New to SDN!!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Tweetie_bird, Nov 22, 2001.

  1. Tweetie_bird

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    Hi guys,
    This is my first time here, and already I feel like I am such a part of this community. I've been reading posts for the last hour and am amazed to see such a supportive group. That is probably the reason I decided to post my message here, and state some concerns I have regarding my application for 2003.

    I know I know, it's probably very early to think about it, but I like the philosophy of "the early tweetie gets the worm." Can Tweetie eat worms?? Anyway, to make a long story short, I basically want to ask a lot of you applying/experienced Pre-meds the age old question-what are my chances?? Quick stats on me--Biology major with TONS of classes in Psych (including graduate level.) Undergrad GPA of 3.35. Horrible first year and a half, but 3.7 - 4.0 in O Chem, upper Bio and Zoology classes, and Biochem. Last two years were decent in grades (3.5 and above). Lots of research; one acknowledgement, one pub next year that will be presented in Spain (third author.) Clinical research positions where have I worked directly with patients; EMT license; and good leadership roles in community and school. I know I may sound competitive (I hope!) initially but my concern is this--I totally flunked out of my elementary Bio and Calculus classes (2.1 to 3.0's). I don't want to sound like I am making excuses, but a death in the family, a recent move from a different country to settle in the US, and academic maturity (read: couldn't cope with college) had a lot to do with it. I am not interested in taking more undergrad classes. It sounds silly, but I am craving to get back into school. I would HATE to not get in on my first try. Oh, and I graduated in 2000.

    I am working on studying for my MCATs right now, but I am feeling quite hopeless since I don't do well on standardized tests ......any encouragement, or pushing me in the right direction will do. Sorry about such a long post, and thanks in advance for all your advice you've been posting on here. It really helps those of us who need to be inspired once in a while.

    Tweetie
    PS: happy thanksgiving!!! :p
     
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  3. Jessica

    Jessica Senior Member

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    Hi Tweetie. First of all, welcome to SDN and Happy thanksgiving! About the failing grades, were those early in your academic career as well? As long as you are showing an improving trend, that is what adcoms should focus on. Also, it sounds like there was a lot going on in your life, so that should also be taken into consideration. Certainly convey the circumstances surrounding you academic trouble spots, but be very careful to avoid taking any responsibility for what happened (ie don't play yourself as merely the "victim" of your circumstances.) Adcoms will want to know what you learned from your challenges, what strengths and coping mechanisms you had/developed to get you through your difficult times. Be cautious about making excuses for problems, but explain the situation in enough detail so that people can understand what kind of a position you were in and how you dealt with it, and how this will help you conquor other challenges. You sound like a very well rounded applicant... my advice, keep doing what you enjoy! You don't have to be a perfect, cookie cutter type applicant to get accepted! Do a few of the things that you enjoy most, and best of luck :)
     
  4. BeckyG

    BeckyG Senior Member

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    Hi Tweetie,

    Welcome to SDN! I agree with most of what Jessica said. The only things I would add are these: 1) I would take responsibility for you actions - doing otherwise or skirting issues will look immature and/or like you are trying to hide something. One of the first steps in showing how you have changed and what you have learned is by identifying what you were supposed to do/what was supposed to happen ("the ideal" or "best" action) vs. what actually did happen. Pushing responsibility off on someone else is a bad move in the admissions process - it presents to the committees that you cannot handle/accept/own responsibility. 2) If you have the time, take another class or two to help boost you GPA some more. Your GPA is not bad, but it is below the average of accepted applicants; so you'd need good MCATs or a trend of improvement in GPA over time (i.e., if it was only the first year that killed you and you've been doing well since then, you should be ok.). 3) If you have access to one from your undergrad school, talk with a premed advisor. Sometimes they are great, other times they're horrible. But, if you have a good one, it can really make a difference in your application and in the process as a whole. I hope this was helpful. Good luck,

    -- Becky
     
  5. Welcome Welcome Tweetie :D

    As you might not be aware since you are new....all new members are required to pay a special "service fee" to me :D Yes, it is under the guidelines of SDN ;) please go ahead and write a 1,000$ check, so you can get a lifetime membership offer with SDN. Please write the check to Mr. WatchMaCallit and send the check to my email address...thank you

    peace V

    Watcha
     
  6. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    My advice, for what it's worth (I'm applying now for the first time, took the August MCAT for the first time, and am not accepted anywhere yet, although I do have a few interviews) is:
    1) take an MCAT review course, and make preparing for the MCAT a full-time job. I took Kaplan, and actually repeated the course twice (the cost is nominal the second time), because I did not do enough practice tests the first time around. Take lots of practice tests! And then figure out why you missed every single one of the questions you missed. Keep doing this over and over again!
    2) make sure you do the best you can possibly do on the exam
    3) get your letters of recommendation lined up right now while your professors still remember you, and make sure they are terrific letters
    4) apply early and write killer essays in which you explain what you've learned from your mistakes that will make you a terrific doctor
    5) apply to lots of schools, and carefully pick schools where you should be competitive
    6) Watch out for Watcha! ;) :D

