Advice on applying this year -- do I have a shot?

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Sqweak

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My story in short: I started as premed in undergrad(more than 10 yrs ago), decided I didn't like the long lab hours and the familial pressure to go into med school, so I didn't do well in my sci/math courses and switched to an econ major, where I did really well. I worked in economics research for a couple of years, published some papers, went back to school to get a masters in public health and worked in public health research for another couple of years. Then, had an illness in the family which made me realize that I really wanted to be a physician and have since re-started my prereq coursework and received all A's.

However, because of my superlow undergrad grades, my BCPM GPA from undergrad was around 2.6. As of now, I've brought it up to 3.14 and if I continue doing as well as I have been, I expect it to be 3.24 at the end of the semester, when I was planning on applying to med schools. I realize these numbers are very low, but the low grades pulling down my average are over a decade old. Do you think that med schools will just look at the gpa as being too low and automatically cut me before even taking a look at the recent upswing in gpa? Would it be better for me to sit out this application cycle, take more undergrad courses or do an SMP, and then apply for the next cycle? Being an older student, I'd like to avoid delaying entrance into med school if possible, but understand that it may be necessary.

Thanks so much!
 

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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My story in short: I started as premed in undergrad(more than 10 yrs ago), decided I didn't like the long lab hours and the familial pressure to go into med school, so I didn't do well in my sci/math courses and switched to an econ major, where I did really well. I worked in economics research for a couple of years, published some papers, went back to school to get a masters in public health and worked in public health research for another couple of years. Then, had an illness in the family which made me realize that I really wanted to be a physician and have since re-started my prereq coursework and received all A's.

However, because of my superlow undergrad grades, my BCPM GPA from undergrad was around 2.6. As of now, I've brought it up to 3.14 and if I continue doing as well as I have been, I expect it to be 3.24 at the end of the semester, when I was planning on applying to med schools. I realize these numbers are very low, but the low grades pulling down my average are over a decade old. Do you think that med schools will just look at the gpa as being too low and automatically cut me before even taking a look at the recent upswing in gpa? Would it be better for me to sit out this application cycle, take more undergrad courses or do an SMP, and then apply for the next cycle? Being an older student, I'd like to avoid delaying entrance into med school if possible, but understand that it may be necessary.

Thanks so much!
What's your MCAT score? It's hard to judge your competitiveness without it.
 

MJB

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Unless you have a stellar MCAT (and probably even if you do have a very good score), your chances of getting looked at with a GPA that low will not be good. MD programs are not very forgiving of what you might have done 10 years ago...

Assuming an average to above average MCAT, you could be competitive at DO schools.

I chose to go ahead and apply and not spend 2 or 3 years re-doing virtually all of my undergrad sciences just for the shot at MD...when I'm perfectly happy with DO and will be graduating about the same time I would have matriculated if I had taken all the time it would have taken to be competitive at an MD program.

To me, it wasn't worth it to waste a bunch of time.
 

menaniac

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My story in short: I started as premed in undergrad(more than 10 yrs ago), decided I didn't like the long lab hours and the familial pressure to go into med school, so I didn't do well in my sci/math courses and switched to an econ major, where I did really well. I worked in economics research for a couple of years, published some papers, went back to school to get a masters in public health and worked in public health research for another couple of years. Then, had an illness in the family which made me realize that I really wanted to be a physician and have since re-started my prereq coursework and received all A's.

However, because of my superlow undergrad grades, my BCPM GPA from undergrad was around 2.6. As of now, I've brought it up to 3.14 and if I continue doing as well as I have been, I expect it to be 3.24 at the end of the semester, when I was planning on applying to med schools. I realize these numbers are very low, but the low grades pulling down my average are over a decade old. Do you think that med schools will just look at the gpa as being too low and automatically cut me before even taking a look at the recent upswing in gpa? Would it be better for me to sit out this application cycle, take more undergrad courses or do an SMP, and then apply for the next cycle? Being an older student, I'd like to avoid delaying entrance into med school if possible, but understand that it may be necessary.

Thanks so much!

I was in a similar situation...Overall GPA from >10 yrs ago was 3.1 (science much lower due to failing Physics I and a D in Calc II). I audited Gen Chem, re-took Org Chem I and Phys I and took for the 1st time Org II and Physics II at the local community college, getting A's in everything. This brought my overall GPA to 3.24 or something (also not stellar, but post-bacc GPA is 3.98, which looks good). What I did which really helped me get in was totally rock the MCAT. Take Kaplan review, work your butt off, whatever it takes for you to truely ace that test (>33), and your score will help you stand out much more and get you into your interviews. The fact that I took the classes at a community college didn't help me any, but I didn't have any other choice. If you have another option (like a well-known 4-year university), take your classes there (some interviewers gave me guff about the community college thing). I don't think there is any real *need* to do a special post-bac, non-matriculated classes worked well for me and saved me all kinds of money. Some post-bac programs do feed into medical schools, though, so that could give you a leg up if you need it. Good luck! It can be done...I'm living proof!:)
 

Sqweak

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Thanks for the replies. I haven't taken the MCAT yet -- am planning on taking it in May. I'm definitely shooting for a high score on it (but then again, who isn't?)

I would be perfectly happy at a private DO school, but the thought of all that debt (as opposed to a state school in TX) scares me. However, if that's my only shot at this, I'm all for it. Would your advice, then, be to not bother with applying to allopathic schools (even state ones) and focus solely on osteopathic schools?
 

MJB

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With you being in TX, that might throw a whole other element into this that many of us don't know much about. Hopefully, some TX folks can help out.

I applied to both, but with very average stats, I knew my best chances were at DO schools, and I was going to be happy either way. I like certain aspects of both.

The one thing I did make sure of is that I did not apply to anywhere that i wouldn't attend at the drop of a hat. ie. I didn't apply somewhere that I would not want to go.
 

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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Thanks for the replies. I haven't taken the MCAT yet -- am planning on taking it in May. I'm definitely shooting for a high score on it (but then again, who isn't?)

I would be perfectly happy at a private DO school, but the thought of all that debt (as opposed to a state school in TX) scares me. However, if that's my only shot at this, I'm all for it. Would your advice, then, be to not bother with applying to allopathic schools (even state ones) and focus solely on osteopathic schools?
My advice is that you take the MCAT in May, get your score, and then come back with this question. It's impossible to advise you about specific schools based on only half the info. If your MCAT score is average, then my answer is going to be different versus if you score 35+. You also haven't told us anything about your ECs. I assume you've been shadowing and/or volunteering to go along with this newfound desire to be a physician? If you don't have any clinical experience or service, you'd better start getting some, and start yesterday. Even perfect stats aren't going to be enough at most schools; you need to work on developing your entire app package.
 

MJB

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My advice is that you take the MCAT in May, get your score, and then come back with this question. It's impossible to advise you about specific schools based on only half the info. If your MCAT score is average, then my answer is going to be different versus if you score 35+. You also haven't told us anything about your ECs. I assume you've been shadowing and/or volunteering to go along with this newfound desire to be a physician? If you don't have any clinical experience or service, you'd better start getting some, and start yesterday. Even perfect stats aren't going to be enough at most schools; you need to work on developing your entire app package.

The lady knows of what she speaks.. :)
 
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