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toothless rufus

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    Ok, I am a nontrad student, 35 yrs old, applying to med school 06. Here's my story; please tell me what you think. I first began college in 88. Parents said "you must go!" so, I went, purposeless. From 88 to 90, I achieved the high honor of academic probation, followed by the even greater academic dismissal. Did some mostly awful work at a community college, and was reinstated at my main school in 92. Ended up exiting the University due to what was to become a major problem for a long time: anxiety and depression, although the progression was rather insidious, and it took a LONG time for me to realize that help was needed.

    So, I was out of school for five years, and during this time really came to realize that I wanted to be a doctor. Mom is an excellent NP, and grew up around medicine. People person. Etc. I felt that I was ready and had direction; so back to school I went in 97, motivated beyond belief! Did great my first semester back, Dean's list and all that. But next semester started having problems, mostly in the science courses. I wrote this off as being deficient in core concepts, and kept trying to do better.

    As the next couple years or so roll by, well, it turns out I am having more and more trouble! So, I am getting lower grades than anticipated, bad test anxiety, becoming more and more reluctant to go to class, interact with people, etc, panic attacks, agorophobia, and also being overtaken by an existential nightmare of boring proportions! In 99, my problems with anxiety and depression finally became pointed enough to pierce my thick skull and I realized: YOU NEED HELP!! THIS IS ALMOST CERTAINLY NOT NORMAL EXPERIENCE!! So, I finally went to the campus psychological services, and was diagnosed. But being leery of medication, didn't take any for anothe year as I tried to use intense levels of exercise to rectify the problem. This worked; but not well. Finally got on Paxil and managed to graduate in 02 with a degree in psychology, a poopy 2.993 GPA, and As to Cs in my core premed sciences.

    Decided to go instead to Nursing school in 02. Was accepted in 03, and took coursework for a year. But as my condition improved, I realized I was very unhappy in the program, so decided that I would not give up on my dreams to be a physician. So I left the program and returned to pre-med coursework, doing MUCH better, with no signs or symptoms of anxiety or depression. Or at least nothing anywhere near the debilitating crap I put up with before.

    So finally, I took the MCAT Aug 05, scored 28P: VR10, PS9, BS9. Was anticipating a little better, but considering that I was up for 27 hours (I work nights and just could not fall asleep) by the time it was over (and had to carry my girlfriend's Betty Boop umbrella to the exam!)Now Cumulative is up to 3.05 (from 1.5 way back when, or a 2.018 if count academic forgiveness) I know its lower than usual, but have met with med school admission dude who said that things don't look impossible, considering personal history.

    Am currently taking upper division science coursework this and next semester, and hoping I can get in to med school next fall. (Otherwise it's more school and try, try again!)

    So, what do you guys think? Will they allow for a freaky awful history to be "overlooked" due to some moderately serious problems? Can I get into med school? I know I can do it now.

    Fun Transcript Facts: Attempted hours 292.33 Earnd hours 187.33 And counting...

    :laugh:
     

    majikbob

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      well i would say you have a number of hills to climb, the biggest as I see it is you have had a hard time following through in any academic program. Adcoms will look at this, even with medical/metal factors, I think it is a bigger strike against you than the low gpa. At face value a 3.0/28 just on the edge of being realistically acceptable for applying to schools. actually, if it was me I wouldn't apply with those numbers, but I'm sure others will tell you different.

      Really, you need to find something that you can show adcoms where you have had a great success, and demonstrate you have the intelligence, determination, and compassion needed to complete medical school, and become a competent doc. Desire is only part of the whole, and the process is setup to select for candidates that have both the ability and desire. Your job is to show you do have the ability too. Low GPAs and mediocre mcats are not a good start. If I were you I would try to retake the mcats, put in the time they require, and try to get in the 90+ percentile.