    Best of luck, and welcome to SDN! :)
     
  7. Tweetie_bird

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    Thanks for all your replies, guys. I see the light!!
    Yes, I agree with what most of you guys have said, except one thing--having to take a few more undergrad classes. YIKES!! I honestly hated the environment of my premed classes because I went to a school with a very strict "weed out" program (atleast in my opinion), and most of the premeds in those classes were too competitive in the unhealthy sense. I also think I could do much more with my time right now, than try to boost my GPA....maybe I am wrong, or perhaps I am just fed up with the politics of the entire process. It's sad to realize that with all the passion, hard work, and prayers, an application may boil down to numbers (atleast initially). I may not have explained my situation regarding my grades very well, so I'll try again.

    First year science classes:
    bio and calc (all between 2.1 and 3.0's)
    G Chem (all b/w 2.9 and 3.4)
    This is when I basically f----ed up; it simply was my fault for not being able to deal with certain things going on in my life.

    Second year:
    Org Chem (grades b/w 3.5 and 4.0)

    Third year:
    Biochem (3.9-4.0)
    Upper level Biology and Zoology classes (3.5 and 4.0)

    Fourth year, same as third except I took more electives. So yes, there is a definite upward trend that I hope and pray they will look at. I am trying to console myself by saying that even though I flunked out of my first year classes, I did get better grades in the upper level courses. Furthermore, I really want to work as an EMT with my new licence. I am currently not being able to do that right now, since I am scrambling to finish a manuscript that's going to be presented in the spring....then I take the MCATs...and then I start working as an EMT. By the time I apply, I would have atleast 4 months of working experience as an EMT and two papers.

    Isn't doing all this (clinical work, EMT, MCATs) better than taking a few measely undergrad classes just to show I am smart enough?? I honestly think I've tried to demonstrate my intellect by busting my behind and getting better grades in O Chem and Biochem which are much harder classes. Won't that count? Perhaps I am missing something here..?? ::Sigh::

    Now I know what it feels like to be beating a dead horse. I see a lot of you accomplished guys out there, and honestly...I worry. I know everybody works hard for what they earn, and I hope I am one of them. It's just that when I realize the competition I am up against, I start doubting myself. Any of you feel like that too?

    Again, thanks for letting me vent. You guys are awesome....

    Jess and Becky, your advice was great, i'll keep it in mind.

    Watcha: I am a poor immigrant and all I can offer you is day old turkey. want some? :D :D

    SMW: good luck to you! You're in my prayers.

    Tweetie: damn your posts are long!!

    take care guys,
    Tweetie ;)
     
  8. BeckyG

    BeckyG Senior Member

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    Hi Tweetie,

    First, don't doubt yourself or compare yourself to other applicants. Just go for what you want and don't talk to the highly competitive or insecure applicants/premeds. As for the grades, I think you'll probably be fine - the comment/suggestion was made more to make the admissions process "easier" for you. A "higher" GPA (with extra classes) would make your numbers (the ones we all hate) more competitive - this is assuming that your MCAT score's not 33+ (90th percentile). If your MCAT's really high, then a 3.4 will be more than enough to get you in the door (e.g., interviews). I had a 3.8 GPA but a 29T on the MCAT. I applied to 18 schools, interviewed at 9, and was accepted to 2 (going to UCSF). People with "great numbers" will not have problems getting interviews, but most of us with less than the average score of ACCEPTED students (on MCAT or GPA) will find the admissions process more difficult, tiresome and LONG (because you get waitlisted more often than getting an outright acceptance). Granted, this is a generalization, but I think it's pretty correct. Anyway, you do not have to take more classes, but it will help you get interiews and secondaries if your MCAT is less than 33 (or right around there). And, it will help "demonstrate" to the Adcoms that you are a great student who can handle the rigors of med school. (The great grades in orgo and biochem do prove this, but a lot of great applicants will have these grades too). Anyway, that's why I mentioned asking a pre-med advisor. He/she would have a much better idea of what is needed to prove your ability to handle the curriculum to Adcoms. But, all of this speculation is moot given that you've not taken the MCAT yet. Hope this is helpful.

    -- Becky
     

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