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Grasping at straws ?

Discussion in 'What Are My Chances?' started by Rudester17, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. Rudester17

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    Hello SDN members,

    This is my first time on these forums and I am here to bare a little bit of my soul and story to see if I am a drowning man grasping at straws or if there's something to grasp at and hope for. If anyone can share some insight and/or advice I would appreciate it (especially from any fellow Mormon members out there). :)

    I am a first generation Mexican immigrant from Mexico City and I grew up in San Diego after moving here at 9 months of age. I had one sibling, my sister Claudia, who was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of 3. When my parents or other people would ask me what I wanted to be I would reply, "a scientist so that I find a cure for my sister and she can be happy". Claudia was later correctly diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, another type of pervasive developmental disorder that shares similarities with autism. She proved to be my first and biggest inspiration to join the health professions field.

    My academic career had looked promising growing up. Early on I was put in the G.A.T.E. (gifted and talented) program after taking some tests in Elementary school which had a tremendous affect on my parents who never had the opportunity to attend college. My father never finished high school because he had to work to support his family. After receiving a letter informing them of their child's test results my parents always tried to get me to achieve my full potential in all of my activities. I did exceedingly well in Middle and High School, taking a total of 6 AP classes, 5 of them during my Junior year and passing all of them with 4's and 5's.

    The summer of my Senior year I began to take lessons from a pair of missionaries from the Church of Latter-Day Saints. After much introspection and prayer I was converted the following year in February at the age of 18. I changed my plans of going to UCSD and instead applied to Brigham-Young University Idaho with plans to pursue a degree in English. Unfortunately this is where my life began to unravel and come apart at the seams.

    Due to some extenuating circumstances (mother being diagnosed with cancer, impending divorce, no direction/idea of what to do with my life, my own laziness, depression and apathy) I did not hit the ground running my freshman year of college. Actually, it was more of a head-on full impact collision with a cement wall. I lagged behind in classes and had trouble getting sleep. I was put on academic probation my first semester. Instead of shaping up however I decided to not worry my ailing mother and kept the probation to myself, and returned to school the following semester convinced it had been a fluke. Needless to say, the results were the same. I was put on academic suspension.

    I spent the summer thinking of how to tell my mother and father that their child had failed college miserably. I decided to try one last time and I wrote a petition explaining my circumstances to be voted on by the Academic Standards Committee. My petition was granted, but I knew that I was still not ready. I needed to find out what I wanted to be before I went back. I went back in time to see what I had always dreamed of becoming but never pursued because of how daunting it was: a medical doctor. I spent a long time researching the medical field and its pertaining professions, trying to see what the world was like for a doctor and if it was what I truly wanted to be. And I got a strong affirmative answer: Yes.

    Here's the ugly nitty-gritty.
    Cumulative GPA as it stands: a whopping 1.855 O_O
    B's with 4 F's are what make up my gpa. I am planning on re-taking those 4 easy 100-200 level classes and doing much better this time around.

    I also decided to go on an LDS mission and was given my call to Switzerland, which I will be leaving for in 3 months. I am hoping to come back in 2011 with some incredible experiences, maturity, focus, and fluency in German and French on top of the English and Spanish I already have. I want to finish all the Medical School pre-req's, take the MCAT, and apply by 2014/20015 if all goes well.

    How feasible is this? Will being Mormon be an advantage or disadvantage? I live a very clean life, I have no history of smoking, drinking, or drug abuse. Will taking 2 years off to go on a mission halfway around the world look disfavorable to Adcom's? What do I got going for me?

    I am determined to turn my life around and do whatever it takes to achieve my goal. I would appreciate any feedback from my fellow members.

    Thank you
     
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  3. fizzle

    fizzle New Member
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    Going on an LDS mission will certainly bring a unique perspective that will attract adcoms, but being a Mormon in itself will not do much beyond that unique perspective in terms of medical school admissions.

    And I'm sure that anyone here will tell you that your first priority should be getting your GPA up...sub-3.0 GPA acceptances are extremely rare, let alone a sub-2.0 GPA. To be honest, this should be a much greater priority to you than going on the LDS mission if your end goal is to become a doctor.
     
  4. Catalystik

    Catalystik Platinum
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    Your two year mission will create a clear time division between the under-achieving, old you, from the hard-working, high-achieving new you. You didn't make it clear how many credit hours went into your low GPA, but you can do the math yourself and see how many credit hours of A it will take to get your GPA into a competitive range.
     
  5. dragonfly99

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    Your GPA is awful. the 1.8 shows more than a terrible 1st semester...it looks like quite a bit of time with you getting low grades.
    To be honest, B's are not even impressive to a med school admissions committee.

    The admissions committee won't care that you are a Mormon or went on a mission. That's like an interesting extracurricular activity. You have to prove you are academically ready for medical school...that means getting A's in science classes. Do that first for a year or two, and then you can reassess your situation. You seem articulate and seem to have done well in high school, so you need to really think about what it is that is causing you to not do well in college. Is it lack of adequate time studying? Inability to focus? Too many extracurricular activities? Poor study techniques though spending enough time studying?
     
  6. Mobius1985

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    I'd have tried to be more diplomatic, but dragonfly was much more succinct, and it needed to be said. You have a lot of hard work ahead of you. I hope you keep your resolve to prove yourself. You cannot afford to get less than straight As from here on out.
     
  7. Rudester17

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    Good point, I definitely agree and looking back I can see that my inability to balance my activities with my study time severely hurt me. Living on my own for the first time I realize I wasn't sufficiently mature enough or prepared to handle my own life, I was used to mommy and daddy making sure I was doing enough studying.