      I have yet to met a adcom who says to an applicant..."you have no chance, give up" so take what they tell you with a grain of salt. It is not impossible, but I think you have serious issues that need addressing, if you really want to go the MD route.
       

      remo

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        It would take a full post-bac along with a vast improvement in MCAT to get into a US school IMO. Save the time and just go to one of the good schools in the carribean now. You can get in there with your current MCAT no problem. There are plenty of threads on this site if you want to see the arguments for and against the carib schools.
         
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        benelswick

          You sir, are an underdog's underdog. Your psychological history as it pertains to academic endurance is going to be big trouble for you.

          I could blow some rosey sunny stuff up your tail pipe but in my opinion you need a Mike Ditka half time speech...

          Why should any of us believe that you could hold up under the rigorous pressure of a medical education....you've yet to make a case for yourself. Your 35. It's time to go out with an aggressive no huddle offense. never let up! give it all you've got or go home and watch E.R. on television. Go to the carribean go to an osteopathic school, but stop wasting time as an undergrad. go to RFU applied physiology program where you either prove it or forget it. You need to restructure your plan to match your situation which is desperate at best! good Luck but get after it!--Ben
           

          toothless rufus

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            Underdog's underdog! I like that! :) I appreciate everyone's comments, and have a few of my own to make. I would think my perserverence to get my bac, returning to school, not giving up,raing my GPA by 2 points, etc shows persistence. Also, is 28P really such a bad MCAT? I didn't finish the RN program because it is not what I want to do, and time and money are issues. So I chose to do recommended upper division coursework. And I would think overcoming a serious problem counts for something? I am of course also applying DO. But, yeah, if I were on an adcom, I would certainly scrutinize myself too! :p
             
            Hi there,
            Many medical schools especially the DO schools are willing to look at other applicant characteristics such as maturity, recent academic excellence and dedication to medicine but you have to show evidence that you can master a medical school curriculum. Your MCAT score is not that low (actually it is average) for entering medical students overall in spite of what you read on SDN.

            If you point your browser to Old Premeds you can read the story of Dave Kelley who is now Dave Kelley, DO and anesthesia resident at Dartmouth. He started college and ended up with a GPA of 1.9 with his first degree. After some maturity and becoming a respiratory therapist, he earned another degree (neuroscience) with honors and got into osteopathic medical school where he did very well. You CAN overcome past low grades and achieve your goals with persistance.

            At this point, do not rush, but make sure that you can get that GPA higher. It takes more than a few courses of As to make up for academic probation. Also do beware that most allopathic medical schools are going to look at your first degree so that osteopathic schools are a good choice. Also, you are going to have to have a good explanation (unhappiness will not cut it) of why you quit nursing before finishing. You will also have to be very sure that your depression is well controlled as the stress of medical school had unraveled many people with prior controlled depression.

            Think about the above. Keep your academics excellent and keep your eyes on your goal. Dave Kelley, DO did just that and has achieved his dream so you know that it is possible.

            Good luck!
            njbmd :)
             

            thegenius

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              Agreed with njbmd, I think your MCAT is pretty good, and if you think you can only score a few points better overall then it might not be worth taking again. 10,9,9 is pretty good for someone with your background.

              You'll probably get some consideration given your psychological situation, but even from what you wrote here I am not certain that you won't have another bout depression of anxiety that will prevent you from passing medical school. Also, it appears you have done better in your recent BCMP coursework, but still not getting mostly A's and a few B's. Schools will want to see that you can handle 3-4 semesters of the pre-requisite science courses because those most closely resemble what it will be like in medical school. So, I would recommend

              1. Earning a 3.5+ GPA in >= 30 credit hours of science courses (minimum 1 year.) It will be extremely difficult to raise your GPA because you have 180 credits to your name. So just do really well on your recent courses.

              2. Do you have any clinical health-care experience? I think a substantial amount of clinical experience might also help your application. Find a particular activity and stick with it for over 250 hours (at least one year.) Do not try to engage in several activies where you can't dedicate your time. I would pick one or two (e.g. volunteer at a county ED) and really spend a lot of time there and get to know the staff. Don't do the minimal amount of work, spend extra time engaging in the program.

