Goobster20

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Jun 6, 2008
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So how cooked am I? Sorry for the long post...

Undergrad career: I adjusted to college life on my own extremely poorly and started my undergraduate career with an uninspiring 1.6 GPA. I managed to bring my cGPA to a 3.11, although my sGPA is sub-3.0. During undergrad, I also mixed in a couple summers of research in an oncology/stem cell lab (although not published), a couple summers of pediatric oncologist shadowing, started a Colleges Against Cancer chapter at my college, and planned a very successful inaugural Relay for Life Event my senior year.

Graduate career: I was told by my undergraduate pre-health counselor that my numbers weren't there, so I didn't even apply to med school. Instead, I hastily applied (literally last minute) to a 2-year master's program in cell bio and got in. The program involved a lot of bench research and didn't have many offerings in my limited research interests; nevertheless, I took the offer. I completed a year's worth (-1 class, explanation coming) with a 3.55 GPA.

My grad career ended when I was caught cheating on my final exam for the last class of the year. My department chair recommended I withdraw from the program, which I agreed to, and in return if anyone asked what happened he would refrain from divulging any information. For me, I felt this was it for my plan of being a doctor.

Since leaving the program nearly 4 years ago, I've worked as a legal assistant and have served on the advisory board of a leading cancer center. I thought that I could put med school aside and move on, but it's been in the back of my mind as I search for the next step in my life. I recently scored a 30 on the MCAT and am thinking about applying to SMP's, being fully honest and up front about my past indescretion at graduate school.

I am a childhood cancer survivor that was always surrounded by medicine. Those surrounding me always expected me to be a doctor. At times, I fooled myself into thinking that I was doing it all for them, but I realize now after very serious thought that it is my dream, too.

Does anyone out there have any ideas or experience with this? Would an SMP take me? Would a medical school take a chance on me (should I perform well in the SMP)? I'm 27 now, and wondering if being a physician is somehow still in the cards.
 
Feb 2, 2010
92
1
Louisiana
Status
Pre-Medical
You have a lot of things working against you in your situation, but if it's what you believe you are meant to do, do it.

Though I would say if you want to be in healthcare, you don't have to be a doctor... there are plenty of available jobs in healthcare. Heck, PA or nursing may even be a better start. I'm no expert on adcoms, but I know you have a lot of explaining to do and a lot of proving yourself yet to do. Adcoms are going to ask why you withdrew in your last semester of grad school. Did you learn to be honest by your round with cheating, or will you continue to be dishonest and lie to the adcom? Just laying out facts as I see them, no opinions.

It's hard enough just to get into a med school. You have a mountain to overcome, but it's not impossible. You have a good chance to prove to yourself and to an adcom that you've become a better person because of your mistakes.
 

Pons Asinorum

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Jul 30, 2010
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Would a medical school take a chance on me (should I perform well in the SMP)?
I'm sorry to say this, but no, they won't. Not with that kind of blatant dishonesty on your application. Sub-3.0 sGPA, 30 MCAT, being asked to leave a grad program for cheating (which you agreed to do)...it's just going to be a huge stretch, and you have so much to do to make yourself a stronger applicant that the vanishingly small chance of finding a program to take a leap of faith on you should make you think twice. Please call some program offices and speak to admissions staff and hear what they have to say about your situation; if you went ahead and took the MCAT, you seem to think that you have some chance. Please listen to what they have to say before you dedicate any more time or energy into this.
 

0919mmk

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Oct 27, 2009
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I'm sorry to say this, but no, they won't. Not with that kind of blatant dishonesty on your application. Sub-3.0 sGPA, 30 MCAT, being asked to leave a grad program for cheating (which you agreed to do)...it's just going to be a huge stretch, and you have so much to do to make yourself a stronger applicant that the vanishingly small chance of finding a program to take a leap of faith on you should make you think twice. Please call some program offices and speak to admissions staff and hear what they have to say about your situation; if you went ahead and took the MCAT, you seem to think that you have some chance. Please listen to what they have to say before you dedicate any more time or energy into this.

