oneke

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Hi All,

I know this questions has been asked a million times but because everyone's experiences are different, I figured I would ask for some advice that is more specific to my situation.

I joined this forum and lurked for a while and just recently posted in the "What are my Chances" section (See here) to see if there is any hope for me at all and thanks to a quick back and forth with Faha I was given a glimmer of hope. But I then read this thread which pretty much erased the hope I was feeling (see post #3).

So my question for here is guidance on where to go from here. I'll give my brief history again and then what my current plan of what to do next and I'd love any feedback on the following:
1. Am I wasting my time, am I done before I've even started (same as my original thread, but looking for some more opinions if possible)?
2. Is there is anything else I should/could be doing?
3. The closest 4 year university is an hour away. Community College is about 30 minutes away. Should I start taking a couple classes at the CC in the mean time?

My stats:
- Graduated undergrad in 2008 with BA in Political Science, didn't try at all. GPA: 2.2 with only one science class.
- 3 years experience working as an EMT and reserve firefighter in the hospital and pre-hospital setting.
- Attending grad school at BU School of Medicine in 2013 with a MS in Healthcare Emergency Management with a GPA of 3.9.
- Have worked for the past 3+ years as the Director of Emergency Services & EMS Administrator for a small San Fran Bay area county (My department is both emergency management and the county EMS authority).

I am 31 y/o with, married with a 2 year old son and scared out of my mind to take this leap but excited for the possibility.

My current plan: Apply to and attend a 1 year post-bac program. Work my ass off and hopefully be applying with solid post-bac grades and a good MCAT.

I have volunteer experience but not in healthcare unless you count volunteering for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

To start with, I will be shadowing my county EMS medical director at the two ED's he works at.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
 
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My two cents -- that low GPA is going to lock you out of some formal post-bacc programs. Have you looked into enrolling as a non-degree seeking (or even 2nd bachelor's -- no one is going to track you down and make you finish it)? You can take the science courses you need and won't have to worry about applying to these career changer programs. There are certainly benefits to doing it the formal way, but DIY works just as well for many people, you just have to be organized, do your own research, and be a self-starter. Also, befriend the pre-med advisor at your DIY school.

I did it that way and it worked for me (but, I wasn't coming from a low GPA, just a career change, and I figured out the DIY stuff on my own).
 
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oneke

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My two cents -- that low GPA is going to lock you out of some formal post-bacc programs. Have you looked into enrolling as a non-degree seeking (or even 2nd bachelor's -- no one is going to track you down and make you finish it)? You can take the science courses you need and won't have to worry about applying to these career changer programs. There are certainly benefits to doing it the formal way, but DIY works just as well for many people, you just have to be organized, do your own research, and be a self-starter. Also, befriend the pre-med advisor at your DIY school.

I did it that way and it worked for me (but, I wasn't coming from a low GPA, just a career change, and I figured out the DIY stuff on my own).


Thanks for your reply. Here's the conclusion I've come to which, if possible, is why I am leaning towards a post-bac. First, a 4 year university is an hour away one way not counting bay area traffic from where I live which makes it very challenging because if I went that route I would probably want to drag it out over two years and keep working since I make a pretty good salary. Second, I feel like the benefits of a post-bac outweigh the DIY option for me. Specifically, I like the MCAT prep that comes along with it, doing all of the work in a year and getting it over with, and being with like-minded people. Plus, I am not sure if I qualify yet but it would be ideal for me if I could do a linkage option and skip the glide year.

Most post-bacs that i am looking at open for applications in the next few weeks (4-6 weeks I believe). I figure I could apply and if I get in, great, if not, then the decision has been made for me.

Also, forgot a question: Is there a cheat sheet for all the acronyms that are thrown around on this site, especially for school and program names?
 
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Bru

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I don't see a 1 year post-bacc working out. Your GPA would screen you out of most post-baccs...nevermind medical schools.

Sorry to the heavy here but, what you are envisioning with 1year post-bacc->linkage->med school is not a realistic scenario. The real truth is that if you choose to go the med school route, it will take likely 2-3 years of work to become a competitive applicant. I suppose the one good thing is that your sGPA could potentially be very good.

best of luck
 
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premedbrah

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Just look at the "Low GPA success stories" thread for motivation. You're not the first person to take this massive leap, and certainly won't be the last. If medicine is truly your desired end goal then nothing should stand in your way. I am working on climbing myself out of a deep hole of F's and D's that I received my first 1.5-2 years of college. Remember you are not alone, and I hope that you find the motivation/advice you're looking for.

