I want some opinions on what I should do

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TheTravelingSee

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I am an Asian 26M who graduated from UCI in 2020 with a degree in neurobiology. I was very unmotivated during that time and did not apply myself as much as I should have so I ended up with a very poor uGPA and sGPA. Since then, I became an EMT during COVID and worked full time in both IFT and 911. After that, I returned to community college and began taking prereqs for nursing school while working as a wound tech. I was eventually accepted into the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing's Direct Entry Master's of Nursing program and am currently there right now. Some time during my enrollment at Hopkins, I have been encouraged to pursue medicine instead.

Currently I am scheduled to shadow several physicians at Hopkins Medical. I am involved with clinical research with a PhD student from the School of Nursing and will be entering another lab associated with the School of Medicine in the Fall. I will be volunteering throughout the duration of this time. After I graduate, I intend to attend Georgetown's SMP program to bolster my poor uGPA (I haven't applied yet as I am early in my planning process). After my second master's, I intend to work full time as an ICU RN for 6-12 months while studying for the MCAT. I am just wondering if after all of this effort, will I be competitive for at least one MD school? I will apply to some DOs but I am aiming for an MD.

As of right now my stats are:
uGPA (UCI): 3.1
sGPA (UCI): 3.1

GPA (Community College): 4.0
cGPA (Community + UCI): 3.3

MSN GPA: 4.0 (for now)

Clinical hours: 2,500+
Shadowing hours: 24
Volunteering hours: 60+
Research hours: 0

By the time I am finished with everything that I mentioned above, I hope to have:

SMP GPA: ~3.8+

Clinical hours: 3,500+
Shadowing hours: 100
Volunteering hours: 200-300+
Research hours: 200-400

In terms of LORs, I hope to get one MD from my shadowing experience. I have two science prof who know me well. I have 3 Nurse Practitioners who can speak very highly as to my work ethic and personality, and I plan to get a LOR from my PI as well.

For ECs I hope to volunteer with underprivileged kids and elderly in Baltimore. I have an extensive history with tutoring nearly every grade level of student (K-graduate). I held a position as being an after school instructor or an elementary school for 6 months. I am also a published photographer and my work has been featured in exhibitions across the world (USA, Czech Republic, Spain, China).

With all of this, do you think I have a chance of getting into an MD program? Do you have any suggestions? What else can I do? I have attached two really poor quality images of my transcripts from UCI and Community College thus far (still in first sem of nursing school so no transcripts from here yet).

Edit: To be clear, I fully intend to finish my MSN and do not plan on dropping out.

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You probably could've gotten into a couple MD schools without the NP degree. I'd work as an RN for a year then try applying without the second masters tbh. Waste of $30-60k if you're above 3.0 imo.
 
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You probably could've gotten into a couple MD schools without the NP degree. I'd work as an RN for a year then try applying without the second masters tbh. Waste of $30-60k if you're above 3.0 imo.
Thank you for your response. After the MSN at Hopkins I will be a regular RN. The second degree is not an NP degree though. It is a SMP (special master's program) that is offered specifically to show that the student is capable of a rigorous scientific course load. It would be a 10.5 month masters of physiology.
 
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Sorry, I'm saying to just be a nurse for a year and then apply without doing the SMP. Your grades are low but not awful and your post bacc was solid.
 
Sorry, I'm saying to just be a nurse for a year and then apply without doing the SMP. Your grades are low but not awful and your post bacc was solid.
I appreciate your insight. I just feel like a 3.1 is very low. And is community college considered a post bacc? I didn't take many science courses there and the MSN is mainly clinical based so I'm concerned that adcom will interpret that I am unfit for the rigorous scientific academic load.
 
If you've fulfilled the premed prereq requirements in your first degree and done some science classes at the CC with a 4.0 I think you're fine. Do some elective science upper levels at whatever random undergrad near you while nursing if you think you haven't done enough yet and give it a shot before you blow so much money on a second masters tbh.
 
Have your asked any admissions office (maybe not Hopkins, but the California Postbac Consortium perhaps)?
I have not. I am early in this process and don't know much. What is the CA Postbacc Consortium and how could I get into contact with them?
 
