Just kidding. Most likely they'll look for life experiences, volunteer work, letters of rec, as well as how you present yourself during an interview. If your grades are below average then they will probably look for trends. As long as trouble spots were at the beginning of your college career you might be okay. If you show a downward trend near then end, however, you may have some problems because it might be interpreted as burning out.
Apply and see what happens. If you get an interview then you've cleared a big hurdle and it bodes well for your chances of acceptance with your present stats.
I second what Fenrezz says. My grades were decent but my MCAT was really below average. I had a ton of extracurriculars and involvements though, so I know that helped me. I also had a lot of health care experience and certifications, so this was also a factor.
My suggestion is this: if your grades are below average as well as the MCAT and you don't have very many ECs or experiences that will make you a unique candidate, wait to apply until you get a few of these things. On the other hand, if you do have a lot of extras but your scores are really the only downfall of your app, then go for it. This process is long and grueling. But if you really want it, you will get there.
I guess I'm feeling a little insecure right now. I got a 23S on my April MCAT and I'm taking it again on Saturday.
I've posted this before, but I'd still like some more feedback. I do have some unique EC's. I'm a practicing podiatrist, which means that I've gone through a ton of medically related courses, scrubbed in and performed a lot of different surgeries, did a one year podiatric residency at LAC/USC, which entailed a gigantic amount of one on one patient care, surgery, etc. (we were treated exactly like a PGY-1). I've done and seen a lot. Besides that, I volunteered for two years at UCLA's ER, did some lab work, volunteered as a student and as a podiatrist. The classes I took in pod school were very, very similar to what I'd take in DO school.
My undergrad grades were 3.0 junior college, 3.2 UCLA (Japanese). My undergrad science grades were about a 3.0. I applied to DO school back in 1993, but didn't even get an interview (my MCAT's were a 24S back then. I guess at least I know I can communicate effectively!). My podiatry grades (which they don't use in the GPA calculation) were 3.53. I've volunteered as much as anyone and interview well.
I am having some trouble finding a DO to meet and get to know. I live in Los Angeles and I know they're out there. I was hoping to get one from L.A County where I did my residency, but the person who I kind of knew isn't there anymore. I randomly e-mailed an ER DO at L.A. County, but haven't heard back from him yet. All I have so far in terms of letters are my anatomy prof from podiatry school, my residency directors at L.A. County and my Buddhism prof from UCLA. No MD's. No DO's. I'm getting worried.
You weren't kidding about unique experiences. It sounds like your EC's will make it hard to gauge your chances of acceptance because your experiences are a bit different from most nontraditional premeds (including me).
I can't imagine those EC's would hurt you, though. You know more than any premed about what to expect in medical school, and your pod school gpa is very good.
I always believe that if you do bad in a class, instead of replacing it, do better in a more advanced course. You've done exactly that. If you didn't do as well in undergrad (3.0 science gpa), then instead of replacing undergrad classes, just do well in a more advanced school (3.5 in podiatry school). That proves to adcoms you can handle the material, which I'm sure is always one of the questions they have about a prospective student.
Since your situation is so unique, I would apply even if you dont do well on the MCAT. Your pod school and real world medicine experience has to be a good thing and might even negate a lower than average MCAT. As you probably already know, be prepared to be asked about your career change at every interview you might get.
As far as finding a DO, what I did was I checked my insurance plan at the available primary care doctors in the area. There's bound to be some DO's in your area. Just start calling them and see what happens. If you can, find one that graduated from your number one choice.
Anyway, good luck. Let us know what happens, I'm really curious to see how your situation works out.
All I can say is that I am impressed with your experience, diligence, perserverance, and passion for medicine. It takes a lot of character to re-take the MCAT after 10 years in school. And man, if you can't make it, nobody can...Keep up good work and don't give up!!!
P.S. Focus on getting an outstanding LOR from a DO (he's one very important factor in determination of whether you make it or break it) and re-taking the MCAT (only if you want) because I think you'll do better than last one; plus, it shows the Adcoms how committed you are.
Your MCAT scores are not horrific; I know that people get into DO school with those scores, so don't fret. I think you didn't get in because of your undergrad GPA. I would definently use the essay portion of application to highlight your pod. experiences and also perhaps mention the GPA of your pod. schoolwork. If they know that much, I would think they would be foolish not to grant you an interview.