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Nlynn527

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Hello everyone, I am new to this forum but have been reading it for a few weeks now. I was hoping to get some suggestions as to what to do to increase my chances of getting into medical school.

My situation is this.. I graduated high school 4 years ago and went onto a 2 year nursing school immediately after graduating. Due to personal reasons I had to withdraw after 2 semesters. My grades were okay, but not great. I took 2 years off and worked in my local ER as a nursing assistant. I also worked part time in a nursing home as a med tech. Fall of 2011 I took classes at my local community college and did well. I did get one high C though. This semester I transferred to a university and am enrolled in the respiratory therapy program. I plan to graduate in 2015 with a BS in Biology and chemistry minor. I also just started volunteering weekly at a local hospital.
What else should I be doing in the mean time while completing pre-reqs? I appreciate any suggestions! Thanks!
 
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kpcrew

well many applicants do research so you could try that out for a while and see if it's for you. if your grades are low, you should study hard for the mcat and balance it out. in the meantime, just fill your time with studying and things that interest you. you might find that a program like jump start may be for you. or perhaps you'd make a good tutor. there are a lot of opportunities on college campuses and it seems that many have a day at the beginning of the year. you can look at different clubs and groups to see if any of them do things that you might find worthwhile.
 
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Hello everyone, I am new to this forum but have been reading it for a few weeks now. I was hoping to get some suggestions as to what to do to increase my chances of getting into medical school.

My situation is this.. I graduated high school 4 years ago and went onto a 2 year nursing school immediately after graduating. Due to personal reasons I had to withdraw after 2 semesters. My grades were okay, but not great. I took 2 years off and worked in my local ER as a nursing assistant. I also worked part time in a nursing home as a med tech. Fall of 2011 I took classes at my local community college and did well. I did get one high C though. This semester I transferred to a university and am enrolled in the respiratory therapy program. I plan to graduate in 2015 with a BS in Biology and chemistry minor. I also just started volunteering weekly at a local hospital.
What else should I be doing in the mean time while completing pre-reqs? I appreciate any suggestions! Thanks!
You will want to eventually get in some physician shadowing. Nonmedical community service, research, teaching, and leadership are other categories that strengthen an application. But don't rush into a lot of ECs until you've solidified the study strategies you'll need to excel at your new school. High grades are your first priority. ECs can always come later.
 
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Nlynn527

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Thanks. The courses I didn't do so well in weren't science classes, so I guess that's a positive. I also didnt mention that I will be doing a semester abroad in Australia next year. In high school I took an intro to health careers course at the VoTech. I actually received 10 college credits from the same community college I attended last semester through this VoTech program. While I was there I racked up well over 100 hours of shadowing all different specialties. Im not sure if that would count toward my application or not.
 

Nlynn527

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Is studying abroad a good idea or should I stay home and focus on other thing?
 

dougfunnie

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Is studying abroad a good idea or should I stay home and focus on other thing?

In my experience, studying abroad won't help or hurt you in applications. It's really a personal decision for students that is usually based on money and whether or not they have time because you usually earn less credits that semester. If you want to do it and have the money, I say go for it!

Also, if it were me, I would drop the hospital volunteering for some community volunteering. You obviously have outstanding clinical experience in the form of previous employment and that frees up your time to volunteer as teacher/tutor or help the less fortunate in another way.
 

Nlynn527

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I have plenty of time to complete the requirements for my degree and also the pre reqs for med school, so I think I will give the study abroad a go. I think it would be a great experience. I have the pleasure of not needing to work much now thanks to my father. So I have plenty of time for volunteering especially with summer coming up.
 

NickNaylor

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Is studying abroad a good idea or should I stay home and focus on other thing?

I agree with doug above. If you have the time and money, definitely go for it - not necessarily to do something you can list on your resume but to do something that will enrich your life. I doubt it'll add much if anything to your app, but studying abroad is a good experience to have for yourself if you have the means.
 
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Thanks. The courses I didn't do so well in weren't science classes, so I guess that's a positive. I also didnt mention that I will be doing a semester abroad in Australia next year. In high school I took an intro to health careers course at the VoTech. I actually received 10 college credits from the same community college I attended last semester through this VoTech program. While I was there I racked up well over 100 hours of shadowing all different specialties. Im not sure if that would count toward my application or not.
You can list all that shadowing. How many of the hours were physicians? What specialties? You may need to augment that.
 

