Begining the Process: Am I on the Right Track?

Hello everyone. I was SOOOOOOO excited when I found this forum and associated podcasts. I definitely fall into the Non-Trad category; even as an undergrad.

I am hoping to solicit some advice from everyone. I would like to make sure that I have all of my “ducks in a row” as I set out on this MedSchool path. Could you please offer up any insight into what I may be missing or miscalculating in my thought process? My ultimate goal is to become a forensic pathologist. I had hat in sight many years ago, but for varying reasons, I let it go. But now, at 37, I’m focused on making that happen.


Undergrad - Biology (BSc), Anthropology (BSc) completed in 2009. General ecology specialization for biology, and biological/forensic anthropology specialization for Anth. I did independent research projects in both areas. No publications, just presentations at conferences. Though I may be able to squeeze a light pub out of the forensic entomology project I did as an undergrad. GPA: ~3.2

Graduate (2010-2014) MSc in Entomology (Ohio State). Very basic genetic research on turf pests. I continued forensic entomology stuff for fun, and co-created/taught our FE course. No publications yet. GPA: ~3.2

I’m currently employed at one full time (stuck in an office) and one part time (crematory) job. I’ve been unable to find work that fits my skills and interests and was unemployed for a while. (A story for another post). Taking more classes is pretty much out of the question. I have sent an email to one (will phone-follow up next week) and will call others in an attempt to shadow with a forensic pathologist. Should I shadow other physicians as well?


Kaplan MCAT (2015) books acquired and flash cards (2017). Also going to purchase exam packages online and do my first go around tomorrow morning. Plan is to do practice tests every 1.5-2 months. Take the exam in May or June. Apply to med school June/July.

Prior to and during, undergrad I spent nearly 12 years as a nursing assistant. Not in a hospital setting, but in dementia and special needs care facilities, and home care/hospice. I now work in a funeral home (about 6 years in the industry) and occasionally work with people (living) but mostly I’m in the back. Do I need to add onto my clinical experience? Work with hospice again?

What am I missing? What will help me stand out? In the sciences it’s a lot of who you know. If you cultivate a good relationship with a PI and they have the funding, you may get a student position there. Is that similar in medicine?

Thanks again everyone. On a side note, I’m always happy to answer entomology questions. Go Bugs!!!

Welcome to the site!

Are the 2015 Kaplan books for the “new” MCAT? I can’t remember when they switched over their material. If you’re highly motivated and can teach yourself, more power to you. I ended up doing the Kaplan on-demand course (all pre-recorded stuff so you can study on your schedule) and thought it was well worth the money.

Academics-wise, keep in mind that some schools set an “expiration” date for prereqs. The ones I remember seeing were usually around 5-10 years, though not all schools while I was applying published an expiration.

I think it’s fine to shadow a pathologist, but you may want to try to get some exposure to a more “clinical” field as well.

It’s the 7 book set. Includes CARS and psych in addition to the standard.

Who is best to talk to about shadowing for outside of my goal? My family doc? Local teaching hospital?