Apr 8, 2010
37
0
0
New Hampshire
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm a non-trad, so this may not be the right thread, but I am wondering whether or not the path I'm on will lead to med school success.

Here is my story;

I'm a 25 year old graduate of the local state university-- a recognized, middle of the road liberal arts college with a good reputation-- with a degree in, of all things, English Teaching. I finished out my 4 years with a 3.28, and was accepted into the graduate program for my MEd. However, medicine has ALWAYS been the love of my life. I'd been an EMT for a year before I graduated, and immediately after college graduation, I was hired full time with a professional ambulance service, and opted out of graduate school.

After a short amount of time, I decided that I wanted to continue to push myself, and I wouldn't be happy until I was a physician. So, I applied, and was accepted, to Northeastern University's Post-Bac Pre-Med program.

To sum it all up--

I've been working my behind off since I've been at Northeastern. I have a perfect 4.0 currently, and have been taking accelerated pre-reqs, having finished all my general bios, and some math, and beginning my chem.

Obviously, I have not taken my MCATs yet, since I don't have all of the pre-reqs done.

My EC's include (by the time I apply)--

5 years as an EMT-Intermediate with a lot of clinical experience
2 years of volunteering as a patient advocate at the local hospital
2 years working in the cardiology department at the local hospital
Physician shadowing in the ED
Clinical time spent with patients doing IVs, EKGs, etc, in a hospital setting

So, here are my questions;

1. How far back can I go on my AAMC apps, in regards to ECs? Can I put ECs from the first time around, when I was in college originally? Say... 5 or 6 years prior?
2. If I continue with my 4.0 at NEU Post Bac, combined with my 3.28 at the local university (NOT a CC), what are my chances of admission with respectable MCATs?
3. Since my degree is in English, is it going to reflect poorly on me if I only take the required core pre-reqs to apply? I do not have the money or the time to be taking class after class of biochem, A&P, etc. Do schools understand this, if you have a degree in liberal arts?

I know this is long and involved, and I apologize. Thank you!
 
Aug 11, 2009
33
0
0
Harrogate, TN
Status
Medical Student
This sounds familiar, let me tell you my story and where I stand.

I went to James Madison University in Va. I started as a business major and hated it. Joined the rescue squad because it was something I wanted to do my whole life. After becoming completely involved in it, I had lost interest in school and eventually dropped out not knowing if I would go back or not.

Eventually I got my act together and realized that I wanted a job in health care, more specifically as a physician. To do so, obviously I needed a degree.

My grades before I dropped out were bad. No other way to say it. They were bad for one reason only, not because I am not smart, but because I simply did not attend class or have any interest in the classes at all. When I returned, I re-declared as a Health Science major (basically our premedical profession track). I took all upper level BIOS and some other electives and finished my last three semesters there with a 3.9

After graduating and working for a year, I went back to a local university to take the OCEM, Physics, etc.... One year later I had finished all of those, the labs, and biochem, immuno, cell bio, etc with a 4.0.

As far as extras... (at the time of applying)
5.5 year member of a rescue squad, also ALS provider
3 as a board of directors member and almost 3.5 as an operational officer - 50K budget for medical supplies etc...
Anatomy TA
Helped teach ALS classes for our medical council
and the list continues

I took the MCAT last August after finishing OCHEM 2 and PHYSICS 2, with little to no time to prepare. I got about 27R. Its ok, not great but ok. The catch for me, remember those first few years of college where I didnt do anything, cumulative GPA is still less than a 3.0 even with the last 6 semesters at the 3.95. Oh well.


I have been accepted to two DO programs - LMU-DCOM, and WVCOM. As well as waitlisted at MCV/VCU.

THERE IS HOPE - Several years ago when I was working as a FF/EMT thinking that is how I was going to support my family, I never thought I would get to the point where I would be able to apply to medical school, let alone actually be accepted. I had to TURN DOWN interviews, another thing I never thought I would even have the opportunity to do.

Good Luck, work hard and good things will happen. Look at me. I got into school. I worked my ***** off to get where I am now but I know it is worth it, especially if it is what you want to do.
 
Sep 4, 2006
30,636
10,443
281
Inside the tesseract
1. You can include pertinent college activites. If you want to list them, we can give you some direction.

2. Well, we need an MCAT score too to give you your odds of an acceptance. The counselors for your current program probably keep statistics about successes from their program. I'd go and ask them. With a strong score, an allopathic acceptance isn't impossible. With a decent score, say 27+, an osteopathic med school acceptance is likely. The story above should be very reassuring to you.

