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non-trad post bacc.

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by Institute, May 1, 2007.

  1. Institute

    Institute 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    So I'm a non-trad premed (though my family for some generations has been involved in professional medicine). I'm not doing a 'post-bacc' program like many of you are in the sense, however, I'm basically pursuing another degree to prove to med schools and myself that I have to what it takes to compete. So my question is, how does AMCAS work the grades from my previous degree and my current degree? (My previous degree was a rollercoaster with quite a few deficiencies, 7 F's total, with all of them made up) Do they basically clump the grades of both degrees together?

    Of course I know what I need to get done to try and make myself competitive and am involved in some good EC's (I have a very good job in the ER that provides awsome clinical exposure, volunteer at several hospitals, and have a great neuro research internship this summer), however, the problems that I've had in my previous degree just keep looming over my head in terms of my chances in US med schools. What's worse is that they weren't related to my intelligence, but to my depression (****ty excuse) and lack of direction in life. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated in figuring out what I can do to make myself standout (how clichè).
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  3. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion 10+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Clumped they will be. All your undergraduate work is averaged together. Whee.

    There's no fixing a broken GPA. All you can do is demonstrate an upward trend, and demonstrate success in upper-div science. Try to get your GPA to start with a 3: a 2.anything in the best case is an uphill fight, carrying a brick-filled backpack and pulling a Winnebago on a tow-rope through snow and lava. You may need to make friends with osteopathy, which is fine.

    People say different things about how much your MCAT score can help. Some people say that (your GPA*10 plus your MCAT) needs to be 70 for a great school, 65 for a good school, and 60 for an average school.

    I'm doing the same thing you are, for similar reasons. My math degree was half-assed and 20 years ago. I'm doing microbio now, with a full year of biochem, on top of the premed prereqs. It's more difficult work than I thought it would be.

    Can you create a standout experience, such as organizing a free clinic, or starting a non-profit that's for real? That would potentially make a big difference.

    If you're under 30, my vote is that you can still afford to spend a couple years doing something dramatic like the Peace Corps.

    Best of luck to you.
  4. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Wild west of Mistytown
    I can't tell if Dr. Midlife was joking about the free clinic or non-profit but there have been a few who have just started all over and succeeded. Anything with multiple credits and applying to the right schools that will heavily consider your recent coursework is a goal. And clinical experience/research experience is key. If you are willing to work for it over the next few years, one of our most successful stories is OldManDave who overcame a 1.2 GPA and finished his gas residency at Dartmouth. He gradated from KCOM I believe. I might also consider DO schools as they are more forgiving of past GPA errors (but there are some MD schools that do this as well).

    Rock your coursework get a 4.0 in like 100 credits, take as many science classes as you can, possibly do an SMP and go for it.
  5. Institute

    Institute 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    Right on, thanks for the info you 2.
  6. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Mar 30, 2001
    Focus on GPA first, then extracurriculars. Even if you start your own clinic, or do the peace corps (and note some of these requires a large time committment), but you have not adequately addressed the GPA issue, then it will be very tough to get into med school. As the others have stated, upward trends are good. You will have to kill the MCAT either way. Regardless of how schools weight the MCAT, just consider the MCAT as equal to GPA, and not a substitute for GPA. That is, a good MCAT score cannot make up for a bad GPA or vice versa.

    You are doing the right thing by taking more undergrad classes and seeking EC opportunities.:thumbup: However I wouldn't go as far as suggesting specific things to do to make you more unique. There's a billion things I could do to make myself more unique then the next person. But the question is what is most feasible, most "bang for the buck", and more importantly, is it something that I will enjoy? You will go insane if you try to one-up the next person or wonder what is "most unique". Even worse, you may fall into the EC-trap, where your grades suffer because of doing too many EC's. Tread carefully.

    Another aspect that I would like to highlight is longterm committments. Med schools do like to see devotion to whatever you enjoy doing. Whether it be the Peace Corps or research, they want to see devotion. One of my more outstanding undergrads recently has a 3.8 GPA, will have 2 publications this year, has done 2 years of medical aid work in 3rd world countries, presented at research conferences, played sports for 3 years at the NCAA Division I, and should hit the 30's for the MCAT. This is in addition to countless hours of volunteering in the hospital, shadowing and all the usual stuff. Definitely shows committment. This is where you have to ask yourself if you can get A's during a full-time courseload (because you're doing another degree) while playing the balancing act to make yourself "stand out".

    Its a tough road. I'm doing a PhD so I can improve my GPA (taking undergrad classes now), but I have to balance that with my PhD thesis, other research projects, presentations, publications, my medical aid work, clinical work, and just LIFE. So really the take home message here is that med schools want to see you do well and be committed to whatever you do through superior time management skills. (of course interpersonal skills are important too) They're not looking for you to be the next Mother Teresa or Stanley Prusiner. Its definitely not an impossible task, but its certainly not easy either. Good luck!
  7. Institute

    Institute 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    Thank you so much for your feedback relentless. I appreciate your time in responding to my questions and issues. :)

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