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A thread for those of us who don't seem to fit the mold of "perfect premed"

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by cavalier329, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. cavalier329

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    On vacation, I find myself browsing this site often. I see plenty of "what are my chances" from students with 3.8 GPAs and I can't help but feel a sense of jealousy. I wish my GPA was as high as that and I wish my transcript was a bit stronger...but then that stops when I look at myself again.

    I think of myself as someone who had to claw their way out of a bad spot during my first year of college. I had a 3.0, and like many other students in a similar situation on SDN, I was given the advice of "getting straight As from here on out and you'll be fine." Easier said than done. I did what I could for my second year and into my third. I came out with 3.5 and now I am looking at which med schools to apply to.

    Still, I am told my GPA is weak because it probably is but I like to look at the rest of my application when I see this and see an overall picture that I am proud of because it is my own and I gave it everything I got....with some energy left for the rest of the long-haul. I never did anything because I was told to do it. I found ECs, research, and activities that I loved and pursued them with an intense drive. I also chose to major in history because I was at a university that prided itself on the resources available which highlight American history. I have often held letters of historical Americans that have shaped the nation we live in today in my studies of history...and I loved every second it it. I don't look back once and tell myself that I should have done things differently or that I should have been a science major and taken more "upper level" coursework. I did what I could and I did what I enjoyed which almost always included my premed courses and ECs.

    I have decided that med students come in thousands of variations. We all don't have to be the same as far as coursework, GPA, MCAT, and ECs are concerned. I think one of the few problems with SDN is that a sense of conformity is often encouraged.

    We all want this bad enough that we spend hours on this site...we eat, sleep, and breathe med school. But I think many of us need to take a step back when commenting on others and remember that we actually DON'T need to fit the mold of the perfect premed student. This is not an excuse for me not doing better academically. A 3.8 will always look better than a 3.5...but so be it. I cant change that now and it is what it is.

    We all know what it takes to be a doctor these days. So I want to give this advice to those of you who are in a similar spot as I am...with a not so hot GPA, an immeasurable amount of stress, and a sense that you are a minority amidst hundreds of "perfect premeds". Work hard and don't quit. I can't tell you to get all A's because that is not always possible. Work hard and don't make any decisions which you will regret when your semester grades come back. Don't decide to go out one night when you have a test in 2 days and sacrifice that time that you know you should be studying. If you do this, then I guarantee your grade situation will improve.

    Study what you enjoy as long as you take your med school pre-reqs. Don't feel pressured to take upper level courses because you hear its what you need to do as per SDN. Visit a knowledgeable pre health adviser and discuss THAT with him or her. But again, STUDY WHAT YOU ENJOY...don't fall into the trap of doing everything that you THINK you need to do to get into medical school.

    These, among other messages, are ones that you will find regularly on SDN. Many posters are FULL of useful and very helpful information. But many other posters hide this useful advice behind comments of negativity and just flat out incorrect/discouraging information to fuel whatever sick motivation which exists in their own mind. It is this discouraging info that we often lock our minds onto because we are always looking for ways to improve. It is a natural reaction.

    As a "below average" premed that wants med school bad enough...I assure you that it is in reach as long as you want it bad enough. Choose your advice on SDN carefully and never give up. Words will remain words but only you can make it actually happen and work in your favor.
     
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  3. ejay286

    ejay286 Member
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    You've got a 3.5, a 34, and you're from a pretty good state. If you don't get in I highly doubt it would be because of your numbers.
     
  4. cavalier329

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    My numbers reflect the work I had to do to pull myself out of the hole I was in. When I began with a low GPA, I questioned whether I could even make myself competitive and I did, on my own terms. Thats what my post is about.

    my posted MCATs reflect practice tests as well...we shall only see about that.
     
  5. ejay286

    ejay286 Member
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    Oh sorry, I admit I didn't read the whole thing so I thought it was one of those "raise your hand if you have low stats" threads. You seem to be in pretty good shape though....an adcom would be foolish not to admit you.
     
  6. cavalier329

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    Haha thanks...but again, the post isn't about my chances at med school haha
     
  7. yowhatup

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    i think u'll get in... u go to Uva?
     
  8. anon1214

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    I think it's great that you don't find it necessary to fit into that mold, but those standards weren't created by crazy overachievers. there's a good reason that everyone freaks out about not having a high enough gpa/ mcat combo. it's not because everyone wants to get into a top 20 med school. your app simply won't be looked at if you don't pass a cutoff limit on some adcom's computer. and even if you have those numbers, you still might not get in. Med school is COMPETITIVE. Life is fun, but that has nothing at all to do with attempting to work toward that "perfect premed" standard in order to increase one's chances of getting into med school.
     
