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Critique My Plan (Please :D )

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Maxprime, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I went to undergrad and got a B.S. and a B.A. from a Tier 1 school - with a whopping GPA of 2.68. I worked through all four years of college and graduated this past May. I am now looking to do what I actually want to do - med school admissions are in my way.

    I have not taken any of the pre-reqs. Here is my plan:

    I will go to UNC - Charlotte (Chapel Hill doesn't allow second degree candidates) to get a degree in Biology - hopefully get as close to a 4.0 as humanly possible (I am thinking 3.9). I am going to start my paramedic classes in Spring (finish by May), and work as a paramedic this summer until fall classes. I was going to continue working as a paramedic during the summers and take classes in Spring/Fall full time.

    First question: I don't know of any post-bacc programs I could get into with a 2.68 - are there any? Is this a valid option? Most I have seen want MCAT scores and a 3.0 - neither of which I have.

    Second question: My undergrads are in math & econ - so I dont' see how I could do a graduate program that would help me. Are there any that I could actually get into?

    I am great at standardized tests - pulled a 171 on the LSAT, passed some actuarial exams, 1440 on SAT. I am almost positive I can crack a 33 or 34 on the MCAT.

    Third question: I am sitting behind a different computer screen 3 years from now with a 3.9 in a BS in bio with a 33 on my MCAT. My 2.6 GPA (I assume) is factored in, let's say it averages me out to a 3.25. Does this put me into med school? Does this put me into a good med school? Is there anything else I can do?

    Fourth (Last, I promise) question: Is the paramedic the best medical-related work I can do in the summers? Would a regular internship at a hospital be better?

    THANK YOU for all of your help in advance. You guys are such a helpful resource!
     
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  3. TX515

    TX515 Senior Member
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    nursing would be a better option than EMT, but then you would have to go to school for that. I would recommend that you apply to nursing school, and work towards that degree. Along the way, take the necessary prereqs for medical school that the nursing degree does not require. Make great grades, get great experience. It will only help you.
     
  4. little_late_MD

    little_late_MD Ready To Jump
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    Getting another Bachelor's is not going to bring your GPA anywhere near a 3.3, unless you take an astronomical amount of credits. I'm sure your double major has your total credits somewhere around 140-150. As a math major I'm sure you understand how adding more and more credits will have less and less of an effect on the mean.

    Your best bet in the GPA part is to find some master's program that will take you. I'm sure you could find a math program that would take you. They are dying for math grad students in this country. If you rock standardized tests, the GRE shouldn't be a problem. Right now, your chances of getting into med school are virtually nil given that undergrad GPA.
     
  5. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    Do you know of any nursing degrees that would admit someone with such a low GPA? Are there pre-reqs for nursing school?

    I would do the MSN so it would be reported as a graduate GPA, right?
     
  6. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I was figuring 120 credits @ 3.9 = 468
    Previous school was 150 credits @ 2.68 = 402
    Add and divide by 270 = 3.22

    Is there no weighting to the fact that I kicked so much ass recently? Or do they just see that my GPA was 3.22 and go on to the next app?

    Either route I go (math or nursing), I need to go back to undergrad and make some grades - then apply for the graduate school at that college in order to get in. I assume that, since this is the case, nursing would be the best option? Unless of course someone knows a math program that needs someone that badly right now. :)
     
  7. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I guess the better question would have been to ask you guys: what would you do in my situation? I don't care about the time/effort - I just need to know the best plan possible to accomplish my goals.
     
  8. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    Don't do nursing. It is a very bad pre-med degree for a number of reasons.

    The lowest acceptance rate of all majors backs them up as well.
     
  9. {:(

    {:( Member
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    Have you thought of Caribbean schools or DO schools? A 3.0 and a 33 on MCAT would be competitive for the Caribbean and some DO schools (I am not sure about the DO schools, but you can look it up).
     
  10. nerdgrrl

    nerdgrrl Senior Member
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    there are quite a few prereqs for nursing school. they're also not going to let you into a master's program without an RN, let alone a BSN. you're looking at four years of school not counting prereqs right there for a degree that you don't really want. I looked into this briefly after college when I was feeling like I didn't want to wait until I was 35 to have kids. it's not worth it unless it's what you want to do.
     
  11. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I have thought about them - but what I've read I don't like thus far. It seems that the DO schools take an approach to medicine that I don't believe in, I know that "an in is an in", but I figured that I could get into an MD program. As for Caribbean, I would much, much rather attend a US school.
     
