Dec 5, 2010
Curious to know what my chances are for medical school in general.

Will condense as necessary if no one is patient enough to read through all of this.

- 2007 Graduate of the Coast Guard Academy
- Majored in Marine and Environmental Science (Chem and Bio Tracks w/in major)
- GPA: 3.42
- Bio/Chem/Phys/Math GPA: 3.36
- Total of 149 sem. hours of coursework.
- Unfortunately I have 2 C+'s and 1 Cs on my transcript, and one of them was in Inorganic Chem...ouch. Made the mistake of taking Inorgo while doing a semester long exchange at the Naval Academy, so I was non-chem major in a class full of chem majors and not taking the co-requisite classes that would have helped me out in the class. The the C+s were in a Literature course as a freshman and Criminal Justice course as a senior.
- Summer Internship with the International Ice Patrol; completed a research project with them and followed up with a 1 credit "Projects in Mar Sci" the following semester (in retrospect, should have signed for the 4 credit one as I did that much work).
- Extracurricular activities while at the Academy = 4 yrs on the crew team.

Experiences since then:

- 2007-2009: Deck Watch Officer/Underway Officer of the Deck on the USCGC POLAR SEA, the world's most powerful non-nuclear icebreaker. Primary duty: While U/W, While on watch, responsible for safe operation of the ship and the safety of all 140+ people while executing all required missions.
Other duties:
Administration/Medical Division Officer, Exchange (Ship's Store) Officer, Helicopter Landing Signal Officer, Aviation Training Team Leader, Urinalysis Coordinator, DANTES Test Control Officer.
While assigned to the POLAR SEA, I also attended the Coast Guard's Basic Boarding Officer Course, subsequently certified as a Boarding Officer, and became the ship's Law Enforcement Officer.

- 2009-Present: Waterside Security Section Division Officer/Deployable Team Leader with Maritime Safety and Security Team Seattle
Primary Duty: Deployable Team Leader for apportioned and non-apportioned Port, Waterways, and Coastal Security Missions, responsible for safe mission execution and safety and well-being of deployed personnel.
While in the office, supervise 25+ members within my division, ensure a training, logistics, and maintenance is conducted to be mission ready, work in conjunction with planning staff as necessary for future operations. Oversee the division budget.
Other duties: Collateral Duty Civil Rights/Equal Opportunity Officer, Command Financial Specialist, Command Duty Officer.

Currently have most pre-requisite courses for most med schools, except for hard biology, which I haven't done since my AP/IB course in high school. Unfortunately my college does not provide credit for AP/IB courses, so I will be taking two quarters of Cellular and Molecular Biology with the University of Washington (They are night continuing education courses, but you get actual credit and grades, as they are offered by the Dept of Bioengineering and can be used to requirements for their Master in Pharmaceutical Bioengineering Degree). Also hopefully I can get UW to reflect all my AP/IB courses on my transcript as it would undoubtedly look good on my application.

Took some practice MCATs, but not under any conditions simulating the real things, so I won't post the scores here. I'm forecasting around a 30+ by June.

Currently doing some shadowing in both Family Practice and Emergency Medicine. Currently leaning towards emergency medicine. I think the EM aspects of Disaster Medicine fits in well with my background in the Incident Command System (and I have practical experience in that deploying in support of the Deepwater Horizon response) and the aspect of Toxicology fits in well with my (limited) background and interest in Hazardous Materials.

I know my GPA is lower that most Med School matriculees (and I know the C's don't help, but I would hope that the Adcom would be cognizant of the rigors of a service academy education). I would also hope that my work experience would be of interest to the Adcom. I can't think of many 27 year olds that have the same leadership and management experiences that I've had, nor jobs that entail the same amount of responsibility that I've had. I don' want to sound cocky, but I think I'd be able to wow any adcom in an interview.

My top choice would be the University of Washington. I can claim Washington residency. My Home of Record is Florida, so I can claim Florida Residency as well, so I would put in for all the FL schools as well.

I can claim 36 months of post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits, so that's how I would pay for most of med school.

I'm coming up near the end of my 5 year commitment. I'm taking a risk by putting in for Med School, because in order to separate from service to attend med school, I would have to forgo applying to Coast Guard sponsored graduate opportunities, where I would be able to attend grad school (in certain limited science and engineering fields) at CG expense while collecting a full paycheck. Yes it's a good deal even with the payback time associated with it.

You all think I should take the risk? Your opinions?


The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
Camp SDN: The Place for Summer Fun
Your GPAs are more in line, right now, with those of a competitive application for a DO med school.

Those applying to MD schools in the past three years with a 3.42/29 had a 27ish% chance of an MD acceptance, with a 3.42/32, a ~39% chance, and with a 35, a 53 ish% chance.

You have not specified your clinical experience. What does a urinalysis coordinator do? What are your plans for working with some sick people to gain some experience, if you haven''t already done this for a prolonged period of time? You have the shadowing situations in hand, I see. You have research and leadership. Probably some teaching experience, somehow. Crew for intercollegiate athletics. Don't forget to include some hobbies and artistic endeavors.

If a college doesn't give you AP credit for the tests you took, then AMCAS will not give you credit, BTW.

On the Primary med school applications, you will be obliged to claim a state of residence. I think that picking Florida might be in your best interest, since there are so many med schools there, and they have good variety in selectivity. I think it would be a good idea to apply to some DO schools as well.


Ether Man
10+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2007
The ivory tower.
Attending Physician
Agree with Cat above.
Apply to a few DO schools as well unless you kill the MCAT (>38). That way you'll likely get in the next cycle, one way or the other.
You MAY kill the interview, but where your application seems to be lacking is proof you understand what you're getting into. If they don't think you understand medicine, you won't get an interview. Maximize all clinical activity.
The new GI Bill is great, way better than I had. Use that and get out. Don't even think about HPSP.
One other word of advice. There are many former military all over the medical world, however don't assume anyone reading your essays or interviewing you will understand any of the military jargon (leave, watch, duty, etc). Dumb it all down to civilian terms.
You will have to pick a state to apply as a resident of. If you did get into the other state, you might be able to petition to change your status after you matriculate.