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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Tyc00nman, May 27, 2008.
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1. 25 is not old for medical school. You are only 1-2 years above the average for most schools. Don't sweat it.
2. You have some great ECs. It will make for a compelling personal statement.
3. You will have a long uphill battle to medical school with your GPA, particularly as you show a low GPA at community college and a downward trend at university.
4. It is still possible to go to medical school, depending on how bad you want it and what kind of sacrifices you're willing to make. I would avoid a SMP (special master's program) that folks recommend as kind of a cure-all. It wouldn't be helpful to you because you have not demonstrated academic aptitude yet.
You will essentially need to do two to three years of coursework with amazing grades to get to the point that medical schools will take you seriously. That means, 2-3 years with your family essentially looking elsewhere for financial support. You may not be in a position to do this.
If you are not in a position to do go after medical school seriously right now, please take my advice and wait until you are ready to do so. You have no history of good acadmics, so when you go after this, you will need to hit most pitches out of the park, and you can't do this while working and whatnot. If you need to wait a few years to apply you can work and set aside some money and an added side bonus will be that you've put some distance between your application and your poor coursework.
Check out the postbac forum for some more relevant advice.
So sorry to hear about your son. Frankly, you should be looking into Neuroscience PhD programs, not MD programs. If you're interested in being on the forefront of research breakthroughs, that's the place to be, not in medical practice.
Oh, and 25 is far from old. You're positively wet behind the ears compared to some people on here.
Also, strongly consider osteopathic medicine (which confers a DO instead of an MD degree). Osteopathic schools tend to have lower averages for entry requirements and seem to be more sympathetic to life circumstances that knock some folks around.
A BIG plus to osteopathic schools is that they replace grades. So if you retake any coursework that you did poorly in, they will take the newer grade and drop the old from your record. This can be huge to help with GPA repair on some apps. For an English major, if you have little science coursework, this probably won't mean as much.
That GPA is going to be a lot of work to overcome. Good luck. One area that might help you is that as an english major you probably have not taken a lot of Bio/Chem/Physics/Math classes (BCPM) which means that it will be easier for you to improve your BCPM GPA than your overall GPA. Good luck. If you put in the effort and a lot of time you can do this. You might want to look at the non-traditional or reapplicant forums for further advice.
1. You aren't old. You won't even be old when you matriculate.
2. You have a great motivation and background. Great!
3. Sorry about your son, but you sound like a great father.
4. I think you are a great candidate for those special master's programs. Now that you are motivated, getting a post-bacc or into a special master's program you should be able to succeed. Some of them even have early acceptance agreements with medical schools. I would look into that route. I know the one at temple helps focus on the MCAT (as it is required during the spring).
5. I think you can definitely do medical school. You are going to have to ROCK any post-bac work you do. You might even have to finish the master's, but in the long run it will be worth it.
6. D.O. schools are also another path that could lead to the same outcome.
So sorry about your son. I bet he's a beautiful baby. Don't ever give up on him.
Hm... What state do you live in?
He would be a terrible candidate for those special master's programs. He has not demonstrated any kind of academic ability at the undergraduate level. Put him in a program that has med school level coursework and odds are good he'd get crushed, which would kill any further chance at medical school.
Everyone likes to look for a quick fix, but slow and steady usually wins the race. He needs to re-enter academics slowly and build up abilities he hasn't yet demonstrated. Then he needs to continue at that level of excellence for years to repair his GPA. Only after he's done that should he even consider graduate level work.
The rest of your comments were pretty spot on, though.
That's a very impressive SAT score by the way (ivy league material), something noone has really pointed out yet. You seem to have the smarts to make it.
Average age is 23-24 at most medical schools. You'd fit in just fine. Don't sweat it.
Sorry if I misunderstood. You haven't graduated with your BA yet? Will you be able to go back to the school you started and finish your requirements? The upside is that if you focus and do well on the rest of your coursework, you should be able to repair your GPA to application-ready within a year or two of postbac work. You just need to focus on getting as near to straight As as you can.
Yes, all courses are averaged in, regardless of how often you took them. Also, your community college grades are weighted the same as your university grades.
Ooo. Now I can offer some advice. Go Cali!
