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Post Bacc Advice help needed!

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DDXDOC4U

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Hello everyone...
I am trying to get into a MD or DO program, and having applied this 2017-2018 cycle with a lot of in progress pre-requisite courses and a terrible MCAT score- by this time of the year, it is confirmed I have no chance at all to get in to a US school this cycle to start in 2018 fall. I already got a couple of admits from Caribbean MD schools however I will not take this route or decision to go there at this time. I am 37 and already have 2 masters from a non Biology field from CU Denver back from 2004, and a lot of years of experience in a non-clinical setting. I also have taken my pre-requisites at a local community college and finishing up some by end of May 2018. Since my MCAT score was terrible, I will be retaking it again when I am more confident with the content materials. I will be doing this in Dec 2018/Jan 2019. Now, here's some choices that lay ahead of me as I am finding that many are doing a post bacc special masters program or MS in Medical Sciences program during gap years to strengthen their clinical backgrounds for application.

Presently, I have four choices as acceptance from schools for MS programs I had applied to:

1) Case Western Reserve (MS Physiology) - 2 year - cost $55K
(although resident option is there, I will be able to do it online due to family obligations, moving, etc. If I need to get a specialization like Clinical Neuroscience I will need to do a 2 week rotation alongside the medical students. Staying on site for 2 weeks is problematic since I am working full time presently in AZ.)

2) Johns Hopkins University (MS Applied Biochemistry - Imaging or Translational Medicine) - 2 year - cost $40K
(although resident option is there, I will be able to do it online due to family obligations, moving, etc. -However, will need to go to on-site class for 2 weekends for clinical as required for just one course.)

3) University of Florida (MS Microbiology) - >2 years - cost $16,500K
(completely online only - this worries me about clinical lab components as its missing.)

4) Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (MS Forensic Medicine) - 2 years - cost $35K plus expenses like flight and hotel for 12 weekends in a period of a year.
(although resident option is there, I will be able to do it online due to family obligations, moving, etc. This program requires me to go to on-site class once a month for a weekend Friday-Sunday, for first year only, and second year is fully online. This program is taken by the DO students as well at the same school. This program can find me a job in any forensics department even if I might not get into a medical school- I presently am in IT working for the government with a decent salary higher than what someone with a MS Forensic Medicine could earn on an average. However, this track looks good for clinical pathologist or forensic pathologist or medical examiners.)

Based on the given info above, please share your thoughts on what might be the best bet for me to get into a medical school in the US and also get the best value for the $$$ investment, in the event my plan for medical school might fail as well. What would impress the admissions committee? A MS program that would help a student in the first 2 years of basic sciences and also while taking NBMEs and USMLES.... any thoughts on these 4 options above?

Much appreciated...!
 
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DV-T

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Are there deadlines to accept those choices? In order to determine whether going to one of those choices is the best and most cost effective route for you, we will need to know your cGPA, sGPA, 1st MCAT score, and your ECs.

If you have all your ducks in a row and the only deficit is a low 1st MCAT, then your best route before going to a high risk/expensive MS or SMP is to do well on the 2nd MCAT.
 

DDXDOC4U

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Are there deadlines to accept those choices? In order to determine whether going to one of those choices is the best and most cost effective route for you, we will need to know your cGPA, sGPA, 1st MCAT score, and your ECs.

If you have all your ducks in a row and the only deficit is a low 1st MCAT, then your best route before going to a high risk/expensive MS or SMP is to do well on the 2nd MCAT.

Presently, no deadlines to decline acceptances until I get close to Aug. All these 4 programs are geared toward starting in the Fall August 2018. I was thinking of retaking MCAT after studying the Berkley materials for 6 months... plan to start study Aug - Dec/Jan) My 1st MCAT score 479. Bio score was devastating.
From my AACOMAS transcripts:
Post-Baccalaureate Science 2.90
Cumulative Undergraduate Science 2.90
Post-Baccalaureate Non-Science 3.68
Cumulative Undergraduate Non-Science 3.68
Graduate Non-Science 3.17
Overall Non-Science 3.31
 
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DV-T

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I understand the reluctance to share you stats online, however, without them, SDN will not be able to objectively give you sound/reasonable advice whether attending one of those programs or whether using the gap year to study for your 2nd MCAT and taking more opportunities to improve on your ECs is your best option to get into MD or DO schools when you apply again.

