Quantcast

Non-trad URM just starting off, please advise!

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

new2thegame

New Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2010
Messages
3
Reaction score
0

Members don't see this ad.
Hello all! I have an Associate degree and I recently decided to change my major from Business to Biology and I would like to go to med school for radiology. I am black, 28 years old, California resident. I had a 3.3 GPA before I got out of the Air Force in 2007 (did 6 years active duty as Avionics Tech). Kind of fell off with a few classes after I finished my obligation with the military and I got an F in Organizational Behavior (forgot to drop the course), a D General psych(I could barely make it to the class, full time job), and a WU in Statistics. I had a hard time adjusting back to the civilian world, so I wasnt too focused at the time! Now that I have gotten reacquainted, I have my academic brain back and Im ready to go! I have a few questions that I would like to ask:

1. I am retaking the Psych class this semester and I will retake the stats class because its required for my degree, but I dont know if I want to retake the org behavior because its no longer even part of my degree. Should I retake this course as well? I am aiming at having at least a 3.5 GPA by graduation.

2. I purchased the MSAR and I have read different sites and these message boards and everyone is saying you need to have volunteer hours or clinical shadowing. I am 2 years and a semester from graduation (2012), when should I start trying to do this? And how can I fit this into my busy schedule? I work 8-5 M-F and school is from 5-10 M-F. I work for Kaiser Permanente (non clinical, 2 years+) and plan to stay until I make it to medical school, would this be enough for an application or would you suggest more? And I see research is a big thing as well, where would I even start to look to get into that?

3. When should I start studying for the MCAT? I wont start the general bio and general chemistry sequence until January 2011, and probably will be done with the physics and organic chem by March or May of 2012.

4.Based on some of the personal stats below, what would my chances of being accepted to a school be? I am mainly looking in California where I reside. What else should I do to show that I am serious and passionate about medicine?

6 years active duty Air Force, Staff Sergeant, both wars!
3.5 GPA by end of undergrad (lord willing!)
Biology major


5.Is the URM thing a big hurdle in med school with the rest of the students?

Thank you all for bearing with me!
 
N

njbmd

Hello all! I have an Associate degree and I recently decided to change my major from Business to Biology and I would like to go to med school for radiology. I am black, 28 years old, California resident. I had a 3.3 GPA before I got out of the Air Force in 2007 (did 6 years active duty as Avionics Tech). Kind of fell off with a few classes after I finished my obligation with the military and I got an F in Organizational Behavior (forgot to drop the course), a D General psych(I could barely make it to the class, full time job), and a WU in Statistics. I had a hard time adjusting back to the civilian world, so I wasnt too focused at the time! Now that I have gotten reacquainted, I have my academic brain back and Im ready to go! I have a few questions that I would like to ask:

1. I am retaking the Psych class this semester and I will retake the stats class because its required for my degree, but I dont know if I want to retake the org behavior because its no longer even part of my degree. Should I retake this course as well? I am aiming at having at least a 3.5 GPA by graduation.

2. I purchased the MSAR and I have read different sites and these message boards and everyone is saying you need to have volunteer hours or clinical shadowing. I am 2 years and a semester from graduation (2012), when should I start trying to do this? And how can I fit this into my busy schedule? I work 8-5 M-F and school is from 5-10 M-F. I work for Kaiser Permanente (non clinical, 2 years+) and plan to stay until I make it to medical school, would this be enough for an application or would you suggest more? And I see research is a big thing as well, where would I even start to look to get into that?

3. When should I start studying for the MCAT? I wont start the general bio and general chemistry sequence until January 2011, and probably will be done with the physics and organic chem by March or May of 2012.

4.Based on some of the personal stats below, what would my chances of being accepted to a school be? I am mainly looking in California where I reside. What else should I do to show that I am serious and passionate about medicine?

6 years active duty Air Force, Staff Sergeant, both wars!
3.5 GPA by end of undergrad (lord willing!)
Biology major


5.Is the URM thing a big hurdle in med school with the rest of the students?

Thank you all for bearing with me!

First of all, don't spend any time in class burning tuition money until your head is ready to do the work. This means not doing things like dropping classes and putting in the time that your coursework demands. You say that you had a difficult time with the adjustment to civilian life, well, be sure that your "adjustment" is done before you spend even one minute in college.

The next thing to keep in mind is that preparation to study medicine if very unforgiving in terms of making mistakes. Your poor coursework (for whatever reason) stays with you. Make sure that you thoroughly master every class that you enroll in. This means doing the work, ridding yourself of distractions and not "bailing" when the work get tough. You can't "bail" in medical school so your undergraduate work is your prep for getting your academics as strong as possible.

Don't even start extracurricular activities until your academics are sound. This means that you are not getting any grades less than B+ in any subjects. Every subject prepares you for medical school. A good writing course will help you with the writing sample on the MCAT. A good reading and critical thinking course will help you with the verbal reasoning. A good math course will give you the tools to understand and apply general chemistry and general physics principles to the MCAT. Everything will help you assimilate and apply your pre-clinical work in medical school to the clinical problems of your patients when you get to third year.

