thisisvj89

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Be advised, this is lengthy. I have NOT taken the MCAT yet, so don't bother reading if you're only going to post something like "take the MCAT and then update us".

SDN has really helped me thus far and I hope for the day where I'm on the opposite side of this conversation. I'm really shooting to be competitive for the MCAT so I'd like to know your opinion of other high impact things I can do to have a successful application in 2018.

I became curious about medicine during the summer of 2014 at the age of 25. Disinterest quickly followed after looking into the financial implications and number of years required to actually become an attending physician. However, a project with at my company in 2016 gave me my first exposure to the complexities and immeasurable unknowns surrounding medicine.

As a mechanical engineer, problem solving is what we do for a living--and we love it. It turns out problem solving is what physicians do every day too, it's just that much more sacrifice is required before the privilege of solving human health problems is bestowed upon you. Realizing this, I figured I should shadow a doctor on the front lines to get my feet wet.

I shadowed an ED doctor and saw a team of physicians, residents, and nurses save an inmate's life on my first day. So many things converged for me that evening, I knew I would forever regret not pursuing a career in medicine.

I have been volunteering at a local emergency department and taking prerequisite coursework ever since. Volunteering at the ED has taught me how rewarding it is to help people. I've also seen the many downsides of medicine at the ED but the good so greatly outweighs the bad in my opinion.

I plan on applying to MD schools in June 2018. Prerequisite coursework will come to an end for me after Biochemistry is completed in January. At that point I will have taken Biology I-II, Organic I-II, and Biochemistry online from UNE and maintained a 4.0 (pending A's in orgo II and biochem). UNE online is my only option because I really need my job until matriculating.

I will sit for my first attempt at the MCAT in May and should have 300+ dedicated study hours in the 13 weeks leading up to test day. Again, I'm assuming to have a competitive score...this cycle is lost without it.

As for GPA, my B.S. Mechanical Engineering was five years ago and my M.S. Mechanical was 4 years ago. Below is the best estimate I can give for GPA's at application time. This is assuming the AMCAS folks agree with my categorizations.

3.45 uGPA (169 cred hrs)
3.85 graduate GPA (M.S. mechanical engineering, 27 cred hrs)
4.00 post-bacc (only 20 cred hrs...)
3.79 total BCMP (63 cred hrs)
3.38 not BCMP (133 cred hrs)
3.51 CUM GPA (196 cred hrs)

I plan to continue with coursework until matriculation. My schedule should allow me to complete Anatomy and Physiology before any interviews and then pathophysiology and microbiology before matriculating in 2019. Very idealistic here.

Hopefully my post-undergraduate upward GPA trend can convince adcoms of my academic commitment. Right now, the parts of my application I'm most concerned with are shadowing, volunteering, and research.

Volunteering
I will have 200+ hrs at the ED, taking vitals, gowning patients, etc. But that's it except for a few one-time community involvement volunteering sessions.

Shadowing
Only once for about 6 hrs with the aforementioned ED doctor. More is certainly better and I would like to have 60+ before submitting my application.

Research
I did a master's thesis on a topic in mechanical engineering but didn't publish with a journal. I regret that now but still did a good bit of research and published with the university library to successfully defend the thesis.

If you read all this and have some constructive criticism, I'm wide open. Kick me if you want, I'm committed and can take it.
 

gyngyn

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Primary care shadowing would really help and volunteering with those less fortunate than yourself. A total of 40-50 hours is more than enough...
Depending (somewhat) on your location, a second language could be helpful.
 
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workaholic181

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May 29, 2017
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Be advised, this is lengthy. I have NOT taken the MCAT yet, so don't bother reading if you're only going to post something like "take the MCAT and then update us".

SDN has really helped me thus far and I hope for the day where I'm on the opposite side of this conversation. I'm really shooting to be competitive for the MCAT so I'd like to know your opinion of other high impact things I can do to have a successful application in 2018.

I became curious about medicine during the summer of 2014 at the age of 25. Disinterest quickly followed after looking into the financial implications and number of years required to actually become an attending physician. However, a project with at my company in 2016 gave me my first exposure to the complexities and immeasurable unknowns surrounding medicine.

