Nov 29, 2013
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi Everyone!

I am a 26 year old Pakistani female nontraditional student, applying this a upcoming 2015 cycle. My family was never quite well off, I had to work really hard to support myself and at times my family. I have lived in California most of my life, attended a community college, transferred to UC and then worked. A lot. I graduated from university three years ago. I am a little different. Here are my experiences, I'd love to hear peoples' opinions!

SCHOOL/ACADEMICS
1) I attended community college in Riverside, CA, for three years. During this time I completed all of my premed prerequisites and general ed. My GPA was a 3.4 upon leaving CC in Summer of 2008
2) I applied to five UCs, I chose to attend UC Berkeley. At Cal I majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology, emphasizing in Neurobiology, while also majoring in English with an emphasis in Old/Middle English. Upon graduation (Fall 2010) in my GPA was about 3.3

**So 5.5 years of CC and UC, overall cumulative GPA 3.35, Science GPA about 3.0, two majors.

WORK EXPERIENCE
I've held 1-2 jobs while attending high school/college and doing either voluntary research or volunteering at a hospital. Here's where I've worked in somewhat of a chronological order:

1) Casual Italian restaurant, serving (1 year)
2) Country club, serving weddings (1.5 years)
3) Theory (yes the clothing company, it was sweet), sales associate (3 years)

Post Degree
4) Another Italian restaurant, bartending (2.5 years)
5) And another Italian restaurant, serving (1.5 years)
6) A non-profit for adults with disabilities, teacher. Easily the most rewarding work I've ever taken part in. I volunteered here for an entire year and then was employed for 3 years.

**After graduating, I worked full time teaching, supplementing my very low income with working at either of the restaurants 4-6 nights a week. I gave a lot of my money to my parents because my dad lost his job a couple of years ago and my family was struggling financially.

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE
1) UCR- Biophysics Dept, research on production of random DNA oligomers for scalable DNA computing (1 year)
2) UCSF- Neurosurgery Dept, research on stroke therapy, focusing on effects of Netrin protein (1.5 years)
3) UC Berkeley- English Dept's Undergrad Research Apprentice Program, research apprentice, research and organization for an English professor's book on analyzing linguistics (1 year)

Post Degree
4) UCSF- Neurology Dept, research on how immuno suppressants may be able to treat Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy. (3 years) **The MD that I work with on this project is the same MD that I have shadowed and worked with during the children's summer camp (see below)

CLINICAL VOLUNTEER WORK
1) Loma Linda Children's Hospital, hematology/oncology childcare (2 years)
2) Riverside Community Hospital (6 months)

Post Degree
3) Shadowing a neurologist (1 month, probably more by the time I apply)

NONCLINICAL VOLUNTEER WORK
1) Instructor for weekly cooking classes taught to adults with disabilities (1 year)

Post Degree
2) MDA summer camp counselor for children who have muscular dystrophy (2 years)
3) Board member/secretary for PULSE, a non-profit organization that fundraised money for The Arc of San Francisco (1 year)
4) I will be giving a speech to members of my Community College's Bio Club this February, largely to motivate students in CC and answer questions about this academic trajectory

PUBLICATIONS
1) UCR Biophysics lab
2) UCSF Neurosurgery lab
3) UCSF Neurology lab (in the process of submitting/editing paper, expecting publication soon)

LORs
1) Bio Professor from community college, whom I coordinated with for the speech I will give (known for 6 years)
2) English Professor from Cal, whom I took classes with and did the apprentice research program with (known for 5 years)
3) My manager from The Arc, where I taught adults with disabilities (known for 2 years)
4) The MD whom I shadowed and worked with at UCSF doing the research for DMD (known for 3 years)

Just last month I made the decision to leave San Francisco, where I had been residing for nearly 5 years. My mom wasn't feeling well and so I decided to move to Texas so I could live with my family, take care of my mom. Additional pros to this decision were being able to be home while studying for my MCAT (January 2014) and finding a brand new job with better benefits, such that I can live comfortably, pay off some personal debts and save up for med school apps and any potential traveling expenses later this year. I know that because my grades aren't that great I have to put a lot of effort into my MCAT. I plan on taking it in January that way if I need to retake it, I can do so in either April or May, right before apps start.

My questions are
#1 What do you guys make of all of this? Any opinions on my chances? Suggestions?
#2 Considering my stats, should job search/move back to California, such that I am an CA resident? Should I have a permanent address in CA and live in whichever state I find work in?
#3 As for finding a job (hopefully I'll have found employment by the time I've taken my MCAT in January) any recommendations on whether I should continue work in the non-profit field or shift to working for a University and doing research?

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!

A
 

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,601
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Two things.

1. Texas is a MUCH better state than California for med school admissions. California is the most competitive state in the US. Texas is competitive, but it's very inexpensive and has lots of public schools.

2. You gave us several screens full of information about yourself but the only thing here that really matters right now is 3.35 and 3.0. Your grades are the most important thing in med school admissions, and you have GPA damage. Unfortunately you will need to do more academics, and you have no choice but to get straight A's. You're going to have to figure out a way to focus just on school. Your list of extra curriculars is not going to get you past concerns about your GPA.