Nlynn527

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I a have list that breaks down the hours spent in each department. Sometimes I was directly with a physician and other times were with other health care workers. My only concern is that by the time I apply for med school these shadowing experiences will be 6-7 years old.
 

Nlynn527

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How about my employment? The ER was from 2008-2009 and the nursing home was in 2011.
 
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Nlynn527

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Thanks everyone for the advice! I really appreciate it. I am going to talk to my advisor tomorrow and try to set a plan for the next few years.
 

Nlynn527

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So I was wondering if I should retake any of the classes I didn't do so well in my first two semesters in nursing school or just completely focus on getting A's in upper level science classes now to boost my GPA. Here's the courses I took and grades I received so far:

Into to Allied Health- A
Medical Terminology- A
General Psychology- B
Anatomy and Physiology 1- B
Anatomy and Physiology 2- C
Clinical Math- A
English 101- B
Intro to Sociology- C
Nutrition- C

Last semester courses:

Intro to Philosophy- A
Spanish 101- B
Abnormal Psychology- B
English 102- C

With two weeks left in the current semester I'm on track to earn all A's in BIO 101, an earth science elective, Spanish 102 and my schools wellness requirement course.

Also, as far as the science GPA, does anything within the BIO CHEM PHYSICS and MATH departments count towards this? For example, my medical term class was BIO 105. Would this count toward the science GPA?

Thanks for the clarification!
 

LizzyM

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So I was wondering if I should retake any of the classes I didn't do so well in my first two semesters in nursing school or just completely focus on getting A's in upper level science classes now to boost my GPA. Here's the courses I took and grades I received so far:

Into to Allied Health- A
Medical Terminology- A
General Psychology- B
Anatomy and Physiology 1- B
Anatomy and Physiology 2- C
Clinical Math- A
English 101- B
Intro to Sociology- C
Nutrition- C

Last semester courses:

Intro to Philosophy- A
Spanish 101- B
Abnormal Psychology- B
English 102- C

With two weeks left in the current semester I'm on track to earn all A's in BIO 101, an earth science elective, Spanish 102 and my schools wellness requirement course.

Also, as far as the science GPA, does anything within the BIO CHEM PHYSICS and MATH departments count towards this? For example, my medical term class was BIO 105. Would this count toward the science GPA?

Thanks for the clarification!

Things like "medical terminology" are usually tagged as "HEAL" (I think that is an abbreviation for HEALTH) by AMCAS (the application service) even if they carry a BIO classification.

Why respiratory therapy? Why not just straight Biology or some other major rather than something with a vocational angle? You'll be asked why you trained for one profession and then switched to another, the clinical training hours in school tend to be a time sink, and sometimes the courses are not considered as rigorous as other courses you could be taking as a liberal arts or engineering major.

Thus far, you have a 3.0 gpa and you will need a strong upward trend to have a good shot at admission to medical school.
 

Nlynn527

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I was planning on doing Respiratory therapy as a back up plan, and maybe to work a year or two and get some good clinical experience before applying to medical school. And pay down my undergrad loans too. Is this still a bad idea?
 

LizzyM

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I was planning on doing Respiratory therapy as a back up plan, and maybe to work a year or two and get some good clinical experience before applying to medical school. And pay down my undergrad loans too. Is this still a bad idea?

People who majored in the health professions tend to have the toughest time being admitted to medical school (they have the the lowest success rate of any undergrad major).

You don't need clinical experience, doing patient care things, to get into medical school. You certainly don't need work experience as a respiratory therapist and it certainly won't demonstrate your passion for medicine.

To get into medical school you need to answer the question, "why medicine?" The typical answer has something to do with helping people and science. That's what respiratory therapists do, too, so why medicine?

I don't know how much your loans will be or how much respiratory therapists make these days, or the cost of living in your area but it would seem to me that inless you move home and cut your expenses to the bone, you aren't going to put much of a dent in student loans in a year or two of working to support yourself as a young professional.