*My personal advice:

Take as many Science courses as you can at a local community college (pre-reqs and some upperdivs). Once completed, study for the MCAT. Your cGPA will probably still be low, but sGPA (assuming you get all A's) would be high. You have tons of work experience in the field, that should help A LOT. But again, I am not a professional on the subject.. just someone who spends WAY too much time on SDN :D
 
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Continuing what @Bru and @premedbrah have said...

1. I really agree that a 1 year post-bacc would NOT be best for you, let alone feasible to get accepted into. Have you looked at the GPA requirements? Not trying to be a downer, but a realistic voice. You need to take more than just the bare-bones pre-med classes to get that GPA up. I suggest you pay $25 to subscribe to the MSAR and peruse the GPAs of medical schools to understand why we're saying this. ALSO note: your grad school GPA will NOT average with your undergrad GPA, if that's what you're hoping for. You must calculate these separately, and a great grad GPA is essentially an extracurricular for AdComs as not everyone has a grad degree, there's often extreme grade inflation in grad programs, and it isn't a common metric to judge applicants on.

2. Yes, read the success stories. But pay attention to the time committments. There are no short cuts here. I was extremely lucky that I could complete my DIY post-bacc in 2 summer sessions + 2 semesters, then take the MCAT all within a year. Most of my non-trad classmates took longer than that, and that's what you're looking at.

3. I would not recommend taking too many community college courses. Again, see the MSAR to see which schools flat out won't accept these credits - it's a limiting factor for you.

[edited because brainfart.]
 

oneke

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I don't see a 1 year post-bacc working out. Your GPA would screen you out of most post-baccs...nevermind medical schools.

Sorry to the heavy here but, what you are envisioning with 1year post-bacc->linkage->med school is not a realistic scenario. The real truth is that if you choose to go the med school route, it will take likely 2-3 years of work to become a competitive applicant. I suppose the one good thing is that your sGPA could potentially be very good.

best of luck

2-3 years to become a competitive applicant for post-bacc or medical school?

I figure I have two years of work as it sits if I am able to get into a post-bac since it seems most i am looking at don't start till May or June of 2018. That gives me this entire school year and the following year for post-bac. Problem is I need to get accepted to post-bac once applications open to be ready to go for next June. I absolutely feel the ticking clock. Obviously I am not super old, but even if things go perfect, I am still looking at being at least 40 by the time everything is done.

Does my MS count for anything or is it just bonus after undergrad and pre-reqs are completed at a high enough GPA?

Just look at the "Low GPA success stories" thread for motivation. You're not the first person to take this massive leap, and certainly won't be the last. If medicine is truly your desired end goal then nothing should stand in your way. I am working on climbing myself out of a deep hole of F's and D's that I received my first 1.5-2 years of college. Remember you are not alone, and I hope that you find the motivation/advice you're looking for.

*My personal advice:

Take as many Science courses as you can at a local community college (pre-reqs and some upperdivs). Once completed, study for the MCAT. Your cGPA will probably still be low, but sGPA (assuming you get all A's) would be high. You have tons of work experience in the field, that should help A LOT. But again, I am not a professional on the subject.. just someone who spends WAY too much time on SDN :D

Yea, I do enjoy reading the success story threads, however it does seem like the majority are in as bad of a hole as I think you and I are. Still good stuff.

I thought community college pre-reqs were looked down on. Any truth to that?
 
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oneke

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Continuing what @Bru and @premedbrah have said...

1. I really agree that a 1 year post-bacc would NOT be best for you, let alone feasible to get accepted into. Have you looked at the GPA requirements? Not trying to be a downer, but a realistic voice. You need to take more than just the bare-bones pre-med classes to get that GPA up. I suggest you pay $25 to subscribe to the MSAR and peruse the GPAs of medical schools to understand why we're saying this. ALSO note: your grad school GPA will NOT average with your undergrad GPA, if that's what you're hoping for. You must calculate these separately, and a great grad GPA is essentially an extracurricular for AdComs as not everyone has a grad degree, there's often extreme grade inflation in grad programs, and it isn't a common metric to judge applicants on.

2. Yes, read the success stories. But pay attention to the time committments. There are no short cuts here. I was extremely lucky that I could complete my DIY post-bacc in 2 summer sessions + 2 semesters, then take the MCAT all within a year. Most of my non-trad classmates took longer than that, and that's what you're looking at.