All right, you said you were dismissed from your university for poor academic performance? Were you just suspended from attending for a few semesters, or outright kicked out altogether? Find out if you can meet with the Dean or another head in the school and work on a plan to get you back in.
You mentioned that you wanted to transfer to an ivy league. Is this transferring from your community college to the ivy, or for medical school? If for undergrad, I will have to say unfortunately your chances are quite slim. It's because you're coming from out of state, your GPA is extremely low, and they take a low amount of community college students. I would recommend staying in state and trying to return to your original university.
A special masters program is something you can't think about yet, because you need a bachelor's degree first. Are you still going to go for an English degree? Major in anything you'd like. You can do your med school pre-reqs while doing your major courses.
Sorry, I missed this the first time.
If you have a community college GPA of 2.2, a downward trend at University to the point that you had multiple fails and were "disqualified" from school, transferring to an Ivy or even a UC is probably not realistic regardless of your SAT.
You should probably focus on the begging/pleading with your home university and see if they'll take you back then try to finish off your degree there.
I probably spoke in a state of ignorance. Obviously he needs to graduate and do some serious BCPM boosting. I missed the part of his post where he said he hadn't graduated yet, so at least he has time to get in some academic rigor.
I don't know about this. Why don't you want to go back to your state school?
Is medical doctor the only option here? It seems like a PhD in neuroscience, or something similar, would be a much more direct path to your goals. You could possibly be only a few years away from begining the kind of research that it seems like you want to devote yourself to. With an MD you're over a decade away: several years to just get in, 4 years of medical school (where you're on a pretty tight leash, not much time for research) and then 4 years neuro residency (where they work you 80 hours a week). Also PhD programs are somewhat less stat obsessed than MD programs (especially if you do the PhD at the same program you did Undergrad), so the odds of you getting in at all are probably signficantly higher.
Just a thought. I sincerely hope that things work out for you.
Well, as I said above, transferring to an ivy being:
a. Having such a low GPA. Even retaking all the classes, your grades are only averaged, not replaced.
b. Being from a community college
c. Being an out of state student
are all going to be held against you. Granted your story is compelling, but an ivy league is not like a CSU or UC, they don't take transfer students at nearly the same amount. And if they do, these students are at the top of their class and have amazing extra-curriculars.
I feel for you completely. You can do what you will. But you asked for our advice and this is what we're saying is realistic.
It will be a long hard road that you need to be sure you want to embark on, and it wouldn't be a good idea to work during it given your history. So you would need to live on student loans or have some alternate means of $$$. You need to get a degree, you need to kick ass in every class, and you need to complete all the pre-req coursework and kick ass, then kick some ass in a few upper level science courses. Once you have a firm grasp on the material, you need to tackle the MCAT and do well. DO schools might be your best bet, they will replace a grade with a new grade if you repeat a course, so it might behoove you to repeat some of the courses you previously bombed.
In short, it is possible, but it will take a few years, more than a few dollars, and an oil tankers worth of hard work. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. Good luck with whatever may you pursue.
Also, I think your plan to transfer is a bad one. Stick with one school and kick ass there. Many schools accept very few if any transfer students depending on the year. With you previous record it would pretty much impossible for you to be accepted at an ivy as a transfer student. Drop the ivy obession you have bigger problems at this point, and your ugrad instution holds little to no weight in the med. school admissions process.
Oh okay, I'm not familiar with the Yale program. So you might be able to just ignore everything I said. Good luck Keep that little boy safe.
Yes, both perform the same function and with both you will be called doctor in the hospital. You generally have the same opportunities, except for some subspecialties it can be difficult to get a residency spot as a DO. The curricula is standardized and the same for DO/MD schools, DOs actually have an extra component to their education, which MDs do not have, called Osteopathic Manipulation. Compensation works the same way as it does for M.D.s. You should head over the Pre-Osteopathic [ DO ] section of the SDN forums and read up on it. It probably is your best bet at becoming a physician because of the grade forgiveness policy and generally lower average scores at DO schools.
I'm not really sure what you mean in this paragraph, but it sounds a little scary. You shouldn't take on medicine as an obsession. It sounds like through your recent coursework you really have gained an appreciation for the science - that's great.
