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Need Advice (You Can Be Honest)

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by tryingagain, Mar 5, 2002.

  1. tryingagain

    tryingagain Soon to have no life
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    I posted this same topic in the Allopathic forum but wanted to see how future D.O.'s repsonses varied from those of the Allo. forum:

    Here's a VERY brief summary.

    Took MCAT in April 2000 without studying. Received an 18 (ouch!). I have a 3.26 GPA, major in Biology. Collected recommendations but did not officially apply anywhere in 2000.

    I am currently enrolled in Kaplan. Received a 24 on the first full-length exam. Am studying very hard for April exam. I am currently working as an Orthopedic Consultant (sales).

    Met with my old college's pre-med advisor today. She told me that my GPA was just too low. Advised me to look at D.O. or overseas schools.

    What do you think? I have read some of your posts and know there is hope, but level with me. Is the advisor right? What score do you think I need on the MCAT to be competitive if at all?

    Thanks for all your time and good luck.
     
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  3. Artois

    Artois Member
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    Well, it depends on what you want to do and how well you do when you retake the MCAT. I wouldn't mention to any DO student that you couldn't get into an MD school so you went DO, though. Alot of DO's only every wanted to go DO. I've worked my butt off, as I'm sure you have, to do well and my scores are above the average MD scores but have always wanted to be a DO. And to tell you the truth 45.3% of all MD applicants are accepted whereas only 37% of DO applicants are. So while DO schools may accept a lower MCAT and GPA it's still competetive to get in. Good Luck.
    DrMoon posted some stats on another post

    Allopathic
    125 schools
    37,092 applicants
    17,538 entrants

    Average Admission Scores
    MCAT
    VR 9.4
    PS 9.7
    BS 9.8
    GPA
    Sciences 3.44
    Total 3.49

    Osteopathic
    19 schools
    7,708 applicants
    2,860 entrants

    Average Entrant Scores

    MCAT
    VR 8.1
    PS 8.2
    BS 8.7
    GPA
    Sciences 3.35
    Total 3.4
     
  4. lala1979

    lala1979 Junior Member
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    hey there
    I don't think your GPA is as much of a problem as your MCAT. I could be wrong because obviously I am also applying to med school, but that is just what I think. Good luck.
     
  5. lala1979

    lala1979 Junior Member
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    what I am trying to say is improve your MCAT:)
     
  6. kowboy

    kowboy Junior Member
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    Keep your head high and work your tail off. I've heard of all kinds of crazy stories about people getting accepted to med school with below-average scores, but realize, they are the minority. Even though your gpa is low, I think your science gpa is a better indicator of your acceptance to med school. Keep taking tons of practice MCATs. I think you'll need more than a 24 to get accepted if your gpa is so low, but it's possible. Practice, practice, practice.

    Overseas schools can also be a great alternative, but do your research. You can still get a great education, and it's possible to practice in the states, but there are more loopholes, and it's getting increasingly more difficult. I checked out a lot of Caribbean schools, like St. George's, AUC, and Saba. They were the most reputable Caribbean med schools I researched. Keep working and best of luck to you. I think if you want it bad enough, you'll find a way to practice medicine, whether it be MD or DO.
     
  7. Slingblade the Surgeon

    Slingblade the Surgeon Senior Member
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    I have a friend who got accepted last year to two MD schools with a 3.1 gpa and 27 MCAT...It's not ALL about the numbers.
     
  8. Stillfocused

    Stillfocused Senior Member
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    A few thoughts:

    Did you take the Kaplan diagnostic? Have you seen an improvement?

    How did your practice MCAT scores break down? Did you get three 8s or is there an area that is pulling the others down?

    Your 24 is a 6 point improvement over your first exam. That is an accomplishment; be encouraged. Your hard work is paying off;it just may take more time.

    How much do you read? Do you read the NYT, WSJ, or the Washington Post everyday? So much of the MCAT is a test of how good you are at understanding short, dense passages. Good newspapers provide unlimited practice at this. And, the NYT and the Post are free online.

    Were there any classes in particular that really pulled your gpa down, especially in the sciences? Consider retaking them.