You can vary your stats, e.g. cGPA = 3.5-3.8, sGPA = 3.3-3.7, 1st MCAT 500-507, etc without significantly giving yourself away. SDN just needs a general idea of what they are to properly advise....
 

DDXDOC4U

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I understand the reluctance to share you stats online, however, without them, SDN will not be able to objectively give you sound/reasonable advice whether attending one of those programs or whether using the gap year to study for your 2nd MCAT and taking more opportunities to improve on your ECs is your best option to get into MD or DO schools when you apply again.

You can vary your stats, e.g. cGPA = 3.5-3.8, sGPA = 3.3-3.7, 1st MCAT 500-507, etc without significantly giving yourself away. SDN just needs a general idea of what they are to properly advise....
My 1st MCAT score 479. Bio score was devastating.
From my AACOMAS transcripts:
Baccalaureate Science 0 [my undergrad was abroad, hence have only around 60 credits in the US overall presently - all masters or individual post bacc coursework)
Post-Baccalaureate Science 2.90
Cumulative Undergraduate Science 2.90
Post-Baccalaureate Non-Science 3.68
Cumulative Undergraduate Non-Science 3.68
Graduate Non-Science 3.17
Overall Non-Science 3.31
 
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DV-T

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How many hours of post bacc science courses did you do? Were there extenuating circumstances that caused you to end up with those sGPAs? Were you sick, death in the family, mental health issues that caused you to have sGPAs below a 3.0? I am trying to determine whether you will be able to handle the massive amount of science/medical related content that medical school entails, and not asking to offend you.

With what I see right now, your 1st MCAT score and your science GPAs (undergrad and post), it looks like you have major deficiencies in science content and understanding. Doing an expensive MS or SMP where the classes are high stress, high science content, and in such a narrow window of time will not likely end positively, effectively closing the doors to US medical schools.

Therefore, your best route (less expensive and least risk) to US DO is to take more DIY science courses to pull that PB science GPA above 3.0. Also instead of self-studying for the 2nd MCAT, you should consider paying for a MCAT course that will give your personal tutoring. If you do well on both these aspects, then read @Goro Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention
 
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DDXDOC4U

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How many hours of post bacc science courses did you do? Were there extenuating circumstances that caused you to end up with those sGPAs? Were you sick, death in the family, mental health issues that caused you to have sGPAs below a 3.0? I am trying to determine whether you will be able to handle the massive amount of science/medical related content that medical school entails, and not asking to offend you.

With what I see right now, your 1st MCAT score and your science GPAs (undergrad and post), it looks like you have major deficiencies in science content and understanding. Doing an expensive MS or SMP where the classes are high stress, high science content, and in such a narrow window of time will not likely end positively, effectively closing the doors to US medical schools.

Therefore, your best route (less expensive and least risk) to US DO is to take more DIY science courses to pull that PB science GPA above 3.0. Also instead of self-studying for the 2nd MCAT, you should consider paying for a MCAT course that will give your personal tutoring. If you do well on both these aspects, then read @Goro Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention

I have so far 20 hours of post bacc science (five) courses completed already. I started recently in Feb 2017. I will have by June 1 additional 14 hours - that makes a total of 34 hours. I am doing all this while working a full time job with a family to support as well, volunteering at hospital every week for 4 hours, and also completed 100 hours shadowing a physician. I am not worried about whether I will be able to handle the massive amount of science/medical related content that medical school entails - since I will be quitting my job when I start med school. Do you have any suggestions where to take DIY science courses to pull that PB science GPA above 3.0? Thanks.
 

