Quix

Herr Professor
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jul 8, 2006
2,660
8
43
Lake Charles, LA
Status
Academic Administration
Hey folks.

I want to get some feedback from folks who have been accepted into schools to see if I'm simply pipe-dreaming here, or if I have a legitimate shot.

I didn't think about medicine until I was 26; I had gone back to college to complete a BS in psychology (I had been working at a psych hospital, but all of my training was ad hoc) and had planned to stick around academia (I teach at two colleges locally). I was trained for the code team, and ran through a few before I was really bitten by the bug. I did chest compressions on my first patient for 40 minutes and bagged her for another 5 before the attending called it. I managed to restart the heart of my second code (who had attempted to hang herself in her room) and get her stabilized for transfer to the medical facility. I got hooked on the idea of medicine shortly thereafter.

Academically, I'm all over the board. I earned a BSLA in German with Philosophy back in 1998, an MA in Philosophy in 2000, and defended my doctoral dissertation in medical ethics this past January (picking up the Ph.D. in May), along with the BS in Psychology/Pre-Med. I carried a 3.05 from my first undergraduate degree, 3.85 in graduate school, and 3.2 for my second BS. I've worked clinically for several years (including a stint on the faculty of the Dept. of Psychiatry for several months before the hospital closed), and have been working with a research group in critical care medicine since May (four projects at the moment). I met with my pre-health advisor, who disclosed that our pre-health committee had rated me as "competitive" (my science QPA was an issue (B/B- range), but I was working 40+ hours per week, taking the core sciences, teaching three classes of my own, and writing my doctoral dissertation), which isn't all that great (considering there are two rankings above it). I'm applying to 12 schools, some of which are reaches, some are not.

As of this post, I'm looking at UPitt, UPenn, Penn State, Drexel, Thomas Jefferson, Temple, WVU, University of Chicago, NYU, Georgetown, Hopkins, and American. I alternate between periods of "I'll get in somewhere" to "There is no chance in hell with my QPA". Is there anyone else with any similar experiences? Am I pipe-dreaming here?
 

AngryBaby

El Hefe
10+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2004
344
0
Somewhere in-between success and failure
Status
Medical Student
Quix said:
Hey folks.

I want to get some feedback from folks who have been accepted into schools to see if I'm simply pipe-dreaming here, or if I have a legitimate shot.

I didn't think about medicine until I was 26; I had gone back to college to complete a BS in psychology (I had been working at a psych hospital, but all of my training was ad hoc) and had planned to stick around academia (I teach at two colleges locally). I was trained for the code team, and ran through a few before I was really bitten by the bug. I did chest compressions on my first patient for 40 minutes and bagged her for another 5 before the attending called it. I managed to restart the heart of my second code (who had attempted to hang herself in her room) and get her stabilized for transfer to the medical facility. I got hooked on the idea of medicine shortly thereafter.

Academically, I'm all over the board. I earned a BSLA in German with Philosophy back in 1998, an MA in Philosophy in 2000, and defended my doctoral dissertation in medical ethics this past January (picking up the Ph.D. in May), along with the BS in Psychology/Pre-Med. I carried a 3.05 from my first undergraduate degree, 3.85 in graduate school, and 3.2 for my second BS. I've worked clinically for several years (including a stint on the faculty of the Dept. of Psychiatry for several months before the hospital closed), and have been working with a research group in critical care medicine since May (four projects at the moment). I met with my pre-health advisor, who disclosed that our pre-health committee had rated me as "competitive" (my science QPA was an issue (B/B- range), but I was working 40+ hours per week, taking the core sciences, teaching three classes of my own, and writing my doctoral dissertation), which isn't all that great (considering there are two rankings above it). I'm applying to 12 schools, some of which are reaches, some are not.

As of this post, I'm looking at UPitt, UPenn, Penn State, Drexel, Thomas Jefferson, Temple, WVU, University of Chicago, NYU, Georgetown, Hopkins, and American. I alternate between periods of "I'll get in somewhere" to "There is no chance in hell with my QPA". Is there anyone else with any similar experiences? Am I pipe-dreaming here?
The common reply here is that we need more info. A B/B- GPA is way below the norm, if you don't have at least a 3.0 I'd think you need more coursework/SMP, and I think really a 3.3 (B+) is the bare minimum. Additionally we'd need to have an idea of your MCAT as that could make up for the low GPA if you got a killer score. Did you look at any overseas/DO options?
 
