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GradStudent needs Advice

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by JerseyGrrl, Jan 30, 2001.

  1. JerseyGrrl

    JerseyGrrl New Member

    Jan 29, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I'm new at this, so I will make my post hopefully to the point. Forgive the verbose nature.

    As my moniker states, I am a Jersey native attending school in Maryland. I will graduate in May with an MS in Biology. I am applying to med school, but I have a few kinks I need advice on. NO SNOTTY "JUST GO VOLUNTEER" RESPONSES PLEASE. Let me explain.

    (1) I have taken the MCAT twice, and my scores were dismal at best. Funny. I got the same score twice. 8-V, 7-B, 7-PS, S-Writing.
    (2) I am a minority (AA) female, and as I hate to use that as a playing card, it may eliminate some rhetoric from repliers.
    (3) I did pretty well in undergrad, but well enough to be a zookeeper according to my undergrad advisor. GPA-3.4
    (4) I am basically paranoid as hell. I realize I have to take the test over, because my scores are old AND suck.
    (5) I realize in a perfect world I could volunteer every day and feed the homeless, and give crackheads CPRs, and even suture up foot lesions on the elderly. But, some of us have to.....WORK FOR A LIVING. My job involves doing research, actually on diabetes. I'm fascinated by it, and I would one day like to become a family physician and work in particular with diabetic patients (On top of my interest, it runs in the family.)
    It's demanding and I am still in school full time.
    (6) Lastly, being a native of the Garden State, the REAL HOME OF THE GIANTS; this causes me to be an out of state student EVERYWHERE. So, some advices from NJ natives or people from states with no med schools at all who are in would be very much appreciated.

    To some of you pre-meds with your s**t together, more power to you. [​IMG]

    I would just like to know what I am up against. I am studying for the MCAT, however I'm going solo, because choosing Kaplan over the rent is not an option for me.

    I pursued my Master's degree for two reasons: (1) an option in case my application gets laughed at, and (2) I actually have liked science for a long time.
    I've been told get a MS in Health Science, or get an MPH. But, isn't the part of the game to stand out.

    I realize that I am up against the wall. I am a non-traditional student with shotty MCAT scores and not much longer to get it right.

    The point of pursuing an occupation is the attempt to have a niche in the world doing what you like, and not wanting to shoot your co-workers or yourself in rush hour traffic.

    I have wanted to do this since high school, and I am REALLY F***ING TIRED of people saying I can't do it, or it won't happen. (These are quotes from actual admissions offices I spoke to at various med schools.)
    "Your grades are too low. They are just too low. A PhD wouldn't help you."-RWJ
    "Your MCAT scores are below par. Have you thought about being a SCIENCE teacher"-MSU
    "Have you considered teaching high school?"-MCV
    "Nurses make excellent money"-Florida

    I wouldn't be embarrassing myself, according to many, if I wasn't serious. I'm not that proud that I couldn't use some POLITE help. I have read some of the posts from others like and unlike me, and some of the replies are boots to the neck I don't need.
    So, if you could add something positive to this thread that could help someone else as well as myself, come on down.
    Thanks for reading.
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  3. Jersey Girl,

    Let me just say that I feel your pain; this is my second time applying and I have had to hear all kinds of awful rhetoric from people on pre-med boards and other students about how I was just not a competitive enough applicant and how it would be impossible to bring up my MCAT VR score of 7 on a retake, blah, blah etc... Well, I did bring up the VR score and got invited to 5 interviews this time applying, with some schools still yet to hear from. Forget the people and pre-med advisors who try to put you down and keep trying if medicine is what you really want!

    That being said, some specific advice from one who has been through the application process before (and hopes not to have to apply a third time!):

    1) Take a good review course and study hard to bring up your MCAT score. It is possible to improve with practice regardless of what others say. Even an improvement of 2 or 3 points is fine, although the higher your score the better.

    2) Take the April MCAT if possible and apply early.

    3) Definitely apply to UMDNJ-NJMS (a very respectable school that interviews about 50% of NJ residents), and apply to RWJ even though they were rude about your GPA (which is not much below their average at all regardless of what they told you). I'd also apply to Maryland since you've studied in the state and they will likely consider this. Other schools that are strong in minority recruitment and are good schools are Meharry, Morehouse, Howard, MCP-Hahnemann, and GWU. Don't listen to the bigots and big egotists who bash every school not ranked the US News Top 50; as you already probably know you'll get a great education at any allopathic or osteopathic medical school in the US ((if you're interested in DO).

    Anyway, sorry this was so long.. Best of luck to you!
  4. VAD

    VAD Member
    10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 1999
    Likes Received:

    The one thing I would say is NOT to take the MCAT again until you feel better about your ability to perform well. Even if it takes you a year to study for the MCAT, the time will be well worth it as you hold your first acceptance letter in hand. Your GPA is not bad at all, and I think you have a good shot as long as you work on your MCATs. Since you aren't able to take a class like Kaplan, maybe you could purchase the books directly from someone and study on your own. I know that here on the discussion board, and especially on Ebay, books are constantly for sale. I know you don't want anyone to tell you to go out and volunteer, but do you have experience with patient contact or some other community service activity? These days it's an absolute must in the application process. Also, getting good letters of recommendation from your professors and overseer of your research would also be a big plus.

    I think that sheer determination can get you into school somewhere, but you're working with more than just sheer determination and I think you've got a good shot! I can't tell you how many negative things I've personally heard, but you have to be informed and know for yourself. I would suggest thoroughly reviewing the MSAR and finding out which schools you're interested in and then trying to make connections and find out as much as you can about how you compare to current applicants of similar background.

    When I get a chance, I'll email you with more thoughts!

    Don't give up!!!

    VAD [​IMG]

  5. JerseyGrrl

    JerseyGrrl New Member

    Jan 29, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Thank you, VAD and Katie. Actually, VAD, I have done volunteer work, but it's been about one or two years, since undergrad. I volunteered at a occupational rehabilitation center, to help people who survived accidents to regain mobility to return to work. It was a great experience, until the state took over the center and shut it down.

    Keep the positive vibes coming!!
  6. fiatslug

    fiatslug Senior Member
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 8, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Attending Physician
    Hey Jersey Grrl--I agree w/the others--if you've taken the dread 'CAT twice without professional preparation, and seen no score improvement, it's time to bite the bullet, pull out the credit card, and pony up some dough for a good prep course. I came into med school with approximately $3500 in MCAT prep course/AMCAS fee/secondary fee/interview expense debt. I wish I had someone bankrolling me, but I too had to work. But you know you've got to bump up those scores for allopathic schools. Have you also considered DO schools? They're more forgiving of lower GPAs & MCATs. Also, don't feel bad about "using" AA. If you feel you can do the work of medical school, get in any way you can.
  7. wooo

    wooo Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Atop the other suggestions is my suggestion to consider the "island" schools. You will graduate, become your dream, and practice medicine as an MD, not an island graduate. I know a man who graduated from St George and is very very sharp.

    Your lab coat will say Jerseygirl, MD.....not Jerseygirl, Carribean Graduate of Medical School.

    Good luck and may God bless you.

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