As a mechanical engineer, problem solving is what we do for a living--and we love it. It turns out problem solving is what physicians do every day too, it's just that much more sacrifice is required before the privilege of solving human health problems is bestowed upon you. Realizing this, I figured I should shadow a doctor on the front lines to get my feet wet.

I shadowed an ED doctor and saw a team of physicians, residents, and nurses save an inmate's life on my first day. So many things converged for me that evening, I knew I would forever regret not pursuing a career in medicine.

I have been volunteering at a local emergency department and taking prerequisite coursework ever since. Volunteering at the ED has taught me how rewarding it is to help people. I've also seen the many downsides of medicine at the ED but the good so greatly outweighs the bad in my opinion.

I plan on applying to MD schools in June 2018. Prerequisite coursework will come to an end for me after Biochemistry is completed in January. At that point I will have taken Biology I-II, Organic I-II, and Biochemistry online from UNE and maintained a 4.0 (pending A's in orgo II and biochem). UNE online is my only option because I really need my job until matriculating.

I will sit for my first attempt at the MCAT in May and should have 300+ dedicated study hours in the 13 weeks leading up to test day. Again, I'm assuming to have a competitive score...this cycle is lost without it.

As for GPA, my B.S. Mechanical Engineering was five years ago and my M.S. Mechanical was 4 years ago. Below is the best estimate I can give for GPA's at application time. This is assuming the AMCAS folks agree with my categorizations.

3.45 uGPA (169 cred hrs)
3.85 graduate GPA (M.S. mechanical engineering, 27 cred hrs)
4.00 post-bacc (only 20 cred hrs...)
3.79 total BCMP (63 cred hrs)
3.38 not BCMP (133 cred hrs)
3.51 CUM GPA (196 cred hrs)

I plan to continue with coursework until matriculation. My schedule should allow me to complete Anatomy and Physiology before any interviews and then pathophysiology and microbiology before matriculating in 2019. Very idealistic here.

Hopefully my post-undergraduate upward GPA trend can convince adcoms of my academic commitment. Right now, the parts of my application I'm most concerned with are shadowing, volunteering, and research.

Volunteering
I will have 200+ hrs at the ED, taking vitals, gowning patients, etc. But that's it except for a few one-time community involvement volunteering sessions.

Shadowing
Only once for about 6 hrs with the aforementioned ED doctor. More is certainly better and I would like to have 60+ before submitting my application.

Research
I did a master's thesis on a topic in mechanical engineering but didn't publish with a journal. I regret that now but still did a good bit of research and published with the university library to successfully defend the thesis.

If you read all this and have some constructive criticism, I'm wide open. Kick me if you want, I'm committed and can take it.
totally agree with the above; if you can add hours shadowing a primary care physician that would do a lot for your app.
 
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thisisvj89

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
135
31
Status
Pre-Medical
totally agree with the above; if you can add hours shadowing a primary care physician that would do a lot for your app.
I really should have done that a while ago. Will DO schools prefer shadowing a DO and MD schools prefer an MD? I'll manage either way but I've wondered this. Does the same apply for physician letters of recommendation?
 
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thisisvj89

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
135
31
Status
Pre-Medical
Primary care shadowing would really help and volunteering with those less fortunate than yourself. A total of 40-50 hours is more than enough...
Depending (somewhat) on your location, a second language could be helpful.
Is there a reason it should be a pcp over other doctors? I'm at the hospital twice each week and can poke around to find all sorts to shadow.
 
Jul 25, 2017
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I really should have done that a while ago. Will DO schools prefer shadowing a DO and MD schools prefer an MD? I'll manage either way but I've wondered this. Does the same apply for physician letters of recommendation?
A lot of DO schools require a letter from an osteopath (about half), all except the new schools require a letter from a physician. A few require one from an osteopath you've shadowed for over 20 hours (ATSU-SOMA from memory), but just write that off if you're as busy as most non-trads. Note these are hard reqs - gatekeepers won't even forward to decision makers if you don't have the letter they ask for.

The good news is that its not hard to obtain. Shadow an osteopath for at least a half day. If there's rapport, ask them for a letter. I shadowed 3 DO's and the experience was very positive - some ball-busting naturally, but that's to be expected anytime you're moving up in the world.

