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What do I do about GPA - difficult situation

medicineisforme

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I'm a rising Junior; I just calculated what my gpa would look like if I got straight A's from now on and it is only a 3.5/3.6
I am going to try my hardest but chances are likely that I will not get straight A's. I came into college totally unprepared, it was a miracle that I got in. Bit of background - I was homeschooled (definitely not to say this is the case for all homeschoolers) but unfortunately I have been a victim of educational neglect; hence my grades have sucked. There has been a steady increase in my grades - albeit slowly but surely - but I am now stuck in a situation with what do I do. Any suggestions for how I can help to recover my gpa, and also increase my chances of getting into medical school?

How do I try and put this across to medical schools without using it as an excuse, but rather an explanation? Additionally, my high school transcripts do not reflect what my actual education consisted of - I am nervous to say that to medical schools if/when the obvious question comes up about how I got into a decent college. The saving grace in regards to getting into college that verifies my abilities is a decent SAT score, but even for that I literally had to prepare round the clock solely on that for nearly a year - if that gives you an idea of what we're talking about....

Please try and be sensitive in responding and not bash me or my background as this is a very difficult situation for me, and difficult for me to discuss.
 

red_tangoes

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3.5/3.6 is below average for MD schools, but it can get you an acceptance. Depending on your MCAT score, you can get in your state schools and probably some low to mid-tier OOS schools. If your GPA ends up being lower than this, your odds of getting into a MD program will be quite low.

A 3.5/3.6 is quite competitive for DO schools and as long as you score 500+ on the MCAT I think you'll find yourself getting some attention from them! You can get a 3.3/3.3 and still be competitive for some DO schools.

However, this is all assuming you have the clinical experience, volunteering, and other EC's on your resume, along with good LOR's.
 
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BunnyMan17

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First off, work to move past the mindset of being a "victim of educational neglect". I understand what you're saying, I've seen it in some very close family friends who homeschool. It's just too easy to use that as an excuse and manage expectations. Own who you are and where you came from, then focus on kicking #*@$! moving forward.

Med schools aren't really gonna care about high school or SATs, they want you to prove to them that you can withstand the rigors of med school. They do appreciate upward trends, so you've got that going for you. So if you want to mention somewhere in the application something about coming from an "educational disadvantage but working to overcome and succeed", that'd probably be okay. Although I'd recommend hitting that point and moving on, don't make it sound like you're making excuses.

If you can do well on the MCAT, that would definitely go a long a way. I got into several MD and DO schools (even with turning down the majority of my interview invites) with something like a 3.4/3.5. My thing was a really good MCAT, upwards(ish) trajectory, and lots interesting ECs. Emphasis on the MCAT.
 
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medicineisforme

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3.5/3.6 is below average for MD schools, but it can get you an acceptance. Depending on your MCAT score, you can get in your state schools and probably some low to mid-tier OOS schools. If your GPA ends up being lower than this, your odds of getting into a MD program will be quite low.

A 3.5/3.6 is quite competitive for DO schools and as long as you score 500+ on the MCAT I think you'll find yourself getting some attention from them! You can get a 3.3/3.3 and still be competitive for some DO schools.

However, this is all assuming you have the clinical experience, volunteering, and other EC's on your resume, along with good LOR's.
I'm not worried for sure about the volunteering, clinical experience, letters of rec. Need to work a little more on EC's.
MD is def much more my style than DO, so I'd def like to go down that route....
If I did really well on my MCAT and also my transcripts for the last 2 years are good would that be enough?
 

medicineisforme

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3.5/3.6 is below average for MD schools, but it can get you an acceptance. Depending on your MCAT score, you can get in your state schools and probably some low to mid-tier OOS schools. If your GPA ends up being lower than this, your odds of getting into a MD program will be quite low.

A 3.5/3.6 is quite competitive for DO schools and as long as you score 500+ on the MCAT I think you'll find yourself getting some attention from them! You can get a 3.3/3.3 and still be competitive for some DO schools.

