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Unusual Academic Situation for Post Bac (new member)

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by AppleFan1, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. AppleFan1

    2+ Year Member

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    First let me start off by saying thank you to this forum! I've been surfing the posts here for some time now, and it's refreshing to see just how many people are interested in giving their advice to others. Now, I need some advice myself and was wondering if anyone could help.

    I am currently entering my fifth year as an undergraduate at a relatively prestigious US university (in top 15 on rankings) that's known to be quite rigorous. I did very well in high school -- (volunteered a ton in a hospital among other things) -- but entered college ill and very depressed. I got reasonably high SAT scores (2010 with the writing section, 1250 without). The first two years of my college experience were dismal. I never attended classes and got horrendous grades (I withdrew from a bio course, Basic Chemistry I, and Geography) and failed Basic Chemistry II and a film course. After my first two years my GPA was a 2.4.

    Over the summer between year 2 and year 3 I changed my mindset and turned things around. My GPA over the last two years is 3.74 bringing my overall GPA to 3.14 (not including two A+'s that I received from a state school last summer). Though I need to take a fifth year to graduate, I'm on track to receive honors in 2 majors and my overall GPA should be high enough for general honors when I graduate. I haven't taken any more BCPM courses than those aforementioned (that I did horribly in).

    I really want to become a doctor and am looking to apply to post bac (as a career changer). Is it possible for me to apply to post bac programs while I'm still an undergraduate? Would it be advantageous for me to wait until I have more ‘As' on my record and honors before I apply? Do you think I have a shot at getting into any of the top tier or second tier post bacc programs (Goucher, Bryn Mawr, Scripps, Columbia, Penn, Mills, Temple etc.?) Suggestions?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion
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    Not unusual at all. Find the Low GPA thread in this forum and meet the teeming hordes of pre-premeds with low GPAs. Some of whom get/got into med school.
    First tip: when you have a low GPA, don't brag about the prestige of your school. It does nothing for you.
    Doesn't matter in med school admissions.
    Great turnaround.
    Include 'em. What matters is the cumulative overall and science GPA from every undergrad class you ever took. For MD schools you have to include all instances of classes that were "forgiven" or repeated. For DO schools you just include the new grade on a repeat. See AAMC, TMDSAS or AACOM for more info on calculating GPA. What your transcript says your GPA is doesn't matter even a little bit.
    If you want to go to med school, those multiple majors and/or honors are going to do less for you than using your 5th year to get the prereqs done. Any chance you can change your major to one that includes the prereqs? Blow off one of those majors in favor of a minor that includes the prereqs?
    Why? What clinical exposure do you have? What doctors have you shadowed? What do you know about the practice, ethics, business and politics of medicine?
    If you're still in undergrad and you haven't had a career, "career changer" is silly. They should call it "non-premed major". You need to take the prereqs and your cumulative GPA isn't competitive. If you like the labels, you're an "academic enhancer/career changer". But as above, try really hard to just get the prereqs done before you graduate instead of having to apply/get accepted to another program.
    You can try to apply to a prestigious program like those, but your GPA isn't likely to get you in. Any program that has linkage, or a reputation of getting most grads into med school, is extremely selective. They also want you to have hundreds of clinical volunteering hours when you apply.

    Do a ton of reading in this and other forums. Find out what an SMP is. Find out what med schools look at when they evaluate candidates. Find out what a DO is.

    In your shoes, I'd get on campus tomorrow, find the premed advising office, and beg for help. By the end of the day tomorrow, find a hospital or clinic volunteering program and get going. Seriously, cut out one of those majors, forget about honors. Just graduate and get the prereqs done with high grades. Your major doesn't matter. Kill the MCAT so that you have a confidence-raising numerical asset as counterpoint to your GPA. Probably do an SMP. Don't waste time paying attention to what's happening with high-stats squeaky-clean applicants to med school - you are not on that path.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  4. AppleFan1

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    Dear DrMidlife,

    Thank you for your quick response and well wishes.

    Let me first start by addressing your question about my exposure to the medical field. I've grown up with medicine around me. My father's a doctor and I've spent a lot of time working with him and volunteering in hospitals (upwards of 1000 hours during high school).

    There are two major reason's why I'm hesitant to take the premed courses at my current school. The first is that, with the first two years of baggage and all the bad memories, it's really difficult for me to perform at my peak. When I took courses at the state school near my home, I felt much more 'in the zone.' Bluntly put, with the very rigorous course load I have facing me, I think it would be to my advantage to do the courses in an environment that I feel more comfortable in. I think my work-product will be better.

    The second reason is my undergrad is known to be a killer in sciences.

    The reason I'm thinking about post bacc programs for career changers (rather than just doing it informally myself) is because it seems like many established career changer programs have established relationships with medical schools. Basically, if you get a high GPA and a high MCAT in the program, you're more or less guaranteed into medical school (regardless of your academic background before the program). However, if you take premed course requirements informally in a DIY fashion, medical schools seem more prone to take everything into account (in my case -- including my rough beginnings).
     
  5. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion
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    OK good. A couple of suggestions. First, try to shadow a doc that your dad has never met, who practices in a field your dad knows nothing about. Get access to unfamiliar opinions from unfamiliar sources. Second, if you've only been in a private hospital, get in a public one, or vice versa. Shake it up. One thing you'll be up against with your dad and his buds is that they went to med school when admissions were much, much easier, and candidates didn't have to know anything about healthcare ethics or economics or politics.
    I totally get that. As a backup plan, find out what you'd have to do to take the prereqs at the state school.
    The prereqs are weeder courses. Kids who've wanted to be doctors since birth decide otherwise when they hit that first genchem or physics exam. The prereqs won't be easy anywhere.

    At a formal program, the caliber of students may be considerably higher than what you're used to.

    I never did this myself, just sucked it up and tried to beat the curve, but one good thing to look into is what it takes to get an A at a given school. A's in the prereqs are incredibly important for you.
    I expect you're overestimating your chances to get into a program that has such a linkage. As I said earlier, you should apply to such programs, but you're up against 4.0 students for those seats. Schools with linkages don't take risks, and you have a risky GPA.
    I honestly don't think you're in a situation where you'll be doing prereqs at a school that has power over med school admissions. I'm not trying to be discouraging with this, just trying to set you up for what's likely. Which is that, like the rest of us, you'll have to fill out an AMCAS, list your coursework line by painful line, explain in secondary essays why the problems you had in your first two years won't happen again, and fight for a seat against competition with better stats.

    When you graduate, I'm guessing you'll have about a 3.25 cumulative overall. If you keep up a 3.7 in the prereqs, you'll have about a 3.3 or 3.35 when you apply to med school. That 3.3x is going to show up prominently - there's nothing you can do. The good news is that the cumulative science GPA is called out prominently as well, and if you do really well in the prereqs, that could be nice and high, even with your early science grades averaged in.

    I'd be delighted if you proved me wrong and got into Bryn Mawr.

    Best of luck to you.
     

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