SIGMACHIGUY

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
59
0
North Hills, CA
Status
Quick info on me:

*28 y/o male

*BS Biochemistry, UCSD (started at UCSD in 1998)
*UCSD cGPA: 2.61
*UCSD sGPA: 2.45

*After graduation, did pharmaceutical/genetic/medical device research for
almost 4 years before returning to school for nursing.

*AS Nursing Science
*GPA throughout entire program which also included classes
in pathophysiology, statistics, etc.: 4.00

*Cumulative Undegrad GPA from both institutions: 3.12
*Cumulative Science GPA from both institutions: 2.61 if AAMCAS doesn't
count "Nursing Science" courses into my science GPA
*Cumulative Science GPA from both institutions: 3.08 if AAMCAS does
count "Nursing Science" courses into my science GPA

*Currently an RN on a cardiac observation unit since September, just got accepted to
UCLA's RN Residency Program in the Medical ICU

*Strong LORs from past faculty, past VPs of companies, MDs that I work
with, etc.

*Strong volunteer experience within community, hospitals, schools,
college organizations, etc.

*I just enrolled into a non-formal post-bac at a local 4-yr Cal State University and know that I: a) HAVE TO get A's in ALL courses and b) HAVE TO rock the MCAT in order to ever have a shot at medical school. So, I'm shooting for nothing less than A's in my classes as well as scoring a minimum of a mid-30s on the MCAT (I know this is a TON of work and extremely hard to do but I tend to do ok on standardized tests, managed to pull of a 1400 on the SAT back in the days so I know I can do well as long as I put in the time for the MCAT).

So, I posted earlier this year regarding my plan of attack and it was to take 2 classes this spring and summer, try to rock the MCAT and apply in June 2009.

However, after talking to my post-bac medical counselor who is an M.D. today for almost 2 hours, she recommended that I take a full load of classes starting this spring for every semester (to show that I can consistently manage a full course load and do well for a year +) until I apply to medical school in June of 2010. And she said that instead of taking the MCAT in May 2009, to take it towards the end of 2009 or in 2010 sometime before turning in my primary in June of 2010.

While, I know that having more an additional year under my belt will only help strengthen my application, do you think this is absolutely necessary? I'd like to continue working as an RN full time which is only 3 days a week and I'm pretty motivated so I feel that I can handle that with 3 classes if that is the best route for me.

What do you guys and gals think? Shoot for 2009 or just take it easy and concentrate on getting A's for now and apply in 2010?

THANKS FOR YOUR FEEDBACK!!! :rolleyes:
 

NTF

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2008
1,836
63
Status
Attending Physician
I understand what your pre-med advisor is saying, but this is where the "know thyself" part of being non-trad really comes to bear. While it is true that 4.0 full-time looks more impressive than 4.0 part-time, you have to take a long hard look at yourself and make sure you're giving yourself the best opportunity to succeed. Because 4.0 part-time looks LEGIONS BETTER than <3.5 full-time.

So you have to really sit down and think whether getting a 4.0 full-time is really something that you're able to do while balancing work. If there's even a reasonable doubt I say go for 4.0 part-time.

I've seen alot of my fellow non-trads set themselves back by taking on too much at once. Whatever you decide make sure you clear your life of anything that will impede you from getting A's. No distractions.

Part of the reason that I think I've been able to be successful in my application process in spite of a choppy (poor GPA, W's, F's) ugrad performance is there is a clear demarcation in my transcript where I turned myself around. I had a long uninterrupted string of all A's (all done part-time) to squelch any doubt in adcoms' minds that my days of mediocre academics were behind me.
 
Last edited:

gman33

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Aug 18, 2007
2,188
495
Status
Attending Physician
Don't take 3 science classes and try to work full-time.
Maybe you can handle it, but anything less than an A is moving you in the wrong direction. Honestly, your chances at an MD school are a long shot at best as it is.

How many credits do you currently have? You need to get your overall gpa in the 3.5 range before you apply. My guess is you have 180 credits already if you have a BS and a nursing degree. You would need almost that many more credits at 4.0 to get the gpa to 3.5.

That being said, it's not a realistic goal in my mind. If you look into DO schools, you can retake some old classes and boost the gpa more quickly. If for some reason that doesn't work for you, I'd say do a year or two of postbacc and then a SMP.

Just to bring it up, ever think about an advanced nursing degree? That would be a much quicker route for you.

:luck:
 
OP
SIGMACHIGUY

SIGMACHIGUY

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
59
0
North Hills, CA
Status
Part of the reason that I think I've been able to be successful in my application process in spite of a choppy (poor GPA, W's, F's) ugrad performance is there is a clear demarcation in my transcript where I turned myself around. I had a long uninterrupted string of all A's (all done part-time) to squelch any doubt in adcoms' minds that my days of mediocre academics were behind me.
GREAT, GREAT, GREAT point!! I believe this really hits the nail on the head and that given my situation, getting ALL A's is one of, if not the MOST important thing for me to do right now. And if that means taking 2 classes, I agree that having a 4.0 with 2 classes as opposed to having a 3.5 with 3 classes is better. Thanks for reminding me about that crucial aspect in this process!!! :rolleyes:
 
OP
SIGMACHIGUY

SIGMACHIGUY

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
59
0
North Hills, CA
Status
How many credits do you currently have? You need to get your overall gpa in the 3.5 range before you apply. My guess is you have 180 credits already if you have a BS and a nursing degree. You would need almost that many more credits at 4.0 to get the gpa to 3.5.

