Jul 16, 2009
171
0
Status
Pre-Medical
......Dropping an electrified hammer on my balls???

Ok...seriously now.

So I am 30 years old and graduated from GW undergrad back in 2001 with an absurd double major (jazz and religion) and got a 3.6 GPA.
I just started this summer going back to school to fulfill my med school prerequisites. I suppose I have a few questions. I took BIO I and II this summer and got A's in both. I will be taking Chem I and Phys I in the fall, Chem II and Phys II in spring, and Orgo I and II in the summer (is it really that tough to take orgo over the summer?) Regardless, after finishing Orgo next summer, I will take about 2 months of intesnse prep for Mcats and then take them late August/early September and then get my applications out as soon as possible after getting my MCAT scores.

So, my questions are:
1-Is my pre-requisite load sufficient. As I said, Im only taking 2 semesters each of BIO, Chem, Phys, and Orgo. I suspect that in a perfect world I would be better served by taking a few upper level sciences, and probably Calculus as well. However, assuming I get A's in the sciences I am taking, will it still be frowned upon that I took what is essentially the "bare minimum" in terms of med school requirements? Ive heard conflicting info. Some say, that as long as u get A's in the four Im taking, Im good to go- others say that taking this bare bones load will make things hard for me in terms of acceptance.

2- Assuming I take my MCATS late next summer or early fall, when will I reasonably be able to get my apps out?

3-Considering that I wont be taking the MCats til late next summer or early fall, and consequently wont get my Apps out til presumably late fall or even early winter, how much of a hinderance will this be in terms of my wish to be accepted for the following fall? I know that ideally you want to get your apps out in June in order to be accepted for the following fall (15 months later). Since this will not be possible for me since I wont even be taking the Mcats till late summer/early fall, will my chances of acceptance be greatly reduced due to the fact that my Apps wont be sent out til late fall early winter?

Im just trying to get a sense of how reasonable my schedule is. Its clear that there is no way that I can hope to be accepted to fall class of 2010, but given my schedule, how do my chances look for fall 2011, assuming A's in all my science prerequisites and an MCAT above 30, bearing in mind my apps wont get out till a year from this october at the earliest?

Thanks so much-SH
 

GoodmanBrown

is walking down the path.
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2009
1,380
9
In the forest
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hey, SH. I'll go with what I know.

1) I don't think the bare minimum will hurt you much. Plenty of schools like the non-trad student for their variety and experience. Some may require calc. (Duke does, for instance.), but if they don't require it, you should be fine. You might have to take an extra math class or two because a lot of schools require college-level math. YMMV.

2) It takes you about 1 month to get your score back, plus 2-3 extra weeks for AMCAS to verify after all the info's in. So, you're looking at 6-8 weeks after MCAT is taken to be fully verified. This is doubly true because your transcripts will just be arriving then too, and those take 6-8 weeks to get verified. It's a slow process for sure.

3) This might be your biggest set-back. Considering you take the MCAT in late-August, you're looking at full verification and delivery of your app around mid-October. I think that puts you at a significant disadvantage compared to people who are already interviewing by that point. Since most schools have rolling applications, probably some folks will already be accepted by the time your application is first reaching their desk. Then, you've got secondaries to fill out before interviews even begin. It'll be an uphill battle.

My recommendation is to cut off a month of study time for the MCAT and take it in late-July. That gets your app on their desk by mid-Sept. which is pretty good. Provided you turn around secondaries in one to two weeks, you'll be right in there. Besides, you'll have just finished your classes, so the material should be fairly fresh in your mind.

Just my 2 cents.
 

ckl81

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 20, 2008
35
0
Status
Non-Student
From what I've read around these forums, I think you are much better off waiting an extra year to get all your ducks in a row and applying the first day in June 2011. I realize that once you decide that you want to go into medicine, you want to start ASAP (I was this way as well), which means cramming everything in as soon as you possibly can. However, with medical school being so competitive these days, I think you want to minimize the number of strikes against you, especially as a non-trad. I think applying in September/October is a major strike against you, because essentially there have been three full months worth of applicants who are in front of the adcom's eyes before they even get to yours.

Also, are you planning on working during this time, or doing volunteering/clinical experience stuff? As far as the whole med school process goes, there are a lot more parts to take care of than just acing the pre-reqs and doing well on the MCAT. You have to do regular volunteering, get clinical experience in a health-care setting, show leadership and get your letters and essay done. There's a lot on your plate right now, and although I think your timeline is appealing, it might be tough to do all of that.

