Looking for serious advice moving forward (long read)

big_Z

2+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2016
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Pre-Medical
EDIT: Since posting i have the opportunity to do some volunteer based research and after a year id most likely have my name on a published article. The level of involvement isn't set in stone yet though so likely data collection with potential for more high level positions. If I agree to this i definitely wouldn't study for the MCAT yet. Final opinions?
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Hey everyone wanted to say thank you in advance for any responses.

So i'm slowly planning out my shot at a D.O. admission and i'm looking for some thoughts on what route I should take.

Background (Post College):

Degree 1 - B.S. Biology
GPA: 3.07
SGPA: 2.77
Upward trend now that i've done 2 post bacc classes

Degree 2 - A.S. Information Systems Technology
GPA: N/A over 40 credits of pass/fail through the airforce the rest are transferred from degree 1

E.C./Leadership/ETC:
*Staff Sergeant (E5) in the Air National Guard (Job is IT related) (no current deployments - can explain why if needed)
*Defense contractor at a different airbase as my monday-friday gig (Also IT related)
*Volunteer in the emergency room (level I trauma, underserved community) - 200 hours(?) will continue till im accepted in a medical school
*1 year D3 Track&field (kicked off from injuries)
*1 year Biology club (wasn't really my thing tbh)
*80 hours shadowing a pediatrician - will look for a D.O. to shadow in the future
*No research :( trying to find opportunities still but slim picking in my area...

So i'm still working on GPA repair. I have a D+ in gen chem 2 i'll retake this semester and a random C next semester i'll retake as well. if I do well in these retakes I could expect around a 3.1x gpa and 2.9x sgpa.

So the question is, while doing the planned retakes should I also study for the MCAT and take that following my retakes? Or, Alternatively should I forgo studying for the MCAT and retake more courses in the next coming year to raise my gpa more than take the MCAT?

Although i'm nontraditional my job does have some room for daily studying at the moment in addition to being home by 4:30pm. I'll have roughly 9 months to study for the MCAT if I start now.

Some final things to consider - I need a few surgeries on my hips. Both of them. Will likely be on crutches for 2 weeks per hip. I also have mandatory career development tests for the airforce that I will have to study lightly for the next 2 ish months for.

So please any advice is welcomed, be honest and realistic!

(my father says to study for the MCAT this go around, however he's no ADCOM)
 
Last edited:

DocMcMommy

5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2014
139
181
Personally (and note that I am applying next year and am not a medical student nor adcom or anyone) I would retake the classes first and then focus on the MCAT. Imo, it would be bad to do the retakes, MCAT, and your surgeries, get overwhelmed and then do poorly (or not as well as you could) on the classes and/or test. Focusing on one area at a time seems like it would offer you the greatest chance of excelling.

Again, just my take, but I don't know much in the big scheme of things.
 

Dr.Kitty

Hissing in lecture, purring by lunch
2+ Year Member
May 14, 2016
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100
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Pre-Medical
I would continue to do well in my courses and try to build my ECs. Why don't you try to start volunteering somewhere other than a hospital? Showing you care about others is an important aspect of your application. Also, continue to look for research to do. If you feel like you can do all of that and study for the MCAT then go for it; if you feel like you are not ready once it gets closer to the date, don't take it and continue to study for it some more.
 
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big_Z

2+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2016
53
30
Status
Pre-Medical
Personally (and note that I am applying next year and am not a medical student nor adcom or anyone) I would retake the classes first and then focus on the MCAT. Imo, it would be bad to do the retakes, MCAT, and your surgeries, get overwhelmed and then do poorly (or not as well as you could) on the classes and/or test. Focusing on one area at a time seems like it would offer you the greatest chance of excelling.

Again, just my take, but I don't know much in the big scheme of things.
good advice. it is somewhat my personal preference too but i'd feel like i was slacking if i followed this if that makes sense. so im still debating on it.