However, this is all assuming you have the clinical experience, volunteering, and other EC's on your resume, along with good LOR's.
Any suggestions for EC's?
I know that it is a very personalized things, but honestly a bit lost on this one.....
 

medicineisforme

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First off, work to move past the mindset of being a "victim of educational neglect". I understand what you're saying, I've seen it in some very close family friends who homeschool. It's just too easy to use that as an excuse and manage expectations. Own who you are and where you came from, then focus on kicking #*@$! moving forward.

Med schools aren't really gonna care about high school or SATs, they want you to prove to them that you can withstand the rigors of med school. They do appreciate upward trends, so you've got that going for you. So if you want to mention somewhere in the application something about coming from an "educational disadvantage but working to overcome and succeed", that'd probably be okay. Although I'd recommend hitting that point and moving on, don't make it sound like you're making excuses.

If you can do well on the MCAT, that would definitely go a long a way. I got into several MD and DO schools (even with turning down the majority of my interview invites) with something like a 3.4/3.5. My thing was a really good MCAT, upwards(ish) trajectory, and lots interesting ECs. Emphasis on the MCAT.
Thank you, that is very encouraging!
Any ideas of EC's?
Do you mind sharing your MCAT score?
I've been looking at a list of schools I've created and I think the schools that are appealing and more within range especially given my gpa are going to be in the 513-518 mcat score range meaning I probably have to get at least a 515-520 mcat (I'd guess) to be competitive, and to compensate for the gpa - does anyone have any comments on this?
 

Kumorebi

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ECs - shadowing (preferable primary care), volunteering (clinical - could wheel patients around a hospital, non-clinical volunteer in an underserved neighborhood). You can also scribe, get EMT certification and volunteer. Adcoms will note a positive trend in your grades if you can achieve it.

around 60 percent of applicants with a 3.5 GPA and MCAT between 514-517 matriculated into an MD program.


You can browse the WAMC section to get a feel of what ECs other applicants have which might give you some inspiration.


Dr. Mike is the most followed physician on social media. He’s a DO. Not sure if it interests you, but here’s a video explaining the differences. MD will always open more doors for competitive specialties, however.

 
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medicineisforme

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ECs - shadowing (preferable primary care), volunteering (clinical - could wheel patients around a hospital, non-clinical volunteer in an underserved neighborhood). You can also scribe, get EMT certification and volunteer. Adcoms will note a positive trend in your grades if you can achieve it.

around 60 percent of applicants with a 3.5 GPA and MCAT between 514-517 matriculated into an MD program.


You can browse the WAMC section to get a feel of what ECs other applicants have which might give you some inspiration.


Dr. Mike is the most followed physician on social media. He’s a DO. Not sure if it interests you, but here’s a video explaining the differences. MD will always open more doors for competitive specialties, however.

Thank you!
Yes, I already volunteer as a dispatcher for a volunteer emergency medical service - and I have been doing so since spring of my freshman year and intend to do so until medical school (when I'm assuming things will be too hectic).
I've also been a nurse's assistant for the last 2 summers in a sleepaway camp, and would like to go back this year too (just trying to decide whether I should because of covid).

I follow a whole bunch of drs on YouTube
- Mama Dr Jones
- Dr Mike
- Chubby Emu
- Dr Cellini
- Medlife Crisis
- Violin MD
and there are a few others that I watch here and there, but all of the above I watch almost all of the videos that they put out and just soak up everything they have to offer.
 

Kumorebi

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Sounds like you have good clinical experiences. Focus on school and some non-clinical volunteering. The more you pay attention and learn the material in your pre-req classes, the easier it is going to be to study for the MCAT.

research is not mandatory, but it doesn’t hurt.
 

red_tangoes

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I'm not worried for sure about the volunteering, clinical experience, letters of rec. Need to work a little more on EC's.
MD is def much more my style than DO, so I'd def like to go down that route....
If I did really well on my MCAT and also my transcripts for the last 2 years are good would that be enough?

