Medical Should I repeat coursework and LORs as a non-traditional applicant?

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Mar 12, 2013
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I am a practicing military PA-C who has decided to apply for an MD program at the end of my service obligation. I have been practicing as a PA for five years and it will be another three until I’m at a point in my contract where I can apply. My undergraduate and graduate GPAs are 3.92 and 3.86 respectively, but I graduated in 2013 and 2015, so some of my prerequisites are as old as 2009. Is it better to stick with what I have already competed or to repeat coursework that I’ve done but is outdated? I will be stationed in a remote area with only mid or low tier universities to choose from and without the guarantee that in-person classes won’t conflict with my full time service. Also, what do I do about LORs that are required to be from specific professors when it has been so long since I was in school? Would letters from supervising physicians or my non-medical commanders be an acceptable (or better) alternative? I’m originally from the MA, so I’ll be applying to primarily schools in New England and New York (especially interested in Boston to be close to my sister).
Do you have all of your prereqs for medical school complete? What about ECs (non-clinical volunteering, shadowing, etc)? When do you plan on taking MCAT? These are just some questions to give us the whole picture before we can help!
Sep 28, 2009
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I have all of the prereqs complete, but they were all done between 2009 and 2015. I don’t know if the timing of them is a deal breaker for admissions committees. I’d have to review my transcripts to find my exact science GPA compared to cumulative GPA, but as an engineering student in undergrad, my math and science GPA was higher than my cumulative.
I plan on taking the MCAT in either 2022 or 2023 (as long as Ican find a test center in HI) so that I my scores will still be valid when I’m able to apply at the end of my military service. I took it previously under the old system with a score of 32, but I know that that score will be out of date for my upcoming application.
For ECs, it hard to find where to draw that line now that I’m no longer in school. Every day at work is essentially shadowing. I work side by side with two physicians. We share a patient panel and an office. In addition, I handle most of the administrative/management tasks for our department in the command. Outside of patient care, I hold a leadership position within the command, conduct medical planning/logistics, and advise line commanders on medical capabilities to support operations. I am regularly engaged in teaching, training, and mentoring my junior sailors in medical, military, and life topics.
Volunteering outside of work has been challenging the past couple years because of our recent deployment, the associated workups, and the workups for the new deployment on the horizon.
In addition, I train in figure skating - a passion of mine since I was a young girl. I used to compete in high school, and I returned to the sport again as an adult. I have wanted to compete again, but all competitions have conflicted with cates my command has been away from home.
In undergrad, I was on the tennis team, involved in Greek life, which included volunteering and mentorship, and multiple honor societies, including holding a leadership position in one.
During PA school, I dedicated time to tutoring middle-school aged children in math and science weekly. This was an experience that echoed the volunteer work I did as classroom aid in an inner-city kindergarten classroom while I was a high school student.
I have some research experience in my past, as well. I worked as an undergraduate intern with two different PhD candidates at a state medical school. I also completed two different research projects during my undergraduate studies, one on community knowledge of estuary pollution in a small town in Costa Rica, and one thesis project where we conducted design and preliminary mechanical testing of a biomedical device.
Given how long it has been, I would re-do some pre-reqs. The quality of the school you do them at does not matter as long as you do them at a four year college.
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