  12. MrBurns10

    MrBurns10 Excellent, Smithers
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    Is the paramedic class you're starting this spring full-time (8 hrs/day, 5 days per week with some saturday classes)? If not and it's the normal paramedic class schedule (twice a week and one saturday class every few weeks), then you won't be done by this May...the class takes more than a year to complete. Even full-time I think it would take more than just a few months because of all the required clinical time. Maybe you were referring to EMT-Basic rather than paramedic? EMT-B you could complete in three months, but whether there are squads that will pay Basics you'll have to research. Unless things are very different in the Charlotte area, here in and around Durham it's damn near impossible to find a paying job as a Basic to a city/county squad, and the best bet is working for an ambulance transport company (which is boring and doesn't provide very good emergency experience, but it pays).

    Either way, I think EMT is a great for clinical experience and I agree with Brett that nursing is not a natural step to med school and may very well make it even more difficult for you.
     
  13. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    So if I went to undergrad for 2 years and made grades on my pre-reqs, then jumped into a graduate program for math and got a great GPA - would that put me in?
     
  14. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I was planning on just taking the EMT-B. Is being a basic more valuable experience to the adcom than being a hospital-based intern? Thank goodness nursing is not the solution - I did not like the sound of that at all.
     
  15. MrBurns10

    MrBurns10 Excellent, Smithers
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    It really depends on how you're going to use your EMT certification. If you can actively be part of a squad on a regular basis, I'd go with EMT. You get a tremendous amount of hands-on experience, and although basics can't do ALS skills you'd still get to see a lot and get a good amount of patient contact. I was an EMT with my college's squad for three years and I think it's definitely helped me in terms of having great clinical experience, seeing and dealing with things a lot of people our age won't do until med school (such as actually treating patients), etc. I ended up taking a class to get my EMT-Intermediate because I wanted to learn ALS skills, and with a Basic cert you have the option of doing that. But if you're just going to get the cert and sit on it, or get it and volunteer with the local ambulance squad a few hours per week, I don't think that would be worth it.
     
  16. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    Thanks for your input - saved me a lot of hours :).

    Thank you all for your input, btw.
     
  17. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    Wouldn't the courses I take now (since I have a BS - they're post-bacc now, aren't they?) listed on a different sheet? How would a 2.7 undergrad (with awful numbers in the first 2 years and much better numbers in the last 2) and a 4.0 post-bacc in all the pre-reqs look? Thanks again for all your help.

    I almost forgot to ask - would a formal pre-med post-bacc be better than all of this?
     
  18. MollyMalone

    MollyMalone I'm a Score Quadruplet
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    My suggestion is that you contact the admissions department of a medical school in your area (doesn't have to be your top, ultimate choice) and see if you can set up a meeting with the dean or associate dean or VIP X. Bring your transcripts (don't have to be official), lay out your situation and desires, and ask for their advice on how best to proceed. Rinse and repeat at a few more schools if necessary.

    This gets you contacts as well as information. Many nontrads have done this with great success. (BTW, you might want to check out the nontrad forum, where many of us have overcome GPA woes).

    Good luck! :luck:

    (Oh, and BTW, the person who told you to go into nursing was ill-informed. Take it from this nurse, Brett's right... it's a horrible idea.)
     
  19. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I'll definitely give that a shot - thanks for the advice. I'll also begin trolling the nontrad forums. :)
     
  20. little_late_MD

    little_late_MD Ready To Jump
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    Just a few caveats here:

    Most states have maximum credit allowances for undergraduate programs. In Florida (where I'm from) anything above 180 credits requires special permission from the university, and is charge out-of-state tuition. That can be a lot of money.

    A lot of your credits will transfer from the BA to the BS. YOu will most likely skip all the general education stuff. It's really like you'll be doing a post-bacc plus the upper level requirements. At the outer edge I'm thinking 70-80 credits max.

    Your recent ass-kickery should count, but from what I can gather a 2.anything pretty much closes up the shop.

    And I do know a graduate level math program dying for students: Florida Atlantic University. If you can score in the high 1400s on the GRE, you're golden. I have a co-worker who was just admitted into their graduate school with a 2.8 undergrad GPA, and a 1380ish on the GRE.

    And don't dismiss the Carribean. I think you might be so far in the hole here that your chances at an American allopathic school are slim at best. At least your chances of getting in while still relatively young. I mean ask yourself, do you want to break your back for the next 3-5 years for something that you statistically speaking do not have much of a chance at?
     