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Paging @gyngyn for advice regarding a foreign undergraduate degree and whether it will be accepted at a US medical school to fulfill the degree requirement.

Since you are a nontraditional pre-med, taking upper level division courses at a CC is good, but a 4 year university will be better (as they are considered more competitive by adcoms.) Read Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention

DOs are open to you if your 2nd MCAT is competitive and your sGPA is above 3.0.

Paging @Faha for help with a list of schools

GL!!
 

DDXDOC4U

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Paging @gyngyn for advice regarding a foreign undergraduate degree and whether it will be accepted at a US medical school to fulfill the degree requirement.

Since you are a nontraditional pre-med, taking upper level division courses at a CC is good, but a 4 year university will be better (as they are considered more competitive by adcoms.) Read Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention

DOs are open to you if your 2nd MCAT is competitive and your sGPA is above 3.0.

Paging @Faha for help with a list of schools

GL!!
Thanks!
 

Ad2b

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Paging @gyngyn for advice regarding a foreign undergraduate degree and whether it will be accepted at a US medical school to fulfill the degree requirement.

Where did you get the foreign u-grad degree? CU DENVER is US.
 

DDXDOC4U

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Where did you get the foreign u-grad degree? CU DENVER is US.
Undergrad is from University of Pune (formerly Poona - the city well known for Bhagwan Osho Rajneesh ashram :)
CU DENVER is where I did my dual masters
 

DV-T

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Where did you get the foreign u-grad degree? CU DENVER is US.
Baccalaureate Science 0 [my undergrad was abroad, hence have only around 60 credits in the US overall presently - all masters or individual post bacc coursework)

OP got masters at CU Denver...
 
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DDXDOC4U

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Paging @gyngyn for advice regarding a foreign undergraduate degree and whether it will be accepted at a US medical school to fulfill the degree requirement.

Since you are a nontraditional pre-med, taking upper level division courses at a CC is good, but a 4 year university will be better (as they are considered more competitive by adcoms.) Read Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention

DOs are open to you if your 2nd MCAT is competitive and your sGPA is above 3.0.

Paging @Faha for help with a list of schools

GL!!

I just got this letter... what does this really mean - do I still have a chance this year, really?

{
At this time, your application will remain in a “decision deferred” status. While we have completed our interviews for the 2018 application cycle, your file will be held in the deferred status until late July, as we monitor the final stages of the active application cycle. At this time, we do not require any additional information for your file. If there are any changes to your status, we will contact you immediately.

We appreciate your consideration of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) and wish you all the best in your medical school search.

Sincerely,
Admissions Office
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
}
 

DV-T

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I just got this letter... what does this really mean - do I still have a chance this year, really?

{
At this time, your application will remain in a “decision deferred” status. While we have completed our interviews for the 2018 application cycle, your file will be held in the deferred status until late July, as we monitor the final stages of the active application cycle. At this time, we do not require any additional information for your file. If there are any changes to your status, we will contact you immediately.

We appreciate your consideration of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) and wish you all the best in your medical school search.

Sincerely,
Admissions Office
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
}

If you did not interview there, I think this letter is a nice way of saying you should consider yourself rejected unless they can't fill their class and at the last minute they offer you an interview. Paging @Goro for confirmation.
 

DDXDOC4U

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If you did not interview there, I think this letter is a nice way of saying you should consider yourself rejected unless they can't fill their class and at the last minute they offer you an interview. Paging @Goro for confirmation.
I did not interview there yet. Does it ever happen that they can't fill their class and at the last minute they offer someone with my stats an interview -what would the probable chances look like for some event like this to happen? Should I still remain hopeful?
 

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I did not interview there yet. Does it ever happen that they can't fill their class and at the last minute they offer someone with my stats an interview -what would the probable chances look like for some event like this to happen? Should I still remain hopeful?

To be honest. I don't know the answer. @Goro is an Adcom at a DO, so he can better answer your question. However, common sense dictates that chances are very very low that they won't be able to fill their classes. Not impossible, but likely improbable.
 

