Jun 24, 2016
17
15
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided), Pre-Medical
Hi everyone. I'm entering my third year at my university. I'm trying to figure out a plan of action to finish my last 2 years strong. This is going to be long, but I appreciate any kind souls who have a few minutes to spare.

I currently have a cGPA of 3.19 and my science GPA is a 2.57. I was struggling with depression/anxiety for my first 2 years which contributed to the lower grades, but it was actually ADD that was the main culprit. With treatment and medication, I am doing very well - I've been able to concentrate properly, complete tasks well ahead of time, managed to take a CC course in organic chemistry and received an A when I previously received a C- at my university. I'm more confident about pursuing medicine, but that leaves me with a poor GPA to fix and trying to figure out my path after graduation.

1) Even if I do well in all my courses for the next 2 years, I'm still looking at a cGPA and sGPA that will not be as competitive for medical school. Should I re-take the classes I got a low GPA in (physics, calculus I for example), enroll in a SMP, or apply for one of the post-bacc pre-med programs (not sure if this is the same or different than a SMP)? I want to make myself as good as a candidate as possible so I will be taking a minimum of 2 gap years to increase my chances.

2) As far as ECs/research/volunteering, I'm not sure what I should focus on more. So far, I have research experience - biology & neuroscience over 2 summers (but I don't really enjoy research). I do a lot of volunteering/interning, but I'm worried that it seems all over the place (180 hours as a volunteer intern at a healthcare related non-profit, 400 hours this summer as a intern at 2 healthcare related non-profits, mentor for disadvantaged high school students who want to go to college, 50+ hours volunteering and coordinating projects at dog shelter, and some volunteer hours at the Ronald McDonald House Charities). And then I play in a community orchestra and I'm an executive member for my university's chapter of the pre-health fraternity. I've shadowed as well with a infectious disease physician (100+ hours), a urologist (in Thailand), and internists (in Thailand). Planning to shadow more specialties and DO doctors during winter breaks and the summer.

This year, I'm trying to find an organization I can volunteer with and commit to for a long time. I think I have too many interests and causes I want to help with and I don't really have clinical experience. I'm interested in applying to work with a domestic and sexual abuse organization that sends volunteers to provide resources and information to victims of abuse while they're at local hospitals or to help with their hotline service. Would the former count as clinical volunteering?

Or there are opportunities to work more with the Ronald McDonald House Charities as a volunteer in their children's center (interacting with patients and/or the families of patients) in a nearby hospital. Would that count as clinical as well?

I always appreciate the no BS, no sugar-coating attitude many people have on this forum. This is my first post but I've looked at different threads to get some advice as well. My mental health has hindered me, yes, but I'm still here, and just ready to do well as a pre-med student. Any advice is helpful.
 

summergirl

7+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2012
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Medical Student
I think if you interacted with patients in a clinical setting (i.e. hospital), then it should count as clinical experience.
Overall your ECs look good. It's not "all over the place", because you focused on humanitarian projects that shows you care about others. For your GPA, I'd suggest retaking the classes you did bad in, especially the science classes because you need a higher sGPA. Then take the MCAT and aim for 505 (preferably 510+) and you should be golden for DO. Good luck.

Edit: I think this post is more appropriate for the what's my chances section of the forum
 
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OP
stitch_rose
Jun 24, 2016
17
15
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided), Pre-Medical
I think if you interacted with patients in a clinical setting (i.e. hospital), then it should count as clinical experience.
Overall your ECs look good. It's not "all over the place", because you focused on humanitarian projects that shows you care about others. For your GPA, I'd suggest retaking the classes you did bad in, especially the science classes because you need a higher sGPA. Then take the MCAT and aim for 505 (preferably 510+) and you should be golden for DO. Good luck.

Edit: I think this post is more appropriate for the what's my chances section of the forum
Thank you! Good advice. I think I was a bit worried but another perspective is always nice. My focus at this point is bringing up my GPA and just focusing on being well. I appreciate the response. There's good people here on SDN...
 
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AnatomyGrey12

2+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2015
9,282
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Thank you! Good advice. I think I was a bit worried but another perspective is always nice. My focus at this point is bringing up my GPA and just focusing on being well. I appreciate the response. There's good people here on SDN...
Schools love a good comeback story. I suggest retaking all your C/D/F courses, especially the pre-reqs, and aim to get your GPAs to above 3.3. Then out everything you have into the MCAT, score as high as you possibly can and then apply to DO schools.