I have not. I am early in this process and don't know much. What is the CA Postbacc Consortium and how could I get into contact with them?
It's the UC schools' postbac efforts under one umbrella.
 
How many credits did you take at the CC and were the nursing pre-reqs separate from the general chem, bio etc series? I would agree that you likely would need a post-bacc with several upper division science classes.
 
How many credits did you take at the CC and were the nursing pre-reqs separate from the general chem, bio etc series? I would agree that you likely would need a post-bacc with several upper division science classes.
I took 25 credits at CC but none of them were pre-med classes. I took:



General Psych (3 units)

Communications 100 (3 units)

Human Nutrition (3 units)

Developmental Psych (3 units)

Research Methods (4 units)

Human Anatomy (4 units)

Microbiology (5 units)



I also do not feel like this is sufficient to demonstrate my capability of handling a rigorous scientific courseload. That's why I'm planning on the SMP.
 
I think it will be difficult to work full time as an ICU RN and study for the MCAT at the same time.
I intend to work 3 12hr shifts a week. This would leave the rest of the time for me to study. Is that not enough time over the course of 6 months to one year?
 
I also do not feel like this is sufficient to demonstrate my capability of handling a rigorous scientific courseload. That's why I'm planning on the SMP.
You are correct. If you choose to spend the money for an SMP instead of just taking upper division courses like immunology, try for one that has the best linkage.
 
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You are correct. If you choose to spend the money for an SMP instead of just taking upper division courses like immunology, try for one that has the best linkage.
Yes. I have other reasons for pursuing the SMP as well and money is no issue for me. What do you mean by "best linkage" though? I plan to apply for the SMP at Georgetown. Would that qualify?
 
Even with a great SMP performance, your best chances will still be at DO schools given your low cGPA (though MD schools will also be options if you do well). So I recommend applying broadly to DO schools as well and not just "some" of them.

There are a couple things going against you in my opinion:
  1. Your 4.0 was in community college, which is generally regarded as being less rigorous, so some may wonder if you did better simply because of more relaxed grading etc.
  2. Nursing school is (generally speaking) not regarded as being rigorous either. Given what a joke most DNP programs are, my faith in most MSN programs isn't high, though the Hopkins' name is at least well known.
And more generally:
  1. It's good that you have a PI and two science letters. Personally, a letter signed by 3 NPs would hold less value for me, though this could be my own personal bias (it's hard for me to trust the academic assessments of those whose qualifications are of unclear strength/quality).
  2. A shadowing letter from physicians is not going to be helpful except at schools that want to see a letter like that (generally speaking, DO schools).
Not trying to discourage you, as you are doing everything you can (and as well as you can), and most of my cautions are out of your control. But if your goal is to get in on your first cycle, then you should definitely apply broadly to DO as well as MD schools. Just my thoughts and best of luck.
 
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Even with a great SMP performance, your best chances will still be at DO schools given your low cGPA (though MD schools will also be options if you do well). So I recommend applying broadly to DO schools as well and not just "some" of them.

There are a couple things going against you in my opinion:
  1. Your 4.0 was in community college, which is generally regarded as being less rigorous, so some may wonder if you did better simply because of more relaxed grading etc.
  2. Nursing school is (generally speaking) not regarded as being rigorous either. Given what a joke most DNP programs are, my faith in most MSN programs isn't high, though the Hopkins' name is at least well known.
And more generally:
  1. It's good that you have a PI and two science letters. Personally, a letter signed by 3 NPs would hold less value for me, though this could be my own personal bias (it's hard for me to trust the opinions of those whose qualifications are of unclear strength/quality).
  2. A shadowing letter from physicians is not going to be helpful except at schools that want to see a letter like that (generally speaking, DO schools).
Not trying to discourage you, as you are doing everything you can (and as well as you can), and most of my cautions are out of your control. But if your goal is to get in on your first cycle, then you should definitely apply broadly to DO as well as MD schools. Just my thoughts and best of luck.
Thank you for your input. I just had a couple of questions on what you stated though. So are you saying that getting a 4.0 in both nursing school and community college is actually a bad thing because they're "easy"? And even if I did well in an SMP, the admissions officers would still think that I wouldn't be prepared or deserving of a position because of past performance? Is this really how MD adcom thinks? Do they not look at things holistically and look at trends? Do you believe that, assuming I did do well in the SMP, that I would have no chance at an MD school?
 
