Petroleum Engineering Student 3.41 GPA, Strong medically unrelated ECs. Need a plan

Oct 13, 2014
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I posted a thread about a year ago regarding my desire of pursuing medicine as a petroleum engineering major. As I wrap up my second petroleum engineering internship, I still have a desire of someday becoming a doctor. I've enjoyed my internships and wouldn't mind working as a PETE for a few years but I feel my ultimate goal is to become a doctor (based on a volunteer experience I had several years ago).

As I enter my junior I have a 3.41 GPA (upward trend). Realistically I don't see myself finishing my petroleum bachelors degree with a gpa higher than a 3.5. I still haven't taken many of my pre med requirements such as OChem 1/2, biochem, statistics, etc.. I have AP credits for biology, chemistry, and calculus.

As for my ECs...they are excellent but not medicine related. I have about 150 hours of volunteering in surgery and ER during my high school days but that's about it for medicine.
I've had two petroleum engineering internships so far (freshman year and sophomore year). I successfully started an online business from high school that has brought in revenues (not profit) north of 300k as well. Additionally, I have a leadership position for Model UN at my university. Do medical schools absolutely prefer ECs related to medicine? I can start volunteering if need be.

I think I have a decent chance of landing another petroleum engineering internship for next summer but I'm not sure if I should. How exactly should I approach this situation? Should I start taking some of these pre med classes over the summer next year? Should I try to squeeze in these classes before I graduate in May 2017? Or should I try an do a post bachelors program instead?

Thanks in advance
 

nwts

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How you do the classes is up to you and your schedule. You really need to get more clinical experience, though. It would be extremely hard (nearly impossible) to get into med school with no clinical experience after high school.
 

Strudel19

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I would take and get A's in gen bio and chem. Raise your GPA and get some schools off your back about using AP credit to replace these. Ramp up the clinical experience and clinical volunteering. With that said, your non-clinical experiences look good!
 

GrapesofRath

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As others have said I would recommend trying not to use AP credit for those pre-reqs. IF your school won't let you take those classes for whatever reason, maybe try and see if you can take them near by somewhere. You can do alot to help with a sub 3.5 GPA if your pre-req grades are strong. If you can't take Gen Chem at least try and take Intro Bio 1/2.

Your physics grades are probably done but if you do well in OChem and Biochem that will help your case. Also consider taking an anatomy or physiology course or other upper levels if you can. Obviously tuition concerns are very valid but it might be to your benefit to try and stay an extra semester or two to space out your schedule and fit some of these classes in while not having to worry about as many engineering courses so you can ensure success in those upper level bio classes and OChem and Biochem.

To answer your question yes you need medically related EC's to get into medical school. Starting a business and generating lots of revenue is a good thing. Engineering internships with no medical connection aren't going to do that much for a medical school application.

So if your goal is to get into medical school you need to accomplish a couple things. a) clinical exposure. This is mandatory. Volunteer in a hospital or hospice. Get a job as say a nursing assistant or another role in a hospital. Build up your hours you have already so far in the ER department. Do more than shadowing here. b) Volunteering experience to demonstrate altruism. Also mandatory. Volunteering with the less fortunate in new settings such as a hospice, or volunteering for the disabled or terminally ill is really what will help your cause. c) This one isn't mandatory like the other but getting research experience is always a positive and something a large majority of MD matriculants did in undergrad.

You don't need a post-bacc program. You can take these pre-req and other medically related classes at your school and if you do well in them that will suffice. Considering the EC's I listed above are far more important for medical school admission than a petroleum internship it is worth considering focusing on them next summer.
 

sovereign0

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Dec 22, 2014
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As I enter my junior I have a 3.41 GPA (upward trend). Realistically I don't see myself finishing my petroleum bachelors degree with a gpa higher than a 3.5. I still haven't taken many of my pre med requirements such as OChem 1/2, biochem, statistics, etc.. I have AP credits for biology, chemistry, and calculus.

As for my ECs...they are excellent but not medicine related. I have about 150 hours of volunteering in surgery and ER during my high school days but that's about it for medicine.
I've had two petroleum engineering internships so far (freshman year and sophomore year). I successfully started an online business from high school that has brought in revenues (not profit) north of 300k as well. Additionally, I have a leadership position for Model UN at my university. Do medical schools absolutely prefer ECs related to medicine? I can start volunteering if need be.

I think I have a decent chance of landing another petroleum engineering internship for next summer but I'm not sure if I should. How exactly should I approach this situation? Should I start taking some of these pre med classes over the summer next year? Should I try to squeeze in these classes before I graduate in May 2017? Or should I try an do a post bachelors program instead?

Thanks in advance
Medical schools need to see EC's related to medicine, because that is their evidence that you have dabbled in healthcare enough for you to know that medicine is the career for you. Careers in medicine get idealized a lot, so medical schools need to know that you actually know what you're getting into. You might know it in your mind, but admissions committee's are going to look to see if the way you spent your time in college supports your ideology.

