Apr 24, 2009
65
0
0
Status
Medical Student
all too familiar story at this site: my 20s were sad and unmotivated. my 30s are completely different. it took a long time but i finally woke up.

1st bachelor's: 3.11 (anthropology) from a top 10 school between 1996-2005.

2nd bachelor's: 3.99 (2/3 the way to a molec. bio degree + all prereqs), at a what i consider a challenging and engaging state school postbac program in Oregon. gap year to be spent finishing this degree.

because of the first BA, total cGPA and sGPA are pretty sad for the application (3.38 and 3.63 respectively). the totals will always hang low because of my disastrous first run. however, I've taken an intensive load here, enjoyed it immensely, and done very well with what i think is a good volume of EC activity.

so... is there no redemption? can I expect to be dismissed by most allopathic programs because of the uncompetitive totals or does my work for the past few years matter more? can i aim a bit higher than what the fantastic school selector spreadsheet is telling me? (i don't personally care where i go, i just want the maximum choices for my wife who has to live there.)

i fight now for an MCAT score worthy of redemption...

thanks for the input, it's so much easier to keep up the daily struggle when there's a reasonable chance it's not all in vain. i can never tell when i should believe my premed advisers. i'm supposed to be applying this june but the closer i get the more doubt i suffer.
 
Last edited:

ThaliaNox

10+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2008
882
2
0
Status
Medical Student
Well, while those GPAs are certainly not wonderful, they are not horrible, either. While schools probably will not give you a huge break, they will see that your recent history is stellar. Which schools to aim for will depend highly on your MCAT.

I hope you have all your ECs in order as well. Non-trads do get some leeway on this, but only in the idea that they already have "life experience." You will still need to show you have explored medicine.
 
Sep 4, 2006
30,600
10,416
281
Inside the tesseract
Redemption is possible. We've seen it happen. I think that the clear demarcation in time between the old unmotivated you and the new uber-performer you, your maturity and (assumed) rich life experiences with a strong MCAT performance will give you consideration that a traditional age applicant wouldn't get. I'd do research in the Non-Traditional Forum to look for allo schools that accepted other applicants in similiar shoes. All allopathic schools will not dismiss you, but you have to be prepared too relocate nearly anywhere, and to apply broadly. I'd also include DO schools on the list to ensure an acceptance on the first try.
 
Apr 24, 2009
65
0
0
Status
Medical Student
Thank you both for your thoughts -- it hadn't occurred to me to use the non-trad board as a way to seek out medical school choices, great idea. The June MCAT taunts me but prep seems to be going great. I've been on SN2's excellent program and, surprisingly, it's pretty fun. exhausting with all the other balls in the air, but a lot of fun.

I am worried about EC's... there's a mere 30 hours of shadowing, but have maybe five 5-8 month gigs at various hospitals and home-visiting programs since 2007 and continue to volunteer and TA presently. I haven't added it up yet but I'm sure there's at least 300 hours of volunteer time in there. I wish that looked more like a 3 year stint at one hospital and one home-visiting program, but moving across the country, overcommitment, and dissatisfaction with one of the orgs breaks up the rhythm. and sadly I had to drop out of a physics lab I started researching with a few months ago because MCAT takes priority -- hope to get back into that in the summer. so, yeah, my EC's feel pretty weak. it feels like another year of solid EC's is necessary but i think that might just be self-doubt talking again. I look at the fine candidates on this board and my meager experiences absolutely pale in comparison, hence the doubt.

Well, back to the coal mines for me. Thanks again for the encouragement.
 
Sep 4, 2006
30,600
10,416
281
Inside the tesseract
For shadowing, 60-80 hours split among 2-3 types of physician will cover the expectations of a broad range of schools. Some get by with much less. It's fine to acquire this activity in a short time with intense hours; it need not be a regular weekly gig.
 

ThaliaNox

10+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2008
882
2
0
Status
Medical Student
Honestly, shadowing doesn't need to be a ton of hours. Lots of folks on here do recommend 50+ hours with multiple docs, but as long as you have 20+ hours with a primary care doc, most schools will give you the check on this mostly you did or you didn't activity. You don't get bonus points for extra shadowing unless it was part of a larger activity: Scribe work or clinical research, for example.

One thing you need to do with your ECs is make sure to think outside the box as far as what to include on your application. Do you work? You're married, include that. Kids? Long time hobbies? Travel? Schools take non-trads for their life experiences that kids right out of undergrad may not have. Be sure to outline how you fit in with this in your application.
 

DrSmooth

Secret Recipe Soda
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2008
325
0
91
Status
Medical Student
Your GPA will not be an issue at most schools. Any human will look at your extensive 3.99 postbacc work and see that you are academically prepared for med school. With a 3.99 GPA in Mo Bio and good prep it seems like you'll get a pretty good MCAT score. The ECs are OK, but I would carve out 3 full-days between now and June 1 to shadow one or more docs. If all that 300 hrs is clinical experience w patients that's plenty, doesn't matter if it is at multiple locations, that actually might be a plus. And I agree with the poster about being creative w ECs. Being in your 30's you have to have amassed some interesting experiences and hobbies. I included, "Being a dad", volunteer basketball and baseball coach, running marathons, travel, employment, along with the regular premed stuff.

