mizzoudude

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I am just like the rest of you here in that my GPA is low. I drank and had sex too much in college. My GPA is a 3.29 with a 27 MCAT. I am graduating in May. All of this leads to a little bit of depression as I realized what I screwed up. Living in Missouri is also a huge pain with the weather, so I have decided to move. I am planning to move to California with my friend. What do you all think that I should do? After I move, I plan to work for a year and then pursue my options. I was thinking that I should retake all my pre-reqs (approx. 30 credits?) and ace them all. This should lift my GPA a little bit. I also plan to retake the MCAT and get atleast a 31. Does this seem like a good option. And will achieving this make admissions committees realize that I am committed to succeeding? And want to pursue this career? Should I take upper level classes or basic pre-reqs again? Thanks for all your help. This forum is great as it connects all kinds of people together.
 

Phil Anthropist

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Dude,

I used to live in Missouri (St. Louis not Columbia) and I loved it. How did you do with your prereqs? I think that it's pointless to retake prereqs unless you had grades below a C, you didn't understand the material very well (with a 27 on the MCAT you must have had a decent grasp of the material), or you're shooting for the DO route. I think the better route would be to take more advanced classes (e.g., upper division biology courses) and demonstrate your success that way.

However, if you're willing to go the DO route (there's two osteopathic schools in Cali and two in Missouri) it might be a good idea to retake prereqs. If you retake courses, only your most recent one shows up on the AACOMAS (osteopathic) application. So if you had all Cs in your prereqs and then you decided to retake all your prereqs and received As, only your As would show up. It doesn't take long to realize that you can make a huge gpa leap this way (if you want to see exactly how much, try making a spreadsheet on Excel. But it wouldn't surprise me at all if you went from a 3.27 to around a 3.5ish for the purposes of the DO application, but don't quote me on that). Also, if you're going to retake the MCAT, it makes the most sense to retake the test after you retake all the prereqs.

You didn't mention anything about your extracurricular pursuits other than drinking (which as you know is overabundant in Missouri ;) ) and sex. I'm guessing you won't be putting these down as extracurriculars on your med apps! :D While you're working out in Cali, you might want to consider getting in some meaningful extracurriculars as well if you think your undergrad ECs could use some improvement. Maybe you already have enough clinical/volunteer experience and life experiences, but if you're working in Cali for a year and have some free time, don't neglect your ECs.

It sounds to me like this is what you're looking at:

2005-2006: Work in California
2006-2007: Retake all prerequisites
Spring 2007: MCAT (FYI it will be computerized at this time)
2007 Summer: File AMCAS/AACOMAS
2007-2008: Application cycle. Don't forget to do something big here--do research, volunteer, special masters program, etc.

I think your plan sounds reasonable.

Most of the premeds in the postbac forum would not be willing to go this route (myself included) given the choice, but for the time it takes to work in California and retake all the prerequisites, you could already be done with basic sciences in a foreign medical school. Caribbean med students spend their first two years in the Caribbean, but the last two years (clinicals) are all in the United States. Well not all, but for the big ones (SGU, Ross, AUC, Saba) this is true. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into though--and make sure you know the licensure issues involved (the ones I mentioned above have the least problems, but states like Texas and Cali are a little more strict). Depending on what specialty you're considering, it can be a viable option.

But in all honesty, your stats aren't that bad (some of ours are atrocious) so if you want to get into a US med school it's still a realistic possibility. Just understand that it will require time and effort. Just to give you an example, I graduated in 2004. To reach my goals, I don't expect to apply until 2007 (2004-2005 undergrad postbac work, 2005-2006 hard science one-year masters, 2006- 2007/2008 MPH). So the earliest I'll matriculate is 2008. That's FOUR YEARS after graduating from my undergrad. I realize this is a long time--in fact, I could get an MD in that amount of time! :p But four years to get where I want to go in life and achieve my goals is time well spent. For others, I'm sure my plan sounds like pure insanity. :) Now my plan isn't typical--you don't have to spend four years unless you're crazy (me). But the point is it does take time.

Another reasonable option, given your stats, would be to enroll in Rosalind Franklin's MS in Applied Physiology program. It's one year and if you do well enough, you can be admitted into Chicago Medical School for the following year. It's expensive, but I think it's the best program if your goal is to get into a US allo school ASAP. Check out the recent threads.

Whatever you choose, good luck!
 

lightnk102

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mizzoudude said:
I am just like the rest of you here in that my GPA is low. I drank and had sex too much in college. My GPA is a 3.29 with a 27 MCAT. I am graduating in May. All of this leads to a little bit of depression as I realized what I screwed up. Living in Missouri is also a huge pain with the weather, so I have decided to move. I am planning to move to California with my friend. What do you all think that I should do? After I move, I plan to work for a year and then pursue my options. I was thinking that I should retake all my pre-reqs (approx. 30 credits?) and ace them all. This should lift my GPA a little bit. I also plan to retake the MCAT and get atleast a 31. Does this seem like a good option. And will achieving this make admissions committees realize that I am committed to succeeding? And want to pursue this career? Should I take upper level classes or basic pre-reqs again? Thanks for all your help. This forum is great as it connects all kinds of people together.
I'd recommend doing an SMP instead of retaking all your pre-req's. Some of the more popular ones are Rosalind Franklin (as Phil mentioned), Georgetown, BU, Bryn Mawr, etc.. I'm not familiar with the SMP's available in California, so maybe someone else can speak to that.