  9. cavalier329

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    did you even read the whole post?

    I never justified having a low GPA. My post simply implied that there is more to one's application than numbers.

    I also stressed improving your transcript when you find yourself in a GPA hole like I was. Though I offered a different way to go about it, rather than saying, "get all As."

    I also never said you can get in with low numbers, nor did I ever say that a low GPA was OK. There was a greater message in my post which you seemed to miss.

    Read the whole thing if you didn't. I am not denying the truth of your statement, but my post didn't really have to do with your comment.
     
  10. Fakesmile

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    You shouldn't always expect people to read the whole post if you wrote an article. ;)
     
  11. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Thousands of applicants each year do not get any offers of admission. About half (or more) of those who apply through AMCAS do not matriculate; while some attend a medical school in Texas, an osteopathic school or go international, the bottom line is: if you believe it and you work hard, it might not be enough to get you into medical school. While you work toward your goal, give some consideration to what you will do for the rest of your life if you aren't admitted to medical school.

    Be realistic. Doing what you love and doing good, and being a nice person does not guarantee that an adcom will see past the academic blunders and recognize a diamond in the rough. Work hard but recognize your limitations and find ways to use your gifts in a way that is fulfilling.

    (Just for the record, I am not, nor have I ever been, an applicant to medical school. I am not a physician but I am a med school faculty member and adcom member. That's all I'll say about myself; I just don't want my message to be considered sour grapes.)
     
  12. parliamentarian

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    .
     
    #11 parliamentarian, Dec 30, 2008
    Last edited: May 19, 2014
  13. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    But I don't want to go to graduate school /pouts*






















    *But seriously, your words speak so much truth. It's terrible to have the tunnel vision that so many people have about becoming a doctor that a "reality check" is sometimes needed.
     
  14. medhope31

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    I really like cavalier's post and opinion. This forum is really awesome for the advice and support that premeds and med students give to each other from their own experiences. However, I also feel like it makes med school admissions much more of a game than it really is.

    3.5 and 34 is NOT severely deficient, its just sitting at the edge of admissions standards. I think that a candidate with these scores, a passion for whatever he or she is doing and demonstration of that passion is a much more likely to get into med school than a premed who has phenomenal scores, but has nothing to say interviews, and whose ECs seem like a check list of the "premed required ECs"

    The main thing that most people are missing on this forum is the passion factor. You have to be dedicated to something and show some unique skill that shows you will be a leader in the field.
     
  15. flip26

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    I think the OP has done a very good job of digging out of a not-too-deep GPA hole, and with another year of all As, he should be in decent shape.

    But the MCAT is key for him. OP, are the MCAT scores on your MDApps actual, a projection, or averages of practice tests? If actual, they are very good - and don't do something crazy like a retake to score higher - but if not actual, you really need to dig in and get a good MCAT score...good luck.
     
  16. Amal

    Amal Advancing Ahead
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    Nice encouragement cavalier, but it seems like when people express their ideas or thoughts on here, they tend to receive antagonizing and irrelevant comments before the appreciative ones come rolling in.

    Thank you for taking the time to encourage people and warning us against the feeling of stress because we may see better stats.
     
    #15 Amal, Dec 30, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  17. cavalier329

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    my MCAT scores are a reflection of my latest practice exam.

    I certainly believe in what LizzyM said. I hope that came across in my message, if not, then that is my fault and I should have been more clear. My intention is not to provide a false sense of security for applicants that do not meet the academic limits of a particular school. I suppose my main point is to encourage some of the younger premeds that all is not lost with a bad semester or two and to take some advice on SDN with a grain of salt. I think it is easy for someone to tell a struggling premed to pull a 4.0 semester for 2 more years. I think we should all try to offer some more constructive advice sometimes.

    If you want it, work hard for it and do what you know needs to be done. Hopefully it will all pay off in the end.
     
    #16 cavalier329, Dec 30, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  18. Premed Worrier

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    OP, good post. I see a T on the writing sample coming your way. But, really the information on your post is very informative and I am sure that many people will find it informative. Good luck with your app.
     
  19. Zona Pellucida

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    Great Post.

    The only thing that worries me is Biology IS what I love to study.

