Sep 16, 2015
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Hi guys,

I am really new to this forum. I finally decided to pursue medicine regardless of the financial stress it may have on me. It is what I have wanted to do but went against it due to financial obligations.

I'm 22, graduated in May, 2015 with Mechanical Engineering degree with Michigan State. I have a 3.15 GPA and haven't taken all the science classes. I initially intended to stay in engineering and have interned with companies such as Ford, Toyota, TARDEC, ArcelorMittal and even built a Formula Race car (put in up to 90 hours a week as an extracurricular which is what resulted in the low GPA). I 4.0ed Orgo Chem 1 in college and took all the other science classes required (except orgo 2) prior to junior year in high school, so I figure I have to do those post-bacs to apply again. I also have to take the MCAT. I just started studying for it.

I currently work full time in engineering and am looking to make the switch. And will probably be working full time and studying for the MCAT. I will not quit my job until I get a good enough score in order to financially support myself. I am prepared to take the next 2-3 (preferably 2) years to build my resume prior to applying. I will also apply to some DO schools to improve my chances. Just trying to set a benchmark you guys can assess from in terms of what I am capable of, I graduated with a 3.6 from HS with 14 AP & College classes with mostly A's or high B's in Math and Sciences and a 32 ACT.

I know I will eventually have to quit to dedicate myself to this full time. But I still need to support myself, hope you understand (have too much in loans from undergrad). I do study about 6-7 hours a day on the MCAT on weekdays and have been struggling to find time on weekends due to family but planning to use that effectively too once winter comes around and traveling becomes difficult.

So now that you have my background, I have a couple of questions.

1) What MCAT score should I be aiming for with this new MCAT?
2) What extracurriculars should I be aiming for?
3) What schools should I be applying to?
4) Any other advise that you think I should strongly consider?

Thanks for all your help,
Sparty101
 

WedgeDawg

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Hi there. First off, your high school stats are pretty irrelevant, so I'm not going to even try to interpret those.

You have a 3.15 GPA. This is going to be a huge problem for MD schools and is a little low for DO schools too. Fortunately, you haven't taken most of your science prereqs yet. This is good because you can do a postbacc and kill it (try to get 3.9+ if possible) and show a huge upward trend + you can handle science courses. The A in organic chemistry bodes well.

0. The first thing you need to do is bring your GPA up. The easiest way for you right now is through acing a postbacc program and showing people that you can handle medical school. You also have to do this postbacc to be eligible to apply to medical school anyway. Focus on doing extremely well there before doing anything else. I'm not great at advising people on postbacs and SMPs, so I'm going to leave that to more informed posters who I'm sure will happen along.

1. The median MCAT for accepted applicants last cycle was a 31, which is equivalent to a 510. However, the median GPA for accepted applicants was nearly a 3.7, something that is well out of your range right now. A 3.15 gives you about an 18% chance overall to get into a single medical school. If you do a postbacc and say raise it to a 3.4, you'll still only have around a 1/3 chance of getting in. However, a higher MCAT can help a lot. For example, a 3.4/35 gives you nearly a 60% chance of getting in! You should aim for the highest MCAT score possible. Once you've studied, do a practice exam or two and see where you land, then figure out if that's acceptable or you need to go higher. If you're scoring less than a 510, you're in bad shape.

2. If you don't have clinical experience, you should get some of that. Volunteer in a patient care area. Shadow some doctors. Work with disadvantaged kids. Stuff like that. Teaching experience is also helpful.

3. Don't even think about this until you finish your postbacc and get your MCAT score.

4. You really need to focus on killing your MCAT and, most importantly, raising your GPA.

I will leave the rest to more knowledgable posters.

Best of luck.
 
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Goro

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Concur with the 'Dawg. Ace the remaining pre-reqs, and either do a SMP, preferably one at a medical school, or do a DIY post-bac with coursework that mimics medical school, like Anatomy, Physiology, Histology, NeuroSci, Pharm, Path, Immuno, Micro etc etc and if you can do > 3.5 in this, you'll be fine with a good MCAT score.
 
