At the precipice

Hi everyone,

I am in a place you all may know well. I worked in a variety of fields from theater/film to airlines to hospital work. Then, for the same reason as most of you, I returned to school 3 years ago and left my options open while taking many science classes to raise my GPA and prepare for BSN-NP, PA or MD schools. But I am now in a place where I must decide. I either take Orgo and physics for the MD or PA route. Or take a couple more nursing pre-reqs and start applying for accelerated BSN or direct-entry BSN-NP programs.

As I predicted before returning to school, I now love school and learning and this makes me think I would be happier pursuing the MD route. My weak GPA from long ago and my poor credit are making me think twice though. I have been feverishly searching for answers, an algorithm into which I can plug my profile , a magic bullet advising session…

Today, I am more divided than ever. I have equal fear of having regret for not aiming high and fear of not being realistic and finding a dead end, ie. rejection from or inability to afford tuition of medical school.

I am looking for advice based on my profile. If I had one question to ask it would be:

What happens if my years of post-bacc work ultimately end with not being able attend medical school? What are the stories of people who must face this outcome?

Age: 41

Status: post-bacc student

Cum GPA: 3.0 (see below)

GPA of last 3 years (60 credits): 3.8

Science GPA: 3.8

GPA from B.A. (20 years ago): 2.6 (hence low CGPA)

Health care experience throughout my life: 1 yr patient transporter, 1 yr patient care tech (incl. starting IV’s and wound care) 1 yr caregiver, expired EMT-B (and no ambulance experience)

Financial Status: broke, living off fed student loans and help from parents, recent foreclosure

I will read as much of this forum as I can but I also appreciate any direct reply to my circumstance.

Thank you for any help or direction!


Thanks for the great info.

Your current grades are great and if you are able to start building some relationships with medical schools, share your story with them, you’ll do well.

Are you in a formal post-bac?

Hello Doc Gray,

Thank you for the encouragement. Yes, I am in a formal post-bacc pre-med certificate program. Before that I took some courses, many were developmental (intro to Chem, Alg 2, etc), at a community college. I will probably have an A.S. and a Post-Bacc cert by the end of this year.

For anyone out there getting ready to start college science courses for the first time: It is a marathon not a sprint. If you have any doubts, take intro (pass/fail) courses first and ace them. This was my key to getting A’s. My theory is that getting A’s is how you get A’s. In other words, science actually gets easier (or doesn’t get harder like I keep hearing) if you do well in the pre-requisites. All the science classes build on each other.

I wrote a post here about what to do in your situation.

Let us know if you have any more questions.

I can’t add much to what Doc Gray has said, but I do have a few thoughts.

Firstly–you and I are in very similar situations. My undergrad GPA (well, from the one that I count as my actual college experience) was exactly the same as yours, and by the time I’d gotten through my second degree, my cumulative GPA the same. I didn’t have nearly the amount of volunteer work that you have, and I ended up with a 28 on my MCATs. And I’m still going to medical school. The funny thing is, the school that I’m attending wasn’t even on my radar until I went and interviewed, and then discovered I loved the place. So don’t think that just because you aren’t going to get immediately accepted to Johns Hopkins that somewhere else isn’t maybe exactly where you’re supposed to be.

My credit is pretty bad too, although because my husband is a lot more disciplined, it’s a lot better than it was when I was single. I worry about Grad PLUS loans, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Now, as you decide if you want to continue working towards an MD (although some of us current and future DOs would like to remind you there’s more than one option) look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what you’re really passionate about. Before I found OPM three years ago, I was considering becoming a PA, because I figured being an actual doctor was beyond me, but it turns out that it wasn’t. But there’s nothing wrong with being a PA, and if you like the idea of doing primary care and doing minor emergency medicine type things, that’s probably a great job for you. And I would never, EVER put down BSNs or NPs. One of my friends, after struggling with the MCATs (English isn’t her first language, and she had a rough time two times in a row), she started a BSN program, and is very happy because she’s going to be getting to have direct contact with a lot of patients (I think she wants to be a hospice nurse, which qualifies her for sainthood in my book). The most brilliant person I know (when I was a freshman in college, she was a senior, and was six months younger than I was) is an NP.

I guess that’s all a very long-winded way of saying that none of us is going to be able to tell you what the right course of action is. But from my own personal experience, even if I’d gone through all this and been unsuccessful, I don’t think I would have regretted it.

Good luck, and no matter what you decide, we’re all pulling for you.

Thank you. That was very helpful, much needed motivation before my hardest semester yet.

We all have moments like that. Just have to find people to remind you why you’re doing it.