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Hey @DDXDOC4U, I feel your pain- I did the non-trad/post bac thing too. I did some cc basic science classes, then some upper level university classes, then finally an SMP. Starting med school in July! It is totally doable, just a long road.

It sounds like you're struggling with not having time to really focus in the basic science classes. Would that be different in the post bac programs? They will be much more intense than individual basic science classes and poor grades in those can sink your app. You said you work in IT, would it be possible to transition to a part time position or decrease your hours? You probably need at least a 3.0 sGPA in your post bac classes and to bring that MCAT score up (probably related if the bio section was lowest). If time is the issue, you might need to make the financial investment in your future and carve out time for your studying from your work schedule however possible. You (and, importantly, AdComs) won't know whether dedicated time is the only barrier to getting good grades unless you prove it.

Side note, if you're positive you're prepared for the academic intensity an SMP might be easier financially. You can get financial aid for an SMP that you can't get while taking individual non-degree seeking classes. If that enabled you to quit your job and focus on school it might be a good thing, but would probably depend on your family's needs and finances.
 

DV-T

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You can get financial aid for an SMP that you can't get while taking individual non-degree seeking classes.

You can get financial aid if you enter a DIY PB at a 4 year as a degree seeker...Just don't finish the degree...
 

DDXDOC4U

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Hey @DDXDOC4U, I feel your pain- I did the non-trad/post bac thing too. I did some cc basic science classes, then some upper level university classes, then finally an SMP. Starting med school in July! It is totally doable, just a long road.

It sounds like you're struggling with not having time to really focus in the basic science classes. Would that be different in the post bac programs? They will be much more intense than individual basic science classes and poor grades in those can sink your app. You said you work in IT, would it be possible to transition to a part time position or decrease your hours? You probably need at least a 3.0 sGPA in your post bac classes and to bring that MCAT score up (probably related if the bio section was lowest). If time is the issue, you might need to make the financial investment in your future and carve out time for your studying from your work schedule however possible. You (and, importantly, AdComs) won't know whether dedicated time is the only barrier to getting good grades unless you prove it.

Side note, if you're positive you're prepared for the academic intensity an SMP might be easier financially. You can get financial aid for an SMP that you can't get while taking individual non-degree seeking classes. If that enabled you to quit your job and focus on school it might be a good thing, but would probably depend on your family's needs and finances.

Congrats and best wishes for med school from July!!!
I found that my CC is offering these courses ... do you think these would be good to take as post bacc individual courses? Financially, too taking all these listed below will cost me under $2500 - and still give around 30 credits.
Microbiology (BIO205)
Fundamental Biochemistry (CHM260)
Human Anatomy and Physiology I (BIO201)
Human Anatomy and Physiology II (BIO202)
Sectional Anatomy (ICE220)
Clinical Pathology (PTA203)
Clinical Neurology (PTA217)
Speech And Hearing Anatomy And Physiology (SLP210)
Clinical Immunohematology and Immunology (MDL244)
Quitting my job before starting med school is out of my reach at this time - so will have to work on individual non-degree seeking classes and retake MCAT. Truly, SMPs and MS are expensive and risky as @DV-T said earlier above. They can be stressful and half of their courses can be just fillers and non-science type which can be so subjective and can rebound on my grades too. My sGPA dipped at 2.9 purely because of a BIOCHEM course that I took at UNE and ended up with a D especially because of the workload at office, and other pre-reqs being taken concurrently. Basically that is $1500 down the drain. I am now beginning to rethink about risk factors doing yet another masters like SMP or MS(medical).
Thanks!
 

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I did not interview there yet. Does it ever happen that they can't fill their class and at the last minute they offer someone with my stats an interview -what would the probable chances look like for some event like this to happen? Should I still remain hopeful?
This simply doesn't happen. It's a seller's market and all med schools, even brand new ICOM, will have a wait list.

No med school is doing you any favors by admitting you if you are at risk for failing out.
 
