akc23

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Aug 13, 2015
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Hey everybody,

This is an update on my progress as a non-traditional student. Feel free to comment, ask me questions, give me suggestions, etc.

I took Chem 2 in a 4-week format over the summer and made an A. Now I have completed Chem 1 and 2 and Physics 1 with a 4.0. My cGPA is now a 3.64ish

This semester I'm taking Cell Bio, O Chem and Physics 2. I'll also being doing research with my Cell Bio professor, shadowing a couple of doctors, volunteering in the ER, teaching ESL as a volunteer and working as a tutor.

Next semester I'll back off the volunteering/working/shadowing so I have time to study for the MCAT. I'll be taking O Chem 2, Genetics, and Microbiology. And then in the summer I'll be taking biochem and studying even more intensely for the MCAT (aiming for an August test date).

For those that have been in my shoes, is everything looking solid? For those that are about to start this same journey, good luck!
 

Cawolf

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Feb 27, 2013
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I don't know if taking a compact summer course AND studying for the MCAT is a great idea. Why not skip micro and replace it with biochem, then have a course-free summer to study for the MCAT?
 
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Siromas

Non-Traditional livin'
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Aug 17, 2016
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I don't know if taking a compact summer course AND studying for the MCAT is a great idea. Why not skip micro and replace it with biochem, then have a course-free summer to study for the MCAT?
Agreed.

I wouldn't recommend your first exposure to biochem occur during the summer of your MCAT prep. Consider MCAT prep to be an additional full-time job.
 
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Cawolf

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Uh...you need 400+ hours of dedicated study time. That's not a full time job, unless you're going to cram it into two months.
Personal preference. He is also shadowing, doing research, volunteering, and teaching part-time. I think that, combined with a summer science course, would be too much. Everyone will be different though. I can only offer my perspective as a non-trad medical student who scored high on the MCAT.
 
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073116

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2016
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Hey everybody,
This is an update on my progress as a non-traditional student. Feel free to comment, ask me questions, give me suggestions, etc.
I took Chem 2 in a 4-week format over the summer and made an A. Now I have completed Chem 1 and 2 and Physics 1 with a 4.0. My cGPA is now a 3.64ish
This semester I'm taking Cell Bio, O Chem and Physics 2. I'll also being doing research with my Cell Bio professor, shadowing a couple of doctors, volunteering in the ER, teaching ESL as a volunteer and working as a tutor.
Next semester I'll back off the volunteering/working/shadowing so I have time to study for the MCAT. I'll be taking O Chem 2, Genetics, and Microbiology. And then in the summer I'll be taking biochem and studying even more intensely for the MCAT (aiming for an August test date).
For those that have been in my shoes, is everything looking solid? For those that are about to start this same journey, good luck!
I'm going to be direct and honest with you and this comes from a person who is an MS1 now at DO school and I've been in exact same shoes as you are now. Some will find it too harsh and unethical, but this is my take on it.

Test date on August? So you are probably considering only DO schools if you have mcat date that late? Big mistake. Apply to MD schools - lot's of mid and low tier MD schools that may accept you with your stats and given that you will have a mcat of 30/509 (easily doable). To do so shift your mcat test date earlier. Start studying for it earlier. You don't have to be completely free and study for +400 dedicated hours for mcat like some here say. However, you will have to change your course load and volunteering activities. Drop the Micro - no one needs it, you'll have it anyway in med.school and in much more detail. Take Biochem instead and get your summer free. Drop unnecessary shadowing and volunteering crap - you already have enough of it, no one at admissions really cares if you have 120 hours or 200 hours of volunteering. Drop that silly shadowing - again you have enough of it, how much do you really need? Just take the damn LOR. Start studying for mcat instead earlier. Pass it earlier. Apply to both MD and DO schools. Nothing is wrong with DO education. My brother is an MD and I'm right now in DO school and I can tell you education is same. Problem is that DO will give you unnecessary extra load of crap like mandatory COMLEX besides USMLE that you want to take anyway, in addition you'll have a harder time applying to residencies and some of them will be unavailable/closed to you as a DO. That and bunch of other stuff (e.g. good rotation sites) that tips the scales in favor of MD schools. You'll thank me later.
P.S. I can bet tho, you won't follow my advise as people are usually not that flexible and are narrow minded. You'll probably continue to take your silly volunteering and bunch of crap stuff as you nicely outlined it for us. You'll take mcat in August and apply to a DO schools. You'll have some interviews and possibly a 1 or 2 acceptances. Realization that it all could have been different will come later. Good luck to you
 
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akc23

akc23

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Aug 13, 2015
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OK, wow! This is awesome.
I don't know if taking a compact summer course AND studying for the MCAT is a great idea. Why not skip micro and replace it with biochem, then have a course-free summer to study for the MCAT?
I just checked on taking biochem instead of micro this spring. Sadly, it's not offered at my current college in the spring, only in the fall. My original plan was to return to my alma matter (University of Oklahoma) and knock out biochem in the summer. You really think that 8 weeks of no working, no shadowing, no research, just biochem and MCAT prep still would be too much?

