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TheBoneDoctah

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Hello,

My goal is to apply to MD. I have a 3.46/3.36 cgpa/sgpa. I did 6 years total of undergrad with 4 years at a community college and 2 years at a university. My GPA was pretty stagnant for the first 5 years around a 3.4, but my very last year at my university, I received a 3.86 gpa with all A’s in upper division chemistry courses (my major).

In terms of EC’s, I have a few hundred hours of research experience at my university with a publication. I’m a volunteer online tutor for at-risk youth, particularly teens in high school with disadvantaged backgrounds. My clinical experience is very extensive. I’ve been employed full-time for the over a year as a medical scribe for an ENT in private practice. I also get hands-on experience in the OR as an aide to the scrub tech periodically when I’m not scribing.

I have not taken the MCAT yet. I’m taking an online course from January-March and taking the MCAT in late April. I’m shooting for 511+ with hopes to land in the high teens.

I know my GPA is lacking pretty bad for MD. Do you guys think I would be a good candidate for an SMP program? My last year at uni was definitely a stand-out with a high GPA, but I don’t know if that’s enough to prove to med-schools that I’m ready. Since I've taken 6 years of undergrad, a DIY post-bacc year would have very little effect on my undergrad GPA.

I'm also aware that my MCAT score will play a large role in this decision. However, I would like to seek advice ASAP because I know that SMP's are currently accepting applications, and I want to make sure I make the right decision.


Thank you.
You most likely will need an SMP or post-bac for MD. It’s not about your GPA anymore as much as showing a full year of good grades in a program. Wouldn’t worry too much about MCAT till you can do well in your post bac or SMP.
 

GoSpursGo

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SMP would be reasonable, but I'm always hesitant to recommend that route sine it's high risk/high reward. A full year of post-bacc won't move your final GPA much, but if you have a 4.0 that will speak volumes that the you of 7 years ago is gone.

Advantage of SMP obviously is that you have a more direct path to med school if you ace it. But if you have any hiccups, it can be very damaging.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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Most SMP programs require an MCAT score prior to enrolling, should I go ahead and take the MCAT as planned in April? I already purchased a TPR course.

High risk/high reward is tempting lol. I'll look into my options. It seems like the biggest piece of advice here is to hold off on my apps in 2020 and pursue some form of post-bacc vs SMP.

Tbh I'm worried about complications of specializing with a DO degree. I don't want to be stuck to primary care. I've spoken with a few MD's that I work with and they advised against DO if I'm looking into surgery specialties. I know times are changing, but it's hard to say how much it will change by the time I'm a practicing physician.

1. I would recommend the post-bac as it would give you more flexibility to study for the MCAT and a great year of grades (paired with your 3.86 from senior year) would look good.

2. You can get into mostly anything as a DO (if you ended up at a DO school). There are very few specialties that are rare for DOs to get into (neurosurgery is one) and the top programs are tougher to get into/off-limits, but with hard work, you can get into what you want for the most part. Are you going to get into neurosurgery or ortho at Hopkins, probably not. I am an orthopedic surgery resident for example and am a DO. I was ranked to match (had offers) at three different programs. Sure, it is a tougher road for sure, but it is doable with hard work. You are for sure not stuck in primary care. Don't get DO advice from MDs. Get DO advice from DOs.
 
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TheBoneDoctah

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DOs are NOT stuck in Primary Care.

You should worry first about getting into medical school before worrying about residency and specialty.

Beggars can't be choosy, and frankly, as of right now, you're not on a projectory for a surgical specialty.
Agree. You may think you want a certain specialty, but chances are you will change your mind multiple times (or your boards will change your mind for you). Go to a school based on fit, location, and price. You can get into any specialty at any MD school with hard work and perseverance.
 

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I didn't mean to ruffle anyone's feathers here. I'm definitely listening to you guys and I'm trying to make the best decision based on the information that I've been presented with.

Goro & TheBoneDoctah, I think you guys make a great point. Getting into medical school is my main objective, period. I can worry about residency/specialties later.

I've read over Goro's guide to reinvention several times. I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of an SMP vs post bacc at this point. Either method I choose, I feel it would be beneficial to live on loans and quit my job for the time being. I would want to focus 100% on my courses.