I would continue to do well in my courses and try to build my ECs. Why don't you try to start volunteering somewhere other than a hospital? Showing you care about others is an important aspect of your application. Also, continue to look for research to do. If you feel like you can do all of that and study for the MCAT then go for it; if you feel like you are not ready once it gets closer to the date, don't take it and continue to study for it some more.
Is completely terminating hospital volunteer time for something like a nursing home or a different clinical aspect frowned upon or less favorable than the long term commitment to the ER? Or is this semantics? I do help people which is nice, but If it is also beneficial for me i'd be very interested in a different environment/experience to become more well rounded and avoid stagnation.
 

DocMcMommy

5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2014
139
181
good advice. it is somewhat my personal preference too but i'd feel like i was slacking if i followed this if that makes sense. so im still debating on it.
I think you might feel worse if you proceed with this plan and then end up in a worse position by not improving your grades and/or doing poorly on your MCAT.

You know you best and if you think you can do it then go for it. But, you have to really look at yourself objectively. I've made a lot of mistakes on my academic record just by being so eager to rush and finish and get there when it would have been better to wait and take things slower.

As for your other question, I've seen it suggested on SDN that a long commitment to one place looks really good. In regards to "looks" then I would keep with your current clinical work AND add nonclinical... but at the same time... don't just do something for looks, you know? If you want a new experience or think you're going to enjoy something else more, than do that and do it well, rather than stay with an experience you're not going to put your heart into.

I think that the entire process is really dynamic and while there's the general guideline of what you *should* be doing, it's really what you put in and make out of it.
 
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big_Z

2+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2016
53
30
Status
Pre-Medical
I think you might feel worse if you proceed with this plan and then end up in a worse position by not improving your grades and/or doing poorly on your MCAT.

You know you best and if you think you can do it then go for it. But, you have to really look at yourself objectively. I've made a lot of mistakes on my academic record just by being so eager to rush and finish and get there when it would have been better to wait and take things slower.

As for your other question, I've seen it suggested on SDN that a long commitment to one place looks really good. In regards to "looks" then I would keep with your current clinical work AND add nonclinical... but at the same time... don't just do something for looks, you know? If you want a new experience or think you're going to enjoy something else more, than do that and do it well, rather than stay with an experience you're not going to put your heart into.

I think that the entire process is really dynamic and while there's the general guideline of what you *should* be doing, it's really what you put in and make out of it.
Thanks you phrased that very well and i'll definitely keep it in mind.
 

Dr.Kitty

Hissing in lecture, purring by lunch
2+ Year Member
May 14, 2016
88
100
Texas
Status
Pre-Medical
Is completely terminating hospital volunteer time for something like a nursing home or a different clinical aspect frowned upon or less favorable than the long term commitment to the ER? Or is this semantics? I do help people which is nice, but If it is also beneficial for me i'd be very interested in a different environment/experience to become more well rounded and avoid stagnation.
It is not frowned upon to leave when you have dedicated a favorable amount of time to that certain ER, meaning you have accumulated a decent amount of hours in a long time span. Adcoms want to see that you have dedicated your time to different hospitals and different settings for a long time, that shows great commitment. Staying in the same hospital for all of your hours isn't the best scenario though. What is your best scenario is dedicating hours for a long period of time towards that ED and any other clinical settings that interests you until it is time to turn in your application, that's when the long period of time "looks better" than whatever hours you do. So I would suggest to dedicate the least amount of time to that ED for now if you think you've gotten the most out of it, and start to volunteer in other settings for a long period of time as well. You wanting to volunteer at other settings is actually a good thing.
 

Ho0v-man

2+ Year Member
Nov 28, 2014
1,995
4,928
Status
Medical Student
Hey everyone wanted to say thank you in advance for any responses.

So i'm slowly planning out my shot at a D.O. admission and i'm looking for some thoughts on what route I should take.