I mean, theoretically, I could take biochem at a different college this Spring, however I must stay enrolled full-time at my current college due to me living on campus. (Stupid rule, IMO) And I definitely don't want to be enrolled FT here and then have to drive 45 minutes twice per week to take biochem at the next closest college that offers a spring biochem class. Especially since I'll need to work 10-15 hours per week this spring to pay a couple bills.

But man, that would have been clutch. I hadn't thought of that option before.
 
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akc23

akc23

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Aug 13, 2015
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Drop unnecessary shadowing and volunteering crap - you already have enough of it, no one at admissions really cares if you have 120 hours or 200 hours of volunteering. Drop that silly shadowing - again you have enough of it, how much do you really need? Just take the damn LOR. Start studying for mcat instead earlier
I'm planning on dropping all the volunteering and shadowing after Christmas break. That will leave me with: (1) good relationships with a DO EM doc and an MD hospitalist from shadowing, (2) 150+ hours quality volunteering in the ER (3) 50+ hours giving back to the community as a volunteer ESL tutor. Spring is when I wanted to start studying for the MCAT. Summer is when I wanted to ramp up the MCAT prep concurrently with biochem.

But maybe there is a third option...perhaps I could study the crap out of the MCAT in the spring and self study all the biochem, allowing me to take the MCAT in May. Then I could take biochem in the summer and do an August retake if necessary. If things go well in May, I'll have a solid chance at several MD schools. If things don't, an August retake will still give me plenty of time to apply, but with good chances only at DO schools. What about that?
 
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073116

2+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2016
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I'm planning on dropping all the volunteering and shadowing after Christmas break. That will leave me with: (1) good relationships with a DO EM doc and an MD hospitalist from shadowing, (2) 150+ hours quality volunteering in the ER (3) 50+ hours giving back to the community as a volunteer ESL tutor. Spring is when I wanted to start studying for the MCAT. Summer is when I wanted to ramp up the MCAT prep concurrently with biochem.

But maybe there is a third option...perhaps I could study the crap out of the MCAT in the spring and self study all the biochem, allowing me to take the MCAT in May. Then I could take biochem in the summer and do an August retake if necessary. If things go well in May, I'll have a solid chance at several MD schools. If things don't, an August retake will still give me plenty of time to apply, but with good chances only at DO schools. What about that?
That's a better plan. Just don't rely too much on your backup August option as this will put you in DO schools. I would put ALL effort to do well earlier in May.
 

Cawolf

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Feb 27, 2013
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You really think that 8 weeks of no working, no shadowing, no research, just biochem and MCAT prep still would be too much?
My only experience with summer science courses was taking Physics 1 and 2 (calc-based) with Lab in two consecutive six-week sessions. I know that with the time I dedicated to course work, I would not have done well on the MCAT. I did do my MCAT studying while taking Organic 1, but that was during the Fall semester, so the pace is slower.

Your plan is doable, but I don't think its one that sets you up for success.

Also, are you planning on taking the MCAT in August, and then applying that cycle? That is a bad idea unless you are solely aiming for DO schools.
 
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akc23

akc23

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Aug 13, 2015
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Pre-Medical
Also, are you planning on taking the MCAT in August, and then applying that cycle? That is a bad idea unless you are solely aiming for DO schools.
Yes. But I'm now thinking about just self-studying biochem in the spring and aiming for a May MCAT. August will only be for a retake if necessary. The spring will include 10 hours of research per week, 13 hours of class, 15-20 hours of MCAT prep and 15 hours of studying for classes. (I guess I could take a bigger loan and not work).

What would you suggest besides micro? My options are histology, immunology, physiology, zoology or molecular biology.
 

Cawolf

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Yes. But I'm now thinking about just self-studying biochem in the spring and aiming for a May MCAT. August will only be for a retake if necessary. The spring will include 10 hours of research per week, 13 hours of class, 15-20 hours of MCAT prep and 15 hours of studying for classes. (I guess I could take a bigger loan and not work).

What would you suggest besides micro? My options are histology, immunology, physiology, zoology or molecular biology.
If you can't take biochem at that time, I would suggest physiology or molecular biology.