OP
Quix

Quix

Herr Professor
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jul 8, 2006
2,660
8
43
Lake Charles, LA
Status
Academic Administration
AngryBaby said:
The common reply here is that we need more info. A B/B- GPA is way below the norm, if you don't have at least a 3.0 I'd think you need more coursework/SMP, and I think really a 3.3 (B+) is the bare minimum. Additionally we'd need to have an idea of your MCAT as that could make up for the low GPA if you got a killer score. Did you look at any overseas/DO options?
I haven't taken the MCAT yet - I just received my ticket for the Aug. 18 test.
 
About the Ads

AngryBaby

El Hefe
10+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2004
344
0
Somewhere in-between success and failure
Status
Medical Student
Quix said:
I haven't taken the MCAT yet - I just received my ticket for the Aug. 18 test.
Study your arse off and I highly recommend taking a prep course simply because you need to do very well on the thing. If you can't afford the course find a way to buy/borrow the study materials from past class-takers. Make sure you take a few full length practice exams leading up to exam date so get your endurance up (very imp.) and timing. This official site has all sorts of info and other goodies you'll need:
http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/start.htm

With a 3.0 I think you'll need at least a 33 unless you live in the midwest or are a URM. All your EC stuff is something you can bring up if you get an interview and are asked about the GPA, but the adcoms aren't likely to let you slide with B science GPA because of EC's they want to see you can cut it academically in med school. Sucks but true. My pre-med advisor told me not to worry to much about volunteering and other medical EC's cause I was a non-trad with wife and toddler and had to work during post-bacc as well. Bad advice. At some point, even if it's only for a semester, you need to prove you can take 12-15 science credits and do well in them.

Again, you should look at some DO options. Here's a couple of links for that:
http://www.aacom.org/students/application.html

http://www.osteopathic.org/

I highly recommend doing some post-bacc work to get your science GPA up to at least a 3.3
 

AngryBaby

El Hefe
10+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2004
344
0
Somewhere in-between success and failure
Status
Medical Student
Just to clarify, I keep mentioning the DO route because you sound exactly like the kind of applicant they love with all your EC's and "life experience". A 3.1 science GPA and avg MCAT score will make you competitive considering all the other stuff you've done/dealt with.
 
OP
Quix

Quix

Herr Professor
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jul 8, 2006
2,660
8
43
Lake Charles, LA
Status
Academic Administration
Thanks for the feedback. It's certainly food for thought.

I'm hesitant about taking the DO route in that my career trajectory seems to be heading towards psychiatry. I'm not sure if that's an option with that degree (as all of the DO's I've worked with have been in family practice).

EDIT:

Incidentally, I have been studying for the past month with the Kaplan comprehensive review and MCAT 45 books. I'm going to do the pratice exams starting Aug. 01 (waiting for the next paycheck).
 

AngryBaby

El Hefe
10+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2004
344
0
Somewhere in-between success and failure
Status
Medical Student
Quix said:
Thanks for the feedback. It's certainly food for thought.

I'm hesitant about taking the DO route in that my career trajectory seems to be heading towards psychiatry. I'm not sure if that's an option with that degree (as all of the DO's I've worked with have been in family practice).
Just my .02 obviously so don't treat it as gospel. And keep working. If you are capable of doing this, and you want it bad enough (are willing to make the necessary sacrifices) then you will end up getting it done eventually. The ones that can't or don't want it badly enough are the ones that don't get in. Good luck the rest of the way!

BTW, DO's practice all over the place both geographically and with regards to specialties/subspecialties. I didn't think of it as an option for myself intially, but after educating myself I changed my mind. I encourage you to do some reading on the topic before making a decision. I'm applying to both MD and a few DO schools.
 

MJB

Senior Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2005
2,848
24
Status
Attending Physician
Yes, it's an option...

I have a GPA very similar to yours, and have some interesting life experiences, so I think my best shot is DO, and I'm lucky in the fact that I'm surrounded by some very well respected programs here. I'd actually probably take a couple of the DO's over some of the MD schools around here...I love KCUMB's curriculum in particular.

I'm taking the MCAT in August as well...and I'm hoping for 30'ish, considering I haven't had a bio or physics class in nearly 10 years.
 