  21. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I am enrolling at a different university (in a different state) for my post-bacc, so the hour cap shouldn't be an issue. I also wasn't planning on transferring any courses so I could start from scratch (GPA-wise).

    I know that I'm beating a dead horse here - but if I did 2 years of undergrad and did all of my pre-reqs then did a pre-med post-bacc, I would think that I could get into an MD program - no? It'd put me at a 3.1 or so average between my undergrad and post-bacc and my post-bacc would be shown seperate (so I thought) at a 3.9.

    Feel free to tell me I'm completely wrong, I just figured that a great post-bacc GPA and killer MCAT could help round out such a bad GPA.
     
  22. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I have gotten more comfortable with the idea of the Carribean. I honestly don't mind paying for and working hard at school for 3 or 4 more years, I think of it as making up for time wasted. But if, after all that, I am not going to be anywhere closer - that is an issue.

    I apologize if I should have searched first - but I don't know exactly what to search for. If I go to school in the Carribean, how do I match to a residency? I know the process, but how do you set yourself apart from the rest?
     
  23. MarzMD

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  24. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    Marz, encouraging words - I was beginning to get really worried.

    If I take a class over again (at a different school) that I took previously, does that over-write the grade I got? I know it's a small matter, but every little bit helps.
     
  25. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist
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    Are you sure you can't get into a pre-med post bac? Many of them are specifically geared towards helping people with low GPAs, and if you test well that would definitely help your case. They have one and two year programs, but to ensure that you do really well you might want to pick a two-year one.

    Good luck! :luck:
     
  26. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    Most of the ones I have seen require a 3.0 minimum. I am going down the list trying to find one that doesn't.
     
  27. little_late_MD

    little_late_MD Ready To Jump
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    There are two types of post-baccs, those for science majors who need to pull up their GPA, and those for non-science majors who need the prereqs. If you take the prereqs in your new undergrad program, you are essentially doing a post-bacc, just outside of the formal post-bacc structure. In fact, I think that since you already have a Bachelor's, all of this work might be classified as "Post-Bacc," which would kill your plan. This work would pull your GPA up, but realize that all these grades and credits will be on your AMCAS, and med schools are going to wonder why the hell you have close to 300 undergraduate credits. That's going to be a tough interview :)

    It is possible for you to get to a US med school, but realize that it's an uphill battle. Rock the post-bacc, rock the MCAT, and your chances become much better, but admissions is tough even for those with great undergrad records. Good luck.
     
  28. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I also wanted to reiterate how thankful I am for all of you that have replied - you are saving me countless hours and frustration.
     
  29. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I saw that a lot of post-baccs already require pre-reqs (I only have math & english done). So I thought I'd have to go back for my other pre-reqs before applying to post-baccs.
     
  30. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist
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    Do you have an explanation for your low GPA (had to work b/c you were so poor, family?), or an upward trend or anything? Did you just recently decide to go to med school and now suddenly care about academics? Some post-bac programs might accept you if you could explain your situation a bit. I did one at Agnes Scott College and though I wouldn't really recommend the place, they were quite casual about the whole process.
     
  31. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    My girlfriend died and I didn't handle it well. I showed a definite upward trend - also in my field (actuarial science) grades are unimportant, actuarial exams are what counts.

    Who should I contact (what position) at post-baccs to try to get a meeting to discuss this?
     
  32. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist
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    Oh my god, I'm so sorry. :( Of course you had low grades, it's amazing that you even continued school.

    Usually when you go to a school's website there will be a person who is in charge of the postbac program, I would email that person, or, better yet, call him/her to talk about your situation. Remember: you're paying them thousands of dollars to take basic science courses. They should be nice to you. :p
     
  33. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    It was just a maturity issue - I didn't deal with it like an adult and I reaped the consequences (or I am right now). But, in the end it is something that helps me keep going at 3am.

    I'll start calling around - I cannot thank you guys enough for your help. I realize that I'm not in a position to help any of you, but if something comes to mind - just ask. :)
     
  34. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    Is there a specific post-bacc I should be looking at (certificate, non-cert, etc.)? I'll check the FAQ to try to head off more questions.
     
