Jul 25, 2016
Hi everyone,

I graduated from college in 2011 and have since been working as as software developer (B.S. in Computer Science). It pays the bills but more and more as I go into work I think about how much I want to practice medicine as a doctor. Being that I work full time and would only really have time to take classes at night, it would take a little while for me to complete the typical D.O. school prerequisites. I've already had basic chemistry and physics (though I would probably retake physics to try and get a higher grade) but other than that I have no class experience towards the requirements.

So my couple of questions to the forum are as follows:
1. Assuming I do well in my classes, would the fact that I took them at a community college make me less competitive of a candidate than someone from a University?
2. Since I won't be doing the typical 4 years premed route, are there any classes (maybe 1-4) that could really help me standout to compete with traditional premed students?
3. What kind of volunteer work is recommended over the next couple of years to help show I'm serious about this?
4. Honestly speaking (and I have thick skin so don't worry), I'm around a 3.2-3.5 GPA student. Test taking isn't my strong suite but hands and application I shine in. What are the realistic odds of a now 27 year old male with my kind of GPA and background in software getting into a D.O. school?

Sorry to flood with a bunch of questions but I want to make sure I have all my ducks in a line before I start going down this path.

Thanks guys/gals,


SDN Gold Donor
Gold Donor
2+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2014
1. You have to look at the schools of interest to see how they view CC vs standard 4 year university; primarily, the advice I was given is take the pre-reqs at the best university I could (and I did)

2. The best way to stand out is to do well. There is not one class or another that will independently make you stand out but collectively doing well, will do that for you as well as a really good MCAT score

3. Volunteer for what you like; these folks who serve on the adcoms can smell a "check the box" volunteering activity a mile away - so get engaged in what you love and stick with it

4. My GPA is worse, it's also 30 years old; can't speak to DO schools but can tell you learning to take tests is critical because this path is loaded with them; right up to the boards post med school, post residency and for some (maybe all?) every 7 years to be re-certified. I can only related to FM and IM on that in MD world.

My best advice would be to shadow a few docs before engaging on this long expedition and find out if you truly want to do this because it is a grueling, humbling, marathon... one that I have no doubt, for me, was the right choice, despite my length of life :)

Best of luck to you as you figure this out!


2+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2014
Medical Student
I agree with the above.

1. I don't think CC will hurt you too much, especially given that you're a nontrad career changer. (CC can be a red flag when it appears that students deliberately take CC courses in the hopes that they'll be "easier," which of course isn't always the case.) If you can finish you prereqs at a 4-year university, that's always your best bet. But I wouldn't sweat it too much if CC works better with your schedule or is just more cost-effective. I think schools are likely to understand that.

2. Coursework isn't really going to make you stand out. Just focus on completing the basic prereqs and doing well.

3. Agree with Ad2b. Choose volunteer work that's personally meaningful to you! Although, you do want some contact with patients on your application somewhere. And if you're applying DO, you'll want to shadow at least 1 DO.

4. I believe the average GPA for DO matriculants is ~3.6. You're really not too far below the target. Luckily, DO offers grade replacement so if you have any science courses you did poorly in in undergrad, you can erase those grades as long as you can do better the second time around. It's hard to say what your chances are without an MCAT score but it doesn't sound like you have any red flags thus far. Your previous career contributes to your diversity as an applicant!