need advice from someone other than my prehealth advisor - aka chance me

Jun 11, 2019
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
So off the bat, the beginning of my app SUCKS

I took gen bio 4x before making a B, I got a C in gen chem I and II, and a C in physics I.

However, I have an A in all my other science classes (physics II, bio II, genetics, micro, ochem I and II, anatomy, zoo, micro, plant science, ). None of the adv classes were taken at a cc, but bio I and II and gen chem I was.

If I can keep this up for one more semester (2 bio electives and a lab) this will bring my sGPA to a 3.14, it’s currently > 3.0. ) cGPA to a ~3.2

I’m a double bio and psych major with a business minor. TX resident.

MCAT: 510 after studying intensively for 8 months so I don’t think this is gonna get any higher.

I’m also obviously non-trad, but am still in undergrad, set to graduate next semester.

This is (obviously) stressing me out like crazy and my prehealth advisor keeps telling me to apply Caribbean so I’m starting to feel really hopeless.

I feel so freaking stupid, if I had just applied myself the first time around I would have had SO MUCH leeway these past two years instead of having to kill myself in 16 hr intensive science classes semesters knowing I absolutely HAD to get an A.

My EC’s are pretty standard:

clinical: ER Scribe, ~55 shadowing hours (aside from scribe), no research yet.

Non-clincal: Big Brother Big Sister, ~200 hours crisis text line, Women in Business, MAPS (was set to volunteer for Make a Wish and a hospice this summer but :( (hopefully will get to in the fall!!!)

So I guess what I’m asking for here is for y’all to be honest. Do I have a shot at US MD/DO after this next semester or am I just digging myself into a deeper hole (I cannot fuking believe I took gen bio I FOUR TIMES I’m such a clown)

There’s not even a real explanation for it, I was just another college kid who thought they knew everything and could get by super easy just like high school, and looking back I wish I could go slap my past self because I’m so embarrassed with myself
 
Oct 27, 2016
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I’m not an expert, and I won’t pretend to be one, but for Texas schools your GPA is really low and your MCAT is on the lower end. Your clinical hours are really low and your non clinical hours are meh. Have you had a few semesters of a 4.0 or a high GPA under your belt? I probably would recommend post bacc classes with upper level science classes making a 4.0 for a few semesters while beefing up your EC’s if you really want to go MD. You’re toast for Texas MD schools IMO with that GPA as is. You probably have a shot at SHSU and Incarnate Word for DO schools if you apply next cycle. I doubt TCOM would throw you a bone... their averages are like 3.6+ 507 or something like that now. The multiple attempts at bio I isn’t great but if you prove yourself academically over a few semesters, you’ll be better off. Just stop listening to your advisor. Don’t apply Carib. You’re likely ok for DO if you apply broadly and spend time beefing up your EC’s. You’re really lacking there.
 
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lumya

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Check out Goro's guide for reinvention. Lots of people have subpar undergraduate GPAs but can still get into MD/DO schools. You will probably need to take some classes after your degree to improve your overall sGPA.

You said you're a non-trad, what field were you in previously? Military service and other service-based professions (teaching, social work, ect.) is often look upon favorably and might help give you an edge, but improving your academic stats will definitely improve your chances of admissions.
 
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DokterMom

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Not gonna lie, you're in a bad spot. TX schools tend to weight GPA more heavily than MCAT, and yours isn't doing you any favors... And as you've probably heard, non-TX schools tend to discount TX applicants because there are so many cheap TX schools that good applicants choose to stay in-state if they can. So you're down, but not completely out:
  • How long is your GPA 'winning streak'? You can plead young and stupid' for your early failures so long as you've got a long unblemished streak (I'm gonna say three years) proving you can cut it academically and that you've grown up. If you won't have three years of 3.7+ GPA, keep taking classes until you do.
  • Your MCAT is "good enough" but no more. You say you don't think you can improve it, so leave it alone.
  • That leaves your ECs and your personal back-story, and THIS is where you need to shine.
    • Fortunately, there's a lot you can do here.
    • Unfortunately, doing a lot here takes a lot of time.
What's your story? Take a long hard look at your life and put together a compelling narrative about how you got to where you are. Were there significant challenges you overcame? Do you have a passionate interest in something where you've excelled? Or maybe just an interest where you could make a significant contribution to society?

You need to find something eye-catching that will get your application-reader past your 'meh' numbers and excited about your candidacy.
 

Osteosaur

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Sep 9, 2018
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Don't go to the carribean. With Step 1 becoming P/F the one chance in Carribean you'd have to prove yourself, Step 1, is out the window.