That being said, it's not a realistic goal in my mind. If you look into DO schools, you can retake some old classes and boost the gpa more quickly. If for some reason that doesn't work for you, I'd say do a year or two of postbacc and then a SMP.

Just to bring it up, ever think about an advanced nursing degree? That would be a much quicker route for you.

:luck:
Have thought about DO school and totally respect the philosophy but it's just not for me. I think I'd go the nurse anesthesia route before going to DO which was my initial plan. So to answer your question, yes definitely thought about and was pursuing an advanced nursing degree until about a month ago when I decided that I'm going to face my fears head on and achieve the impossible in my mind (given my horrendous track record): medical school. I had plans on getting my doctorate in nurse anesthesia but after a few years of wondering "what if" and dealing with it, I've finally sacked up and have learned that you only live once and self-fulfillment is something you can't put a price on...even if it means $250k+ in medical school debt which I'm pretty much expecting.

And you definitely know your numbers!!! I have 177 semester units of gradework after completing both my BS and my AS degrees. Which as you stated, would take a LONG time to pull up my 3.12 to a 3.5. :(
 
OP
SIGMACHIGUY

SIGMACHIGUY

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
59
0
North Hills, CA
Status
So, I've been thinking about this ALL day long. I could start this January with my post-bac and take classes in preparation for applying in June 2010. With the spring, summer, and fall semesters, this would give me a full year and 2 semesters when I am turning in my primary and secondary.

Based on the above posts, I'm a a little stretched right now because I just landed a spot in the RN ICU residency program at UCLA and since I'll be starting in a few weeks, I'll be going through orientation, preceptorship, didactic coursework, etc. Basically, it's going to be super tough to even take 2 classes and balance a full-time job *only* because it's a new job and I'll HAVE TO be flexible in accomodating my preceptor's schedule. I really want to stay at UCLA for the academic environment and exposure to interns/residents/fellows/attendings, etc. And financially speaking, it's going to make a world of difference obviously.

Since I'll be fully oriented by April and then can make my own schedule, I was thinking about starting my post-bac in the summer which would only short my post-bac record by one semester by the time I apply to medical school in June of 2010. I would have pretty much a year and a semester under my belt during my primary and secondary submissions. And since I'd be free of classes until the summer if I were to start then, I would definitely be self-prepping for the MCAT the entire time since that can happen at the convenience of my schedule. And I think this would be a great thing because given my situation, the MCAT is going to make a significant difference if I can score at least in the mid-30s.

So, do you think if I officially started my post-bac in the summer of 2009 instead of spring of 2009...if that would be acceptable in the eyes of adcoms? Or do you think it'll be much more beneficial to start in Spring of 2009?

Thanks for your thoughts and feedback!! :rolleyes:
 

ILikeFood

NSU Class of 2013
10+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2008
2,865
60
Status
Have thought about DO school and totally respect the philosophy but it's just not for me. I think I'd go the nurse anesthesia route before going to DO which was my initial plan. So to answer your question, yes definitely thought about and was pursuing an advanced nursing degree until about a month ago when I decided that I'm going to face my fears head on and achieve the impossible in my mind (given my horrendous track record): medical school. I had plans on getting my doctorate in nurse anesthesia but after a few years of wondering "what if" and dealing with it, I've finally sacked up and have learned that you only live once and self-fulfillment is something you can't put a price on...even if it means $250k+ in medical school debt which I'm pretty much expecting.

And you definitely know your numbers!!! I have 177 semester units of gradework after completing both my BS and my AS degrees. Which as you stated, would take a LONG time to pull up my 3.12 to a 3.5. :(
I think you should shadow a DO before you close off 20+ DO schools that'll give you a chance to practice medicine. Btw, I graduated from UCSD too.

I shadowed a DO anesthesiologist in San Diego two months ago and watching him work and interact with his colleagues convinced me that DO schools were worth looking at. There is no philosophy. It's a means to an end just like an MD school is a means to an end.

You need to think about opportunity cost. My advice is to set a realistic time table for taking classes and strengthening your application and when it's as strong as it can be, apply to MD, DO, and Carribean schools, and see where the chips fall. You want to get into med school sooner rather than later.
 

ILikeFood

NSU Class of 2013
10+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2008
2,865
60
Status
I just read through your stream of consciousness posts. To have a realistic shot at MD schools you need to kill that year and a half AND do an SMP ($50k in the hole).

I decided on the year and a half postbacc. I took the MCAT in August and applied to DO schools. I was going to take courses until Spring 2009 and spend my application year completing an SMP, but after shadowing the DO I realized it didn't make economic sense to wait another year.

Then again, it's your choice, and may I point out that it's fine to aim for the 4.0 and the mid-30s MCAT, which is what I wanted when I started, but be open to the chance that it might not happen. I finished my postbacc with a 3.7 in 70 semester units and scored a 30 on the MCAT. I too scored a 1400+ on the SAT back in the day.

