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Looking for direction

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by emoface, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. emoface

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    I am 25 and graduated from a UC with a low GPA (2.75 cGPA and 2.45 sGPA). I have browsed the forums in the past and know that I have a long road ahead in order to have a slim chance at acceptance, not to mention the the amount of time, money, and effort to achieve this goal.

    I've looked through the low GPA threads and noticed several methods, including SMP and post-bacc courses. I was interested in taking a non-trad post bac course due to financial concerns at a 4yr university extension or community college. Extension courses seem a bit on the expensive side for my earnings. I know that I'm throwing the issue of money into the discussion immediately, but I want to pursue this goal, while maintaining my standard of living. I've read a few posts debating on the quality of cc vs 4yr and realize that I'm going from 4yr to cc. Since this is not a popular route, is it discouraged to take replacement courses or GPA-boosting courses at a cc since it is more affordable?

    I understand I need to earn nothing but As to stand a fighting chance, but after reading a few threads, I have gained a small glimmer of hope. As for more ec, I have volunteered at community hospitals and clinics since 2003, held positions as laboratory tech for 3 yrs, participated in several healthcare campus clubs for 2yrs, shadowed various physicians in both hospitals and clinics for 3yrs, and participated in clinical research for 2yrs and counting. I have not been published, but I have played a role in at least 3 research projects. I'm not sure where the line is drawn for strong ecs, but I hope to add more to the list.

    I will take an MCAT prep course starting December in hopes to contribute to a successful and high score so as to limit any other areas in my weak application. My main concern is taking courses or random upper div/replacement grade courses at a cc, at the moment. Financially, I am stressed out, but hopefully it will pass as I intend to pursue this goal. I know with my weak stats, I stand less than a fighting chance, but from the stories I've read, it seems possible. Please advise.
     
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  3. TriagePreMed

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    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on. You are racing all over the place.

    I think the best advice anyone can give you is to find another career IF you feel that you could do something else with your life. IF this is your "calling," you're in for a long road.

    (all my calculations are assuming a 2.5 sGPA and don't take cGPA into account).

    You're a UC graduate. Does this mean you're from California? If that's the case, you should forget affordability in post-bacc programs. Here, even those at CSU will cost you 15k a year. Unfortunately, it will also be nearly impossible for you to enter these programs. Many have a 3.0 cut off, and while the CSU programs have a 2.5 cut off, that's mostly to acquire money through the application process. So what do you do? If you can, move to another state or go through the community college system knowing you'll be at a disadvantage and will probably never get into a California M.D. college.

    If you have the standard 120 units BA/BS (or 180 in quarter units), you will need at minimum 60 units with a 4.0 GPA to get a 3.0. At this point you will need at least a 32 in the MCAT to be able to apply to SMP programs. Got accepted to an SMP? Congrats. Now you need at minimum a 3.7 GPA in it to be considered for medical school. Amount of debt after this? Probably in the 100k region. With no more subsidized loans (probably), you're talking about massive amounts of interest.

    Are you sure you want to be a physician? Because if that's the case, you won't mind getting a D.O. degree. This would be the best route for you. You can retake courses and get your GPA quickly. Retake (roughly) 60 units with a 4.0 and get a 3.25. Congrats. At this point you'll need a 28 MCAT and will probably be on the road to medical school. Retakes may even be less if you have many D's and F's that upon retaking will skyrocket your GPA.

    Still not able to cut this? You could do 30 units with a 4.0 to get a 2.8 GPA and then apply to the Caribbean provided you get a 30 on the MCAT. Schools like AUC, Ross, and SABA will look at you. This road is dangerous, but it is the most likely for you right now.

    For now, review your game plan and forget studying for the MCAT. You're miles away from it.
     
  4. ShoTyme

    ShoTyme We're going STREAKING!!!

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    Emo, you are a bit all over the place. There are several issues to address. First, if you are serious, you will need to dedicate yourself to studying. I would agree that D.O. would be the best / only route to go because of their grade replacement program. If the CC is the only way to afford to go to school, then do it.



    At this point, your EC's look great. There really isn't any reason to be concerned about improving those. Just improve the grades. Remember that at a CC, you can only replace lower level grades. The upper level grade replacement will need to be done at a 4 year university. I also would spend zero time studying for the MCAT until you have brought your replacement GPA into respectability.

