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Need an opinion on my situation

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Teragen

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I'm 25 years old with 3 children all under the age of 2. I'm a community college transfer student. My wife and I had our first child right before transferring to the university so my first quarter grades weren't that great. Going from an 18 week semester to a 10 week quarter with a 5 month old was tough. We had no help from friends or family because we were no where near them and child care was not affordable. I have pretty much hit 3.3's each quarter while still finding time to volunteer, do clinical research and other internships(I do this because I enjoy it, but also because it's necessary), and keeping my marriage/family life healthy. Prior to this current quarter my wife and I had twins which led me to postpone a couple finals but I made them up. My GPA prior to transferring was around 3.7 and now it's around 3.5, which I think is great considering my situation, but it's not what I think it's what the adcoms think. We still have no help for watching kids and my wife is going back to work so there goes another 15-20 hrs/week that I can study because the kids take all my time, pretty much.

From what I gather I will be treated no differently from a student who is single with no children; or am I wrong about that? I'm just wondering if anyone else has any similar experiences and how it went for them. I haven't taken the MCAT yet so I don't know how competitive the score will be. I will also be graduating in June. I feel that in a different situation I could have better grades, but I wouldn't trade my family for anything. I'm also not sure how far I should go into it in my personal statement. So any advice is welcome.
 
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njbmd

Here is your major problem: you have to demonstrate (kids or not) that you are capable of navigating a challenging medical program. What ever you do, (raise your uGPA, ace the MCAT), you HAVE to demonstrate what you are capable of doing. The biggest problem for you is that you came from community college and your GPA dropped. At this point, you have to get it back up.

While it is fine to mention your family, don't mention that it was because of family obligations that you were not able to do as well as you "could" have. That isn't going to serve you well in the long run. You might want to mention some of your responsibilities but using your personal statement/interview question answer to "explain" a less than stellar academic performance leaves an admissions committee with the idea that you will continue to have problems as the curriculum ramps up.

Get some good grades right now, even if you have to drop back to one or two classes and definitely drop any extracurricular activities. Don't mention any childcare issues (it is assumed that you will have these solved and your support system in place). You need to start working on your support system right now (at the undergraduate level) because medicine and medical school will demand more of your time, not less.

Yes, you are considered like a traditional student. You do get some extra positive consideration if you do well with your family obligations but you can't say that your family obligations prevent you from excellent work. You can drop the volunteer work and concentrate heavily on your academics so that you give yourself every opportunity to raise your grades. Needless to say, you need an excellent MCAT score so do whatever it takes to get yourself prepared.

If you want to discuss your family and how they provide encouragement for you to pursue medicine, then do so but don't mention that lack of a support system/child care is the reason that your uGPA is less than competitive. That won't fly because other folks in your situation have been able to excel. Do your best from here on out and slow your pace to what you can comfortably handle academically and excel.
 

Luxian

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I am impressed! Really, what you have done, balancing all you've had to balance, is something to be proud about.

First of all, your GPA is not that low. It's a touch lower than average, but nothing that will be a real obstacle. Secondly, you have good ECs. Thirdly, you'll have to do well on your MCAT. Think over 30. Take the time to study, pick up some MCAT prep books, and take it when you are ready even if that's another six months down the road.

The downside of all this is that schools expect traditional students and do their first pass at applications based on GPA and MCAT. You won't be treated any differently. However, in the interview, I would recommend talking about your family, about how supportive they are of your decision (if that's true!) and about how you managed to do school, volunteering, and parenting all at once. That really will be looked upon well.

You can mention your family in your personal statement, but as the previous poster said, never draw attention to weaknesses in your application, even if it's trying to explain them. Write about your dedication to the field, your experiences, and your drive. That will win them over every time.

Good luck!
 

Teragen

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Thanks for the advice and wisdom. After talking with my advisor, I think I'm going to take the next quarter off and resume in the fall. This will give me ~6 months to clear my head and my children will be older. Then I can take a couple more quarters and graduate; hopefully earning a 3.5-4.0 GPA in those quarters. I definitely will be mentioning it in my personal statement, with njbmd's suggestions. Thank you again for taking the time to respond.
 
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Blade28

njbmd makes some excellent points, but I feel one bears repeating:

HYou do get some extra positive consideration if you do well with your family obligations but you can't say that your family obligations prevent you from excellent work.

This is so true. Having decent grades with difficult circumstances (your family) is always a plus. Not doing so well because of said circumstances? Not so good. Don't forget that many other applicants have tough situations - full-time jobs, families, etc. - to deal with on their own as well.

Best of luck.
 

Teragen

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This is so true. Having decent grades with difficult circumstances (your family) is always a plus. Not doing so well because of said circumstances? Not so good. Don't forget that many other applicants have tough situations - full-time jobs, families, etc. - to deal with on their own as well.

Best of luck.

I agree. I have had ~3.3 each quarter at the university which I think is pretty good considering I had my own business during my first year, then sold it because it took too much time, all while maintaining my family responsibilities. I do feel the situation has forced me to manage my time even more than most students would. I'm not in a rush to get into medical school so I think taking a quarter off, focusing on MCAT preparation and working to save up some money, will help in the long run.

I understand other applicants have tough situations as well and I am not the only one. If I can get passed the initial screening and the adcoms take a look at more than GPA/MCAT, they will see that I have never taken the easy way out, be it taking easy A courses or taking less units, I may get some positive consideration. I don't think a 3.5 GPA is that bad, but I do want to show that I can handle the rigors of medical school, by having a strong finish in my undergrad studies.
 
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Blade28

If I can get passed the initial screening and the adcoms take a look at more than GPA/MCAT, they will see that I have never taken the easy way out, be it taking easy A courses or taking less units, I may get some positive consideration.

Agreed. Try to pull that GPA back up (you definitely don't want a big drop going from community college to a 4-year university!), rock the MCAT, and you'll have a great shot.
 
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