If you do really well on the MCAT and maintain 3.6/3.5 you can definitely get into MD. But doing really well on the MCAT is easier said than done.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN
 

BunnyMan17

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Thank you, that is very encouraging!
Any ideas of EC's?
Do you mind sharing your MCAT score?
I've been looking at a list of schools I've created and I think the schools that are appealing and more within range especially given my gpa are going to be in the 513-518 mcat score range meaning I probably have to get at least a 515-520 mcat (I'd guess) to be competitive, and to compensate for the gpa - does anyone have any comments on this?

I was really involved with my christian orginization on grounds (spent 1/2 weeks/year abroad teaching refugees english) and the undergrad chapter of our SNMA. Also some fencing for a few years. Just find something you find enjoyable and commit an hour or 2 per week, does help if it's unique. See where it takes you!
Sure boss, I was able to score a 518. The key for me, after mastering the knowledge, was to do a ton of practice tests and questions. Eventually you get a good feel for how they write the questions and what they're getting at.

I'd really consider DO schools too if I were you. I'd probably have better luck flipping a coin than trying to guess which of my attendings were MD and which were DO. You've gotta decide for yourself whether you want to be a doctor worse or an MD worse. But for now, worry less about school selection and more about doing the best you can academically.
 
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M&L

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I'm a rising Junior; I just calculated what my gpa would look like if I got straight A's from now on and it is only a 3.5/3.6
I am going to try my hardest but chances are likely that I will not get straight A's. I came into college totally unprepared, it was a miracle that I got in. Bit of background - I was homeschooled (definitely not to say this is the case for all homeschoolers) but unfortunately I have been a victim of educational neglect; hence my grades have sucked. There has been a steady increase in my grades - albeit slowly but surely - but I am now stuck in a situation with what do I do. Any suggestions for how I can help to recover my gpa, and also increase my chances of getting into medical school?

How do I try and put this across to medical schools without using it as an excuse, but rather an explanation? Additionally, my high school transcripts do not reflect what my actual education consisted of - I am nervous to say that to medical schools if/when the obvious question comes up about how I got into a decent college. The saving grace in regards to getting into college that verifies my abilities is a decent SAT score, but even for that I literally had to prepare round the clock solely on that for nearly a year - if that gives you an idea of what we're talking about....

Please try and be sensitive in responding and not bash me or my background as this is a very difficult situation for me, and difficult for me to discuss.
My GPA was 3.6, and i got 4 acceptances (i did not apply to any DO schools, all MD schools)... As long as your ECs are solid, you are fine. Definitely apply to all of your state and regional schools. And to Private ones outside of the state.
 

medicineisforme

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My GPA was 3.6, and i got 4 acceptances (i did not apply to any DO schools, all MD schools)... As long as your ECs are solid, you are fine. Definitely apply to all of your state and regional schools. And to Private ones outside of the state.
Wow very impressive!
Thanks for the encouragement. I lived in a couple of other states growing up, does that give me any better a chance at getting into a state school of a place that I used to live?

So now my question is this, how on earth to I manage to do everything without running myself ragged?

- full-time student
- work part-time
- volunteer as a dispatcher
- I don't live on campus so I have travel time
- procrastination (I know I gotta work on that one)
- I need another volunteer thing (I'm thinking that I could go to the local library every week or every other and either just volunteer there or do a workshop for introducing kids to writing and illustrating their own book)
- and then I need some other recreational EC's
- and don't forget like ummm some chill and social time......
 
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medicineisforme

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Wow very impressive!
Thanks for the encouragement. I lived in a couple of other states growing up, does that give me any better a chance at getting into a state school of a place that I used to live?

So now my question is this, how on earth to I manage to do everything without running myself ragged?

- full-time student
- work part-time
- volunteer as a dispatcher
- I don't live on campus so I have travel time
- procrastination (I know I gotta work on that one)
- I need another volunteer thing (I'm thinking that I could go to the local library every week or every other and either just volunteer there or do a workshop for introducing kids to writing and illustrating their own book)
- and then I need some other recreational EC's
- and don't forget like ummm some chill and social time......
And I have an idea for a book I'd like to write, and a research paper too.
 

