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Not sure if I even stand a shot

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whiskytonks

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Hello all,
I've trolled on this website for months, but this is my first post. I am a non-traditional student, and really not sure if I even have a shot at getting into medical school because of a low science gpa.

Here are the facts:
I am a 26 year old female attorney with my own law practice. My undergraduate degree is in philosophy and political science. I graduated from undergrad with a 3.9 gpa and NO science courses.

After law school, I went back to school to work on a Masters degree in order to take the patent bar. I am currently about 2/3 complete with an M.S. in biotechnology. My Masters degree GPA will probably be around a 3.5 when I finish, based on current trends.

My undergraduate science GPA is VERY low. It is around a 2.3. However, those are only chemistry and physics courses- no bio courses. So, that gpa is based only upon gchem 1 and 2, ochem 1 and 2, and physics 1 and 2.

I am taking the MCAT on August 21st and, based on practice exams, I expect my score to be in the 35-36 range. (I am greatly benefited by a consistent 14-15 on the verbal section.)

I have no published science articles, but several published law articles. (Don't know if that matters at all). No research, but I may do some next semester.

The extremely low undergraduate science gpa and lack of research may eliminate me from the get go and I'm not really sure what sorts of schools I should be looking at. Is an MD program out of the question? Might I be accepted to a a DO program? Further, I'm not sure how medical schools will view the attorney factor.

I would greatly appreciate your advice and suggestions based on your own experiences! Thank you!
 
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Krisss17

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Okay, why are you going for medicine? With all the time and money you put in for law school and then getting the other graduate degree, do you really want to spend yet another $200K + dollars?

At 26, you are only at the start of your career...what brought on the about face?

I think even with A's in the bio sequence, it's going to be tough to bring it up to a minimum of 3.0. If you took the older courses over again (and I would since it has been a while and you'll want to be fresh for the MCAT), you can replace your poor grades with hopefully better grades. This is, of course, only if you go for the DO. I really don't think that you are going to have a great shot of getting into an MD school, stateside.

I tink you really need to think about why you are changing paths lke this. To me it sounds as though with all of the schooling you have already done with undergrad, then law school, the grad school...going for medical schools seems like you are afraid to really go out on your own...school can be a great security blanket for some...

I just think that you really need to think of the why, because you will definitely hear that question often from many different people, not to mention that it will need to be addressed when you apply for med school.

Best of luck :luck::luck::luck::luck:
 

NTF

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hmmm. I think to realistically give you pertinent advice we'd need a little more information. I agree with Krisss17 that adcoms are going to want to know why you suddenly want to shift to medicine.

The questions I have are:

1)What kind ECs do you have? volunteering? patient contact? shadowing?
2) Are you willing to postpone your application to take more science courses to boost your scGPA and bolster your ECs?
3)What kind of LORs are we looking at? Any from physicians or science professors?
4) What state do you live in? Do you have a lot of friendly instate schools?
5) Are you applying this cycle?

Based on the limited info you've given the red flags I see are:

1)Lack of healthcare exposure or commitment to healthcare - ie patient contact, biomedical research, volunteering, shadowing, etc.
2) Low scGPA. Your master's GPA unfortunately will not repair your scGPA. Master's GPAs are viewed entirely separate from ugrad GPA. You may be autorejected from some schools if they have scGPA cutoffs. The only way to repair your scGPA is to take ugrad upper level science courses. I'd also consider retaking prereqs that you tanked.
3) Application looking like an impulsive whim
4) Assuming you're going to rock the MCAT. And I honestly don't think a rockin MCAT will compensate for a lack of ECs combined with a low scGPA.
5) If you're applying this year an Aug 21st MCAT puts you at a disadvantage because the earliest your app will be complete will be late Sept.

My best advice would be to step back and really consider whether you've fully thought out the medical school path. Take your time. Shadow. Take some more science courses. You're going to be commiting to potentially 200k in debt and 7-10 years of mediocre earning power. It's a 20-30 year career you're looking at. Taking a little time now to think this out is well worth the time. You owe it to yourself to consider this thoroughly.

If in the end you feel this is absolutely what you want, some more detailed info would be needed to give you proper guidance. No one can really tell you whether you'll get in or not. That's not how this (or life) works. But we can give you pointers on weaknesses in your app and suggest things you can do to improve it.
 
G

gorrillaunit18

This post just proves once again that science/math related majors are the only hard majors in college.


PS: You have no shot. Stick with your other career.
 

BennieBlanco

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This post just proves once again that science/math related majors are the only hard majors in college.


PS: You have no shot. Stick with your other career.

"Nothing can withstand the power of the human will if it is willing to stake its very existence to the extent of its purpose." - Benjamin Disraeli

I would say it probably depends on the school you went to and your proclivity towards science/math, but the classes may be harder in general across the board.

To the OP - YOU CAN DO IT.

if you desire it. Would you be willing to apply 5 years in a row if you didn't get in? 4 years? 3 years?

People who want it bad may try UNTIL they get in. In our quick fix society we don't have to wait long for things. Today most get flustered if they fail at something one or two times. Read an old biography of a guy who had to work for 10 years to become "successful" or 20 years (amazon.com anyone?)
 

