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What are my chances..

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by ruby2100, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. ruby2100


    Jun 18, 2008

    I am studying for the MCAT and want to apply to medical school for the Fall of 2009. I wasn't interested in med school while I was completing my BSc. Is it too late to apply now?
    1) age 31
    2) BSc and BA GPA 3.0 (8 years)
    3) no recent relevant volunteer experience in last 2 yrs, minimal health care related volunteer experience
    4) some relevant work experience

    Realistically, do I stand a chance of getting in? What can I do to improve my stats?

    thank you!
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  3. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion 10+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    I don't think you should apply for fall '09 for MD schools. DO schools are a weak possibility, depending on your MCAT score.
    Personally I would not apply with your GPA, even if you get a 30+ MCAT score. I applied with a 3.0-ish GPA, but I'm over 40. The odds are horrible, the emotional roller coaster is no fun, and I don't recommend it at ALL.
    Most people in your situation spend a couple years taking more undergrad courses to raise GPAs. You can get a 2nd bachelors on the way, but it's not necessary or preferable to do another BA/BS beyond being convenient for school services such as financial aid. Repeating old coursework only makes sense if you got less than a C in a prereq, or if you're going DO. Otherwise, you should take a bunch of upper div science, such as immuno/micro/genetics/biochem/etc. One strong positive of more undergrad is that it sets you up for LORs nicely.

    If you're able to score 30-ish on your MCAT this summer, then you're in a position to consider an SMP program, where you do the first year of med school to prove you can handle med school. This is a Hail Mary play: you only get one shot, and you're competing with your classmates who are using their one shot too.

    With a 30+ on the MCAT in hand by September, you could apply DO. In this case you need to go after an MD or DO LOR immediately.

    My primary suggestion for you is to take a practice MCAT, cold, and see how far you are from where you want to be. You can do this for free on If you're way down in the teens or early 20's, it's probably best for you to look at a 2 year regroup before you apply, where you take the MCAT in early spring of the year you apply. If you're close to 30, then doing an SMP and/or applying DO may be reasonable.

    Best of luck to you.
  4. Agree with the above advice.

    If your 3.0 GPA is after 8 years of coursework, it's going to be tough to improve upon - two full years' worth of straight As will only result in a GPA of 3.2.

    I agree that you absolutely need to rock the MCAT and get some more volunteer/clinical experience. When you do apply, do so early and widely (to both MD and DO schools). As stated above, an SMP is a great option if you have a solid MCAT but a GPA around 3.0 - but you really only have one shot at this.
  5. tbo

    tbo MS-4 10+ Year Member

    May 5, 2002
    I'm going to go with a more go-for-the-gusto stance on this. Granted, I think it's important to approach these things with a lot of realism and self-honesty (eg. do I really want this? if so, what am I willing to do to attain it? and somewhat related, will I regret NOT doing this?, etc - if you don't say emphatically YES, then disregard my post below) Your chances with a low GPA are low, but not as dire as it sounds from SDN. There are stories (albeit not a ton) of people getting into MD programs with not too dissimilar stats.

    I'm not too much younger than you, had a crummy GPA but had a good MCAT score. Applied to a boatload of schools (more than 25 primaries sent), got 1 interview/acceptance, done. DrMidlife's personal advice is wise (this is NOT a fun process) but if I only applied to DO, I'd regret not applying to MD. So ask yourself how much you want it, and really bust your ass on the MCAT, shoot for a 36+ and cram as much stuff as you possibly can in your head, consider taking modern-day coursework to show them your academic capacity for success, start volunteering, commit your next year or two to medicine (find a job in a hospital or do research in healthcare of some sort), and really give them little reason not to take you.

    The MD (and DO) app process is fraught with heartache but if you want to get an MD, be eyes-wide-open about those challenges, be smart and apply to the programs you stand a reasonable chance with (stay away from the Harvards and WUSTLs of the world), apply as broadly as money will allow, and don't ever look back. Focus on that MCAT score and nail it, then come back and see how best to strategize your application (MD vs DO, top-tier vs second-tier vs blah blah blah, regional schools, post-bacc programs.. etc).
  6. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion 10+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Just so we're clear, I did apply MD: I applied early to 34 MD programs, and late to 11 DO programs. I do regret applying MD, except for my state school - I wasted a lot of money on delusional false hopes. See my mdapps for particulars.
  7. tbo

    tbo MS-4 10+ Year Member

    May 5, 2002
    I suppose that we simply have differing opinions on this, so OP, take this all into account. I think DrMidlife is serving up some valuable and safe insight. Just recognize there exists a counterpoint. For every encouraging person I met who knew this process and told me to live without regrets and apply, I met at least 9 others telling me not to apply to MD programs. Heck, I even had the dean of my graduate school (where I got a near 4.0 GPA) laugh at me, and tell me I had "no business applying to any med school". But I'll be in a solid MD program in 2 months. So yes, hopes can be false and delusional. But don't let other people deflate them for you. Just as well, don't let me inflate them because I'm saying what you may want to hear. Make your own decision to commit to getting a high score on the MCATs, take an interest in volunteering, do all the things that will get you closer to a career in medicine, and when the time comes to apply, do what you can to live a life devoid of regret. Peace.
  8. nontrdgsbuiucmd