    And it was not just one semester it was 2. My first semester was a 3.2, lackluster albeit, but it was the second one that really did me in.

    And yes Catalystik, you hit the nail square on the head. I am using these 2 years on my mission as a clear definitive line between the old irresponsible self and the mature goal-oriented self who knows what he wants to do.

    On a side note, I heard about UCR opening a school of Medicine in 2012, so it should be open for admission when I am ready to apply for Medical School. Will it be easier or harder to get into since it is brand new, or harder? I ask because I live 40 minutes from the campus and I would love being close to all my relatives, closest UC campus to my home.
     
  8. Rudester17

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    Anyone have any idea about the UCR Medical school question?
     
  9. CurrySpice

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    I'm not sure the mission will mean a whole lot to the adcoms, but it will give YOU a chance to sort out your priorities. You're going to experience a lot in the next two years and you're either going to come back running to become a doctor or you'll have a different plan in mind. I think that's a much better idea than simply going back to school for another semester with vague hopes to pull up your GPA. Being a mormon will mean approximately nothing to the adcoms, but if you do community service with your church, then that can help show your kind spirit.
     
  10. GoSpursGo

    GoSpursGo Allons-y!
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    It will likely be equally competitive to get into, which for a UC, is extremely difficult- if you're looking for a school that will have MUCH lower admissions requirements, I hate to burst your bubble, but you have to remember that every year there are thousands of med school applicants with the "usual" 3.5/30 stats who don't get in anywhere; it's not as if schools are starved for qualified applicants.

    Luckily, while that 1.8 is pretty dreadful, getting that over one year hasn't killed you. Here's some math for you: assuming you took roughly the same number of credit hours for 3 years that you took in your 1 year of college so far, if you get a 4.0 over those 3 years you'll have a total of a 3.45. If you take 4 more years of school, you'll get it up to a 3.56. Considering the incredible upward slope, a solid MCAT, and the incredible EC you'll be able to talk about with this mission, I would be cautiously optimistic about your chances of getting in somewhere- maybe or maybe not at a UC, which are notoriously difficult to get into, but SOMEWHERE if you apply broadly enough.

    HOWEVER- I MUST caution you, so read this VERY closely: It is absolutely, positively imperritive to bust out straight A's from this point on. As you can see from the calculations above, diminishing returns really begins to set in on how far you can bump up your GPA with the more and more credit hours you take- that extra fourth year, even with a 4.0, only bumps up the GPA by about .1, and the effect becomes even smaller if you wind up lingering in school any longer. Considering a truly steep upward trend in GPA, and again your incredible ECs, you might be able to get in somewhere with a 3.2 or 3.3, but you never want to bank on something like that. Here's the point- given the hole you are in, you have almost no wiggle room as far as grades go; anything less than an A will critically damage your eventual chances to get into medical school. So you must not go back to school until you are absolutely positive that you will be able to focus totally on academics- if your mother gets sick again or anything else might take your mind off of school, don't go back to school that semester, as you just can't afford to have anything distract you. You need that 4.0.
     
  11. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    This thread is advice for people with low GPAs. Read through it. Then read through the entire postbac forum.

    Also, I'm unclear about your situation. Are you a college graduate, or have you only finished one year of college? How many credits have you actually taken (whether or not you passed them)?

    If you've only taken one year of college, I think if you do well from here on out you can get into medical school. They won't care about you being a Mormon and they'll like the mission trip, but your grades and MCAT matter more.
     
    #10 Perrotfish, Jan 12, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  12. Rudester17

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    I have only finished my first year of college, and I took a total of 27 credits (15 my first semester, 12 my second). None of those have been science classes yet so I haven't damaged my sGPA. I am going to take my pre-req science classes upon returning from the mission and scoring A's in all of them to hopefully get a 4.0 sGPA. That on top of finishing off the credits I need for my English major and getting my cGPA up will be my top priorities. Hopefully I can make up for the first 2 semesters that I did terribly on.

    Hope that clears the situation up some more. :)
     
  13. 202781

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    Aww...dude, that sucks about the gpa problems.

    I dont think anything can cover up for that.
    My advice:
    Make up those bad grades and start making more A's than B's
    get your gpa up to at least 3.0
    take the MCAT (Only when you are ready) aim for 27 + (Balanced)
    Apply to medical school as a URM

    this should give you a CHANCE at medical school...an MD program that is

    to go to a DO school you could prolly just get like a 20+ on the MCAT and maybe a 2.7+gpa, as long as all other parts of your app are good.

    But I would shoot for an MD program because they are better. (In terms of ppl who get into the res. they want and the success they have securing those positions.)
     
  14. Thrombomodulin

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    #13 Thrombomodulin, Jan 12, 2009
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  15. sindadel

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    You will be fine, with only one year of bad grades. Just make sure that when you go back to school, to take only as many classes as you can handle, and develop a plan for what you will do if life gets stressful on you.
     
  16. 202781

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    Uhh I assume that they will apply URM, as they belong to one of the most UR groups in the medical profession. and that is to get into bottom tier DO schools. I would say a balanced 27, 3.0 to get into an MD school (lower tier)
     
  17. Thrombomodulin

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    #16 Thrombomodulin, Jan 12, 2009
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  18. Rudester17

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    Thank you all of those posting in my thread the advice you have given is invaluable and will strengthen my resolve and determination. It has given me a great deal to think over and has certainly given me some hope to what I thought was a hopeless and unachievable goal.
     

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