Apr 5, 2010
44
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi all

I'm a third year Berkeley student and I am trying to increase my chance of getting into med school by the time I graduate. I have a 3.5 cGPA (that one Bio1AL class KILLED my GPA) right now and hopefully if I keep up my grades like I am doing right now I will be able to graduate next spring with a 3.65-3.7. My science GPA should be around that or a little lower as well.

I have no clinical experience right now which worries the **** out of me. I recently just heard back from Kaiser Permanente to start working at the Pediatrics department but I probably will not start any time soon until this summer comes along. Will 1 year of clinical experience be sufficient? I'm terribly worried about this and I wish I started trying harder a lot sooner but I can't do anything about it now. Should I try to get like, TWO clinical jobs at the same time?? (it's not like I didn't try. I sent in a LOT of applications to a lot of places my freshmen, sophomore year. But Berkeley has too many damn pre med students it's hard to compete for clinical volunteer opportunities in the local area. but I do admit I should have tried harder sooner)

So far, my extracurricular activities include 3 years of tutoring kids after school and in summer school in underserved areas. 3 years of being involved with an international and national college science, society, and law journal as editor in chief, 2 years of being a resident assistant in the dorms, and as of now about 6 months of working at a skin cancer research lab with a good possibility of being published before the end of this year.

I have a lot of good LOR candidates to ask for (2 from tutoring, 1 from resident director, 1 from P.I, ) BUT .. BUTTTT professors which is pretty bad. I need to get on it. I didn't know that I could ask professors for letters like way in advance my freshmen year when I was taking the class so I think it would be futile to go back and ask for a letter NOW? i mean would they even remember me?

MCAT.. I haven't taken it yet. I will start studying for it soon so I can take the exam before this year ends.

ANY SUGGESTIONS? I would like every and ANY at this moment. I'm pretty desperate.
 

mspeedwagon

7+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2009
2,097
450
181
Florida
Status
Medical Student
First, calm down. Second, time for an action plan. I don't think doing two clinical jobs at the same time is of any benefit. It makes it look like you are desperate and doing it as something you are required to rather than interested in. If you want to do more, is there an opportunity for research? I think with a year volunteering, some research exposure (even minor) and a 3.5/30 MCAT you have a good shot at a medical school. If you want to stay in California and attend an M.D. program then think more along the lines of 3.7/32 (minimum).

Hi all

I'm a third year Berkeley student and I am trying to increase my chance of getting into med school by the time I graduate. I have a 3.5 cGPA (that one Bio1AL class KILLED my GPA) right now and hopefully if I keep up my grades like I am doing right now I will be able to graduate next spring with a 3.65-3.7. My science GPA should be around that or a little lower as well.

I have no clinical experience right now which worries the **** out of me. I recently just heard back from Kaiser Permanente to start working at the Pediatrics department but I probably will not start any time soon until this summer comes along. Will 1 year of clinical experience be sufficient? I'm terribly worried about this and I wish I started trying harder a lot sooner but I can't do anything about it now. Should I try to get like, TWO clinical jobs at the same time?? (it's not like I didn't try. I sent in a LOT of applications to a lot of places my freshmen, sophomore year. But Berkeley has too many damn pre med students it's hard to compete for clinical volunteer opportunities in the local area. but I do admit I should have tried harder sooner)

So far, my extracurricular activities include 3 years of tutoring kids after school and in summer school in underserved areas. 3 years of being involved with an international and national college science, society, and law journal as editor in chief, 2 years of being a resident assistant in the dorms, and as of now about 6 months of working at a skin cancer research lab with a good possibility of being published before the end of this year.

I have a lot of good LOR candidates to ask for (2 from tutoring, 1 from resident director, 1 from P.I, ) BUT .. BUTTTT professors which is pretty bad. I need to get on it. I didn't know that I could ask professors for letters like way in advance my freshmen year when I was taking the class so I think it would be futile to go back and ask for a letter NOW? i mean would they even remember me?