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LuluLovesMe

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Concur with the 'Dawg. Ace the remaining pre-reqs, and either do a SMP, preferably one at a medical school, or do a DIY post-bac with coursework that mimics medical school, like Anatomy, Physiology, Histology, NeuroSci, Pharm, Path, Immuno, Micro etc etc and if you can do > 3.5 in this, you'll be fine with a good MCAT score.
If he scored something around 520+ on the new MCAT and increased his community service and clinical experience could he try DO with a 3.15 GPA?
 

Goro

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As of right now the GPA is not competitive for the Touros, CCOM or KCUMB, and probably a few other schools. But OP would get in to a number of other schools, especially with a good GPA.


If he scored something around 520+ on the new MCAT and increased his community service and clinical experience could he try DO with a 3.15 GPA?
 

md-2020

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As of right now the GPA is not competitive for the Touros, CCOM or KCUMB, and probably a few other schools. But OP would get in to a number of other schools, especially with a good GPA.
Edited. I misread
 
OP
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Sep 16, 2015
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Thank you guys.

I think as of right now, I think I'll continue studying the MCAT and then do a Structured Post Bac at a Med School (Or SMP) after MCAT. I haven't taken any science classes so I'm thinking a structured 1 year post bacc might be the smarter route for me. I'll try and get some experience in this process by starting to volunteer some hours a week.

Let me know if you guys think there is a better plan going forward. I really appreciate your guys' help and time :)
 

GrapesofRath

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So I'll say this. Alot of these people who are late to the pre-med game and had low GPAs in college did so in less than rigorous majors. For these people, it'll take a serious adjustment in their work habits, study techniques, time management etc to be able to perform at a level ADCOMs want. Frankly, alot of people with low GPAs in light majors just aren't capable of functioning at the level needed to in science courses for med school.

But you aren't one of those majors. Being a mechanical engineer, a 3.15 isn't a bad GPA and indicates a solid student. No med school will care what your major is and give you bonus points for such a challenging major but it still matters in this extent; you are use to very difficult classes and performed at a decent level in them. The A in ochem 1 only starts to confirm this that a) you are used to challenging classes b) have shown some ability to handle them. Now, success for med school standards will have far higher standards than success in engineering school. B's won't cut it like they might in engineering. And you'll have to get used to a different style of learning where memorization and knowing little bits of info matter for classes like Bio and Biochem. But I don't think it's out of reach for you to take these pre-reqs and if you focus on them to do well in them.

Upward trends can be rather valuable things. Upward trends that consist of lots of pre-reqs have perhaps even a little more potential to help someone. You have the chance for one here. Do well in Ochem 2, in your bio courses, and in biochem and that will get noticed. Take some more upper level science classes; think microbio, immunology, genetics, neuroscience, anatomy etc and do well in these and you really have proved your worth. Even if your sGPA is still only say around a 3.35-3.45, if you do well in a number of science courses on top of your pre-reqs, you can potentially be a competitive MD applicant with an MCAT score that is within range for MD matriculants(think 510-511, ideally 514+).

Working full time, taking a number of courses, studying for the MCAT, and building your EC resume, trying to do all that in 2 years is asking ALOT. Considering all that here could be one potential plan of action

Year 1: Take bio pre-reqs, ochem 2 and maybe 2 upper level science courses while working full time. Start your volunteering and building clinical exposure.
Year 2: Take biochem and a couple other upper level science courses as you continue to work. Keep building your volunteering and clinical exposure. Note, you can't take Biochem until you finish Ochem and your bio pre-reqs and Biochem is essentially a requirement now either by schools explicitly stating or more importantly the MCAT directly testing it so heavily.

If you do this, your app will look better and have a chance for success. But it's only after you take ochem, bio and biochem that you can really start prepping for the MCAT. Given how important it will be for you, I don't recommend rushing it. As much as you might not want to do it, taking a 3rd year to study for the MCAT, while working and continuing to build your ECs and maybe taking another upper level science course or two if done successfully would really make you a more competitive candidate. It might be possible to fit in the MCAT during a 2 year plan. But it'll be hard and many people who rush the MCAT end up regretting doing so.

So there you have it. For DO schools you really aren't too far off at all from having a solid application. For MD schools, it'll take more work and time. But I think that can also be doable if handled smartly and with a good plan.