Medical Does an SMP makes sense for a nontraditional student?

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Mr.Smile12

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Hello, I am a fairly unguided (to this point) pre-med nontraditional student who still has high hopes of attending MD in the US (DO is becoming more of a consideration, but last resort if I cannot improve my chances best for MD) and am looking for strong, clear, honest advice.

graduated: 2015 from public NC university after transfer from private university for mainly cost reasons- B.S. Biology

I am a 25 y.o URM (black female) reapplicant (applied 2018, didn't submit any secondaries due to hasty applications to a LOT of unrealistic out of reach schools, decided not to waste any more money only to get rejections) with the following stats: cGPA: 3.640 sGPA: 3.0 (upwards trend and even attained deans list and honor society final year of college in 2015); MCAT (twice now)- 1- voided score, 2- 477(barely studied, I KNOW i can perform a LOT better, practice tests at this point are 500+), plan to crack 500 mark after rigorous 6-9 month study plan.

experiences
volunteering/shadowing/paid in-clinic:
-volunteered over 300+ hours at local hospital from sophomore year college until 1 year post-grad, several depts (emergency, same day surg, womens center, rehab, cardiac floor, etc)
-medical scribe/assistant in several specialties for over 3 years post grad: neurology in a single-provider practice (1 yr), ER contracted scribe (6 mos), dermatology scribe (certified derm tech and over 1.5 years), primary care/urgent care (6 months)- over 3000 clinical hands-on hours from these paid experiences alone
-certified nurse assistant since 2012-2018- over 6 years of experience in rehab centers, private client homes, clinics, etc- unable to quantify, most likely over 1000 CNA patient contact hours alone

research:

-lots of review research- landed a poster junior year of college on the depolymerization of actin filaments and it's involvement in memory formation in an insect
-lab leader in undergrad- led over 50 students weekly in a cell lab involving lab techniques and overseeing several experiments and reports to make sure they were able to meet all standards of their research requirements
- no pubs, hoping for guidance here as I am not currently enrolled in any programs, but am strongly interested in finding educational or employment experiences leading to pubs


my why:
had a strong connection to the sciences as a child, demonstrated ability and interest, but starting shadowing as a high school student and the connection providers had with patients stuck with me, I wanted to have the knowledge and clinical know-how to also change patient lives for the better(also observed a cardiac cath procedure in high school that really started my love relationship with the heart (pun intended lol), haven't forgotten it since); have too many other clinical experiences to count that have further strengthened my why

I am coming on here because I literally am at a crossroads and have no guidance as to where to go and what to do to best make my chances for US MD/DO. To be fair/honest, I am STRONGLY interested in ONLY US MD. I would actually rather consider US PA schools than US DO. That's how insistent I am on becoming an MD. I feel as though I have oversaturated my clinical experiences, and do NOT have enough research or high enough GPA/MCAT(haven't proven it yet) to get in at this point. I feel as though I am committed to the field of medicine, but do NOT have the funds to pay for post-baccs to increase my uGPA and need to find a special masters as a final shot at MD. I am willing to consider PA school if this does not work.

my main questions are:

1. Would you suggest a SMP linkage or SMP in general that would make the most sense with my current stats/give me the right boost? I want to give myself the best option for acceptance US MD/DO end but there are so many seemingly solid programs out there, I'm getting confused.

2. How can I strengthen the research component of my application? I intend to go into either dermatology or cardiology, highly competitive specialties in their own right, and I know starting research now is the best bet of building a foundation to continue pursuing research opps in med/DO school. I have tried for 6+ mo to find post-grad jobs (market in my area appears oversaturated) in laboratories, to no luck.

3. what would be a good general advice? I know it's a long shot, but I really want to do medicine, but barely breaking the GPA requirements and not having the funds to be able to do post-bacc with what I make as a CNA now have left with me with no choice but to pursue graduate loans towards an SMP, and this is why I need the advice. Don't have a lot of chances/money available to keep trying things. I desperately need help formulating a plan to move forward.

4. I have considered MPH school for my own interests, but is it even worth it as an app boost, given my undergraduate stats at this point? or is it best to wait until the hurdle of getting into med school is done?


IM NOT IN A RUSH FOR THIS CYCLE/NEXT, I JUST NEED STRONG, HONEST, REALISTIC GUIDANCE. I SINCERELY APPRECIATE WHICHEVER FACULTY/ADMIN DECIDES TO READ ALL OF THIS AND RESPOND TO ANY/ALL OF THIS POST. THANK YOU VERY MUCH,

sincerely,

a very hopeful rad non-traditional applicant

Have you connected with any students at other schools or the SNMA? Have you talked to diversity faculty or admissions staff?
 

Catalystik

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Hello, I am a fairly unguided (to this point) pre-med nontraditional student who still has high hopes of attending MD in the US (DO is becoming more of a consideration, but last resort if I cannot improve my chances best for MD) and am looking for strong, clear, honest advice.

graduated: 2015 from public NC university after transfer from private university for mainly cost reasons- B.S. Biology

I am a 25 y.o URM (black female) reapplicant (applied 2018, didn't submit any secondaries due to hasty applications to a LOT of unrealistic out of reach schools, decided not to waste any more money only to get rejections) with the following stats: cGPA: 3.640 sGPA: 3.0 (upwards trend and even attained deans list and honor society final year of college in 2015); MCAT (twice now)- 1- voided score, 2- 477(barely studied, I KNOW i can perform a LOT better, practice tests at this point are 500+), plan to crack 500 mark after rigorous 6-9 month study plan.

experiences
volunteering/shadowing/paid in-clinic:

-volunteered over 300+ hours at local hospital from sophomore year college until 1 year post-grad, several depts (emergency, same day surg, womens center, rehab, cardiac floor, etc)
-medical scribe/assistant in several specialties for over 3 years post grad: neurology in a single-provider practice (1 yr), ER contracted scribe (6 mos), dermatology scribe (certified derm tech and over 1.5 years), primary care/urgent care (6 months)- over 3000 clinical hands-on hours from these paid experiences alone
-certified nurse assistant since 2012-2018- over 6 years of experience in rehab centers, private client homes, clinics, etc- unable to quantify, most likely over 1000 CNA patient contact hours alone

research:
-lots of review research- landed a poster junior year of college on the depolymerization of actin filaments and it's involvement in memory formation in an insect
-lab leader in undergrad- led over 50 students weekly in a cell lab involving lab techniques and overseeing several experiments and reports to make sure they were able to meet all standards of their research requirements
- no pubs, hoping for guidance here as I am not currently enrolled in any programs, but am strongly interested in finding educational or employment experiences leading to pubs


my why: had a strong connection to the sciences as a child, demonstrated ability and interest, but starting shadowing as a high school student and the connection providers had with patients stuck with me, I wanted to have the knowledge and clinical know-how to also change patient lives for the better(also observed a cardiac cath procedure in high school that really started my love relationship with the heart (pun intended lol), haven't forgotten it since); have too many other clinical experiences to count that have further strengthened my why

I am coming on here because I literally am at a crossroads and have no guidance as to where to go and what to do to best make my chances for US MD/DO. To be fair/honest, I am STRONGLY interested in ONLY US MD. I would actually rather consider US PA schools than US DO. That's how insistent I am on becoming an MD. I feel as though I have oversaturated my clinical experiences, and do NOT have enough research or high enough GPA/MCAT(haven't proven it yet) to get in at this point. I feel as though I am committed to the field of medicine, but do NOT have the funds to pay for post-baccs to increase my uGPA and need to find a special masters as a final shot at MD. I am willing to consider PA school if this does not work.

my main questions are:


1. Would you suggest a SMP linkage or SMP in general that would make the most sense with my current stats/give me the right boost? I want to give myself the best option for acceptance US MD/DO end but there are so many seemingly solid programs out there, I'm getting confused.

2. How can I strengthen the research component of my application? I intend to go into either dermatology or cardiology, highly competitive specialties in their own right, and I know starting research now is the best bet of building a foundation to continue pursuing research opps in med/DO school. I have tried for 6+ mo to find post-grad jobs (market in my area appears oversaturated) in laboratories, to no luck.

3. what would be a good general advice? I know it's a long shot, but I really want to do medicine, but barely breaking the GPA requirements and not having the funds to be able to do post-bacc with what I make as a CNA now have left with me with no choice but to pursue graduate loans towards an SMP, and this is why I need the advice. Don't have a lot of chances/money available to keep trying things. I desperately need help formulating a plan to move forward.

4. I have considered MPH school for my own interests, but is it even worth it as an app boost, given my undergraduate stats at this point? or is it best to wait until the hurdle of getting into med school is done?


IM NOT IN A RUSH FOR THIS CYCLE/NEXT, I JUST NEED STRONG, HONEST, REALISTIC GUIDANCE. I SINCERELY APPRECIATE WHICHEVER FACULTY/ADMIN DECIDES TO READ ALL OF THIS AND RESPOND TO ANY/ALL OF THIS POST. THANK YOU VERY MUCH,

sincerely,

a very hopeful rad non-traditional applicant
1 & 3) I'd suggest that an expensive SMP isn't necessary. Additional informal postbac undergrad upper-level science classes (med school relevant if possible), earning a solid string of As to raise your undergrad BCPM would prove your academic capability sufficiently. If you need loans for this you could apply to be a candidate for a second bachelors degree, without the obligation to finish it since you already have one. Alternatively, get a job on a campus that provides a free educational benefit.

2) You don't need research to get into med school. You can do research during med school that is relevant to your career interests. You should not divide your focus from your two priorities: raise the BCPM GPA and get a strong MCAT score.

4) No. An MPH will not prove you will thrive in a science-dense med school curriculum.
 

Mr.Smile12

Admissions advisor
7+ Year Member
Oct 13, 2011
6,866
3,406
Status (Visible)
  1. Academic Administration
thanks for the advice all. Will look into non-degree seeking status at my local uni.

another ask: what would be a good list to tenatively start compiling for realistic school options? I'm an NC resident and we have a great amount of schools available, but would like to know what some suggestions are based on my stats. I have made a tenative list on realistics from my SDN lurking (assuming a 510+ on my MCAT retake):

Howard
Meharry
Morehouse
Creighton
Georgetown
Quinnipiac
Tulane
UMiami
Emory
Wake
dream school: UNC-CH (although they require masters degree if bachelors is older than 5 years, going to call admissions on the specifics of this)
Drexel
Temple
Albany
VCU

another additional suggests or ones to take off? Plan to apply 2021.

Thanks so much again for the advice, its also great to know I should just hunker down and focus on MCAT and not worry about lack of research opps.
If you get a 510, I think you can expand your MD list. If you get more like a 500, you may want to mix in DO's (not that you shouldn't anyway). For me your chances are even better as a minority/non-traditional applicant if you have already been in contact with some of the schools prior to applying. I'm hesitant to suggest a SMP because you have described your science GPA as being 3.0 though overall undergraduate GPA is 3.6; what classes did you take that constitutes the high overall in spite of a low science?
 
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