• Advice You're Thankful for Contest

    Now that it's getting close to Thanksgiving, we're running a contest to hear advice you've received that you're most thankful for! This can be any type of advice and the advice with the most reactions will win!

    JOIN CONTEST

Alarmingly Stupid Pre-med undergrad seeking information

Rezia

New Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 19, 2006
10
0
    Hi everyone,
    I'm not sure if I am allowed to post in here since I am not yet a medical student, but I'm in dire need of advice from someone who has been accepted into medical school.

    Here is my situation in brief: I was accepted into a pre-medical honours science undergrad program after I finished high school. At that time I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. I think the only reason I was accepted into this program was that my science and math marks were always high. I don't want to seem arrogant but marks always came too easily to me, that's partly what led to my unhappy and tragic ruin. Anyway, I was accepted into pre-med but I was not passionate about that.

    Most unfortunately, I wanted to become a writer. I met with a good deal of heady success initially...I was seduced by vague ideas of writing a masterpiece of Canadiana to rival Margaret Atwwod. Success at a young age is a terrible thing. It took me until well into my second year to realize that I didn't want to become a writer. I hate the politics and the bickering and the banality of the real writers I met.

    I have now a real disgust of the whole literary scene. Starting in my third year I decided that I wanted to go into medicine. Here is the tragic part: in the years that I was being all literary my marks suffered BADLY. Now, I've given up that career path only to discover this one to be all but unattainable.

    I am in my third year now and my marks have improved significantly, yet my GPA continues to be weighed down (heavily) by my past stupidities. I thought at first that I should apply to master's programs next year and apply to medical school after that. That option has some diadvantages however.
    Firstly, I can't be certain that I will get in after I complete my master's because many medical schools heavily stress undergrad GPA and following a master's my undergrad GPA will remain the same. Also, I know that I can't apply until I finish the degree and that may mean waiting about for a year or so until I get accepted.

    I then thought that perhaps I should do another course of undergraduate study and try to bolster my GPA that way. I don't know which is the better option--to apply for a master's degree or do another undergrad course.

    I am terribly confused and if anyone can advise me I would certainly appreciate it.
     

    Law2Doc

    5K+ Member
    Moderator Emeritus
    10+ Year Member
    Dec 20, 2004
    30,880
    10,058
    1. Attending Physician
      Also, I know that I can't apply until I finish the degree and that may mean waiting about for a year or so until I get accepted.

      The first thing you need to do is shake this notion of "waiting a year" being a bad thing. You are embarking on a career of 40+ years so spending a year or two getting your house in order is pretty meaningless. This is not a race and being in a rush is not helpful.

      As for SMP vs continuing undergrad courses (ie an informal postbac), both have plusses and minuses. Depends a lot on what your GPA looks like, and how much you can move it. At any rate, there is a postbac board on SDN where you are most likely to find the answers.
       
      About the Ads

      Northerner

      Coquettish Haberdasher
      10+ Year Member
      15+ Year Member
      Aug 1, 2002
      5,582
      13
        The first thing you need to do is shake this notion of "waiting a year" being a bad thing. You are embarking on a career of 40+ years so spending a year or two getting your house in order is pretty meaningless. This is not a race and being in a rush is not helpful.

        As for SMP vs continuing undergrad courses (ie an informal postbac), both have plusses and minuses. Depends a lot on what your GPA looks like, and how much you can move it. At any rate, there is a postbac board on SDN where you are most likely to find the answers.

        You have nearly 10,000 posts? Jesus, Lawdee....
         

        trustwomen

        Senior Member
        10+ Year Member
        Mar 13, 2006
        854
        6
        1. Medical Student
          Rezia said:
          Hi everyone,
          I'm not sure if I am allowed to post in here since I am not yet a medical student, but I'm in dire need of advice from someone who has been accepted into medical school.

          I am in my third year now and my marks have improved significantly, yet my GPA continues to be weighed down (heavily) by my past stupidities. I thought at first that I should apply to master's programs next year and apply to medical school after that. That option has some diadvantages however.
          Firstly, I can't be certain that I will get in after I complete my master's because many medical schools heavily stress undergrad GPA and following a master's my undergrad GPA will remain the same. Also, I know that I can't apply until I finish the degree and that may mean waiting about for a year or so until I get accepted.

          I then thought that perhaps I should do another course of undergraduate study and try to bolster my GPA that way. I don't know which is the better option--to apply for a master's degree or do another undergrad course.

          I am terribly confused and if anyone can advise me I would certainly appreciate it.
          You're in Canada. There's no such thing as an SMP (special master's program) or post-bacc here, so ignore any advice to that effect unless you want to go to a US school.

