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New clueless guy who needs advice

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Pilot Guy, Oct 31, 2001.

  1. Pilot Guy

    Pilot Guy New Member

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    Hey all,

    I've been reading this board for a while now, and have found everyone to be extremely knowledgeable about the Med School application process, so I figure I'll throw a tricky one at ya. I recently spoke with a Med School advisor, and now I guess I'm looking for a second opinion. :)

    First a little background. I attended a CC from 98-00, earning a A.S. with a 4.0 GPA. While I was there I took Chem I, Calculus I-III, and a bunch of other mishmesh. I then transferred to UIOWA where my GPA dropped to 3.2, with my science GPA coming out to around 3.0. My GPA at graduation was 3.57 (composite w/CC GPA), with my UIOWA GPA 3.17.

    My problem wasn't the usual "turning 21 and discovering beer" thing, but rather I couldn't stand my major. I let my parents talk me into Computer Science as a fallback skill (whenever somebody says "fallback", replace that word with "completely unfulfilling" and then punch them in the face). So I lost motivation during my last two years as my classes were 99% C.S., given I had already knocked out my Gen Eds at the C.C.

    So now, with my staggeringly mediocre UIOWA g.p.a., I realized I should've gone to medical school all along, for reasons I know you all can relate to. So I spoke with a med-school advisor about my chances, and she basically explained that I'd have to prove to the boards that my GPA didn't worsen because I started going to a "real school". I have to get a few pre-reqs out of the way anyway, so she recommended that I return to UIOWA as a non-degree student and take as many high-level Bio and Chem classes as possible (and of course get A's in all of them) to prove that my major was really the problem in the first place. Oh, and I took a couple different practice MCATs and scored 36 and 38, so I'm not worried about that (yet ;)).

    Does returning to UIOWA sound like a wise move to all of you? I'd be 100% willing to do it if I thought it was a valid concern. My only reluctance stems from the fact that to do so, I'd have to quit a $60k/yr flying job and move away from friends/gf/family to do it.

    The alternative would be to stay put, and get the pre-reqs done at a CC, keeping my job in a part-time capacity. But would that reinforce the "couldn't hack a real school, so he went back to an easy school" stereotype?

    So what would you all do, were you in my position? Would you take the pre-reqs at UIOWA, or just try your luck with the CC? How closely do boards look into WHERE, and WHY you got the grades you did?

    Thanks in advance!
    Pilot Guy
     
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  3. dtreese

    dtreese Caramel Gollum

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    Generally, the advisors know what they're talking about. You're going to need something to bring to the game. If you have to finish prereqs, do it at a university. Meanwhile, if you're doing that well on the MCAT, you might want to take it in April. A great MCAT can make up for a low GPA, especially when you explain the career change. But you should understand that for non-traditional students, getting into med school can be a 2-3 year process. If you really want it, that won't matter.
     
  4. Pilot Guy

    Pilot Guy New Member

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    Just curious, what's the definition of "non-traditional student"? Is it an age thing, an undergrad major thing, or what? I'm 23, and have only been out of college for a year, so I'm hoping that I won't be seen as non-traditional. Not to offend any non-trads out there, but that's just another stigma I hope to avoid. :D
     
  5. E'01

    E'01 1K Member

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    Pilotguy being a non-trad I think is an advantage. It's certainly given me a lot to talk about in my interviews. I'm a slightly older applicant (will be 25 soon) and did a 2-year post-bac and thus consider myself a non-trad. Usually the term is used for career-changers, post-bacs, older applicants. Sorry if I forgot any other categories.
     
  6. dtreese

    dtreese Caramel Gollum

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    It changes from school to school (University of Louisville classifies students 27 or older as non-traditional) but it can be a big advantage. The whole "worldy wisdom" thing comes into play. Plus, some schools actually ease standards for non-trads. Don't knock it till you've tried it.
     
  7. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member

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    Hello.
    i would suggest going back to the University to take those higher end bio and chem classes. if medicine is your goal then who cares about that high paying job! maybe you could take all of those classes within a year or something which would show that you can do alot of hard classes at once. take the MCAT and do well....BUT the real MCAT is harder than the practice ones especially verbal....and factor in your emotional state at 8:00 in the morning in a room packed with other pre meds with a proctor who can't keep time and verbal being your first section. don't want to scare you or be mean and this is not directed to you personally but i'm tired of people saying...."on practice tests i get a 42"!
    also get a really good letter writer to explain away your lower GPA at university. get letters of rec from the university only! community college letters they don't want to see. and do some cool volunteer experience...because i don't think you mentioned it so i don't know whether you have any. maybe take EMT courses or EKG classes. maybe do some community service for planned parenthood or the red cross or something.
    my best advice would be to try to do evyerthing right. taking the MCAT and more bio/chem courses is good but you probably want to build a better application (to make up for that GPA) by doing volunteer/community service. also craft your personal statement well. or maybe just consider caribbean schools. hope that helps.
     
  8. Pilot Guy

    Pilot Guy New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I hear what you're saying about the practice tests vs. the real deal. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it goes. ;)

    As far as the extracurriculars goes, I have to admit I don't have any experience doing volunteer work in the healthcare industry. I was wondering if military experience means anything to the board members? Usually, employers look at it as a sign of dedication, leadership, and self-sacrifice; but compared to someone who's volunteered at a retirement home every weekend for 15 years, I'm not sure how I'd stack up.

    Thanks again for the advice!
     
  9. lilninja

    lilninja Senior Member

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    I've talked to some med school faculty and they seem to think that non-traditional means several years out of school (>3 or 4) with a career somewhere else. None of them think post-bacc programs (esp. the 1 or 2 year ones) make an applicant non-traditional. So, if you've been a teacher, or in the military, that would be more non-traditional than say, taking a year of graduate courses.
     

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