes you repeat and take as pre-reqs, that shouldn't be much of a problem. As for where to take those classes, it depends on where you'd like to apply to med school. Some programs won't accept credits from community colleges, though I'd be strongly side-eyeing those programs anyway, fwiw. MNSCU is a fine option, as would be the U. Ultimately the most important thing is that you ace the classes you take, so if you think you'd be more successful in smaller classes, MNSCU might be the way to go. I'd also consider Northwestern Health Sciences University out in Bloomington. I'm planning to go there for my Post-Bac and while the program is new and the school known for being more than a little woo, they're developing a good relationship with the U of M, the class sizes are unbelievably small, the sciences are accelerated and of the three students who took the MCAT this year, two were in the 95th percentile, and the other in the 80th. So you've got options, especially if money is no object.
     
  11. Ericles

    Ericles Medical Assistant; 1st-time Med School Applicant
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    Did you do a post-bacc?
     
  12. gyrfalcon

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    Sort of. I thought I would never manage to actually get into med school, so I went back to university to get a graduate degree with the intention of doing medically-related research. While completing that degree program, I took (or retook) all of the med school prereq classes as well, and then applied VERY broadly (40+ schools). A very good recent GPA and MCAT, and interesting work experience seemed to overcome the poor grades from decades ago, at least at a few schools.

    I don't think success is ever guaranteed when you start from such a deep hole, but the chances were better than I thought when I started along the path.
     

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