Yes - definitely call some schools and see what they say. I'm sure that the cheating issue will be a dealbreaker at almost all MD schools and DO schools. However, if you got in to a SMP somewhere or got your MCAT up to a 34+ AND raised your GPA AND found some way to "atone" for that mistake, I wouldn't say it's impossible. But it would be a lot of work. I know the power the a dream can have, and if you really want this, its not impossible, but very very difficult. They obviously take cheating really seriously. And any health professions school will as well, but it might be worth looking in to nursing/PA schools etc. Again, call schools and explain the issue honestly and openly. That way, if there is a chance, you have something to work towards, and if not, then you wont waste your time. Sorry that the news here is not good, but you know, we all gotta pay for our mistakes. I'm paying for mine (not working hard in UG- price: 4 years of GPA rehab). Your price will be even larger, but perhaps not "unpayable". Good luck
 

Lefty Doodle

7+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2010
261
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Yeah I don't think you should listen to people who say you don't have a chance. While I think a doctor should be a person who is honest and has integrity, that is something we all picked up somewhere along the way (usually in childhood though). I'm not minimizing this, but if you actually have changed and are someone who is open and honest and doesn't cheat then you should be a doctor and you can make it your goal to make that happen.
 
Aug 10, 2009
1,807
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Tulsa, OK
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Yeah I don't think you should listen to people who say you don't have a chance. While I think a doctor should be a person who is honest and has integrity, that is something we all picked up somewhere along the way (usually in childhood though). I'm not minimizing this, but if you actually have changed and are someone who is open and honest and doesn't cheat then you should be a doctor and you can make it your goal to make that happen.
There are too many "shoulds" in that paragraph and not enough realistic "cans"

There a tens of thousands of applicants to medical school who are highly qualified and haven't cheated. They are denied because of ephemeral reasons like "took pre-reqs at CC" or "looked uncomfortable when asked about medical public policy". Why should an adcomm deny yet another one of these applicants in order to let in a cheater?
 

TriagePreMed

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Apr 28, 2010
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Well, they did say that they won't mention the cheating at all. Call the registrar and ask if there is some kind of record of it. If there is, you're toast. I wouldn't bother wasting my money on SMP or Med Applications.
 

Pons Asinorum

Moderator Emeritus
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Jul 30, 2010
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There are too many "shoulds" in that paragraph and not enough realistic "cans"

There a tens of thousands of applicants to medical school who are highly qualified and haven't cheated. They are denied because of ephemeral reasons like "took pre-reqs at CC" or "looked uncomfortable when asked about medical public policy". Why should an adcomm deny yet another one of these applicants in order to let in a cheater?
ElizabethMN - I'm not piling on you; I like your posts, but I did want to say I agree with this one by Ed quite a bit. We normally spend our days in the nontrad forum debating what color shirt will help prevent us from losing our acceptance, or some other gnat's-ass-sized triviality trying to extract every bit of application success that we can. Why? Because there are more applicants who have super-median stats for the matriculating cohort than there are available seats. It is extraordinarily competitive. No one denies that Don Quixote could slay a windmill. It just seems so highly unlikely to not be worth the effort.
 

Woland

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Aug 14, 2010
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There a tens of thousands of applicants to medical school who are highly qualified and haven't cheated.
While I simply do not think that above statement is true (they have not been caught), I do agree with Ed and Pons that this is not the case where "the truth will set you free".

Call, ask around, do interviews of interest (and probably never try to apply to schools you called) and listen to them.

Now, if you want to be a doctor, there are other countries where you probably can apply (with and without chance of practicing in the US). Or you can go with PA/DNP route, although disclosure of cheating might still damper your chances.

I'd say shoot for the stars but be really prepared to fail.
 

rafflecopter

MS-0
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Oct 18, 2008
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It sounds like this indiscretion was never put on the official record. If it wasn't, find a golden excuse to explain your leaving the program and go ahead and continue ahead with pursuing medical school. If it is, sorry but medical school (and any higher learning for that matter) is pretty much a no go.