I like to see non-traditional applicants and I like to see students who have worked a year or two but the applicants who have the best odds of being admitted are those ~22 years old and coming right out of college. Interesting, eh?
 

Nlynn527

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So, say I change my major to just straight biology, forgo the RT thing and do well in all the science classes and MCAT. Decent chance then?
 

Nlynn527

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People who majored in the health professions tend to have the toughest time being admitted to medical school (they have the the lowest success rate of any undergrad major).

You don't need clinical experience, doing patient care things, to get into medical school. You certainly don't need work experience as a respiratory therapist and it certainly won't demonstrate your passion for medicine.

To get into medical school you need to answer the question, "why medicine?" The typical answer has something to do with helping people and science. That's what respiratory therapists do, too, so why medicine?

I don't know how much your loans will be or how much respiratory therapists make these days, or the cost of living in your area but it would seem to me that inless you move home and cut your expenses to the bone, you aren't going to put much of a dent in student loans in a year or two of working to support yourself as a young professional.

I like to see non-traditional applicants and I like to see students who have worked a year or two but the applicants who have the best odds of being admitted are those ~22 years old and coming right out of college. Interesting, eh?


How about Molecular Bio/Biotechnology w/ a chemistry minor? That was my second choice.
 

Nlynn527

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That's fine, as long as those are courses (including the upper level courses like Physical Chemistry) are some that you can do well in (A- or better).

Ok, great thanks. Any advice on ECs that I should be doing to help balance my application?
 

LizzyM

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Ok, great thanks. Any advice on ECs that I should be doing to help balance my application?

Serve others in need in your community. Organize groups of peers to meet an unmet need. Explore unanswered questions in science. Earn some money. Develop your skills in a activity you enjoy and that you find relaxing or envigorating (sports, performing or studio arts, a craft or skill such as auto repair or origami). Take advantage of opportunities to be along side physicians as they work.
 

Nlynn527

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Serve others in need in your community. Organize groups of peers to meet an unmet need. Explore unanswered questions in science. Earn some money. Develop your skills in a activity you enjoy and that you find relaxing or envigorating (sports, performing or studio arts, a craft or skill such as auto repair or origami). Take advantage of opportunities to be along side physicians as they work.

Thanks! Do you recommend retaking any of the classes I posted earlier in this threat to boost my GPA? They were mostly from my first year of college when I was attending a 2yr nursing school.
 

LizzyM

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Unless you plan to apply to osteopathic medical schools, there isn't much point in repeating material; you get more for your money, and the same effect on your gpa by earning an A in a new course as you would repeating a course you've already taken for an A. (And some people might see that as an easy A as the material is a re-run of something you took in the past.)
 

Nlynn527

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Unless you plan to apply to osteopathic medical schools, there isn't much point in repeating material; you get more for your money, and the same effect on your gpa by earning an A in a new course as you would repeating a course you've already taken for an A. (And some people might see that as an easy A as the material is a re-run of something you took in the past.)

I see, that makes sense. What is the general GPA range for MD and DO school admissions?
 

Nlynn527

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LizzyM

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Great! Thanks. One other question.. I read somewhere in another thread that taking summer courses could be a bad idea. Is this true and if so why? I am taking a chemistry course over the summer but I don't want it to hurt me in the long run.

A few thoughts about summer classes:

Taken at your same university, or a school of equal rank: not bad.
Taken at a school that is ranked lower than your usual school: red flag!

Summer classes can be intense and compact and there isn't time to overcome a stumble as there may be with a 15 week semester.

If you do well, great. If you don't do well.... :(
 

Nlynn527

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A few thoughts about summer classes:

Taken at your same university, or a school of equal rank: not bad.
Taken at a school that is ranked lower than your usual school: red flag!

Summer classes can be intense and compact and there isn't time to overcome a stumble as there may be with a 15 week semester.

If you do well, great. If you don't do well.... :(

They would be completed at my university, so as long as I do well I'll be okay. Thanks a bunch for all the info. I talked to my advisor today and I am changing my major to molecular bio and keeping my chemistry minor. I'm continuing to volunteer at the local
hospital and working on shadowing opportunities.
 
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