plexwriter5

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I’ve been thinking about this for a while and if anyone can give me an advice, I would greatly appreciate it.

Here’s my situation. I graduated in Dec. 2003 with an undergraduate degree in bio and gpa of 3.77. I took MCAT in April 2003 and did poorly on it (phy 9, ver 6, bio 10) but decided to apply to med school anyway in that summer. Obviously I didn’t get in. In the spring of 2004, I was feeling emotionally and physically exhausted so took some time off (took Spanish and art classes for self-development). Then I started working full-time at a clinical research company but after a couple months, I wasn’t very happy with some ethical things so quit. I decided to reapply to med school and started studying for MCAT in the fall 2004 while working only part time. I also studied for DAT as a back-up and did well on it. Hopefully I do better on this MCAT. My problem is what I should do during the time I apply to med school starting this summer. Basically I have two options, I think:

1) lab research:
pro- don’t have to be super busy while applying to med, dental, and foreign med schools.
con- might appear inadequately challenged academically

2) postbac program:
pro- reestablish academically since college graduation
con- will always be under time pressure; might just waste money on application since my current MCAT score is low; spend a huge amount of tuition

How much do med schools prefer applicants to stay in school? Would it be a great disadvantage if I do research? Also, I live in so. California (near UCLA, USC, UCI) and if anyone knows a good research opportunity, please let me know. I’m looking for a full-time research position with at least minimum stipend (not just volunteer) but I’m worried because most advisors prefer to have you more than a year. I’m even willing to move if there’s any great opportunity out of state! Anyway, I would greatly appreciate any insight or advice. Thanks.
 

whispers

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It would depend on what postbac you did and what classes you would be taking. Would they even see these grades on you application?
 

Ypo.

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Whispers is right-if you reapply this summer, then starting a post-bac will not help your application much-since the grades won't show up on the app. Also, people generally do a post-bac program to raise a low GPA. In your case, your GPA is not your weak point, a 3.77 is very good. The thing that is really holding you back is that low VR score. It is notoriously hard to get into Cali schools (I'm sure I don't have to tell you), and I've been told that you really have to do better than a 10,10,10 on all sections of the MCAT, or else have something else about you that really stands out.

In your case, I would either do the research, or, if you are concerned about having graduated in 2003, then start a Master's program in some biology related field. And of course, kick butt on the MCAT this time around.

I had a similar problem last year-I graduated in May, 2002, and have not been back to school since. I applied last year (as a Hawaii resident) and got rejected post-interview. Hawaii is hard to get into (being a nonnative) because they give you points for being born and raised there-those 5 extra points can make all the difference.
So, in August, I moved back to my home state of Michigan. I also did a CNA class, then got a job providing direct care for mentally ill and physically disabled adults. This gave me an additional clinical experience to draw from and talk about in interviews. Aside from that, I did not retake the MCAT, or do anything else. I was accepted to several Michigan schools in the early fall. So, I credit being accepted this year mainly to just moving to a less competetive state.

If you don't really ace the MCAT this time around and aren't set on a Cali school, you might consider moving to a state with less competetition for reapplying. A word to the wise-all you need to do is state on the app that you are a resident of- say Arkansas-, then you just have to move there by August (or whatever the school requires for residency), get a job, drivers license, address, and pay taxes for a partial year there. And, most medical schools will require you to live there for one year prior to classes in the fall, without being enrolled in an academic program (so that would throw doing a masters out the window). This is what I did, moved to Michigan in Aug, but put that I was a resident there in June when I submitted the app. Also, now that I am accepted, I plan on spending May through July in Hawaii with my bf. heh.

My gut feeling is that if you can raise your VR score to a 9, and keep at least a 10 on both other sections, that you can definitely get accepted somewhere-if not a Cali school, then a private school like Drexel. I really think the VR is what is holding you back. In the meantime, the more quality experiences you can have this year to add to your app and talk about in the interivew, the better for you. Make sure you do your research on which schools have which average MCAT/GPA and how many out-of-state students they accept-I know a lot of Cali residents end up having to go out of state for medical school. Good luck to you! :luck:
 
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plexwriter5

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Thank you whispers and yposhelley. I guess I'll throw out the idea of applying to postbac/masters program and rather concentrate on MCAT and look for a sold research position after April. yposhelley, thank you for sharing the ideas about med schools outside CA. All you advice definitely helped!!
 

Jonathan13180

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plexwriter5 said:
Thank you whispers and yposhelley. I guess I'll throw out the idea of applying to postbac/masters program and rather concentrate on MCAT and look for a sold research position after April. yposhelley, thank you for sharing the ideas about med schools outside CA. All you advice definitely helped!!
I would agree that doing a post-bacc wouldnt help...If you want to do "meaningful" reseach as you say, then look into academics where you might be given your own project to work on, with potential pubs. Of course, all research is meaningful, although from your initial post you list as a con that it might not be stimulating you intellectually (i think you said something along those lines). The cons about academic research are the long hours and low pay. Goodluck.
 

emeraldcity

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Hey PlexWriter,

As a person who has just finished a post-bac, let me say that honestly, with your UG grades, it is not worth it... Most post-bacs work to strengthen your application by taking either the basic science courses or actual med school classes to help bolster a gpa. You would fit in the latter type of Post-bac program, but also know that with your mcat scores, a stellar post-bac career may not get you where you need to go. From the majority of the post-bacs that I know of, only Rosalind Franklin seems to have a guarantee feed program from the post-bac to the med school. Most other programs like Drexel will guarantee you an interview if you do well, but not admission.

You would benefit from either doing research if you haven't already done so, or getting more patient exposure, like working at a hospital or hospice with direct patient contact. or both. The committees are looking for some unique experiences... yada yada, i know you've already heard all this... :rolleyes:

What you really really need to do is retake your mcat. I know how hard that is (believe me, after a post-bac, i STILL needed to retake my mcat), and you need to work on your verbal score. I would tell you to save the 30K on a post-bac and hire private tutors to help you with the mcat. Like the other poster said, 10's across the board is pretty much a standard, and if you truly plan on going to a so. cali schools, you need to be in the mid to upper 30 range.

Hope that helps! Sorry if it was a bit blunt, but I totally understand your situation... Been there :)