cosmicdesire

2+ Year Member
Dec 27, 2018
7
0
Hello! Fellow pre-med in need of some advice...

I graduated from my undergraduate institution in May of 2018 with a B.S in Psychology, with a concentration in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience. Due to a few factors, I only managed a 3.36 cumulative GPA and 3.08 BCPM. Since graduating, I took some time off school to reassess what it is I wanted out of a career/life and to manage my anxiety and depression that had gone untreated for years at that point. Now that I am in a better mental and physical state, I have realized that I still am passionate about pursuing medical school in the future and could use some advice about the best course of action.

I’m currently enrolled in another university in my state, taking some upper level science courses (made an A in my class in the fall, currently signed up for 2 more in the spring) and am planning on taking the MCAT around May-July since the testing locations prior to that are all booked up in my state. I guess my question is, should I keep taking post-bacc classes as I’m doing now/take the MCAT/and find more clinical experiences to boost my app or would it be more advantageous for me to apply for some type of master’s level program to prove my academic competence at a higher level and find more clinical shadowing/research opportunities through them?

I have listed my clinical experiences up to this point below but all of them were basically done from 2014- 2018, so I have a large gap in my activities which is another point of concern for me. I apologize for the wall of text but any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Shift leader at BBQ joint where I worked full time for 4 years to pay for school/living expenses
Inpatient pediatric volunteer (350 hours)
At-risk youth mentor (300 hours)
OR shadow/volunteer (60 hours)
ED medical scribe (280 hours)
ID physician shadow (10 hours)
ED physician shadow (8 hours)
 

GoPenguinsGo

2+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2017
353
575
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
If you're trying to raise your undergraduate GPAs, taking Masters level coursework won't help. Those GPAs are kept sepearate and alot of Allopathic schools disregard graduate GPA. Continue your post-bacc work at the undregrad level if you're trying to repair your GPAs.

As far as the MCAT is concerned, I personally do not recommend taking the MCAT without the following classes:
-Gen Chem 1 + 2
-Orangic Chemistry 1+2
-Biochemistry
-Bio 1 and 2
-Cell Bio
-Physiology
-Intro to Psych
-Intro level Sociology
-Physics 1 (mechanics) and 2 (E and M)
-Microbiology
 

Rogue42

2+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2017
651
831
Southeast
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
My Advice is as follows:
Shadowing: Goro says that only need about 20 hours shadowing to meet his criteria of sufficiency (if I remember correctly), but I always felt more comfortable with 50 hours. So I would definitely say increase your number of shadowing hours by just a bit because I see that you only have 18 ish hours. Granted you do have "OR shadowing / volunteering" listed, but remember you can only list as one thing when it comes to your application. I'd say one or two 4 to 8 hour shadowing experiences should be enough unless you want to increase that number to 50 hours. Remember, it isn't that you shadowed that matters. It is what you get out of it. You need to be able to say, "I have seen the life of a doctor, and I still choose to pursue this hot mess express with an unwavering passion."
Clinical work: As far as clinical hours in general, I would personally like to see 500 hours in that category. 300 isn't bad, but could definitely be better. But again, it's about what you get out of the experiences that you are having.
Volunteering: 500 hours volunteering looks good to me to be honest, I had way less.
Grades: You have met the first cut-off of at least a 3.0 cGPA and sGPA, the next major cut off is usually a 3.2/3 ish, then a 3.5. However, you probably have enough hours piled on that getting your GPA up to a 3.5 is probably unrealistic in your timeframe. Personally, I would say keep taking classes and making A's as best you can. In order for it to be seen as a legitimate post-bacc success, 30 hours is usually required. With that stated, as long as you slowly are working your way through classes and making A's it will look at least somewhat favorable.
MCAT: DO NOT TAKE THE MCAT UNTIL YOU ARE 1000% READY TO TAKE AND HANDLE IT. You're probably looking at needing a 505 score - if not better - to be considered truly competitive for DO schools based on your GPA.
Masters: A masters will do very little for you in terms of academic gpa repair, proving yourself, or otherwise. Only pursue this option for truly selfish reasons instead of what you hope it will look like for an application.

Ultimately what I see is this (please don't take this harshly!! I am just trying to help with what I see from a medical student standpoint), your whole application could use a little work here and there; your gpa needs to increase a little and some of your hours need to increase a little and your MCAT needs to be a little above DO average to feel comfortable in applying. I would definitely say take classes and make A's! I would also say use your weekends or days off to do little EC work to bolster those stats while also showing that you took two years off and came back because - and here is the important part - you're still passionate about following this dream. Furthermore, the QUALITY of what you do will weigh more heavy than the quantity to a certain extent. AKA volunteer for /shadow in /work in what you feel the most passionate about because those are the experiences that you'll be able to type and talk about in such a way that will truly show who you are, what you want, and why you are pursing this dream which will set you apart. The other side of this coin is that if you do not have a enough hours and yet you are super passionate about the experiences the obvious question will become "if you're so passionate about this, why didn't you do it more?" which is not a conversation or a question you want admissions staff to be having amongst themselves.

Best of luck, and let me know if you have any other questions.
 
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cosmicdesire

2+ Year Member
Dec 27, 2018
7
0
If you're trying to raise your undergraduate GPAs, taking Masters level coursework won't help. Those GPAs are kept sepearate and alot of Allopathic schools disregard graduate GPA. Continue your post-bacc work at the undregrad level if you're trying to repair your GPAs.

