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I'm currently a business litigation/transactional attorney. I've been practicing about a year and a half now, and finding that it's not for me. I'm in the early stages of a possible switch to medicine and am looking for some guidance on the academic element of applying.

I graduated in 2007 as a bio major. I had a 3.29 cumulative GPA in undergrad. My science/major GPA was in that same ballpark (don't really remember my transcripts too well, unfortunately). I had more like a 3.4 going into my senior year, but ran into some troubles that last year and the GPA took a bit of a dive.

I took and passes all the required prerequisites (a few A-'s, mostly B+'s, lowest grade was probably a B in Orgo 2), however did not take some of the other classes that some schools require, such as biochem and physio. Ideally, I'd like to retake my prereqs, both to boost my GPA and to reacquaint myself for the MCAT. However, since most of my grades are in the A- to B range, it sounds like this would be pretty much useless for MD schools and not too helpful for DO schools.

So, if I commit to this course, what next academically? Should I take physio and biochem at an undergrad campus to boost the GPA? Should I hunker down to just take the MCAT and see if I can get into a DO school? Apply to a postbacc (sounds like for many I'll have to have taken the MCAT already)? Or is there still some potential value in just retaking courses for the GPA boost?
 
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If you're really interested in an MD program, then a SMP (preferably one given by a medical school) is your best bet. You can roll one yourself as a DIY post-bac.

With a 3.29 cGPA, you're actually fine for all DO programs.


So, if I commit to this course, what next academically? Should I take physio and biochem at an undergrad campus to boost the GPA? Should I hunker down to just take the MCAT and see if I can get into a DO school? Apply to a postbacc (sounds like for many I'll have to have taken the MCAT already)? Or is there still some potential value in just retaking courses for the GPA boost?[/quote]
 
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mk04447

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Don't retake the prerequisites. The MCAT won't test those concepts directly, you'd be far better served taking anatomy 1/2, physiology 1/2, and anything upper division you can find like genetics, immunology is great if you can find it, and an advanced inorganic chemistry or non-calculus based physics. The basics will come right back to you and anatomy/physiology will give you many of the background stories relevant to the tested topics.
 
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Don't retake the prerequisites. The MCAT won't test those concepts directly, you'd be far better served taking anatomy 1/2, physiology 1/2, and anything upper division you can find like genetics, immunology is great if you can find it, and an advanced inorganic chemistry or non-calculus based physics. The basics will come right back to you and anatomy/physiology will give you many of the background stories relevant to the tested topics.

Thanks, very helpful. I figured my grades were bad but not enough so to justify retakes. I did take anatomy 1 in undergrad but I don't remember much, whereas I haven't taken anything else you listed, so I have a shot at raising the GPA a fair bit.

What would you recommend as far as timing? I would prefer to take take a few months to study for the MCAT and see if I can score high enough to possibly avoid GPA repair... however it sounds like the coursework would be very helpful in maximizing my score on the MCAT.

Also, is there any difference between taking these courses at my alma mater, UC Berkeley, versus a second-tier state school like Cal State East Bay or San Jose State? The latter would fit into my plans better, but the caliber (or at least perceived caliber) of students is not on Cal's level, so I'm not sure how much that might tarnish any upward grade trajectory I might achieve.
 

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I guess the big question is do you expect to stay in California? That is a whole new battle. You have much better chance applying DO, you can do your retakes anywhere. There are no "tiers" in the DO world. School is school. I think you could easily do your own post bacc, take the pre-reqs needed for GPA repair/ MCAT study and see how you do.
 
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didymus

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I guess the big question is do you expect to stay in California? That is a whole new battle. You have much better chance applying DO, you can do your retakes anywhere. There are no "tiers" in the DO world. School is school. I think you could easily do your own post bacc, take the pre-reqs needed for GPA repair/ MCAT study and see how you do.

This.
 