Background (Post College):

Degree 1 - B.S. Biology
GPA: 3.07
SGPA: 2.77
Upward trend now that i've done 2 post bacc classes

Degree 2 - A.S. Information Systems Technology
GPA: N/A over 40 credits of pass/fail through the airforce the rest are transferred from degree 1

E.C./Leadership/ETC:
*Staff Sergeant (E5) in the Air National Guard (Job is IT related) (no current deployments - can explain why if needed)
*Defense contractor at a different airbase as my monday-friday gig (Also IT related)
*Volunteer in the emergency room (level I trauma, underserved community) - 200 hours(?) will continue till im accepted in a medical school
*80 hours shadowing a pediatrician - will look for a D.O. to shadow in the future
*No research :( trying to find opportunities still but slim picking in my area...

So i'm still working on GPA repair. I have a D+ in gen chem 2 i'll retake this semester and a random C next semester i'll retake as well. if I do well in these retakes I could expect around a 3.1x gpa and 2.9x sgpa.

So the question is, while doing the planned retakes should I also study for the MCAT and take that following my retakes? Or, Alternatively should I forgo studying for the MCAT and retake more courses in the next coming year to raise my gpa more than take the MCAT?

Although i'm nontraditional my job does have some room for daily studying at the moment in addition to being home by 4:30pm. I'll have roughly 9 months to study for the MCAT if I start now.

Some final things to consider - I need a few surgeries on my hips. Both of them. Will likely be on crutches for 2 weeks per hip. I also have mandatory career development tests for the airforce that I will have to study lightly for the next 2 ish months for.

So please any advice is welcomed, be honest and realistic!

(my father says to study for the MCAT this go around, however he's no ADCOM)
How did you do in your pre req classes? I know you have to retake that D in Chem, but those classes should be mostly A's with maybe one or two B's. And that's for people with an otherwise good gpa.

How long would you estimate that it would take you to do grade replacement to get to around 3.25 so you wouldn't get screened out from admissions? I ask because you could potentially time grade replacement to be finished before an MCAT expiration.

My advice is atypical, but if you feel like you have a good understanding of the pre req courses, then I say prep for the MCAT. I say this because based on the information you have provided us all with, you seem academically weak. Everyone on SDN suggests grade replacement first. But most of them have never had to deal with the thought of paying back student loans if you don't get in. I personally would not want to spend thousands (maybe >$10,000) just to find out I can't get a competitive MCAT score and thus wasted my time and money. Of course, if the military is footing the bill then I guess disregard.

I wouldn't worry about EC's right now. You have a numbers problem and already have a career to think about. All the EC's in the world won't make up for a numbers problem. Best of luck.




Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
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big_Z

2+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2016
53
30
Status
Pre-Medical
It is not frowned upon to leave when you have dedicated a favorable amount of time to that certain ER, meaning you have accumulated a decent amount of hours in a long time span. Adcoms want to see that you have dedicated your time to different hospitals and different settings for a long time, that shows great commitment. Staying in the same hospital for all of your hours isn't the best scenario though. What is your best scenario is dedicating hours for a long period of time towards that ED and any other clinical settings that interests you until it is time to turn in your application, that's when the long period of time "looks better" than whatever hours you do. So I would suggest to dedicate the least amount of time to that ED for now if you think you've gotten the most out of it, and start to volunteer in other settings for a long period of time as well. You wanting to volunteer at other settings is actually a good thing.
Thank you, good advice to clear that part up.

How did you do in your pre req classes? I know you have to retake that D in Chem, but those classes should be mostly A's with maybe one or two B's. And that's for people with an otherwise good gpa.

How long would you estimate that it would take you to do grade replacement to get to around 3.25 so you wouldn't get screened out from admissions? I ask because you could potentially time grade replacement to be finished before an MCAT expiration.

My advice is atypical, but if you feel like you have a good understanding of the pre req courses, then I say prep for the MCAT. I say this because based on the information you have provided us all with, you seem academically weak. Everyone on SDN suggests grade replacement first. But most of them have never had to deal with the thought of paying back student loans if you don't get in. I personally would not want to spend thousands (maybe >$10,000) just to find out I can't get a competitive MCAT score and thus wasted my time and money. Of course, if the military is footing the bill then I guess disregard.