Some Food for thought.
 

Chocolate Bear

Moderizzle Fo'Shizzle!
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
May 7, 2008
8,186
11
The Only Place I Wanna Be
Status
I think you should shadow a DO before you close off 20+ DO schools that'll give you a chance to practice medicine. Btw, I graduated from UCSD too.

I shadowed a DO anesthesiologist in San Diego two months ago and watching him work and interact with his colleagues convinced me that DO schools were worth looking at. There is no philosophy. It's a means to an end just like an MD school is a means to an end.

You need to think about opportunity cost. My advice is to set a realistic time table for taking classes and strengthening your application and when it's as strong as it can be, apply to MD, DO, and Carribean schools, and see where the chips fall. You want to get into med school sooner rather than later.
:thumbup::thumbup: Couldn't agree more, for the OP.

OP, I'd love to hear why you shut the door on 29 schools. Have you actually spoken to any DOs or DO students? I'd imagine you spoke to some practicing and student CRNAs before you gave up on that path, right?

If you explore the DO route long enough, I bet you'll find it could offer you a path of far less resistance to achieve your goal of "self-fulfillment."
 

dragonfly99

10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
5,092
50
Status
Attending Physician
OP, now is the time to make decisions about what you want for your life. I don't know your entire situation - only you do. However, I see that you say you are starting a nursing residency program. I am against this if you are going to try to become a physician. If being a physician is what you've decided on, then you should go for that. Use nursing as a way to have a job and make money while you are taking your premed classes and shadowing some doctors, etc. I don't see how doing a nursing residency helps you. Also, you are taking a nursing residency spot from someone who actually might/would pursue nursing for a longer time. I know almost nothing about nursing residency programs, but I would assume it's going to take extra time and energy on your part, above and beyond a normal nursing job.

OP, you have to realize that a lot, if not most, of the other applicants to med school also got 1400+ on the SAT back in the day. That is a guarantee of nothing. Your undergraduate GPA is low and if the med schools don't count some of your "nursing science" courses as science classes, it's very very low for a medical school applicant. I have no idea if they will. You could ask some of the UC medical schools to give you an opinion. It would actually be a good idea to do that. You need to focus on premedical courses like chemistry, organic chemistry and on the MCAT if you want to get in to medical school in the U.S.

I don't think you should even try for medical school unless you are willing to consider a DO school or Caribbean medical school, since that might be where you end up needing to go.

You would very likely be able to get in to a Caribbean medical school, though I don't recommend going there. IMHO it would be much better to go for a CRNA or NP since as a Caribbean med school grad you'd probably end up in either internal med, family practice, peds or psych or neurology regardless of what specialty (or specialties) you are interested in.

OP, if you posted the grades you've received in the required premed science courses up to this point, and what type of school you took them at (i.e. ivy league U, local community college, U of California main campus, etc.) it might be easier to assess your chances. Overall I think if you don't commit to one profession (i.e. nursing vs. physician) you're going to flounder and fail.

By the way, CRNA's and some NP's make more money than a good number of physicians, and the supposed "prestige" of being an MD is fading fast, so just make sure you are doing this for the right reasons. I'm not saying you are or you're not, I'm just sayin' ....
 
OP
SIGMACHIGUY

SIGMACHIGUY

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
59
0
North Hills, CA
Status
I think you should shadow a DO before you close off 20+ DO schools that'll give you a chance to practice medicine. Btw, I graduated from UCSD too.

You need to think about opportunity cost. My advice is to set a realistic time table for taking classes and strengthening your application and when it's as strong as it can be, apply to MD, DO, and Carribean schools, and see where the chips fall. You want to get into med school sooner rather than later.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about this and though, I have read about the DO philosophy a ton and know what it stands for, I have yet to shadow a DO. I do work with a couple of them in the hospital setting but I should definitely look into shadowing some. And you do make a great point about applying broadly...MD, DO, Carribean. I've pretty much been focusing on allo schools but with all the thinking I've done lately, applying broadly will be my best bet given my ugly previous track record. Thanks for the thoughts!! :oops:
 
OP
SIGMACHIGUY

SIGMACHIGUY

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
59
0
North Hills, CA
Status
OP, now is the time to make decisions about what you want for your life. I don't know your entire situation - only you do. However, I see that you say you are starting a nursing residency program. I am against this if you are going to try to become a physician. If being a physician is what you've decided on, then you should go for that. Use nursing as a way to have a job and make money while you are taking your premed classes and shadowing some doctors, etc. I don't see how doing a nursing residency helps you. Also, you are taking a nursing residency spot from someone who actually might/would pursue nursing for a longer time. I know almost nothing about nursing residency programs, but I would assume it's going to take extra time and energy on your part, above and beyond a normal nursing job.

OP, you have to realize that a lot, if not most, of the other applicants to med school also got 1400+ on the SAT back in the day. That is a guarantee of nothing. Your undergraduate GPA is low and if the med schools don't count some of your "nursing science" courses as science classes, it's very very low for a medical school applicant. I have no idea if they will. You could ask some of the UC medical schools to give you an opinion. It would actually be a good idea to do that. You need to focus on premedical courses like chemistry, organic chemistry and on the MCAT if you want to get in to medical school in the U.S.