That MCAT score is good! Don't knock it. And you have well-rounded volunteering. What experiences have you had as a non-trad? You probably have more than you think. I know that in your late 20's and beyond you still feel like your 22 year old self. Do you have any work experience?

Your biggest weakness is your GPA. Mine was 3.6 and it was still a hurdle. Its unfortunate because its the hardest part of your app to repair, even if you change, it doesn't without a LOT of work.
1) Even at DO schools it might be an obstacle but maybe an upward trend and that MCAT can help you there? You've got Goro's reinvention guide to work off of.
2) If you think you can do it, this is what SMP programs are for, to get that GPA up.
3) Put in the work to shadow a DO and get the letter for #1. Your focus here has to be DO schools because you will always be fighting with 3.7/513+ (people who got this without any black marks) for the MD seats. For DO you'll have a more realistic shot.
 
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Jun 11, 2019
6
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Your advisor is not merely a *****, he is a malignant *****.

Do NOT under any circumstances go to the Caribbean.
Thanks, Goro!

Do you have a quick list of DO schools you think I should focus my aim on?
 
Jun 11, 2019
6
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Don't go to the carribean. With Step 1 becoming P/F the one chance in Carribean you'd have to prove yourself, Step 1, is out the window.

That MCAT score is good! Don't knock it. And you have well-rounded volunteering. What experiences have you had as a non-trad? You probably have more than you think. I know that in your late 20's and beyond you still feel like your 22 year old self. Do you have any work experience?

Your biggest weakness is your GPA. Mine was 3.6 and it was still a hurdle. Its unfortunate because its the hardest part of your app to repair, even if you change, it doesn't without a LOT of work.
1) Even at DO schools it might be an obstacle but maybe an upward trend and that MCAT can help you there? You've got Goro's reinvention guide to work off of.
2) If you think you can do it, this is what SMP programs are for, to get that GPA up.
3) Put in the work to shadow a DO and get the letter for #1. Your focus here has to be DO schools because you will always be fighting with 3.7/513+ (people who got this without any black marks) for the MD seats. For DO you'll have a more realistic shot.
So I think I may be using non-trad incorrectly. I'm 21 y/o, in undergrad (will take 1 extra semester to graduate since I need to take some bio electives for graduation). While on reddit and sdn I did not think I was non-trad but my advisor says I am since I switched into bio late and will likely need a gap year?

My work experience has been pretty standard. I worked retail and as a barista my first two years of college, and began scribing shortly after. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I haven't been scribing as much either, so am hoping to get another job such as pharm tech ASAP to avoid a gap on my resume. I've been worried the experiences I'd want to write about have been pretty basic up until this point, they all stem from my volunteering positions, there are definitely experiences I've had (especially in the crisis text line) that have really impacted me, but I've been hesitant to write about them as they're deeply personal for myself and others.

Definitely will focus on DO schools, I was actually set to shadow a DO this summer, but she emailed me a few weeks ago stating she would be uncomfortable having a student shadow her in the current situation. Will definitely continue to ask!
 
Jun 11, 2019
6
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Check out Goro's guide for reinvention. Lots of people have subpar undergraduate GPAs but can still get into MD/DO schools. You will probably need to take some classes after your degree to improve your overall sGPA.

You said you're a non-trad, what field were you in previously? Military service and other service-based professions (teaching, social work, ect.) is often look upon favorably and might help give you an edge, but improving your academic stats will definitely improve your chances of admissions.
I replied to this above as well, but I don't think I'm actually non-trad, I think my advisor may have been using that term incorrectly as I am still in undergrad.
 
Jun 11, 2019
6
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Not gonna lie, you're in a bad spot. TX schools tend to weight GPA more heavily than MCAT, and yours isn't doing you any favors... And as you've probably heard, non-TX schools tend to discount TX applicants because there are so many cheap TX schools that good applicants choose to stay in-state if they can. So you're down, but not completely out:
  • How long is your GPA 'winning streak'? You can plead young and stupid' for your early failures so long as you've got a long unblemished streak (I'm gonna say three years) proving you can cut it academically and that you've grown up. If you won't have three years of 3.7+ GPA, keep taking classes until you do.
  • Your MCAT is "good enough" but no more. You say you don't think you can improve it, so leave it alone.
  • That leaves your ECs and your personal back-story, and THIS is where you need to shine.
    • Fortunately, there's a lot you can do here.
    • Unfortunately, doing a lot here takes a lot of time.
What's your story? Take a long hard look at your life and put together a compelling narrative about how you got to where you are. Were there significant challenges you overcame? Do you have a passionate interest in something where you've excelled? Or maybe just an interest where you could make a significant contribution to society?

