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  1. #1
    nnylacire is offline Newbie 510 points
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    At a crossroad and in need of good advice....

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    Hi All,

    I'm currently in a bit of a bind, educationally speaking, and would sincerely appreciate some help. My academic record has been a bit of a roller coaster and I've come to realize that a Caribbean school is probably my best bet...if I have any shot at all. In a nutshell, my situation is that I'm in my third p-bacc year at a California public school and have ran out of undergrad money. As it stands, I've still got physics to complete and have a C- in orgo I, another C- in orgo II, and am currently enrolled in orgo III (on the quarter system, hence the 3 quarters of orgo).

    I've got 3 choices that I'm aware of:
    1. Enroll in a master's program in biology and finish physics while doing that, along with repeating orgo.
    2. Pay out of pocket for the next year and finish physics/repeat orgo (I pay the grad student rate even for undergrad classes though)
    3. Take physics at a junior college and repeat orgo as a part-time student at the university to save a little money.

    Orgo isn't offered at the JC where I live, so if I repeat it I need to do so at the university.

    Also, I have an F in pre-calc that's dragging me down horribly since it was worth 7 units. I'd like to repeat that as well. Other than that, my biology coursework grades are solid (all A's with the exception of a B- in gen physiology) and my chemistry grades are all C's unfortunately (some C+, C and some C- as I've said).

    As for stats:
    First bachelor's degree was in business with a 3.4 cgpa, but I have some horrendous grades from a junior college haunting me from before that (less than a 2.0 gpa and academic probation/disqualification there). I don't know my AMCAS gpa since I haven't calculated it that way, but for AACOMAS I'm looking at a cgpa of 3.120 (with all of the bad grades being accounted for) and a sgpa of 2.995. No MCAT yet since I haven't taken physics. Loads of EC's, including current experience as a research assistant in the emergency department of a county trauma center...with many shadowing hours there and a possible publication before I apply. I've also held leadership roles in volunteer positions dealing with public health and women's programs.

    Bottom line? Knowing that I'll probably be going the Caribbean route, which is the wisest path to follow from here? I'm trying to maximize my chances for getting in and my first choice is AUC. I should add that I'll be 40 this summer and don't exactly have a ton of time on my side at this point. If it were you in my shoes, what would you do? Any other ideas that I haven't thought of?

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    hopefuldoc74's Avatar
    hopefuldoc74 is offline Member 539 points
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    If you truly want to become a doctor and will not be fulfilled until you do, then go for it. However, not knowing exactly why you've gotten those grades so far I'd advise you to do a gut check. You will be in store for 4 more years of debt and at least another three of making hardly any money as a resident - that is if you can handle the basic science courses. Not trying to sound doom and gloom, just throwing those points out there. But hey, only you know for sure if you have what it takes.

    Anyway, go take the MCAT and see how well you do. That could make up for a lot of undergraduate rough patches if you do really well. If you strike out hardcore with the MCAT then I'd say you have your answer.

    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

    SJSM - MD1 ( Hidden Content ) MD2 ( ) MD3 ( ) MD4 ( )

  3. #3
    nnylacire is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Hi Hopeful,

    Thank you for the input. I really do appreciate it. I think I've been after this for so long that I'm almost gun shy at this point. I've been pre-med since I was 16 years old, and for various (serious) reasons have hit personal road block after road block. I have a lot invested into this dream already, which is why I want to be careful regarding the points you've made. I've had some in-depth conversations with admissions people at two different osteopathic schools (who know my full story) and both have said that if I went into a masters program and killed it I'd have a pretty good shot at getting in. Problem is that I've already spent so much time & money on education...and to add in what it'll cost for a masters, plus DO school tuition...it's just uncomfortably high for me. To me it makes more sense to try and get in using an alternative plan (i.e., a Caribbean school). Anyway, I guess it's time to quit trying to repair every little defect and just move forward :-). Thanks for the help!

  4. #4
    rokshana is offline Member Guru 11644 points
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    frankly, given the info you have presented here, i question your ability to handle the course load of medical school....exactly what relevant courses do you have good (and by that i mean As) grades in? C-s are frankly bad, even for the caribbean...and how long ago were these grades? when you were 18? or 38? makes a difference...

    and what is NOW that has changed that if you were to do a masters, that you would actually "kill" it...it just might be more the nail in the coffin so to speak, if you haven't addressed the issues that got you the poor grades you have in the prereqs for med school.

    all the fabulous extracurruiculars in the world aren't going to make up for poor scores...best you spend more time on your studies and less on the EC stuff.
    Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Attending
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  5. #5
    nnylacire is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Hi Rokshana,

    Thank you for the frank input. I appreciate all kinds of feedback, even the kind that isn't as nice to hear, so I appreciate your input.

    To answer your questions:

    The bulk of my bad grades happened in my early 20's. I was in a bad marriage at the time. Suffice it to say that there were domestic issues that interfered a great deal with my academics. Frustrated, I decided to enter a respiratory therapy program when I was 30 (and divorced) to see if I really wanted to pursue an MD, or if I could be happy as a PA instead. My grades improved dramatically (a 3.8 gpa in those courses) and I really thrived. I fell in love with medicine all over again once I was out on the floors and knew for sure I wanted my MD. And then I had a cardiac arrest. I went through 2 years of hell after that....surgery after surgery and on the verge of being homeless while still trying to get my education. It was at that point I ended up switching to a business major so that I could finish my degree at night and work full time during the day (after my health was restored). I got all A's and B's in my major and finished up that degree with a 3.5 gpa while working and attending school full-time, as a single mom.

    Three years ago I started a DIY post-bacc and was doing fairly well. A's in all of my bio classes (immunology, upper division microbiology, cell bio, plant bio, etc...), with the exception of a B- in general physiology. As I've already said, I under-performed in chemistry though. I can't seem to break a C+ in chem. Biology comes very naturally to me and I don't have to make much effort in that subject. I have to work at chemistry, and it's been hard for me to find the time and a routine that works to enable me to do better in that subject. I've had 2 bad quarters in the 9 I've been a post-bacc student. One was because I was pregnant with my 5th child...a high risk pregnancy where I was hospitalized twice during one quarter. The other bad quarter was after my mom suddenly/unexpectedly died. Other than that, my gpa has been on an upward trend. My big problem has just been chemistry.

    As for killing the masters: You have a very valid point. I don't have a crystal ball that will allow me to know beforehand how I'll do in the masters program. I do know that to date I've always been one of the top 2-3 students in all of my bio classes, and the master's degree would be in bio. Based on that I think I'd be fine. What might drag me down though is if I took any chemistry without figuring out what my problem is with that subject first. I agree with you that not doing stellar in the masters would completely take me down, which is why I'm really thinking this over. Especially before laying out more money in loans to finance it.

    This has been a life-long dream and goal for me. I haven't always been dealt the best hand as I've gone down my path, but I've always stayed positive, learned what I could from each situation, dusted myself off, and pressed onward. Maybe you're right and I'm not cut out for the rigors of med school. After investing this much time into pursuing this path I'd like to try and finish it off as best, and as smartly, as I can though. In the end if I get a denial at least I'll know I tried.

  6. #6
    sebes22 is offline Junior Member 510 points
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    just go for it...do not think so much...try and see.

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