    AACOMAS will only count your most recent grade if you retake a class, whereas the AAMCAS will average them

    How were your grades in the basic sciences, (gen chem, intro bio, physcis, and organic)?
    It is hard to rock the MCAT if you do not have a solid foundation.

    Consider starting an intensive post-bac this summer to retake these classes if your background is weak and your practice MCATs are not consistently 27 by mid-April.

    I would recommend NOT taking the April exam if you are less than confident about getting a 27.

    Instead, do gen chem in the summer. Take the others in the Fall and take the MCAT in August 2003. There are some excellent formal programs out there. Harvard and Columbia have good ones in their night schools. But, a good community college will do if cost is a problem.

    What have you done in the way of research? Are you published? If you are near an academic medical center consider volunteering to on a project that you are interested in. What have you done in the way of hands on clinical work? Think about an EMT course.

    If you are serious about osteopathic medicine, immerse yourself in the literature; go well beyond what is available online. Make sure that your approach to medicine fits with osteopathy.

    There are thousands of people with numbers much like yours that apply to DO schools every year. Think how can you show schools that you deeply understand and appreciate what osteopathic medicine has to offer.

    Good luck and keep up the great work.

    Feel free to email me with any questions.
     
  9. Stillfocused

    Stillfocused Senior Member
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    A few thoughts:

    Did you take the Kaplan diagnostic? Have you seen an improvement?

    How did your practice MCAT scores break down? Did you get three 8s or is there an area that is pulling the others down?

    Your 24 is a 6 point improvement over your first exam. That is an accomplishment; be encouraged. Your hard work is paying off;it just may take more time.

    How much do you read? Do you read the NYT, WSJ, or the Washington Post everyday? So much of the MCAT is a test of how good you are at understanding short, dense passages. Good newspapers provide unlimited practice at this. And, the NYT and the Post are free online.

    Were there any classes in particular that really pulled your gpa down, especially in the sciences? Consider retaking them.

    AACOMAS will only count your most recent grade if you retake a class, whereas the AAMCAS will average them

    How were your grades in the basic sciences, (gen chem, intro bio, physcis, and organic)?
    It is hard to rock the MCAT if you do not have a solid foundation.

    Consider starting an intensive post-bac this summer to retake these classes if your background is weak and your practice MCATs are not consistently 27 by mid-April.

    I would recommend NOT taking the April exam if you are less than confident about getting a 27.

    Instead, do gen chem in the summer. Take the others in the Fall and take the MCAT in August 2003. There are some excellent formal programs out there. Harvard and Columbia have good ones in their night schools. But, a good community college will do if cost is a problem.

    What have you done in the way of research? Are you published? If you are near an academic medical center consider volunteering to on a project that you are interested in. What have you done in the way of hands on clinical work? Think about an EMT course.

    If you are serious about osteopathic medicine, immerse yourself in the literature; go well beyond what is available online. Make sure that your approach to medicine fits with osteopathy.

    There are thousands of people with numbers much like yours that apply to DO schools every year. Think how can you show schools that you deeply understand and appreciate what osteopathic medicine has to offer.

    Good luck and keep up the great work.

    Feel free to email me with any questions.
     
  10. jhug

    jhug 1K Member
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    i wouldn't totally buy what your couselor said-- i have average md scores & my advisor told me--honestly-- "if only you were a woman or a minority you would be in anywhere" she then continued to tell me not to apply- it wasn't worth it this year. i got in to 5 different schools!!! But i have a ton of clinical/volunteer work (5+ years) which really seemed to boost my average scores. Keep working on the scores and mix in a lot of volunteer/clinical experience & you'll be fine.
     
  11. tryingagain

    tryingagain Soon to have no life
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    Yes, I took the Kaplan diagnostic. I received a 20 on it and a 24 on my first full length exam. I also hear that the Kaplan tests are much harder than the real thing. My breakdown is 9 verbal, 8 bio, and 7 physci. On bio and physci I was only 1 question away from a 9 and an 8, respectively.

    So I guess what I am saying is that if I continue to improve it may still be possibleto get a 27+.

    Thanks for you advice.

    Oh, and I do have 2 years research experience in genetics as well as various volunteer experience. The chemistries were my down fall: 3 C's and a B. I rocked in Biology and everything else. I diodn't decide on Med School until my Junior year - by then I had already taken Chemistry.

