First Post! my situation (kind long)

Hello Everyone! I am Andrew. This is my first post. I heard about this site through a friend and I think it is great so far…

So a little about me and some questions that I have.

I recently (December 2005) graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Degree in Biology with an option in Neurobiology. For the past year and a half, I have worked in a research lab on campus working with neuropeptides and parasitic roundworms. Although I enjoyed the work, it soon became clear to me that the research life was not for me. I needed to be around people and I was more interested in the clinical setting. I decided to drop everything and embark on a journey towards medical school. I started volunteering in a local hospital and LOVED it. I studied this past summer and took the MCAT (I dont have my score yet, but I will most likely be taking it again) I ended up leaving my job at the lab and started working this fall as a medical assistant in the student clinic. I have lots of patient contact and couldn’t be happier with my decision to pursue medicine as my life’s work. I also am volunteering in a local free clinic.

So here’s the thing…

The only thing that really bugs me before I go to sleep EVERY night is my undergraduate GPA. I was very involved in school and struggled my first few semesters. I went to a smaller school for my freshman year (UW-Lacrosse) and then transferred to the bigger, more competitive UW-Madison which was a tough adjustment for me. I became a member of the Marching Band (which was a big commitment), played piano in several musical groups and a few other school activities. Anyways, I started out with low GPA (~2.7) my freshman year and worked hard and got slightly better grades every semester until Graduation. (Positive grade trend) My senior year, I received a 3.5 and 3.53 GPA respectively. To my great dismay, my cumulative GPA only came out to a 3.0. This really disheartens me. (The positive trend should help, right?) Those grades are a few years old now but I am afraid it will seriously hurt my chances.

In an effort to show that I can succeed academically, I have been taking post bacc classes. Last semester, I received a 3.5 (in Immunology and Parasitology) while working part time and I am currently taking a full load (14 credits) of upper level science classes and am working hard to get the best grades I can. I am also working in the student clinic part time and volunteering at the free clinic twice a month. So I am a busy bee!

I guess my question to the masses is: Do I have a shot at medical school? At this point, I really don’t care if it is D.O. or M.D. school. I truly have a passion for medicine and will do whatever it takes to become a physician. I feel that although my grades are far from perfect, my research experience, good letters of rec., good extracurriculars: marching band, piano, volunteering (free clinic and hospital) and working in the student clinic, and good undergrad. grade trend/post bacc grades, paired with a decent MCAT (cross your fingers) might give me a chance?

Also, might I be a good candidate for a Special Masters Program? A regular Masters Degree or MPH? Should I be looking into Caribbean schools? (I don’t want to do that but if that is what it takes to become a physician I will…) Any thoughts?

I am feeling a little anxious about everything so any advice or support would be great!

it sounds like you’re doing everything right. upward trends are great. They do care more about senior year and post-bacc than about freshman immaturities.

I wouldn’t delve into a master’s program unless you’re generally interested in getting a master’s degree and not just as a credential to cover up some embarrassing undergraduate grades. They will still look at your undergraduate grades. Also, a master’s degree is a lot of money and time that you could be putting into medical school. An SMP is great if you really, really want to get into a particular school, e.g. the Georgetown program or the BU program if you want to attend those schools.

don’t worry, future doc, you’ll get there. Best of luck,