champSJL

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Alright, I'm a non-traditional 25 year old applicant about to take the MCAT for the first time in 2 weeks. As I understand it - I have many pros and many cons about my application so far.

Pro's:
- 3.7 science / post-bac GPA, with just Organic chemistry II left
- EXCELLENT letters of recommendation from some highly respected people in the medical community here in Dallas
- 1 year of research @ UT-Southwestern medical center
- some of my work @ UT-SW has led to publications in medical journals
- very little (but it's some) shadowing experience

Con's:
- 2.9 undergraduate GPA (B.A. - Business Economics @ the University of Texas)
- I've taken these classes @ an accredited junior college. According to medical admissions I've talked to - as long as the classes you take are from an accredited school, they'll accept them. Whether or not they look down on them, I'm not sure.

** I had to take these classes @ night b/c I work full time - a man's gotta pay the mortgage and bills **
-------------------

My question to non-traditionals who are applying and also to who have made it: what are my chances, say I get a low MCAT or marginal MCAT score, of making it to Osteopathic schools? Also would you do Caribbean schools over osteopathic schools? Even allopathic schools in the US - will my classes I've taken @ junior colleges and low undergrad GPA haunt me?

I'm a career changer, I've started from scratch, but this is the profession I've chosen. I'll do anything and go anywhere to practice medicine - I realize I started from ground zero so I'm going to do whatever it takes...


ANY ADVICE IS WELCOME - I DON'T KNOW WHO TO ASK OR TURN TO.
 

relentless11

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Well the good news is that the schools you are applying to accept them. Conversely you have done significantly better at a junior college compared to your work at a university. For allopathic schools, adcoms may go:

(1) This person is taking the easier route by going to a JC to boost her GPA.

or

(2) This person is actually good with science rather than economics.

I would speculate that they would go lean towards (1) since there will be many traditional students and non-tradiational students who took their pre-reqs and other science courses at a 4-year university. There will also be non-trads, and trad students that did their pre-reqs at a JC, but supported these pre-reqs with additional upper division classes after they transfered to a university. Perhaps you should consider taking a semester or two of upper division coursework from a local university? Please also not, some allopathic schools (a very small number) do not accept JC coursework at all, while others will accept them, but actually prefer that you took your pre-reqs at a university.

The other question that may arise would be how many classes you took per semester/quarter? Was it full time? If not then that may hurt too, since now you have a higher GPA from a JC, and may be due to taking 1-3 classes per session. When compared to the 2.9 GPA derived from being full-time over several years, then that may raise some concerns. My friend for example was rejected from a few med schools, and was told it was due to not having a large enough workload during post-bacc to address his less-than-stellar performance as an undergrad.

The good news is your overall undergrad GPA should now be at least a 3.0 thanks to the post-bacc, therefore you may not be affected by the schools that screen for GPA. Ultimately MCAT will be key, you will need to score above a 30. For career changers who had a higher undergrad GPA, say 3.0 or more, then taking a few classes at a JC may not look too bad, especially if supported by a 30+ on the MCAT. However the question may arise to how well you will perform in a full load of med school classes which may or may not be addressed by your performance at the JC level. As for the DO schools, I think they are more forgiving, however I can't say much since I don't have experience with them. I would however encourage you to apply to DO over Caribbean though unless you want to practice in the Caribbean. It is usually harder to get a residency via this route. There are plenty of MDs and DOs at our hospital here (UC Davis), however I have never met a physician who went to med school in the Caribbean.
 

Sol Rosenberg

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Agree with relentless. The JC may not hurt, but it certainly doesn't help. If you can get some experience shadowing a DO, and get a 30+ on the MCAT, I would think that you would have a decent shot at most DO schools, however (TCOM would be a reach, because TCOM is actually one of the harder DO schools to get into -- they look more at numbers than other DO schools.) Your MD application would be weak, but as many around here will tell you, it is not impossible to get in with stats like yours. You assume a mediocre MCAT score -- if you could make that a great score, that would definitely help your chances.

I also agree that DO is better than Caribbean.

Best of luck,

Jota
 
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champSJL

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Thanks to both of you for your responses. Yes I definitely consider taking these classes @ a JC a hinderance for getting in, but my options are limited. I have a mortgage to pay and I have to cater towards my work schedule. We'll see I guess. I'm definitely applying to DO schools and at this point, I'm not picky where I go.

Really appreciate your advice and comments!
 

mdadmit

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Hey there. I am a former Harvard premed advisor and thought I might lend some help.

Sounds like you are willing to do anything it takes to become a doctor. So you will have to do just that. Here are my suggestions:

1. Get above a 30 and at least 10 in each section of the MCATs. To most schools, this proves you can handle med school material. If this test doesn't go well, take a referesher course and try the tests again.

2. Do well in orgo and keep that post-bacc GPA 3.7 or higher. Some schools do look down on JC classes but there is nothing you can do about that now. Do as well as you can and never apologize for the school during the admissions process.

3. Shadow/volunteer as much as you can. Not only to look good on the AMCAS, but to ensure yourself that you like being around sick people. It sounds silly, but many enter medicine and then are miserable being around the ill and injured.

4. Highlight what makes you unique. It sounds like you come from a non-traditional background. Play this up! You want to stand out in the admissions process. Explain in your personal statement/essay how you held and full time job AND went to school at night (and did well).

5. Cast a wide net. Apply to allopathic US and foreign school in addition to osteopathic schools. They all lead to the same place - becoming a doctor. That is what's most important.

Hope that helps,

MD Admit
 
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champSJL

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mdadmit said:
5. Cast a wide net. Apply to allopathic US and foreign school in addition to osteopathic schools. They all lead to the same place - becoming a doctor. That is what's most important.

Hope that helps,

MD Admit
Hey MDAdmit - thanks for replying to my post. Quick question, when you say "foreign" medical schools do you mean Caribbean or are you also including allopathic medical schools in Europe?
 
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