    I realize that it may be in my best interest to re-take both general chemistries, maybe at night. After the MCAT I will check into this option.
     
  12. Stillfocused

    Stillfocused Senior Member
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    You are right on track. Keep it up!!!

    If you intend to apply for 2003, I would defintiely retake general chemistry this summer and first semester organic in the fall. What your you gpa be if you replaced the Cs with B+ or A-?

    The Cs make your MCAT prep harder now however.

    Most of the MCAT organic draws on the first semester so the C is probably hurting in terms of your preparation.

    Consider watching all the taped workshops and doing extra drills for gen chem and organic. It is a ton work but it may really help. Spread it out over a couple weeks though. No one can really learn all that organic in a weekend.

    Also, a 10 or higher in verbal would help. Concentrate on your strengths as well as your weaknesses.

    Your advisor sounds a bit too conservative but keep her on your side. A composite letter and a committee rec helps a ton.

    How much do read of the periodicals I mentioned? Make time for it; 30 minutes a day is optimal. Use this time to practice reading actively.

    What do you think about osteopathic philosophy/practice? What literature have you looked at outside of what you have seen online?

    Would you deep really be comfortable with not having M.D. after your name? There is nothing wrong with that.

    Many people feel that it is a bit of a waste to do all the work of medical education and not get the instant respect and social status that "M.D." implies. Be honest with yourself it will make your essays more authentic.
     
  13. laavp

    laavp Junior Member
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    My words of wisdom to you is keep prepping harder with the Kaplan MCAT prep material. I am a postbaac/Masters in Public Health student currently enrolled in Kaplan. I had the most hideous of all hideous diagnostic scores : a sad 15 ( 5s on each section!). I almost cried when I saw my scores. I mean some people score a 15 on one MCAT section.

    Getting the 15 may have been a blessing in disguise. It motivated me to work very hard from the last week of January til now, when I took my first Kaplan full length I went up 8 whole points to a 23 in just 6 weeks (8V, 8P, 7B). My 8P was a high 8 and my 7B was a high 7 so with 7 weeks left to go I am confident that with intense hard work I can bring my score upto the high 20s if not a 30!

    So my word of advice is practice, practice, practice. It can be done. Your baseline was much higher than mine on the Kaplan diag. If I can do it with my hideous of all hideous 15 daig, you def. can do it. UTILIZE ALL THE RESOURCES AT KAPLAN!!!! Topicals, foundation reviews, subject tests, full lengths, etc, etc. GOOD LUCK!!!!!
     
  14. tBw

    tBw totally deluded
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by tryingagain:
    <strong>
    Took MCAT in April 2000 without studying. Received an 18 (ouch!).

    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Well, takiing the MCAT without studying was your downfall. Luckily its a test that can be repeated, which you are doing, so as long as you study hard for it your past experience with it should put you in good stead to do well this time. At which point you are golden.

    Two points though. First of all, think about what you want. Think really, really hard. Do NOT go DO if you don't like the idea of being one. The reason I say this is that we get posters on here all the time saying "I have been accepted to DO school, do you think I should decline it and re-apply MD next year?". These posters are idiots. They have not bothered to look into a profession, or into their own souls, before considering committing their life for at least the next 4 years to said profession. They have wasted their money, their time, etc. If you think you might be one of those people that would have the DO acceptance in their hand and still be wondering if you should give it up to try MD again next year, decide this BEFORE applying DO - it will save you time, money and stress. On the other hand if you like the idea of DO, go for it. WHATEVER you do though, do it because thats what you decided to go for not what some pre-med advisor told you. Pre-med advisors are often not the best informed. Mines told me I didn't need to do the pre-reqs. I am not sure what part of the phrase "pre-required courses to apply to med school" this advisor was unclear about!!! Pre-med advisors are (in my humble opinion) useful for submitting your letters - and thats about it, period. The actual info you need is on here on SDN or available direct from the med schools admissions office. For the record, if you can pull the MCAT up to 27-30 I think your GPA would not stand in your way for MD if that is what you want. Round out your application in other areas.
     

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