I'm not really understanding why taking the MCAT during my postbacc or SMP would be beneficial if I'm already signed up for the TPR course and anticipating taking it in April? Shouldn't I get that out of the way in Spring 2021 and then start my post bacc or SMP Fall 2021-Spring 2022?
I gave my warning because I have seen first hand the disasters that have befallen students in our own SMP who tried to balance MCAT prep and the SMP. They cratered both. So, you've been warned.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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Agree. This is your ONE chance to get into medical school. Do one very well, and then do the other very well. You have no room for error here. As the wise Goro says, medical schools are not going anywhere. You want to apply with the best application possible and if this is putting 100% of time towards an SMP/post-bac and THEN 100% time towards acing your MCAT, I suggest you do that.
 

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Awesome, thank you so much for all the help. I will probably end up applying to both SMP and post-bacc. I'll make sure that I don't mix my MCAT prep with a post bacc, either.

Do you have a preference of formal post-bacc vs DIY post-bacc? Do med schools favor a more formal post bacc at a university rather than a DIY post bacc at a community college? I have a BS in chemistry and all my prereqs are done.
Formal post-bacs are more for career switchers, and cover the pre-reqs. Hence, do the DIY. You're more likely to be able to take med school-like coursework at a 4 year school as opposed to a CC.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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Just checked my alma mater, UC Irvine. It's like ~$1200 per 4 unit course. If I do a DIY post-bacc that's around $11,000 in tuition for a full-time schedule for 1 year, plus any other fees.

Much cheaper than an SMP, but no contingency. I have a friend at EVMS SMP right now, and she's on track for her guaranteed interview in spring. Seeing her success definitely makes it look more intriguing.
You would need to check and see if you would qualify for financial aid. I think every school is different in regards to if you would get it being a non-degree seeking student.

SMP would be your higher risk, high reward scenario.
 

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Keep in mind, guaranteed interview=/=guaranteed acceptance. And it's great that your friend is doing well, but we recently had a question from someone who did only "ok" in their SMP, and it basically was a death sentence.

Basically, if you do a DIY post-bacc and find that you're still not getting interviews, you can always do an SMP later. But if you launch into an SMP and do anything less than acing everything, that's much harder to come back from. Only you can make the value judgement on whether the extra risk (and cost) of the SMP justifies the fact that it offers you a much more direct (and potentially quicker) path to admission.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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I'm going to call them and ask. From what I remember, I don't think there is much financial aid to offer for non-degree seeking students.

I appreciate you guys bringing this reality to light for me. I never really took the whole "high risk" part that seriously until you guys brought it up. The "high risk" aspect might be too much for me. And plus, you bring up a great point, I can always do an SMP later if the post-bacc isn't enough. I'm going to deliberate with some other friends/family and sleep on this one. Tough decision.

What kind of GPA should I aim for in an SMP or post-bacc? 3.7+?
Aim for 4.5
 

TheBoneDoctah

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If I do the DIY post-bacc route, what kinds of courses should I take?

1) courses that ONLY fall under BCPM (upper div bio, etc)

2) courses like anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, etc

Does it matter what kind of science courses I'm taking?
Basically, you want to be taking courses that are similar to what you would be taking in medical school.

For example, A&P, physiology, biochemistry, immunology, histology, etc.

The goal of the post-bac is to show the ADCOM that you can hang in a medical school-like curriculum and do well.

Moral of the story...do not take geology in your post-bac.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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Thanks guys.

I think I might apply to a few SMP's with linkages just to keep my options open. However, I'm leaning towards living on my mom's couch for a year and quitting my job for DIY post-bacc at my UC alma mater. I was looking forward to possibly moving states and taking a leap for an SMP, but the risk and cost outweigh the benefit at this point.
Sounds good. SMPs are high risk high reward.

Can always apply to SMP if for some reason post bac doesn’t pan out. Much tougher to go other direction.
 

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I'm considering keeping my full time job as a scribe during my DIY post-bacc because of the clinical experience and benefits I receive. (also less loans)

However, if i did this, I'd probably take 8 units instead of 12 (full-time), and then make up the extra units in the summer to complete what would be a full 36 units for the year (full time basis - quarter system).

How would medical schools view this if I'm taking less than a full-time load during the year to do my post-bacc while also work? I think I can handle the work-study load, but I'm curious if a DIY post-bacc is supposed to be completed with the intention of a full-time basis for 1-2 years.
You're a non-trad student now. You are NOT expected to be going to school full time until you can do so.
 
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