BennieBlanco

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3) Application looking like an impulsive whim


My best advice would be to step back and really consider whether you've fully thought out the medical school path. Take your time. Shadow. Take some more science courses. You're going to be commiting to potentially 200k in debt and 7-10 years of mediocre earning power. It's a 20-30 year career you're looking at. Taking a little time now to think this out is well worth the time. You owe it to yourself to consider this thoroughly.

If in the end you feel this is absolutely what you want, some more detailed info would be needed to give you proper guidance. No one can really tell you whether you'll get in or not. That's not how this (or life) works. But we can give you pointers on weaknesses in your app and suggest things you can do to improve it.

Well said
 

blueflower77

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I could be totally missing the boat here... but I think you have a good shot. I don't know why just a science GPA would throw you completely off the wagon. I'm by no means an expert, but your general GPA is good, if your MCAT score is as fantastic as you predict, I don't see why getting in will be a problem. Now, numbers aside, I would agree with the people above who say that you truly will need to show with some solid life examples of why you want to go to med school and be a doctor, etc. They've brought up some good things you could do and once your plight is backed up with those, I don't see why you are a worse candidate (if not better due to your obvious example of success in a career that is just as desirable as being a physician in this society) than a regular "traditional" fresh undergrad who has nothing under his/her belt than the normal: "I want to be a doctor to save people" :)

Good luck. I hope you stick to it, and get it all done and done well and your attorney experience will certainly help you in medicine (I'm currently working with a malpractice attorney and I LOVE the law and medicine mix!). :) So, good luck! Don't let these people underestimate your abilities because obviously they have no clue what it takes to be an attorney. :)
 

Barfalamule

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You can retake those courses and you'd have an excellent shot at a DO school because they accept retakes over the originals. But if you have a science GPA of 2.3 spread over a mere ~24 credit hours, then my advice to you is to take upper-level division science classes like genetics and biochem and ace them. You will bring the science GPA up above 3.0 in no time (maybe 5 classes?) then with a 35 MCAT you'd have a good shot at MD schools. Don't worry about the research aspect, but do worry about the volunteering. The latter is indeed very necessary.
 

Law2Doc

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I think nontradfogie is on the money here.

A number of things. First, you are putting the cart before the horse. I probably would not take the MCAT yet -- that needs to be the last step in this process, not the first. It will take you some time to do/re-do the prereqs, get enough ECs and the like, and so by the time you are actually ready to apply to med school, an MCAT you take now may well have expired.

Your FIRST step should be to get out there and shadow and volunteer, to help you decide if being a practicing clinician is really what you can see yourself doing. As a full time attorney and masters student, you simply won't have the kind of exposure to the medical profession that will aid you in making an informed decision, nor will adcoms be impressed with someone who leaps before they look. Nontrads are expected to better research their decisions than folks right out of undergrad -- you can't just act on a whim. And having clinical experience is pretty much a prereq to getting into medical school these days. So getting into a medical setting for a period of time must must must be the first step in the process for you. You may find you don't even like medicine, but you won't know until you get hands on. And you want to continue your clinical experience from now until you apply, so you can put together a long time period of exposure.

Second, you will have to take the bio and I would suggest you probably need to retake all of the chem/physics/orgo at the undergrad level. These are prereqs for medical school. Your graduate GPA is not looked at significantly in the med school process, and so as it stands you are applying to med school with a 2.3 BCPM, which won't cut it. I would recommend retaking everything you did poorly in, and maybe a few upper levels (biochem?) to boot, all at the undergrad level at a 4 year university that offers open enrollment, and make sure you get "mostly A's" so you have a nice track record of undergrad sciences leading into your applciation year. Taking them in your masters program won't help. Med schools are going to discount courses taking at the grad level (unless done in an established SMP), and focus in on the undergrad stuff, so you need to make a strong undergrad science course showing. A good track record can undo a lot of the hole you dug for yourself back when.

Finally, you need a good story as to why you are making this switch. Med schools frown on "degree collectors", "career students" and anything that suggests an applicant may not be in medicine for the long haul. Jumping from law school to a masters program to med school on paper looks bad. You need to be able to explain it in a way that makes med schools not run for the hills. You need to be able to explain why you started getting a degree to allow you to sit for the patent bar, only to ditch it for another advanced degree before you even practiced patent law. You have to show that you are running to medicine, not running from law. You have to explain why you want to go into this field that doesn't also suggest that all of your prior decisions have been bad ones. You can't appear flighty and whimsical -- it has to be well thought out. For this same reason, starting your shadowing/clinical experience early and taking the MCAT much later (after you have had time to make an informed decision) papers things much more credibly.

So I'd say you have a number of years of coursework and clinical experience to rack up before I'd suggest even sitting for the MCAT. If you do all that AND score the high MCAT score your suggest your practice tests indicate, you will do fine. But honestly, if your thought is to just take the MCAT and apply, you will not get into med school, no matter what you score. You are creating huge red flags by rushing things, and not jumping through all the hoops med schools require of applicants these days. Your law and masters background will be nice credentials to top off a strong application, but you have to build that strong application first -- you don't have it yet. You can get there. But not in the order you have suggested.
 
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