Dec 30, 2015
4
0
Status
Non-Student
I'm a 29 year-old non-traditional student who resides in Boston, Massachusetts. I endeavor to earn an MD and am very flexible on the program/location as well as willing to put in more years of work to get a spot. My backup would be to become a PT, which I know is ambitious and difficult enough to get into as it is, so my final backup would just be to stay at my work and continue my career without another degree. MD is what I have my sights set on though. Like I said I'm 29 and I know I'm not getting any younger, so I'd like to take major steps towards achieving this soon.

Cumulative GPA: 3.24 from a top 40 university...in 2009. Aside from being lackluster and old I have the further obstacle of my previous majors being in journalism and film. From researching the med school process I think I just need to start from scratch. I think my best shot is to get into a two year second bachelor's degree program in a state school. I am hoping to keep cost down somewhat and have read that UMass is about $6,000 per semester, which I can handle, but am trying to keep cost down. I'm really eager for advice on what is the best program to go to for my second bachelor's degree program if this is indeed the best route for me.

Math and Science GPAs: Pretty much non-existent. Despite graduating from a top 40 school they had very weak standards for math and sciences. I did well in my science classes, but since they are so old I'd need to retake them since I know med schools want classes within the past 5 years.

Professional Background: 4 years. I have worked since June 2012 as a residential counselor. I'm very drawn to mental and physical rehabilitation. I know it's not a very impressive job title and in the next couple of years I'd like to find better ways to grow my experience. I'm very interested in advice about this. As it is since 2012 I have worked at one company starting with a job where I worked for a year in a group home with an older population with schizophrenia and similar ailments. I then switched jobs in the same company to work in a high intensity program with a similar population. In May 2015 I also started working full-time with another company where I work awake overnights with a population with traumatic brain injuries. So, I work a minimum of 80 hours per week and frequently do overtime. When I start classes again I would leave the high intensity program as the awake overnight is honestly not that stressful and think I would have a good amount of time to focus on my second bachelor's degree.

Current Plan:
-Find a way to complete my pre-reqs, perhaps through a second bachelor's degree program. I'd do the program full-time, but with a light course load so I can do as well as possible in each class. Interested in Summer classes to speed up the process.
-Get some research and clinical voluntary experience.
-Continue to work my awake overnight job with some overtime.
-Study a ton and eventually take the MCAT.
-Apply to a lot of MD and PT programs. The UMass Medical School is a top choice as are places around NYC. Very flexible though, will travel anywhere in the US.

Obstacles:

-Finding a second bachelor's degree program or some other way of satisfying my pre-reqs. I'm very studious, flexible, and patient. Ideally I'd like to find the program in MA that gives me the best shot of getting into an MD program that also doesn't break the bank. I'd love to start in Fall 2016, but am cutting it awfully close so Winter 2017, Summer 2017, or Fall 2017 would be options as well. Bonus points if the degree/pre-reqs can help my career ambitions in case the MD/PT routes don't work out.

-Finances! Being a residential counselor doesn't pay much. I more than get by now, but that's only because I work so much. Quitting one job will cut my earnings in half. I have a master's degree from an Ivy League school (it's in journalism, which doesn't really help in this endeavor), which I only bring up because I still have to finish paying off some loans for that though it's not a ridiculous amount. It'd take a few years though and I really don't want to delay school that long. I have been very good about paying loans back up to this point. I'm really trying to avoid going into too much debt, at least before I actually get into an MD or PT program, where debt almost becomes unavoidable.

-Zero research and clinical voluntary experience. I'm willing to put in 2 years (perhaps 3) just to prepare for the MD/PT programs and need to find ways to grow my experience from zero to something in that time.

-Time management. Like I said I'll still technically be working full-time and going to school full-time. This can be pretty stressful even if my regular job isn't that stressful and I did bank a lot of vacation/personal time for this endeavor.

I'm sorry I wrote a book to explain all this! Thank you so much to anyone who can offer any helpful advice. Especially about the best affordable program/way of fulfilling my pre-reqs in MA. I'm 29 and weak in experience, but this would be my only commitment. I'm completely willing to adapt my plan as needed and relocate for MD/PT school.
 

mw18

5+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2014
890
959
Status
Medical Student
I'm going to be honest, I didn't read your whole post. But your degree doesn't matter to med schools at all. I would do a DIY postbacc and take only the medical school prereqs at one of the many universities and colleges in MA.
 
OP
N
Dec 30, 2015
4
0
Status
Non-Student
I'm going to be honest, I didn't read your whole post. But your degree doesn't matter to med schools at all. I would do a DIY postbacc and take only the medical school prereqs at one of the many universities and colleges in MA.
Hi mw18,

Thank you for the response! So my DIY postbacc would just consist solely of my prereqs or would it be an actual degree? Forgive my ignorance as I'm still researching this all.