As far as the MCAT is concerned, I personally do not recommend taking the MCAT without the following classes:
-Gen Chem 1 + 2
-Orangic Chemistry 1+2
-Biochemistry
-Bio 1 and 2
-Cell Bio
-Physiology
-Intro to Psych
-Intro level Sociology
-Physics 1 (mechanics) and 2 (E and M)
-Microbiology
Thank you so much for the advice!
My Advice is as follows:
Shadowing: Goro says that only need about 20 hours shadowing to meet his criteria of sufficiency (if I remember correctly), but I always felt more comfortable with 50 hours. So I would definitely say increase your number of shadowing hours by just a bit because I see that you only have 18 ish hours. Granted you do have "OR shadowing / volunteering" listed, but remember you can only list as one thing when it comes to your application. I'd say one or two 4 to 8 hour shadowing experiences should be enough unless you want to increase that number to 50 hours. Remember, it isn't that you shadowed that matters. It is what you get out of it. You need to be able to say, "I have seen the life of a doctor, and I still choose to pursue this hot mess express with an unwavering passion."
Clinical work: As far as clinical hours in general, I would personally like to see 500 hours in that category. 300 isn't bad, but could definitely be better. But again, it's about what you get out of the experiences that you are having.
Volunteering: 500 hours volunteering looks good to me to be honest, I had way less.
Grades: You have met the first cut-off of at least a 3.0 cGPA and sGPA, the next major cut off is usually a 3.2/3 ish, then a 3.5. However, you probably have enough hours piled on that getting your GPA up to a 3.5 is probably unrealistic in your timeframe. Personally, I would say keep taking classes and making A's as best you can. In order for it to be seen as a legitimate post-bacc success, 30 hours is usually required. With that stated, as long as you slowly are working your way through classes and making A's it will look at least somewhat favorable.
MCAT: DO NOT TAKE THE MCAT UNTIL YOU ARE 1000% READY TO TAKE AND HANDLE IT. You're probably looking at needing a 505 score - if not better - to be considered truly competitive for DO schools based on your GPA.
Masters: A masters will do very little for you in terms of academic gpa repair, proving yourself, or otherwise. Only pursue this option for truly selfish reasons instead of what you hope it will look like for an application.

Ultimately what I see is this (please don't take this harshly!! I am just trying to help with what I see from a medical student standpoint), your whole application could use a little work here and there; your gpa needs to increase a little and some of your hours need to increase a little and your MCAT needs to be a little above DO average to feel comfortable in applying. I would definitely say take classes and make A's! I would also say use your weekends or days off to do little EC work to bolster those stats while also showing that you took two years off and came back because - and here is the important part - you're still passionate about following this dream. Furthermore, the QUALITY of what you do will weigh more heavy than the quantity to a certain extent. AKA volunteer for /shadow in /work in what you feel the most passionate about because those are the experiences that you'll be able to type and talk about in such a way that will truly show who you are, what you want, and why you are pursing this dream which will set you apart. The other side of this coin is that if you do not have a enough hours and yet you are super passionate about the experiences the obvious question will become "if you're so passionate about this, why didn't you do it more?" which is not a conversation or a question you want admissions staff to be having amongst themselves.

Best of luck, and let me know if you have any other questions.
Thank you so much for such a thorough response! It means a lot to have some constructive criticism. Your message about picking work in what I'm passionate about definitely resonated with me. I am extremely passionate about mental health care accessibility, working with children and underserved populations, so I think I'm definitely going to gear my job search to some type of clinical work that would involve these patient populations. As for the MCAT, I have been slowly doing some content review since I'm on my winter break now and I've definitely noticed some knowledge gaps I have (particularly in chemistry and physics) so I'm for sure going to have to develop a good study plan for that when the time comes. I definitely realize I have some shortcomings that I need to work through and I genuinely appreciate the advice you've given!
 

cosmicdesire

2+ Year Member
Dec 27, 2018
7
0
If you're trying to raise your undergraduate GPAs, taking Masters level coursework won't help. Those GPAs are kept sepearate and alot of Allopathic schools disregard graduate GPA. Continue your post-bacc work at the undregrad level if you're trying to repair your GPAs.

As far as the MCAT is concerned, I personally do not recommend taking the MCAT without the following classes:
-Gen Chem 1 + 2
-Orangic Chemistry 1+2
-Biochemistry
-Bio 1 and 2
-Cell Bio
-Physiology
-Intro to Psych
-Intro level Sociology
-Physics 1 (mechanics) and 2 (E and M)
-Microbiology
Thank you for your response! I think I'm going to continue with my postbacc classes as is then and study hard for my MCAT when the time comes!
 

TragicalDrFaust

2+ Year Member
May 27, 2017
264
265
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Have you shadowed a DO? Some adcoms here say it doesn't matter that much but there are a few DO schools that won't accept students who haven't shadowed a DO (WV, Edward Via, ACOM jump to mind). On top of that, many applications will ask if you've shadowed a DO and if not, then why? I found that shadowing a DO for (just 20 hours) strengthened my narrative in application essays and gave me more material to work with when asked why osteopathic medicine?

I agree with other posters about your GPA. A strong MCAT or another big EC project may make it easier to overlook. I'm also not seeing any research which is minor for DO but still, most people have it.
 

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