aspiring..who has nothing but a dream

hey everyone,

like everyone eles I’am dying to get accept into medical school because off couse I feel as though my calling in life is to become a doctor regardless of what anyone says.

I’am 19 years old going to community college and I’am the oldest of 9 kids.I have been working since I was 14 to help out my socially irresponsible parents(gotta love them).Graduated High school early to get a fulltime job.I work almost fulltime hrs and I go to school fulltime my overall GPA is a 2.7 or 3.0 and I’am getting ready to take mcats.I’am hoping I will do well.I’am the only person to go to college in my family and I do everything my self.I have great LOC from teachers and doctors they adore me :).Will great LORs help me or not?Its kinda hard to soley focus on school when I have 8 siblings to worry about and parents who don’t understand the American way of life.I can’t do Post-bacc or grad school simply because I can’t afford it.I want to become a doctor so I know my family will have a secure future and all my siblings can have someone to look up to.I wanna help out people like me who dont have health insurance and encourage young ones to follow their dreams and just believe in themselves.I know you guys might say I’am young and I have time but really I don’t.I’am like a 40 yr old stuck in a 19 yr old body hahahahha.Can someone give me some advice.I know I will become a doctor one way or another but I just don’t want to go to a carribean medical school if all fails I do.BUt help!!thanks

aspiringdoc -

Welcome to OPM! Congrats on being the first in your family to go to college - that’s an impressive accomplishment.

I have to say that, in my opinion, your chances of acceptance at a US medical school are very slim right now. You state an overall GPA of 2.7 - 3.0 at a community college. You didn’t say what your science/math GPA is, but your overall GPA is very low for US medical schools. Additionally, medical schools tend to frown upon community colleges (with a few exceptions such as California), so your low GPA may be even more of a negative. I realize that you are working fulltime and going to school fulltime, but I don’t think that’s going to cancel out the low GPA in the eyes of admissions committees.

An awesome MCAT (as in ~40) would help, but I’m not sure that would be enough. Do you have any volunteering? Shadowing? Healthcare experience? Research? These are all additional aspects of the application that med schools look at.

If I’m an adcom member, I think I would have serious questions about your ability to succeed in medical school. Even with a great MCAT, you haven’t shown me that you can balance your family demands and school and do well. If you can’t balance those demands now, how are you going to balance them in medical school? Medical school is considerably more demanding than fulltime CC work and you will not be able to work, at least not more than a few full-time hours here and there. Can you (and your family) handle the fact that you are no longer able to provide them with any financial support?

So - the question is then - what do you need to do to go to medical school? First off, you need to raise your GPA. I’m assuming that you will be finishing up at a four year institution in the near future. You need to get outstanding grades (like A’s) in everything else from here on out. If the rest of your academic plan doesn’t include any science classes, you need to make it include some and do very well in them. You need to show a strong upward trend of doing very well in your classes.

You also need to do extremely well on the MCAT. That means weeks to months of preparing for the MCAT. This is not a test like the SAT or ACT where many students can walk in with no prep other than their coursework and do well.

You need to find some time for volunteer work, shadowing, and/or clinical experience. You need to demonstrate to adcoms that you have fully investigated the career path of a physician, understand the demands, and are willing/able to devote the time to it.

Now, does all this mean that becoming a doctor is an impossibility for you? No, certainly not. As you mentioned, there is the Caribbean, but this is not an easy path by any means. They must study for and pass the same board exams as US students, but often with considerably less academic support from their schools (i.e. - you’re on your own). How are you going to pay for the caribbean education? It’s not any cheaper than a US education.

I realize this post is somewhat of a downer. However, I think you need to realize that, based on the information you gave, the chances of going to US school are very slim as it stands right now. That doesn’t mean that it’s NEVER a possibility, but I think you have some work to do and some decisions to make before it can become a reality for you.

I admire you for the responsibility you have taken on in supporting your siblings and truly hope that you are able to find a way to make your dream come true some time in the future. Keep in mind that you are still very young and there is lots of time to get there. Many of us here did not start medical school until our 30s or even later, so it’s never too late.

Good luck!

