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Very strange, roundabout path to pre-med (military)

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astrostellar

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Hi all! I'm very glad I found you. I don't have much in way of mentorship or support on my path to medical school at the moment. Let me give you a rundown...

I'm 25 and I live in Alaska. I've been enlisted Air Force for four years now. I graduated high school in 2009 with a 2.something GPA and, I think, the highest SAT scores in my class and ECs off the charts, but absolutely no life or coping skills. So, fast-forward...

>I failed out of college in late 2009 after one semester at a private four-year that I never should have gone to. I lived with my boyfriend and we were miserable. I move back home and work and enroll in the University of Phoenix (YIKES.)
>Fail out of University of Phoenix in 2010 after only a couple classes. Go figure. Can't handle it. Work for a while.
>Enroll in a CC in 2011 and have an okay semester (2.75). Come back next semester, get depressed, fail out.
>Move home. Look into the Air Force. Join in July 2012 and go to basic training.
>Spend the next year at the Defense Language Institute (accredited). Graduate in 2013 with a 3.7 GPA and 45 semester credits in my language.
>Move to Alaska, gung-ho enroll in four college courses. Stop attending all of them because of work and failing marriage. Fail all of them. Take a break from classes, 2014.
>2015-now: divorced, taking classes 1-2 at a time and getting As (hooray!). Enrolled in a Medical Laboratory Science degree (ASCP certified). Unsure if I should incorporate med school pre-reqs or try to do a post-bacc. If I can even get into medical school, I'm looking at using HPSP.

Anyway, I feel like if any medical school sees the catastrophic pile of transcripts I've accumulated before now, I'll be screened out before I even start the process. Although my GPA for the college I'm at will likely be 3.6+, I'm afraid my BCPM GPA is not salvageable even with all As at this point, because at every school I went to, I jumped into science and math first. I should graduate in 2020-2021, right after I plan to get out of the military.

Oh, and I'm about to finish two (basically free) associate's degrees, one in my language and one for the Air Force.

Does anybody have any insight/help/additions? Similar situation? Snide remarks?

Nice to meet everyone!
 
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Plastic156600sub3

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Yep, we are the exception to the rule as nontrads. Don't worry. You're not the only person who has more than one set of transcripts. I had to send 5 separate sets to AMCAS and AACOMAS this year. I also chose another career in-between. I took extra classes in college to get certified to teach in order to pay off my degree before attending med school. The same year is when the economy tanked, teachers got laid off, and I got shoved to the back of the experience pile of applicants. After not successfully finding a permanent full time position, I went into the freight industry, which is FAR more lucrative to be sure. Anyway, I did some post bac to get my GPA up and am currently applying. Great meeting you.

If you can incorporate med school pre-reqs in now, it won't hurt, unless you think it'll make you bomb out of your other classes. Your degree area itself isn't really a problem. The courses required are the standard. They are going to ask for ALL the schools you attended, including the ones you did not excel at.
The great thing about DO schools is you can take the same class multiple times and they will take the highest grade. By all means, apply to MD schools, but they are a little more...dare I say...snobby. They take less of a "full picture" view than DO schools. DO schools are much more nontrad friendly.

Another suggestion is, if you live close to a four year school and can manage the time to take classes via the traditional method (ie in-classroom), take the time to do that. Some schools, but not all, dislike online schools. Some schools, mostly MD, hate 2 year/junior/community college credits. These are only a few. They will tell you what they won't accept on their website. If you can live without those few schools, then skip them. I did. I can still apply to the grand majority.

If you do decide to apply to MD schools, make sure you tick the military experience box. Take full advantage of that. Also, buy the MSAR from AAMC. It makes all the difference in the world. With that, you can gauge where your scores fall on the average scores of those admitted and steer clear of the ones that will only take your money and reject you.
 
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astrostellar

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Yep, we are the exception to the rule as nontrads. Don't worry. You're not the only person who has more than one set of transcripts. I had to send 5 separate sets to AMCAS and AACOMAS this year. I also chose another career in-between. I took extra classes in college to get certified to teach in order to pay off my degree before attending med school. The same year is when the economy tanked, teachers got laid off, and I got shoved to the back of the experience pile of applicants. After not successfully finding a permanent full time position, I went into the freight industry, which is FAR more lucrative to be sure. Anyway, I did some post bac to get my GPA up and am currently applying. Great meeting you.

If you can incorporate med school pre-reqs in now, it won't hurt, unless you think it'll make you bomb out of your other classes. Your degree area itself isn't really a problem. The courses required are the standard. They are going to ask for ALL the schools you attended, including the ones you did not excel at.
The great thing about DO schools is you can take the same class multiple times and they will take the highest grade. By all means, apply to MD schools, but they are a little more...dare I say...snobby. They take less of a "full picture" view than DO schools. DO schools are much more nontrad friendly.

