Aug 25, 2016
3
0
26
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi guys,

I've been lurking on this site for about 2-3 years now, and have always valued the interest members have in helping each other and in offering advice. As such, I finally summoned the courage to post my own case here in the hopes of getting some much-needed advice.

To make a long story short, university was a bit of a rough ride for me and included several regrettable decisions that now account for my sub-par stats. I graduated with a double-major in biology and psychology from a Canadian university, with an overall GPA of ~3.2 and an MCAT score of 507. This was not my 'best' effort, and I do truly believe I could have improved both stats. Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances, I cannot hold off for another year in order to boost my chances. It is now or never.

As such, I was wondering which medical schools in the US I should bother applying to (with understandably unfavorable odds). Here I should also mention that although I took physics in highschool and in preparation for the MCAT, I have not taken a formal physics course in university. I know this is a prerequisite in most American universities. So far, I have narrowed my (Canadian-friendly) US options down to CMU, Columbia (willing to complete 1 sem of physics by enrollment if accepted), GW, Keck, Stanford, Tulane and Virginia. Because some of these don't have specific GPA or MCAT cut-offs online, it is difficult to know whether they are realistic options for me or not (please forgive my ignorance).

Because of the highly-competitive nature of medical schools in both Canada and the US, I feel I am obligated to consider other international options as well. Of those, I am seriously considering the Atlantic Bridge program in Ireland, and SGU of London - Nicosia. If anyone out there hails from either of these schools, especially SGUL - Nicosia, please weigh in or send me a message! After much research (and perusing many older threads on this same site), I am still on the fence with regards to Caribbean schools. I would choose to apply to SGU or AUC over the others - though both require physics as a prerequisite... Which means my only alternative options at the moment would be Saba or maybe Ross - both of which are rather infamous with regards to their attrition rates (scary stuff). Ultimately, the goal would be to achieve residency and/or practice in Canada or the US for family/internal medicine.

Can anyone advise me based on my stats and the options listed above? What are the red flags (besides my stats :()? Are there any possible schools missing here that I would do well to consider? Cliché though it may be, this truly is my dream, and I don't want to give it up before I give it a try.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
32,804
12,549
The Other Side of the Portal
Hi guys,

I've been lurking on this site for about 2-3 years now, and have always valued the interest members have in helping each other and in offering advice. As such, I finally summoned the courage to post my own case here in the hopes of getting some much-needed advice.

To make a long story short, university was a bit of a rough ride for me and included several regrettable decisions that now account for my sub-par stats. I graduated with a double-major in biology and psychology from a Canadian university, with an overall GPA of ~3.2 and an MCAT score of 507. This was not my 'best' effort, and I do truly believe I could have improved both stats. Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances, I cannot hold off for another year in order to boost my chances. It is now or never.

As such, I was wondering which medical schools in the US I should bother applying to (with understandably unfavorable odds). Here I should also mention that although I took physics in highschool and in preparation for the MCAT, I have not taken a formal physics course in university. I know this is a prerequisite in most American universities. So far, I have narrowed my (Canadian-friendly) US options down to CMU, Columbia (willing to complete 1 sem of physics by enrollment if accepted), GW, Keck, Stanford, Tulane and Virginia. Because some of these don't have specific GPA or MCAT cut-offs online, it is difficult to know whether they are realistic options for me or not (please forgive my ignorance).

Because of the highly-competitive nature of medical schools in both Canada and the US, I feel I am obligated to consider other international options as well. Of those, I am seriously considering the Atlantic Bridge program in Ireland, and SGU of London - Nicosia. If anyone out there hails from either of these schools, especially SGUL - Nicosia, please weigh in or send me a message! After much research (and perusing many older threads on this same site), I am still on the fence with regards to Caribbean schools. I would choose to apply to SGU or AUC over the others - though both require physics as a prerequisite... Which means my only alternative options at the moment would be Saba or maybe Ross - both of which are rather infamous with regards to their attrition rates (scary stuff). Ultimately, the goal would be to achieve residency and/or practice in Canada or the US for family/internal medicine.