    If there is a will, there is a way. Just work at it. You are only 25. There is time to turn things around, but it will obviously require more of an effort than was shown in the first go around. Best of luck! :thumbup:
     
  5. emoface

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    Sorry for the wall of text. Yes, I am from CA. When the time comes, I do intend to apply broadly, to both MD and DO. My concern is though, can DOs practice outside the US? But besides that, so from the response, CCs would not be a recommended approach. Do extension courses or enrolling at a course concurrently work? I've read differing opinions on this issue, but not quite sure on it. Otherwise, I would need to improve GPA, or grade replacement, through a 4yr, and then enroll in an SMP. Out of curiosity, after improving the GPA bit, is an SMP necessary? or does the improved GPA allow me to enroll in an SMP to show that I can handle the courseload? I apologize in advance if these questions have been asked before.
     
  6. TriagePreMed

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    DO's can practice in over 50 countries. Many countries where they can't is simply because nobody has requested their degree to be evaluated and get a medical license there, but I'm pretty sure Somalia and other countries like that won't be too hard on you.

    http://www.westernu.edu/bin/ime/international-practice-rights.pdf

    CC should be resorted to if you don't have the income to pay for 4-year courses. I think if you're applying as disadvantaged, this may not be as big of a deal, but that's just my guess.

    Courses alone will not get you into an MD college in the US. You need at least 2-3 years of GPA repair to be considered for an SMP where you will need to keep a 3.7 GPA minimum. Personally, I would just forget MD all together and focus exclusively on D.O. because of the holistic/grade-replacement approach, but that's your business. You would not need an SMP if you get your GPA to 3.3/3.0 with grade replacement, but you would be applying with the bare minimum stats. You'd need a 30+ MCAT to lock it.
     
  7. isoquin

    isoquin Allopathetic
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    I agree with TriagePreMed (as usual).

    I need you to ask yourself one very important question: do you want to be a doctor or not? Because based on the above post, I'd guess not. Based on what you've said so far, I'd show you the door and recommend a number of other great professions. And I want to be perfectly clear that I come here to offer advice to help people get into med school regardless of their situation, so long as they want to go to med school. But you need to ask yourself that question, and think really hard on it.

    If you want to save money, don't go to med school. Plain and simple. If you're worried about your "lifestyle" I can guarantee you that $50,000 a year in debt with ZERO income working 80 hours a week is not for you. Embarking on this professional career requires a sacrifice I don't think you've considered.

    So let's start here: why do you want to go into medicine?
     
  8. emoface

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    Thanks Triage. That's good feedback. I will work on the grade replacement deal for DO and put some consideration into GPA repair > SMP. Though time is an issue, it is losing it's value in comparison to how I will fund this approach.

    If I were to take courses from a 4yr university to repair/overwrite, would extension courses count? And, if I were to take this route, I'd be limited to at most 2 courses due to the significant price tag vs. ~26.00 USD/unit at a CC. The latter is very tempting, since I can imagine the strain it would cause. Not to rant my situation or beg for false hope, but does the "disadvantaged" status include financial concerns if I were dependent on myself alone?
     
  9. TriagePreMed

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    Disadvantage is how poor you were from birth to 18 years old.

    Extension will count.
     
  10. emoface

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    Yes, I want to become a doctor. Yes, I want to practice medicine. But, the lifestyle I speak of is being able to support my wife and myself financially. It has been far from comfortable, but going into debt before going into more debt is something I want to avoid. I don't see the problem with saving money and planning my mode to success, as long as I can plan ahead, which is what I'm trying to do. I already live frugally, but I want to live smartly as I work to becoming more presentable.

    As to why I want to practice medicine: it's an area of science that combines compassion and healing to promote well-being, of which I find exceptionally fulfilling. But, giving my situation and current stats, I think your question is more inclined to why I want to become a physician? Without going into too much reasoning, I want to become a physician in order to practice medicine, the science I love and appreciate. I want to be able to listen and understand, communicate and interact, and put all my effort into my responsibility of providing service and treatment to others in a manner, not only for myself, but for my family, as well.

    I would be thrilled and more than appreciative of your advice, but if you would still like to show me the door, I would understand and think nothing more of it. Thanks, in advance, though.
     
  11. isoquin

    isoquin Allopathetic
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    I fully understand your perspective and see it as a reasonable desire. But it's not compatible with what you need to accomplish to become a doctor in this country.