          Start another undergrad degree. It's your best shot. Go full-time, take a full course load (5 classes/term) and start researching med schools to plan your courses accordingly. And do really well in school from now on, as well as rocking the MCAT. After a few years of really good grades, you can apply.

          I had similar challenges (except it was 5 undergrad years that sucked, not just 2) and overcame them (did another degree). I'm now an MS1 at McGill.

          Good luck!!!!
           

          Tired Pigeon

          Full Member
          10+ Year Member
          Jan 27, 2007
          940
          4
          1. Resident [Any Field]
            I get that you explored the writing thing & it wasn't for you ... but I'm not really clear why you want to go the med school route. Forgive me if I am reading you wrong, but it sounds like you started off not that interested in medicine, but are now falling back on it because something else didn't work out. Is medicine really what you have a passion for? It's a long, hard road even if it is what you really want, but if you're kind of lukewarm on it I imagine it would be a pretty miserable experience.

            There are plenty of great things to do with your life besides being a doctor, or a writer. If nothing really speaks to you, take a little time to explore your options. A year is nothing in the big scheme of things. Find out what it is you love to do and go from there.

            That said, if I misread your level of interest and medicine really is your calling, I think the informal post-bacc route will likely be the most efficient way of getting the GPA up. Also, depending on how you did in your earlier pre-med classes, you may have to re-take some of the prerequisites to get those grades up to minimum required levels.

            In any case, best of luck to you.:luck:
             

            Rezia

            New Member
            10+ Year Member
            Oct 19, 2006
            10
            0
              Hi Tired Pigeon,
              I didn't start off uninterested in medicine, I was just infatuated with being a writer. I loved the praise I suppose. Right now, I want more than anything else to get into a medical school in Canada or maybe America.

              I'm not sure what you mean by informal post-bacc route. Is that a master's program that is mainly research or primarily graded?

              Thanks for your reply
               

              Rezia

              New Member
              10+ Year Member
              Oct 19, 2006
              10
              0
                You're in Canada. There's no such thing as an SMP (special master's program) or post-bacc here, so ignore any advice to that effect unless you want to go to a US school.

                Start another undergrad degree. It's your best shot. Go full-time, take a full course load (5 classes/term) and start researching med schools to plan your courses accordingly. And do really well in school from now on, as well as rocking the MCAT. After a few years of really good grades, you can apply.

                I had similar challenges (except it was 5 undergrad years that sucked, not just 2) and overcame them (did another degree). I'm now an MS1 at McGill.

                Good luck!!!!

                Hi trustwomen,
                Are you sure there is no such thing as a post-bacc in Canada? Isn't a post-bacc a master's degree?

                Also, do you think I should the other undergrad degree in science or the arts? I'm asking because you seem to have experience with this.

                You had 5 undergrad years that sucked and you did another degree and then got into medical school. So did you do your other degree as a post-bacc then? Or was it another undergrad degree?

                I'm sorry for all the questions but I need advice. I feel as though I have scuttled all chances of a future in medicine over the past three years.
                 

                Tired Pigeon

                Full Member
                10+ Year Member
                Jan 27, 2007
                940
                4
                1. Resident [Any Field]
                  By 'informal post-bacc', I mean continuing to take relevant undergrad classes even after receiving your baccalaureate degree. I know a number of people who went this route because they decided on medicine after graduation & had to go back to get the prerequisites. I also know a couple of people in your circumstance that needed more courses just to boost the overall GPA. Your undergrad GPA is going to reflect all the undergrad coursework you do, whether it's before or after the actual completion of the degree.

                  Bottom line is some early rough patches in your academic record do not mean you're out of the running. :)

                  Of course, a formal post-bacc or master's program is also an option, if this is of interest to you. Some people like this route because it is a bit more structured, and it gives you an additional credential on your application. Programs like this certainly have the potential to strengthen your application, but they're (obviously) not an absolute requirement for you to get into med school.
                   

                  trustwomen

                  Senior Member
                  10+ Year Member
                  Mar 13, 2006
                  854
                  6
                  1. Medical Student
                    Rezia said:
                    Hi trustwomen,
                    Are you sure there is no such thing as a post-bacc in Canada? Isn't a post-bacc a master's degree?

                    Also, do you think I should the other undergrad degree in science or the arts? I'm asking because you seem to have experience with this.

                    You had 5 undergrad years that sucked and you did another degree and then got into medical school. So did you do your other degree as a post-bacc then? Or was it another undergrad degree?