You need to find something eye-catching that will get your application-reader past your 'meh' numbers and excited about your candidacy.
The GPA streak is about a year and a half (2 summer semesters sessions, fall semester, spring semester, summer semester, and then another fall semester), and I've maintained the 3.7+ for it.

I am definitely focusing on my EC's, trying to get as many hours as I can as stuff begins to reopen, do you think I should focus on what I currently am involved in, as I've got 100+ hours in most of my non-clinical ones, currently emailing a DO physician about shadowing, or should I try to find new EC's and get my hours up on those (main interest in mental health and pediatrics so I'm looking for a DO in either one of those fields).
 

Osteosaur

I eat the whole patient
2+ Year Member
Sep 9, 2018
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846
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Medical Student
So I think I may be using non-trad incorrectly. I'm 21 y/o, in undergrad (will take 1 extra semester to graduate since I need to take some bio electives for graduation). While on reddit and sdn I did not think I was non-trad but my advisor says I am since I switched into bio late and will likely need a gap year?

My work experience has been pretty standard. I worked retail and as a barista my first two years of college, and began scribing shortly after. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I haven't been scribing as much either, so am hoping to get another job such as pharm tech ASAP to avoid a gap on my resume. I've been worried the experiences I'd want to write about have been pretty basic up until this point, they all stem from my volunteering positions, there are definitely experiences I've had (especially in the crisis text line) that have really impacted me, but I've been hesitant to write about them as they're deeply personal for myself and others.

Definitely will focus on DO schools, I was actually set to shadow a DO this summer, but she emailed me a few weeks ago stating she would be uncomfortable having a student shadow her in the current situation. Will definitely continue to ask!
Non-trad is a murky term. If you're applying straight from college you're not non-traditional. It doesn't necessarily mean, "wanted to be a doctor since freshman yera" so much as it encompasses career changers and people who got started in their 20's to 30's. Its not at all uncommon to take gap years.

that being said, there is nothing wrong with a gap year, most medical students are like 25 these days. If COVID is preventing you from getting what you need for a good application then put it off unless there is some financial or familial reason you need to get in right out of college. I know the prospect of graduating without a prestigious career is TERRIFYING at 22 but you can take more classes and bolster your app if need be. If you can't shadow a DO this year try next year.

That is my $0.02
 

lumya

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I replied to this above as well, but I don't think I'm actually non-trad, I think my advisor may have been using that term incorrectly as I am still in undergrad.
Ahh, I see. You said you were non-trad and I just assumed you were much older. If anything, I think it can be a bit of a consolation that it's completely normal to not go straight into medical school after undergrad. Do you have to finish your 16 credits in the same semester? It seemed like you were pretty stressed out about that. It's important to protect your GPA if possible and taking your time to do it right is a good investment. I echo the sentiment above, med school matriculants are getting older and older and no one is going to look negatively on you for finishing your degree is five years vs. 4.5.

If you do decide to do a DIY post-bac, when I did mine, I got a job at a university's hospital. This allowed me to get clinical experience, and part of my employee perks were free courses. I know paying for classes and bills can get a little daunting, so that's how I found a way around all of that.

(Also, does your school have another pre-health adviser because it seems like the one you have is not giving you productive advice. Is there a professor you have a good relationship with who can help you through the process? Ex. even though my organic chemistry professor isn't an MD, he has had enough students go through the process to give me solid advice.)

Edit: if you want to ask some adcoms for a school list with where you stand now, you can check the WAMC thread and post there or reformat your post to include number of hours for your activities and tag some of the adcoms like Goro.
 
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hamiltonnyc

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This is (obviously) stressing me out like crazy and my prehealth advisor keeps telling me to apply Caribbean so I’m starting to feel really hopeless.
While on reddit and sdn I did not think I was non-trad but my advisor says I am since I switched into bio late and will likely need a gap year?
Sounds like the first thing to do is to disregard your advisor's advice. Some are truly great, but others do not take the time to be knowledgable on the subject. The Caribbean advice is a dead giveaway. I'd check to see if they are getting a commission from the Caribbean schools haha.
 
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esob

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Don't go to the carib. You might be able to land some OOS DO school II's. I honestly don't see you getting much love from TX schools so I would focus on getting a strong DO LOR and apply broadly to OOS DO schools.
 
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