Jul 17, 2009
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Hello Everyone,
This is my first post here so forgive me if I am not following protocol, but I am currently 32 year old female living in NYC. Went back to school a few years ago at Fordham University to get a BS in Biology with plans to apply to med school. Long story short, messed up big time the first year I was there and got a few C's, got stressed out in my personal life and Withdrew from school. I took a year and a half to sort out my personal life and went back this last spring, have been getting much better grades.. Currently my GPA is almost a 3.0 and I have two semesters left to raise it even more. IF all goes well I will be able to graduate with around a 3.4 or 3.5 and I have taken some very very difficult classes(as all of us have). A few questions I have, any advice would be appreciated.

1. I do not as of yet have any shadowing experience. I need advice on how to get the ball rolling on this. How do I find doctors, what is the process, etc.

2. Should I take the MCAT as soon as I graduate(may 10) or should I study a few months and take it later in the summer

3. Will the fact that I have a lot of W's on my transcript kill my chances, even if I have a steep upward trend

4. Should I stay in undergrad an additional semester and add more classes to raise GPA more?

Ok, I will stop with these, but I will probably be asking a lot more questions later on. Thank you and good luck to all..
 

Signaq

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I'm sure you'll get lots of helpful feedback...good luck!

Most primary care/medical facilities have experience with premeds needing shadowing experience. In NYC you should have your choice! You might just start calling nearby clinics and hospitals and learning what is required to clock some hours in your desired shadowing area (watching videos on confidentiality, basic paperwork...). You might try the volunteer department if you don't know who to contact first -- you're not really a volunteer, but they could probably give you the name and number of who you really need to talk with. I worked in an emergency room for many years, and I saw lots of shadowing premeds cycle through -- high school aged through nontrads. It was very routine, so when you call, be reassured that many others have called before you. Sometimes your own private physician can be a good first place to start. :)
 
OP
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Jul 17, 2009
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I'm sure you'll get lots of helpful feedback...good luck!

Most primary care/medical facilities have experience with premeds needing shadowing experience. In NYC you should have your choice! You might just start calling nearby clinics and hospitals and learning what is required to clock some hours in your desired shadowing area (watching videos on confidentiality, basic paperwork...). You might try the volunteer department if you don't know who to contact first -- you're not really a volunteer, but they could probably give you the name and number of who you really need to talk with. I worked in an emergency room for many years, and I saw lots of shadowing premeds cycle through -- high school aged through nontrads. It was very routine, so when you call, be reassured that many others have called before you. Sometimes your own private physician can be a good first place to start. :)
Thank you so much for the advice. I will definetely be getting started on my shadowing in the next few weeks..


Are there any other nontrads out there that got in, with a similar situation as mine(a past mired with withdrawals and some C's)? In their 30's etc. I figured out that the highest my GPA can possibly be if all goes perfect is a 3.31.. If I stayed an additional sememster that would only go up slightly to almost a 3.4, wondering if its worth it, or if i should just concentrate on killing the MCAT. Any thoughts?
 

punkiedad

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Thank you so much for the advice. I will definetely be getting started on my shadowing in the next few weeks..


Are there any other nontrads out there that got in, with a similar situation as mine(a past mired with withdrawals and some C's)? In their 30's etc. I figured out that the highest my GPA can possibly be if all goes perfect is a 3.31.. If I stayed an additional sememster that would only go up slightly to almost a 3.4, wondering if its worth it, or if i should just concentrate on killing the MCAT. Any thoughts?
I think there are probably a lot of non trads llike you.......My undergrad GPA was like a 3.1, pretty irrelevant as a non trad at 37 (when I applied). The upward trend really does make a difference. I aced everything except for OCHEM (B+ in both). The made my science GPA look great, plus it showed some committment to task when I went back.

My only concern / advice is that you literally get As the rest of the way. You are gonna have to make up for the Ws (better than Fs though). The really big thing is to ROCK the MCAT. As far as studying, only you know what you need. You can hear some people say they need 3 or 4 months, others less. I could say study strong, then tak ethe free practice test with real times test like conditions. See how you do then maybe take another one. There is a big difference the first time I took it........

Best of luck to you..........You can do it.....never, never, never give up.
 