                    I'm sorry for all the questions but I need advice. I feel as though I have scuttled all chances of a future in medicine over the past three years.
                    Hi rezia,

                    a "postbacc" is a special undergraduate premed program for people who already have a degree. it is NOT grad school. it is available in the states and brings up your undergrad gpa, making you more competitive. its purpose is to get you into (american) med school. it is also quite expensive. SMPs are similar.

                    by "informal postbacc" the other poster means "take more undergrad courses in a program you may not finish". That was what I did until I realized I would need another degree to qualify for med. Indeed, if you are smart and go full-time, you may not need to finish another degree. (I did have to finish another undergrad degree - I made the huge initial mistake of going to school part-time and working full-time, instead of the reverse, so half my new degree was disregarded by a ton of schools.) My old studies were in humanities, my recent degree was in science. I would recommend that your "new", good studies include ALL your prereqs, though it doesn't have to be in the context of a science program - your science courses could be your electives. Just take enough science, and enough tough courses, to convince them that you can handle it.

                    Don't despair - you haven't wrecked everything. Buckle down, plan, talk to admissions offices, and you'll get there eventually if you are able to get the grades/scores from now on.

                    If it makes you feel better, my first time around I got a 2.5 GPA overall (for the five years!). My recent degree was over 3.7. You'll have to pick your schools carefully, plan well, and do a lot of calculating to figure out what you will need. But all is not lost. Don't kick yourself, that's wasted energy. Your path made you who you are, you learned from it, you're ready to move on now, that's all.
                     

                    Law2Doc

                    5K+ Member
                    Moderator Emeritus
                    10+ Year Member
                    Dec 20, 2004
                    30,880
                    10,058
                    1. Attending Physician
                      Are you sure there is no such thing as a post-bacc in Canada? Isn't a post-bacc a master's degree?

                      No - postbac is undergraduate level courses. By informal postbac, people simply mean you are taking undergraduate level courses subsequent to have received a bachelors degree. I suspect you can do that in Canada too. Masters is another option, but unlike postbac courses won't raise your undergrad course GPA on AMCAS -- it will just give you a recent track record for success and ability in the sciences, which sometimes helps folks if the adcoms' concerns related primarilly to the applicants ability to handle med school. If Canada doesn't have SMPs, then a masters in a hard science probably provides much of the same "recent abilities" benefit.
                       

                      Rezia

                      New Member
                      10+ Year Member
                      Oct 19, 2006
                      10
                      0
                        Hi rezia,

                        a "postbacc" is a special undergraduate premed program for people who already have a degree. it is NOT grad school. it is available in the states and brings up your undergrad gpa, making you more competitive. its purpose is to get you into (american) med school. it is also quite expensive. SMPs are similar.

                        by "informal postbacc" the other poster means "take more undergrad courses in a program you may not finish". That was what I did until I realized I would need another degree to qualify for med. Indeed, if you are smart and go full-time, you may not need to finish another degree. (I did have to finish another undergrad degree - I made the huge initial mistake of going to school part-time and working full-time, instead of the reverse, so half my new degree was disregarded by a ton of schools.) My old studies were in humanities, my recent degree was in science. I would recommend that your "new", good studies include ALL your prereqs, though it doesn't have to be in the context of a science program - your science courses could be your electives. Just take enough science, and enough tough courses, to convince them that you can handle it.

                        Don't despair - you haven't wrecked everything. Buckle down, plan, talk to admissions offices, and you'll get there eventually if you are able to get the grades/scores from now on.

                        If it makes you feel better, my first time around I got a 2.5 GPA overall (for the five years!). My recent degree was over 3.7. You'll have to pick your schools carefully, plan well, and do a lot of calculating to figure out what you will need. But all is not lost. Don't kick yourself, that's wasted energy. Your path made you who you are, you learned from it, you're ready to move on now, that's all.

                        Hi trustwomen,
                        Now let me see if I'm getting this right. A post-bacc is NOT a master's degree, only available in America, and a sort of pre-med program at the undergrad level. An informal post-bacc is where I take more undergrad courses in a program that I may not finish. They sound sort of alike.

                        So you did another undergrad degree in science after your studies in the humanities. In other words, you are a BA, BSc, MD (very impressive:) ), right?
                        Do you think that my new studies could be working towards a BA degree, and I could take the necessary science courses (physiology, organic chem, anatomy etc.) as electives? If so, then won't I be repeating a lot of my science courses? Did you have to do that as well?

                        I think I prefer the option of doing another undergrad degree instead of doing my master's. As far as I understand, undergrad GPA is what matters and a master's degree won't change that.

                        To be honest with you, hearing about your first time around GPA does make me feel better (sorry!). At least I'm not alone. I'll try not to kick myself too much.
                         

                        georgia_md

                        yo
                        10+ Year Member
                        Jun 4, 2006
                        325
                        1
                        1. Pre-Medical
                          I think I prefer the option of doing another undergrad degree instead of doing my master's. As far as I understand, undergrad GPA is what matters and a master's degree won't change that.

                          To be honest with you, hearing about your first time around GPA does make me feel better (sorry!). At least I'm not alone. I'll try not to kick myself too much.

