Low undergraduate GPA. Current plan to go to medical school.

arc5005

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Oct 5, 2011
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So. I'm currently 25 years old. I have a BS in environmental science with a GPA of 3.2 from a private university in New York. I did not know what I wanted to do in undergrad and I really didn't try, I didn't network well, and I barely went to class, and still did decent. I have no real work experience. After some time off from school and traveling, I've decided I wanted to go to medical school, but after I go to graduate school first to be more competitive.

My current plan of action:
1. Take my health-prerequisites: I'm currently at my local community college for one year (all I can afford). I'm signed up for Anatomy, Physiology, Organic Chemistry I & II, Molecular Genetics, Microbiology, Abnormal Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and plan to get mostly A's. Perhaps 1 or 2 B's, but I'm really trying hard, so I hope for all A's

2. Retake classes I didn't do well in/don't feel I'm prepped well enough for: Retaking Gen Chem II and Physics I & II.

3. Trying to self-teach myself: Sociology & Biochemistry during breaks using text books and study guides. I won't get a chance to take a Biochemistry class before I take the MCAT. I might be able to take one while I'm working full-time next year.

4. I Plan on taking the MCAT at the end of summer 2015.

5. My ECs:
-I currently volunteer a couple times a month with a research group that does HIV outreach to the LGBT community.
-I'm a CrossFit coach (fitness trainer/coach/strength & conditioning)
-I participate in many fundraisers that promote health through fitness/crossfit.

6. I plan to work at a hospital for ~1-3 years after this year of classes.

7. Use tuition benefits at hospital to obtain a MPH/Masters in epidemiology from a good university. I've also considered applying to graduate programs in Biomedical Sciences or post-bac graduate certificates/masters, but I'd prefer to not go further in debt before medical school.

7. That should give me ~1-3 years of work experience, a graduate degree with a high GPA, hopefully bumping my undergraduate GPA up to a 3.5, and I'll continue to volunteer.

Any pointers and/or tips would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping that I'll enter medical school by the age of 28/29.
 
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sb247

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just don't take too many classes to do well....you need mostly A's.... if you find you have too many classes, drop the "extra" sciences like genetics/micro

if your mcat goes well, you can be in a DO without major problem

you don't need a masters...don't waste the money/time
 
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arc5005

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I guess the main reason I wanted to take more classes was to bring up my undergraduate GPA. My current GPA is at a 3.2, and I calculated that if I am able to receive A's in these science classes it would bring up my undergraduate science (just Bio, Physics, and Chemistry courses) up to a 3.5
 

Goro

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Concur!!!

just don't take too many classes to do well....you need mostly A's.... if you find you have too many classes, drop the "extra" sciences like genetics/micro

if your mcat goes well, you can be in a DO without major problem

you don't need a masters...don't waste the money/time
 
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arc5005

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Oct 5, 2011
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You had mentioned that I could be in a DO without a major problem, but what about MD? Do I not really have any chance to get into a MD program?

Also. Is Physiology recommended? I'm currently taking Anatomy, and I'm doing well (should get an A), but I'm not sure if I want to take physiology on top of other courses that I do need to meet the pre-reqs.

Thanks!
 

heartsink

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Apr 24, 2013
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You had mentioned that I could be in a DO without a major problem, but what about MD? Do I not really have any chance to get into a MD program?

Also. Is Physiology recommended? I'm currently taking Anatomy, and I'm doing well (should get an A), but I'm not sure if I want to take physiology on top of other courses that I do need to meet the pre-reqs.

Thanks!
I will repeat what has been said on here before regarding anatomy/physiology as a premed; no med school will expect you to have already known this or it would be a requirement, thus they will start you at square one like everyone else. It is not likely to give you any "edge" in medical school, and any such edge would be short lived and minimal.

As for the rest of your plan; if you expect to not even apply for two years, why the rush on the MCAT? Use the money you were going to waste on a masters and take the time to learn the biochem / sociology / whatever else you're missing on the MCAT. Space it out, do well, take your time as you clearly still have plenty.
 

jl lin

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Oct 9, 2009
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So, I am saying this here, b/c it was brought up. I think people can be misled a little about the social sciences. There's a difference between learning the nomenclature and then getting the "Ah ha." I found that my sociology professor was awesome, and I got quite an "Aha" from much of his style of presentation. This could be a boring course; but not for this guy. When I was done with the course, I understood social behaviors much more than before I had taken the course. This guy knew how to get you to see and appreciate the dynamics. Same thing with psychology. For these courses, the professor can make all the difference IMHO. It's more than about terminology, just as the human body is so much more than being about structure--anatomy.

I don't know if the new MCAT will have social science questions that will require application or inferred understanding beyond the terminology; but it's something to consider. I am thinking it will. It's the more intelligent way to test such things.

What's funny is that I was a bit of a free thinker back then--quite a number of years ago. When I knew I really "got" something, I didn't care about the grade--I mean it would be shown on a test. But, I missed some quizzes, and this kept me from top grades back in that day. Nonetheless, I learned, appreciated, and I was able to apply what I had learned.

To me, the most ideal would be to fuse learning for learning's sake with getting good scores and soundly applying what one has learned. I never want to dread learning anything again. I know I will at times, just b/c of life and all the massive stuff. But I want to enjoy learning. There are many times I can do this with self-study or self-initiated research and great databases, etc. There are other times when it's better to be around people, and especially those that really get what they are teaching and really like doing it. Nothing worse than having a prof or TA that dislikes what he or she is teaching. It's like a dead skunk. You can smell it miles away.

But that's why I think that doing med school and working full-time or even part-time will take away the fun of learning. OTOH, maybe PT work is a nice break.

Anyway, I am just saying that there's getting the external of something, and then there is moving beyond that into the gestalt--and that is exciting to me.

But for points, get books that will test your application of understanding for the social sciences. More than likely, the MCAT will test in this way.
 
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arc5005

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Oct 5, 2011
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I have a few other questions.

So my current course load is:

Fall 2014:
Organic Chemistry I
Human Anatomy
Abnormal Psychology
Developmental Psychology (Lifespan)

I'm going to self-review General Chemistry I over winter break since it has been 4 years since I've taken it.

I was thinking of taking these courses in the Fall & Summer, and then taking the MCAT end of August 2015.

Spring 2015:
Organic Chemistry II
Human Physiology
General Chemistry II
College Physics I

Summer 2015:
College Physics II
Intro to Sociology

Learning/Reading on my own:
Biochemistry using Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry 4e

My only major concern is: I haven't taken Intro to Biology in 4 years. What should I do to review and understand these concepts?
 
Oct 7, 2014
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Don't retake classes you have already taken. Use those classes you have already taken to take higher level classes to show you can handle the rigor of upper level classes and make sure you DO well. Read the reviews of the professors on ratemyprofessors.com before you take a class, that way you'll have an idea of whether you can do well and what the professors teaching style is to see if it matches up with yours.

Only take graduate school if it is something you want, dont just do it to better your app for med school...probably better to take a post bach program than grad school if that is your final goal.

In regards to the MCAT don't take it more than 3 times, make sure whenever you are applying that all your scores are in by June of that year. Make sure you apply early in the application cycle you'll have a much better chance at getting in that way.

In regards to EC's, take something that you love (doesn't need to be medically related) and find a way to make it better...if you teach crossfit, redesign the program for crossfit, offer a free program once a month to at risk youth, or find otherways to get involved with your community. To stand out you REALLY need to be a gamechanger and that needs to shine through on your essay and within your EC's. Doing good on the MCAT wouldn't hurt either.