As is always the case with this sort of thing, the person who writes for you is probably the most accomplished among all the people you've worked with. I asked the first one I shadowed for a letter, she declined stating she was too busy. She works 3 days a week and saw like 6 patients in a day. The guy who wrote for me saw 23 patients in a morning, takes patients 6 days a week, teaches, has publications, serves on several governing boards, has several political appointments...and was happy to write a letter. Same for my science letters: blown off by lecturer, superstar with 315 pubs was glad to. Translation: letter writing is mostly about them, not about you, so don't take rejection personally.

To my knowledge, MD programs don't care about DO versus MD shadowing. There is very, very little difference in the way they practice medicine.
 
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Jul 25, 2017
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Is there a reason it should be a pcp over other doctors? I'm at the hospital twice each week and can poke around to find all sorts to shadow.
Its typically the least-preferred and lowest-paid specialty. PCPs work 40-60 per week and take home 150-250 on the same stress as a lot of the more demanding specialties. Derm works 30-50 and takes home 400-600 and has zero stress. Neuro works 60-80 and takes home 750+.

If you like primary care, odds are you will like most specialties, and are viewed as perhaps not as money-motivated as people saying they want neurosurgery or derm.

I plan on applying to MD schools in June 2018. Prerequisite coursework will come to an end for me after Biochemistry is completed in January. At that point I will have taken Biology I-II, Organic I-II, and Biochemistry online from UNE and maintained a 4.0 (pending A's in orgo II and biochem). UNE online is my only option because I really need my job until matriculating.
This limits you to DO and will not prepare you as well for the MCAT as traditional programs.
 
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thisisvj89

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
135
31
Status
Pre-Medical
A lot of DO schools require a letter from an osteopath (about half), all except the new schools require a letter from a physician. A few require one from an osteopath you've shadowed for over 20 hours (ATSU-SOMA from memory), but just write that off if you're as busy as most non-trads. Note these are hard reqs - gatekeepers won't even forward to decision makers if you don't have the letter they ask for.

The good news is that its not hard to obtain. Shadow an osteopath for at least a half day. If there's rapport, ask them for a letter. I shadowed 3 DO's and the experience was very positive - some ball-busting naturally, but that's to be expected anytime you're moving up in the world.

As is always the case with this sort of thing, the person who writes for you is probably the most accomplished among all the people you've worked with. I asked the first one I shadowed for a letter, she declined stating she was too busy. She works 3 days a week and saw like 6 patients in a day. The guy who wrote for me saw 23 patients in a morning, takes patients 6 days a week, teaches, has publications, serves on several governing boards, has several political appointments...and was happy to write a letter. Same for my science letters: blown off by lecturer, superstar with 315 pubs was glad to. Translation: letter writing is mostly about them, not about you, so don't take rejection personally.

To my knowledge, MD programs don't care about DO versus MD shadowing. There is very, very little difference in the way they practice medicine..
It's not you, it's me. I like it. That helps me get out of my own way and just ask, thanks!
 
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thisisvj89

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
135
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This limits you to DO and will not prepare you as well for the MCAT as traditional programs.
Do you mean online coursework will be the limiting factor? The latest MSAR shows many MD programs are accepting accredited online prerequisites.
 
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thisisvj89

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Frowned upon among MD at best.

MD is very very competitive.
Not surprising given the competitiveness, I just have trouble following the logic if (IF) I can crank out the same MCAT as someone who did a traditional postbacc. Sure, the traditional postbacc would have more difficult simultaneous course-load. But they would also have that extra 40+ hrs that someone working full-time like myself doesn't.
 
Jul 25, 2017
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441
Not surprising given the competitiveness, I just have trouble following the logic if (IF) I can crank out the same MCAT as someone who did a traditional postbacc. Sure, the traditional postbacc would have more difficult simultaneous course-load. But they would also have that extra 40+ hrs that someone working full-time like myself doesn't.
Read up on gyngyn's and goro's comments on online coursework. While not a big deal for one or two courses (especially biochemistry) its problematic when its a lot of the coursework.

CC's are a much better option for several reasons
 
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thisisvj89

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Jul 23, 2016
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We want you to know what managing your own patients is like.
Fair enough. To that end, what about rounding with interns/residents at a local program? Do you think this would be a better or worse option than shadowing a PCP?
 
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