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is there any hope in applying to med school?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by sammydoc, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. sammydoc

    sammydoc New Member
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    i am a finance major from a state school with average grades (3.0 - i did pretty bad my first year and then since then have had a mix of A's and mostly B's). after numerous experiences with the health care field (mostly as a patient) i have decided that the most fulfilling thing i can do is go into medicine. but i don't know whether its worth applying. i'm about to graduate, and i havnt taken a single pre-req class. it'd take me 2 more years to finish pre-reqs but if i dont have a chance of getting in, then i might be more screwed when i'm 25 with no work experience trying to find a job. any advice from people or stories of hope?
     
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  3. sammydoc

    sammydoc New Member
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    oh yeah and how closely do they look at undergrad grades once you've been out of school? like if i get good grades in all my req classes nwo that i know i want to go into medicine, will they cut me a break on my undergrad gpa?
     
  4. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion
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    You'll be evaluated on your cumulative undergrad overall and science GPAs, meaning yes, they look at your full undergrad career. If you do stellar work during a postbac, and kill the MCAT, then there's no reason you can't go to med school. Start volunteering now, and start recruiting professors to recommend you.

    See the postbac forum for more info on how to get your prereqs done.

    Bottom line, if there's ANYTHING you'd be happy doing other than medicine, do the other thing. Cost/benefit is not in your favor unless you've got a passion for it.
     
  5. engPhD09

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    I suggest you start shadowing physicians and doing clinical, patient-contact volunteering ASAP. A lot of pre-meds talk about these activities as hoops to jump through in the process, but probably because a lot of them "knew they wanted to be a doctor their whole lives." For people like you and me, who come to this conclusion from being on the patient end of things later in life, finding out what it's like on the other side is eye-opening and really helps to let you know if this is your actual passion.
     
  6. NTF

    NTF PGY-6
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    There's always hope, but be prepared (if this is what you really want) for potentially spending more than just the two years of prereqs bolstering your application.

    I wouldn't worry too much about your status at 25 years old. That's plenty young (see the non-trad age thread) and if you decide the MD/DO route isn't worth it there's still plenty of wonderful healthcare fields that would potentially be options such as RN, NP, PA, rad tech, resp tech, PT, OT, audiology, etc.

    Just be realistic about the potential time commitment the MD/DO route entails - this includes after you get in as well.

    GOOD LUCK! I'll be rooting for you.
     
  7. flip26

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    Your GPA is really going to hurt you, even if you somehow get your act together and make straight As in the post bac classes (now honestly, how likely is that? Were you a stellar science student in high school? How are you suddenly going to become a 4.0 student in some fairly tough and highly grade competitive science classes?).

    Said another way: if you don't make straight As or damn close to it in your science pre-reqs, your cumulative GPA is going to hold you back...cum GPAs under 3.5 are just not very competitive, and you need to do the math to see that even with straight As in post bacc, you probably can't raise your cum GPA above 3.2 or so (I am guessing here - do some simple math - it is pretty difficult to raise bad GPAs very much when you have taken 100+ hours of credits, and if you are about to graduate, you are in this deep hole)...

    Two additional years is an unrealistic amount of time for you. Probably 3 or 4 years is more likely (remember there is a glide/app year for all applicants, and you will not want to take the MCAT until you have taken all the pre-reqs - this process really drags out). Most people underestimate how much time it takes to get all of the post bacc stuff done, including volunteering and clinical stuff, MCAT prep, etc, especially if you have to work to support yourself during this period.

    And depending on your post bacc school options, post baccs can be very expensive...plus you will want to take an MCAT prep class, and those ain't cheap...

    I offer my timing as a more typical example of how long it takes to do all the post bacc stuff: In 2006 I decided on this path, and I first dipped my toe in the post bacc classwork pool in January 2007, taking one class, to see how it went...I then enrolled full time in a post bacc program in the summer of '07, completing the rest of the pre reqs in summer, 2008 (VERY intensive)...I had virtually zero volunteering and clinical experiences, so I have been taking care of that since then, studying for the MCAT (will take it next month), and applying this upcoming cycle...so if I am successful, I will enter med school in the Fall of 2010, or over 3.5 years after I first started this post bacc process...and note that I entered this process with a fairly high cum GPA and none of the concerns that you have in this regard...

    Good luck - not trying to talk you out of it, but you have a lot of thinking and soul searching to do, and you need to be realistic about the timeframe and your chances of success...
     
    #6 flip26, Dec 28, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  8. solar3000

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    First, I think you need to make another guess, you CAN raise it well above 3.2..
    also, you can also take regular undegrad classes at the University you attended. you don't really have to do a formal post bac...
     
  9. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion
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    Not within reasonable time. For instance, if you got a 3.0 over 4 years of undergrad, then:

    One more undergrad year at a 4.0 gets you to 3.2
    Two more years of undergrad at a 4.0 gets you to 3.33
    Three more years of undergrad at a 4.0 gets you to 3.43
    Four more years of undergrad at a 4.0 gets you to 3.5

    Furthermore, it's a mistake to assume you can do 4.0 work in the prereqs. Be ready to do some serious suffering for your cause.
     
  10. solar3000

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    considering he said he hasn't taken any pre-req classes, that means that he has a clean science gpa..(i suppose) so this means that if he were to get straight A's..he will have chances of being competitive
     
  11. flip26

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    Every one of these people with a 3 point "zippity doo dah" GPA comes to SDN seeking solace, reassurance, and comfort, and the well intentioned if unrealistic advice is "make straight As and you will be competitive."

    Solar3000: Do you really think a 3.2 is competitive? Where?

    There are 2 problems with this advice, the first being that even if he makes straight As, it will be very difficult to raise his cum GPA to a competitive level (say at least 3.4, preferably higher) with less 3 or 4 years of additional coursework, basically the equivalent of a second bachelor's degree...