As a "career-changer"(not sure if I would consider you a career changer, as you haven't actually had longitudinal employment in a different field), your clinical exposures will be twice as important.

As for the pre-med coursework, it's really up to you. If I were in your shoes, I would probably take them through a structured post-bac. With a 3.41 GPA you'll want to ace those courses to help your candidacy as much as possible, and fitting difficult pre-reqs into your engineering curriculum might be too much. You know yourself best, though.

As others have mentioned, you will be well served by taking your pre-reqs at the university level. APs are ok for some pre-reqs, but I wouldn't use them for my core coursework, especially when you could just take them and do well in them to boost your GPA.

I would say that your first priority needs to be getting more meaningful healthcare experience. As you can see, with the post-bac and extra classes you'd have to take, this won't be a cheap path for you - not even considering the exorbitant cost of medical school. 150 hours of volunteering is a decent chunk, but it was in high school. You need to be totally certain that medicine is your calling, because you'd be abandoning great job prospects and income from the petroleum field to put yourself under a mountain of debt in one of the most stressful careers possible.
 
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DokterMom

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You have a very strong resume --- for a future PETE.

It's time to prioritize which path is Plan A and which is Plan B. Because right now, it looks very much like PETE is Plan A and medicine is Plan B. If medicine is what you really want to do, it's high time to show it and start walking the walk.
 
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Yah the main purpose of getting clinical ECs at this point is not really just to check some boxes. When adcoms ask "Why medicine?" they probably won't accept the answer of a few volunteer experiences you had in high school with no experience since then. You want to have a more grounded answer to that question.
 
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GrapesofRath

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You have a very strong resume --- for a future PETE.

It's time to prioritize which path is Plan A and which is Plan B. Because right now, it looks very much like PETE is Plan A and medicine is Plan B. If medicine is what you really want to do, it's high time to show it and start walking the walk.
To go off this what your resume shows is someone who reeks of "I want to dabble in medicine a bit but I need to secure a good backup". Which in itself is 100% fine; everybody needs a Plan B and a PETE is a hell of a better than the Plan B's alot of generic bio majors have. But at sometime you have to take charge and show medicine is really what you want and not something casually that sounds interesting in theory but not worth risking pursuing at the expense of engineering.

"Walking the walk" will take some sacrifices. Instead of doing a summer internship in PETE making 14K next summer you very well might have to take some summer classes volunteer in a hospice 20 hours a week and study for the MCAT where your only money might come from some side job like being a waiter. So instead of 14K next summer it might be 2k and barely enough to pay the bills. And it won't sound nearly as impressive to your friends and family as a PETE internship. Hell many of them will think your insane. But that's what commitment and the sacrifice it entails is about.

You hear every ADCOM say this all the time; far too many applicants do what they want(and even what they think looks good in theory), not truly what it is necessary. Nobody wants to sacrifice 15K for a summer job to take classes, study for the MCAT, volunteer in a hospice with the terminally ill and have to do things they aren't comfortable with with 2K from a minimum wage job to show for all of it. But that's what commitment and dedication can entail sometimes.
 
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DokterMom

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To go off this what your resume shows is someone who reeks of "I want to dabble in medicine a bit but I need to secure a good backup". Which in itself is 100% fine; everybody needs a Plan B and a PETE is a hell of a better than the Plan B's alot of generic bio majors have. But at sometime you have to take charge and show medicine is really what you want and not something casually that sounds interesting in theory but not worth risking pursuing at the expense of engineering.

"Walking the walk" will take some sacrifices. Instead of doing a summer internship in PETE making 14K next summer you very well might have to take some summer classes volunteer in a hospice 20 hours a week and study for the MCAT where your only money might come from some side job like being a waiter. So instead of 14K next summer it might be 2k and barely enough to pay the bills. And it won't sound nearly as impressive to your friends and family as a PETE internship. Hell many of them will think your insane. But that's what commitment and the sacrifice it entails is about.

You hear every ADCOM say this all the time; far too many applicants do what they want(and even what they think looks good in theory), not truly what it is necessary. Nobody wants to sacrifice 15K for a summer job to take classes, study for the MCAT, volunteer in a hospice with the terminally ill and have to do things they aren't comfortable with with 2K from a minimum wage job to show for all of it. But that's what commitment and dedication can entail sometimes.
That's exactly what 'Walking the Walk' is all about. For medical school, you need to be able to honestly say "PETE is my Plan B. I always wanted to become a doctor but wasn't sure my academic credentials would be up to snuff, and needed a reliable Plan B. That's what PETE is to me, and I've enjoyed it. But my heart belongs to medicine and after completing both a pre-med and difficult engineering curriculum, now I know I can put forth the effort needed to succeed."

To say that convincingly though, you need to forsake PETE and choose pre-med from pretty much here on...
 
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