I don't think you should even try for medical school unless you are willing to consider a DO school or Caribbean medical school, since that might be where you end up needing to go.

You would very likely be able to get in to a Caribbean medical school, though I don't recommend going there. IMHO it would be much better to go for a CRNA or NP since as a Caribbean med school grad you'd probably end up in either internal med, family practice, peds or psych or neurology regardless of what specialty (or specialties) you are interested in.

OP, if you posted the grades you've received in the required premed science courses up to this point, and what type of school you took them at (i.e. ivy league U, local community college, U of California main campus, etc.) it might be easier to assess your chances. Overall I think if you don't commit to one profession (i.e. nursing vs. physician) you're going to flounder and fail.

By the way, CRNA's and some NP's make more money than a good number of physicians, and the supposed "prestige" of being an MD is fading fast, so just make sure you are doing this for the right reasons. I'm not saying you are or you're not, I'm just sayin' ....
I know now more than ever that I DO want to become a physician, there is no doubt in my mind. I also know that applying to medical school will mean for me to retake classes and do a post-bac for about a year and half and of course there's all the associated fees. I'm planning on applying in June of 2010 and with 18 months between now and then, I was planning on working 3 days a week as an RN to help fund my way through it all before I was accepted to a program (if I'm ever accepted that is). I would definitely even go part-time as well, my main goal is strengthening my application as much as possible for medical school. So with this 18 month stretch of working as an RN, I figured I might as well be in a specialty that I like and hence my decision to be in that residency program at UCLA in the medical intensive care unit. It's about 36 hrs a week and I'm the type of person who likes to keep busy so I see that as 4 full free days of studying and class at the very minimum...more if I need it. It would be no more hours than any other position as an RN, it's just termed a residency program for RNs new to the intensive care setting. And I also figured I could continue building repoire with medical staff as welll as maintain the clinical exposure to medicine that I enjoy so much.

I know that a 1400+ on the SAT means really nothing, I guess I was just trying to make a point that I know within that I can do well on the MCAT as long as I put my mind to it which I fully intend on doing. And you do make a great point, I really should find out whether those nursing science classes are counted in my GPA or not...thanks for bringing that up!! :) My pre-med advisor who is an MD said that she thinks they will be counted because they usually go by the class name and since all my core nursing classes were termed "Nursing Science", she said that I should check but that she thinks they may very well count...which is a great thing since I had a 4.0 in all of them...:xf::xf::xf: that they do count them. The med advisor and I sat down last week and devised a curriculum until I apply in June 2010 and it pretty much consists of a full year of organic chem again since I didn't do so hot the 1st time around, a few lower division BCPM classes, and mostly upper division biology/chemistry classes. She said that adcoms would be more impressed by me doing well in upper div biochemistry courses than repeating lower division BCPM classes at this point.

And to answer you question, I went to the Univ. of California at San Diego for my BS in biochemistry and to a community college for my AS in Nursing Science. My GPA breakdowns as of right now are:

BCPM: 2.64
Overall Science not including "Nursing Science" classes: 2.45
Overall Science including "Nursing Science" classes: 3.09
Cumulative Overall: 3.12

I'm pretty embarrassed to even have posted these numbers and it hurts to even look at them but they are what they are and I know full well that I have a lot of work ahead of me with GPA repair being one of the most significant at this point. I really believe that the rest of my application besides the horrendous GPAs is strong.

If I was worried about the money, I'd stay CRNA without a doubt. After some numbers crunching, I won't financially catch up with myself until I'm about 47-48 years old going the MD route. And I've read several articles lately saying how physicians are not recommending medical school to anyone these days and how the prestige of being a doctor is fading fast. Yet, through all of that, I still feel just as strongly about pursuing my dreams of becoming a physician and will no longer allow my previous low GPA to deter me in pursuing medicine.

I've learned that above money and all other things in life, attaining self-fulfillment and achieving your dreams/goals in life no matter how much of a challenge it may be are priceless no matter how long and how daunting it may be. As a result, after reading about all the negative speculations about being a physican and how much time, money, debt, stress, etc. that it's going to cost me, deep down inside my heart doesn't falter a single bit in my driving passion and dream to become a physician. So cheers to me taking the first step to the rest of my life...:rolleyes:
 

PunkmedGirl

Freshman Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 23, 2007
6,370
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I know now more than ever that I DO want to become a physician, there is no doubt in my mind. I also know that applying to medical school will mean for me to retake classes and do a post-bac for about a year and half and of course there's all the associated fees. I'm planning on applying in June of 2010 and with 18 months between now and then, I was planning on working 3 days a week as an RN to help fund my way through it all before I was accepted to a program (if I'm ever accepted that is). I would definitely even go part-time as well, my main goal is strengthening my application as much as possible for medical school. So with this 18 month stretch of working as an RN, I figured I might as well be in a specialty that I like and hence my decision to be in that residency program at UCLA in the medical intensive care unit. It's about 36 hrs a week and I'm the type of person who likes to keep busy so I see that as 4 full free days of studying and class at the very minimum...more if I need it. It would be no more hours than any other position as an RN, it's just termed a residency program for RNs new to the intensive care setting. And I also figured I could continue building repoire with medical staff as welll as maintain the clinical exposure to medicine that I enjoy so much.

