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Reconsidering Med School

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Calad

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Hello everyone, thanks for reading in advance!

When I first started my undergraduate career (2005) I had a pretty good idea that I was going to attempt getting into medical school. I was a good, but not great student, where I would get great grades in a lot of classes but would be inconsistent in my focus and work ethic, which would lead to some erratic semesters and no solid trend. Finally at the end of my junior year I had Pass/No Credit'ed 2 classes (partially due to bad advice from an academic advisor, these should have just been Ws) and recieved a C in Orgo II and Orgo lab (6 credits total) and got very discouraged from my aspirations of Med School, so going into my senior year i decided to forgo that future. I finished up my Economics degree on time and got on with my life. Here are some of the numbers for the core science classes (most had labs included with the course, some were seperate) and my GPAs

cGPA: 3.3 sGPA: 3.29

Chem 1: A- lab B
Chem 2: A- lab B
Bio 1: B
Bio 2: B
Physics 1: A
Physics 2: A-
Orgo 1: B+
Orgo 2: C
Orgo lab: C

About a year after graduation I had a gone through a period of anxiety/panic attacks and visited my doctor about it. When going in for the visit I found that I was being seen by the PA. She was very knowledgeable and professional and having not known of the existence of this profession before this visit i did some research. Aftering having learned about the PA profession and doing some shadowing and volunteer work at the office it rekindled my passion for medicine and recognized that if I wanted to pursue this I needed to focus and work hard to achieve these goals.I went back to school thinking I wanted to apply to PA school, so I took my remaining pre reqs, which included a few upper level bio classes that i got all As in (Microbio, Genetics, Anatomy), as well as an A in stats and B in Abnormal Psych.

This raised my cGPA to 3.38 and sGPA/BCPM to 3.45
. Took an EMT-B class and got my license, which I still haven't done much with it yet though because I got a job as a Medical Assistant which I have done for about 6 months now. However, as I did more research, I was finding that my while my GPA is far from exemplary, it is serviceable. Not to mention, 25 is in fact not too old to apply to med school and the extra year or two in med school (since PA programs range from 2-3 years) as well as the 2-3 years of residency is definitely not as much of a hindrance as I thought. Especially considering the glass ceiling that comes with the PA profession, I would never want something like a title holding me back from my true potential.

So, where do I go from here?
Does the post-bacc work I did demonstrate my capability as a potential med student or does it need more?
I don't think my ECs are very impressive at all but probably a decent start, where should I look to improve this area?

I have not done any work/prep as far as the MCAT is concerned as the possibility of med school only resurfaced a month ago or so, but what is the best way to approach taking this test, especially considering most of the material on it is stuff i took classes on 4-6 years ago? Do i have enough time to take the MCAT and apply this cycle or is it not worth it?

Thanks again for reading and will appreciate any feedback!

Edit: Suppose i should mention that i am a NY resident as that seems to increase my odds of acceptance with the amount of schools in-state.
 
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TriagePreMed

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You should be fine for an Osteopathic program with a good MCAT score.

How are your other activities? Leadership, clinical volunteering, community volunteering, shadowing, etc.? If you don't have these, I'd suggest getting some before you choose to apply. I imagine you'd like to apply next year? That should be sufficient time.
 

Law2Doc

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Your numbers are an okay starting point for med school. But don't put yourself on an artificial timetable. Start studying for MCAT, but I wouldnt plan on taking it in a rush -- make sure your full length practice tests suggest you will do well. If you lose a year but end up in a great program becuse you got all your ducks in a row that's probably smarter than rushing things doing mediocre, and having to cross your fingers.

Second, residency is not " 2-3 years", it's 3-7 years, depending on your field of choice, and many people do fellowship on top of that.

Your focus on being a doctor as quickly as possible in your thread is a bit off-putting. This is a lifetime of learning you may be embarking on. Focusing on the endpoint is a really bad idea.
 

Calad

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Your numbers are an okay starting point for med school. But don't put yourself on an artificial timetable. Start studying for MCAT, but I wouldnt plan on taking it in a rush -- make sure your full length practice tests suggest you will do well. If you lose a year but end up in a great program becuse you got all your ducks in a row that's probably smarter than rushing things doing mediocre, and having to cross your fingers.

Second, residency is not " 2-3 years", it's 3-7 years, depending on your field of choice, and many people do fellowship on top of that.

Your focus on being a doctor as quickly as possible in your thread is a bit off-putting. This is a lifetime of learning you may be embarking on. Focusing on the endpoint is a really bad idea.

As far as the MCAT goes, thank you. I was reading some threads on MCAT prep in the other board and it seemed many people put 3+ months of daily work into studying, so I likely will be aiming to test the test sometime early next year as I said I am quite a few years removed from any of the materal on the exam.

As far as residency is concerned. I was factoring in the difference between PA residency and an MD residency. Since a lot of sub par PA programs are starting to pop up all over the place things are starting to gravitate towards a 1 year "residency" as the norm in the profession. I haven't heard of a 7 year long residency, I suppose i should look into things more. Regardless, med school is a very big time investment, and time is the most valuable thing any of us have here in this world. As far as I know, Med school/Residency essentially puts the rest of my life on hold for as long as it goes on. Is it really that off putting that i value my time in such a way? Either way, thank you very much for your time and I will try to not be as results oriented going forward :)
 
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Law2Doc

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... As far as I know, Med school/Residency essentially puts the rest of my life on hold for as long as it goes on. Is it really that off putting that i value my time in such a way? ... :)

for many specialties, the hours go up, not down, after residency, at least during the first X years. So don't look at med school/residency as a finite time before your life gets better. Look at it as the first of many steps in your lifetime of learning. Don't put your life on hold, just bear in mind that if you go this route, medicine will be a huge part of your life going forward. In the PA world, where hours are light after your training, it perhaps makes more sense to view graduation as the light at the end of the tunnel. In medicine completing residency just means that you are now working without a net, have residents that are going to wake you in the middle of the night (as opposed to the other way round), have no duty hour protections. I know plenty of new attendants who saw their hours jump from 75 hours a week to over 100 once they finished residency. Their bank accounts also saw a healthy jump, but still, if they were waiting until after residency to take their life off hold,, they'd have to keep waiting. That's my point. You need to not put things on hold, just resolve yourself to the fact that you will be spending a lot if your life going forward in the hospital. If you enjoy it, no biggie. If you are looking at it as a means to an end, big mistake.
 

