Advice on Post Bacc or SMP for 3.2 GPA, years out of school w/o all required pre reqs

Sep 20, 2017
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I have a question and trying to get some advice. I graduated college about 2 years ago from a top university. I now realize I made the wrong choice in careers. However, my first and second year of college I took some premed courses Chemistry(C,B), organic chemistry(C+,B), and biology (B+,B) and the labs. I did very poorly in those - the grades are in (). However, after dropping that and focusing on schoolwork I had an upwards trend the remaining semesters making deans list. I am a minority and let being a top school get the best of me (I had a hard time adjusting to the rigor of classes and the social scenes, trying to fit in). No excuses, as once I got the hang of it I was able to do well. Now that I have been working for a couple years and I have decided I want to pursue medicine.. but I don't know what route would be the best to take as a 24 (almost 25) y/o woman (most cost effective and least time consuming).
(1) I am thinking about finishing up Physics and Biochemistry in an informal post bacc and then taking the MCAT to see how I do. Then afterwards applying to do an SMP since my overall uGPA was a 3.2 and sGPA was 3.0 (I took a lot of math). I feel like this option will like 4-5 years due to the timing of the classes and the application process for the postbac and then the SMP and then med school.

OR (2) I am considering some career changers post bacc programs since some allow me to retake courses that were taken over 5 years ago, and they give me the opportunity to do research/shadow as well as offer linkage programs. Since I currently work full time in banking I don't have much time to do the ECs currently. I really want to pursue this dream and am willing to leave behind my nice job and a comfortable living financially. I don't want to be a doctor for the money (as right now I make $80k); I genuinely am interested in helping people and having a fulfilled life doing this when I am 40, 50, 60 years old.

I don't know which is the best way to go. I tried calling my uGrad advisor but she hasn't been much help. I am scared of quitting my job before having a plan but also feel like I need to act fast to not waste any time - I want to get started on this journey.

I appreciate any inputs or suggestions for flexible programs worth the $$. Thanks!
 

aformerstudent

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I don't want to be a doctor for the money (as right now I make $80k); I genuinely am interested in helping people
I'll be honest with you. If this is your reasoning as of today as to why you want to become a doctor, either don't do it or you have to figure out a much better answer than that.

I've been there, med school will beat you up with a 3.0 GPA. The others will give you sugar-coated advice but I'll tell it to you straight.

If you're really serious you need to take a few upper level science courses and get straight A's in them to prove to yourself first that this is the path for you. Once you do that, then commit to a post-bacc and go from there. Don't go into one of these programs blindly with a 3.0 science GPA. Also, your full-time employment will be a hindrance if you choose to go down this path.
 
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Sep 20, 2017
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Pre-Medical
I'll be honest with you. If this is your reasoning as of today as to why you want to become a doctor, either don't do it or you have to figure out a much better answer than that.

I've been there, med school will beat you up with a 3.0 GPA. The others will give you sugar-coated advice but I'll tell it to you straight.

If you're really serious you need to take a few upper level science courses and get straight A's in them to prove to yourself first that this is the path for you. Once you do that, then commit to a post-bacc and go from there. Don't go into one of these programs blindly with a 3.0 science GPA. Also, your full-time employment will be a hindrance if you choose to go down this path.
Thanks for the honesty! My science GPA is low due to upper level math classes specifically one I did very poorly in that I decided to not retake (I was a engineering major). I do plan on leaving my job once I decide what to do (an informal or formal post bac).
 
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DexterMorganSK

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I had similar issues, was an engineering major, math grades destroyed my gpa for the first two of undergrad years. Switched to biology during upper junior year, and maintained a 3.5+ since then. After that, a few years later, took some upper-level science courses while finishing an MPH, retook the mcat and was pleased with my score.

If I was in your shoes, I would first finish the biochem/physics/any other psy/soc related classes and do well in them. Study for the mcat for atleast 3 months, everyday. Finally, apply to SMPs affiliated with DO schools. Gl.
 

DocJanItor

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Jun 6, 2017
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Also a fellow engineering major. Terrible freshmen/sophomore grades but dean's list by the time I graduated. However, I graduated in '05, went directly on to my MBA, then worked in finance for a few years. When I decided to pursue premed, I did 42 hours of prereqs at a local CC with a 4.0, got a 515 on my MCAT. Even after that, my cGPA was only 2.8. Several of the DO schools I talked to at the time suggested I take 1 or 2 upper level science courses to prove I could handle the rigor. Instead, I went for an SMP program, did well, and now I'm in a great MD school. From beginning to acceptance took me almost exactly 3 years, but I wasn't working.