OP
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Jul 17, 2009
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I think there are probably a lot of non trads llike you.......My undergrad GPA was like a 3.1, pretty irrelevant as a non trad at 37 (when I applied). The upward trend really does make a difference. I aced everything except for OCHEM (B+ in both). The made my science GPA look great, plus it showed some committment to task when I went back.

My only concern / advice is that you literally get As the rest of the way. You are gonna have to make up for the Ws (better than Fs though). The really big thing is to ROCK the MCAT. As far as studying, only you know what you need. You can hear some people say they need 3 or 4 months, others less. I could say study strong, then tak ethe free practice test with real times test like conditions. See how you do then maybe take another one. There is a big difference the first time I took it........

Best of luck to you..........You can do it.....never, never, never give up.
Great Advice, Thank you so much.. My personal goal is to get straight A's this next year, which is going to be one of the hardest things ive ever done (OCHEM, Genetics, Cell Bio, Ecology, Molecular Bio)..

Just curious, when you applied at 37, how did you find the interviewers response to your age? Would you mind sharing your story?
 

BennieBlanco

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Thank you so much for the advice. I will definetely be getting started on my shadowing in the next few weeks..


Are there any other nontrads out there that got in, with a similar situation as mine(a past mired with withdrawals and some C's)? In their 30's etc. I figured out that the highest my GPA can possibly be if all goes perfect is a 3.31.. If I stayed an additional sememster that would only go up slightly to almost a 3.4, wondering if its worth it, or if i should just concentrate on killing the MCAT. Any thoughts?
Kill the MCAT 35+ and get 4.0 on all new classes.

Make sure you have clinical experience. Shadow, volunteering (may be good or bad depending where). Clinical is huge.

Last, don't give up and be willing to do whatever. DO/MD etc. Be willing to say, if I don't get in round 1, I will definitely apply round 2 and even round 3 if need be.

MCAT - give yourself a good solid 3 months that you can just focus on it. Not during school (i.e. taking 15 units of classes and studying the MCAT is hard).
 

BennieBlanco

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Great Advice, Thank you so much.. My personal goal is to get straight A's this next year, which is going to be one of the hardest things ive ever done (OCHEM, Genetics, Cell Bio, Ecology, Molecular Bio)..

Just curious, when you applied at 37, how did you find the interviewers response to your age? Would you mind sharing your story?
Don't worry about your age dude. Doesn't matter, honestly. You will stand out more and even have an advantage since you are older. Get the 4.0 and go for 35+ MCAT and get clincal experience. Age is a non issue.

Passion/determination/ability/focus/intelligence = issues.

No one can answer your GPA questions. It will be good to have harder science classes that you do well on. The difference between a 3.3 and a 3.4 is pretty much a non issue if you are willing to go MD or DO and wherever you get in. It will be an issue at some schools but not all.

MCAT is huge for you because it is a chance to prove that you are on the same level as those who have a 3.8+ even though your GPA says otherwise.
 
OP
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My first job was at a Nursing Home age 15.. I worked as a CNA for 6 years, but it was a long time ago(10+ years).. Should I include this as relevant experience, or is it too long ago?
 

nabeel76

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My first job was at a Nursing Home age 15.. I worked as a CNA for 6 years, but it was a long time ago(10+ years).. Should I include this as relevant experience, or is it too long ago?
Definitely include this, and since it was a paid position for 6 years this shows that you definitely know what the field is like and what you are getting into... I would still try and shadow and volunteer a little bit just to get some current exposure to the field and show that you still have that drive for medicine and a passion to help contribute to your community.

As far as the grades go, its kind of hard to say how they will be viewed with out seeing your transcript. A few C's definitely will not kill your chances and if you can show a strong upward trend, I would say 3.5+ in your last two years of coursework then that will definitely help your chances. Also what is your science gpa? That is going to be very important, your going to have to try and bring that up to the 3.5 range to become a competitive applicant. Just keep that in mind.
 
Jun 20, 2009
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I was 30 going through interviews. My age was brought up at each of my interviews so I would say its an issue. It won't stop you from getting in (I had no problem getting acceptances) but they're looking for something to make it a non-issue and I have no idea what they're looking for.

Your GPA might be an issue. Doesn't sound like you aced your sophmore or junior years either.
 

medhacker

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My age was brought up at each of my interviews so I would say its an issue.

