2+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2015
So it's been more than a year since I determined I would try this whole post-bacc adventure, and I've just completed my first semester back at school! I had to move back home after a few years abroad, and although the transition has been difficult at times I'm having a lot of fun. I wanted to make this post to get your opinions on how I'm doing, and especially to remind me of anything I may be forgetting to work on for my eventual application (even at this early stage).

--Target application date: June 2018, take MCAT in April/May 2018. I will be 31 years old when I apply.
--I'm a Florida resident doing an informal post-bacc at a state school. My undergrad GPA in Political Science was 3.5 (grad GPA same major 3.7).
--Target sGPA after post-bacc: 3.8+ (straight-As). cGPA in this scenario: 3.6+. (just completed calculus this summer with a high A)
--Target MCAT: 510 (obviously this is a long way off, but I've targeted 508-510 to be the minimum I need to be competitive for an MD school. DO is absolutely on the table)

--Right now I have 150 hours of tangentially medical volunteering I did in Calcutta (caretaking for disabled children and adults)
--Approx. 50 hours volunteering with the local hospice organization so far, I'll have at least 300 hours by the time I apply.
--Passed my CNA certification last month, although no plans to use it for work until at least next year (currently committed to a full-time office job)
--Leasing a plot at the local community garden (good EC? I'm really just doing it b/c I've never gardened before and I think it's fascinating)

Plans for next two years:
--Begin volunteering at local soup kitchen next summer/fall (cannot right now due to weekday work commitments) OR at local children's shelter as a tutor (need to wait until I have more free time, schedule is tight right now)
--Earn phlebotomy and EKG certifications for potential work as patient care technician
--After completing gen chem 1 and 2 this fall/spring, try to apply for research assistant positions at uni (possible long-shot)
--Shadow family member physician (highly successful in his specialty, can't ask for rec letter b/c he's family but can I at least claim as legit shadowing?)
--Shadow local GP (family friend)
--Continue second job as a tutor/teacher for major national test prep company (considering quitting b/c it'll take up a lot of my time and energy, only benefit is I will eventually qualify for a free MCAT course...)

Any thoughts at all? It's tough being at the beginning of this two-year plan and realizing how much further I have to go. I feel like once I get into med school it'll be easier to stomach the 8+ years that will follow admission... Right now I'm just keeping my sanity by staying busy, if that makes sense; I try to keep a regular gym schedule, and I'm going on a much needed hiking trip next week.

Complicating things are the fact that I don't have a car, and I get around solely by bicycle and public transportation. It's less than ideal in the summertime with steady daytime temps above 90 and humidity above 75%, but it's good enough to get me where I need to go. I'll be quitting my full-time job next summer out of necessity to attend daytime-only classes.

Background: in my previous life I was an English teacher overseas for a couple years. I've done quite a bit of traveling and even did a stint as a chef down under. In other words, I have a lot of interesting experiences to write about on my application and hopeful secondaries (at least people tell me they're interesting).

Please let me know what you think! I appreciate your opinions.


2+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2014
Medical Student
Don't be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Reading all this, I have no idea what you're passionate about. It not only seems like you're trying to check off as many boxes as possible but you're keeping with your habit of just bouncing around whatever is your passion of the moment. I suggest you find the 2-4 things you are actually focused on and commit to them.

PS - don't feel the need to justify your life choices to me. I'm merely commenting on how they appear to a 3rd party.
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2+ Year Member
Aug 13, 2015
Don't be a jack of all trades and a master of none.
Man, I can't tell you how many times I've been given this same advice. But the way I look at your situation is (1) you had fun in your 20s and experienced all life had to offer (2) you found that your calling in life is medicine and (3) you did what was necessary to answer that calling.
It's tough being at the beginning of this two-year plan and realizing how much further I have to go.
My fourth grade teacher used to say "yard by yard it's hard but inch by inch it's a sinch." Must be good advice since I remember it 12 years later! You've got good GPAs. You've got life experience. Submerge yourself in science and clinical work/volunteering for the next two years and show that you're committed to this ultimate goal. That seems to be what every poster on this thread has told me!