Should I give up on medical school? If not, what are some things I should do to make it a reality?

Have I closed this door yet?


  • Total voters
    8
Aug 9, 2016
2
2
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello, y'all. I am new to the medical school application process. I'm sure you get this question in various different forms, but I would appreciate it if you took the time to answer mine! Thanks for your help.

Major:
Biomedical Engineering (not all pre-med requirements will be met when I graduate. Looking to do a post-bacc to complete these.)

GPA: 2.5 now, can improve it to a 3.2 maximum by the end of my fourth and final year.

MCAT: Haven't taken it yet.

URM Statuses: Black Male. Son of refugees.

Softs: Student government, extensive volunteer work and leadership in engineering clubs, jobs throughout undergraduate. Residential Advisor for High School STEM summer camps for black students. Plan to roll these back, however, and focus on improving grades, finding research experience, and scribing.

Sob Story:

• Lost 2 close family members to cancer in the last year

• 4 are extremely ill or on their death beds.

• Took responsibilities in the wake of the loss, such as taking care of and tutoring my little brother when my father was dealing with the loss and mother worked extra hours to cover the loss of income, calling ill family members often.

• I go to therapy now, which has been tough. I definitely want to get this sorted out before medical school, however.

• Worked 25 hours a week during undergrad.


I think that's it for all the possible relevant information right now. If there's anything I left out, feel free to ask.

I know a lot of people have sob stories worse than mine, and they still did well in school. I'm not trying to make excuses, I apologize if it seems that way. I just wanted to list all of my information in case any of it was useful. I'm open to doing a post-bacc, or whatever else you all suggest. Thank you for reading this all, and I appreciate your time and effort.

TL;DR: Low GPA. No clinical experience or research. Should I give up on going to med school? If not, what are some things I can do now to strengthen my app?
 
Last edited:

Chelsea FC

5+ Year Member
May 21, 2013
3,217
4,984
Status
Medical Student
Dude NO ... You need to ace the MCAT 509 is the range you should be reaching for. Retake all D and F and apply to DO medical school (they do grade replacement so that will boost ur GPA) if you manage to get it to 3.2 without retaking clases you will have a shot at medical school if you ace the MCAT. You dont need research so dont waste you time with that mostly top schools like that get clinical volunteering and non clinical volunteering in a year and then apply. So chin up make a plan and then slay
 
OP
A
Aug 9, 2016
2
2
Status
Pre-Medical
Dude NO ... You need to ace the MCAT 509 is the range you should be reaching for. Retake all D and F and apply to DO medical school (they do grade replacement so that will boost ur GPA) if you manage to get it to 3.2 without retaking clases you will have a shot at medical school if you ace the MCAT. You dont need research so dont waste you time with that mostly top schools like that get clinical volunteering and non clinical volunteering in a year and then apply. So chin up make a plan and then slay
Thank you! I didn't know that most schools didn't care for research. I'm more excited for clinical research anyways. Getting into a DO program definitely looks DO-able, haha. I will look more into it! Just for comparison, what MCAT scores would I be looking at to get into an MD program?
 

Chelsea FC

5+ Year Member
May 21, 2013
3,217
4,984
Status
Medical Student
Thank you! I didn't know that most schools didn't care for research. I'm more excited for clinical research anyways. Getting into a DO program definitely looks DO-able, haha. I will look more into it! Just for comparison, what MCAT scores would I be looking at to get into an MD program?
Aim for a 509 which is a 30 on the old scale. I wouldnt suggest doing clinical research focus on your classes and in that free time do clinical volunteer and non clinical volunteer. Before u do anything u need to target why u have a bad GPA it makes no sense retaking a class and do badly at it again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: -Afrodisiac-
Aug 16, 2016
25
4
Status
Attending Physician
Don't give up, rethink.