Welcome to OPM! Your story is an inspiring one & many congrats on being the first to go to college. I frequently joke that I was the first in my family to go to college…and the last one to finish!

Emergency makes some very valid points. While I can empathize & sympathize with your situation miring in “life’s obligations”, I sadly suspect that the AdComs may not be so compassionate. Who knows though, they took me!

I would like to make an overarching suggestion that will hopefully complement te aforeproffered suggestions. Were I to be you, I would figure out how I could maximize my potential for academic success (make mostly As & Bs & minimal Cs & nothing lower) at a 4-yr institution. If, in order to accomplish this, I had to take out student loans - would be easier to obtain, I think, thru a 4-yr program - that would be what I did.

Other aspects you should consider is to either work part-time, reduce your academic load or a combination thereof in order to improve your academic performance. The more hours you accumulate in a GPA of ~2.7, the harder it will be to improve it as your GPA is a weighted average. So, to trudge onward without improvement could potentially seal your fate. Essentially, I am suggesting that you work smarter & not just harder.

Another option, albeit less palettable , is to stop, take a rest & do some serious introspection and planning. This way you can objectively assess where you are in relation to where you need to be & plan accordingly on how best to get there. Also, you may find that what you are doing - evolvling & clearly demonstrating phenomenal maturity, discipline & dedication for a 19y/o - is substantially inspiring & motivating to both your parents & siblings (I find what you have done moving & inspiring already). And, you may be able to enlist their assistance if youo get them to buy into your dream.

This is a long & challenging journey over a lifetime. It is far mre easily coped with if you have a support network surrounding you.

I wish you the best of luck & success. And, most of all, never surrender your dreams! With some modifications of what you are already doing, you have an excellent shot at success. Even if those modifications add on a few years…that is immaterial. I find lots of nontrads hyper-focus on years & time - it really is not that important & trying to rush through this only portends of compromising your potential to succeed.

Wow thank you so much for your response.Not exactly what I wanted to hear but I saw it coming.I do work in a hospital as a tech, volunteer as an EMT and volunteer at a retirement community.If I get into medical school I will stop working completly and go out of state.It will be the hardest thing I ever do for my family but I know in the long run it will be well worth it.I know I can handle the medical school core work because there are times when I have a day off work I just study all day and ACE my exams.If given the oppurtunity to solely focus on school I will exceed everyone expectations.I just want an oppurtunity to prove that.My parents are 100% against me going to medical school.They say “pick something eles and let one of your siblings become doctors” talk about moral support.

THank you for the reply

  • aspiringdoc Said:
If I get into medical school I will stop working completly and go out of state....I know I can handle the medical school core work because there are times when I have a day off work I just study all day and ACE my exams.If given the oppurtunity to solely focus on school I will exceed everyone expectations.

I know you are smart, and I know you are a hard worker. You may do very well on the MCATs, although I can assure you that you have never, ever taken a test even remotely like the MCAT. But your competition for med school is lots of other smart hard workers who have shown that they can do the extremely hard work of med school by getting excellent undergraduate grades.... something you've not done to this point.

You are looking ahead, and I don't want to stomp on your dream because I think it is good and important to have this goal. But right now you are looking TOO far ahead, and you are skipping over the really important steps that you need to take now. There are no shortcuts. If you are currently at a CC, you are presumably arranging to transfer to a four-year school so you can get your bachelor's degree. You need to be planning out this next step in your path -- arranging it so you can do really, really well and show that you can get As in upper-level coursework. You don't need to be thinking about the MCAT until at least spring of 2009.

In your intro, you mentioned great LORs; I assume these are from CC professors. As a med student, I served on my school's AdCom and so I read lots of LORs. I am sorry to have to say that CC prof LORs were much less reliably helpful than those from four-year profs. I think this is because CC profs see a wider variety of student - they see some real standouts and they also see people who may not be "college material." Hence, when a CC prof writes something like, "best student I've ever had," it simply doesn't mean as much.

You have an impressive story and you are clearly smart. You need to understand how important it is to back those attributes up with proven performance in undergraduate work at a four-year college. Slow down, take a breath, and think through each step in your plan. Good luck!