Would like some feedback, slightly messy situation

Jul 1, 2015
3
0
NJ
Status
Pre-Medical
I was hoping that some of you could give me some feedback/thoughts on my current plans, whether they are realistic or not, etc...
Background:
I've wanted to be a doctor since I was young, but until recently it did not seem possible. Through my time in High School I suffered from chronic migraines, resulting in my missing about 40 days of school each year. This resulted in my GPA being around 2.4. After I graduated, I got reading glasses that significantly reduced the number of migraines I experienced per year, to the point it was a non issue. Despite my excellent ACT (35) and SAT (2350) scores, I was rejected from all of the colleges I applied to so entered community college. My first year there I was suffering from diagnosed major depression, due to which I essentially "gave up": I failed 4 classes. The next year, after treatment, I was feeling better and took a challenging schedule, including retaking all classes failed, to see if I could actually do the work I needed to do. I managed to complete that year of 34 credits for an overall GPA of 3.88 ("A"s in everything, including Orgo 1 and 2, except Physics 1 in which I earned a "B", also worth noting that the science classes were not curved). Currently my cGPA according to AMCAS stands around 2.94, sGPA around 3.37 at this time. I've now transferred to a reasonably well regarded small liberal arts college (top 40) where I intend to complete my Undergrad (Chem major), I currently have 49 credits and as such will have 5 semesters in which to raise my GPA

Plans and Projections:
I have planned out my likely schedule for the next 5 semesters and calculated out that according to AMCAS, with this schedule, the maximum possible cGPA I can achieve is a 3.54, and sGPA of 3.7 assuming nothing but "A" grades. More realistic projections (assuming a few "A-"s maybe a "B+") place my cGPA in the 3.4-3.5 range.

I have not taken the MCAT yet but am banking on a fairly high score, as I do well on standardized testing in general, and intend to use a rigorous study schedule. Assuming all of that comes to be true my stats will be slightly lopsided, with the GPA being the major concern.

As Far as ECs go, I have a fair amount of volunteer work (done primarily through the college branch of rotary club, more diverse volunteering to come soon), some shadowing and plans for more such that I will have upwards of 120 hours by the end of next summer. I have no research or clinical volunteering as of yet but intend to catch up on these quickly. I am willing to take a Gap Year to build these to well above average levels

Applications:
Given all this I am assuming I will be a candidate for mostly low tier MD schools and DO schools. I would prefer to avoid DO, on the grounds that I have dual French/American citizenship, and DOs are not recognized in France. I am from New Jersey so my state schools are not hyper competitive, though they do have higher than average mcat averages. I looked through Wedgedawg's spreadsheet and with a few minor changes, compiled my potential schools to apply to list from there.

So this is my plan:

Do well in school and build ECs as needed, Take a gap year if needed.
First cycle apply to MD and SMPs only, no DO. If I am not accepted anywhere, do an SMP (assuming acceptance with higher than average stats) and apply the next cycle, to both MD and DO schools.

I like to think I have put together a good road map, but I am concerned with the issue of explaining the depression to ADCOMs, as I think the failed classes will be a red flag.

Any questions, comments, and/or suggestions would be very appreciated.

Thank you for reading that wall of text.
 

PugsAndHugs

5+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2014
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Although 3.4 - 3.5 is on the low side, coupled with a great MCAT score, which I'm sure you can do since you're great at standardized tests, you should have a fair shot at low-mid tier MD schools as well as DOs, especially since you have a steep upward trend in your GPA. I would just be careful the way you word your chronic migranes and depression, because this can be a red flag as they wouldn't want this to potentially happen in the future. Make sure you emphasize that was the past and you're better now and this won't be a problemn in the future. Good luck!
 

DokterMom

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Mar 1, 2013
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You seem to have correctly identified your challenges and devised a good plan to overcome them. Execute according to plan, and you'll be in decent shape.

FYI, you can take more college-level classes on your own to pump up your GPA without doing any sort of formal post-bac or SMP, so if you're willing to put in an extra year, you can get that GPA a bit higher, which will help.
 
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Catalystik

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Sep 4, 2006
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I was rejected from all of the colleges I applied to so entered community college. My first year there I was suffering from diagnosed major depression, due to which I essentially "gave up": I failed 4 classes. The next year, after treatment, I was feeling better and took a challenging schedule, including retaking all classes failed, to see if I could actually do the work I needed to do. I managed to complete that year of 34 credits for an overall GPA of 3.88
If you have good medical documentation, you might approach the administration of the CC about retrograde withdrawal from the four classes you failed. If this is successful, those Fs won't be there to impact your overall GPA. As schools vary is their policies as to whether this is allowed and what the time limits might be, don't wait to make your appeal.
 

italiancowgirl

5+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2011
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I had a 3.4 cGPA with a 3.6 sGPA and I managed (I am in my 1st year at an MD school). You may need to apply more broadly (I know the $$ is always absurd), but keep focusing on the goal, becoming a great physician. You can get there!
 
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OP
zimm
Jul 1, 2015
3
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NJ
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the responses and support guys! I really appreciate it.

If you have good medical documentation, you might approach the administration of the CC about retrograde withdrawal from the four classes you failed. If this is successful, those Fs won't be there to impact your overall GPA. As schools vary is their policies as to whether this is allowed and what the time limits might be, don't wait to make your appeal.
My documentation is messy and unfortunately my community college does not have any published guidelines on retroactive withdrawal. I will call the dean I know there to ask however. If this works that would be amazing.

You seem to have correctly identified your challenges and devised a good plan to overcome them. Execute according to plan, and you'll be in decent shape.

FYI, you can take more college-level classes on your own to pump up your GPA without doing any sort of formal post-bac or SMP, so if you're willing to put in an extra year, you can get that GPA a bit higher, which will help.
I need to investigate this further but I like this idea. I'm unsure how adcoms would react to this but I like the idea. Right now I'm looking at 5 semesters at the school I transfered to, it would not be hard to delay my diploma an extra semester. If anyone knows how adcoms would react to this, please do chime in.
 

Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
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My documentation is messy and unfortunately my community college does not have any published guidelines on retroactive withdrawal. I will call the dean I know there to ask however. If this works that would be amazing.
At my school a copy of medical documents and/or a letter from the physician providing your care would be expected in support of the petition.

Good luck.
 

italiancowgirl

5+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2011
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593
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Medical Student
More time doesn't seem to have much stigma unless it is wasted time. They will understand life happens and sometimes you have to readjust, as long as you get value out of the experiences you are having (school, work, volunteer and life experiences). Just always be thinking about what you are learning about yourself and the world around you. You are still young and early in adjusting to get back on track. More challenges may arise. If it is really worth fighting for than just keep working in that direction. I got diagnosed with a metabolic disorder partway through undergrad, but only after wasting away to 80 something lbs and dropping out of school for two years. If I managed to fight my way back from disease and bad grades I am confident you will be just fine, if you want it bad enough. Just breathe and keep moving that way and you will be fine! (sorry if I rambled, I just took an awesomely brutal test on genetics today - medical school is hard! And also great!!)