              3. I personally would NOT retake the MCAT. Your score is good to get you into any of the *non* top 40 medical schools.

              4. You will have to convince everybody that your psychological problems are completely under control. That is KEY. I didn't get that impression but you very well may have been problem free for several years.

              5. Write a VERY GOOD PERSONAL STATEMENT outlying some of the things you mentioned in your post. I would actually take what you wrote above and condense it into 1-2 paragraphs. I would probably spend about 1/2 of the essay on your past, and 1/2 of your essay on your current condition, accomplishements, reasons for going into medicine etc. You'll have ample opportunity to discuss in further detail any extenuating circumstances that need to be highlighted for your application. In fact, you can send medical schools another 1 page addendum discussing some of your previous academic difficulties and how you overcame them.

              6. Apply to all MD, DO and Carribean schools.

              I, for one, think you will eventually get it! Good luck.
               

              toothless rufus

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                Great News! I got accepted!! Have you all ever heard of online medical school? Dreams can come true! :D

                But seriously, forks! I thank you all for replying. This reaffirms my commitment. I absolutely understand how horrendously ridiculous I I look on paper; but you should see me in a g-string and nipple-tassles! (my hopeful interview outfit of choice) Especially after just completing my AMCAS application, I have had to wipe the mist of wishful thinking from my eyes. (my PS is kickass, though!)

                A one-page addendum? Thanks for the heads up; I like to be long-winded!

                As far as clinical work, I have worked in a psychiatric emergency and inpatient facility for three plus years. I also work on a crisis hotline, and teach BLS on occasion.

                I wanted to finish nursing, while simultaneously studying more advanced pre-med courses after improvement with my problems, but money and
                time forbid both. Looking back, I think I made an oopsie!

                I would love to apply to every school out there, but that is an awful lot of money that I don't have! I am applying to all Ohio MD and DO (plus Erie DO) schools.

                But I know that I will make an excellent physician when I earn the chance, and I will try for admittance next year, or the year after that. I am very close to a postbac degree in biology, so this may help. I will not give up. I just want to get going!



                :sleep:
                 

                cfdavid

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                  OP, what do you mean "how horrible I look on paper"?? First of all, it's NOBODY'S business as to your past medical history. I wouldn't even bring it up.

                  As for looking better on paper, you need to just take your history and spin it in the right direction. If you can show some solid, recent grades in some good science courses, you can spin this thing to your advantage.

                  As far as I'm concerned, you're someone that needed to sort out your priorities, grew up, took the bull by the horns, and pulled yourself up by your bootstraps in order to accomplish your true goals in life. You get the point.

                  Good luck. Don't let anyone suggest to you that your past MUST absolutely dictate what you can or can not do for the rest of your life. It's absurd, really. Think about it.
                   
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                  benelswick

                    cfdavid said:
                    OP, what do you mean "how horrible I look on paper"?? First of all, it's NOBODY'S business as to your past medical history. I wouldn't even bring it up.

                    As for looking better on paper, you need to just take your history and spin it in the right direction. If you can show some solid, recent grades in some good science courses, you can spin this thing to your advantage.

                    As far as I'm concerned, you're someone that needed to sort out your priorities, grew up, took the bull by the horns, and pulled yourself up by your bootstraps in order to accomplish your true goals in life. You get the point.

                    Good luck. Don't let anyone suggest to you that your past MUST absolutely dictate what you can or can not do for the rest of your life. It's absurd, really. Think about it.

                    I agree with this. But I've found that the difference between those who do it and those who don't are the ones who have the gumption to "take the bull by the horns." I was hoping to wake this notion up in the O.P. not to tell somebody what is impossible. Good luck to both of you.
                     

                    toothless rufus

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                      Cfdavid: well, I did address it in my personal statement. I absolutely felt it was necessary, considering. Arrgh! I will post it for criticism, unless that is taboo, or something?
                       
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