laana

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I would appreciate any pointers people could give me.

I'm a junior undergrad student at Tufts. I'm majoring in English. I want to go to medical school, but have slipped up a bit as far as my grades. I got an F in a non-science class because spring term last year (sophomore year), I was having lots of issues in my life spring up ( relationship issues, family issues, being-unhappy-with-going-to-Tufts issues and why-didn't-I-transfer issues, issues of not being happy at school--> the lesson there is that you should not get sidetracked, and instead you should sit down and think about what your priorities are, and work hard to get where you really want to be at). So with the F class, I basically was not attending many of the classes, and was just sort of in a mess and didn't get the papers in on time. I also have a few W's on my transcript (issues of trying to be "superwoman" and taking heavy class loads, only later to find out that I could not juggle it and then withdraw from if after the deadline and thus receive a "W" on my transcript). The 2 of the W's are in biology and physics. Another W is an a Chaucer english class. Basically, the only class I have under my belt is Chemistry 1 (I received a B in it). My GPA flew down to a 3.03 because of the F. Before it was a 3.33.
I'm trying to figure out my plan of action. My pre-med advisor said that I need to show an upward trend of improvement. My plan is to take Biology over the summer, take physics senior year, take organic chem the summer of the year I graduate, and then spend a year taking a couple of extra science courses at Harvard Extension School, while working part-time or full-time (and, in addition, stop withdrawing from classes for the remainder of my undergrad years, and clean out all the skeletons in my closet, get past all those things that have made me unfocused with my studies, and get over the fact that I dislike being at Tufts and regret that I wasn't focused in my quest to transfer to another school, or rather, my spirit got f*cked too soon). I also plan to re-take the class I got an F in. And as far as extracurriculars, i'm fine. I've got my clinical experience.
I'm not sure if that's an o.k. plan of action. Do you have any thoughts on it? Should I have my future alma mater write my composite recommendation letter? Or should I get "sponsored" by Harvard Extension school (they write a composite recommendation for you)? Are there any advantages to having my alma mater do it?
I feel a little angry that this is my situation. Well, it sort of is what I've gotten brewed up, so I need to just deal with it, huh? And, I feel a little guilty too. I want to take the summer biology course over the summer, but it costs approximately $4,000 (that's at Harvard Summer school, and summer courses cost a lot more than the held-during-the-school-year Harvard Extension School night classes). I feel guilty about making my mom foot the bill for the tuition part, because I do not have enough saved up from working to pay for all of it. Would it be better to just skip the science courses over the summer and instead do it all as post-bacc. over at Harvard Extension school , or to instead just, for the sake of not prolonging the length of time I spend with the post-bacc. stuff, just go ahead, do the summer courses, and work out some system of i-o-u to my mom?
I know this message is a bit fragmented in its content. But, whatever advice you could give me, i'd appreciate it. thanks!
 

blankguy

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First relax. Second don't throw the towel in just yet for your undergrad grades. I think the fact that you don't have much in the sciences is a blessing because if you do well the bad non-science grades can be diminished in importance. Try to do you best for the remainder of your years at Tufts. I realize it isn't easy being a premed a tufts. I took a physics over the summer with a Tufts undergrad her name was Cassandra Nguyen a senior this year she stated "premed should be banned at Tufts". At least your GPA is above a 3.0 still. Just do your best and see where you sit at the end of your senior year first. There a plenty of options. If at the end of your senior year you GPA is around 3.33 or 3.4 (very possible) you could get in (but then again I'm no premed and certainly not an adcom). Also even if you didn't get in with that kinda situation al your GPA needs is a little nudging upwards unlike some people here(including me) who need a massive boost in GPA.

Also be warned that Harvard summer school unlike other schools do not have session I and session II. Its one long 2 month session covering the entire year weekly exams, and at the end it will be a super cumulative final. An inexpensive alternative is UMass-Boston. The courses are about $775 or somewhere around there(including the labs). The downside is that the 2nd session ends kinda late.

Also if somebody is willing to cover for you it's a blessing too many of us have to work and take courses. Don't feel guilty about it as long as you do well and are focused enough then that money will not go to waste (but then again I'm not your mother).
 

sidewalkman

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First off, you should relax. Your GPA is still OK, and you have taken few science classes, which is a real plus. You have figured out what you want to do and what you have to do to get there before you have done too much damage. You are in a far better position than those of us with a GPA below 3.0 and college degrees.

Next, spend 20 minutes with a pad, pencil, and calculator to compute what your GPA and your science GPA will be with the good grades you are now ready to get. I did this, and it was a great confidence-booster knowing exactly what I could achieve stats-wise.