3. I would not recommend taking too many community college courses. Again, see the MSAR to see which schools flat out won't accept these credits - it's a limiting factor for you.

[edited because brainfart.]

Thanks, you answered a few of the questions I had while I was typing my response to the previous two responses.

I have talked to a few post-baccs and perhaps they are just being nice, but I got the impression that my GPA wasn't going to automatically rule me out based on the MS and work experience. I know there are no short cuts, but I also don't want to take my time if that makes sense.

I've run various calculations, and even with a 4.0 in a one year post-bacc, I am still not over the 3.0 total threshold. Hypothetically speaking, if I were to be accepted to a post-bacc that starts in June or 2018, I could take two semesters of classes at an extension campus, however I could only take 1 or 2 a semester because I could not quit work. Would this be enough assuming i get good grades (3.7+) and 505+ MCAT? I know, a lot of 'what-ifs' here.

Also, is it correct to assume online classes, even at a more respected 4 year university, are treated more or less like CC classes?
 
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Would this be enough assuming i get good grades (3.7+) and 505+ MCAT? I know, a lot of 'what-ifs' here.
Are you planning to apply MD or DO? Honestly with your GPA a 505 might not even get you into DO. You need to blow the MCAT out of the water for consideration. I didn't apply DO so I can't speak too much about it, but for MD I'd say you need at least 515 to get your application looked at. Many schools will auto-screen you out if you're under 3.0.

I'll say it again: if you're serious about this, buy the MSAR for $25 and see what schools are looking for.
 

oneke

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Are you planning to apply MD or DO? Honestly with your GPA a 505 might not even get you into DO. You need to blow the MCAT out of the water for consideration. I didn't apply DO so I can't speak too much about it, but for MD I'd say you need at least 515 to get your application looked at. Many schools will auto-screen you out if you're under 3.0.

I'll say it again: if you're serious about this, buy the MSAR for $25 and see what schools are looking for.

I'd prefer MD for no logical reason other than it just sounds and looks better in my head. But, with that being said, I would be applying to DO too.

I did spend the $25 and yikes. How the heck do I improve my GPA that much? I mean, obviously they are reporting median scores and GPA so there are people on both sides of those numbers but I feel like at this point I'd be better off stealing some dead hobos identity who hasn't been to college and starting over again (joking).

So, I need to separate myself from my undergrad GPA, it has been nearly ten years after all. Other than the program in Texas for fresh starts, is there any way to erase those grades or least not have them considered so I am not screened out right away? 515, or even 505 MCAT is easier said than done.
 

Bru

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You improve that much by taking 50-60 credits of coursework and getting all As.

Unfortunately, there are always unknowns and nothing is certain in this process. I would recommend starting slow and taking one or two classes at first and see how it goes. I would also recommend doing a few searches about this topic and seeing what others have said particularly around programs that look at more recent coursework.

I wanted to do a quick definition of formal vs informal post-baccs. Formal post-baccs (particularly the fancy 1-year ones with linkages) have high GPA requirements typically and are very selective. Informal post-baccs are simply taking courses after (aka post) your bachelor's are more flexible and less stringent in terms of GPA requirements.
 
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DocJanItor

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I'll chime in since your situation is not far from mine, although you're younger and your GPA is slightly worse. I really need to write this down so I can just link it or copy/paste it when necessary.

2.5 uGPA BS 2005, 3.0 uGPA MBA 2007, then 6 years of working in finance. Did well, but life happened and I made med school my goal.

So I'm sitting in 2014 with a 2.5 GPA, no pre-reqs, and basically no idea of what to do. I do just enough research to figure out that there's no way in hell that I'm getting into med school (even DO). But I start with classes at a local CC and do about 42 credits in a year with a perfect 4.0. This bumped me up to about a 2.8. Then I waited 8 months (dumb) to take the MCAT and got a 515. By this time it's March and I really wasn't aware of how the med school application cycle worked, so I had to apply for 2017 and wait another year.

Basically everyone told me that DO was my only route and they would've been correct. However, my wife had heard about a local SMP program and encouraged me to apply. I had a quick chat with the admissions coordinator and she was very encouraging, so I applied (very late) and was accepted. I think my professional achievements and high MCAT helped me to get in when my GPA was too low.

SMP was the greatest thing that could've happened to me. The shift between CC courses and med school courses was, in a word, phenomenal. Thankfully, I was able to learn some good study habits and get the hang of things relatively quickly. I did fairly well in my courses and was interviewed for a spot in the med school, which I eventually received after the last grades were in (I wasn't on the bubble, per se, but if I had slacked off it might have been bad).

