Medical Looking for advice for my girlfriend - Should she go to the Caribbean or retake MCAT and wait another cycle?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2010
65,365
100,610
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Hello SDN community,

My girlfriend is applying to medical school and we are trying to figure out her options.

So, she was on the premed track in undergrad and didn't do so well during the first years, but really, really picked it up in the last two years. She took the MCAT and got a 511, but she applied to medical school without knowing if she wanted to do medicine, but more because she felt her parents wanted her to. She didn't end up getting any acceptances.

She went to graduate school for her MPH, which she was interested in because of the research she was a part of in undergrad. She finished it within a year and a half with As and A-s in all her courses. While doing her MPH she went on some service trips that helped really solidify her desire to go into medicine.

She decided to enroll in a special master's linkage type program for a medical school where she has to retake some of her prerequisites again. She has gotten all As and A-s in her program so far. She took the MCAT just a few weeks ago to apply again this cycle as her older score had expired. Unfortunately, she ended up getting a sub-500 score.

She is pretty devastated because she feels like she ruined her future and her chance of achieving her dreams. She plans to retake the exam (3rd time) in January, but feels her chances this cycle are shot for any US-based MD programs and DO schools.

I think she has the potential to get above a 510 by January and reapply the following cycle. She believes that going to the Caribbean might be the best option for her at this point to not delay medical school (she is 25 this year). What do you guys think? Is taking the Caribbean route best? Or does she still have a decent shot at a US-based medical school next cycle? Is it worth it to go to a top Carribean school as opposed to waiting a year and getting into a US-based medical school?

In terms of her application otherwise, she has a ton of research, leadership, and volunteering experiences that she accumulated over the years. She definitely has the passion and desire for medicine that was lacking in her application before. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you very much!
If you truly care about this girl, do not let her go to the Caribbean under any circumstances.

Given her MCAT difficulties, I believe that unless she can retake and do better her medical career is over.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

TheBoneDoctah

Volunteer Staff
7+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2013
7,635
5,030
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
This is unfortunate. Absolutely, positively DO NOT let her go to the Caribbean. You can search for the stories on SDN as there are many of them.

She needs to retake the MCAT and do well. Have her take her time and make sure she is scoring well over her goal score before she takes it as this is basically her last shot at being able to become a doctor.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

tantacles

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Sep 28, 2009
9,152
3,612
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
The bullet points:

1. What is her undergraduate GPA? That, along with her MCAT and her excellent SMP performance, will be the best way to determine her chances. She can use any number of calculators on SDN to calculate. In any case, getting a sub-500 on the MCAT is no bueno and will not be good for her. If she retakes and does well, she has no destroyed her future in medicine.

2. You can not force her to do anything, but I would strongly suggest that you discourage her from going to the Caribbean for medical school. DO school would be the ideal option if she can not gain entrance into an MD schools. Only something like 50% of students who go to Caribbean schools end up matching to residency, and you can not practice medicine without residency. In addition, many of those students match to preliminary spots which have no guarantee of getting you through a full residency, and it is almost impossible to practice if you do not complete a full residency.

3. Again, please no Caribbean. I'm sure there are about a million threads discussing it. I don't have one particular one to point you to, but perhaps @Goro or @TheBoneDoctah knows of a good one.
1.) I believe her undergraduate GPA ended up being around ~3.3-3.4 with her GPA for the semesters in her junior and senior year being in the ~3.7-4.0 range. She had some trouble adjusting to the course load and her commitments when entering college (she was also a student-athlete). She picked it up after sophomore year though.

2.) and 3.) I completely agree with you after reading the advice on this thread and doing some research on my own. She became interested in the Caribbean programs partly due to an urgency to get her medical degree and partly due to the advice of some of the people she knows.

I think she has been convinced not to do the Caribbean programs in the end based on her own research as well as mine. In the meantime, she is focusing on getting her MCAT up and applying to DO schools.

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2010
65,365
100,610
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
About the Ads

MusicDOc124

Staff member
Volunteer Staff
7+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2013
2,001
1,457
Does she know what happened to lead to a sub-500 after scoring a 511 previously? Understanding that will help her with the retake. Was it an honest fluke? Did she not study/study enough? Was too much information lost? Other stressors? Having gotten a 511 and then such a drop, she will likely need to get above a 511. I say this because with a 511 before, there were no acceptances. If scored between the sub 500 and previous 511, its going to look like scores are all over the place, lacking consistency. Greater than 511 will point more in the direction of the sub-500 being a fluke and/or learning experience. That will demonstrate the ability to sit down and figure out what truthfully was wrong and fix it, and that she can learn the material needed to pass the exam and do well on it.

Caribbean should not be considered. They have an extremely difficult time, and their options are the most limited compared to all other than maybe foreign doctors trying to come to the US for residency. Match rates for carib grads are poor despite what is portrayed, and the whole picture isn't shown. As pointed out above, it's not readily shown what % matched into prelim (single year) programs which are not full residencies. They also don't readily advertise their wash-out/attrition rates. Meaning when they saw "95% match" - they're not telling you that 50% of their starting class failed out, and that "X%" matched into single year programs.
 

TheBoneDoctah

Volunteer Staff
7+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2013
7,635
5,030
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Biggest thing here:

If she plans on retaking, she needs to make absolutely sure she scores higher than her first score. Even scoring the same would be a killer.

She needs to make sure she is scoring well above her goal on practices to give her the best shot.
 

Mr.Smile12

Admissions advisor
7+ Year Member
Oct 14, 2011
7,073
3,553
Status (Visible)
  1. Academic Administration
Has she actually connected with admissions staff about her situation? Would her chances be better with a strong eligible MCAT (yes), but how would other factors be considered? Has the school of her choice accepted candidates similar to her, and could she could connect with them? The linkage director should be helpful with that regard as well.
 

TheBoneDoctah

Volunteer Staff
7+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2013
7,635
5,030
Status (Visible)
  1. Resident [Any Field]
She also had some stressors (death in the family recently) about a month before the exam. I believe her summer classes also ramped up around that time. She plans on taking the exam next year ( sometime in Jan. to Mar.) and we plan on making sure she masters the content in the next couple of months. Then, practice as much as possible from then on with AAMC resources and UWORLD. I believe she can study hard enough to get at least in the 515 range judging from what I know of her capabilities and my own past experience with the MCAT. I think our goal this time would be to consistently score in that range before sitting for the actual exam.

Sounds reasonable. For me, UW2 was the closest predictor to my real score (and the majority of other people I know), so I would take that one last.
 
About the Ads
Status
Not open for further replies.