Medical school prep requires you to have "tunnel-vision" for many years because it's a very long term goal. You take "baby steps" each day and chart your progress on each one of those steps. You can't look too far ahead and "slop" through the tasks at hand. Your school work has to be your priority and you have to do well. There are no "do-overs" and no excuses for less than a sound preparation.

We on admissions committees look for students (regardless of color/ethnicity) who show sound evidence that they can get through a challenging medical curriculum. Your score on MCAT and your academics (Undergraduate) are the main criteria that we use to judge your readiness for our curriculum. Don't believe for one second that once you "get in" you can't "fail out" because student fail out every year for one reason or another.

You have to be sure that you are able to handle the coursework. The best way to do that is to handle your undergraduate coursework with no excuses. Decide today that from this second onward, you are going to do excellent work by "any means necessary". If you have to live in your professor's office during office hours, then do it. You have paid for the coursework so get every dollar's worth of instruction.

Keep your eyes on your work and don't let anyone else in the class "psych" you. Students will boast about how little they study but I can tell you this, the proof is in the results. I studied myself into oblivion in medical school (more than 8-10 hours per day) and ended up with the grades (and the board scores to do what I wanted. In short, I took care of my business and tuned out the others who loved to boast.

Finally, URM isn't the boost that everyone on this message board tends to believe it is. By the time you are ready to apply to medical school, that 3.5 may be woefully inadequate. When that time comes, you may have to do some postbacc work or do a SMP (Special Masters Program) that will enhance (read prove) your readiness for medical school.

My advice:
  • Make sure all distractions are gone.
  • Make sure you are doing excellent (not good) coursework.
  • Prepare for and do well in the MCAT (one take).
  • Make no excuses for yourself.
  • Keep your mind on your work and your goals.

Good luck!
 

new2thegame

New Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2010
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Thank you for the insight! I am totally focused and ready to go, first day of class is the 22nd!
 

TriagePreMed

Membership Revoked
Removed
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
6,210
Reaction score
34
Re-take the low grades because you'll be able to. Fortunately, those are not considered important classes for medical school purposes. Keep going.
 

check077

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2010
Messages
34
Reaction score
3
First of all, don't spend any time in class burning tuition money until your head is ready to do the work. This means not doing things like dropping classes and putting in the time that your coursework demands. You say that you had a difficult time with the adjustment to civilian life, well, be sure that your "adjustment" is done before you spend even one minute in college.

The next thing to keep in mind is that preparation to study medicine if very unforgiving in terms of making mistakes. Your poor coursework (for whatever reason) stays with you. Make sure that you thoroughly master every class that you enroll in. This means doing the work, ridding yourself of distractions and not "bailing" when the work get tough. You can't "bail" in medical school so your undergraduate work is your prep for getting your academics as strong as possible.

Don't even start extracurricular activities until your academics are sound. This means that you are not getting any grades less than B+ in any subjects. Every subject prepares you for medical school. A good writing course will help you with the writing sample on the MCAT. A good reading and critical thinking course will help you with the verbal reasoning. A good math course will give you the tools to understand and apply general chemistry and general physics principles to the MCAT. Everything will help you assimilate and apply your pre-clinical work in medical school to the clinical problems of your patients when you get to third year.

Medical school prep requires you to have "tunnel-vision" for many years because it's a very long term goal. You take "baby steps" each day and chart your progress on each one of those steps. You can't look too far ahead and "slop" through the tasks at hand. Your school work has to be your priority and you have to do well. There are no "do-overs" and no excuses for less than a sound preparation.

We on admissions committees look for students (regardless of color/ethnicity) who show sound evidence that they can get through a challenging medical curriculum. Your score on MCAT and your academics (Undergraduate) are the main criteria that we use to judge your readiness for our curriculum. Don't believe for one second that once you "get in" you can't "fail out" because student fail out every year for one reason or another.

You have to be sure that you are able to handle the coursework. The best way to do that is to handle your undergraduate coursework with no excuses. Decide today that from this second onward, you are going to do excellent work by "any means necessary". If you have to live in your professor's office during office hours, then do it. You have paid for the coursework so get every dollar's worth of instruction.

Keep your eyes on your work and don't let anyone else in the class "psych" you. Students will boast about how little they study but I can tell you this, the proof is in the results. I studied myself into oblivion in medical school (more than 8-10 hours per day) and ended up with the grades (and the board scores to do what I wanted. In short, I took care of my business and tuned out the others who loved to boast.

Finally, URM isn't the boost that everyone on this message board tends to believe it is. By the time you are ready to apply to medical school, that 3.5 may be woefully inadequate. When that time comes, you may have to do some postbacc work or do a SMP (Special Masters Program) that will enhance (read prove) your readiness for medical school.


My advice:
  • Make sure all distractions are gone.
  • Make sure you are doing excellent (not good) coursework.
  • Prepare for and do well in the MCAT (one take).
  • Make no excuses for yourself.
  • Keep your mind on your work and your goals.
Good luck!

@njbmd:

I have to commend you for the excellent advice that you're providing--it is positive yet realistic about the expectations of medical school. You truly show your knowledge in this matter without talking to others condescendingly about their medical school prospects. Advise, like this, is definitely welcomed.
 
Top