    Second problem is that making straight As in the med school pre-reqs is difficult enough for students who already make As across the board and have done so since Day 1 of their freshman year. It is pretty unrealistic that someone who needs to make straight As in a post bacc who enters the post bacc with a low 3.X is going to be able to "turn on the A making machine" with ease. Finally, there is a reason that for the average applicant/matriculant, the BCPM GPA is consistently lower than the "all other" GPA - the science classes are harder to make As in - a realistic goal for a strong student is to wind up with a BCPM GPA in the area of 3.7, which by itself would be competitive, but for the OP, it would not raise his total GPA nearly enough...

    In no way am I trying to discourage the OP. He just needs a reality check on how long it will take to rehab his GPA to raise it to a competitive level, and he needs to understand that his entire academic record comes into play in calculating his GPA (although there are probably some med schools that may cut him some slack on his low UG GPA provided that he blows out the post bacc classes, but he should not count on it)...

    OP should also become familiar with the SMP route to med school...do a search...
     
    #10 flip26, Dec 30, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  12. dragonfly99

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    I think the 3-4 years is more realistic, if you can even get in.

    I like the idea of your trying out a couple of science classes first to see if you can ace them, before you jump in with both feet. At the same time start volunteering in a hospital or shadowing some doctors.

    Be aware if you get in, even after that it's 7-11+ years before you will be taking care of your own patients or making any real money. The 7 years is for med school + a primary care residency like internal medicine, pediatrics or family practice. Do you want that, or would you rather do some other health care career like physical therapy, be a RN (there are lots of men now, so even if you are a guy don't let that discourage you), optometrist, etc. The good news is some of these other careers (though probably not RN) would require some of the same prerequisites as MD and DO schools.

    I'd start by taking the introductory biology course with a lab - take the one that the biology and biochem majors, etc. at your undergrad take. Consider taking introductory general chemistry with lab too. If you can take 2 science classes at once and ace them, then think about going at this whole hog if you still want it. You should be able to take on some sort of part time job @the same time, if you've already graduated.

    Alternative would be to do a formal postbac, but I'm against shelling out 30k like some of these programs want without you being sure this is the path for you and that you have a reasonable chance of hacking it. That is just my personal opinion.
     
  13. bioteach

    bioteach MSIV
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    Yes, a 3.5 would be much easier to work with. However, the idea that a 3.2 and below is a non-starter is not true. I had a 3.0 uGPA and a 3.7 grad GPA. My pre-reqs were in my uBCPM of a whopping 2.93. I was accepted at every DO school to which I applied and to the MD school I currently attend. Waitlisted at two other MDs.

    You may not be able to do it, but you may. Here is what you need:

    Step 1. Start by taking 1 intro bio w/ lab. Don't bother with any other sciences yet. This will be the litmus test to see if you can hack pre-med coursework. Alot of people can't. If you do well on this move to step 2.

    Step 2. Take your chem, organic and physics prereqs. This will take 2 years. In there take any other math and bio pre-reqs you need. If you do well throughout these complete step 3 concurrently.

    Step 3. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. Find a hospital or clinic. Volunteer in the ER or similar. Get experience in the field to see if this is really what you want. Shadow a few docs. You can start by asking your primary care doc.

    Step 4. Take the MCAT after completing all of the pre-reqs. With your GPA being in the 3.0 range (I don't think that a 4.0 in post-bac is a realistic expectation - just get all A's and B's) you'll need at least a 30+, preferably a 33+ to be competitive for MD schools. Get a 27+ and you have a solid shot at DO schools.

    Including time for applications this will take 3-4 years, less if you take summer classes. Don't panic about your age. I am 30 and am an MSI. I am not the oldest in my class by any means.
     
  14. EBAMom

    EBAMom Accepted C/O 2015
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    On the brighter side of things, my u-grad GPA was very similar. When I was a u-grad, I just didn't take things as seriously as I do now. However, I've taken almost all of my pre-reqs with As across the board. And it hasn't been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.

    I think that age and experience can go a long way toward turning on the "A-making machine," as another poster so delicately called it. If you are truly dedicated to making this dream a reality, you can make those A's. And you can work. Just be aware that it isn't easy, but it is totally doable if you're dedicated.

    So, if you're serious and focused, it can be done. As for the volunteering, pick a clinical experience that gives you LOTS of patient contact, so you can see how it feels to be around sick people of many different ages. Its better to start that now, so that you can make sure you're suited for this profession before spending a lot of time and money on classes. My own point of view, though, is that education is always a good thing. If you take classes, do well, and still find that medicine is not for you, maybe something else presents itself in the process. Good luck!
     
  15. kiyomander

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    I don't think it's all "gloom and doom" for you, but I agree that you need to be realistic with yourself about your abilities and how hard you're willing to work to achieve your goal. The good news is that you don't have to dive in and make a full commitment immediately. Like some of the other posters suggested, there are ways to test the waters. I agree that you should start taking a couple intro classes. You can even do this at a community college if you're concerned with tuition and/or working concurrently. Start volunteering immediately as well. After a semester, re-evaluate. If you've done well in those classes and find your volunteering rewarding, then move forward. If you do make the commitment, you'll have to take the bulk of your pre-reqs at a competitive 4-year institution. You'll also have to over-haul your study habits and fully commit yourself to the pursuit of medicine. I had the same undergraduate GPA and worse, two F's from community college classes I took for "fun" after graduating and forgot to drop. After working my butt off in post-bacc and getting a 33+ MCAT score, I have now been accepted to a couple of good schools (MD) and am waiting to hear back from others.

    It is absolutely possible for you to get in, but nobody here is lying when they tell you how much work it will take. Good luck!
     

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