BunnyMan17

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And I have an idea for a book I'd like to write, and a research paper too.
And thus you've stumbled onto the wonders of time managment and work triage... Another skill they are looking for that's neccessary for med school. There were (and still are) plenty of times I have no idea how I am going to accomplish everything I need to. You've just gotta plan it out and go for it, things have a way of working out once you get going. My one piece of advice here is to try not to duplicate efforts if you're short on time. I.e. if you have one volunteering, don't sign up for another when you could put an interesting EC or more study time in that slot. Also don't forget grades still come first.
 
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I'm a rising Junior; I just calculated what my gpa would look like if I got straight A's from now on and it is only a 3.5/3.6
I am going to try my hardest but chances are likely that I will not get straight A's. I came into college totally unprepared, it was a miracle that I got in. Bit of background - I was homeschooled (definitely not to say this is the case for all homeschoolers) but unfortunately I have been a victim of educational neglect; hence my grades have sucked. There has been a steady increase in my grades - albeit slowly but surely - but I am now stuck in a situation with what do I do. Any suggestions for how I can help to recover my gpa, and also increase my chances of getting into medical school?

How do I try and put this across to medical schools without using it as an excuse, but rather an explanation? Additionally, my high school transcripts do not reflect what my actual education consisted of - I am nervous to say that to medical schools if/when the obvious question comes up about how I got into a decent college. The saving grace in regards to getting into college that verifies my abilities is a decent SAT score, but even for that I literally had to prepare round the clock solely on that for nearly a year - if that gives you an idea of what we're talking about....

Please try and be sensitive in responding and not bash me or my background as this is a very difficult situation for me, and difficult for me to discuss.
No, "educational neglect" isn't going to fly. You're an adult now and it's your responsibility to learn how to leanr in college. Go visit your school's learning or education center for help. Seek out your faculty for help.

Aceing the next two years will have many Adcoms consider you as an A student, not as the cGPA. Rising GPA trends are always good.

But read this as well:
 
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medicineisforme

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And thus you've stumbled onto the wonders of time managment and work triage... Another skill they are looking for that's neccessary for med school. There were (and still are) plenty of times I have no idea how I am going to accomplish everything I need to. You've just gotta plan it out and go for it, things have a way of working out once you get going. My one piece of advice here is to try not to duplicate efforts if you're short on time. I.e. if you have one volunteering, don't sign up for another when you could put an interesting EC or more study time in that slot. Also don't forget grades still come first.
My problem is that my volunteering and my clinical experience in camp were both with the same demographic and I've been advised that I should volunteer outside of my demographic, maybe to help a more struggling demographic. As it is many people don't understand how I get everything done that I do, and I'm feeling overwhelmed with the idea of taking on more in addition to putting even more time into school than I already do.
 

medicineisforme

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No, "educational neglect" isn't going to fly. You're an adult now and it's your responsibility to learn how to leanr in college. Go visit your school's learning or education center for help. Seek out your faculty for help.

Aceing the next two years will have many Adcoms consider you as an A student, not as the cGPA. Rising GPA trends are always good.

But read this as well:
No, of course I can't enter medical school still struggling academically rather it is an explanation of why my grades were so poor in the beginning as I was trying to acclimate to things that so many people take for granted that they learned in middle school. Things such as taking notes, how to write a paper (hadn't written a proper paper before), time management, studying in general, and for exams, all of this and more aside from the normal transition from high school to college.
Okay so as long as I do well the next 2 years I don't have to fret as much about getting in, this is a great relief. I'm just trying so hard because I want this so badly and I'm determined not to let my past stand in the way, but I also have to accept it and work with what I have. I went from academic probation after my first semester to having a 2.8 cumulative this semester to hoping to finish the summer with a cumulative 3.0 - I'm proud of how far I've come but it's an uphill battle all the way.

BTW @Goro I came across that thread and started reading it, and have found it to be quite helpful.
 
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M&L

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Wow very impressive!
Thanks for the encouragement. I lived in a couple of other states growing up, does that give me any better a chance at getting into a state school of a place that I used to live?

