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singlemompa

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I'm hoping for some candid advice....
I'm wondering the real chances of pursuing this undying medical field passion as a career ... or finding other ways to fulfill the physical passion.

I'm a 33yr old single mom w an 11yr old son and 6yr old daughter. I had my son days before my senior year of my pre med biology undergrad, also as a top scholarshipped Div 1 athlete. My gpa was 3.0 (4.0 my sr yr!)

I've ended up as a manager/project manager of bulk vaccine production in the Philadelphia area, with a master's in management (2 yrs) (3.9 gpa) 4 yrs after undergrad. I love the job, but my passion doesn't live there. I am actively positioning myself for pre health (pa school? DO school?) ... I became a volunteer emt (6mos) (yes, in my free time after 60+ salaried hours and single momhood :) ), excelled and was asked to go straight into paramedic school (1.5yrs), which I just finished.

I say all of that to say.... how will I know if I'm just frankly barking up the wrong tree? I feel it in my toes when I step foot in someone's home and I have the knowledge to 'diagnose' and treat.

Last year was 10yrs out of undergrad. I'm sure I'll have to retake nearly everything science again. ....

Advice from the world?!?
 

soran

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I don't have much authority to speak, but the general consensus is your chances for D.O. are favorable IF you do grade replacement. Retake science classes you received a C or lower in, and obtain recommendations. Get your overall GPA, after grade replacement, in line with the median of DO matriculates. That should be doable within a year or two. Between your volunteer/clinic time and adding any other random non-clinical volunteering, you would meet the non-academic expectations for DO and MD.

If you want to get into MD school your most direct shot is to get accepted into an SMP, excel, and blow away the MCAT. Or, without the SMP, if you have piles of cash you can take the 150+ credits of 4.0 it would take to go above 3.6. Lastly, you could also move to Texas and do the fresh start program (erases classes 10+ yr old).
 
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DrMidlife

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There's a lot of stuff here that makes me want to root for you. I'll suggest there are 2 narratives you would want to understand, from the perspective of how med school admissions people will view your app. One is where you need to be, if med school makes sense for you. The other is a trainwreck, where you want to recognize early that med school doesn't make sense for you.

Narrative #1, where the reviewer loves your app and happily fights for you over a squeaky clean 22 year old:
"Hmm cumulative GPA is low, but that's a nice MCAT well above our matriculant average, so let's take a look. Multiple transcripts, ok one is from the 2000's, that's the gravity pulling the GPA down, are there any A's in hard science classes back then? Hmm, pretty average. OK recent work: paramedic school, fine whatever...ok here's the postbac, A's in the prereqs, some upper div hard science, all A's, okay now this app is interesting. Quick look over the basics, ok this is an older student, significant job experience - oh that's interesting, vaccines, this candidate should have a mature understanding about the business of health care - paramedic is so much less boring than the last 30 EMTs I saw. (Pause.) Good god please let the letters not make me want to kill myself. Recommendation letters, <scan scan scan highlighter highlighter> excellent. Essay, <scan scan scan highlighter highlighter> well that's refreshingly easy to read, makes me feel like I know a bit about who & why. I'm feeling like this is an interview, but let's do another look for red flags...top to bottom just briefly looking for problems...other than the old transcript there's nothing red in here, sure looks like this candidate can handle a great deal on her plate, and clearly the recent academic work is above the bar. Next."
(Note how you're not in the door without numbers. Numbers numbers numbers.)
(Note this is no more than 5-10 minutes, in a session that reviews 20+ apps. Before you interview you'll get another 5-10 minutes from your interviewers. Think like a marketer.)

Narrative #2, where the reviewer cringes:
"Hmm cumulative GPA is low, MCAT is minimum, why don't we autoscreen these out, I mean really? Oh, it's a local. (Sigh.) Alright, transcripts, some old, some tech, some new, let's see what's on the new. Prereqs, some B's, meh. Not making the sale. Oh there's an SMP, that's a good program...3.4? The last 4 kids from that SMP had 3.9. Come on dear give me something please... Scan the activities, healthcare biz, paramedics, so she's employable, that's good. What letters does she have...only 2 from science faculty? Does she not understand the academic hill she needs to climb BEFORE med school? I don't want to spend any more time with this app but if I don't at least read the essay...good lord is there any noun in here not slathered in adjectives? Is there some point in here where there's a who & why...nope. Nope nope nope sorry dear, glad you have a good resume to go back to."
(Note how you're not in the door without numbers. Numbers numbers numbers.)

The critical thing for you, imho, is to find out if you can survive & thrive in the hard science coursework before you blow a ton of time & money trying. You honestly have to get all A's from here out. Anything not an A is a step away from med school. And the cost to you of getting those A's may be too much. It may be too much time, too much money, too much not being with your kids, too much not being able to do grownup things like vacations, too much struggling to explain what you're doing to your support system, etc. So figure out a way to discover if you WANT to be in school killing yourself to beat the kiddoes FOR A REALLY LONG TIME.