MCAT.. I haven't taken it yet. I will start studying for it soon so I can take the exam before this year ends.

ANY SUGGESTIONS? I would like every and ANY at this moment. I'm pretty desperate.
 

bobsmith

10+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2008
3,499
19
251
Status
Hi all

I'm a third year Berkeley student and I am trying to increase my chance of getting into med school by the time I graduate. I have a 3.5 cGPA (that one Bio1AL class KILLED my GPA) right now and hopefully if I keep up my grades like I am doing right now I will be able to graduate next spring with a 3.65-3.7. My science GPA should be around that or a little lower as well.

I have no clinical experience right now which worries the **** out of me. I recently just heard back from Kaiser Permanente to start working at the Pediatrics department but I probably will not start any time soon until this summer comes along. Will 1 year of clinical experience be sufficient? I'm terribly worried about this and I wish I started trying harder a lot sooner but I can't do anything about it now. Should I try to get like, TWO clinical jobs at the same time?? (it's not like I didn't try. I sent in a LOT of applications to a lot of places my freshmen, sophomore year. But Berkeley has too many damn pre med students it's hard to compete for clinical volunteer opportunities in the local area. but I do admit I should have tried harder sooner)

So far, my extracurricular activities include 3 years of tutoring kids after school and in summer school in underserved areas. 3 years of being involved with an international and national college science, society, and law journal as editor in chief, 2 years of being a resident assistant in the dorms, and as of now about 6 months of working at a skin cancer research lab with a good possibility of being published before the end of this year.

I have a lot of good LOR candidates to ask for (2 from tutoring, 1 from resident director, 1 from P.I, ) BUT .. BUTTTT professors which is pretty bad. I need to get on it. I didn't know that I could ask professors for letters like way in advance my freshmen year when I was taking the class so I think it would be futile to go back and ask for a letter NOW? i mean would they even remember me?

MCAT.. I haven't taken it yet. I will start studying for it soon so I can take the exam before this year ends.

ANY SUGGESTIONS? I would like every and ANY at this moment. I'm pretty desperate.
As you've noticed, the biggest concern is your lack of any clinical experience. And honestly, the question you should be asking isn't "is 1 year sufficient?" but instead, "how do I know that medicine is for me?" Because I think that's the first thing that admissions committees are going to want to know -- how do you know that you want to go into medicine if you have no idea what it's like to be in a clinical setting? How have you tested this desire?

I personally would be very skeptical of someone who went through all of the pre-med motions/took pre-med classes for the first 3 years of school and then decided to see what medicine was all about.

So whether this means that you take an extra year off before you apply to make sure you know what you're getting yourself into or if it means incorporating other things from earlier in your life that made you lean towards medicine, the take home point is that your reasons for going into medicine should make sense to the admissions committee. As much as people want to believe that applying to medical school is as straightforward as checking a bunch of activities off a list, it's equally important to make sure your reasons for doing the activities make sense and that you get something out of them

As for the professors from freshman year, you could send them an email, ask to meet with them, and try talking about stuff with them (research, interests, similar classes to take, things you remember from the class). A lot of professors are surprisingly open to this and if they remember you and seem cool with talking to you about stuff, they might be willing to write a LOR. And if it doesn't work out, you've lost nothing by trying
 
Sep 4, 2006
30,590
10,408
281
Inside the tesseract
Slow down and take a breath. You won't be ready to apply until June 2011 at the earliest. Your mentioned experiences sound good and the extra time will improve your GPAs enough to make a difference. You'll also want to strategize on getting in some physician shadowing. Applying with a publication that's been accepted will strengthen your position. Your longevity of the teaching/community service activity is a huge strength. You have some peer leadership to mention that is another plus, with the RA position and the editorship. Aim for 150 hours or so with the clinical experience and 60-80 hours of shadowing split among maybe 2-3 types of doc, of which one is on primary care.
 
