Advice needed for a New OldPreMed

Hi, I’m Satterlee and I am soon to start my senior year in college. I originally was majoring in Pre-Med/Biology. I had a hard time transitioning to this very southern college and during my sophomore year my grandmother died. This caused me to enter into a bad depression–my grades suffered. Things did not start to get better until I left Biology and switched my major to Religion. Anything to be different. My parents were still pushing Medical school, forced me to take summer school, forced me take Kaplan, then the MCAT.

My science GPA is horrible. something around a 2.75. My overall GPA is better at a 2.98. This final semester I should finally be able to hit a 3.0 again. My MCAT was a miserable 19–however I did get a perfect score on the verbal and writing sections (that’s how bad my physics and bio section was).

I was told by my college that they would not recommend me to medical school and that I should give up this dream–I was actually told this after my first semester freshmen year when I had made a B- in Zoology…not a very supported staff.

I finally submitted. I gave up and did not submit my application. I instead turned towards other jobs. I finally have my family (somewhat) on board with my new career choice. However, after taking this time and accepting that I don’t have to be a doctor to make my family or me happy…I find myself drawn to medicine. Its the only job that I know I would truely be happy doing.

I guess the advice I need is…should I pursue this? It’d be opening a can of worms with my family, but also I am missing some crucial medical school prereqs, but I have taken too many science courses to apply to many of the Pre-Med Graduate programs. I am at a cross roads and don’t know what to do? Apply to the Pre-Med programs anyway? I don’t want to re-take the classes to raise my grades (that would be nice), but I am finally at a place in my life where I want to this, instead of my family.

Advice, encouragement, know any good pre-med programs?

Thanks in advance,



One thing that is not clear:

your age? how long have you been out? what other activities are you involved in (volunteering, etc)?

You say you don’t want to retake the pre-reqs, why?

If you’ve been out of school for over 5 years, then I would highly suggest you retake those science courses NOT for GPA help (as once the degree is conferred, your GPA does not move) but to prove that you can do the work.

To give you a brief snapshot:

My ugrad GPA is 2.196. THAT is not a typo. I failed out, was kicked out at least 5x from a major research university. Let the med schools beat a path to my door. However, my son died when I was a senior and all the drama that came before and after his death, were no excuse. Just the pinnacle of a very immature young adult. I failed biology, anatomy, gen chem, physics, calc, oh… I’m pretty sure I flunked English, and a score of other courses. Not C, not D, F.

It helps to pass a course if you actually show up to class… or the exams!

Fast forward some 26 years:

I carry a 3.6. I’m worried about that, only because of the above. But as my own indirect adviser tells me:

“Those grades are so old, obviously, you are a completely different person today. If I’m seeing that, the med schools will as well” (he’s on the adcom).

That’s what a new focus and a new GPA can do for you.

hi! I am 22, soon to be out. I guess that is my problem. A lot of places will not let me re-take the pre-reqs so soon, even though in these past 3 years I have become a totally different person. It took being liberated from my parents dream to realize my own.

I have done so much volunteering and shadowing and it was my favorite part. For 3 summers I volunteers 2 mornings in the surgical PACU, and 3 nights out of the week in the ER, and on all other mornings and during the afternoons I was shadowing a surgeon.

My college has a J-Term and I spent one doing an ‘involved’ shadowing experience where I got to see what went on in office visits and even learned how to hold some of the equipment. The surgeon himself was even kind enough to teach me how to tie the 3 main types of surgical knots so I could start practicing for medical school.

I have the volunteering aspect, and I now have the passion, its just the timing that is off. I took my science courses my freshmen and sophomore years of college, so it has only been 2/3 since I have taken them. I just don’t know what options there out there for me without adding even more time to my now 20 year plan…haha…which I have now come to understand is perfectly fine, but when you know what you want to do you want to do it.

Okay, so you’ve got youth on your side!! Do not forget that.

Many of us here, don’t have that luxury

Have you thought about joining the Peace Corps? I am not joking when I ask.

Here’s my rationale:

  1. You get truly away from home and get to live a little, see a bigger/broader world (not that you have not, I just don’t know)

  2. Many med schools LOVE to see Peace Corps on a CV; I had friends in my youth who went this route to get their need to travel out of their system, came back, took the MCAT and went onto become: PCP, cardio-thoracic, RFP, immuno, and an onc.