My degree is pretty old so I should do all my prereqs, which I think would give my GPA a little boost if I excel, but am not sure if that is enough, which is one reason I find a second bachelor's appealing. Also, I'm a bit confused about how GPA for a second bachelor's works despite researching it. If I'm correct every class I take gets averaged with my 3.24 GPA, right?

Also, I'm still really interested about what school would be advisable to do this all in if anyone has input. I've read some about the pre-med programs in the UMass schools, which sound beneficial, but am not sure if that is what's best given my circumstances.

I've read through some SDN archives and it seems like there's mixed opinions about getting a second bachelor's. For me it seems like there may be some benefits by being a full-time student in a degree seeking program again aside from the potential for more classes to boost my GPA. I'm not married to the idea though and would love more input from those kind enough to offer it :)
 

Gurby

5+ Year Member
Jul 28, 2014
1,933
5,187
Status
Medical Student
Given that you reside in Boston, Harvard Extension seems like an obvious choice, though it can be tough to get A's. Classes are cheap, extremely flexible (all prereq's have recorded lectures, schedules conducive to people working full time), well taught, good preparation for the MCAT. The premed advising is also very good, and they will write you a committee letter which is really nice.

This is what my game plan would look like in your position:
August 2016:
Put in 2 weeks' notice at one of the jobs.
Sign up for General Chemistry at HES, Fall 2016. Only take 1 class during your first semester. This lets you ease into things.

Fall 2016:

Get an A in chemistry. Consider trying to build a relationship with the prof who teaches it: he is one of the most approachable profs at HES and may be a good potential LOR writer.
Find a nursing home or hospice to volunteer at and continue this activity at least until you get an acceptance to med school.
Try to get some physician shadowing done during this first semester.

Spring 2017:
Get an A in Gen Chem 2.
If fall semester went well and you feel comfortable, add a second class. Consider Biostats or Calculus 1, as these are classes many schools like to see. Calc 1 is particularly well taught at HES.
Continue volunteering, do more shadowing until you're at 50+ hours.

Summer 2017:
Consider taking Calc 1 or Biostats, whichever you didn't take in the Spring

Fall 2017/Spring 2018:
Biology + Physics

Summer 2018:
Biochem

Fall 2018:
Orgo I + easiest GPA boosting class you can find

Spring 2019:
2 easiest GPA boosting classes you can find
MCAT prep
Getting ready to apply to schools

June 2019:
Crush the MCAT
Send primary application to 1 school for verification, then send to appropriate schools once you get your MCAT score back

Fall 2020:
Matriculate somewhere!
 
OP
N
Dec 30, 2015
4
0
Status
Non-Student
Given that you reside in Boston, Harvard Extension seems like an obvious choice, though it can be tough to get A's. Classes are cheap, extremely flexible (all prereq's have recorded lectures, schedules conducive to people working full time), well taught, good preparation for the MCAT. The premed advising is also very good, and they will write you a committee letter which is really nice.

This is what my game plan would look like in your position:
August 2016:
Put in 2 weeks' notice at one of the jobs.
Sign up for General Chemistry at HES, Fall 2016. Only take 1 class during your first semester. This lets you ease into things.

Fall 2016:

Get an A in chemistry. Consider trying to build a relationship with the prof who teaches it: he is one of the most approachable profs at HES and may be a good potential LOR writer.
Find a nursing home or hospice to volunteer at and continue this activity at least until you get an acceptance to med school.
Try to get some physician shadowing done during this first semester.

Spring 2017:
Get an A in Gen Chem 2.
If fall semester went well and you feel comfortable, add a second class. Consider Biostats or Calculus 1, as these are classes many schools like to see. Calc 1 is particularly well taught at HES.
Continue volunteering, do more shadowing until you're at 50+ hours.

Summer 2017:
Consider taking Calc 1 or Biostats, whichever you didn't take in the Spring

Fall 2017/Spring 2018:
Biology + Physics

Summer 2018:
Biochem

Fall 2018:
Orgo I + easiest GPA boosting class you can find

Spring 2019:
2 easiest GPA boosting classes you can find
MCAT prep
Getting ready to apply to schools

June 2019:
Crush the MCAT
Send primary application to 1 school for verification, then send to appropriate schools once you get your MCAT score back

Fall 2020:
Matriculate somewhere!
Thank you so much for your very thoughtful response! Also, please pardon my very late reply as I hope you still see this :)

As mentioned in my original post I was concerned about there not being enough time to get everything ready by September and unfortunately I did have to delay starting classes again. I've researched it more since and Harvard Extension really sounds like a great fit for me. I'd like to start with January classes since I don't want to push things all the way off until NEXT September. The problem is it doesn't look like a lot of relevant classes are offered at Harvard Extension in January unless you've already taken the class the prior semester. I.E. Chemistry II is offered, which is great except I didn't take Chemistry I. Any advice on a Harvard Extension class that would be best to take in January?

Also, I'm interested in the pre-medical program Harvard Extension offers as well. Any insight into that?

Thank you again for your thoughtful reply and any further help from anyone is greatly appreciated :)