I'd say to take some pre-reqs again just to see how you do. Unless you regularly use OChem and biology, you'll need to refresh for the MCAT anyway. If you do well in those it will also serve to boost your cGPA and sGPA. At your GPA (particularly if you improve it), you don't STRICTLY need an SMP program. With a 4.0 you could probably boost to a 3.4-3.5 cGPA; along with a decent MCAT, that would make you an attractive candidate for DO schools.

The full-time post-bacc you mentioned is more high risk/high reward. You don't know that you can perform yet so it might be a lost year of income, impact on your current career progress, etc. I'd still advocate taking a few pre-reqs before you do this just to gauge your readiness/interest.
 
OP
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Sep 20, 2017
4
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Status
Pre-Medical
Also a fellow engineering major. Terrible freshmen/sophomore grades but dean's list by the time I graduated. However, I graduated in '05, went directly on to my MBA, then worked in finance for a few years. When I decided to pursue premed, I did 42 hours of prereqs at a local CC with a 4.0, got a 515 on my MCAT. Even after that, my cGPA was only 2.8. Several of the DO schools I talked to at the time suggested I take 1 or 2 upper level science courses to prove I could handle the rigor. Instead, I went for an SMP program, did well, and now I'm in a great MD school. From beginning to acceptance took me almost exactly 3 years, but I wasn't working.

I'd say to take some pre-reqs again just to see how you do. Unless you regularly use OChem and biology, you'll need to refresh for the MCAT anyway. If you do well in those it will also serve to boost your cGPA and sGPA. At your GPA (particularly if you improve it), you don't STRICTLY need an SMP program. With a 4.0 you could probably boost to a 3.4-3.5 cGPA; along with a decent MCAT, that would make you an attractive candidate for DO schools.

The full-time post-bacc you mentioned is more high risk/high reward. You don't know that you can perform yet so it might be a lost year of income, impact on your current career progress, etc. I'd still advocate taking a few pre-reqs before you do this just to gauge your readiness/interest.

Thank you for sharing your story. Just had a couple questions:

Did you immediately quit you job and do the courses at CC full time? Or did you ease your way doing one class while working and then quit your job?

During that time while you studying all those credits how did you find time or opportunities for ECs like research or shadowing and volunteering? I assume this was done prior to the SMP.

Did you get into an allopathic school?

How do you feel about everything now looking back in terms of leaving behind your previous career? Was med school manageable?
 

DocJanItor

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Jun 6, 2017
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Thank you for sharing your story. Just had a couple questions:

Did you immediately quit you job and do the courses at CC full time? Or did you ease your way doing one class while working and then quit your job?

During that time while you studying all those credits how did you find time or opportunities for ECs like research or shadowing and volunteering? I assume this was done prior to the SMP.

Did you get into an allopathic school?

How do you feel about everything now looking back in terms of leaving behind your previous career? Was med school manageable?
Yes, I quit my job and threw everything at pre-med success. Sidenote: I hated my job and I had plenty to fall back on, so this wasn't exactly a hard decision.

Research as a non-trad is very, very hard. Unless you're at a formal post-bacc or SMP with research connections, it's probably not going to happen. As for shadowing and research, you just kinda do it when you can. If it's going to take you 2 years from inception to application, that's 100 weeks. If you average 5 hours a week of volunteering, it will add up. As for shadowing, you just need to find a doctor who's willing and find a time that works for both of you. If it's once a week for a few weeks or a full week all at once, try to get like 50-100 hours of shadowing. If you can get exposure to multiple specialties, all the better. Almost all of my ECs were done prior to the SMP, but I had a few small experiences while I was attending.

Yes, I matriculated into the MD school associated with my SMP program.

Well I've been in medical school for ALMOST 2 months and I have two perspectives. One, the SMP program was great because I don't have to repeat those classes (only applies to the same school). Two, if I had come in without the SMP, I would be under serious whiplash right now. The SMP is, easily, 5x more work volume than full time at college. Med school then adds more classes and clinical skills on top of that. So right now it's not bad for me, but I have some very stressed out classmates. Next block I will get the full force (no exemptions).

I'm happy I've achieved so much. When I started on this path, I was rightly told that DO was my best option and that it would be a long, hard road to ANY acceptance. Personally, I don't feel like the pre-reqs were hard at all. The MCAT was a little stressful, but not bad. The SMP was, at times, formidable, but it was a huge help in teaching me better study skills and expectations. So every step is harder than the last, but it's also fun to be challenged.
 
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