Non-Trad Questions - For UCD

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New Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2004
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Hello. My wife is currently pursuing an option to study medicine. She graduated from UCD with a degree in Plant Biology with an emphasis in genetics. She has a cumulative 3.6 GPA with a 3.5 is science courses. She has been milling options for an advanced career and education; medicine has become one of them. She took the GRE last year for Biology and scored in the upper 80th percentile and will be taking the MCAT on April 17th. She enrolled in the Kaplan course and her last full practice test she scored a 33 (11V 12B 10P). Her goal is a 35-37 and she has two more full practice exams to take.

She has been working since out of college (she is 26) as an associate scientist for a national biomedical testing company that produces blood testing equipment and panels. She is a highly scientific and bright individual (I am biased) and one of her major motivations is her recognition of being successful at learning medical material (she has a uniquely strong analytical memory) and applying that towards being a successful physician. I know some people approach medicine from the status, emotional, or life long dream perspective where she does not. Her attitude about applying has been pragmatic. In her mind, she wants to demonstrate to herself that she has the aptitude to progress, and if she scores well, she will further a discovery into her options. I know that all too often people are successful communicators and have a mysterious passion about becoming a doctor but are overcome by the academic challenges of the testing and education.

Have any of you out there made a judgment to pursue the practice medicine because of your success in the biological / natural sciences and recognizing an opportunity and importance later in your academic life? My wife is somewhat of a work-a-holic and loves to be on her feet, and constantly challenged. She is a good personal communicator with adults and loves children. Her friends have made comments to her about being a good physician, mostly because of her informative nature on medical / scientific subjects. Her immediate interest is to become a family practitioner, and would like to go to UC Davis.

My question is, what are her chances of being considered for medicine even though she has not demonstrated a previous exposure to the patient clinical environment? Her work is important to the medical community as a scientist, but obviously not as directly as someone who spends countless volunteering hours. At this point she has an interest in doing some volunteering but with 50+ hours a week of work as well as studying for the MCAT, it is just not possible. She also dances in a modern dance company twice a week, which adds to her time constraints.

Thank you all for any insight you might provide me.



Frank Netter's Love Child
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 17, 2002
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Your wife sounds like a fine candidate. However, you mentioned that it is one of the many career options she's pursuing. If she's considering this as just another "option," then medicine probably isn't right for her. If it doesn't already consume her as a passion or is definately an identified "calling" in her life, would medicine truly be a rewarding career for her?

It takes more than being a good candidate on paper. There's a legion of pasty-faced 4.0 GPA biology nerds who also make good candidates. But the passion has to be there!

Your wife will, undoubtedly, have no problem finding a great graduate program or career. If, in the end, she has done some soul searching and medicine IS what will be most satisfying, then I wish her good luck.

Smile'n'Wink MD

I'm somewhat confused. She wants to become a physician but has no clinical experience? For a smart woman, that seems foolish. My clincial experience and volunteering has always been a guaranteed question during interviews. This was especially at UC Davis...which is where I'm planning on going this fall.

If she's never volunteered, the school might wonder why she just doesn't enter grad school.

Schools want to make sure that their students are not only smart, like your wife, but can think on their feet while under stressful situations and execute good decisons. The best way for pre-meds to observe this is to put themselves in clinical situations where you can observe nurses and physicians dealing with difficult patients, struggling with ethical delimmas, being comfortable with the sight of blood, etc.

If her schedule is indeed that straining, I would recommend putting the dancing on hold and investing it into some good clinical experience. Make sure it's not some random volunteer experience where she just stands in the corner, but a worthwhile one that she can learn from as well as mention in her essays and interview. Good luck!