I think others will back up what I think, but the bottom line is: applying to medical school is a tough and harrowing drawn-out process. Take your time and get everything prepared ahead of time, because you don't want to go through it twice! Good luck.
 

teddy bear doc

Expert plush toy surgeon
5+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2009
356
0
Status
Medical Student
I don't really know too much about what "looks good" to med schools; it seems like there really is no standard for what they want beyond the basics like good gpa and mcat, etc, especially for nontrads. However, I was in the same boat myself, going back to school just to take the prereqs after I had a BA in something totally different. My only advice to you would be to look and see how much of a difference there is at your school between just the prereqs and the requirements for another bachelors degree. For me, I think it was a difference of like 3 classes, so I went ahead and am getting another degree in bio. All the chem/physics is required as supporting coursework for a bio major, so I really only had to had a couple bio classes. And you can pick useful, interesting stuff; I had molecular bio, genetics, and immunology as my extras.. Just a thought, but good luck to you!
 

njbmd

Guest
Moderator Emeritus
5+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 30, 2001
9,050
145
Gone Walkabout!
Visit site
Status
Attending Physician
In terms of what courses are needed beyond the pre-med courses, are school-dependent. Look at the pre-reqs of your prospective schools. Some want calculus, biochemistry or genetics. While the pre-med courses are great for the MCAT, your prospective schools may have other pre-req coursework. Cover your bases by researching them now and making sure that you have what they need.
 
Jun 20, 2009
96
1
Status
MD/PhD Student
It would be very difficult to take organic in the summer while studying for the MCAT. Also, as a poster above already said, taking the MCAT in August will put you at a significant disadvantage in the application process.

As far as doing the bare minimum for prerequisites, I was glad that I took biochemistry, physiology, and genetics before the MCAT. For me, taking a few upper-level biology courses was good preparation for the BS section. This also shows medical schools that you can handle the material.

IMO, it would be better to apply for Fall 2012. Give yourself time to get it right the first time around. I know it's hard, because you really want to get this preliminary stuff over with and get on with your dreams, but it will be worth it in the long run. Best of luck!
 

cabinbuilder

Urgent Care Physician
10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2005
4,531
2,356
Texas
Status
Attending Physician
Take it from me, the woman who applied to medical school four times. You cannot put out your application in October and expect anything short of a miracle. Just because they say they take apps until Jan doesn't mean a thing. You have to get your app out there in June when it opens. You can apply with MCAT pending so do that. I applied in June, took the MCAT in Aug, interviewed in Nov accepted by Christmas. You want to get an interview before Christmas, most of the classes are 90% filled by then. When I applied the year before I put my app in October, secondaries in Jan, interviewed in March, waitlisted and denied.

Hard to say how individual schools look at taking only 1-2 classes and doing well. You might want to call a few schools and ask them what they prefer. I personally took all the pre-req's in one year but I already had a science degree under my belt which you don't. Medical school is a marathon of material, the first semester being 35 credits, the last semester is about 54. There is no such things as dropping classes in med school. It is what it is. I personally would not take organic in the summer. I would take it the same time you take Chem I/II since they are totally different. Organic is a beast not to take lightly as many don't make it through the first time. I sure didn't. If you can take biochem that was the killer class at my med school. I agree with the others, don't plan on 2011, I just don't see it.
 
OP
S
Jul 16, 2009
171
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for all the input guys. So it sounds like applying in October will hurt my chances quite a bit.
However, someone mentioned in one of the above posts that I could apply in June before I actually take the MCAT and have my scores pending. Would doing so, improve my prospects? In other words, I will have completed my pre-reqs by mid June of next summer, and will get my apps out ASAP, with my MCAT scores pending.
I have rethought my schedule in regards to the order i will take them due to some suggestions made here. I have already taken BIO I and II and received A's in both. I am now thinking

1-Take Chem I and Orgo this fall
2-Take Chem II and Orgo II in spring
3-Take Phys I in the summer pre-session (May) and Phys II in June
4-Get apps out ASAP without having yet taken the MCAT
5-Study my old ass and then attempt to sodomize the MCATS.

So does this schedule sound more do-able? I now realize that sending out apps in Oct (as was my original plan) is a huge disadvantage, so I have rethought things and am hoping to send out my apps sometime in July with MCATS pending. Will this negate the disadvantages of applying in October, or will my app still be views as "late" since it will not include my MCAT scores until some months later? Thanks for all the help-SH
 
OP
S
Jul 16, 2009
171
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Sorry to bump my own thread here, but I was hoping some people could respond to my recent post here as I have made several changes to my schedule due to the advice that I was given in this thread. Any input would be greatly appreciated. thanks-SH
 

cabinbuilder

Urgent Care Physician
10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2005
4,531
2,356
Texas
Status
Attending Physician
Looks like a better plan. My question is why are you only taking 2 classes each semester? Remember you have an uphill battle and 2 classes doesn't show anything about being able to carry a full load. Anybody can get A's slow and steady, but can you max out and still make the grade? You are going to have to do something to show you can handle the load in medical school. Think about it. Not sure what your other plans are for the semester. I put this out because I know what they asked me when I interviewed for med school. The biggest question was can you handle the load???
 

