Engineer from LA Asks for Advice to Turn Dreams into Reality

Hi Everyone,

I finally feel prepared to ask a few questions after reading the posted advice and doing a little research.

My background is a BSE degree and job in engineering (push from family), but after working I realized it didn’t fit. After some soul searching I have decided to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor (compassion, love of learning, motivated, science oriented person). Now I face the challenge of turning my dreams into a reality since I am a post bacc contender.

How do I make this transition?

My info: 1.) 24 yr old girl living in LA 2.) BSE from UofM (Ann Arbor) in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering with an Econ minor GPA 3.48 2.) Volunteering while in school with a sexual assault and prevention awareness center facilitating presentations to student groups

My research: 1.) Located an informal program through UCLA extension to take required bio & chem courses that is cost effective 2.) Found a hospital volunteer program through UCLA in Santa Monica called CareExtenders

Beyond that I am lost! Any opinions on either of the UCLA programs I found? I have no real experience ie research/volunteering in a medical setting. How do I obtain this? As a post bacc where do your rec letters come from? With an informal program do the college advisers help you?

Any and all help is greatly appreciated! If you need more info just ask.

I am afraid I cannot render too much opinion on the specific LA programs of which you speak. But my own experience was in cobbling together classes at a combination of Community college and evening classes at local 4- year programs. My guess is the extension program may be fine.

your GPA is not super among med school applicants, but may be sufficient, esp if all the rest of things fit together well. (I.E. Mcat scores etc)

As to letters of recommendations… you have choices. You are close enough I think to your undergrad days to go back to profs / advisers etc and ask for recommendations - ok so they are engineers too - I would not worry to much about that - I suspect that they will still be willing to help. You can also ask supervisors in your volunteer programs for recommendations. You can also ask the profs of the classes you are going to take to write them for you. (I am assuming of course you will do brilliantly in all of them)

Good Luck and keep us posted as the dream goes forward

Thank you for your help! I know that numberwise I am somewhat in the ballpark but must perform “brilliantly” in my premed courses to boost my chances. As for the recs thanks for the advice to use past profs, that might be an option with prof of my senior design group. I will keep you updated!

Good luck to you! Wow I do admire you for the courage to do this at your age, it makes my hesitation seem without reason.

Her GPA’s a full point higher than my UG cumulative, and I wasn’t an engineering major .

Each program varies in the support they give you. I did an unofficial post-bacc in Florida (I just signed up for the undergrad classes I wanted/needed) and was fully supported by my school’s pre-professional staff. I got my letters from my post-bacc professors, as well as a job supervisor and research mentor. The research I found just through one of my classes. If you’re interested in research (it’s not necessary, but it can be helpful), you may want to ask around at the school you end up attending - ask students, professors, your pre-professional help folks, check the website, whatever.

You don’t necessarily need hospital volunteer experience. What you should have is hospital and volunteer experience. A lot of people try to kill two birds with one stone, though it’s not necessary.

From what I can tell, they want you to have each for a reason. They want you exposed to medicine, so you know what you’re getting into (shadowing a doctor, doing something at a hospital, etc). They also assume that anybody caring/empathetic/motivat ed enough to become a physician would also do volunteer work - as you did in your undergrad. More is always good, though, as long as you can balance it with your studies and the rest of your life.

swy55 gave some great advice as well - you may want to ask old professors now if they’d be willing to write a letter for you in a few years, and perhaps even write it now and save it for then (so they don’t forget the details in the time it takes you to complete your pre-reqs). Otherwise, please browse through the forums here at OPM - there’s a wealth of information that will help point you in the right direction.

Welcome, and good luck!

Thank you for your welcoming and encouraging words, especially since you are an OSU boy and I am a UofM girl! My best friend is a OSU alum who lives in Columbus…so I only have good feelings for OSU affiliates.

It is reassuring to know that your unofficial post bac was so helpful. Also it gives me confidence to seek out advising and research options that I thought were allocated to UG students.

I have only begun to explore all the info here and will continue to do so. It is a wonderful site to help motivate and connect us square pegs who have a hard time fitting in the standard round hole of med school prep.