  35. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist
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    P.S. Have you checked out the post-back forum? They'll give you the inside dirt on which programs are good. :)
     
  36. isobel

    isobel Senior Member
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    try the harvard extension school post-bac premed program unless moving is a problem. the courses are much cheaper than other places i've seen, the profs are top notch, and i don't think they have a min GPA. i think they discourage you a little with a GPA under 3.0 but with your history, i don't think it'd be a problem.

    or you can just take classes there w/o enrolling in the program. i did that since i had about half the premed reqs done already.
     
  37. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I'm not sure how you're planning on paying for school, but you'll need to be in a program that confers a degree or a certificate in order to get financial aid. Extension-type classes are ineligible.

    Also, regarding getting into your choice of residency, which you raised earlier, the odds are better going the DO route than going international. This is not a slight to going to the islands, just something to keep in mind. If you're a stellar international grad, I'm sure you can line up a nice residency, but it's easier to do as a DO.
     
  38. jebus

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    Harvard's doesn't. According to this page if your undergrad GPA is below 2.8 you must take 32 units at harvard's program and get above a 30 on your MCAT to be sponsored for med school.
     
  39. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    So, new plan:

    Get into the Harvard Extension and do all my pre-reqs there (including certificate) and get an awesome GPA at the same time. Work as a volunteer at a hospital during the summer sessions (as summer as it gets in Boston :) ). Kill the MCAT's (let's say 34 because I'm crazy). At that point, I apply on the first day and get at least one offer from an MD program - right?
     
  40. TRuss

    TRuss Nada Finger
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    I don't know if this is going to help you at all, and keep in mind that I am not trying to discourage you at all. My best friend Mike has a similar plan, except his gpa was about a 3.2 and he had major difficulty getting accepted into his masters program with that gpa, (bio-chem). Now that he has started it I think that he has come to the realization that maybe being a doctor isn't for him. If you had a hard time with your grades the first time around, then med school is not going to be any easier for you. Keep up the fight, and live your dreams, but also know that there are many other great things that you can do without your md. I know that if my grades slip, and I do bad on the mcats then I will definately be considering an optional career. Luckily enough, I haven't really run into very many problems yet. Just do what you really want to, and give it 100%. You'll make it if its really what you want!

    :)
     
  41. jebus

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    Some post-bac programs are affiliated with Med schools, almost guaranteeing you acceptance at some med schools. They might be very difficult to get into, though. I just don't know. It might behoove you to consider that option, as well. Make sure you ask this stuff in the post-bacc forum, too. They will know. Not that I'm trying to discourage you from the Harvard HCP program - it sounds great - but there may be some other options that your haste/exuberance is making you neglect to research.
    You said you wanted to volunteer during the summers if you go to Harvard. I will say that the surgical liaison volunteers at Beth Israel Deaconess (Harvard's teaching hospital) were fantastic, both in their demeanor and in their willingness to help. There's a 65 year old woman who volunteers whose age, poise, maturity, and caring clearly show. While we were waiting, she was way more comforting than any of the physicians. I would have loved to have that opportunity to volunteer there, just to learn from her.
     
  42. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    So with a near-perfect post-bacc and a great MCAT (34) - is that enough to overcome bad undergrad grades and get me in an MD program?
     
  43. ichimaru

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    It's definitely possible, but there's no way for any of us to tell you with certainty. I'm sure you'll eventually get in if you stay determined and excel in everything you do from here on out. Good luck, I'll be rooting for you :)
     
  44. TX515

    TX515 Senior Member
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    You will not be able to get a master's in nursing without having the RN degree. With all your credits earned, you should be able to mostly take classes that are relevant to the nursing/medical field. Even then, I think it will be tough getting into a nursing program with that GPA. So maybe you can earn the degree in about two years instead of four. I don't know exactly how long it will take you, but two years is not a lot when you consider the big picture of life. Even after going to school for two years, making great grades, and gaining experience, you still don't gain acceptance into medical school, you can think of doing master's work in a related field. This will also increase your chances of gaining acceptance.
    Granted you had misfortune during undergrad, the grades will stick with you. I mentioned nursing because it is similar to the field you want to enter, namely the medical field. Here in Texas, it would be hard for you to enter medical school with that GPA because it is so competitive. I recommended nursing because it will actually take you somewhere and give you a chance to show adcoms that you are capable of earning great grades. I don't know why nursing plans do not have great med school acceptance rates, maybe because they don't apply to medical school, maybe because there is such a shortage of nurses that medical schools turn them away. Maybe a little of both. It seems like a lot of work to be done, and it is. But it is manageable. All you have to do is work for what you want. I don't think it is suppose to be easy.
    Keep in mind, if after completing post-bac training you aren't accepted into medical school, what will you do?
     