BWSTW

The B's be ballin'
10+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2008
6,030
0
Somewhere over the rainbow
Status
Pre-Medical
I agree with what the other posters are saying. Look at the schools you want to apply to and see what courses they require you to take, and the courses they "recommend" you take.

Taking Ochem in the summer really depends on the teacher. One of the prof who taught it during the semester was awesome when he presented the material, but made his tests so hard that most students had to drop the course or retake it and the few who moved on to Ochem II ended up retaking that class. I had to retake it and the prof I ended up with the second go around was way more fair about things and I learned a great deal.

I know sometimes they lighten things up during the summer and people end up doing way better than if they were to take it during a full semester. I think the biggest difference is, in the summer it is "crammed" in, and during the semester you have more time to learn the material.

Another thing you may want to check into is if you need to have chem I and II completed before you take Ochem as it builds on the basics of chem I and II. I think it will make things a lot easier on you.

OH yeah - as one other posted pointed out - since you are waiting another year to submit your apps, now is the time to start shadowin, volunteering and getting yourself out there in the field to get some experience. Schools like to see that you know what you are getting yourself into. :oops:)
 

Substance P

Removed
Jul 29, 2009
1,056
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for all the input guys. So it sounds like applying in October will hurt my chances quite a bit.
However, someone mentioned in one of the above posts that I could apply in June before I actually take the MCAT and have my scores pending. Would doing so, improve my prospects? In other words, I will have completed my pre-reqs by mid June of next summer, and will get my apps out ASAP, with my MCAT scores pending.
I have rethought my schedule in regards to the order i will take them due to some suggestions made here. I have already taken BIO I and II and received A's in both. I am now thinking

1-Take Chem I and Orgo this fall
2-Take Chem II and Orgo II in spring
3-Take Phys I in the summer pre-session (May) and Phys II in June
4-Get apps out ASAP without having yet taken the MCAT
5-Study my old ass and then attempt to sodomize the MCATS.

So does this schedule sound more do-able? I now realize that sending out apps in Oct (as was my original plan) is a huge disadvantage, so I have rethought things and am hoping to send out my apps sometime in July with MCATS pending. Will this negate the disadvantages of applying in October, or will my app still be views as "late" since it will not include my MCAT scores until some months later? Thanks for all the help-SH

Are you working at the same time? If not it might be worth it for you to add on physics during the fall and spring, then when you're out in May you can study for ~2 months and take the mid-July MCAT.

You can definitely submit your application while you're waiting for your MCAT score, I'm doing that this summer, but if you plan on taking the MCAT in August or September it still puts you in pretty late in the cycle. I've seen students get into med school applying then, but it becomes more difficult, because schools won't count your application as complete until you have your MCAT score on the application. Yes, you can also do your secondaries while you wait for your score, but that doesn't change the fact that you won't be complete until ~October if you take a late August or September MCAT.

I also agree with Njbmd, you should check with the schools you are interested in and see what their requirements are. It would be worth the time and money to pick up an MSAR now so that you can see the requirements laid out in one spot. If you do need to take a genetics, or Biochemistry course you can always take it in the Fall after you submit your application. The requirements state that you have completed the courses prior to matriculation, not application. But if you are shy a number of required courses that won't look great, because they won't be able to compare you directly to other applicants.

I understand you're not wanting to push things back a year, being a non-trad myself, but if you can't take physics during the fall and spring you're putting yourself up agains a serious summer time crunch.

Good luck!
 

GoodmanBrown

is walking down the path.
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2009
1,380
9
In the forest
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Thanks for all the input guys. So it sounds like applying in October will hurt my chances quite a bit.
However, someone mentioned in one of the above posts that I could apply in June before I actually take the MCAT and have my scores pending. Would doing so, improve my prospects? In other words, I will have completed my pre-reqs by mid June of next summer, and will get my apps out ASAP, with my MCAT scores pending.
I have rethought my schedule in regards to the order i will take them due to some suggestions made here. I have already taken BIO I and II and received A's in both. I am now thinking

1-Take Chem I and Orgo this fall
2-Take Chem II and Orgo II in spring
3-Take Phys I in the summer pre-session (May) and Phys II in June
4-Get apps out ASAP without having yet taken the MCAT
5-Study my old ass and then attempt to sodomize the MCATS.

