Mar 13, 2010
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I've wanted to become a doctor on and off my whole life, but the past year it's been a burning desire which I am finding more and more difficult to deny. So here I am, an internet software engineer in San Francisco, 27 years old, wondering how to make the switch, how to do it right, and if it's even possible.

If some members here could help me and give some personal advice, I will be eternally grateful.

My circumstances aren't ideal, so let me spill the vitals:
* Major: Computer Science
* Final Overall GPA: 3.7
* Senior year I got divorced, had an academic meltdown due to subsequent diagnosed major depression. Fall semester was 2.74, Winter Semester got 5 W's. Spring quarter got a 3.59, Summer quarter (my last one, with a major case of senioritis) got a 1.89. Before my meltdown my GPA was 3.89 overall
* For normative purposes, I took the LSAT and got 169 (97% percentile), only grad test I've taken.
* I have 3.5 years of work experience. I interned as a software engineer at Amazon.com, my work resume is stellar, my work references are stellar, and for what it's worth, I'm currently I'm making over $100k in salary
* I've only taken General Chem 1 and two Bio classes, but have good physics and math skills.

And the coup de grace (aka, why I am afraid I will never become a doctor):
Although I completed all the requirements for my degree during the summer after my divorce, it wasn't actually awarded until last month--this is the primary reason I gave up on medical school for so long. I went to a school with a strict religious code of conduct and the month of my divorce, I was arrested for misdeamenor drug possession, harassment, and disorderly conduct. I served 3 days in jail on suicide watch, and made a plea bargain to avoid further jail at the cost of attending anger management classes and professional counseling. The school suspended the awarding of my degree until I satisfactorily demonstrated to them I was back in good graces with the church; the university considers my 3 years of my solid work history enough to show that I am worthy of finally receiving my degree.

*sigh*

What are my chances and how can I improve them? What should my next step be? Thank you so much in advance for advice and direction.
 
Mar 16, 2010
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other than the whole legal trouble I don't really see anything wrong with your application- although you need to finish your pre-reqs. In fact I know someone who did IT work for 6 years then decided to go to Medical School. Medical School is more and more "non-traditional students". I'm not really sure how extensive background checks are when you apply to medical school...so I'm not sure how a misdemeanor would affect things. But I say if you want it...do it! good luck!
 

cliffhuxtableDO

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if i were you i'd start with a post-bac to knockout the pre-reqs and then after that develop a lengthy MCAT study plan. get some clinical experience and roll the dice. what's done is done, and if you want to be a doc you've got to start somewhere.
 

FluffyRabbit

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I don't know how schools will see your tangle with the law, but maybe they tend to be a bit more forgiving after some time?

Other than that, I think the first step here is to go out volunteering and get some clinical experience. Once you know what it's like much better and are still sure you want to do it, go take the prereqs, MCAT, and apply. It's nice that your GPA doesn't need repair, which will save you a lot of headache.

FWIW, I am also a software developer, you can PM me if you have more specific questions about that.
 
Jan 18, 2010
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I've wanted to become a doctor on and off my whole life, but the past year it's been a burning desire which I am finding more and more difficult to deny. So here I am, an internet software engineer in San Francisco, 27 years old, wondering how to make the switch, how to do it right, and if it's even possible.

If some members here could help me and give some personal advice, I will be eternally grateful.

My circumstances aren't ideal, so let me spill the vitals:
* Major: Computer Science
* Final Overall GPA: 3.7
* Senior year I got divorced, had an academic meltdown due to subsequent diagnosed major depression. Fall semester was 2.74, Winter Semester got 5 W's. Spring quarter got a 3.59, Summer quarter (my last one, with a major case of senioritis) got a 1.89. Before my meltdown my GPA was 3.89 overall
* For normative purposes, I took the LSAT and got 169 (97% percentile), only grad test I've taken.
* I have 3.5 years of work experience. I interned as a software engineer at Amazon.com, my work resume is stellar, my work references are stellar, and for what it's worth, I'm currently I'm making over $100k in salary
* I've only taken General Chem 1 and two Bio classes, but have good physics and math skills.

And the coup de grace (aka, why I am afraid I will never become a doctor):
Although I completed all the requirements for my degree during the summer after my divorce, it wasn't actually awarded until last month--this is the primary reason I gave up on medical school for so long. I went to a school with a strict religious code of conduct and the month of my divorce, I was arrested for misdeamenor drug possession, harassment, and disorderly conduct. I served 3 days in jail on suicide watch, and made a plea bargain to avoid further jail at the cost of attending anger management classes and professional counseling. The school suspended the awarding of my degree until I satisfactorily demonstrated to them I was back in good graces with the church; the university considers my 3 years of my solid work history enough to show that I am worthy of finally receiving my degree.

*sigh*

What are my chances and how can I improve them? What should my next step be? Thank you so much in advance for advice and direction.
I think you can do it, man... I would try to make an appointment with a director of admissions or something, they could give you better advice than anyone here could.
 

Practitioner

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Jul 8, 2009
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My thoughts: You have an interesting story that makes you far more mature and well rounded than the majority (not just average) applicant. As far as academics are concerned, go back to your institution and meet with the prehealth advisor there. If there isn't one you can look for one here: http://www.naahp.org/advisors.htm

See their opinion. You should have a good chance, but there will be some hoops you have to jump through:

1) You need to take the MCAT which will be several months of practice at least, and 3 years out of college in a non-life science major will make this a bit more of a challenge, imo, than for others. A class would be helpful, my personal opinion is that that's unnecessary. You can do it on your own well enough with enough motivation.

2) My guess is you'll need to take some science courses -- it doesn't sound like you've taken all prereqs. The most convenient way of doing this is a postbac program, but it's been suggested on these forums (Catalystic) that an informal one where you choose your courses is just as good. As long as you get the prereqs and get them with mostly As.

3) Start with getting clinical/volunteer experience. I'd say start sending out e-mails to doctors in your area today! You need some patient contact hours for your application to ne considered seriously nowadays.

The forums here have been extraordinarily helpful getting things to make sense for me. So a personal suggestion, and I tell this to everyone I meet in person too: check out the SDN forums. You're already here so good for you.

Finally, if you really want it, be patient with the process. It's tiresome and I think acts as one level of weeding out. Good luck!
 

mordounhas

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The good news is that you've passed a hurdle many do not: you still have a reasonable GPA. This is especially remarkable considering your field (where most of my friends doing computer science were barely breaking 3.0).

As far as troubles during a time of turmoil, I think you'd probably find some sympathy there. Additionally, you've had a few years to show that you've put that behind you and that you're stable.

Now, whether or not you'd get in will depend a lot on your ability to do well in your remaining pre-medical coursework and the MCAT as well as volunteering in medical fields, etc. I think you'd likely have a chance, but I don't think anyone here can really offer guarantees.
 

searun

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Were you actually convicted of the drug possession charge? If so, is it possible to have the conviction expunged?

You should check and find out whether a misdemeanor drug possession conviction will make it difficult for you to get licensed as a physician (because physicians write drug prescriptions)... I don't know the answer to this question but definitely find out.

Also, when I recently completed the FAFSA to qualify for federal student loans, I recall a question about whether or not I had any drug convictions on my record. Such a conviction might preclude you from obtaining low interest federal loans to finance your med school education. Again, I am not sure, but check this out if you will need federal loans to pay for med school.

Good luck.
 

Morsetlis

I wish I were a dentist
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Jan 22, 2010
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You need 1-2 years between you and application to put the incident behind you. You're a really book-smart person...

Anyway, consider getting involved with anti-drug community programs to show your redemption.