  45. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I half-expect this to happen. I am planning on using my great post-bacc grades as proof that I can handle the work and apply to those specialized master's programs. I figure that great post-bacc, great MCAT, and great SMP would HAVE to lead to an acceptance. If not, I think that would be close to the end of the road for me - I would continue taking classes part time to boost my undergrad GPA and keep applying each year.
     
  46. keitaiKT

    keitaiKT Senior Member
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    Maxprime, I think you have a good shot at allopathic medical school if you work hard and do well. I recommend doing a post-bacc pre-med program (such as the Harvard Extension program or the Georgetown program). You can do it in one year or two, depending on how hard core you want to go with it. If you can ace (A's and A-'s) all your science pre-req classes in one full year (many people in our program took chem over the summer, then orgo, bio, and physics during the year), get a 33+ in the MCAT that April, you could apply that June and get in for the following Fall. I definitely think you have a shot at Allopathic medical schools if you rock the MCAT, ace your pre-reqs, do some volunteering and get some clinical experience, and apply early. Check Blee's story http://www.mdapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?id=3570 to see someone who also overcame a low GPA to kick butt in the applications process. Of course, nothing is for certain - there is always the chance you won't get in, but it is worth a shot, and there are plenty of opportunities out there if allopathic doesn't work out. But if you feel like you would kick yourself for not trying, don't give up!
     
  47. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser
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    I have been doing a ton of research and just checked on some mdapplicants who are currently in the situation I'll be in roughly 3 years from now. The ones that got in did what I did and also had great clinical volunteer experience, something I'll need to work on heavily (but obviously not neglect grades). If I don't make it after my 3rd post-bacc I am going to do one of the special masters. If I don't make it after that, it wasn't meant to be - but I went down fighting like hell.

    Thank you all SO much for your help/guidance. It's time to put up or shut up, so Boston here I come! If anyone is getting into/already in the program and needs a roomate or study buddy - let me know. Thanks again.
     
  48. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member
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    The old grade is not overwritten on the AMCAS application, both grades/classes are listed. However, for AACOMAS (the osteopathic application service) only the higher grade is used. If you have a few spectacularly bad classes, taking them over again could help a lot with osteopathic applications, but if this is not what you are interested in (and it sounds like you are not) then taking the class over again is of less benefit.
     
  49. Koil Gugliemi

    Koil Gugliemi Koil Gugliemi
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    I got in after a very similar experience, including losing someone close to me during undergrad, and blowing my GPA in the couple of semesters afterwards. I did some grad school (and kicked some serious A$$), did great on the MCAT (34) and got shot down once, then worked some more in research labs and got in off a wait list the second time around. I think the thing that made the biggest difference for me was knowing some MD's well and getting great letters from them. I got in off the wait list after an MD I worked for sent a really strongly worded, very positive email to the head of the adcom. He blind CC'd me, then two days later I got in. Maybe just coincidence, but I think you need to find an academic MD lab to work in. You've got a math background. If you know some stats and are good with a computer, you should be able to find a research job while you're working on upping your GPA. It'll still be uphil for you though. You have to get A's from now on, and you have to have great letters, and a great MCAT to have a shot.

    PS - I did well in medical school and matched a great competitive specialty, so it's doable!!! Keep your chin up! ;)
     
  50. kevini200

    kevini200 New Member
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    I have never heard that before. Would you elaborate on those reasons. -- I am transfering next semester to a school with a nursing program. I am/was thinking strongly about getting an ADN, mainly because I thought it (along with the nursing expierence I would get afterwards) would really help my resume.
     
  51. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642
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    My advice to you would to step back a second and start thinking about whether or not you really know what you're getting yourself into and if this is really what you want to do. You've already got a huge red flag with your gpa, and there is no guarantee that anyone will be successful in this game.
    I would also suggest that you not do nursing with the intent of becoming a doctor. I have no doubt that you are fully aware of our nation's shortage of nurses, and it will not be good nor will it look good to adcoms if you take a professional position with the intent of using it as a stepping stone to another career, which could have been occupied by someone who would permanently fill that role.

    It really looks like you're going to have to do post-bacc. You haven't done the pre-reqs, so do those first and get straight A's in all your classes. Then take the MCAT and absolutely nail it. If you do well in these things, then it seems like your chances of getting into a solid masters program are good. Do extremely well post-bacc, and you've got a good chance of getting in. Gold luck.
     

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