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I guess the big question is do you expect to stay in California? That is a whole new battle. You have much better chance applying DO, you can do your retakes anywhere. There are no "tiers" in the DO world. School is school. I think you could easily do your own post bacc, take the pre-reqs needed for GPA repair/ MCAT study and see how you do.

Agreed!
 
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I'm currently a business litigation/transactional attorney. I've been practicing about a year and a half now, and finding that it's not for me. I'm in the early stages of a possible switch to medicine and am looking for some guidance on the academic element of applying.

I graduated in 2007 as a bio major. I had a 3.29 cumulative GPA in undergrad. My science/major GPA was in that same ballpark (don't really remember my transcripts too well, unfortunately). I had more like a 3.4 going into my senior year, but ran into some troubles that last year and the GPA took a bit of a dive.

I took and passes all the required prerequisites (a few A-'s, mostly B+'s, lowest grade was probably a B in Orgo 2), however did not take some of the other classes that some schools require, such as biochem and physio. Ideally, I'd like to retake my prereqs, both to boost my GPA and to reacquaint myself for the MCAT. However, since most of my grades are in the A- to B range, it sounds like this would be pretty much useless for MD schools and not too helpful for DO schools.

So, if I commit to this course, what next academically? Should I take physio and biochem at an undergrad campus to boost the GPA? Should I hunker down to just take the MCAT and see if I can get into a DO school? Apply to a postbacc (sounds like for many I'll have to have taken the MCAT already)? Or is there still some potential value in just retaking courses for the GPA boost?

I agree with mk04447. No need to take the pre-reqs again. That would be a wast of time. I would say take enough time for MCAT and prepare for it really good. Also start some medically related volunteer and shadow some docs including a DO. You will make an excellent candidate for an Osteopathic school. Good luck.
 

mk04447

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I agree with mk04447. No need to take the pre-reqs again. That would be a wast of time. I would say take enough time for MCAT and prepare for it really good. Also start some medically related volunteer and shadow some docs including a DO. You will make an excellent candidate for an Osteopathic school. Good luck.

While I agree wholly with the volunteer for four hours a week at a hospital near you, don't rule out MD. Younger folks think there is a difference typically but, the scope and practice are the same. Apply both sides, it's an extra fifty bucks and you never know what they are looking for. Granted before I get flamed there is a philosophy difference but, you can take your own philosophy on either path, make it what you want. Personally I believe the system needs our outlook and nontrad students should be sought by schools. Walk tall, carry a big stick, take upper division wherever it works in the schedule, secure a silly (basically an unpaid nursing assistant position at a hospital for four hours a week) and make the shift. Good luck.
 

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I'm going to go against the grain a bit and query what the OPs goals are first instead of saying "go for DO". There are a variety of competitive fields for which the DO degree still makes things a bit harder. If, for example, you have dreams of going into certain fields, you are probably better off "rehabilitating" a few of your worse science courses and applying to MD schools, even though perhaps your numbers are already adequate for some DO schools as of now. So what specialty are you picturing when you think about medicine -- it may make a difference as to the advice you get. While the rhetoric is that DO and MD are the same, that rhetoric doesn't always play out in some competitive residency selection meetings, where certain programs will keep going back to the same well as last year and it's very hard for anyone from a DO school to ever break into the loop.

I agree with the prior poster who suggested that if you are a "Cali or bust" person, you may need to rethink this path.
 
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thefritz

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OP, I know it seems like a long way off (probably 6-7 years in your case), but when the time comes to apply for residency, you really want an MD, and not just any MD, one from a well known school. Residency programs are particular about taking "low-risk" candidates. Residency applications are becoming insanely competitive and middle of the road fields (internal med) are starting to become very competitive. This is largely due to the expansion of the number of spots of US MD schools combined with an always present with the best of the best of what the rest of the world has got to offer trying to get through the doors. I am sure you are aware of this fact being a lawyer (i.e., what effect increasing the number of graduates has). It makes it that more important to go to a good program.