At this point I would recommend getting a job in Texas so you can take care of your family, establish TX residency, and pay off your debts. Get yourself free of your burdens. Then start looking at GPA redemption for med school, by doing more undergrad (or maybe the UNT biomed masters) to prepare for the MCAT and med school.

Best of luck to you.
 

Kaustikos

Archerize It
10+ Year Member
Jan 18, 2008
12,205
4,164
Always Bespin
Coming from someone who's worked mixology, I'd say play that up in interviews/apps because it lends a lot to people skills. Believe me, it works. Talking to patients becomes second nature so you are more able to do an HnP.
I say try keeping a job like that and then getting a position paid/non paid at a hospital or research.

The major issue is your gpa to where a post-bac or smp might be necessary. Id look into that if I were you and also get a great mcat score. It's just really difficult to get your foot in the door with a gpa like that even with great ec/jobs.
 
Jan 18, 2011
186
38
Status
Pre-Medical
Two things.

1. Texas is a MUCH better state than California for med school admissions. California is the most competitive state in the US. Texas is competitive, but it's very inexpensive and has lots of public schools.

2. You gave us several screens full of information about yourself but the only thing here that really matters right now is 3.35 and 3.0. Your grades are the most important thing in med school admissions, and you have GPA damage. Unfortunately you will need to do more academics, and you have no choice but to get straight A's. You're going to have to figure out a way to focus just on school. Your list of extra curriculars is not going to get you past concerns about your GPA.

At this point I would recommend getting a job in Texas so you can take care of your family, establish TX residency, and pay off your debts. Get yourself free of your burdens. Then start looking at GPA redemption for med school, by doing more undergrad (or maybe the UNT biomed masters) to prepare for the MCAT and med school.

Best of luck to you.
Completely Agree with this. You will be more competitive in Texas, get residency there. Consider DO schools, with some grade replacement you could be a very competitive applicant. (With a good MCAT of course)
 
Last edited:
OP
M
Nov 29, 2013
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you all for your prompt replies! Is there any way for me to possibly retake some of my basic science courses to increase my GPA, say at a community college, rather than taking part in a post-bac?
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
52,556
76,178
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Suggest you get some more shadowing experience. Just following one neurologist isn't enough. Other than that, your ECs are outstanding. However, your GPAs are not competitive for MD schools, but are OK for DO programs. If you have any F/D/C grades in science coursework, re-take those.



#1 What do you guys make of all of this? Any opinions on my chances? Suggestions?

Concur with the other poster that TX residency will get you further than CA. The UC schools won't give you the time of day. TUCOM-CA and Western probably will, with a decent MCAT score (high 20s)

#2 Considering my stats, should job search/move back to California, such that I am an CA resident? Should I have a permanent address in CA and live in whichever state I find work in?

You've done well with both, so just do what interests and excites you.

#3 As for finding a job (hopefully I'll have found employment by the time I've taken my MCAT in January) any recommendations on whether I should continue work in the non-profit field or shift to working for a University and doing research?
 
Last edited:

DrMidlife

has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
7,506
2,601
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Thank you all for your prompt replies! Is there any way for me to possibly retake some of my basic science courses to increase my GPA, say at a community college, rather than taking part in a post-bac?
Retakes will help you if you focus on DO schools, which will forgive the prior grade. MD schools will count both grades on a retake (no forgiveness on a retake). You should not be considering a community college, because you are fighting to prove your academic prowess, which should be done at a 4 year college or university.

I'll add to my recommendation: if you're serious about pursuing med school, spend many hours reading about people who got into med school from where you are now. Search SDN for "low GPA" and don't take any one person too seriously. There's an unbelievable boatload of information here; ignore it at your peril.

Best of luck to you.
 
Jun 30, 2013
634
254
West Lafayette, Indiana
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Hi Everyone!

I am a 26 year old Pakistani female nontraditional student, applying this a upcoming 2015 cycle. My family was never quite well off, I had to work really hard to support myself and at times my family. I have lived in California most of my life, attended a community college, transferred to UC and then worked. A lot. I graduated from university three years ago. I am a little different. Here are my experiences, I'd love to hear peoples' opinions!

SCHOOL/ACADEMICS
1) I attended community college in Riverside, CA, for three years. During this time I completed all of my premed prerequisites and general ed. My GPA was a 3.4 upon leaving CC in Summer of 2008
2) I applied to five UCs, I chose to attend UC Berkeley. At Cal I majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology, emphasizing in Neurobiology, while also majoring in English with an emphasis in Old/Middle English. Upon graduation (Fall 2010) in my GPA was about 3.3

**So 5.5 years of CC and UC, overall cumulative GPA 3.35, Science GPA about 3.0, two majors.

WORK EXPERIENCE
I've held 1-2 jobs while attending high school/college and doing either voluntary research or volunteering at a hospital. Here's where I've worked in somewhat of a chronological order:

1) Casual Italian restaurant, serving (1 year)
2) Country club, serving weddings (1.5 years)
3) Theory (yes the clothing company, it was sweet), sales associate (3 years)

Post Degree
4) Another Italian restaurant, bartending (2.5 years)
5) And another Italian restaurant, serving (1.5 years)
6) A non-profit for adults with disabilities, teacher. Easily the most rewarding work I've ever taken part in. I volunteered here for an entire year and then was employed for 3 years.