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DDXDOC4U

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You can get financial aid if you enter a DIY PB at a 4 year as a degree seeker...Just don't finish the degree...
Will med schools adcom look at that negatively - entering a DIY PB at a 4 year as a degree seeker and quitting midway?
 
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DV-T

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Will med schools adcom look at that negatively - entering a DIY PB at a 4 year as a degree seeker and quitting midway?

Nope. Adcoms won't be concerned with that. As long as you have a degree and your metrics/ECs meet their standards to get an interview, you are fine. I am unsure whether a foreign undergrad degree will be accepted by US medical schools. That's why I paged gyngyn above to confirm...
 
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tinyllamas

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Thanks!

I'm definitely not the person to be recommending classes, all I have is my own experience. I would think micro or A&P would be most applicable since others will build on those.

Re: option to get financial aid by entering PB as a degree seeker- I didn't consider that since my university had a PB classification, I just went with that. Definitely would have been great to get financial aid though, wish I'd known that! I mostly took cc classes because of the cost difference.
 

DDXDOC4U

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Paging @gyngyn for advice regarding a foreign undergraduate degree and whether it will be accepted at a US medical school to fulfill the degree requirement.

Since you are a nontraditional pre-med, taking upper level division courses at a CC is good, but a 4 year university will be better (as they are considered more competitive by adcoms.) Read Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention

GL!!

What is considered as upper level division courses at a CC? Is it the course number starting with a 200?
 

Ad2b

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What is considered as upper level division; course number starting with a 200?
Typically 300/3000+ and I don't believe CC have UD as the students end LD and head to 4 - year uni or "life" with an AA.
 
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DV-T

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What is considered as upper level division courses at a CC? Is it the course number starting with a 200?
Typically 300/3000+ and I don't believe CC have UD as the students end LD and head to 4 - year uni or "life" with an AA.

Sorry, that was a mistake. CC's only have lower 2000 level sciences courses. What I meant to write was taking a DIY PB at a CC for nontrads is ok, but upper sciences at a 4 year is better...
 
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DDXDOC4U

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Nope. Adcoms won't be concerned with that. As long as you have a degree and your metrics/ECs meet their standards to get an interview, you are fine. I am unsure whether a foreign undergrad degree will be accepted by US medical schools. That's why I paged gyngyn above to confirm...

Here is an excerpt from the University of Arizona College of medicine Phoenix:
A bachelor's (baccalaureate) degree is required for matriculation. All course work must be completed in an educational institution located in the U.S. or Canada and approved by a regional accrediting body. Students who have earned a degree outside the U.S. or Canada are required to complete a minimum of 60 credit hours in an educational institution located in the U.S. or Canada, including the required courses for admission. Bachelor's degree must be conferred no later than June 15, 2019.
 

DV-T

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Well, that's awesome for you! Just finish out your PB at 60 hours with a >3.0, get a competitive 2nd MCAT, get the ECs, and apply to DOs!
 

DDXDOC4U

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Well, that's awesome for you! Just finish out your PB at 60 hours with a >3.0, get a competitive 2nd MCAT, get the ECs, and apply to DOs!
What is the EC = extra credits? or ...?
 

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Extracurricular activities like clinical/nonclinical volunteering, shadowing, research, leadership positions, etc...
I already have 100 hours + in volunteering at a teaching hospital - do you think I can think its enough and quit? How many hours is a typical requirement?
 

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You should never quit volunteering and helping others. It makes you a better person inside, where it matters.
 

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I already have 100 hours + in volunteering at a teaching hospital - do you think I can think its enough and quit? How many hours is a typical requirement?

I can't give you an answer on how many set hours of volunteering is needed. Every situation is different, and every school ADCOM has its own set of criteria. However, if you go to the What Are My Chances? you will see what other applicants have in order to be competitive.

If you enjoy volunteering at the teaching hospital, then I suggest you continue to do so. And hopefully you will have other ECs to put on your application.
 

