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take a semester off? or keep going

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by williamChenry, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. williamChenry

    williamChenry Member
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    To make a long story short, I just decided recently that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, and before that, I didn't really take school seriouslly. I would often not even go to classes so I could get extra hours to work my part time job.

    Anyways, my GPA from 2 years at community college was 2.5 and last semester i just transfered with my Associates Degree to a 4 year school and got 3 F's (which puts me on Academic probation) , which brings it down even more. As far as this semester is going, I will probably end up 2 C's and B........

    should i start re-taking all the pre-req's and the courses I did poorly in next semester, (this January) .....or does it look better if I take this semester off, switch to another school and start from there...kinda like a brand new start....which route is smart to take?
     
  2. beanbean

    beanbean 1K Member
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    I would advise you to take some time off and figure out your priorities and determine why your grades have been poor. I would recommend taking a year or two off, getting a job or doing some international work and then return to obtain your bachelor's degree. The more time you put between your subpar academic performance and your med school application and recent grades the better.

    Realize that for MD schools you will still have to report all of your previously taken classes even if you retake them. DO schools will only look at the most recent grade if you retake the class.

    Many of us have dug ourselves out of similiar holes, but it is a long road. Your application needs to be exceptional in other regards such as the MCAT, LORs and ECs in order for adcoms to look past earlier poor performance of several years length.
     
  3. chandelantern

    chandelantern MSI at Mayo in August!
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    I agree with the above post in taking some time off to regroup, prioritize, and get some experience and maturity behind you (not that you're not necessarily already mature, but like the above poster said, you have to excel in other areas of your app.) I would not however switch schools. I would stay at the four year institution you received the F's from, to prove that you can go back and replace your poor academic performance with stellar grades. If you switch institutions again, some adcoms might look at it like you couldn't hack it at school X, so you switched to an "easier" school or a school where you could get a fresh start. In life, you're going to have to overcome many adverse situations, and how you handle this one may be the adcoms only clue as to how you will handle problems in the future.
     
  4. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy
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    Listen to bean bean. Always great advice and I wholly concur. :thumbup:
     
  5. brains

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    I absolutely LOVE your avatar :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
    That's so hilarious!!!
     
  6. mrhealth

    mrhealth Member
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    if i were you, i would try and take some time off to get exposed to the medical field. this will allow you to write on your application about how these experiences changed you and made you want to be a doctor. then go back and finish up your degree. after that, goto a post bac program and retake these classes and do well! i think this will erase most of your previous record. i know it seems like a long road, but you cant half ass this career path. this will show your dedication to the field. i was an econ major and decided to apply to med school my last year. i have a hospital volunteer experience one summer as the event that catalyzed my switch to medicine. after this summer is basically where the 'typical' pre med student app starts... it helps explain the lack of clinical/research experiences for me.
     
  7. williamChenry

    williamChenry Member
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    20 still considered young ? or should i hurry up cause im running out of time?
     
  8. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I wouldn't worry about taking time off to expose yourself to the medical field at this point because frankly, unless you have a DRAMATIC turn around - you stand no chance of being accepted at a US allopathic school... SO.. what advice do I have...

    1. Visit your schools academic support center (or whatever it is called where you are) and be tested for learning disabilities. Find out if there is a reason that you are performing poorly.

    2. Consider what your realistic options are. With a 2.3 GPA (or whatever it is after this semester) you don't stand a chance at MD programs. Not trying to be harsh, but alerting you to the fact that you need to expand your options and consider other things.

    3. Focus on finishing whatever program you are in. At the rate you are going, you may not even graduate with your BS let alone get into further schooling.

    Good luck.
     
  9. williamChenry

    williamChenry Member
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    I know I don't have any learning disabilities. The main reason for my poor performance is lack of interest in college, the main reason i was even attending was because my mother essentially made me. I was planning on turning my part time job into full time, so college wasn't on main agenda. That is where the 3 F's come into play. I stopped going to those classes because I got extra hours at work. But just recently, (past few months) I've had a few personal experiences between sick relatives and personal reasons that have made me want to devote my life to medicine. Of course, now I want to kick myself for not trying my past 2 years, but I mean does this really eliminate me ? Because I know I can receive good grades when I am focused and have goals. Unfortunately, I just wasnt focused or had goals my first 2 years in college.
     
  10. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I'm sorry that this has happened to you because it sounds like you are just now realizing that consequences of your academic situation.

    If you had a 2.5 and THEN got 3 Fs, your GPA is in the toilet - and frankly, you need to worry about just graduating.

    If you want to have a career in medicine, you are going to have to find a very non-traditional route. I doubt a DO school will take anybody with a GPA that low - and I know that a US MD school certainly won't. Your only hope is to look internationally to the Caribbean.

    If you are doing this poorly though in your first two years, I still strongly recommend getting some professional help so that you can learn strategies to succeed academically. Good luck!
     