  3. You get the luxury of TIME away from school to let those old grades “age”

    Think of it like a credit report:

    If you get a lousy score, some collection items, even a bankruptcy and foreclosure, the immediate view of your credit is dog guano.

    Even 6 months later, aging takes place and it starts to look not-so-bad. A couple of years later, it looks fabulous especially if you’ve done some “work” on your credit (aka credit cards, a small loan that is paid off, etc).

    Think of credit = grades. The old crap is still there, but the newer stuff is more recent and more relevant. You can’t erase it but you can minimize the impact.

    Honestly, at 22, I think you’d have a hard time getting accepted right away. I am in school with the 22/23 year old students who are getting interviews this year, one was my biology TA. He is a straight A student, likeable, helpful, etc etc etc.

    Don’t give up this passion - just let it age a little bit.

    That’s my advice. It’d be the same if you were my son (the living one just turned 20 yesterday and the one that passed would have been 26 in March).

If you got a perfect score on your MCAT for the verbal section, that means you got a 15 for that section. So that leaves 4 points to distribute among your two science sections. No offense but you need a lot of work on your science sections. It does not seem like you even got the basic sciences down, even after undergraduate and MCAT courses.

Your college seems unsupportive of your endeavors. I would switch to another college, even a community college, where they focus on teaching. Your main goal is to learn the basic sciences. Retake the classes.

If you apply to osteopathic (DO) schools, they take the most recent grade for the course. So if you got a B- in zoology and retook it and got an A, you they will use the A when considering if they should admit you.

Maybe take Adoc2be’s advice into consideration. Do something else challenging and hard. Work. Then come back to study. Once you see what the real world is like and how much working sucks, maybe that will motivate you and you’ll become a better student.

You are still young so if you want to become a doctor, you can definitely do it.

Hey Satterlee in SC!

I think you should pursue this, even if it’s a little harder than what other folks have done!

I am Steph in SC! I grew up in SC and went to undergrad and pharmacy school here in the Palmetto State. I did well in my bio undergrad and decent in pharm school despite my grandmother becoming ill with Alzheimer’s (we all have our crosses to bear). I had a few bad grades in pharm school because I was adjusting to that whole situation. I have decided I want to go to med school at 29!! Eek! I primarily came to this decision after not being completely satisfied at pharmacy and just wanted to know and be MORE! I am also thinking of taking some science classes to better prepare me for the MCAT and to get great letters of rec. I agree that the Peace Corp idea would be great idea for you. My boyfriend was a religious studies major (at USC!) and would LOVE to have that chance. Also, taking some time off to keep the reason for pursuing med school strong and deep would be good. Even as I relearn some things that I have forgotten (I mean, who really can recall S2N reactions perfectly after a few years without seeing it) I am processing the information in a different way. After going through pharm school and now practicing for a while, I understand why we need to have the academic foundation that we are required to have for medical degrees. Having that understanding is going to be the thing that helps me rock the MCAT. I think your experiences with volunteering and the MCAT you’ve already taken will help you as you REALLY learn the science stuff! I also agree that a MCAT score of 19 with a stellar verbal means you sucked at the sciences. If I were you, I would take the basic sciences or whatever you do not have with the intent to understand the concepts and intention to retake the MCAT. I wish I had the time to retake everything… I think I would take classes and then do MCAT practice problems throughout the class. But really, if you want this, you can focus your attention on the sciences for the right reasons and totally rock the MCAT. How awesome would it be to explain how you went from a 19 to a 33 (or whatever) on a forum… actually, I think it might be pretty impressive on a med school application but I am only a premed as well, so don’t want to overspeak! Additionally, I plan to explain physics concepts (yuck) to my bf – like currents, force, etc. The idea being, the better I can explain it to someone unfamiliar to the ideas, the more I understand the concepts.

My brother is now an M1(28 y.o.) and was a poli schi/history major. He began completeing his pre-reqs AFTER his undergrad and had no problem doing it afterwards. He had almost a complete BS in Bio when he got into med school. He does live in a different southern state but I am also thinking of taking some previously mentioned classes locally and do not forsee a problem.

Anyway, good luck to you! Also, I never felt comfortable talking to premed counselors about med school, but I would not be surprised if they suggested law school based on your story. Email/PM if you want to talk more! Smiling faces, beautiful places, right?