    Given your GPA, you don't have the luxury of "planning [your] mode to success." Your options are either go big or go home. There's no easy way into medicine, and no compromise as to getting there while balancing finances, short of drawing out a Masters program over a decade of your life. That's a decision you should make today. Big or home. "My way" is no longer an option because admissions committees don't care about your family or lifestyle.

    You'll need to work on this for a personal statement, as this isn't saying much, but you did answer my question as to whether you want to be a doctor.

    What you need is a new GPA. You can struggle for years trying to bring up the one you already have, but a graduate program will let you start fresh. There, you will need to dedicate yourself to studying. This will without fail cut into free time and family time. Again, medicine requires time sacrifices which don't end on matriculation. Acing these classes not only provides you with a shiny GPA but also proves you have the academic capabilities to excel in graduate level classes. This is what admissions committees are wondering, so proving it to them answers their question.
     
  12. emoface

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    I see your point. So from previous posting, post-bacc route would help to repair my GPA and my next plan should be to:

    1. improve my GPA and take MCAT to apply to SMP
    2. excel in SMP

    If that's the case, just to clarify, to repair my GPA in order to apply to an SMP, I should take courses from 4yr universities as opposed to CCs?
     
  13. isoquin

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    If you can go straight to a grad program, do that. I'm not the expert on that, but getting a decent standardized test score should help, and may even bypass the need to work on your undergrad GPA. If you can get into a grad program outright, you won't need to improve your undergrad GPA, which is rather difficult because adding straight 4.0 grades to 4 years worth of credits doesn't change the average much. This is the one corner you can cut: getting into a grad program means you move forward.
     
  14. emoface

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    Thanks for your input. By grad program, you mean an SMP, correct? From perusing the forums, it seems graduate school does not weigh in as much as undergraduate curriculum.

    I was thinking about repairing my undergraduate GPA, knowing that years of 4.0 would have far from significant effect on my current GPA. I have no intention to cut corners, but this does shine a little light in my direction.

    Any additional feedback would send wonders. I will also look around more on sdn in the meantime. Thanks, again!
     
  15. TriagePreMed

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    emoface: You will not get into an SMP as you stand. The requirement at almost all of them is a 3.0, so you'll have to disregard the above advice.

    Have you considered going into Podiatry? The average is very low and the MCAT is as low as 22. You could easily get into one of these schools. This is an option where you still work with people and science.

    You will need a few years of 4.0 to get into SMP and then med school. This is incredibly expensive, time consuming and risky. Imagine you do put in 3 years of 4.0 and a semester of SMP at 4.0 only to trash it your last semester due to a tragedy or a bad teacher? Game over. I personally advice against this route. If you're serious about medicine, D.O. is the most realistic route to stay in the US, but you should also be considering Caribbean.
     
  16. SisterDisco08

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    Doesn't the state of Texas also do some sort of academic wipeout after 10 years? Another SDN user was telling me something about it. They completely wipeout your academic record after 10 years and you basically start fresh...so you could get a job in the meantime, save up some dough, move there, and go that route, if you really wanted.

    Not sure on the details of it.
     
  17. emoface

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    I can't say forthright that I considered podiatry. But, I think with all the advice, I will take the risk. I will repair my GPA. I will apply for SMP and complete it without faltering. I know I say this now, but if my determination and dedication I feel up to this point is any indication of my mindset, then I will achieve it.

    I am serious about medicine, about DO, and yes, even MD, despite it being a long stretch. I will undertake this challenge and start by repairing my GPA this fall and the years to come in order to apply for SMP. Thank you for your inpu and guidance.
     
  18. Dayzie

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    Texas does have the fresh start programs as far as the state university's gpa is concerned, but as far as I'm aware it wouldn't change how AACOMAS or AMCAS would determine *their* GPA. And that's sort of what matters. You still have to submit all of your prior school work to them, no matter what.... so all of the medical schools that use AACOMAS and AMCAS will see the bad GPA no matter what he does regarding that program. It would be exactly the same as if the OP took undergrad classes wherever he/she lives now, as far as they're concerned.

    I have no idea how the fresh start affects Texas medical schools, since they have their own application service. They might recognize fresh start gpas or not. I'm thinking probably not, but that's just a hunch. I haven't lived in Texas in a very long time now, and I wasn't a pre-med back when I did live there, so I can't say that I'm well versed in the operations of the TX med schools at all.
     
  19. TriagePreMed

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    Good luck!
     
  20. TriagePreMed

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    This is correct. Fresh start only applies to schools in the TMDAS system.
     

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