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Thank you for your input. I just had a couple of questions on what you stated though. So are you saying that getting a 4.0 in both nursing school and community college is actually a bad thing because they're "easy"? And even if I did well in an SMP, the admissions officers would still think that I wouldn't be prepared or deserving of a position because of past performance? Is this really how MD adcom thinks? Do they not look at things holistically and look at trends? Do you believe that, assuming I did do well in the SMP, that I would have no chance at an MD school?
Holistic review means looking at things in context. Most physicians know that nursing education is not as rigorous as medical education. Fair or unfair, physicians know that nursing education is not as scientifically rigorous; that's not the way nursing education is designed. It's not just your GPA trend... it's what courses comprise the calculation.

Most biology coursework syllabi specifically say whether the course is meant for allied health/nursing students, non-majors, or science majors (appropriate for premeds). There's a reason for this.
 
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Thank you for your input. I just had a couple of questions on what you stated though. So are you saying that getting a 4.0 in both nursing school and community college is actually a bad thing because they're "easy"? And even if I did well in an SMP, the admissions officers would still think that I wouldn't be prepared or deserving of a position because of past performance? Is this really how MD adcom thinks? Do they not look at things holistically and look at trends? Do you believe that, assuming I did do well in the SMP, that I would have no chance at an MD school?
You misunderstand. A 4.0 in nursing school and community college are not bad things at all, but they are not the same as getting a 4.0 in a 4-year institution. Not to take away from your recent achievements, but the latter (university) has greater perceived rigor.

Unfortunately, there are limited seats in each medical school, so we cannot accept everyone who we believe to be prepared and/or "deserving" to be a physician. In fact, the overwhelming majority of applicants to my school will no doubt go on to become great physicians if given the opportunity, yet our acceptance rate is in the single digits and many of our applicants will go on to have no acceptances to any medical schools for that cycle. So being rejected should in no way be seen as a judgment on someone's 'fitness' or potential to be a good physician.

Ultimately, when we are making admission decisions, the question isn't whether someone is prepared and/or "deserving", but rather, are they amongst the top X% of our applicants who will then make up our acceptees and matriculants? Being satisfactory is not good enough.

All else being equal (same story, clinical and non-clinical experiences, etc.), if my school received an application from someone with a strong upward trend such as yours vs someone with a uGPA of 4.0 from a 4-year institution, my school would go for the latter. And this is because we can easily fill our class with only 4.0 / 520+ students if we wanted to. So when someone doesn't come in with this 'portfolio', the question is what do they bring to the table that other students don't?

In your case, you should leverage your ICU and nursing experience when you apply, as such experiences are valuable and will help set you apart. But will that make up for your low undergraduate GPA? The answer will be 'no' at my school because of the sheer amount of 'perfect' / 'near-perfect' applications we receive (all of whom bring their share of outstanding experiences). But the answer will hopefully be 'yes' at many others. The lower ranked a school, and the lower its median GPA and MCAT, the more likely they are to overlook your comparatively low uGPA.

If you do well on your MCAT and your SMP, I do think that a MD acceptance is a real possibility. But with how competitive this process is, you also need to apply broadly to DO schools as well, unless you are okay with potentially getting in nowhere and needing to reapply. Just my thoughts.
 
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Yes. I have other reasons for pursuing the SMP as well and money is no issue for me. What do you mean by "best linkage" though? I plan to apply for the SMP at Georgetown. Would that qualify?
If there is a conditional acceptance associated with achieving a certain GPA and MCAT score. I do not believe Georgetown has one, and the number of programs offering this has decreased. You will find the most up-to-date information on their individual websites. Some offer a guaranteed interview to their parent medical school and you can ask the program how many end up being accepted.
 
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Hey there.
Idk if you wanted an honest opinion or a pat on the back but here goes.