DDXDOC4U

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Hey @DDXDOC4U, I feel your pain- I did the non-trad/post bac thing too. I did some cc basic science classes, then some upper level university classes, then finally an SMP. Starting med school in July! It is totally doable, just a long road.

It sounds like you're struggling with not having time to really focus in the basic science classes. Would that be different in the post bac programs? They will be much more intense than individual basic science classes and poor grades in those can sink your app. You said you work in IT, would it be possible to transition to a part time position or decrease your hours? You probably need at least a 3.0 sGPA in your post bac classes and to bring that MCAT score up (probably related if the bio section was lowest). If time is the issue, you might need to make the financial investment in your future and carve out time for your studying from your work schedule however possible. You (and, importantly, AdComs) won't know whether dedicated time is the only barrier to getting good grades unless you prove it.

Side note, if you're positive you're prepared for the academic intensity an SMP might be easier financially. You can get financial aid for an SMP that you can't get while taking individual non-degree seeking classes. If that enabled you to quit your job and focus on school it might be a good thing, but would probably depend on your family's needs and finances.

Which SMP course did you do? Was it on-site or hybrid or online? Cost? Length of the program?
 

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I did the medsci program at UNTHSC in Texas. I loved it, but my impression is that it is generally not the best option for non-Texas residents- I think there is a fairly strong regional bias. Most of my class is from Texas and prior classes followed the same pattern. Publicly funded Texas medical schools are required to accept 90% TX residents, I believe, so the local connections for OOS students may not be as helpful. It is a one year program- May to May- which accepts applications until March 1. It is a full time, onsite program which requires living in/nearby Fort Worth, TX, tuition is around $12k IS/$32k OOS for the full year program. May not be a good fit for your situation, but feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.
 

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I did the medsci program at UNTHSC in Texas. I loved it, but my impression is that it is generally not the best option for non-Texas residents- I think there is a fairly strong regional bias. Most of my class is from Texas and prior classes followed the same pattern. Publicly funded Texas medical schools are required to accept 90% TX residents, I believe, so the local connections for OOS students may not be as helpful. It is a one year program- May to May- which accepts applications until March 1. It is a full time, onsite program which requires living in/nearby Fort Worth, TX, tuition is around $12k IS/$32k OOS for the full year program. May not be a good fit for your situation, but feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.

Thanks!
I just searched and found another one - USF - has a program @25K. I am not sure if its good. However, so far in my search I have found both Case Western Reserve and John Hopkins to have solid reputation as institutions where the name stands out not just for one's admit to MD programs, but also quality programs - but, the price kills as a double edged sword at $40K and $55K. What do you think is it even worth building up a debt like this for?
 

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I am rooting for you. I am a non-traditional student (35 this year) who had a low undergrad GPA and a so-so MCAT. I did well in my Master's program, and I did some research in between undergrad and admittance to an MD program. I would suggest reading some of the mission statements of schools that are considered "lower tier." Contact admissions of those schools and see what you information you can glean from them. They may have helpful advice concerning your application. Especially, if you manage to hit the mark with regards to their mission. Some medical schools aren't all about the numbers. Don't get me wrong, the numbers matter. But different admissions committees may weigh certain things differently. This has just been my experience. I hope that it helps. Good luck.
 

DDXDOC4U

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I am rooting for you. I am a non-traditional student (35 this year) who had a low undergrad GPA and a so-so MCAT. I did well in my Master's program, and I did some research in between undergrad and admittance to an MD program. I would suggest reading some of the mission statements of schools that are considered "lower tier." Contact admissions of those schools and see what you information you can glean from them. They may have helpful advice concerning your application. Especially, if you manage to hit the mark with regards to their mission. Some medical schools aren't all about the numbers. Don't get me wrong, the numbers matter. But different admissions committees may weigh certain things differently. This has just been my experience. I hope that it helps. Good luck.

Great! Thanks! Did you do research as part of the MS program or just independent research to get published?
 

Moosepod

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I worked in a lab separate from my MS program. I also did some tutoring and other volunteer work.
 
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