So now my question is this, how on earth to I manage to do everything without running myself ragged?

- full-time student
- work part-time
- volunteer as a dispatcher
- I don't live on campus so I have travel time
- procrastination (I know I gotta work on that one)
- I need another volunteer thing (I'm thinking that I could go to the local library every week or every other and either just volunteer there or do a workshop for introducing kids to writing and illustrating their own book)
- and then I need some other recreational EC's
- and don't forget like ummm some chill and social time......
Well, you have to just learn to be efficient in everything you do. I worked 40-50 hours a week, while going to school full time, living off campus, fully supporting myself, while preparing for MCAT and then going through interview cycle. You can do it. Just stay organized, focus, prioritize.
 
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BunnyMan17

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My problem is that my volunteering and my clinical experience in camp were both with the same demographic and I've been advised that I should volunteer outside of my demographic, maybe to help a more struggling demographic. As it is many people don't understand how I get everything done that I do, and I'm feeling overwhelmed with the idea of taking on more in addition to putting even more time into school than I already do.
Who was advising you of this? I definitely understand the value of that and found doing so immensely rewarding/valuable but that's pretty esoteric in the face of grade struggles. Don't put the horse before the cart. Even if you do swing an acceptance, you WILL struggle unless you've learned those basic study skills and time management. Trust me, it doesn't get any easier and people aren't interested in excuses or reasons when you make a bad call outside of standard of care that hurts someone.
 

M&L

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Ok, look, first of all, BREATH. I think you are very overwhelmed right now. You need to calm down before you drive yourself crazy.
Secondly, accept that your application will never be "perfect".. THere will always be something more you could have done. It doesnt have to be perfect, it has to be good enough.
Third - make a list of everything you need to get done for application: 1) shadowing, 2) clinical volunteering, 3) non clinical volunteering, 4) research, etc. And next to it write where you are at with every single thing on that list. Then, take a step back and CALMLY think - "What should i invest my time in?". For example, if you have 400 non clinical volunteering, but only 10 hours of shadowing, and you have a choice between an amazing volunteering spot, or shadowing, - do shadowing.
Next - go to websites of schools that are your top 5 choices, and look what their mission is. Go to threads of those school. See what they are about, and try to target that.

That being said, DEFINITELY work on your study skills, but most importantly, work on your confidence. Dont just blindly believe what someone says. I went "against the grain" my whole life , and wrote my own story. There are only a few people here that i believe, -Goro, GynGyn, and LizzyM. Everyone else (no offense) take with a grain of salt.

Breath, and then think: what kind of message do YOU want to send to the admissions? what kind of person are YOU?
 
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M&L

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and NEVER NEVER NEVER explain mess-ups and mistakes unless DIRECTLY asked about it. It just sounds like excuses. Only exception - if the reader's perception without an explanation would be 100% wrong. For example: your 3.5 GPA due to bad study habits - DONT EXPLAIN (will sound like excuses). If you got 3.5 GPA because you were in some horrific car accident in the middle of semester, maybe make it your essays without focusing on the grade itself, and explain how it made you a stronger person and how it made you love medicine. You get an idea. I have multiple MCAT attempts, and i did comment in the special section on the secondaries ("is there anything else you would like admissions to know") that i made a mistake of taking MCATs before completing all the required prerequisites, and only my last attempt was after biochemistry course. I also added that this mistake taught me to plan ahead, not rush, etc. So if you DO offer explanation, make sure it is a GOOD reason - unique circumstances, and say that you take full responsibility, and you make a mistake. Otherwise it sounds like excuses.
 
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medicineisforme

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@M&L I want to say thank you. I feel like I have a much better idea of where I should go with things now. Do you think it would be acceptable to explain my background in an essay without directly linking it to my bad grades but more focus it around here's a challenge that I had and the steps I've taken to grow and learn from it, and what I am doing differently?
 