Your thoughts about the MCAT are right on target.

There are a lot of people in these forums who applied to medical school successfully with undergraduate GPA's much lower than yours (myself included). Try the Low-GPA thread for some stories. Many have walked this road before you - so you're not alone! I think you're not giving yourself enough credit. Your stats are good enough that you can work with them without having to start from scratch.

Best of luck! :)
 
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mizzoudude

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Phil and Ltnk thank you so much for your responses to my post. It really helps to see that many of us, though realizing what we really want to do in life...loose sight of these goals....college CAN be a big distraction.
I used to work as a house orderly and now I work as a neurodiagnostic technician...I will soon be certified in polysomnography (taking the test in june).
EC wise...I drove for a program called stripes..giving drunk students a ride home...I enjoyed it very much...did premed club, South Asian Students associated, volunteered at a hospital, and volunteered at the food bank. I didn't do all this to boost my resume however, I really did like doing all this. It gave me pleasure to help others...that might sound selfish...but is there such thing as completely selfless helping?
I am also not 21 yet...I will be graduating in may...but I am turning 21 in april. All my friends are 22 or are almost 22. So I have a slight advantage with age...and I am in no hurry.
I will definately look into SMPs in California. Once again, thank you so much for all the help and any other help would be great (i.e. california SMPs). Thanks again guys...I REALLY appreciate it.
 

Phil Anthropist

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Your ECs sound fine...
mizzoudude said:
I will definately look into SMPs in California. Once again, thank you so much for all the help and any other help would be great (i.e. california SMPs).
Well, my definition of a real SMP program would go something like this: A rigorous one-year masters program (30 or more credits) intended to strengthen the qualifications of applicants for professional schools by providing coursework shared with medical students. lightnk102 mentioned most of them (but there are a few others). But for California, I think these two are as close as you'll get:

Loma Linda University- Biomedical Sciences Certificate (1 year)
Some classes are taken with the School of Medicine students, but if one matriculates to Loma Linda's med school, the courses must be retaken. The program is 28 credit hours and includes 3 credits of religion (Loma Linda has a Seventh Day Adventist affiliation) and up to 6 credits of research. It is a graduate certificate program--a master's degree is not awarded.

Stanford University: MS in Biological Sciences
I don't think anyone really knows the details on this program. It is a one-year program (a very expensive one year program), but other than that no one seems to know much about it. I believe it requires the GRE. A few have made comments about the program (e.g., you can take courses with Stanford med students), but none of these comments have been substantiated. You might want to look into it, but if you're looking for a program in California, I think Loma Linda would be the better choice.

I'm sure there's other programs out in California, but these are the only ones I'm aware of.
 

daveshnave

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Mizzoudude- don't fret... you're grades aren't all that low, and the same goes for your MCAT. If you had at least C's in your basic science courses, I would not retake these. Personally, I think your best option is to go to a post-bacc program where you take medical school-level courses, and prove yourself there. It's tough, and you'll work your butt off, but if you're truly serious, than that's the time to hunker down. Proving that you're capable of doing well in medical school courses means a lot to admissions committees. Plus, you'll save yourself a lot of time. I know you said this isn't that important to you, but honestly, I see no reason why it should take you 3-4 years before you would START medical school. It's been 4-5 years since I was in your position, but back then I looked at the programs at Drexel, Georgetown, and Chicago Med (Finch) because these were all programs with medical school courses for post-baccs. For me, it was great. I finished college with a 3.3 and couldn't get in anywhere.... too much work/partying/outside activities. I loved every minute of college, but I wasn't exactly focused. I went to the Drexel IMS program and can't speak highly enough about it. After several years of rejections, I finally received multiple acceptances after completing one year of post-bacc work. I won't lie- these programs are difficult and you really have to buckle down. If you're serious though, the payoff can be tremendous, with only a year invested vs. 3-4. Many of my classmates who weren't accepted after the first year completed the second year and acquired a master's degree in medical sciences... virtually all of these (25-30)were accepted into US medical schools, the vast majority allopathic. Whether or not you retake your pre-reqs, I would NOT take 3-4 years to get to medical school. Short of going to graduate school, there's no real need to do this, and if you dilute your coursework too much, you won't prove to admissions committees that your'e capable of a tough courseload. BTW, if you do a post-bacc program, I most certainly would NOT work, no matter how much you think you need the money. You will need ALL your time during this year to study. I didn't have ANY parental help during college/post-bacc/med school. I took out loans for all of this, which sucks, but I know that I wouldn't have done as well in my post-bacc if I had to work, and consequently wouldn't have gotten into medschool. Look at your priorities from a realistic point of view. Learn to live on loans for this year to get by... even if you have to limit activities. It will pay off once you get your med school acceptance. Good luck....
 

daveshnave

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Re: Phil Anthropist's post:

I'm not too familiar with the Loma Linda and Stanford programs, as I don't believe these were around 5 years ago when I was looking at post-baccs... to my knowledge there aren't any other post-baccs in california where you take upper division bio and/or med school courses. There are lots of post-bacc programs in Cali, but most are for people who haven't taken med school pre-reqs... the remainder which aren't are for minorities (at least as of 4-5 years back). Good luck.