3. Requirements are required; all else is elective. But pay attention to the "Recommended coursework", too, as those schools might skimp on, eg, the Biochem in class, assuming most are up to speed in that area. (For allo schools those are listed in the MSAR).
 
Apr 8, 2010
37
0
0
New Hampshire
Status
Pre-Medical
With a strong score, an allopathic acceptance isn't impossible. With a decent score, say 27+, an osteopathic med school acceptance is likely. The story above should be very reassuring to you.

Do you mind if I ask why allopathic is just "not impossible?" Thank you so much for the advice! I really appreciate it. I have no qualms with DO school whatsoever. I would just like to know why, if I continue to get a 4.0, and continue with my ECs, I still would be a "possibility"

Again, than kyou so much for you help!
 
Sep 4, 2006
30,636
10,443
281
Inside the tesseract
A 3.28 would not be considered competitive for allopathic med schools. Strong postbac work will raise your GPA, but it will still be nowhere near the median for those accepted of 3.65. Some MD schools will give heavier weight to recent excellent postbac work (especially if you're a nontrad) and others just average it into all the other grades. You would need to apply to the right schools, and I don't know which they are (or if any are in Ohio), but if you applied broadly enogh or knowledgeably enough to hit the right school, I can see you getting an acceptance. I can't guarantee it will happen. I can't even say you have an extremely good chance. So I settled for "it's not impossible," not wishing to be excessively optimistic, and not knowing if you even cared what type of med school you'd attend.
 
Apr 8, 2010
37
0
0
New Hampshire
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you so much!

As for my ECs from my first go at college--

I was an RA (resident assistant) for a year and lead 50 residents in my dorm in a full time basis in 2006
I was a mentor to a jr. high student in 2008 for a year, tutoring, spending time with her, etc.
I was team captain for my "Relay For Life" team in 2006
I student taught a junior high class for a semester in English
I worked with a group making afghans for soldiers, alongside elderly women in the community

Which, if any of these, is relevant? The RA thing is HUGE, and was a large commitment, so I would assume this should definitely be mentioned.

I have a lot of clinical experience, and am currently doing non-clinical volunteer work as well.

Can I add the above mentioned activities to my ECs, even though they are a few years old?
 
Sep 4, 2006
30,636
10,443
281
Inside the tesseract
Yes, you can include all of them. RA, and mentor should get their own spaces. You could use RA for leadership if you did more than babysitting and problem solving (otherwise, it's employment), but be sure the narrative supports the assertion of leadership. Relay for Life captain could be included with other short-term volunteerism in a single space. If you got class credit for student teaching, then it is not an extracurricular, and will already be on the transcript. The afghan involvement might go under hobbies if you crochet or knit or sew, with the purpose included in the narrative (because it's interesting), but other hobbies could go in the same space. There's no one "right" way to list activities, I'm just making suggestions to consider. Your choices are determined by the fact that you only have 15 spots on AMCAS. AACOMAS is different and I don't know what the categories are, or the number of spots allowed.

All together, you want your experiences to make you look interesting and well-rounded. You could even list a significant travel experience, a thesis project, etc. Definitely include all hobbies (but in one space is fine).

afghans for soldiers, alongside elderly women in the community
Even this detail is significant (though it made me chuckle to see it), because having a comfort level in talking with seniors is important and not always acquired by younger folk.
 
Apr 8, 2010
37
0
0
New Hampshire
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks! That is fantastic advice!

You mentioned if I got school credit for it (ie my student teaching) it can't go under ECs. Does AAMC look for a substantial amount of ECs (aka unpaid, non-credit) activities?

As a non-trad, this is hard, considering I get paid for my clinical work I do (EMS and cardiology) because, as we all know, the bills (and post bac tuition) must get paid! haha. Will schools look unfavorably on this, even though it's good clinical and community involvement?

Also-- you said "babysit" as an RA. Although there was A LOT of that, would you consider planning weekly social activities, leading the floor in hall and campus involvement, one on one meetings, etc as good, credible ECs? I assume by "babysit" you meant the good-cop-bad-cop stuff... Just wanted to clarify!
 
Sep 4, 2006
30,636
10,443
281
Inside the tesseract
I'd say they'll be looking for altruistic activities, not necessarily "substantial," and not even medically-related, but more is always better. It doesn't matter how you acquire clinical experience; it's all good. Volunteering for two years as a patient advocate would seem to cover the territory.

What you describe for RA sounds like Leadership to me.

It's not that the student teaching "can't" be listed, it's that it already has been listed on the transcript. If it was an experience that had a huge impact on you or is relevant to going into medicine, you could use a space for it and elaborate regardless.