Advice for SMP/Postbacc/What to do

Okay so I really want to find someone to talk to for advice but I haven’t, if you’ve given this a read thank you and it means a lot. I (24F) graduated college in May 2020 and was thinking about pursuing a MS in Biomedical Sciences or an SMP to bring up my GPA, or show academic improvement in rigorous courses. My cGPA is a 3.1 and sGPA is a 2.9. I know they are not competitive stats at all, which is why I want to do well on the MCAT.

After graduating, I didn’t apply for an SMP due to COVID and I remember being hesitant because everything was online, so I started working as a medical scribe in an urgent care, full time, for about a year and a half. This definitely solidified for me that I wanted to be a doctor. I have a lot of previous volunteer/work history as well.

Last year (2021), I applied to a few SMP’s without an MCAT score, I did not get accepted to the ones I wanted to go to so I did not go. I quit my job a few months ago to study for the MCAT (part-time wasn’t an option) and had plans to take the MCAT in April and apply to SMP’s for a second round, It’s July 10th and I am not where I want to be with the MCAT, those around me are just telling me to take it because I have been studying for months now (it’s been about 6, it has really been a struggle and has definnnitely affected my mental health) but I know this is not where I want to be, and I’d rather give myself more time to improve instead of having a bad score.

There are a few SMP’s that do not require the MCAT that I will apply to now (I know I am late in the cycle, but I’d rather try than not) and could potentially submit practice AAMC test scores to.

However, in the case that I am not accepted, I am really unsure of what to do. It has been 2 years since I graduated college, and I’m scared to push this off another year because I don’t know of many programs that start their curriculum in the winter. I can apply to a MS program that isn’t the most “reputable” but it would be something. Some people have suggested just going to the Caribbean but I wanted to take a shot of at least applying for DO in the US. I am considering a postbacc but I am not sure what would be the better option at this point? The thought of pushing this off another year depresses me.

At the end of the day, in general I’ve been having trouble finding someone to talk to or help guide me through this or offer insight. If you’ve been in a similar situation or can offer some advice, that would be much appreciated. Thank you.

I’m curious – why are you set on an SMP as compared to a postbacc?

Listen to your gut. The MCAT is hard. There’s no secret technique to master it. It’s worth waiting until you’re ready and have proven to yourself via practice exams that you’re within your goal.

Definitely try for DO. From what I hear, Caribbeans are a nightmare to obtain US residency.

Do something on the side that you love. Don’t make medicine the only thing that defines you. In the end, it is just a career. Work on your mental health now.

Hi, thank you for reading and replying. Most of my courses that brought my GPA down were science courses taken in the beginning of college. After college, I heard about a lot of SMP programs that were like a GPA redemption and I thought this would be a better alternative since I would need to retake science classes anyway. I didn’t do much research into postbacc’s though, so I don’t know as much about them as I do about SMP’s

Do you have any experience with either?

Thank you, seriously. I think the reality that I might be in my house for another year and not in school, and I’m met with this feeling again which has just been bringing me down this week coming to terms with it. Just kind of feel disappointed in myself and lost in what to do in this next year. I am usually good at doing other things but I definitely feel like my heads been super clouded lately (I also have covid so I’ve been alone for way too long haha)

Thank you for your words though and reading this :slight_smile:

I did a formal postbacc w/ 69 credits (2.5 yrs) and was able to bring up my BCPM up dramatically.

Sorry to hear that you got COVID. I hope for a speedy recovery.

Just remember that this is more of a marathon than a sprint. Enjoy the journey there.