I know that a 1400+ on the SAT means really nothing, I guess I was just trying to make a point that I know within that I can do well on the MCAT as long as I put my mind to it which I fully intend on doing. And you do make a great point, I really should find out whether those nursing science classes are counted in my GPA or not...thanks for bringing that up!! :) My pre-med advisor who is an MD said that she thinks they will be counted because they usually go by the class name and since all my core nursing classes were termed "Nursing Science", she said that I should check but that she thinks they may very well count...which is a great thing since I had a 4.0 in all of them...:xf::xf::xf: that they do count them. The med advisor and I sat down last week and devised a curriculum until I apply in June 2010 and it pretty much consists of a full year of organic chem again since I didn't do so hot the 1st time around, a few lower division BCPM classes, and mostly upper division biology/chemistry classes. She said that adcoms would be more impressed by me doing well in upper div biochemistry courses than repeating lower division BCPM classes at this point.

And to answer you question, I went to the Univ. of California at San Diego for my BS in biochemistry and to a community college for my AS in Nursing Science. My GPA breakdowns as of right now are:

BCPM: 2.64
Overall Science not including "Nursing Science" classes: 2.45
Overall Science including "Nursing Science" classes: 3.09
Cumulative Overall: 3.12

I'm pretty embarrassed to even have posted these numbers and it hurts to even look at them but they are what they are and I know full well that I have a lot of work ahead of me with GPA repair being one of the most significant at this point. I really believe that the rest of my application besides the horrendous GPAs is strong.

If I was worried about the money, I'd stay CRNA without a doubt. After some numbers crunching, I won't financially catch up with myself until I'm about 47-48 years old going the MD route. And I've read several articles lately saying how physicians are not recommending medical school to anyone these days and how the prestige of being a doctor is fading fast. Yet, through all of that, I still feel just as strongly about pursuing my dreams of becoming a physician and will no longer allow my previous low GPA to deter me in pursuing medicine.

I've learned that above money and all other things in life, attaining self-fulfillment and achieving your dreams/goals in life no matter how much of a challenge it may be are priceless no matter how long and how daunting it may be. As a result, after reading about all the negative speculations about being a physican and how much time, money, debt, stress, etc. that it's going to cost me, deep down inside my heart doesn't falter a single bit in my driving passion and dream to become a physician. So cheers to me taking the first step to the rest of my life...:rolleyes:

You don't have to enroll into an expensive postbac in order to repair your GPA. You can retake the courses you poorly in and just take some extra upper bio courses which would save you a whole lot of money versus enrolling into a 35k+or more postbac program. Even if you started a second undergrad degree it will be significantly cheaper than going with a PB program. Good Luck
 

dragonfly99

10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
5,092
50
Status
Attending Physician
OK, sounds reasonable to do the nursing residency if it's just 36 hours/week. I was thinking 50 or 60 or more and I was worrying for you.

Your plan sounds O.K. I'm not sure I agree with the premed advisor about not retaking previous biology classes, etc. though. If you got less than a B, particularly less than a B-, I think I would retake those. Especially if you end up going the DO route, then it will help you get in probably.

I think if you do well on the MCAT, you can get in to some school (either DO or MD). Caribbean they'd probably take you right now, but I wouldn't go that route if you have a choice. You could probably do OK ultimately, coming from there, but it's more of a struggle later on to get a residency.
 

dragonfly99

10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
5,092
50
Status
Attending Physician
Applying in 2010 sounds like a better plan for you than 2009, so I think you are right not to rush.
 

fahimaz7

15+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2004
3,286
216
Colorado
Status
Attending Physician
Don't apply in 2009... Wait until you have a few more classes under your belt and you have prepared for the MCAT! The only thing worse than a B in a class would be a 20 on the MCAT.
 

d0c12

10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2008
6
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I'm in a similar situation as the OP. I'm soon to be 28, have a BA in bio and graduated with a C average GPA. Since it was so low, I knew I'd never get into medical school. I decided to get a job and look into alternative career paths and that's when I found out about nurse practitioners. I enrolled in a BSN program at my same undergrad institution and have been doing really well in nursing school. My cumulative so far is 3.45, this includes my GPA from the 1st degree. However, medicine always comes up!! Whenever I hear about a co-worker getting into medical school (I work in research) I get really jealous and start wishing it were me. When I'm in clinical, I'm more interested in what the docs are doing instead of the nurses!! Just about everyday I weigh the pros and cons of NP versus MD/DO, but I know that if I pursue NP, I'll always regret not at least trying for med school. So, I've been looking into post-bac programs to enhance my credentials. I figure a post-bac program will be my best bet because of the non-traditional premed atmosphere. Plus, I will need LOR's and it will be awkward getting them from the nursing faculty (I think so anyway.)

