Nela

7+ Year Member
Dec 8, 2010
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Pre-Medical
Hi everyone.
I'm currently a pre-med student in my sophomore year. I would like to get into medical school, obviously, but I don't know if I've been doing enough. I feel like I wasted my Freshman year because I was trying to decide if I wanted to be pre-med or not.

My GPA is a 3.5 but I'll hopefully get this to at least a 3.7 if not a 3.8 by the time I graduate. I've been volunteering in the ER and an Aids Clinic. I have also shadowed some doctors--how many hours would you say are an average? I'm going to fill out an SDEMP application for this summer. I'm going to be taking a nursing assistant course this coming semester so starting in the summer I'm going to be a CNA in the ER at the hospital. I'm hoping that either this summer or next summer I can go overseas and work in a clinic in a developing country (this is the whole reason I've wanted to become a doctor, to work in developing countries). I'm going to apply for the research program here so that I can be doing some genetics research this time next year and the year after that. I'll take Anatomy fall of my junior year, and then by my senior year I can be an Anatomy TA for both semesters.

I realize that a lot of the things I'm saying are "I'm going to..." and I guess that's what worries me. I feel like I'm behind because I didn't decide all these things Freshman year, but I can't do anything about that now. I guess my question is, if most of the above goes through, what do you think my chances are? I don't need to get into a prestigious medical school. Recommendations and suggestions are helpful!

Thanks.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
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Sep 4, 2006
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I don't think you're behind the average premed, as most spend their freshman year adjusting to a new learning style and the freedom that scomes with being a part of a campus community.

Average shadowing hours from what I see is about 50 hours, split among a few types of doc. I suggest aiming for 60-80.

The ER and AIDS clinic volunteerism is very good and with the added CNA job would give you clinical experience above average. When a job is the source of clinical experience, it's a good idea to engage in some nonmedical community service too.

About 60% list a research experience; about a year's worth is average.

Teaching/TA/coaching, tutoring are all valued activities on a med school application.

As time goes on, seek out a leadership activity also.

With a 3.7-3.8 cGPA, good BCPM, and most of the above activities with a competitive MCAT score, your chances of an acceptance are very good, presuming good LORs, intriguing Personal Statement, and appropriate interview skills.
 
OP
N

Nela

7+ Year Member
Dec 8, 2010
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the suggestions!
If I get a CNA job in the summer at a hospital, would it be better for me to volunteer somewhere other than the hospital, then? As long as I'm working with people...

My major is Biochemistry, but I'd rather do Biology research at the moment because the research topics interest me more (as a sophomore, I haven't had any actual biochemistry courses yet). Do you think this would be something an interviewer would ask? "Why didn't you major in Biology if you chose to do 2 years of Biology research?" I know a lot of things are up in the air, but perhaps someone knows :). Perhaps it doesn't matter at all.

Opinion question: Is it better for me to do a lot of work as a CNA this summer/try to go overseas *or* do SDEMP? Obviously it would depend on what I get into but thoughts would be helpful.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
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1) If I get a CNA job in the summer at a hospital, would it be better for me to volunteer somewhere other than the hospital, then? As long as I'm working with people...

2) My major is Biochemistry, but I'd rather do Biology research Do you think this would be something an interviewer would ask? Perhaps it doesn't matter at all.

3) Opinion question: Is it better for me to do a lot of work as a CNA this summer/try to go overseas *or* do SDEMP? Obviously it would depend on what I get into but thoughts would be helpful.
1) Yes, though the Humane Society is another option too.

2) It doesn't matter at all.

3) If you don't need the money employment would bring, then it doesn't matter. Just be sure you will be clinically involved in siome way during your junior year also.
 

Ursa

woof
5+ Year Member
Oct 19, 2010
1,077
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Medical Student
I feel the whole "practicing in developing countries thing," as I would like to spend some time doing so myself. However, (and I know this is a long way off) make sure you realize that med schools are looking to produce doctors that will stay and practice in their particular state.

That being said, I would suggest being cautious on how much you play this up in your applications and interviews. I might be wrong, so others with more knowledge on the issue might contribute something more valuable. It's just my opinion that schools may choose an applicant who is more gung-ho on practicing in underserved areas rather than those who are itching to leave the country.

Anywho, I wish you the best of luck. And I don't think you are as behind as you think you are!
 
OP
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Nela

7+ Year Member
Dec 8, 2010
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
That being said, I would suggest being cautious on how much you play this up in your applications and interviews. I might be wrong, so others with more knowledge on the issue might contribute something more valuable. It's just my opinion that schools may choose an applicant who is more gung-ho on practicing in underserved areas rather than those who are itching to leave the country.
That's an interesting point! Perhaps it would be better to say that I plan on doing work in a developing country when I am "much older". That actually might not be far from the truth because I would like to start a family at home first. It won't seem like I'm running away from them, then. If anyone has had this come up in an interview please add input :) Thank you.
 
OP
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Nela

7+ Year Member
Dec 8, 2010
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Another question:

How bad is a C+/C in Organic Chemistry? I'm really nervous right now because that might be it for me -_- It could look REALLY bad and I don't know what to do.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
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How bad is a C+/C in Organic Chemistry? I'm really nervous right now because that might be it for me
It won't "be it" for you, unless you give up and quit trying. If that's the grade you earn, do better in the second term course. And get an A in Biochem. Or retake it if you don't understand it well enough to enable sucess on the MCAT.
 
OP
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Nela

7+ Year Member
Dec 8, 2010
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm not sure if you mean for yourself or for me, because my major is Biochemistry.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
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is taking biochem really advised for those who did poorly in an ochem course?

my grades for ochem are [in correct chronological order]:

ochem1: C-
ochem2: B

ochem1-retake: A
etherealx, you did just fine redeeming the C-. Taking Biochem wouldn't necessarily be "advised" in your situation, unless a school you are targeting requires/recommends it, but completing it would help make your MS1 year less stressful, regardless.
 

bucks2010

7+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2010
1,166
1
Status
Pre-Medical
OP, you're not behind at all - I was in the same boat. I didn't start the introductory bio & chem sequences until my sophomore year for the same reason. I'm a senior and decided to wait and apply this June, but I would've been able to apply last summer if I wanted to.
 
OP
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Nela

7+ Year Member
Dec 8, 2010
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for all your input.

I have a negative update: I might be getting a C- or lower in Organic. The class really kicked my ass, and now I'm stressing over it. If I get a C- or lower, do I probably have to retake it before I can take the next Organic class? Preferably I'd take the next Organic and then retake this class in the summer.

All this stress is making me reconsider medical school, but I just feel really helpless right now. I've never done so badly in a class. In any case, I want honest opinions about this... perhaps, suggestions of what I should do from here.
 

bucks2010

7+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2010
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I believe most medical schools want a C or better in pre-reqs... I would check to see if a C- would count.

If you do decide to retake, be sure to look thoroughly at your school's re-take policy. At my school, once you take the second class in a series (i.e. Organic II), you can't re-take the first one.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
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Sep 4, 2006
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If you did not understand the material well, then it might be better to retake the first OChem class before attempting the second. Do not set yourelf up to do more poorly in OChem II. If the C- resulted from harsh grading practices, then take the second class with a different professor or maybe even at another school over the summer to protect your GPA.