Why do you want to be a doctor? A lot of people, when it comes down to it, want a well paying career that they can look back on and say 'I helped make things better'. With your background in biomedical engineering, you could start doing that right now, with your undergraduate degree, and continue on to a Master's. There is a lot of demand for engineers, the salaries are good, and there tends to be less racism. Yes, your family has been hit hard by disease. You are not going to cure cancer, although if you go to a research-oriented school and do oncology research in the first year summer and between your second and third years, and you do a fellowship in a research-oriented school, you might be hired by a research-oriented organization like the NIH, universities, or biopharma. Would it be equally satisfying to work on developing nanosystems or robotics to restore movement to people with spinal cord injuries? Would you like to improve implants for patients with Parkinson's disease? Would you like to develop medical devices or methods to improve treatment and medication delivery? Your bioengineering degree would be perfect for that and other jobs that would make a huge difference to patients.

OK, so let's say you decide to be a doctor because you really want to, not because of the money, prestige, or because you think it is the only way to help people with medical problems. What do you want to do? Research plus clinical, or clinical only? Your answer will determine what type of school you apply to, and schools at research + clinical are harder to get in to. You are going to be looking at UCSD, Vanderbilt, and similar. Check them out and see if you think they are a good fit.

Schools that are clinical only are easier to get in to, and they do not have to have an outstanding reputation. If you want to go that route, osteopathic and international schools are have looser entrance requirements. Because much of what you learn in the first two years will not affect your clinical experience, you need an school with a high exam pass rate and good clinical rotations. Then you need to knock your rotations out of the park. The quality of your work in the clinical years, and whether the doctors you work with have a good opinion of you, will have the most effect on your residency acceptance at clinical-only institutions. You can still do research in the summer of your first year.

So, what happened with your grades? Low grades at a school with a reputation for being challenging are less of a problem than low grades at other schools (ie., UCBerkely versus CSUSJ). Are the low grades in science classes? If you did badly in, say, anatomy class, you want to take a more advanced anatomy class to show you can do well - not repeat the same class Unless your lower grade is dropped from your transcript. In any case, you will definitely need to take additional science classes post-graduate, not only all your pre-med classes, but some advanced microbiology or embryology. And you need to get very good grades. If necessary, take fewer classes at a time over two years instead of one.

Having strong MCATs will help counteract the low undergraduate grades. Take a prep course and do not take the MCATs until you do well on a practice test.

You want to show that whatever happened in your undergraduate years is over, and you learned how to overcome those problems. (You can bring this up in your 'strengths and weaknesses' interview question.) Your application letter should emphasize your motivation from personal experiences with illness.

Consider your choices. Good luck.
 
Last edited:

TedStark

Membership Revoked
Removed
May 28, 2016
86
70
You've gotta ace the MCAT or admissions committees won't risk you taking board exams. Without a good MCAT everything else is irrelevant.
 

bluelupie

2+ Year Member
Aug 21, 2016
7
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I am in a similar boat. You are a URM and have had a valuable experience, which will definitely help you become a phenomenal doctor. I think you should take the advice given on this thread. However, I do believe you can get into a an MD school , you would probably have to do a Post bacc or a Masters, like I am on the road of doing. Please inbox me, I'd love to put you in contact with one of my mentors who has helped many students with a similar story to yours. Stay positive (haha, I wish i followed my own advice)!
 

Afropolitan

2+ Year Member
Jul 30, 2015
499
620
Status
Medical Student
Hello, y'all. I am new to the medical school application process. I'm sure you get this question in various different forms, but I would appreciate it if you took the time to answer mine! Thanks for your help.

Major:
Biomedical Engineering (not all pre-med requirements will be met when I graduate. Looking to do a post-bacc to complete these.)

GPA: 2.5 now, can improve it to a 3.2 maximum by the end of my fourth and final year.

MCAT: Haven't taken it yet.

URM Statuses: Black Male. Son of refugees.

Softs: Student government, extensive volunteer work and leadership in engineering clubs, jobs throughout undergraduate. Residential Advisor for High School STEM summer camps for black students. Plan to roll these back, however, and focus on improving grades, finding research experience, and scribing.

Sob Story:

• Lost 2 close family members to cancer in the last year

• 4 are extremely ill or on their death beds.

• Took responsibilities in the wake of the loss, such as taking care of and tutoring my little brother when my father was dealing with the loss and mother worked extra hours to cover the loss of income, calling ill family members often.

• I go to therapy now, which has been tough. I definitely want to get this sorted out before medical school, however.

• Worked 25 hours a week during undergrad.


I think that's it for all the possible relevant information right now. If there's anything I left out, feel free to ask.