**After graduating, I worked full time teaching, supplementing my very low income with working at either of the restaurants 4-6 nights a week. I gave a lot of my money to my parents because my dad lost his job a couple of years ago and my family was struggling financially.

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE
1) UCR- Biophysics Dept, research on production of random DNA oligomers for scalable DNA computing (1 year)
2) UCSF- Neurosurgery Dept, research on stroke therapy, focusing on effects of Netrin protein (1.5 years)
3) UC Berkeley- English Dept's Undergrad Research Apprentice Program, research apprentice, research and organization for an English professor's book on analyzing linguistics (1 year)

Post Degree
4) UCSF- Neurology Dept, research on how immuno suppressants may be able to treat Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy. (3 years) **The MD that I work with on this project is the same MD that I have shadowed and worked with during the children's summer camp (see below)

CLINICAL VOLUNTEER WORK
1) Loma Linda Children's Hospital, hematology/oncology childcare (2 years)
2) Riverside Community Hospital (6 months)

Post Degree
3) Shadowing a neurologist (1 month, probably more by the time I apply)

NONCLINICAL VOLUNTEER WORK
1) Instructor for weekly cooking classes taught to adults with disabilities (1 year)

Post Degree
2) MDA summer camp counselor for children who have muscular dystrophy (2 years)
3) Board member/secretary for PULSE, a non-profit organization that fundraised money for The Arc of San Francisco (1 year)
4) I will be giving a speech to members of my Community College's Bio Club this February, largely to motivate students in CC and answer questions about this academic trajectory

PUBLICATIONS
1) UCR Biophysics lab
2) UCSF Neurosurgery lab
3) UCSF Neurology lab (in the process of submitting/editing paper, expecting publication soon)

LORs
1) Bio Professor from community college, whom I coordinated with for the speech I will give (known for 6 years)
2) English Professor from Cal, whom I took classes with and did the apprentice research program with (known for 5 years)
3) My manager from The Arc, where I taught adults with disabilities (known for 2 years)
4) The MD whom I shadowed and worked with at UCSF doing the research for DMD (known for 3 years)

Just last month I made the decision to leave San Francisco, where I had been residing for nearly 5 years. My mom wasn't feeling well and so I decided to move to Texas so I could live with my family, take care of my mom. Additional pros to this decision were being able to be home while studying for my MCAT (January 2014) and finding a brand new job with better benefits, such that I can live comfortably, pay off some personal debts and save up for med school apps and any potential traveling expenses later this year. I know that because my grades aren't that great I have to put a lot of effort into my MCAT. I plan on taking it in January that way if I need to retake it, I can do so in either April or May, right before apps start.

My questions are
#1 What do you guys make of all of this? Any opinions on my chances? Suggestions?
#2 Considering my stats, should job search/move back to California, such that I am an CA resident? Should I have a permanent address in CA and live in whichever state I find work in?
#3 As for finding a job (hopefully I'll have found employment by the time I've taken my MCAT in January) any recommendations on whether I should continue work in the non-profit field or shift to working for a University and doing research?

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!

A

I am a non traditional student like you are and from the same part of the world where you came from. I am married and have 3 kids and I have been a nurse from last 3 years. My GPA is 3.38. I would tell you my MCAT wasn't that great. I kept my options open and only applied to DO Schools. I have 2 interviews lined up. My first one is earlier next month and the next one is mid of next month. I still have 10 more schools to hear from. You EC are much better than mine. If you are open to Ostepathic medicine, I think you should be able to get in with what you have. Now, if you want an MD degree, I honestly believe it would a little hard with your GPA. I am not trying to be rude, just saying it as I think. Think about a DO school. I have heard all the TX schools are heavily biased toward thier residents, so you would need TX residency. Plus, I believe it would be cheaper than CA. Send me a message me if you wanna talk.
 
Last edited:

NightWindDriftr

7+ Year Member
Nov 5, 2010
30
26
Status
At this point I would recommend getting a job in Texas so you can take care of your family, establish TX residency, and pay off your debts. Get yourself free of your burdens. Then start looking at GPA redemption for med school, by doing more undergrad (or maybe the UNT biomed masters) to prepare for the MCAT and med school.
Great advice here. TX schools are required by the state to take 90% IS (except is Baylor, IIRC they're around 75%). If you have the timeframe and the drive, I'd relocate to TX. Also, you have some pretty interesting experiences - hopefully applying DO is an option for you.
 
OP
M
Nov 29, 2013
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you all for you advice ! I definitely will be looking into the DO option.