    nontrdgsbuiucmd 2+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    my own little world
    Hey, only technical thing to point out, in concurrence with dr. midlife's experince, if I were doing this again, before contributing the time and money needed to complete secondaries for schools, I'd call each school being considered to see if they have a hard cutoff for gpas for the "first cut" or "academic cutoff" or whatever they choose to call it. I found this with some schools for mcat scores after I'd sent in the fees, felt kind of stupid after the fact in speaking with the schools. Granted, many schools will say they have no cutoff and they consider every applicant in full.
  9. hawk126

    hawk126 7+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2007
    Prior to having gone through the admissions process I'd have told you to go for it, especially if you feel as though you have a realistic shot at a 35 or better. However, a cummulative GPA south of 3.5 was a serious obstacle for me even with a good MCAT, a ton of related experience, and a decent BCPM GPA. If you want a shot at an MD program you need to bolster your exposure to the field either through shadowing or volunteering and smoke the MCAT. DO programs seem like they'd be within reach though. Good luck!
  10. Boopieness

    Boopieness public health/pathologist 7+ Year Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    depends: On many factors.

    What are your majors?
    How many med schools in your state?
    Are you a URM?
    You must do well on the MCAT!

    Philosophy, Biomedical engineer, History, Political science and other engineer majors get in at the highest percents? Philosophy majors do very well on average on the MCAT. If you majored in Biology you will have very tough competition. (e.g. if 10 philosophy majors apply 5-6 will get in. However, when 10,000 biology majors apply 15% of them will get in. Yes, in # there are more biology majors in med school, but they compete against one another and add no diversity to the student body.)

    If you are a black male, Mexican female or native American many schools will overlook a 3.0 and average MCATS. Very few of them ever apply and thus have much higher % acceptance rate.

    Again, you are not competing against everyone who applied. You are applying against everyone in your category.

    If you are Asian you will have a tough time, you have to compete against all the other Asians. Asians are also not considered an under represented minority in medicine. They, on average have much better MCAT scores then every other category, including Caucasian students but get in at lower percentage. So, many of them apply and have excellent scores. They're overall acceptance percentage is lower then their caucasian lower MCAT counterparts.

    If you have many med schools in your state your chances increase. Most schools receive funds from the state that they are in and have to accept those applicants at a higher rate. My med school received a total of ~10k applications for 300 seats (many years ago). ~ 500 applications were from in state students. Everyone else was from out of state. That year they accepted 90% (of 300 seats) in state students (it was policy). Again, you do not compete against everybody. Just those in your category - in-state. Out of state, 9500 applicants had to vie for 30 seats remaining and had to pay 2.5x tuition rate.

    If you are former military that helps. Extracurriculars help and research experience is good.

    There used to be a book published by the AAMC minorities in medicine and the medical students stats, on ethnicity and the numbers including majors and state stats. I don't think it is politically correct to have those numbers out in the open anymore and I don't believe the minorities in medicine book is published by the AAMC anymore. I really liked that book. I knew exactly what school to apply to based on the numbers that they had been known for in the past and my demographics.

    I applied to only one med school, am a URM, former wartime medical experience, in a state with 7 med schools. 3.75 GPA but 21 MCAT with a social science major. Even with that horrendous MCAT score I knew I would get in. 16 MCAT was the bare minimum criterion for the school, and that was well-known. Once that was met the other factors played a role.

    You can get in with your 3.0 but you need to do well on MCAT and look at your own demographics and a school's individual demographics. If your state doesn't even have a med school, you are going to have a tougher time.

    If you are white and want to go to an Historically Black Medical College you are going to have a very tough time getting in. It can be done, but you need to find out where to apply and not waste a lot of money applying to the wrong schools.

    If anyone wants to argue these points go ahead. I did my homework and found out how the system worked and didn't spend a ton of money applying to 80 schools despite the really bad MCAT score. This is the reality that no one really talks about when it comes to med school admissions.

    Oh and I'm an M.D., not D.O.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2008
  11. Nasem

    Nasem 2+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Lansing, MI
    Im curious about the post above.... how do medical schools look upon Catholic middle eastern applicants
  12. Nasem

    Nasem 2+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Lansing, MI
    oh my lord.... 34 schools and 11... thats 45 schools, how much did the application process alone cost you ?
  13. DeAlighieri

    DeAlighieri That wasn't medicine! 2+ Year Member

    Oct 13, 2007
    They're in a similar category to Agnostic Tibetan applicants with wooden legs.

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