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Inquiry for advice on my situation. Any advice would help! (:

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by iLivetoServe, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. iLivetoServe

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    Hello everyone!

    I am new here and wanted to ask a question that has lingered on my mind for a very long time.

    I am currently a student becoming a senior in the fall at my undergraduate college. Here is my situation. Let me first give you some background information.

    I was a pre-medical student freshman year as a biology major. Upon taking multiple pre-med courses such as Gen Chem, Inorganic Chem, Biology 1 and Biology 2, I initially found myself not wanting to pursue medicine. Initially this was due to my issue of seeking why I desired to pursue medicine and whether the amount of work was worth my pursuit. My grades weren't top notch in these courses as I had one B-, 2 B+s and a B in these courses.

    I chose to pursue a field of education in Biology in order to decide on a path towards becoming a professor since I loved to work with kids, and have done immense tutoring growing up and loved the chance to be a communicator and educator. 2 Years have past and I have been a Biology major nonetheless with a track in secondary education.

    Following the end of my Junior Year, my passion for medicine reignited due to personal reasons associated with family illness, a passing of one of my heroes (my grandpa), and the continual observance of physicians within that year (my Junior year). My respect for them grew as I learned to see how much effort these physicians placed towards taking care of my grandpa and my close family members. It was right then that I knew why I wanted to pursue medicine and chose to refinish what I started.

    At this time and age, I had an overall gpa of a 3.5 with a science gpa of about a 3.2 due to my freshman year B's, and a B in general physics, a B+ in Anatomy and a few other B's. Overall, I found that I have not placed sufficient effort in these classes due to my efforts in my other education courses as well as my time commitments that I placed in my extra curriculars such as serving my youth group as a leader, being a mentor for my dorm floor, starting a workout fitness club, tutoring underprivileged students and tutoring at my old high school for the international students and doing my student teaching at a middle school.

    Therefore, my grades were mainly B's in the sciences with a majority of A-'s and A's in my other courses associated with education, other sciences that were required for the Biology education track (Geology, Astronomy), and my other general education course requirements.

    Overall, I had only one B- in the Biology 1 course and nothing below this.

    As a returning pre-medical student, I found that I have a lot on my plate. I have to up my science gpa, my overall gpa as well as start volunteering at hospitals and picking up research and other opportunities to serve that is more medical related.

    I apologize for the long post. Here is where I need some advice!

    I will need to take Organic Chemistry 1, 2 and Physics 2 along with my upper division Biology courses as a Biology Major. In order to be caught up with my pre-req's and finish up my Biology major that is not on the secondary education track, I will need to do a 5th year. Therefore, a 4th and 5th year will be necessary to finish these courses. If I get a 4.0 for the remainder of these semesters (4 to be exact), I will have finished my Biology major and even pick up a psychology minor (I took intro psychology and loved it!) since I will be taking Abnormal Psychology, Psych. Statistics, Psychopharmacology to name a few. My overall gpa can go up to 3.7+ and my science gpa may go up to 3.7 as well due to the numerous science courses I will taking.

    I want to show an upward trend to adcoms since I was up and down due to my B's throughout my 3 years at my institution. I know a 4.0 is difficult, however, I will be putting in sufficient time that will MAKE it possible to achieve this. I know I can do it and I will!

    However, I was wondering if it was worth it to finish my Psychology major by doing a 6th year while taking even more science courses. I will be studying the MCAT during this time or even study for the MCAT after the 6th year during a gap year while I continue with my volunteering at hospitals, community service projects, serve at my youth group, lead my workout club and possibly do research at a lab or work at the hospital for that year.

    Is this a bad idea to do a 6th year as an Undergrad to show my upward trend for my 3 years while finishing a Psychology Major with my Biology Major? I know a 5th year will have to happen in order to finish my Biology Major and Pre-med prereqs, but since I will be doing a Psychology minor, I felt like finishing this major with A's in all my Psychology courses will show my interests in such a major and my ability to excel in my academics.

    In addition to these years as a super senior or super-super senior, I will try to manage my time by continuing with my workout club I started (I lost 50 pounds through fitness), serving at my youth group, joining the pre-med club and either starting volunteer at a hospital or do research with a professor. I will also be on a cabinet government position for the asian minorities club at our school this year.