You definitely have a shot at a lot of schools if you get a good MCAT score, but apply broadly. Eff that school selector spreadsheet, you are an outlier. In my case, very non-trad background w poor UG Gpa, 34 Mcat, and only the 8 postbacc core classes, I only got accepted at "Hopeful" schools, go figure. If you want to shoot for the best school possible, consider applying to 30ish schools, with a good number of realistic schools, some "safeties", and a lot of reaches. You will hopefully end up with multiple acceptances and be able to take your pick. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about my experience. And kill that MCAT. You are applying June 1, right? :p <--my daughter told me to put that, sorry.
 

DrSmooth

Secret Recipe Soda
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2008
325
0
91
Status
Medical Student
And you need to work on your confidence, dude. :)
 

drizzt3117

chick magnet
10+ Year Member
Oct 29, 2006
14,647
29
251
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I think you'll be competitive at some schools including your state school if you do well on the mcat. I wouldn't say that your gpa "won't be a problem at most schools" but it won't keep you out of med school if you do well on the mcat.


Your GPA will not be an issue at most schools. Any human will look at your extensive 3.99 postbacc work and see that you are academically prepared for med school. With a 3.99 GPA in Mo Bio and good prep it seems like you'll get a pretty good MCAT score. The ECs are OK, but I would carve out 3 full-days between now and June 1 to shadow one or more docs. If all that 300 hrs is clinical experience w patients that's plenty, doesn't matter if it is at multiple locations, that actually might be a plus. And I agree with the poster about being creative w ECs. Being in your 30's you have to have amassed some interesting experiences and hobbies. I included, "Being a dad", volunteer basketball and baseball coach, running marathons, travel, employment, along with the regular premed stuff.

You definitely have a shot at a lot of schools if you get a good MCAT score, but apply broadly. Eff that school selector spreadsheet, you are an outlier. In my case, very non-trad background w poor UG Gpa, 34 Mcat, and only the 8 postbacc core classes, I only got accepted at "Hopeful" schools, go figure. If you want to shoot for the best school possible, consider applying to 30ish schools, with a good number of realistic schools, some "safeties", and a lot of reaches. You will hopefully end up with multiple acceptances and be able to take your pick. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about my experience. And kill that MCAT. You are applying June 1, right? :p <--my daughter told me to put that, sorry.
 

Stixman28

Medical Scientician
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2005
618
0
141
Yoknapatawpha County
integralscience.blogspot.com
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Your GPA will not be an issue at most schools.Any human will look at your extensive 3.99 postbacc work and see that you are academically prepared for med school. With a 3.99 GPA in Mo Bio and good prep it seems like you'll get a pretty good MCAT score. The ECs are OK, but I would carve out 3 full-days between now and June 1 to shadow one or more docs. If all that 300 hrs is clinical experience w patients that's plenty, doesn't matter if it is at multiple locations, that actually might be a plus. And I agree with the poster about being creative w ECs. Being in your 30's you have to have amassed some interesting experiences and hobbies. I included, "Being a dad", volunteer basketball and baseball coach, running marathons, travel, employment, along with the regular premed stuff.
Well that's the problem. You have to make it through the computers GPA cut offs first.

March on over the post bac board and see the huge amount of success that goes on. You will get in somewhere, you sound committed to playing the game, and seem like you have amassed an impressive amount of EC's.

I think though that 30 schools is a lot, and you cant probably wire that down to maybe 20? that you are really competitive for after you figure out about what your mcat will be.

I think you'll be competitive at some schools including your state school if you do well on the mcat. I wouldn't say that your gpa "won't be a problem at most schools" but it won't keep you out of med school if you do well on the mcat.
QFT, Dr Smooth might just be a little too nice to be honest.
 
Apr 24, 2009
65
0
0
Status
Medical Student
Thanks everyone, I'm glad I asked, I was kind of expecting to hear that I wasn't ready to apply this year. You've really invigorated me to keep up the MCAT training. I imagine I'm going to limit the school choices to 15 at the most this June. Yeah there's a substantial risk of not getting in anywhere, but I'd rather hold off for a year and improve my application than apply to a bunch of locations where my wife couldn't work and thrive. I'll be surfing the non-trad forum more now...
 
Apr 24, 2009
65
0
0
Status
Medical Student
Keep in touch and let us know how it goes.
Hi SDNers, i thought i would post a brief update and again express thanks for everyone's support and encouragement. i couldn't apply until early july (yeah yeah, i should have aimed for june 1, but grades aren't posted until mid-june for us quarter-system people, and i wanted a few weeks where my sole responsibility was MCAT prep). but so far so good. last week i attended interviews at two amazing schools. (for all the horror stories i hear about the fire hose of information, med students seem like some of the happiest, most genuinely excited people i've ever met.) more invites might come in over the next few months, but i really couldn't be more delighted with how things turned out. best of luck to everyone, (especially the postbaccer's just getting started!) i'll keep you posted.
 

Ursa

woof
5+ Year Member
Oct 19, 2010
1,077
2
91
Status
Medical Student
Congratulations!! You don't have to say specifically if you don't want to, but how was your MCAT? I hope everything goes well for you! And what state did you say that you claim residency in?
 
Apr 24, 2009
65
0
0
Status
Medical Student
Congratulations!! You don't have to say specifically if you don't want to, but how was your MCAT? I hope everything goes well for you! And what state did you say that you claim residency in?
despite roofers coming in and banging away at our testing center ceiling for a couple of hours mid-test, MCAT came out very nicely. 11VR/13PS/14BS -- L written (d'oh!). not sure what happened with the written score, but SN2ed's plan was perfect for everything else. pacific time zone state. (it's easy enough to deduce, but i should probably make a token effort for anonymity :)