I know a lot of people have sob stories worse than mine, and they still did well in school. I'm not trying to make excuses, I apologize if it seems that way. I just wanted to list all of my information in case any of it was useful. I'm open to doing a post-bacc, or whatever else you all suggest. Thank you for reading this all, and I appreciate your time and effort.

TL;DR: Low GPA. No clinical experience or research. Should I give up on going to med school? If not, what are some things I can do now to strengthen my app?
Absolutely not. Adversity strengthens character and by the time you apply, you will have a unique story to tell about your journey and the obstacles that you faced. First I would take some time to self-reflect about the experiences that you have had and your determination to become a physician. At each step of the way think about the people you have lost, what they meant to you and what they wanted for you. I would also take this opportunity to reflect on your study habits and find efficient ways to study that suit your style. It is also a good idea to find at least one mentor who you can trust and can serve as a guide as you pursue medicine.

To strengthen your application, I would first improve your grade point average. If you can get to at least a 3.0 by the time you graduate I think you will be in good shape. Medical schools reward re-invention and an upward GPA trend. Aim for a 3.2, but don't fret if you don't achieve that.

Second, you have to take the MCAT. In this case aiming for a 508 or higher (around a 30 equivalent) is ideal. Most people who study for the MCAT put in anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Focus on content review, but most importantly do lots of practice questions and practice tests. You will see greater score improvements that way.

If you do participate in a post-bac or SMP, make sure that you do well. Not doing well academically in a post-bac, masters program, or SMP is a big red flag.

Next, I would ask professors in the classes that you take if you can volunteer in their lab if they conduct research or maybe your university has programs that are looking for URM participation in research projects. Definitely seek these resources out, but only do it if research is something you are curious about. I would volunteer at a hospital during your post-bac so that you are at least doing something you are interested in outside of school. Maybe 4 hours a week or so for the entire duration of your post-bac.

Don't be afraid to stick with things that you are passionate about. For example, a lot of my activities revolve around mentoring, leadership, teaching and research. I have some clinical volunteering and shadowing experiences, but they are not extensive by any means. Do something that you are passionate about because it will show through your essays and hopefully through your interviews.

PM me with any questions and all the best!
 

Eternalfighter

5+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2012
141
81
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello, y'all. I am new to the medical school application process. I'm sure you get this question in various different forms, but I would appreciate it if you took the time to answer mine! Thanks for your help.

Major:
Biomedical Engineering (not all pre-med requirements will be met when I graduate. Looking to do a post-bacc to complete these.)

GPA: 2.5 now, can improve it to a 3.2 maximum by the end of my fourth and final year.

MCAT: Haven't taken it yet.

URM Statuses: Black Male. Son of refugees.

Softs: Student government, extensive volunteer work and leadership in engineering clubs, jobs throughout undergraduate. Residential Advisor for High School STEM summer camps for black students. Plan to roll these back, however, and focus on improving grades, finding research experience, and scribing.

Sob Story:

• Lost 2 close family members to cancer in the last year

• 4 are extremely ill or on their death beds.

• Took responsibilities in the wake of the loss, such as taking care of and tutoring my little brother when my father was dealing with the loss and mother worked extra hours to cover the loss of income, calling ill family members often.

• I go to therapy now, which has been tough. I definitely want to get this sorted out before medical school, however.

• Worked 25 hours a week during undergrad.


I think that's it for all the possible relevant information right now. If there's anything I left out, feel free to ask.

I know a lot of people have sob stories worse than mine, and they still did well in school. I'm not trying to make excuses, I apologize if it seems that way. I just wanted to list all of my information in case any of it was useful. I'm open to doing a post-bacc, or whatever else you all suggest. Thank you for reading this all, and I appreciate your time and effort.

TL;DR: Low GPA. No clinical experience or research. Should I give up on going to med school? If not, what are some things I can do now to strengthen my app?
You should definitely improve that GPA to at least a 3.0 and try to do well on your MCAT. Don't give up on if medicine is truly what you want to do. You really have a unique story that would certainly help you become a wonderful doc. There are also post-baccs with guaranteed seats in medical schools upon successful completion that you can look into. Good luck man! Feel free to message me if you want to chat about the med school application process and so on.