I'm getting my BSN next year so I too will be working as an RN while pursuing post-bac studies. I decided to finish the degree as a back up. I know I should believe in myself, but the odds are against me! Plus most of my family thinks I'm crazy so I really don't get support in that way, but that's another story.

So, good luck to you, SIGMACHIGUY! I admire your confidence and focus. It sounds like you have a great strategy with waiting to apply for 2010. That sounds most reasonable.
 
OP
SIGMACHIGUY

SIGMACHIGUY

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
59
0
North Hills, CA
Status
You don't have to enroll into an expensive postbac in order to repair your GPA. You can retake the courses you poorly in and just take some extra upper bio courses which would save you a whole lot of money versus enrolling into a 35k+or more postbac program. Even if you started a second undergrad degree it will be significantly cheaper than going with a PB program. Good Luck
Thanks!! That's what I'm doing now, an informal post-bac at a Cal State that is near where I live instead of a $30k+ formal post-bac. Hopefully this is just as good in the eyes of the adcoms! :xf:
 
OP
SIGMACHIGUY

SIGMACHIGUY

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
59
0
North Hills, CA
Status
OK, sounds reasonable to do the nursing residency if it's just 36 hours/week. I was thinking 50 or 60 or more and I was worrying for you.

Your plan sounds O.K. I'm not sure I agree with the premed advisor about not retaking previous biology classes, etc. though. If you got less than a B, particularly less than a B-, I think I would retake those. Especially if you end up going the DO route, then it will help you get in probably.

I think if you do well on the MCAT, you can get in to some school (either DO or MD). Caribbean they'd probably take you right now, but I wouldn't go that route if you have a choice. You could probably do OK ultimately, coming from there, but it's more of a struggle later on to get a residency.
Thanks Dragonfly, I'd be worried myself if it was 50-60+ hrs a week as well! Just a normal full-time position as an RN while in the residency program so I'm glad about that! :D

Yea, I was thinking about taking some lower div science classes as well just as you had said and definitely ones with C's or worse...I agreed with the advisor that upper div classes may be seen more favorably if I did well in them, but felt that I should also repeat the lower div classes that I got C's in as well...and as you said, this would greatly help my DO application as the retakes would replace the previous grades when calculating the GPA. :thumbup:

Thanks for the positive words, I will definitely start clamping down for the MCAT...heck, I've got an entire year since I'm planning on taking the MCAT Jan 2010 so that I can retake in May 2010 if I absolutely need to which is just in time for June 2010 primary application submittals...:idea:
 
OP
SIGMACHIGUY

SIGMACHIGUY

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
59
0
North Hills, CA
Status
Don't apply in 2009... Wait until you have a few more classes under your belt and you have prepared for the MCAT! The only thing worse than a B in a class would be a 20 on the MCAT.
You and Dragonfly are right, what's another year when it would mean a great deal in strengthening my application. Plus, I'd be squeezed for the MCAT as well and that 20 would pretty much kill me if that happened...thanks for the advice guys!! :rolleyes:
 
OP
SIGMACHIGUY

SIGMACHIGUY

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
59
0
North Hills, CA
Status
Whenever I hear about a co-worker getting into medical school (I work in research) I get really jealous and start wishing it were me. When I'm in clinical, I'm more interested in what the docs are doing instead of the nurses!! Just about everyday I weigh the pros and cons of NP versus MD/DO, but I know that if I pursue NP, I'll always regret not at least trying for med school.
I'm getting my BSN next year so I too will be working as an RN while pursuing post-bac studies. I decided to finish the degree as a back up. I know I should believe in myself, but the odds are against me! Plus most of my family thinks I'm crazy so I really don't get support in that way, but that's another story.
Wow, we are identical twins practically with regards to our stories!! Whenever I hear about a friend or someone I know getting into medical school, matching into residencies, etc. I always wish I could say the same thing and wish that *I* could be the one headed for medical school or landing a residency spot somewhere. I truly do enjoy being a nurse but am sincerely way more interested in what the doctors are doing. I'm one of the few if not only nurses that will approach my patient's doctors on the floor when I see them and ask what their plan for the patient is. I always ask the doctors (not all of them cause the older ones tend to be grumpy especially with female nurses...I always have a colleague tell me how a doctor was such an ass to her about once every week...ok, not gonna open that can of worms right now) why they are doing certain things and tend to watch them as much as I can when they are on our unit making rounds.

Heck, I admitted a new patient last night and the cardiologist walks in and says "Hey, let's tag team the patient" and the cardiologist sat right next to me as we did the patient history and physical and intake together...it was the SWEETEST thing!! And then this particular doctor who is awesome, starts asking me about cortisol tests and he took me to the doctors' computer and showed me the program "Up to Date" which I just read about on SDN and he was surprised that I knew what it was being a nurse. He proceeded to sit there with me for another 20 mins explaining what his interpretations of the patient were and looking up tests and orders with me at the computer using Up to Date. It was just an amazing feeling, that's all...got me soooo motivated!!