Can anyone advise me based on my stats and the options listed above? What are the red flags (besides my stats :()? Are there any possible schools missing here that I would do well to consider? Cliché though it may be, this truly is my dream, and I don't want to give it up before I give it a try.
Your best chance in the US would be osteopathic medical schools, which confer a DO degree that comes with practice rights like those of an MD. Though they are more lenient on stats, your GPA is still on the low side. But they have a grade forgiveness policy, where only the most recent grade counts toward your application GPA, so you could more rapidly improve your numbers be repeating any C, D, or F coursework on your record. You'd still need to take physics.
 

AnatomyGrey12

2+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2015
9,270
18,716
Midwest
Status
Medical Student
Without physics your only options are the top schools that don't have set requirements.. Unfortunately you don't have a remote chance at any of them. Do grade replacement and focus on DO, namely MSU-COM. Very rarely when people say "due to personal circumstances I can't wait any longer" is it actually true.
 
  • Like
Reactions: candbgirl
OP
-N7-
Aug 25, 2016
3
0
26
Status
Pre-Medical
Without physics your only options are the top schools that don't have set requirements.. Unfortunately you don't have a remote chance at any of them. Do grade replacement and focus on DO, namely MSU-COM. Very rarely when people say "due to personal circumstances I can't wait any longer" is it actually true.
Due to some private family matters I really cannot do this at another time, regardless of your suspicions. Either I switch career paths for the next few years and later on consider giving medicine another go as a mature, non-trad applicant, or I take this chance now, and apply with my current stats. I know the odds are against me, I know that a year of grade-replacements (which we don't have in Canada) or retaking the MCAT would boost my meager chances, but right now I don't have that luxury. The exception here is possibly being able to squeeze in one semester of physics prior to enrollment if I get accepted to a medical school where that is the prerequisite. The universities I listed above don't appear to require physics however - hence my question, but I am not sure about how realistic they are in terms of my current stats/chances of getting in. That's why I was wondering whether anyone else who is more familiar with these schools has a better idea with regards to which I should bother applying to, if any of the above.

Thank you for the suggestion of looking into MSU-COM, @AnatomyGrey12. I hadn't considered that school in particular and it appears to be a viable option. I will also be applying to DO schools (thank you as well for the suggestion, @Catalystik ), though my question above is intended to determine what options are available to me in going the MD route.
 

Frogger27

2+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2016
1,788
3,307
Status
Medical Student
I am sorry, but this "I have to do it now or never" approach you have is not going to work. You will not get into a US MD school with your stats, so please do not waste your money. I do not know the personal reasons why you cannot wait a year or two and work on your app, but you should apply DO and look for another career path until you can give this application process the time it takes.
 
Jun 28, 2016
86
38
Status
Pre-Medical
The exception here is possibly being able to squeeze in one semester of physics prior to enrollment if I get accepted to a medical school where that is the prerequisite.
If you get an acceptance, it will most likely be later on in the season (March, April) or off of the waitlist (June) because of your stats, and that will not give you enough notice to enroll in and complete a physics course.

Since you're missing key prerequisites that would greatly expand the selection of schools you could apply to, and your stats are not even within the 10th percentile for the schools you're looking at applying to, I would go the DO route this cycle if you're really set on throwing your hat in the ring now. Otherwise, I think you should take a few years to figure things out and improve your application (grade replacement/SMP, MCAT retake, etc).

FYI, the only school on your list that you're within the 10th-90th percentile range for matriculants is GW, and it's only your MCAT.
 

ed*26

2+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2016
305
275
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
According to this chart, with a 3.02 and 507 (~29) you have, all things being equal, a 15% chance of matriculating into a medical school. You do not have the prereqs to be able to apply broadly and you are a foreign applicant with no in-state schools, so your particular chances are even lower. If you apply in your current situation it's likely to turn into a big, expensive failure.