    Again I am extremely sorry for this long post. I appreciate any tips or suggestions on this topic. It has been difficult for me to figure out my options or if I am on track towards a right path. Thank you all very much and I hope you all have a good day! :)
     
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  3. StephanieZ

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
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    I wouldn't do a 6th year. If you can get your GPA up to 3.7, do some volunteering and clinical work, and keep you ECs on track like they are now, you should be fine. Realistically, another year of classes won't raise your GPA by much, even if you get all A's, so you are looking at the difference between a 3.7 and a 3.75 maybe. And someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think double majoring makes you too much more competitive. In short, I think it's a waste of your time. What you DO need to do, however, is kill your MCAT to further cement the fact that, despite your rough patch freshman year, you have sufficiently mastered all the relevant sciences. If you don't, despite the upward trend, there may still be doubt about your competence in the basic sciences. Good luck!
     
  4. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
    Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Based on my count you need o-chem I and II, and physics II. You don't need a special biology major, and I don't see where you need a fifth year unless you have some reason you want to be in school during what would otherwise be a gap year. Typically, students take 8-10 classes per year. That leaves you 5-7 classes to finish a major. It doesn't matter what major, just finish. If you feel that you need a fifth year, take a MS in microbiology or another area of study that interests you.

    Put your effort into the MCAT next spring. In the mean time, get some experience in a health care setting. It shouldn't be volunteer at a hospital or do research with a professor. You must have some clinical exposure. Research, in addition, would be fine but research can not substitute for "being close enough to smell patients".
     
  5. iLivetoServe

    Joined:
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    Thank you LizzyM and StephanieZ a lot for your quick and thoughtful advice. I really appreciate it! This shows why participating in these forums are worth doing!

    I wanted to put in a bit more additional information following your responses and ask a few more questions. Thank you so much!

    The institution that I go to is a Liberal Arts School so it doesn't have Master Programs for any of the natural sciences. Since I chose to finish Biology Major and not the Biology Education Track, I do in fact have a few more courses to take such as Microbiology/Immunology, Genetics, the senior/honors capstone, Cell Developmental Biology to name a few. This along with Organic Chem I, II and Physics 2 (non-calculus based). I also have 1 or 2 General Education requirements that are special to this school only (I go to a Christian Institution) that needs to be finished as well. Since I am planning to shoot for the 4.0's, I wanted to do a strong work load that is also manageable with my current E.C.s (Workout Club Leader, Cabinet Position, Tutoring students, Pre-Health Club, and serving in the youth group.) Is the E.C.'s listed here too much for me as I am working to get 4.0's for the remainder of my semsters?

    I am also planning on starting to volunteer at a local hospital. A question on this. How should I go about this? Is contacting via email, phone or physically asking the local hospital the best way to search for chances to volunteer? I am very excited for any opportunity with clinical exposure!

    And Lastly, I feel like I need to do 5 years to finish my undergraduate degree and maximize my time with the upward trend in my gpa while managing my workload well. The reason why I felt like a 6th year may be helpful is not to keep raising my gpa (which won't be a lot for sure), but since I found this social science very interesting and something I enjoyed since I have taken 2 Psychology courses so far. I don't think Adcoms will mind if I do one or 2 majors. However, I wanted to express my interests in Psychology besides the typical science load/track.

    And when I meant gap year, I meant following my 5th or 6th year of undergraduate studies, I wanted to take a year off to continue my volunteer work and E.C.'s while picking up more opportunities to serve and even go on medical mission trips overseas and maximize my clinical exposure while preparing for the MCATs during this time and taking the exam the summer OR earlier on the gap year.

    Again, thank you LizzyM and StephanieZ for your input. Your opinions have helped me to think more clearly. I will keep thinking on the best mode of action. And to reply to LizzyM, I want to maximize my clinical exposure since I find working with patients as the most important reason that I want to pursue Medicine. Research is something I want to try to add on top of all of my current workloads/e.c.'s. I hope this is possible nevertheless!

    Thanks! More input would be great!
     

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