Completely lost, in need of guidance


I’m completely lost in my journey and in need of serious guidance. I started my post-bacc pre med program in 2011. I did pretty well and have an science gpa of 3.7. It took several years to complete because I financially could not afford to take more than a class or two each semester. I took a few courses at a community college once money got really tight. I wanted to show my dedication and didn’t want a gap in my resume. The last class I took was at a community college and it was taken in 2015. It’s now 2017 and it’s been a very rough ride. I had run out of loan options and realized that I couldn’t continue to take classes while racking up debt. I got a finance job because that is my original background. Now, I am completely lost on what my next steps should be. Have I been out of the game too long? I have a plethora of recommendation letter that I accumulated but they are outdate, I’m sure. Does the fact that it’s taken so long to for me to take these courses and apply a disadvantage? Lastly, will my pre-reqs now be outdated as well?

Thank you for any and all advice. I’m feeling a bit desperate for some advice and appreciate your time!

I’ll let someone more experienced comment about the LOR’s as I’m not completely sure, but I know that expiration of coursework is usually school dependent. There really is no clear answer as some schools prefer recent coursework if you’re 10 years removed, some only ask for recent coursework (which I think from 2 years ago should be fine), but I believe the majority of schools have no designated policy on it. I think it’s very unlikely it would be a problem, but I would contact the schools you’re thinking of applying to, particularly your in state schools where you have the best chance at. Explain your situation and see what they say.

The fact that you’ve taken so long doesn’t necessarily put you at a disadvantage, your reasons were financial which is understanding and should suffice for explanation. If you really are concerned about it, I’m sure you could elaborate through the secondary prompts. But you may not have to simply because you’re a non trad and many non trads have the same problem because they are working full time and are in school, myself included. Your situation is not uncommon, and if you take the MCAT within the next year or whenever and do well, then you’ve just proved you’re more than capable. I wouldn’t stress about it.

Your next step from here would most likely be studying and taking the MCAT. If you haven’t done so already, I suggest shadowing a physician, getting some clinical experience, and getting involved in some activities you enjoy whether it’s volunteering or taking part in an organization whenever you get some free time.

Remember, its a marathon, not a sprint! Good luck!

I am applying this summer and I have spoken with three medical schools. They all stated that they like a student’s GPA to be “competitive, around a 3.7” So you have a great GPA. You definitely are not out of the game, but you do want to show a continual interest in medicine. One of the biggest reasons people do not get in is because of lack of clinical experience. You should definitely be involved in shadowing all along and see about scribing or transitioning to a job in medicine. I became an EMT to help with that aspect.

Keep up with your professors that were going to write your letters so they do not forget you. You do not need a bunch - only a couple. My premed advisor states that some schools become very annoyed with getting 10 letters of recommendation because they all start to blur together and it doesn’t add anything to the application. He said they prefer three or four strong letters that tell about a different aspect of you. Be sure to check the individual medical schools though because they have their own criteria. Another thing to make sure of is if your school does a committee letter or not? A committee letter is preferred above everything else. If your school does one but they will not let you get one because you are not an active student then taking one course might reactivate you and you can get the letter.

Your best bet is to call up a school and have a meeting with the director of admissions. Bring your resume, personal statement, unofficial transcripts and go asking what they would like to see you do to be an ideal candidate. I called up a school last month and they happily set up a meeting with me and the director of admissions. He looked over my material and told me exactly what he wanted to see me do by the time I applied. That is where you will get the most realistic advice. Now is a good time too because most medical schools are finished or finishing with interviews.

You don’t have to shoot in the dark wondering how you are doing. Medical schools are more than happy to have contact with you before you apply.

Here is a story that may help inspire you published by the AAMC