Now for the academics. Are you still unhappy at Tufts? If so, graduate ASAP and take the premed classes elsewhere. It would not be good to take the core pre-med classes in an environment that you do not like. Maybe you could graduate a semester early. Even if you had to take classes over the summer to do so, the savings from not being at Tufts for a semester make it financially worth it unless you have an amazing scholarship. (Tufts advisors will not tell you this, because they want your tuition money.) Take those savings that you got from graduating early and apply it toward an inexpensive post-bacc. Harvard's good, but there are plenty of others that are both good and cheap. Take your time and choose the right post-bacc for you (don't discount expensive programs with potential linkages). As for the letter, I would just get it at Tufts since they already have a (free?) letter service.

So that's what I would do in your shoes. Best of luck to you. :luck:
 
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laana

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Thanks, both of you who replied. It's good to get other people's perspectives, and to get some encouragement. To the person who replied first: I wouldn't consider taking core science courses at UMASS Boston because I'm worried that the courses would not go very in-depth into the subject, and thus I would be less well-prepared for the MCAT. Yes, courses there are cheaper, but what are you getting for the money? And, it may be true that the admissions people might think that it is easy to get an "A" at UMASS Boston, so thus taking courses at UMASS Boston might not be a good idea in the long run, in this case. A relative took a physics course at a state college over the summer, and she said that it did not prepare her well for the MCAT. Maybe I could work on saving money by just being very frugal with money (not buying expensive on-campus food, stick to cooking for myself, etc.). Then I wouldn't feel as guilty with having my mom pay for most of the summer tuition bill.
I couldn't graduate early, but will graduate in time, as I still have some more credits to earn. It sort of would be nice to graduate early, though.
( ok, if you're interested in ramblings, here they are)--> Someone asked if I still dislike being at Tufts. Yes, I still do. But, I need to make the most of it. I wish my mom would have asked me, "well, you must absolutely visit the school before you choose to enroll there," because then, if that were the case, I would have visited it, and the visit would have made me see things with more clarity. Then, I would have made a different choice ( I was offered acceptance at another school, but they only had room for me during the spring term, as I already was on the wait-list, but since I was planning on ultimately transferring to my dream school, I figured that I should go to Tufts since with Tufts, i'd have fall-term freshman year grades to show when i'd apply for a transfer. This was a mistake, because I could have probably taken courses as a "special student" at a college, during the fall term, or have done something else that would have done productive. I also wish my siblings, 2 who already went to college, would have been nosy fairy god mothers who would instruct me to visit the colleges I got into, question me about my choices and assumptions, and then I would have went to the college that only had room for me spring term. So, instead, I went to Tufts. Yes, it's a decent school. But it just isn't the right fit for me. You ever get that "vibe" about a place? And I just felt miserable there--crappy dorm experience, I felt like most of the people just were not like me at all. I felt like everyone was not serious, just liked to drink,etc. While that's not totally true, the basic point is that I felt out of place. And I got depressed about the whole situation, and was intent on transferring, and working hard, getting into leadership positions, etc. (maybe I was being a little too ambitious--doing things a little too quickly, picking up course loads that were too heavy, and earning money and volunteering at the same time--too much stuff on my platter, which would explain some of the W's beginning sophomore year, and plus a bf issue/drama, grandma dying my freshman year, aaah! So, when I got my first W, I think that was fall term sophomore year, I realized that it'd be tough for me to transfer with a W. So, the plan sort of was aborted. So what was it? Lack of clarity? Lack of focus? Trying to stack a lot on my platter, while being in a college environment I really disliked, while having other things going on? Experiencing too much of what life has to offer, all at once? I don't know... I still have to figure out the answer to the question, "so what happened?" Maybe it would have made a big difference if I chose the college that only had room for me spring term. Then maybe I would have been happier there, and that would correlate to no withdrawn grades, less bitterness, more joy with being at a place I liked better. If only I could turn back and do it all over... So, what's the lesson? I guess the lesson is to figure out what you want in life, where you want to be, who you want to be surrounded by, and then figure out a plan on how to get there, and CONSULT people on your plan, get information, get people to guide you, to question what you're doing, to give you tips. No matter how passionate you are about something, it doesn't mean that you know it all. It's good to get outside advice. And try to work/go to a school that you'd like to be at--figure out a plan to get there. A lot of people are working hard to just get into a medical school, any medical school. But wouldn't it be nice to have a choice between medical schools? To choose the one that is a better fit for you? Choose one that is in a city you prefer,etc. That might be another motivation for why you should work hard.










sidewalkman said:
First off, you should relax. Your GPA is still OK, and you have taken few science classes, which is a real plus. You have figured out what you want to do and what you have to do to get there before you have done too much damage. You are in a far better position than those of us with a GPA below 3.0 and college degrees.