Whatever you family circumstances are, it seems that you will be free to go back to school in a year or so (otherwise you wouldn't be looking at applying to medical school). By far your best option is to do a post-bac and take physics + any classes you received a C or below in. If you do really well on them you can drastically increase your chances of getting into a DO school.

I'm confused about what kind of family situation absolutely prohibits you from taking another year of classes but would allow for you to go to medical school. If it's parents then you really need to grow a spine. If it's money, work for a few years (maybe while getting some valuable clinical exposure) and then go for the post-bacc.
 

AnatomyGrey12

2+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2015
9,270
18,716
Midwest
Status
Medical Student
Due to some private family matters I really cannot do this at another time, regardless of your suspicions. Either I switch career paths for the next few years and later on consider giving medicine another go as a mature, non-trad applicant, or I take this chance now, and apply with my current stats.
Ok so I'm going to try and understand what kind of family situation makes it so you can't retake some classes and fix your issues but allows you to move to the states and do 4 years of school and potentially 3-7 years of residency/fellowship training without issue. There are literally NO situations where I can see this being the case.

As it stands now you have no chance, none whatsoever, of getting accepted to a US medical school. All schools that would give you somewhat of a chance (i.e. DO schools) require physics, usually 2 semesters worth. This is the unfortunate reality. But feel free to send an app to Stanford and Columbia if you absolutely must get a rejection email to believe us.
 
OP
-N7-
Aug 25, 2016
3
0
26
Status
Pre-Medical
I know how it sounds, believe me, but there are reasons the above does in fact apply to my situation (I'll say that it is a combination of familial and economic, though more heavily the former. I'd prefer not to divulge the specifics due to this thread's public and accessible nature). Though it means little, I can assure you it isn't a matter of reluctance or laziness on my part. Were it entirely in my hands, I would actually opt to take another few years' worth of an undergrad or a Master's degree before reapplying, in order to make up for the poor grades I cannot replace through the Canadian system.

Regardless, thank you all; @Frogger27, @DrChef94, @Catalystik, for your prompt replies and valued feedback. Thank you too @ed*26 for your statistics. I will bear your advice in mind going forward and in reassessing my options as needed.
 

Donald Juan

7+ Year Member
May 22, 2011
1,699
2,596
GA
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I know how it sounds, believe me, but there are reasons the above does in fact apply to my situation (I'll say that it is a combination of familial and economic, though more heavily the former. I'd prefer not to divulge the specifics due to this thread's public and accessible nature). Though it means little, I can assure you it isn't a matter of reluctance or laziness on my part. Were it entirely in my hands, I would actually opt to take another few years' worth of an undergrad or a Master's degree before reapplying, in order to make up for the poor grades I cannot replace through the Canadian system.

Regardless, thank you all; @Frogger27, @DrChef94, @Catalystik, for your prompt replies and valued feedback. Thank you too @ed*26 for your statistics. I will bear your advice in mind going forward and in reassessing my options as needed.
I hope you realize that without full information, it is very hard for most of us to give fully accurate advice, but I also understand why you wouldn't want to divulge everything.

Based on your stats, and without you giving any reason for us to think they would be looked upon highly (no insane upward trend, no crazy extracurriculars, or whatever) I think you have little chance of matching into a good option for med school. I don't think you should go Caribbean or foreign, as you could very well end up as a horror story. Those are only promising situations in people with very particular, very rare situations.

Take some time off, doing whatever you need. Medicine will always be here. The path is so long, it doesn't really matter if you start it at 21 or 30 or 40, as long as you are ready when you start it, which you clearly aren't now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Frogger27

dark_knight

2+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2016
54
66
Gotham
Status
Pre-Medical
You stats should be plenty decent for DO programs. Why not take Physics over the upcoming year and take your chances?

As someone who comes from a very family oriented culture I understand and respect your circumstances. Think of it as this OP, even if you things don't work out in the short-term you will always have the opportunity in the future, so don't stress too much, you can always pursue things later down the road.