Nov 12, 2009
114
1
41
Status
Medical Student
i am from berkeley too! and i know..that Bio1AL killed alot of pre-med out there! i mean...how the heck can you identify those structures in less than 1min during the lab exam...(well i guess thats the level of a med student probably..) but i feel you, i dont like that class either

i bet you are a mcb student? i know trying to keep that sgpa up while doing many extracurriculars is a tough call, but i dont think starting shadowing and volunteering now at a hospital is too late, given you are doing it persistently from now on until you apply. if not, u still have an option of taking a year off if you are still not as prepare by next May. but yea, keep that science gpa up, a little difficult at Cal, but doable.

btw, i had helen lew for my lab instructor hahh she is awesome...though her quizzes killed many including me...=.="
 
Apr 5, 2010
44
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks to all of you for the advice. I know that medicine is for me so that is not a problem. I guess I am freaking out because I keep seeing everyone around me getting into medical school and it makes me worry.

I've been talking to a lot of people lately and I guess taking a year off wouldn't be so bad. I don't know about taking two years off. I always wanted to go straight into medical school right after graduation but things just didn't work out for me that way so I feel like taking a year off is already a set back for me. (I know and I fulllllly understand that it shouldn't be a big deal but personally it is for me)

I just started contacting my freshmen year professors for letters and am planning to shadow doctors! thanks for all of your advices :)
 
Last edited:
Apr 5, 2010
44
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I know what you're talking about. Bio1AL was hell. 2 unit class brought my GPA down so bad.

i am from berkeley too! and i know..that Bio1AL killed alot of pre-med out there! i mean...how the heck can you identify those structures in less than 1min during the lab exam...(well i guess thats the level of a med student probably..) but i feel you, i dont like that class either

i bet you are a mcb student? i know trying to keep that sgpa up while doing many extracurriculars is a tough call, but i dont think starting shadowing and volunteering now at a hospital is too late, given you are doing it persistently from now on until you apply. if not, u still have an option of taking a year off if you are still not as prepare by next May. but yea, keep that science gpa up, a little difficult at Cal, but doable.

btw, i had helen lew for my lab instructor hahh she is awesome...though her quizzes killed many including me...=.="
 
Apr 5, 2010
44
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
First, calm down. Second, time for an action plan. I don't think doing two clinical jobs at the same time is of any benefit. It makes it look like you are desperate and doing it as something you are required to rather than interested in. If you want to do more, is there an opportunity for research? I think with a year volunteering, some research exposure (even minor) and a 3.5/30 MCAT you have a good shot at a medical school. If you want to stay in California and attend an M.D. program then think more along the lines of 3.7/32 (minimum).
What kind of research are you talking about? Clinical? Bc I am already doing wet lab research.. I've been studying for MCAT's and realistically I'll hopefully be scoring anywhere between 35-40 on my real one...
I just really want to get in to a california med school.
 
Last edited:
Apr 7, 2010
16
0
0
Status
Im also from CAL. Bio 1 AL is very hard. I also have a 3.52 GPA and im applying this summer. Taking the MCATS in may. hoping to apply with 3.52 and 32-33 MCAT. Im taking IB 132 right now, very helpful for the MCAT (got 100% on both MTs because of mcat studying)
 
Apr 5, 2010
44
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
so with stats like mine, does anyone have any suggestions as to which schools i should apply to? I totally want to stay in state in california though.

Also, I heard some weird things about being a california resident doesn't help me get into an in-state school because california students are so competitive. i was actually a utah resident until just this past year when my parents finally got through the uc in-state system.

Another thing is that I'm only a permanent resident and I would only be able to apply for citizenship in 2012 may-ish which will be the year after i apply. and i probably won't even be able to get citizenship until the end of 2012.
 
Sep 4, 2006
30,590
10,408
281
Inside the tesseract
Permanent resident is considered equal to a citizen in the application process.

You don't have enough "stats" yet to get school advice. Bring home a great MCAT score, and then it will be time to talk about school choice. And don't be stuck on the idea that you must stay in California, because even folks with perfect applications don't always get in due to the highly competitive application environment in your home state.