Next, spend 20 minutes with a pad, pencil, and calculator to compute what your GPA and your science GPA will be with the good grades you are now ready to get. I did this, and it was a great confidence-booster knowing exactly what I could achieve stats-wise.

Now for the academics. Are you still unhappy at Tufts? If so, graduate ASAP and take the premed classes elsewhere. It would not be good to take the core pre-med classes in an environment that you do not like. Maybe you could graduate a semester early. Even if you had to take classes over the summer to do so, the savings from not being at Tufts for a semester make it financially worth it unless you have an amazing scholarship. (Tufts advisors will not tell you this, because they want your tuition money.) Take those savings that you got from graduating early and apply it toward an inexpensive post-bacc. Harvard's good, but there are plenty of others that are both good and cheap. Take your time and choose the right post-bacc for you (don't discount expensive programs with potential linkages). As for the letter, I would just get it at Tufts since they already have a (free?) letter service.

+pity+
 

dewballs

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First of all I think you need to get off your high horse. You sound like the biggest snob I've ever heard. Do you really feel like you have to take your courses at all the best schools in the country (such as harvard) rather than a state school, which apparently has joke courses in your view. I mean jesus even tufts is just a "decent" school? Well I'll tell you what, I'm at Umass Boston right now doing their post-bac program and I certainly feel like I'm getting what I'm paying for. And I'd take the A in got in chemistry last semester (which by the way was by no means easy) over your B in chemistry at tufts any day of the week. Sorry to be such a dick but I think you need a good kick in the ass.
 

blankguy

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laana,
this is no time to belittle or putdown a school. If it's not a "right fit" for you fine. I know 2 people that got 37 in the MCAT who took their courses at UMass-Boston. One of them I might add is a tufts alum who did his post-bacc at UMass-Boston. There is a limit on what school prepares you best and the rest is up to you. You could go to Harvard with so and so motivation get mediocre grades and get rejected everywhere or you could go to UMass and be very driven and get all As and get multiple acceptances. I asked the Tufts alum as to why he picked UMass over Harvard and he stated that Harvard is way too competitive, which I can relate if you are in a competitive environment it could be very unhealthy in a way. So the bottom line is that go to which ever school fits your needs and makes you comfortable to perform your best, it could be BU, tufts, Brandeis, Harvard, UMass or somewhere else. Ultimately adcoms want to see those As. School gets looked after that but that is way less important than a sparkling transcript with As.
 

scrubs09

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dewballs said:
First of all I think you need to get off your high horse. You sound like the biggest snob I've ever heard. Do you really feel like you have to take your courses at all the best schools in the country (such as harvard) rather than a state school, which apparently has joke courses in your view. I mean jesus even tufts is just a "decent" school? Well I'll tell you what, I'm at Umass Boston right now doing their post-bac program and I certainly feel like I'm getting what I'm paying for. And I'd take the A in got in chemistry last semester (which by the way was by no means easy) over your B in chemistry at tufts any day of the week. Sorry to be such a dick but I think you need a good kick in the ass.

Honestly, it DOESN"T matter what postbac program you are in...as long as you've received stellar grades and the courseload is challenging. I'm in a masters program at a less-known school in FL...finishing up. I was going to go the Harvard extension route just for sake of prestige, but adcoms don't give a crap according to my premed advisor in the past. I interviewed at a couple med schools this cycle and they don't give a flying freak. They're impressed w/ upward trends in grades and dedication to service. Med schools give you room to "mess up". I did horribly my sophomore yr getting Cs in orgo and genetics. I thought that was the end for me but didn't give up. If you want it badly, you've got to fight for it. I did and will be attending med school next fall. So, it can happen to you too. :) Instead of arguing over which postbac program is the best, go to the one that's best for you. That's how choosing a med school should work too. Best of luck. :luck:
 

doc05

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med school isn't worth it, folks. instead of worrying so much about "med school," realize that being a doctor doesn't make you special, and that there are many more worthwhile things to do with your life.

what's your social network like? any contacts in the business world?
 

scrubs09

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doc05 said:
med school isn't worth it, folks. instead of worrying so much about "med school," realize that being a doctor doesn't make you special, and that there are many more worthwhile things to do with your life.

what's your social network like? any contacts in the business world?

are you in med school now? I know med school is not glamorous. I have friends in med school who've sacrificed their social lives and testify to this. But somehow, I can take it. I had all my fun in college.
 
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