So now I'm starting class at a mid-tier MD school next week. And I'll admit, even I didn't think it was possible. It was against the odds, and I had to have everything go right for me. It proves that it CAN be done. But it took me 3 years and upwards of $70k to do it. You can get into med school quicker and cheaper, but you might have to abandon the MD in order to do so. I would've gone to almost any school that accepted me, DO or MD.

Feel free to ask questions or send me a message if you like.
 
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oneke

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I'll chime in since your situation is not far from mine, although you're younger and your GPA is slightly worse. I really need to write this down so I can just link it or copy/paste it when necessary.

2.5 uGPA BS 2005, 3.0 uGPA MBA 2007, then 6 years of working in finance. Did well, but life happened and I made med school my goal.

So I'm sitting in 2014 with a 2.5 GPA, no pre-reqs, and basically no idea of what to do. I do just enough research to figure out that there's no way in hell that I'm getting into med school (even DO). But I start with classes at a local CC and do about 42 credits in a year with a perfect 4.0. This bumped me up to about a 2.8. Then I waited 8 months (dumb) to take the MCAT and got a 515. By this time it's March and I really wasn't aware of how the med school application cycle worked, so I had to apply for 2017 and wait another year.

Basically everyone told me that DO was my only route and they would've been correct. However, my wife had heard about a local SMP program and encouraged me to apply. I had a quick chat with the admissions coordinator and she was very encouraging, so I applied (very late) and was accepted. I think my professional achievements and high MCAT helped me to get in when my GPA was too low.

SMP was the greatest thing that could've happened to me. The shift between CC courses and med school courses was, in a word, phenomenal. Thankfully, I was able to learn some good study habits and get the hang of things relatively quickly. I did fairly well in my courses and was interviewed for a spot in the med school, which I eventually received after the last grades were in (I wasn't on the bubble, per se, but if I had slacked off it might have been bad).

So now I'm starting class at a mid-tier MD school next week. And I'll admit, even I didn't think it was possible. It was against the odds, and I had to have everything go right for me. It proves that it CAN be done. But it took me 3 years and upwards of $70k to do it. You can get into med school quicker and cheaper, but you might have to abandon the MD in order to do so. I would've gone to almost any school that accepted me, DO or MD.

Feel free to ask questions or send me a message if you like.

Wow! That is awesome man! Congrats!

I was going to private message you but figured other people might want to know the answers to my questions too...if you don't mind, could you answer the following:

1. For CC, did you work during this time? How did you cram in so many credits? Two semester and a summer or two?
2. Did you take all of your pre reqs at the CC?
3. Impressive (to me at least) MCAT. Did you do anything special to prepare?
3. Which SMP did you do?
4. Where are you going to medical school?

Again, congrats!
 
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Hi All,

I know this questions has been asked a million times but because everyone's experiences are different, I figured I would ask for some advice that is more specific to my situation.

I joined this forum and lurked for a while and just recently posted in the "What are my Chances" section (See here) to see if there is any hope for me at all and thanks to a quick back and forth with Faha I was given a glimmer of hope. But I then read this thread which pretty much erased the hope I was feeling (see post #3).

So my question for here is guidance on where to go from here. I'll give my brief history again and then what my current plan of what to do next and I'd love any feedback on the following:
1. Am I wasting my time, am I done before I've even started (same as my original thread, but looking for some more opinions if possible)?
2. Is there is anything else I should/could be doing?
3. The closest 4 year university is an hour away. Community College is about 30 minutes away. Should I start taking a couple classes at the CC in the mean time?

My stats:
- Graduated undergrad in 2008 with BA in Political Science, didn't try at all. GPA: 2.2 with only one science class.
- 3 years experience working as an EMT and reserve firefighter in the hospital and pre-hospital setting.
- Attending grad school at BU School of Medicine in 2013 with a MS in Healthcare Emergency Management with a GPA of 3.9.
- Have worked for the past 3+ years as the Director of Emergency Services & EMS Administrator for a small San Fran Bay area county (My department is both emergency management and the county EMS authority).

I am 31 y/o with, married with a 2 year old son and scared out of my mind to take this leap but excited for the possibility.

My current plan: Apply to and attend a 1 year post-bac program. Work my ass off and hopefully be applying with solid post-bac grades and a good MCAT.

I have volunteer experience but not in healthcare unless you count volunteering for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

To start with, I will be shadowing my county EMS medical director at the two ED's he works at.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
Read this:
 
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