Another suggestion is, if you live close to a four year school and can manage the time to take classes via the traditional method (ie in-classroom), take the time to do that. Some schools, but not all, dislike online schools. Some schools, mostly MD, hate 2 year/junior/community college credits. These are only a few. They will tell you what they won't accept on their website. If you can live without those few schools, then skip them. I did. I can still apply to the grand majority.

If you do decide to apply to MD schools, make sure you tick the military experience box. Take full advantage of that. Also, buy the MSAR from AACOM. It makes all the difference in the world. With that, you can gauge where your scores fall on the average scores of those admitted and steer clear of the ones that will only take your money and reject you.

Thank you so much for your reply! Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be on rotating Panama shift for the rest of my foreseeable military career, making in-person classes basically impossible until my last year and a half of school. Would just doing a postbacc be better in that situation?
 
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Plastic156600sub3

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Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be on rotating Panama shift for the rest of my foreseeable military career, making in-person classes basically impossible until my last year and a half of school. Would just doing a postbacc be better in that situation?

I totally understand this one. I have been doing graveyard shift and 2nd shift for a long time. Plus, I live a long way away from my closest 4 year college. My solution has been online college for post bac. Works great. A majority of schools will take it, with some of those being conditionally.

The best online colleges are the big ones- NYU, Colorado State, FSU, LSU, etc. Lower tier 4-year and CCs are so-so. I had a terrible physics II class with lab class online through a CC. Honestly, the book must not have had an editor. Half of the answers were wrong. The company that provided the lab materials did not provide all the lab materials I needed. It was a hard lesson. Sometimes you get what you pay for. With online, this seems to be the truth.
 

PressPforPi

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I'm also in the Air Force as a 4N. The only thing I've got for you is to make sure HPSP is your first choice. I know quite a few providers that wish they had gone a different route after getting stuck at a small base. Some haven't even done residency yet and are GMOs.
 

KaBoom'd

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No GI bill? You should be able to swing most of a state school with that

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QueenAudrey

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I have no business giving advice about applying to med school, but I have heard that DO schools have a grade replacement policy. I really just wanted to post to say congratulations on making A's this time around. Well done!
 

astrostellar

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I have no business giving advice about applying to med school, but I have heard that DO schools have a grade replacement policy. I really just wanted to post to say congratulations on making A's this time around. Well done!

thank you! DO schools are on my list.

No GI bill? You should be able to swing most of a state school with that

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I should have 12-18 months of GI bill left when I'm done post-bacc-ing.
 

abn632

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I had to submit 10 different transcripts to AACOMAS (the app service for DO schools). Ten. TEN!!! That's nearly $100 in transcripts alone! It sucks...but you gotta do what you gotta do. Anyway, here's a list of recommendations, in no particular order.

1. Are you still in the USAF? I can't tell from your posts. If you are still in, my suggestion would be to wait until you get out before taking classes. It seems as if you have issues with online classes (U of Phoenix) but do well in face-to-face classes (DLI).

2. Take Goro's advice and look up everything DrMidlife has posted. Her advice is blunt and accurate. But to give you a TLDR on her advice - get nothing but A's, suck it up, get more A's, stop feeling sorry for yourself, get more A's, nobody cares that your life sucks right now so suck it up, get more A's, and don't forget to get some volunteering and clinical hours in. Oh, one more thing...get nothing but A's.

3. I advise people to major in whatever the heck interests them, but if it's not science-related, to minor in something science related. A science minor will set you up for success for med school - I minored in biology, and through the minor was able to complete all of my med school prereqs, plus biochemistry, genetics, immunology, and some other helpful classes. I majored in something completely different (economics) because I find the field fascinating (but not enough to work in it). So major in something that interests you enough to where you naturally feel compelled to do well in it. If it happens to be a hard science, great, but if it doesn't, do the science minor.

4. When I was a college freshman, my BAC was never lower than .08 for the entire year. Needless to say, I did not do well in college (the first time around) and ended up in the Army. The DO grade replacement helped me out tremendously. Given your track record, I would highly advise going the DO route. Since you're from Alaska, you may want to check out the WWAMI program (program for Pac NW folks to go to med school via U Washington). My understanding is that they're pretty non-trad friendly but I heard this secondhand so don't hold me to it.

That's it for now. Get A's. And if your life starts to suck, just remember that the universe doesn't care, so suck it up and keep getting more A's. Good luck!
 
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