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Current undergrad looking for advice

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by ibar300, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. ibar300

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    Hi,
    I am new to SDN and am looking for some advice. I am currently a rising junior at a top 15 university studying Industrial Engineering/Operations Research and Computer Science and have been thinking about a switch to medicine. I feel deeply compelled to do work in which I can positively affect people’s lives every day and believe that medicine is the best way to do this.
    My cumulative GPA is about 3.4 and my science GPA is about 3.1 (brought down by a C- in second quarter general chemistry). In terms of premed classes, I have taken 2/3 quarters of general chemistry and a full year of physics, but not organic chemistry or biology.
    My inclination is to finish my engineering degrees and then apply for a post-bacc pre-med program to finish the remaining science prerequisites. I have already contacted several post back programs and they have all said that I will be eligible for admission despite having taken a few of the science pre-reqs (which were required for my major), If I try to fit in the science pre-reqs as an undergrad, I will probably take an extra quarter(s) or year to finish and I will probably risk my current academic plans (which allow for little to no flexibility), and I am not completely set on medicine. I’d like to get some volunteer experience and talk with current doctors to help determine if medicine is right for me.
    Is spending time trying to determine if medicine is right for me, then doing a post back directly after undergrad, a good idea? If yes, what are my chances to get into a strong post back program, and how will I have to improve my credentials (overall GPA, science GPA, MCAT, etc.) to get into medical school?
    Has anybody followed a similar path and can give advice?
    Thanks
     
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  3. theseeker4

    theseeker4 PGY 3
    Physician 7+ Year Member

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    If you are not sure you want to practice medicine, definitely find out before you apply to any post-bac programs. Volunteer, talk to doctors, shadow them in various specialties and decide whether you really want to work in that environment. If your main goal is helping to better others' lives, medicine is probably a poor choice. You could work as an engineer and use any extra money and free time you have to volunteer and help others. If you really have a love of medicine and the environment, and enjoy relating to patients, you should consider medicine. Yes, doctors help people (or at least try to) but that is NOT sufficient as the sole reason to become a doctor. After all, engineers positively impact people's lives every day, as do teachers, chemists, policemen, even the clerk at McDonalds as long as they truly try to do their best in their job. You will probably have to put a lot of volunteer and shadowing hours to find out if this is really something you can do the rest of your life, since you are not convinced already that medicine is right for you.

    That said, assuming you decide you do want to pursue medical school, your GPA is a little low, especially your science GPA, so you will probably need to rock all A's in the post-bac science classes. If you have ~60 credits now and will graduate with ~120 credits, you will need to have a 3.8 GPA during your next two years to bring your GPA up to the average for students admitted to medical school. The science GPA will depend on your balance of science and math classes, but I believe many schools won't accept anything less than a C in a pre-req, so you may need to retake that C-. You will definitely want to take the MCAT after your biology, organic, physics and general chemistry courses are complete, not before or while taking them.

    One more note, though you are not near ready to apply yet, but when you apply in ACMAS you designate the category of the course. An engineering course heavy in math can be designated math, or an engineering course heavy in physics can be designated physics, even if your university classifies it as engineering. This allows you to pick courses in engineering you received A's in and call them BMCP while leaving the lower graded courses designated as engineering to boost your science GPA. Obviously you can't say "My American Lit class was really biology because one of the books was about plants." but when a class you took legitimately had heavy emphasis on chemistry, biology, physics, or math, there is no harm in designating it as such. If you have any other questions feel free to ask, and don't hesitate to browse the rest of the site for more information.:luck:
     
  4. dmf2682

    Removed Rocket Scientist 2+ Year Member

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    Is it really up to the applicant to selectively designate gray area classes as bcpm to our advantage? Seems kind of fishy, even though I'd really like to do that.
     
  5. theseeker4

    theseeker4 PGY 3
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    How AMCAS is set up currently, it is left up to us to classify them and up to AMCAS to modify if necessary. Not sure whether that is how it is intended, but that is how the system currently works. It would be dishonest to label something that doesn't, for example, have anything to do with math as a math class, but I had a pharmacology course that I classified as biology since it spent most of the time talking about cell biology and anatomy, and AMCAS accepted my designation, even though pharmacology is listed under health science and not BMCP. To try to say "My cell biology class isn't really biology (because I got a B in it)" would obviously be deceitful and dishonest, but designating classes that legitimately fall within BMCP but are not officially labeled as such by your university is unproblematic, at least in my view. This is apparently AMCAS's view as well, since they seem to often accept the designation by applicants.
     
  6. ibar300

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    By how much will I need to improve my science GPA to be a competitive applicant for medical school?
     
  7. evans2000

    2+ Year Member

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    Should be increased up to 4.0GPA Bro....
     
  8. theseeker4

    theseeker4 PGY 3
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    Average GPA of accepted applicants is in the 3.6+ range. Considering many people with that GPA and higher are denied admission every year, you want to get it as high as possible, and have a very strong application in addition to your GPA. This means volunteering, professor letters of recommendation, clinical experience, leadership if possible, and research if possible, with the best MCAT you can manage, of course.
     

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