And just like you, I used to (heck, and still do all the time) weigh the pros/cons of CRNA vs. MD/DO except these days, I have NO doubt I'm going MD/DO. I think it's good to think and evaluate your life's path, that is the only way you can make the best decision for yourself given the circumstances. If it takes you two lefts to make a right, then so be it for those extra two lefts are valuable to you in some way, shape, or form. But in the end, you have to live life without regrets...you're a nurse, you should know: ego integrity vs. despair!!! :laugh: You don't want to be 65 y/o in despair...I choose ego integrity even if it means I'll be nearly 40 y/o before I'm an official attending!! :eek:

My parents have been mostly supportive even though they worry that med school will make me lose all my hair and stress me out but they have always told me to finish my RN and to never leave something incomplete. The odds are against both of us my friend and it sounds like both of our families have some type of reservation about us pursuing medical school...yet, all I dream about is the look on my parents' face when I walk across the stage at my medical school graduation one day with tears in my eyes. That single moment in time will be worth all the time, stress, studying, money, etc. that we all go through to achieve our dreams of becoming a physician! :soexcited:
 
OP
SIGMACHIGUY

SIGMACHIGUY

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
59
0
North Hills, CA
Status
So, just one last question for you all...since I'm starting my residency at UCLA, the orientation period is 3-4 months before I can pretty much make my own schedule which means starting in April I can make my own schedule. UCLA did say that I have to be flexible in those 3-4 months with my schedule however because I have to match with my preceptors' schedule. Plus, I have a $15k signing bonus if I were to stop at my current hospital (which I was going to just forfeit in starting my post-bac this January but now that I can't make my schedule for UCLA, it is a great concern of mine). However, I've also thought about starting in the summer instead of the spring so basically a difference of one semester when I apply to medical school in 2009.

So my two options are:

1. Quit current position and lose the $15k, start UCLA, start post-bac in January (probably take 2 classes given that I can't make my own schedule at UCLA), and start studying for MCAT when given the time. Problem is with my UCLA schedule, I may miss some classes here and there which is a major concern of mine plus my schedule is determined by my preceptors' schedule which also concerns me given my academic responsibilities.

2. Go part-time at current position and keep most of the $15k, start UCLA, start post-bac in June, and start studying for MCAT when given the time. This is the overall better route except I'd have one less post-bac semester under my belt when applying in 2010. Better because: I'd can quit my current position come June without penalty because I've met the signing bonus requirements, I'd only have the UCLA position and by then can easily make my own schedule depending on when my classes are, I'd be able to save more money to fund my medical school application and schooling fees, and I'd definitely take 3 classes instead of 2 if I were starting in the spring because I'd be fully oriented and able to make my own schedule however I see fit.

So, my question is which route would you guys suggest? Would deferring my post-bac by one semester significantly hurt my application even if I can maintain a near 4.00 GPA starting in the summer until the time of application?

As usual, thank you all sooo much for your feedback and reading about my story/questions...I appreciate it sooo much!!! :oops::cool::eek:
 

dragonfly99

10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
5,092
50
Status
Attending Physician
Neither one of those plans sounds very good to me. I think taking 3 classes at once plus working is too much, particularly since you don't know how hard vs. easy these classes are going to be for you. That is just my opinion. I don't think it's the length of time you are doing "postbac" courses that will count in your med school application....it's your MCAT score and whether you have completed the vast majority of prerequisite courses (and aced them) by the time you apply. This all might take you 2 years, 3 years, etc. I can't tell you that. I don't have your undergrad transcript. You do. If medical school is what you want, then you need to make plans with medical school in mind - not your signing bonus, not a nursing residency, etc. Nobody knows your situation better than you. I'm just saying that 3 science classes + full time work will probably equal disaster for you. If you're asking me, I'd say just take one at a time for now. If doing well after a couple of semesters, then you could take 2 at a time.
 

CrazyPremed

Tearin' it up in the ICU
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2004
75
0
Where the sun DO shine!
Visit site
Status
Pre-Medical
To the OP,

I am a nurse in a busy CCU/MICU at a large teaching hospital and have a lot in common with you!

As far as the MICU Residency, this is an opportunity to learn so much. I worked on a tele floor, but going to the ICU was a wonderful step.

Unfortunately, even though you will be doing three 12's, you may not have as much time to devote to your premed classes. You should be reading on your own, and many extra classes (balloon pumps, 12 lead EKG's, pressors, critical care courses, vent classes), and 'required' training that comes up on your days off are common. I decided to devote the first 6 months of my ICU experience to work, and now am finishing up the premed reqs. I'm glad that I made this decision. I now have a strong enough background (ICU and a year of tele) to work part-time and support myself while I go to school full-time.

I think it really comes down to the question: Do you want to be the best nurse (and eventually CRNA, NP, etc.) you can be or the best premed (and eventually doctor) you can be? The decision needs to be made.

Good luck on your journey.

CrazyPremed
 

janalex

10+ Year Member
Dec 23, 2008
24
0
Sunny California :-)
Status
Pre-Medical
So, just one last question for you all...since I'm starting my residency at UCLA, the orientation period is 3-4 months before I can pretty much make my own schedule which means starting in April I can make my own schedule. UCLA did say that I have to be flexible in those 3-4 months with my schedule however because I have to match with my preceptors' schedule. Plus, I have a $15k signing bonus if I were to stop at my current hospital (which I was going to just forfeit in starting my post-bac this January but now that I can't make my schedule for UCLA, it is a great concern of mine). However, I've also thought about starting in the summer instead of the spring so basically a difference of one semester when I apply to medical school in 2009.