  11. williamChenry

    williamChenry Member
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    Flopotomist,

    Say I work real hard for the next few years(re-take a lot of classes) and boost my GPA up to the high 3's....?
     
  12. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    Mathematically, it just isn't possible. If you have two years now, and are sitting with a 1.9ish GPA, you can't get that into competitive range even if you miraculously managed to get straight As for the rest of your classes. Secondly, many of your upper division classes build on what you learn in lower division stuff - and it sounds like you didn't build a strong foundation.
     
  13. odrade1

    odrade1 UASOM alum
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    I took a year off after high school, then went to college for two quarters, then took two years off to party, then came back to college a much better student. I took another 5 years to graduate, then went to grad school, then decided to be an MD, so came back to college to take pre-med classess. Then took another year off before applying this year. I just got accepted & I will be 30 when classes start this July. Time is not a problem, if you are just 20. However, getting in to a medical school will not be an option you really have for a while. (And by while I mean 3-5 years).
    1) Stop messing up your GPA.
    this means either lay off classes for a while or, if you have the right stuff, turn it around 180degrees right now.
    2) Figure out how to change your life.
    whatever it is you are about or have been doing is NOT conducive to being a good student, and you can't get into med school without demonstrating to the adcom that you are a good student. Someone earlier suggested taking time off. THis is probably a good idea. Use your "off" time productively, however.
    3) Figure out if healthcare is right for you.
    You can get an unskilled, on-site trained job at your local hospital. The pay is bad & the people probably won't treat you well, but you can learn quickly if you can handle being around people who are sick who you don't know as family. Even though you won't be operating on anyone, if helping those stinky strangers (in your small way) at the hospital makes you feel good most of the time, then you may be on to something.
    4) Learn what you need to do to be a good applicant.
    To do this you should talk to the advisors at your local college(s). Many larger schools have a staff devoted to counseling & assisting pre-meds. One thing is for certain: you will need to do well--academically--in everything you undertake from this point forward. You will probably have to take a) some classes over a second time & b) take many more hours than are the minimum requirements for your degree. Part A helps you be a better student & Part B helps you demonstrate several years of consistently good coursework to the adcom.
    5) You may find that there are other jobs in healthcare (other than MD) that offer you the chance to affect peoples' lives in powerful and meaningful ways. The MD is the hardest way to get into healthcare. There are other ways that are not quite as hard (but won't be easy), including DO (which is similarly difficult to get into, and provides you with an equivalent degree), PAs, which do a lot of the neat stuff doctors used to (have time to) do, NPs, RNs, etc.

    As someone who played around at the beginning of undergrad, then turned his grades around, I am extremely sympathetic. Don't give up too soon, but don't be mistaken: you have a really, really tough road ahead of you.
     
  14. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I think we are all sympathetic, and I don't mean to be harsh, but blowing smoke up this kids a$$ isn't doing him any favors. He has a sub 2.0 GPA right now after two years of college. Allowing him to continue in the delusion that he stands a chance at medical school currently is just cruel, and potentially wasting his time. I do agree with your advice to gain exposure to other health care fields though, and agree that he has to do something differently academically.
     
  15. odrade1

    odrade1 UASOM alum
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    You have a good point...past performance is indicative of future performance (so he shouldn't expect radical changes in grades), and even with great grades his odds are not good. Actually, I meant to sound supportive without being too optimistic. The odds are that he would work is @ss off & still fall short.
     
  16. beanbean

    beanbean 1K Member
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    I graduated with a 2.5 gpa due to some chronic med issues as an undergrad. I worked for 6 years as an engineer and then was a stay at home mom for awhile. I went back to do a post-bacc and maintained a 4.0 for 2 years. My volunteer experience was significant as I have been a volunteer EMT and former EMS instructor for 20 yrs now. I shadowed physicians and studied my a$$ off for the MCAT - got a 33. My cumm gpa was probably about a 3.0 when I applied and I am now a 3rd year at UCONN Med School.

    Know that it is a very long road to becoming a doctor and proving your academic abilities takes time and effort. Put some distance between you and your current gpa. Retaking your classes with poor grades is a definite plus if you apply to DO schools since they won't care about the original grade.

    And being 20 isn't considered old in any context. I was 35 when I started med school!

    Know that there are many options in medicine besides being a physician. PAs and NPs practice very independently and the training is much shorter. There are so many ways to be involved in the care of the sick and injured. Keep your options open.
     
  17. muzikbuf

    muzikbuf Member
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    oh my god
    are you serious?

    why don't you ask the 35 or 45 year old applicant?

    TAKE THE TIME OFF. LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF. EXPERIENCE WHAT IS OUTSIDE ACADEMIA, because it's real life and will teach you more than you will learn in any classroom. AND NEVER EVER ASK THAT QUESTION AGAIN.
     

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