MollyMalone

I'm a Score Quadruplet
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2004
5,796
20
45
The anterosuperior branch of the inferomedial some
Status
Wow. I have nothing really to add to what the other posters have said (aside from that I think Pritzker and Pitt are really excellent choices on your part and I think that if you rock the MCAT you'll be in good shape for them), but I want to wish you the best of luck!
 

njbmd

Guest
Moderator Emeritus
5+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 30, 2001
9,050
146
Gone Walkabout!
Visit site
Status
Attending Physician
Quix said:
Thanks for the feedback. It's certainly food for thought.

I'm hesitant about taking the DO route in that my career trajectory seems to be heading towards psychiatry. I'm not sure if that's an option with that degree (as all of the DO's I've worked with have been in family practice).

EDIT:

Incidentally, I have been studying for the past month with the Kaplan comprehensive review and MCAT 45 books. I'm going to do the pratice exams starting Aug. 01 (waiting for the next paycheck).
Hi there,
Psychiatry is very open to DO graduates as are all specialties. I have worked with DOs in every specialty including psychiatry. In 2006, other than DO students having to master OMM and MD graduates not being allowed to apply to DO residencies, there is no difference in the options open to DO graduates and MD graduates.

njbmd :)
 

AngryBaby

El Hefe
10+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2004
344
0
Somewhere in-between success and failure
Status
Medical Student
njbmd said:
Hi there,
Psychiatry is very open to DO graduates as are all specialties. I have worked with DOs in every specialty including psychiatry. In 2006, other than DO students having to master OMM and MD graduates not being allowed to apply to DO residencies, there is no difference in the options open to DO graduates and MD graduates.

njbmd :)
I've heard DO students say that allopathic surgery programs are still a "tough nut to crack".

(Another poster's words, not mine. I just wanted to type "nut" and "crack" in the same sentence) :thumbup:
 

Law2Doc

5K+ Member
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2004
30,981
9,895
Status
Attending Physician
Quix said:
As of this post, I'm looking at UPitt, UPenn, Penn State, Drexel, Thomas Jefferson, Temple, WVU, University of Chicago, NYU, Georgetown, Hopkins, and American.
Does American University even have a med school in the US?
I would probably apply to even more schools then the handful you listed, given your GPA and lowish science grades, unless your MCAT is through the roof. Additionally, unless your MCAT is stellar, you may want to divert the money you are spending on the hopkins application to a school somewhat further down in the rankings.
 

njbmd

Guest
Moderator Emeritus
5+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 30, 2001
9,050
146
Gone Walkabout!
Visit site
Status
Attending Physician
AngryBaby said:
I've heard DO students say that allopathic surgery programs are still a "tough nut to crack".

(Another poster's words, not mine. I just wanted to type "nut" and "crack" in the same sentence) :thumbup:
Hi there,
I have three surgical colleagues who are DOs. One is a vascular surgeon (trained at Michigan), one is an ENT surgeon (trained at Cleveland Clinic) and the other is a general surgeon (trained at Mayo Clinic). Just because something is difficult doesn't mean that it is impossible. These guys have excellent academics and are great surgeons. They are all done with residency so they finished medical school more than five years ago.

There was one categorical allopathic general surgery residency position open after the Match last year and therefore General surgery is difficult for many allopathic graduates to get into. If you do well in medical school, allopathic or osteopathic, you can get into any specialty.

njbmd :)
 
OP
Quix

Quix

Herr Professor
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Jul 8, 2006
2,660
8
43
Lake Charles, LA
Status
Academic Administration
Law2Doc said:
Does American University even have a med school in the US?
I would probably apply to even more schools then the handful you listed, given your GPA and lowish science grades, unless your MCAT is through the roof. Additionally, unless your MCAT is stellar, you may want to divert the money you are spending on the hopkins application to a school somewhat further down in the rankings.
Aargh... I'm an idiot; it wasn't American, it was George Washington. Studying for the MCATs, preparing my lectures for the coming semester, starting up for the IRB process for an ICU study (along with three other research projects), and job hunting have taken their toll.

To everyone else who has responded so far:

Thanks for your feedback and information about DO programs. It really is eye opening. I had been hearing from my pre-health advisor (at UPitt) that I presented them with a fairly unique case (Ph.D. in hand, several years of clinical experience from policy level down to patient care, teaching and professional experience, and B+/A- overall average); I'm not really sure that that led to an accurate assessment of my chances.

EDIT:

I must admit that I'm a little surprised - I've been talking with some of the clinicians I've worked with and those in the research group, and while they have stressed the MCATs, they didn't really stress GPA as much (i.e., they said that a 3.2 for my psych/pre-med degree wasn't all that bad).
 
About the Ads