Discouraged, but can't not try!

My degree is a BS in psychology and I am almost done… At the age of 26 . I went to a very well known school out of state for a year and a half and did well and then it slowly turned horrible due to health issues. My lack of knowledge about completing incomplete classes ended with poor grades. I started over and switched to psychology at a less prestigious university where I maintain a 3.4 GPA (without most of my past courses bc they did not transfer). I have retaken and dropped multiple classes due to chronic health issues (I get less than 2% of norm amount of REM, bouts of pre-cancerous growths aka surgery, among other issues).

To sum up my question I have one class to finish my BS (calculus). I just now am healthy enough to function relatively normally and I am ready to finish my pre-req.s. I have a ton of clinical experience, volunteering, leadership, research, etc but academically math and chemistry are difficult for me. Should I apply to a specialty post-back program? Should I continue at my low level state university or transfer to a more expensive specialty pre-med program?

Should I explain my health problems in my personal statement or interview… If I ever get there? Also should I continue to work in the medical field as a technician or maybe just focus on school? Lastly, I have an opportunity to train as a surgical assist for free. Is it a beneficial enough experience to spend a year and half doing it while in school, or should I stop take out loans and focus on school solely?

I apologize for the length and I so so sooo appreciate your help.

Akrad –

I’d say to concentrate on school and NOT expend the additional effort on the surgical assistant program.

I’d say you may mention health problems in your personal statement if it can be done in the line of “these issues were overwhelming for a few years, hence making it impossible for me to complete many classes, some of which I was not even able to withdraw from at the time. Hence my initial academic record”. But Id also want to convey to them your ability as you mentioned to maintain a fairly normal schedule now. You don’t want them to believe you are too sick to be able to complete the program.

I’d say take some of the initial courses - perhaps 4 - at a community college or preferably a 4 year college as a non-degree student. Then you will have some recent, decent grades to show should you wish to apply to a formal post-bac program. A med school advisor (such as you might meet at the conference if you can go!) could guide you whether a special masters program or a post-bac program would be best with your particular academic background.

Best of luck!



Thank you for the advice it is much appreciated! The university in my state is not well known for its professors, and courses like organic chemistry have a class average of 50 or below with no curve. Is it like that at most universities? I’m concerned about my GPA and if I have a better chance of success out of state I’m willing to move. The organic chem class alone has 1-2 students with A’s out of 50+ students and I don’t feel confident I can be one of them even at my best.

Does anyone have advice for schools with well known programs and high success rates that are affordable?