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M&L

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@M&L I want to say thank you. I feel like I have a much better idea of where I should go with things now. Do you think it would be acceptable to explain my background in an essay without directly linking it to my bad grades but more focus it around here's a challenge that I had and the steps I've taken to grow and learn from it, and what I am doing differently?
Hypothetically. Still, you havent taken MCAT yet, right? So you are not applying this year. Think hard of what you want to put in the main essay (dont think now though, think later, when you get MCAT back and can gage your competitiveness). Dont forget - the main purpose of the essay is to communicate to admissions why you want to be a doctor and what would make you a good one, NOT why you would succeed in medical school if you are accepted. So, for now dont think about it. ONE STEP AT A TIME. Now your goal is 1) finish the rest of classes as well as you can, 2) KILL it on MCAT. 3) finish whatever ECs you need (after planning it the way i said). Thats it. Dont worry about list of schools now (not till you know your MCAT), dont worry about essays, dont worry about anything.

I wrote a sort of unusual essay... I purposefully did not read anyone's essays online, i just sat down and thought "What is it that they need to know about me to understand why i want to be a doctor? How am i different from others?" and i wrote it. Changed a few parts of the essay, but pretty much it was done from the first try. I read it 10-15 times... But i didnt give to anyone to read (dont recommend it, - definitely give it to someone to proofread). But anyway, dont worry about essays now. When you take your MCAT, message me or post about essays, and we will help you.
 
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medicineisforme

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Hypothetically. Still, you havent taken MCAT yet, right? So you are not applying this year. Think hard of what you want to put in the main essay (dont think now though, think later, when you get MCAT back and can gage your competitiveness). Dont forget - the main purpose of the essay is to communicate to admissions why you want to be a doctor and what would make you a good one, NOT why you would succeed in medical school if you are accepted. So, for now dont think about it. ONE STEP AT A TIME. Now your goal is 1) finish the rest of classes as well as you can, 2) KILL it on MCAT. 3) finish whatever ECs you need (after planning it the way i said). Thats it. Dont worry about list of schools now (not till you know your MCAT), dont worry about essays, dont worry about anything.

I wrote a sort of unusual essay... I purposefully did not read anyone's essays online, i just sat down and thought "What is it that they need to know about me to understand why i want to be a doctor? How am i different from others?" and i wrote it. Changed a few parts of the essay, but pretty much it was done from the first try. I read it 10-15 times... But i didnt give to anyone to read (dont recommend it, - definitely give it to someone to proofread). But anyway, dont worry about essays now. When you take your MCAT, message me or post about essays, and we will help you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
 
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KnightDoc

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No, of course I can't enter medical school still struggling academically rather it is an explanation of why my grades were so poor in the beginning as I was trying to acclimate to things that so many people take for granted that they learned in middle school. Things such as taking notes, how to write a paper (hadn't written a proper paper before), time management, studying in general, and for exams, all of this and more aside from the normal transition from high school to college.
Okay so as long as I do well the next 2 years I don't have to fret as much about getting in, this is a great relief. I'm just trying so hard because I want this so badly and I'm determined not to let my past stand in the way, but I also have to accept it and work with what I have. I went from academic probation after my first semester to having a 2.8 cumulative this semester to hoping to finish the summer with a cumulative 3.0 - I'm proud of how far I've come but it's an uphill battle all the way.

BTW @Goro I came across that thread and started reading it, and have found it to be quite helpful.
Have you had a single semester yet where you've had a 4.0? If not, what has your highest semester been so far? It's admirable that you are so highly motivated and anxious to plan ahead, but you really are putting the cart before the horse. You are soliciting and receiving advice based on a 3.5 with a strong upward trend while you currently stand at a 2.8 with hopes to hit 3.0.

Based on your numbers now, you are not competitive, period, for either DO or MD. My advice would be to focus on your classes, and stop worrying about everything else, like building a school list, until you are in striking distance of actually being a competitive candidate. Quite frankly, that is years away at this point. Unless I'm not understanding you, all you have to do consistently over the next two years is do something that you have never done before. This is way easier said than done, and you really need to focus on it to the exclusion of everything else you seem to be focusing on right now.
 
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