Calad

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Ah ok. Makes a lot more sense now, thanks
 

EdLongshanks

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I know that when you are in your twenties, it looks like you are in a sprint to accomplish things before... before... well just before. I'm turning 50 next year, so my perspective is different. You could be ready to apply next year, but I'm not sure that you are. For example, you need a really good personal statement - which is your opportunity to say why you want to be a doctor. This thread gives a feeling that you may not have completely answered that question to yourself yet, much less figured out how to tell others. You have to get your letters of reference from former teachers. I don't know how much time you spend with doctors, but you need time with them in order to get a letter of reference from them. If you want to apply to DO schools, you will have to have a DO letter of reference. This can take time. I don't know what your MA duties are, you may be with a doctor most of the day, or your may sit in an office and make appointments. If so, you need some time shadowing a doctor so that you really know what a doctor does.

I don't know your volunteering history, but you should have a good set of community service time. Did you do some of this during college? Are you part of a service organization now?

There are some books at Amazon that may give you a better perspective. I read "Med School Confidential" that gave me a better feel for what I was getting into.
 

Calad

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I know that when you are in your twenties, it looks like you are in a sprint to accomplish things before... before... well just before. I'm turning 50 next year, so my perspective is different. You could be ready to apply next year, but I'm not sure that you are. For example, you need a really good personal statement - which is your opportunity to say why you want to be a doctor. This thread gives a feeling that you may not have completely answered that question to yourself yet, much less figured out how to tell others. You have to get your letters of reference from former teachers. I don't know how much time you spend with doctors, but you need time with them in order to get a letter of reference from them. If you want to apply to DO schools, you will have to have a DO letter of reference. This can take time. I don't know what your MA duties are, you may be with a doctor most of the day, or your may sit in an office and make appointments. If so, you need some time shadowing a doctor so that you really know what a doctor does.

I don't know your volunteering history, but you should have a good set of community service time. Did you do some of this during college? Are you part of a service organization now?

There are some books at Amazon that may give you a better perspective. I read "Med School Confidential" that gave me a better feel for what I was getting into.

My MA duties are much more clincal based as opposed to administrative. I would spend time bringing patients into the rooms and preparing them for whoever they would be seen (Vitals/CC), routinely would be called upon to do PFTs, EKGs, INRs, ABIs. The (private) office has a DO, NP, and PA, and the scope of practice between the DO/PA seems to be very similar, though the PA would of course occasionally consult with the doc on the more difficult cases. From a lot of the reading I have done recently I have gathered that the dynamic between the 2 professions is a lot more profound than I have experienced, so over the past week or so I have been seeking out people to shadow in other specialties/environments in both professions but haven't had much luck yet.

The work I do as an MA is very rewarding. Granted there are plenty of ungrateful and rude patients (especially living on Long Island... :laugh:), but there are just as many great people and knowing that I have a (hopefully positive) affect on their life and health is very satisfying. The procedures however are incredibly bland and I like to think of myself as a relatively intelligent individual, so I believe I am capable of so much more than that. In my post bacc classes I was in class with many seniors who were applying/applied and go into med school, and I felt that if these people could do it I definitely could. Again, the only thing that really scares me about med school is the commitment as I have a long term girlfriend (7 years now) and potentially losing her over the lack of time to med school/residency is something im not sure I would be able to sacrifice. I've read a few of your posts, Ed, and seems you have already gone through this process though you've been together much longer and are already married, perhaps you have some more advice for me if your schedule allows it!

I downloaded the sample on my kindle for the book you suggested and it definitely seems like a great resource and interesting read. I am going to purchase it as soon as I finish reading A Dance with Dragons (cannot multitask on books like that and I MUST finish this book :p). Thanks again.
 

Equestrian

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I downloaded the sample on my kindle for the book you suggested and it definitely seems like a great resource and interesting read. I am going to purchase it as soon as I finish reading A Dance with Dragons (cannot multitask on books like that and I MUST finish this book :p). Thanks again.

Don't bother rushing! Once you finish it will be a LONG wait for the next book... However, I do understand the sentiment!
 

primadonna22274

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Calad: try for med school. If you question now whether you will be content as a PA, I can tell you that you probably will not be (been there, done that).
What looks to you like "the same job" between the PA & DO where you work is a skilled illusion...they approach problems from a very similar framework, and employ the same diagnostic skills, but the DO's knowledge base is much deeper than the PA's. The PA's knowledge is vast, particularly in a primary care field where you really do have to keep up, but there are many fundamental things s/he never learned and wasn't required to, and s/he can still do a great job because s/he has the safety net of her supervising physician's knowledge (assuming the SP is worth his/her salt).
Ultimately the responsibility lies with the supervising physician though. A great PA-physician team can work very well, as you have seen. You need to figure out which of those people you want to be and become that. Much wiser to do it first than the more expensive circuitous route that I have chosen :) (PA-C for 12 yr, now finishing first year DO school.)
Good luck ;)
 
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