Please, though, be honest with yourself and your wife. It is unlikely that you will ever be able to "fix" your son. You sound like you have accepted him the way he is (I think; the above paragraph makes me uncertain), and I know that you will love him no matter what. But if your marriage and your sanity depend on you coming through with a fix, I'm afraid that you will set yourself up for failure.
With the schooling - good luck. You have a very long and very difficult road ahead. You might try posting in the non-trad forum or asking a mod to move this thread there; you'll likely find more feedback from others who have been in positions that bear similarities to yours.
There's a search function in this forum that might help you learn more about osteopathic medicine (DO); you can also try Google or Wikipedia. In short, DO = MD for all practical purposes, egos aside.
NU2004 provided some valuable insight as well...
Sounds good. I can understand (let me rephrase - I'm trying to imagine) your emotional investment in your son and in your marriage. I've just seen families absolutely ripped apart by medical tragedies, and it's always because there are unrealistic expectations and promises made. I knew a family in which the 15 year-old son had cancer and the mother made it her life's mission to save him. He was a great kid and his death was hard for me to swallow. What was almost more painful, however, was watching his family fall apart as his mother sank into depression and alienated her husband and older son.
Luckily, you know that you aren't in imminent danger of losing your child. I'm sure that you're already painfully aware of the stress his condition has put on your family, and I just felt that as a fellow human being I would be remiss if I didn't gently nudge you and say, "hey man, don't lose your wife over this." Make a family pact that you will have reasonable expectations for his progress and hopefully you will find these expectations exceeded.
Your enthusiasm for the possibilities of medicine is so valuable, and I hope you manage to keep it through the thousands of hours of studying that you'll put in over the next ten years or so. I often marvel at how far we've progressed even in recent years, and I follow the experimental new drugs and procedures with fascination. My mother has early signs of dementia and her mother suffered severe Alzheimer's at an early age. Even with the rapid advances in neuro, we still haven't cracked that nut. Maybe in four years when I have my degree in hand I'll be a little better situated to help.
At any rate, again, good luck with all the school. I started thinking about this stuff when I was 22 and didn't have any science courses, and three years later I'm packing up my apartment to move to med school (my mom finds this phrase funny, as though I'll be LIVING at the med school and sleeping in the anatomy lab). Your road will be more difficult, but it sounds like you have the smarts, the motivation, and the foresight to make it to the end.
i sympathize with your situation and wish you all the best .
You need to establish academic credibility. Doing two years at a community college doesn't really improve that as you're expected to get near a 4.0 at a community college anyway. Starting at a state school/university where the competition is stiffer and succeeding there will help show medical schools that you can succeed.
There are a couple key distinct differences:
1. If you want to go into a competitive specialty like Ortho, Neurosurgery, etc, then it's much easier to do it with an MD degree.
2. The MD degree is recognized around the world but the DO degree is only valid within the U.S. (not significant if you don't plan to practice outside the country.)
I was wondering about that too. I am sure some will disagree and say that DO is just fine (I read someone mention that there are specific neurosurgery residencies reserved just for DOs), but at least it makes some logical sense that it's safer to go with an MD. Plus there was a thread recently talking about how DOs want to change their title to MD. If it was the same, they wouldn't want to push that.
To the poster: you shouldn't call yourself old when you're only 25! Even though you say you're 25, every time I see the title of your thread I think of you as an old person. Remember, you're only as old as you think you are. If you think that you are too old, you might just make others believe in that too! There are some who enter med school after they are 40. If you're old then these people must be walking cadavers entering med school only to be formaldehyde objects in the anatomy practicums.
Keep in mind that I am only two years younger than you and I am transferring this year. I was worried about having wasted my time, but just like you, I have spent all that time gaining invaluable experiences and personal depth that no college could ever bestow on me. Many people take some time off after they graduate college anyway. I look at my case as having taken off time in the middle of my undergrad instead of after it. I too have a low GPA and had a family problem. Alas, I can't do anything about what happened in my case, but you keep your head up since not only you can overcome the admissions hurdles, but you might actually have the opportunity to save someone you love. If it will help, remember that there are some of us who didn't have that opportunity.
My best wishes to you and your family.