That's interesting, everywhere I applied my age was made a positive contribution instead of an issue.

OP, that just confirms you should shop wisely...best wishes!




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Medhacker an FP doing cosmetic surgery, pissing off the plastics and the derms...and loving every single minute of it!
 

ChairmanMao

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My first job was at a Nursing Home age 15.. I worked as a CNA for 6 years, but it was a long time ago(10+ years).. Should I include this as relevant experience, or is it too long ago?
Definitely. I think you'll be a hit at some of your interviews given your unusual background. Maybe you can mix a drink for your interviewer if you get invited to an interview. :)

But on a serious note, you definitely need to do really well in your classes. Aim for straight As for now, if I were you, I would not rush things. A 3.3 GPA is really the borderline acceptable score for MD medical schools now. I actually would take an additional year to raise that to a 3.4, just to show to the adcoms that I've overcome my first-year academic problems. As for MCATs, do everything you can to get a 30+ on that. Take several months off to study for it if you have to.

As for shadowing and volunteering, I know that there are many different programs at NYU and CUMC that allow you to shadow 10 hrs/week or so with the goal of getting a recommendation letter for your medical school application. Try googling academic associates and volunteering at CUMC or NYU School of Medicine to see if you can apply to those programs.
 

NTF

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Another good place to start for shadowing opportunities is here.

http://www.do-online.org/iLearn/index.cfm?pageid=ment_exchange&page=Exchange

I filled out the form and within a week had 6 doctors email to schedule time to shadow them: 2 ER docs, a pediatrician, an oncologist, a nephrologist, and orthopedic surgeon. And over the course of a month a handful of other docs emailed me to shadow them, but I already had my hands full with the docs I was shadowing already.
 

Pianopooh

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Jan 23, 2006
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Another good place to start for shadowing opportunities is here.

http://www.do-online.org/iLearn/index.cfm?pageid=ment_exchange&page=Exchange

I filled out the form and within a week had 6 doctors email to schedule time to shadow them: 2 ER docs, a pediatrician, an oncologist, a nephrologist, and orthopedic surgeon. And over the course of a month a handful of other docs emailed me to shadow them, but I already had my hands full with the docs I was shadowing already.
Hello there nontrad -- I am curious, can you share with me how long shadowing is considered to be important? Is it for a week, a month? I understand the goal of shadowing is to be able to see how daily tasks a physician does. Were there any physicians who you shadowed, willing to give you a LOR? Or are LOR usually from professors or employers for nontrads? Thanks in advance.
 

NTF

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Hello there nontrad -- I am curious, can you share with me how long shadowing is considered to be important? Is it for a week, a month? I understand the goal of shadowing is to be able to see how daily tasks a physician does. Were there any physicians who you shadowed, willing to give you a LOR? Or are LOR usually from professors or employers for nontrads? Thanks in advance.
I'm not an adcom, so I can't really answer the question about length. But for my benefit, I felt that 2-3 days was plenty to get a feel for what a doctor's daily life was like in that field. Now if you're interested in seeing as many procedures as possible, a longer engagement would be helpful. I wasn't very procedure-oriented (not that I don't like procedures, but after years of research I've done tons of procedures on animals that docs do on people). Shadowing for me was more for my own edification. I wanted to sample as many fields as I could from specialty to primary care. I actually did all my shadowing after I had submitted my apps, so the only time I notified schools was in update letters.

As far as LORs, I was always wary of getting one from a doctor I shadowed. How well can they really know me from me observing them and asking a some questions for several days? I got my LORs from my boss at my patient care job, a volunteer supervisor (hospital), a biochem professor, and three different PIs in labs I worked in.

Oddly enough, two different docs said they would call the dean of admissions of their respective schools where they were faculty on my behalf. I got an immediate interview offer from one and a rejection from the other. Go figure.
 
Jun 20, 2009
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That shadowing is also a way to get a recommendation from a DO doctor which I believe is strongly encouraged if not required to apply for osteopathic schools.

I thought about applying to osteopathics during my cycle, saw this and didn't know how to get a DO recommendation. Decided I wouldn't want to take a spot from someone who really wanted to be a DO when I was just using it as a backup and only applied to allopathics.