EMT does not look as good for your app as you might think.
Your GPA counts a LOT more than you might think that it does.

I am glad to hear that you have good LoRs.
I do not see a "why medicine" anywhere in your post (please correct me if I'm wrong). I am not saying that you have to share your PS with us; just that you didn't list any reasons why it's bugging you so much that you haven't gotten in yet.

I do not like to say this, but I think at this point your best bet is some kind of personal connection. It does not look good for your app.

You will need a valid reason why NP would not work out amicably for you.
I'm sorry if this isn't what you wanted to hear. I like to give it to people straight.
Good luck with everything <3
 
You misunderstand. A 4.0 in nursing school and community college are not bad things at all, but they are not the same as getting a 4.0 in a 4-year institution. Not to take away from your recent achievements, but the latter (university) has greater perceived rigor.

Unfortunately, there are limited seats in each medical school, so we cannot accept everyone who we believe to be prepared and/or "deserving" to be a physician. In fact, the overwhelming majority of applicants to my school will no doubt go on to become great physicians if given the opportunity, yet our acceptance rate is in the single digits and many of our applicants will go on to have no acceptances to any medical schools for that cycle. So being rejected should in no way be seen as a judgment on someone's 'fitness' or potential to be a good physician.

Ultimately, when we are making admission decisions, the question isn't whether someone is prepared and/or "deserving", but rather, are they amongst the top X% of our applicants who will then make up our acceptees and matriculants? Being satisfactory is not good enough.

All else being equal (same story, clinical and non-clinical experiences, etc.), if my school received an application from someone with a strong upward trend such as yours vs someone with a uGPA of 4.0 from a 4-year institution, my school would go for the latter. And this is because we can easily fill our class with only 4.0 / 520+ students if we wanted to. So when someone doesn't come in with this 'portfolio', the question is what do they bring to the table that other students don't?

In your case, you should leverage your ICU and nursing experience when you apply, as such experiences are valuable and will help set you apart. But will that make up for your low undergraduate GPA? The answer will be 'no' at my school because of the sheer amount of 'perfect' / 'near-perfect' applications we receive (all of whom bring their share of outstanding experiences). But the answer will hopefully be 'yes' at many others. The lower ranked a school, and the lower its median GPA and MCAT, the more likely they are to overlook your comparatively low uGPA.

If you do well on your MCAT and your SMP, I do think that a MD acceptance is a real possibility. But with how competitive this process is, you also need to apply broadly to DO schools as well, unless you are okay with potentially getting in nowhere and needing to reapply. Just my thoughts.
If there is a conditional acceptance associated with achieving a certain GPA and MCAT score. I do not believe Georgetown has one, and the number of programs offering this has decreased. You will find the most up-to-date information on their individual websites. Some offer a guaranteed interview to their parent medical school and you can ask the program how many end up being accepted.
I appreciate the feedback and will take it into consideration.

Hey there.
Idk if you wanted an honest opinion or a pat on the back but here goes.

EMT does not look as good for your app as you might think.
Your GPA counts a LOT more than you might think that it does.

I am glad to hear that you have good LoRs.
I do not see a "why medicine" anywhere in your post (please correct me if I'm wrong). I am not saying that you have to share your PS with us; just that you didn't list any reasons why it's bugging you so much that you haven't gotten in yet.

I do not like to say this, but I think at this point your best bet is some kind of personal connection. It does not look good for your app.

You will need a valid reason why NP would not work out amicably for you.
I'm sorry if this isn't what you wanted to hear. I like to give it to people straight.
Good luck with everything <3
My decision to divert to medical school was one that was recently made (literally a week ago). I haven't really dedicated any time into it thus far. Everything up until now has been to lead me on the path to nursing. Med school has just been something on my mind for the last decade and I didn't think it was even something possible for me. So as for why I haven't gotten into med school yet, well it's because I never tried. That's why I'm asking for information and advice now to maximize my chances. That being said, whether from stubbornness or naivete, it will be my goal to get into a med school despite these perceived short comings. With luck, I will return to this thread and inform you of the good news.
 
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