    I sometimes feel I will be lost in the crowd as it is the major a lot of people pick because they think it is the major you need to get into medical school.

    I would be unhappy in any other major... Hopefully it works out in the end.

    I'm a 3.73 cumulative (Junior year) ... lower sGPA at 3.3 because General Chemistry brought me down (one C..one B).

    One more semester to go... and the MCAT in May.

    My ECs also worry me...

    I see people on here with lists and lists of crazy accomplishments that I do not have. I shadow, I volunteer, I do research, and I try to get good grade.

    We'll see.....
     
  20. jaydar

    jaydar MS2
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    I couldn't agree more! Mold-breakers come in all forms: non-trads, post-baccs, comeback stories, and they all bring something completely different to the table.

    I'm excited about my future and my applications to med schools because I know that what I've done with my time, while it hasn't consisted of being president of the pre-med society at my university, has been completely worthwhile and has only bolstered my conviction that medicine is what I am meant to do.

    So, I'm completely with you on that one--what's done is done, just work hard with what you have. Good luck with the time comes for you! :)
     
  21. indianstar

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    I agree. My undergrad school has a 100% acceptance rate for all students who had a GPA of 3.5 or above and scored above 30 on the MCAT. You just have to choose the right schools for your application.
    PS- I don't believe in the perfect pre-med.
     
    #20 indianstar, Dec 30, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  22. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Archerize It
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    My school has a 25% acceptance rate, even with those stats, so HAH
     
  23. itsallthesame

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    Hey, OP, I feel you. My GPA blows by sdn standards. But the fact is, the admission process is going well. Shocking, eh? Sure, a 3.5 (I'm also a firm believer that GPA as a number is meaningless without the name of a university and a list of classes taken attached).

    Funny story: recent publication looked for predictors of success in surgical residency and found one of the best predictors of success to be participation in team sports.

    I happened to get recruited for athletics long before medical school ambitions came along. It's not an excuse, but the 25-30 hours a week (that left me physically exhausted all the time, as long as school was going) plus a part time job didn't let me concentrate solely on studying. And it's not like I could just quit when I wanted to go to med school (well, I could have, but I had made a commitment to my team).

    Case in point: I'm a firm believer that the admissions process generally serves to select the people who deserve to be in medical school: smart, talented, motivated and moderately selfless. If you have all these things and would make a good doctor, you bust your ass, you'll get in somewhere. Address your deficiencies if they exist, take time off, meet people. I know it sounds extreme, but anyone half way decent can swing some sort of academic job (at least washing dishes in a lab). And if you spend 20-30 hours a week doing free overtime, reading papers, and contribute intellectually to research/medicine, you'll get noticed. And once people decide to go to bat for you, if you'll be fine.
     
  24. Lukkie

    Lukkie Membership Revoked
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    my GPA blows by all standards
     
  25. shaggybill

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    Not by mine.
     
  26. 236116

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    what, over 3 applicants?
     
  27. Avoidthetiger

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    I'm not a perfect pre-med student! so yay for not being alone! I was starting to worry after reading people's post on this site. Not only do I have a 3.5[hate CWRU]/28S [i fail soooo bad at physics]... but I just finished my Presidency of my school's Amnesty International chapter and my only consistant voluntering experience has been at an animal shelther [though im helping High school kids study for the ACT now]. Yet, I've know I wanted to be a doctor since I was 17. But since I have outside interests I wanted to explore them in college before being locked down in the medical work [Not that Ive havent had experience with the medical field, such as Internships at Northwestern memorial hospital, Cleveland Clinic research assistant]. But still, my application is an odd one.... which might explain why I haven't been interviewed yet. Still hope for the new year.
     
  28. Raryn

    Raryn Infernal Internist / Enigmatic Endocrinologist
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    Isn't there some sort of length limit for signatures? This one is friggen huge.
     
  29. bruinhd

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    i want to deliver this message to everyone who reads SDN:

    when you see trolls flaunting here and there about their 3.8 and 3.9 GPAs, don't despair.

    GPA is only one aspect of your application. However, it IS a good indicator of who you are -- if that is ALL that you are (or all that you have to show them).

    Do you get what I'm saying?

    I'm saying that if you got straight C's in ochem, the med schools are not going to give you two looks, unless...

    you give them several other reasons to. So if you have a low GPA, please do not despair. Instead try to focus on your positive aspects.

    The same goes for dudes who post their 37 and 38 MCAT scores. Ignore them. That's what I did, and I got in. What else is there to say?
     

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