So does this schedule sound more do-able? I now realize that sending out apps in Oct (as was my original plan) is a huge disadvantage, so I have rethought things and am hoping to send out my apps sometime in July with MCATS pending. Will this negate the disadvantages of applying in October, or will my app still be views as "late" since it will not include my MCAT scores until some months later? Thanks for all the help-SH
Personally, I think this is a better time-frame. You can put in "current/future" classes without a grade, so if you submit your AMCAS application the day you get your Physics I grade back, you'll have all your classes except for Physics II. Most schools won't really care and you can just provide a finalized transcript after you know where you're going. So, add 6-8 weeks and you'll have your transcipts verified by late July. So far, so good.

The late MCAT is honestly still going to hurt you. I know that any school that screens secondaries won't give you one until you've got the MCAT score in. That's not all schools, but I guarantee you won't get an interview before the MCAT is in their hands. So, it might speed up your application somewhat to have grades, etc. in, but without the MCAT you're still stalled. Are you still planning on taking it on August? It's going to hurt you if so. I know it's disappointing, but I really do side with the other folks who said that it might be better to push it off one more year. It'll just make everything less stressful. Or, if you can take those extra classes, get everything done and take the MCAT by June, I think you have a better shot.

One other thought, if you're taking Gen. Chem., O. Chem, and Physics all at once, maybe you don't need as much prep time as you have planned out. I took my MCAT one month after finishing O. Chem, Physics, and Bio simultaneously, and I got a score I was very pleased with. The 1 month of studying wasn't even back-breaking. I took off one week for vacay and studied the others. Just a thought that maybe 2-3 months is more than necessary.
 
OP
S
Jul 16, 2009
171
0
Status
Pre-Medical
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

thank for the advice. As per your last suggesting/question. I am actually desperately trying to figure out if doing this (taking gen chem, Orgo and Physics concurrently), is advisable or even doable. Ive asked this question in another thread, and nearly everyone seems to say that taking Orgo at the same time as Gen Chem (meaning I won't have completed Gen Chem before taking Orgo) is a recipe for disaster. Members here are telling me that without a good grasp of Gen Chem, my chances at succeeding in Orgo are quite slim. They are arguing that while Orgo is an entirely separate course from gen chem, and may not directly build on the knowledge from gen chem, there are many things like a strong knowledge of the periodic table and understanding of electrons, that are crucial to succeeding in Orgo, and I would not have these tools without having gen chem. What do you think?

As I said in my other thread, Im up for the challenge and hard work if its a realistic and doable task, but I definitely do not want to embark on a task that is likely to result in failure despite a serious approach and hard work.
 

siliso

10+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2008
996
1,131
Status
Attending Physician
I think I agree about organic.
It's very different from gen chem, but background knowledge of things like oxidation states, drawing Lewis structures, resonance, acid/base chemistry, equilibrium and kinetics, orbitals, bonding, hybridization, and probably more, was all assumed in my organic course.

Personally I did bio/chem/physics during the academic year and organic during this summer. The advantage of organic in the summer is there's no time to forget things; the disadvantage is there is much less time to learn them in the first place. The outcome was fine for me although it was definitely time-consuming and challenging. Took the MCAT during the second semester of organic, in early July. I could have known more about a few organic topics, but the score ended up good.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend this course of action unless you are really confident in your academic/test-taking skills, but it did work for me.
 

GoodmanBrown

is walking down the path.
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2009
1,380
9
In the forest
Status
Resident [Any Field]
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

thank for the advice. As per your last suggesting/question. I am actually desperately trying to figure out if doing this (taking gen chem, Orgo and Physics concurrently), is advisable or even doable. Ive asked this question in another thread, and nearly everyone seems to say that taking Orgo at the same time as Gen Chem (meaning I won't have completed Gen Chem before taking Orgo) is a recipe for disaster. Members here are telling me that without a good grasp of Gen Chem, my chances at succeeding in Orgo are quite slim. They are arguing that while Orgo is an entirely separate course from gen chem, and may not directly build on the knowledge from gen chem, there are many things like a strong knowledge of the periodic table and understanding of electrons, that are crucial to succeeding in Orgo, and I would not have these tools without having gen chem. What do you think?
I agree with most that it'd be hard to do O. Chem without a pretty decent understanding of the topics mentioned by Siliso. However, I counter that it's doable because the basics are pretty easy to grasp. Now, I'm not trying to be a d-bag by saying this, but I actually passed Gen. Chem without ever going to class. It wasn't by choice; I had to work a full-time job to support my family that year, but essentially, I just book studied along the class schedule, used the teacher's study guides, and did the homework. I went to class only on exam days by taking off of work. So, to make my point, self-studying of Gen. Chem is do-able for the diligent student. The question is, can you be that student?

If you're motivated, the essentials of Gen. Chem for O. Chem are within your grasp with a month or so of self-studying before the class starts. That's my feeling. Others may disagree.