Advice for SMP/Postbacc/What to do

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cloudyhaze

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Okay so I really want to find someone to talk to for advice but I haven’t, if you’ve given this a read thank you and it means a lot. I (24F) graduated college in May 2020 and was thinking about pursuing a MS in Biomedical Sciences or an SMP to bring up my GPA, or show academic improvement in rigorous courses. My cGPA is a 3.1 and sGPA is a 2.9. I know they are not competitive stats at all, which is why I want to do well on the MCAT.

After graduating, I didn’t apply for an SMP due to COVID and I remember being hesitant because everything was online, so I started working as a medical scribe in an urgent care, full time, for about a year and a half. This definitely solidified for me that I wanted to be a doctor. I have a lot of previous volunteer/work history as well.

Last year (2021), I applied to a few SMP’s without an MCAT score, I did not get accepted to the ones I wanted to go to so I did not go. I quit my job a few months ago to study for the MCAT (part-time wasn’t an option) and had plans to take the MCAT in April and apply to SMP’s for a second round, It’s July 10th and I am not where I want to be with the MCAT, those around me are just telling me to take it because I have been studying for months now (it’s been about 6, it has really been a struggle and has definnnitely affected my mental health) but I know this is not where I want to be, and I’d rather give myself more time to improve instead of having a bad score.

There are a few SMP’s that do not require the MCAT that I will apply to now (I know I am late in the cycle, but I’d rather try than not) and could potentially submit practice AAMC test scores to.

However, in the case that I am not accepted, I am really unsure of what to do. It has been 2 years since I graduated college, and I’m scared to push this off another year because I don’t know of many programs that start their curriculum in the winter. I can apply to a MS program that isn’t the most “reputable” but it would be something. Some people have suggested just going to the Caribbean but I wanted to take a shot of at least applying for DO in the US. I am considering a postbacc but I am not sure what would be the better option at this point? The thought of pushing this off another year depresses me.

At the end of the day, in general I’ve been having trouble finding someone to talk to or help guide me through this or offer insight. If you’ve been in a similar situation or can offer some advice, that would be much appreciated. Thank you.

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Focus on the MCAT first. Even if you were able to succeed in the SMP and get yourself a foot in the door (guaranteed II), a poor MCAT score might push u right back out. If you're talking about the current cycle, I think the applications run for quite a while (at least the one that I took which went into April to May).

As for my story, my undergrad stats were slightly higher than yours (cGPA being ~3.2 , forget the sGPA). I didn't have as much EC as you. My 3 tries at the MCAT were 505, 503 and 507. Ended up wasting 3.5 gap years before entering a SMP (honestly the amount of wasted time was my own idiotic fault). I ended up going to the SMP at Touro which was one of the few that does automatic matriculation provided you get the GPA. It was also great that it allow me to stay at home in NY. Knew this was my last chance at my dream and so I went hard into studying (study way more than I ever did before). Ended with a 4.0. I began my first year at 27 and now I'm about to begin my second year.

Just wanted to share that to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Also you're 24. It might seem like time is slipping by but take your time.
 
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You're young so I think doing a SMP is premature.
My advice would be to focus on your MCAT, if you're plateauing, it may be better to just take it if practice FLs are >500~505.
You should also retake any pre-reqs that are a C or below.
A DIY post-bac is also beneficial for you, upper level science courses related to medicine.
Then try to apply next cycle and see, only after at least 1 cycle would I recommend considering SMPs.
 
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Do not take the MCAT until you have your desired score on multiple full length practice tests.

You don’t need an SMP. See Goro’s guide for reinvention and focus on doing post-bacc classes at a local college or university:

 
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In certain cases, an SMP at a medical school can open the right door but you would have to do reasonably well. You also don't need a 4.0 in an SMP, trust me.

I don't think you're too old for an SMP, most of my class is 22-23 and some have already got the DO acceptance after the first year.

Here's the thing with the SMP, you need a strong undergrad science background to even get a B in these courses. If you don't have A's in at least general bio and an anatomy course then I would caution you with applying to an SMP because it will be rigorous work. You need at least 7-10 days of studying to pass most of these exams. These are not study the weekend before the exam tests.

If your science background is not solid, I wouldn't do the SMP.

As far as the MCAT, a 505 should be fine for a lot of DO programs and you can literally buy that score through test prep and tutoring.

Also, DO programs look at your app holistically so don't forget EC's and shadowing because that can also make or break your app.
 
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Okay so I really want to find someone to talk to for advice but I haven’t, if you’ve given this a read thank you and it means a lot. I (24F) graduated college in May 2020 and was thinking about pursuing a MS in Biomedical Sciences or an SMP to bring up my GPA, or show academic improvement in rigorous courses. My cGPA is a 3.1 and sGPA is a 2.9. I know they are not competitive stats at all, which is why I want to do well on the MCAT.

After graduating, I didn’t apply for an SMP due to COVID and I remember being hesitant because everything was online, so I started working as a medical scribe in an urgent care, full time, for about a year and a half. This definitely solidified for me that I wanted to be a doctor. I have a lot of previous volunteer/work history as well.

Last year (2021), I applied to a few SMP’s without an MCAT score, I did not get accepted to the ones I wanted to go to so I did not go. I quit my job a few months ago to study for the MCAT (part-time wasn’t an option) and had plans to take the MCAT in April and apply to SMP’s for a second round, It’s July 10th and I am not where I want to be with the MCAT, those around me are just telling me to take it because I have been studying for months now (it’s been about 6, it has really been a struggle and has definnnitely affected my mental health) but I know this is not where I want to be, and I’d rather give myself more time to improve instead of having a bad score.

There are a few SMP’s that do not require the MCAT that I will apply to now (I know I am late in the cycle, but I’d rather try than not) and could potentially submit practice AAMC test scores to.

However, in the case that I am not accepted, I am really unsure of what to do. It has been 2 years since I graduated college, and I’m scared to push this off another year because I don’t know of many programs that start their curriculum in the winter. I can apply to a MS program that isn’t the most “reputable” but it would be something. Some people have suggested just going to the Caribbean but I wanted to take a shot of at least applying for DO in the US. I am considering a postbacc but I am not sure what would be the better option at this point? The thought of pushing this off another year depresses me.

At the end of the day, in general I’ve been having trouble finding someone to talk to or help guide me through this or offer insight. If you’ve been in a similar situation or can offer some advice, that would be much appreciated. Thank you.
MCAT first. But do not take this exam until you are 100% ready.

Bulk up your extracurriculars in the mean time..

Special masters programs are a dime a dozen. Just keep researching until you find one that's right for you to apply to.

You can always do a do-it-yourself post bac.

Read my post on reinvention for pre-meds
 
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