                          I guess everyone has to start some where. Good luck!!
                           

                          xylem29

                          Full Member
                          10+ Year Member
                          7+ Year Member
                          Nov 10, 2005
                          1,171
                          3
                          1. Dental Student
                            Hi everyone,
                            I'm not sure if I am allowed to post in here since I am not yet a medical student, but I'm in dire need of advice from someone who has been accepted into medical school.

                            Here is my situation in brief: I was accepted into a pre-medical honours science undergrad program after I finished high school. At that time I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. I think the only reason I was accepted into this program was that my science and math marks were always high. I don't want to seem arrogant but marks always came too easily to me, that's partly what led to my unhappy and tragic ruin. Anyway, I was accepted into pre-med but I was not passionate about that.

                            Most unfortunately, I wanted to become a writer. I met with a good deal of heady success initially...I was seduced by vague ideas of writing a masterpiece of Canadiana to rival Margaret Atwwod. Success at a young age is a terrible thing. It took me until well into my second year to realize that I didn't want to become a writer. I hate the politics and the bickering and the banality of the real writers I met.

                            I have now a real disgust of the whole literary scene. Starting in my third year I decided that I wanted to go into medicine. Here is the tragic part: in the years that I was being all literary my marks suffered BADLY. Now, I've given up that career path only to discover this one to be all but unattainable.

                            I am in my third year now and my marks have improved significantly, yet my GPA continues to be weighed down (heavily) by my past stupidities. I thought at first that I should apply to master's programs next year and apply to medical school after that. That option has some diadvantages however.
                            Firstly, I can't be certain that I will get in after I complete my master's because many medical schools heavily stress undergrad GPA and following a master's my undergrad GPA will remain the same. Also, I know that I can't apply until I finish the degree and that may mean waiting about for a year or so until I get accepted.

                            I then thought that perhaps I should do another course of undergraduate study and try to bolster my GPA that way. I don't know which is the better option--to apply for a master's degree or do another undergrad course.

                            I am terribly confused and if anyone can advise me I would certainly appreciate it.

                            I will assume that you are Canadian.

                            I don't know how low your GPA is, so without it, I can only make assumptions. Anyway, do not be discouraged, because all hope is not lost - it never is my friend...never.

                            There are several routes you can take:

                            Graduate school would certainly help, but depeding on just how low your GPA is, this may not help at all. I'm not sure about the policy of all the Canadian schools, but I know that for the most part, the ON schools will look favourably on your graduate school GPA and your accomplishments (published, conference presentations, super commendations from your profs). However, there are some GPA's that are so low, you cannot salvage it with an MSc or PhD - you'll have to do more undergraduate work. Which leads to the next route:

                            Certain schools like Queens and Western will ignore your cGPA, if your most recent two years meets the cut-off GPA. So a possible scenario would be this: do your best this year. Finish your degree next year (4th year) and try and obtain a 3.8 and over, and come back again for a fifth year and rock that year too - then you could have your most recent two years as being rocked with a GPA of 3.8 plus, and this is your GPA according to Queens and Western.

                            If you want to go to medical school in the US - you can do some SMP (Georgetown) or other post-bacc programs, do really well, and destroy the MCAT. This would help you get into US schools.

                            Or, you can go into a nursing program and finish that would good grades, then try for med school (in Canada, it has worked, dunno bout the US) after completing that. Or, try to get into pharmacy, do your 3 years, rock them, and try again for meds after that. Point is, you'll need to do some more years of undergrad work.
                             

                            EBI831

                            legend in the making
                            10+ Year Member
                            Apr 19, 2006
                            956
                            4
                            Chi-town royalty
                            1. Medical Student
                              rezia, are you sure you don't want to still be a writer, it sure looks like your simple question on the thread stretched off into a lengthy, expository essay. i'd take these peoples advice and tack on another degree if finances aren't a problem. also, as someone who is fanatical about writing too, let me tell you, writing and medicine arent' mutually exclusive and you don't have to go to grad school or even major in english to be a writer...just take the classes alongside premed classes and write what you feel. like you, i've found that exposure to writers annoys me b/c they are so pretentious. so basically i'm saying you can still do both.
                               

                              lispiz86

                              Full Member
                              10+ Year Member
                              Jan 17, 2007
                              24
                              0
                                sorry, as a fellow pre-med grasshopper, i can't really help you there. however, post-baccs are a good call and quite common before applying to med. school. i just wanted to give a shout out that margaret atwood is one of my favorite authors! :thumbup: good choice. :)
                                 
                                About the Ads
                                This thread is more than 14 years old.

                                Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

                                1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
                                2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                                3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                                4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
                                5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
                                6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                                7. This thread is locked.