There are a number of specialties in medicine that are pretty much off limits if you get a DO -- they match zero or maybe one DO candidate per year and have no DO residencies. My recommendation would be to try and fig a decent gig as a lawyer where you can take 1 or 2 classes at night so you are pulling in decent money, saving for school, and improving your GPA for three years or so. Also, the poster who commented about pre-reqs not helping you on the MCAT is dead wrong. Maybe at hypercompetitive schools, but at less competitive schools and community college, the curriculum will be more targeted and much of what you need to know for bio and gen chem will come straight from your classes and exams that test basic concepts. If you can make As in these classes, retaking them would be a good idea just prior to the MCAT. The MCAT will be more important for you given your GPA. An average MCAT probably won't cut it.
 

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OP, I know it seems like a long way off (probably 6-7 years in your case), but when the time comes to apply for residency, you really want an MD, and not just any MD, one from a well known school. .
This comment just made me have emotions I just cannot explain. Reaching for my zofran. I have NEVER BEEN ASKED ON A JOB INTERVIEW WHAT SCHOOL I WENT TO NOR RESIDENCY. Sure, if you plan on neurosurgery, rad/onc, CT surgery, or peds cards then you have a better chance with MD behind your name but that doesn't mean you will be accepted into a competitive residency - it just doesn't work that way. It comes down to personal preferences and not everyone has this view. In the end, as someone else said, you will be a doctor MD or DO, I do the same job ad my MD colleagues except I get the back strains to fix while they dole out flexeril.
 
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thefritz

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I never said this. Not even close. I said RESIDENCY. The school you went to plays a big role in interview selection for residency. Of course it matters very little for job after residency. Your last training step is what matters. High school matters for college. College matters for med school. Med school matters for residency. residency matters for fellowship. Last academic job matters for next academic job. Etc.

Name matters. And the degree matters. Don't get a DO if you have the option of getting an MD.
 

mk04447

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OP, I know it seems like a long way off (probably 6-7 years in your case), but when the time comes to apply for residency, you really want an MD, and not just any MD, one from a well known school. Residency programs are particular about taking "low-risk" candidates. Residency applications are becoming insanely competitive and middle of the road fields (internal med) are starting to become very competitive. This is largely due to the expansion of the number of spots of US MD schools combined with an always present with the best of the best of what the rest of the world has got to offer trying to get through the doors. I am sure you are aware of this fact being a lawyer (i.e., what effect increasing the number of graduates has). It makes it that more important to go to a good program.

There are a number of specialties in medicine that are pretty much off limits if you get a DO -- they match zero or maybe one DO candidate per year and have no DO residencies. My recommendation would be to try and fig a decent gig as a lawyer where you can take 1 or 2 classes at night so you are pulling in decent money, saving for school, and improving your GPA for three years or so. Also, the poster who commented about pre-reqs not helping you on the MCAT is dead wrong. Maybe at hypercompetitive schools, but at less competitive schools and community college, the curriculum will be more targeted and much of what you need to know for bio and gen chem will come straight from your classes and exams that test basic concepts. If you can make As in these classes, retaking them would be a good idea just prior to the MCAT. The MCAT will be more important for you given your GPA. An average MCAT probably won't cut it.

Wait I find that I must argue with you as we'll. Retaking the prerequisite coursework will not enhance the opportunity for a higher MCAT score, in fact as you stated an average MCAT probably won't cut it. The MCAT doesn't come out and ask how many ATP cellular respiration produces often... It's going to ask you to apply biochemical concepts to something else. If you have the prerequisites take upper division courses that expand on your knowledge, you'll have to bone up on the basics as you learn. If you are taking a test on addition and you are fluent at multiplication, you'll know what the question wants... The MCAT is about speed as much as it is content, if you're armed with the basics, sure you may deduce the correct answer but, if you're armed with the twist the question relies upon you're golden.

Besides, either will boost your GPA the same, it doesn't matter if you retake a 'C' and average it with an 'A' in the same course or an 'A' from a higher class... and, you'll be better prepared for the test.
 
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