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Some advice and opinions about my chances please!

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ilovefoo

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Hello everyone,

I'd love to get everyone's advice/opinion about my application as I'm about ready to give up on this journey.

I'm a non-traditional student...I graduated about 10 years ago with my undergrad degree in biochemistry. My undergrad GPA was ~2.8 (low GPA was due to many financial/family issues), I took the MCAT last year and got a 31. I've been working the last 10 years and have a successful career in the internet search industry. That said - I don't have much free time as my job is very demanding but I do volunteer every week at a local hospital.

So, I applied last year and was rejected from every single school. :( I applied to some post-bac programs and was also rejected.

I'm considering re-taking the MCAT (I think I can get a higher score) and will continue my volunteer work. Beyond that, I won't have the time or opportunity to do much else.

Do you think I should even take the MCAT again? Should I re-apply? Or just give up now with minimal losses? Do you think medical schools will give me a second chance? I know the GPA is low but will they look at my hopefully higher MCAT and see that as evidence that I can excel now that my circumstances are better/different?

If you think some schools will consider my application, let me know what schools you think they are.

Anyway, thank you to everyone in advance for your honest advice/opinions.
 

krs881

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You might want to check out/post on the non-traditional forum to find others that have been in similar situations, if you haven't already. There is a thread for "success stories" with some good advice.

I'm no expert on post-bacc for people with low UG GPA (I had no UG sGPA), but I wonder why you have to go to a formal "program"? Could you retake the prereqs or some more advanced level classes as a non-degree student at your local university to demonstrate a higher GPA? (Or does the sub 3.0 exclude you from non-degree status at some schools?)
 

eablackwell

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I'm also a non-trad. What you need is some gpa repair. You don't need to be in a formal program. Take some classes at a local 4-year. I understand that your job is very taxing, but without gpa repair you're going to have serious problems :( I'm going in with a 3.4 cgpa and that's even in the lowest 10% of applicant gpas for most of the med schools I've researched.
 

mspeedwagon

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Assuming that your 31 is balanced with no score below an 8, your GPA is killing you. I wouldn't re-take the MCAT. Start taking evening classes at your local state school. You need to bring your GPA into the 3.x range. Once you do that make sure to apply broadly and include a mix of M.D. and D.O. schools. I would suggest at least 10 M.D. programs and 5 D.O.
 

ilovefoo

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Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, my MCAT scores are pretty balanced. Sounds like the chances are really, really slim if I can't improve the GPA. :( I'd really like to dedicate the time to improving it but in all honesty, time is very very limited with a very demanding job (60+ hours a week) and a family. It's too bad that the med schools won't be open to giving students like me a second chance, especially since I'm proving that I can master the material (MCAT score).

So, everyone thinks that it's not worth trying again if the GPA can't be improved?
 

MiniMoo

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Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, my MCAT scores are pretty balanced. Sounds like the chances are really, really slim if I can't improve the GPA. :( I'd really like to dedicate the time to improving it but in all honesty, time is very very limited with a very demanding job (60+ hours a week) and a family. It's too bad that the med schools won't be open to giving students like me a second chance, especially since I'm proving that I can master the material (MCAT score).

So, everyone thinks that it's not worth trying again if the GPA can't be improved?

Your family dynamic is going to have to radically change if you were accepted and went off to medical school, right? Your wife might have to start working, you might have to secure additional help with kids, you'll be taking out loans to afford living costs and tuition. In your case, because you really do need a lot of GPA repair in order to be successful to MD or DO schools, you may have to start making these life changes sooner rather than later. So, depending on how committed you are to pursuing medicine, you may have to find a less demanding job or possibly take out loans now in order to make your application competitive.

I would talk to your spouse and the rest of your family about the hurdles you are going to need to jump through before you can even apply. Your 2.8 is not competitive anywhere in the United States. Your best chance would be DO schools and their grade replacement policy where the most recent grade is used in GPA calculations. Figure out how many classes you would need to retake in order to get your GPA up to ~3.2-3.4. Calculate out how long that would take and whether or not you would also need to retake the MCAT since scores may have expired by then. Make sure that your family is completely on-board with your long-term plan because their unwavering support is going to be critical to your success.
 

ilovefoo

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You're absolutely right - if I do get accepted, radical changes will have to be made. And of course, the fam is on board.

But the difference between making those changes now vs. later...that's very difficult choice. It's about the amount of risk my family and I are willing to take. Since nothing is certain now, the risk is very high. Giving up our financial stability is probably not the right choice for us. It's not easy to have a family in CA - cost of living is high (and we're talking basic living with two very good incomes). We need to have insurance. Sure, nannies and loans are an option but again, we have to plan for the education of our kids. So, it's not as simple as dropping everything to pursue my dream selfishly.

If the path was certain (i.e. accepted to medical school) - the choice would be very easy to make. With the uncertainty, the risk may not be worth it.
 

MiniMoo

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If the path was certain (i.e. accepted to medical school) - the choice would be very easy to make. With the uncertainty, the risk may not be worth it.

Acceptance into medical school is never certain simply due to how competitive it all is - not even if you had a 35+ MCAT and 4.0 GPA. About 55.3% of all applicants to MD programs don't get in. But your chances would be significantly increased from what they are now if you did post-bacc.

I do understand, though, that the uncertainty makes the decision hard. If you could be reasonably happy doing what you're doing now and provide a decent living for your family, perhaps that would be the better choice. But only you and your fam can make that decision.
 

mspeedwagon

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I seem to be the man of exceptions lately, but I'm going to make another suggestion. Consider taking an online class or two. Focus on either the Harvard Extension or UC Berkeley Extension. Take a class or two and get As. Though online classes are not recommended and I would almost never recommend this (similar to the fact that I would almost never recommend the Caribbean), it is a good way to give your GPA a small boost. If you think you can handle online classes than think about progressing to an in-person class that meets once a week (not sure where you are in CA, but UC Berkeley Ext and a number of the other extensions have such classes). I work as many hrs as you (have a full-time and part-time job) and still manage to take a class or two a semester (granted, I don't have a family of my own).

You are basically stuck needing to take a few classes to at least bring yourself to the 3.x range. You would be somewhat competitive for D.O. programs with a 3.x/31. I agree though that you need to really consider making changes a year early if medical school is your dream OR you should continue doing what you are now doing if you are happy. In the end of the day happiness and stability are more important than dreams.

Edit: I'd also recommend the UNE online courses if you are looking for online science courses.
 
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