The attitude around SDN is that you don't have to work as hard if you'll "just" be going DO. This is crap. DO school is med school, and your preparation for and performance in MED SCHOOL are what determines whether you have any choices for residency, or if you'll have to take a residency that has nothing to do with why you wanted to go to med school in the first place. If you get into med school, hate it, get crap board scores, suck it up to finish, and THEN find yourself working with people you don't like, disappointed that you didn't have a chance to do specialty X, in a location you don't like, for 3-5 MORE YEARS, then did you make a good choice in going to med school?

Lastly, yes, the diagnostic urge is a wonderful thing, and although you'll likely not have any reviewers who understand the importance of project management, which is the higher paid version of successfully waiting tables for rent which is the ultimate indicator of general competence and sometimes leadership, that aspect of your story alone is what makes me hope this'll work out for you.

Best of luck to you.
 
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gyngyn

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There's a lot of stuff here that makes me want to root for you. I'll suggest there are 2 narratives you would want to understand, from the perspective of how med school admissions people will view your app. One is where you need to be, if med school makes sense for you. The other is a trainwreck, where you want to recognize early that med school doesn't make sense for you.

Narrative #1, where the reviewer loves your app and happily fights for you over a squeaky clean 22 year old:
"Hmm cumulative GPA is low, but that's a nice MCAT well above our matriculant average, so let's take a look. Multiple transcripts, ok one is from the 2000's, that's the gravity pulling the GPA down, are there any A's in hard science classes back then? Hmm, pretty average. OK recent work: paramedic school, fine whatever...ok here's the postbac, A's in the prereqs, some upper div hard science, all A's, okay now this app is interesting. Quick look over the basics, ok this is an older student, significant job experience - oh that's interesting, vaccines, this candidate should have a mature understanding about the business of health care - paramedic is so much less boring than the last 30 EMTs I saw. (Pause.) Good god please let the letters not make me want to kill myself. Recommendation letters, <scan scan scan highlighter highlighter> excellent. Essay, <scan scan scan highlighter highlighter> well that's refreshingly easy to read, makes me feel like I know a bit about who & why. I'm feeling like this is an interview, but let's do another look for red flags...top to bottom just briefly looking for problems...other than the old transcript there's nothing red in here, sure looks like this candidate can handle a great deal on her plate, and clearly the recent academic work is above the bar. Next."
(Note how you're not in the door without numbers. Numbers numbers numbers.)
(Note this is no more than 5-10 minutes, in a session that reviews 20+ apps. Before you interview you'll get another 5-10 minutes from your interviewers. Think like a marketer.)

Narrative #2, where the reviewer cringes:
"Hmm cumulative GPA is low, MCAT is minimum, why don't we autoscreen these out, I mean really? Oh, it's a local. (Sigh.) Alright, transcripts, some old, some tech, some new, let's see what's on the new. Prereqs, some B's, meh. Not making the sale. Oh there's an SMP, that's a good program...3.4? The last 4 kids from that SMP had 3.9. Come on dear give me something please... Scan the activities, healthcare biz, paramedics, so she's employable, that's good. What letters does she have...only 2 from science faculty? Does she not understand the academic hill she needs to climb BEFORE med school? I don't want to spend any more time with this app but if I don't at least read the essay...good lord is there any noun in here not slathered in adjectives? Is there some point in here where there's a who & why...nope. Nope nope nope sorry dear, glad you have a good resume to go back to."
(Note how you're not in the door without numbers. Numbers numbers numbers.)

The critical thing for you, imho, is to find out if you can survive & thrive in the hard science coursework before you blow a ton of time & money trying. You honestly have to get all A's from here out. Anything not an A is a step away from med school. And the cost to you of getting those A's may be too much. It may be too much time, too much money, too much not being with your kids, too much not being able to do grownup things like vacations, too much struggling to explain what you're doing to your support system, etc. So figure out a way to discover if you WANT to be in school killing yourself to beat the kiddoes FOR A REALLY LONG TIME.

The attitude around SDN is that you don't have to work as hard if you'll "just" be going DO. This is crap. DO school is med school, and your preparation for and performance in MED SCHOOL are what determines whether you have any choices for residency, or if you'll have to take a residency that has nothing to do with why you wanted to go to med school in the first place. If you get into med school, hate it, get crap board scores, suck it up to finish, and THEN find yourself working with people you don't like, disappointed that you didn't have a chance to do specialty X, in a location you don't like, for 3-5 MORE YEARS, then did you make a good choice in going to med school?

Lastly, yes, the diagnostic urge is a wonderful thing, and although you'll likely not have any reviewers who understand the importance of project management, which is the higher paid version of successfully waiting tables for rent which is the ultimate indicator of general competence and sometimes leadership, that aspect of your story alone is what makes me hope this'll work out for you.

Best of luck to you.
The narratives are exactly what I do while screening!
The adjectives (and adverbs) bit is spot on...
 
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