So my two options are:

1. Quit current position and lose the $15k, start UCLA, start post-bac in January (probably take 2 classes given that I can't make my own schedule at UCLA), and start studying for MCAT when given the time. Problem is with my UCLA schedule, I may miss some classes here and there which is a major concern of mine plus my schedule is determined by my preceptors' schedule which also concerns me given my academic responsibilities.

2. Go part-time at current position and keep most of the $15k, start UCLA, start post-bac in June, and start studying for MCAT when given the time. This is the overall better route except I'd have one less post-bac semester under my belt when applying in 2010. Better because: I'd can quit my current position come June without penalty because I've met the signing bonus requirements, I'd only have the UCLA position and by then can easily make my own schedule depending on when my classes are, I'd be able to save more money to fund my medical school application and schooling fees, and I'd definitely take 3 classes instead of 2 if I were starting in the spring because I'd be fully oriented and able to make my own schedule however I see fit.

So, my question is which route would you guys suggest? Would deferring my post-bac by one semester significantly hurt my application even if I can maintain a near 4.00 GPA starting in the summer until the time of application?

As usual, thank you all sooo much for your feedback and reading about my story/questions...I appreciate it sooo much!!! :oops::cool::eek:

So this post is a bit late...however Im also in similar shoes as you and also from So. california. As you already are working, and getting the hang of your job, you might want to ask if its possible to schedule your shifts back to back, and schedule your classes on selected days. I did that, and aside from your nurse manager and all your co-workers asking why?.....it works out great! ...That way you can accomdate both your goals... I also went both to a UC and Cal State and can def say that getting a 4.0 in Cal state is MUCH easier! It takes work though, but not as stressful as those UC science classes. I also completed a nurse residency program, and it was filled with mandatory EKG, critical care modules, and projects, on top of clinical training.

I do wish you the best of luck in the application process...you're in an excellent position right now...
 

njbmd

Guest
Moderator Emeritus
5+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 30, 2001
9,050
146
Gone Walkabout!
Visit site
Status
Attending Physician
Old Thread
 

zebalong

10+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2007
524
28
Status
Resident [Any Field]
So, I've been thinking about this ALL day long. I could start this January with my post-bac and take classes in preparation for applying in June 2010. With the spring, summer, and fall semesters, this would give me a full year and 2 semesters when I am turning in my primary and secondary.

Based on the above posts, I'm a a little stretched right now because I just landed a spot in the RN ICU residency program at UCLA and since I'll be starting in a few weeks, I'll be going through orientation, preceptorship, didactic coursework, etc. Basically, it's going to be super tough to even take 2 classes and balance a full-time job *only* because it's a new job and I'll HAVE TO be flexible in accomodating my preceptor's schedule. I really want to stay at UCLA for the academic environment and exposure to interns/residents/fellows/attendings, etc. And financially speaking, it's going to make a world of difference obviously.

Since I'll be fully oriented by April and then can make my own schedule, I was thinking about starting my post-bac in the summer which would only short my post-bac record by one semester by the time I apply to medical school in June of 2010. I would have pretty much a year and a semester under my belt during my primary and secondary submissions. And since I'd be free of classes until the summer if I were to start then, I would definitely be self-prepping for the MCAT the entire time since that can happen at the convenience of my schedule. And I think this would be a great thing because given my situation, the MCAT is going to make a significant difference if I can score at least in the mid-30s.

So, do you think if I officially started my post-bac in the summer of 2009 instead of spring of 2009...if that would be acceptable in the eyes of adcoms? Or do you think it'll be much more beneficial to start in Spring of 2009?

Thanks for your thoughts and feedback!! :rolleyes:

I don't know you, im not sure what you are capable of but please be really really careful. I know you're excited and have the motivation to do this but think really carefully about whether or not you want to start this along with starting an ICU orientation, unless you have a pretty strong critical care background, but usually cardiac observation is not considered critical care- you have the telemetry but there is so much more. Listening to your advice my cynical mind can piece a lot of things together. You are doing ICU because you need 2 years of it to do nurse anesth. yet you are also really excited about trying med school... I personally would really advise against doing both at once. If you are so excited about med school drop out of the ICU orientation and focus all your energies into gpa repair because if you really want allo you seriously have a shot in hell right now i mean think about it you need at least 100 units at a 4.0 and if you are doing it part time carrying even a decent load of 10 units/sem then you will need 5 years of gpa repair to get only a bare minimium gpa and if you start getting B's in any of your courses your chances are out. I don't mean to be harsh but it is the reality of the med school admission process. As a fellow RN i know that the clinical experience you have won't mean anything without a solid gpa/mcat along with the package. nothing replaces gpa/mcat- If you really want to do the nurse anesth. route then go ahead and do ICU b/c you need the critical care background before you apply. Don't try and play both sides of the sword, you'll only get cut down badly (ie won't do as well as you can in your gpa repair and probably won't thrive as much as a new ICU nurse). I wish you the best and please stop and think about what you REALLY want to do.