I need advice/is there a point?

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New Member
Jun 17, 2020
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Hi everyone,
I’ve always really wanted to become a physician (in secret since people start getting excited when you say that lol). I’m going into my fourth year of university and I guess I’m just asking if I should even bother applying to med schools. Asking for advice since I haven’t started studying for the MCAT yet. I just want opinions on if I should even bother trying applying to med school? Would the effort required for the MCAT be worth it? Is becoming a med student realistic for me?

Breakdown of my life
(sorry it’s long, I just really want to explain why my grades are so low and how I know they aren’t a reflection of my abilities! TW: brief mention of abuse and mental illness) :

-I’m a first generation immigrant, first in my family to attend school in North America (absolutely no guidance when it came to anything related to school)

-my last year of high school was spent in a relationship that turned abusive (emotional/sexual); I stayed for about a year but we ended it the summer before my first year
- the abuse (maybe just called harassment this time?) continued after our break up, especially during first semester (he went on a rampage to ruin my life and kind of succeeded lol). I won’t go into detail except for stating that him threatening to end his life and blaming it on me was only part of it. I ended the semester with a 1.9
-second semester: we completely broke off all communication but he was still affecting my life (via friends)
-stress of beginning university completely alone & blind + all the problems with my former partner exasperated my (preexisting) mental illness that had quieted down for a more than a year (crippling depression and anxiety and the good ole eating disorder)

-I was really sick with my mental illness in first and second years (wrote all exams through panic attacks, attending lectures was not possible, could not leave bed and even missed labs, late submissions if I submitted assignments, saw the exam material for the first time during the night before it, etc)

-I asked for help half way through my second year. The time it took to get to the right dosage and for the meds to kick in brought me to the middle of my third year. (Took so long to ask for help because my culture doesn’t acknowledge mental illnesses in any sense, my parents believed that my symptoms were character flaws rather than part of an illness)

-dealt with some very convincing dark thoughts until the middle of third year (They’re much more manageable now)

Semester GPAs: 1.92, 2.60, 2.47, 2.45, 3.33, 3.9
-current cGPA: 2.84 (☹); I have 10 more credits to do (which, according to my calculations, will take me to a 3.15 at least)
-this is based on my most recent semester​
-haven’t redone any courses yet but am planning to (is this worth it?)​

-haven’t taken the MCAT but I have a sense of calmness about it (just good at test taking and applying info? I don’t mean to sound cocky, just based on what I know about myself. Definitely doesn’t mean that I won’t be taking it super seriously!! I just know I’ll be prepped)

-no extracurriculars, working on getting some (currently volunteering on a COVID-19 health promotion campaign and looking for job opportunities). Realistically, I won’t be able to do anything fancy since I don’t have much on my resume (thank you mental illness!)

So yeah. Sorry for the long post. Just wanted to provide an explanation for my lack of experience and grades. Where should I take it from here? Apply after 4th year? Take a gap year to build experience? Masters? Different career path?

Final note: I’ve faced adversity in my life but I know that I can be a great physician (I just need the admissions committee to believe me!). I like a challenge, I love love love learning, I enjoy applying my knowledge and problem solving, and I know I want a career that involves helping people.

To anyone who actually read all this: thank you and ily

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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2012
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What is your sGPA ? Where is your state of residence ? You need to accumulate 50 hours of physician shadowing (including primary care). Also 200+ hours of clinical volunteering or employment with patient contact and 200+ hours of non clinical volunteering.


Full Member
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2005
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Between grade repair, preparing for the MCAT and doing ECs, you won’t be ready to apply for a couple of years at least. Only retake courses that you received a C- or lower. ALL grades earned are included in your GPA calculations done by AMCAS and AACOMS -Even retakes . So when you retake a course you will be expected to get an A. And both the new and the old grade will be calculated into your GPA. We really can’t tell from your post if you have all the prereqs and if you do how you did in the courses. So it would be helpful to know your sGPA. You also have lots of work to do with your ECs. @Faha has listed what the bare minimum is for those areas. You might also want to spend some time exploring Osteopathic Medical Schools (DO). This might be a viable path to becoming a doctor. But even though they tend to be more forgiving of lower grades you still have to have a competitive application in other areas.
Good luck as you move forward. If you want to be a doctor you have lots of work ahead of you and remember there are no guarantees and always have a plan B.
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New Member
2+ Year Member
May 19, 2019
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If you want to be a physician, then you can become a physician. The struggles you have faced do not have to hold you back, you just need to be smart about your choices. My advice is not to try to apply until you have the best application possible, which might be in a few years. In the meantime, get experience through medically-related jobs, shadowing, and volunteering. If you have the resources, a masters would be absolutely great for showing that your recent good grades are not a fluke. Many science programs offer stipends and can cover tuition if you choose the right ones. If you don't have a mentor that is helping you, find someone- a teacher, an advisor, a doctor you know, even just a smart professional that you can talk to and ask questions. This will help you immensely. Take the MCAT and see how you do and how you feel about it. If you find that your application is not where you want it after a couple of years, see what you need to change, whether that be looking towards a PA degree instead or some other career path you're interested in, or figuring out what you need to do to continue the climb towards medical school. Keep healing and dealing with your mental illness through medicine and therapy. Don't give up on yourself. Good luck!