I wouldn't worry about EC's right now. You have a numbers problem and already have a career to think about. All the EC's in the world won't make up for a numbers problem. Best of luck.
My grades aren't that level unfortunately, i graduated in 3 years and my first year was terrific, followed by not so great second and third years. shouldve dropped second year to sort personal issues like injuries and heartbreak and came back after some time off but i was younger and less wise back then. So im dealing with the cards i have now. a 3.25 would mean another semester atleast on top of this year if im doing 1 class/semester (2 jobs + e.c.) assuming you mean cGPA and not sGPA. Besides the loans for the initial degree the retake classes will be very cheap for me assuming tuition for soldiers isnt cut in the future.

I think its important to mention my heart, mind, and body is set on putting my best application forward and devoting my self towards the physician route even if i dont get accepted the first time around.

thanks for the reply eitherway
 
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big_Z

2+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2016
53
30
Status
Pre-Medical
I think your application will be unique and you have an opportunity right now to show your grit. The classes you take from now forward need to be A's no exception. I would push for at least 210 mcat to show you have it in you academically. Don't be stressed about research too much, it's not a deal breaker for some schools. I am nontraditional as well and couldn't get research but already have an interview this cycle.

Sent from my SM-G930V using SDN mobile
Good advice thanks, motivating.
 

samac

2+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2014
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Before you move forward with admissions you have to get that science GPA above a 3.0. Schools will barely blink an eye at you with a. Sub 3.0 science or cumulative. I don't see it likely that you'll be applying this cycle so I would hold off on the MCAT. But the other poster has a good point able student loans, if you can't handle it don't push yourself into debt.
 
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big_Z

2+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2016
53
30
Status
Pre-Medical
Before you move forward with admissions you have to get that science GPA above a 3.0. Schools will barely blink an eye at you with a. Sub 3.0 science or cumulative. I don't see it likely that you'll be applying this cycle so I would hold off on the MCAT. But the other poster has a good point able student loans, if you can't handle it don't push yourself into debt.
was hoping to get around the cut off but youre probably right im not that unique
 
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big_Z

2+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2016
53
30
Status
Pre-Medical
EDIT: Since posting i have the opportunity to do some volunteer based research and after a year id most likely have my name on a published article. The level of involvement isn't set in stone yet though so likely data collection with potential for more high level positions. If I agree to this i definitely wouldnt study for the MCAT yet. Final opinions?
 

samac

2+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2014
1,822
2,445
Status
Medical Student
EDIT: Since posting i have the opportunity to do some volunteer based research and after a year id most likely have my name on a published article. The level of involvement isn't set in stone yet though so likely data collection with potential for more high level positions. If I agree to this i definitely wouldnt study for the MCAT yet. Final opinions?
It doesn't matter if you have a research and a 510 MCAT. You're not getting into anything with that GPA. Volunteer research isn't the way to go right now.
 
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big_Z

2+ Year Member
Jul 3, 2016
53
30
Status
Pre-Medical
It doesn't matter if you have a research and a 510 MCAT. You're not getting into anything with that GPA. Volunteer research isn't the way to go right now.
Thanks this was the reply i was looking for the first time around. I will be able to swing the research and retakes however. just not the MCAT.
 
Last edited:

samac

2+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2014
1,822
2,445
Status
Medical Student
Thanks this was the reply i was looking for the first time around. I will be able to swing the research and retakes however. just not the MCAT.
If you're willing to do DO your best option is to do retakes for this year while preparing for summer MCAT. At best if you started classes now you could apply this next cycle. I would say this is your better option.
If you're strictly MD you just need to bring that GPA up to a 3.0 and go for an SMP, which requires an MCAT. Since you're not MCAT prepared now, you would also apply for this next cycle and then apply for medical school.
If you can swing one of these options while doing research, or if you're willing to extend the timeline it will be an asset to your application.