Your ECs are great IMO because they show your uniqueness as a person. Do get some clinical experience but more so you can talk about why medicine, it helps to make sure you know what you are getting into as well. Shadow a DO to get a DO letter (this a lot closer to the time you plan on applying)

If you do all of this piece by piece over the next two years then you should be in an excellent place to apply to medical school. Goodluck!
 
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samac

2+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2014
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If you're set on MD I would say an SMP isn't a bad option. If you're willing to do DO retaking is a great option.
 

gonnif

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Jul 26, 2009
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Schools love a good comeback story. I suggest retaking all your C/D/F courses, especially the pre-reqs, and aim to get your GPAs to above 3.3. Then out everything you have into the MCAT, score as high as you possibly can and then apply to DO schools.

Your ECs are great IMO because they show your uniqueness as a person. Do get some clinical experience but more so you can talk about why medicine, it helps to make sure you know what you are getting into as well. Shadow a DO to get a DO letter (this a lot closer to the time you plan on applying)

If you do all of this piece by piece over the next two years then you should be in an excellent place to apply to medical school. Goodluck!
Not necessarily the best idea, particularly for MD. Leave the "C" alones and redo those C- and below, though I would suggest that doing them as a postbacc (not SMP) may be a bit better as it gives you a separate GPA from other undergrad. If you want to commit to DO, then retaking all those C/D/F is good for grade replacement.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

2+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2015
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Not necessarily the best idea, particularly for MD. Leave the "C" alones and redo those C- and below, though I would suggest that doing them as a postbacc (not SMP) may be a bit better as it gives you a separate GPA from other undergrad. If you want to commit to DO, then retaking all those C/D/F is good for grade replacement.
Definitely agree. I was specifically advising for DO schools with that statement. If OP really wants to chase the MD then he needs to get his sGPA and cGPA to about 3.0 these next two years and then apply to SMPs, but only with an MD worthy MCAT score IMO.
 

JellyVoodoo

2+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2016
44
4
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi there! I don't really have any advice, but I did want to say that your ECs are so cool! I've been trying to figure out some more to do and I didn't even think about advising high school students. How were you able to get that position? Did you just call the school? Love Stitch, by the way! :biglove:
 
OP
stitch_rose
Jun 24, 2016
17
15
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided), Pre-Medical
Hi there! I don't really have any advice, but I did want to say that your ECs are so cool! I've been trying to figure out some more to do and I didn't even think about advising high school students. How were you able to get that position? Did you just call the school? Love Stitch, by the way! :biglove:
Why thank you! I'm a Disney fan and Stitch is just too cute. Anyways, the mentoring program is a national organization, but the chapter on our campus was discontinued a few years ago due to university politics. My friends and I spearheaded a revival of the mentoring program last year because the administration changed. We mentor high school students who come from immigrant or undocumented backgrounds (hence the controversy) who would be the first in their families to go to college (CC or a 4 year institutions). Our advisor is a professor on campus. He coordinates the academic portions of the program (having the mentees attend college classes, teaching them to write at a college level, etc.). The mentors plan fun activities for bonding and also guide them to different resources or answer any questions they have about the college process.

I would try finding a local non-profit that has a mentoring program (some YMCA chapters do for example) or see if your school (or other local colleges or universities) has specific mentoring partnerships with local schools (my university partners with a lot of elementary schools and some high schools in the area).
 
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JellyVoodoo

2+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2016
44
4
Status
Pre-Medical
I would try finding a local non-profit that has a mentoring program (some YMCA chapters do for example) or see if your school (or other local colleges or universities) has specific mentoring partnerships with local schools (my university partners with a lot of elementary schools and some high schools in the area).
Excellent advice, thank you very much! Coming from a poor family myself, as a first gen college student, I feel that this would be very rewarding work. :)
 
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OP
stitch_rose
Jun 24, 2016
17
15
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided), Pre-Medical
Excellent advice, thank you very much! Coming from a poor family myself, as a first gen college student, I feel that this would be very rewarding work. :)
Even better! I bet you have valuable advice for first gen students. Best of luck to you!
 
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