Full steam ahead

Hi everyone, I wanted to introduce myself and ask a question.

My background:

  • BS Computer Engineering in 2001 from Univ of Kansas, GPA: 3.72

  • Starting in 2004, I have been working in Healthcare Information Technology (consulting)

  • 2008 made decision to start the path towards med school

  • In 2009, founded my own Healthcare IT consulting company so I could work flexible hours and attend school

  • Aug 2009, enrolled at Ariz State Univ, took CHM 1 and 2, BIO 1 and 2, PHY 1 and 2 (current GPA: 4.0)

  • Going to take O-CHM 1 and 2 this school year, plus Physiology, Cell Bio, and Biochem

  • Planning on taking MCAT spring 2011

  • Volunteer at hospital since Apr 2008

  • Volunteer at my cardiologist’s office since last month

    I am 32 yrs old and fully committed to this long process. It’s been exciting so far and I’ve enjoyed going back to school.

    My biggest worry is that I may be missing or overlooking something. I’ve tried to cover all my bases but does anyone see any holes in my resume so far? Or have any suggestions?


Looks very strong, Desert Shawn. Your post doesn’t make mention of any labs. Are you taking those along with the coursework?

It also doesn’t hurt to start looking at MCAT review material… although you probably want to hold off on hardcore studying until about 3-to-4 months from the time you plan on taking the exam.

Otherwise, keep up the good work.


You look to be an excellent candidate. One thing, though: Does Arizona State offer a committee letter service for its pre-health professional school candidates? If so, will you be availing yourself of that service? If not, will you be using Interfolio to compile your recommendation letters? (In lieu of a committee letter, you should have two science recommendations, one whoever recommendation, and one physician recommendation (preferable a DO if you are applying to osteopathic medical schools)).

Yes, forgot to mention but also took the labs for those courses and received A’s. This summer I actually already started studying for the MCAT. I figure that the more I study and work sample problems then hopefully the more proficient I’ll become. I purchased the Examkrackers study books and their 1001 question books. I’ve taken the DIY approach to everything so far.

ASU doesn’t have a committee to write a letter so students gather their own letters and then the Health Professions Advising Office holds those letters in a file as they come in. When it’s time to apply they use a system called VirtualEval to submit letters to the schools.

For letters, I’ve already targeted 2 professors who I’m fairly certain will write LOR’s for me and I plan to work on getting more professors this upcoming school year. I won’t have any non-science professors so I also plan to get letters from people like a previous manager, my current client (a hospital Chief Information Officer), perhaps someone at the hospital, and someone at the cardiologist office.

How’s that looking? Is it on track? The way I see it, the MCAT and O-CHM are the only two things that stand in my way.


1 year of math?

For my undergrad engineering degree, I did two semesters of calculus and one semester of differential equations. But that was back in 1996-97 so that leads to the question: Do med schools care when you last took your math classes? I know they really care about the timeline for science ones but how about math and english?


No, they don’t care about how old your math and English are (at least not that I’ve ever heard anyone say). My English was from 1989-90 and no one ever mentioned it when I applied in 2004-2005.

Looks great! Do decently on the MCAT, and you should be good to go, as the other posters have said, for the application process.

One more thing to think about, to keep you on your toes ( ). Of course, you have PLENTY of time. No need to hurry. Just thought I’d thrown it out there: your personal essay. Write one that stands out. Hook the ADCOMS at the beginning, and keep them reading to the end. Convince the ADCOMS that they should get to know you better. And make sure you address the “why now?” (rather than when you were 22 y-o) question.

I’m not sure how you are with writing, but regardless of your skills, have a bunch of people read it. (My background is journalism, and even I’ve already got a list of editors-to-be. And I won’t be applying for a couple more years!)

Anyway, good luck! Keep us OPMs updated as to your progress.

So I met with a pre-health advisor at ASU today and he had these things to say:

  • Everything looks on track so far for my situation. Just mainly need to focus on doing well in OCHM and MCAT

  • Suggested I do some research in order to complete the entire picture (I have leadership, medically related work, and volunteer experience well covered)

  • Suggested I try to at least get an MD at the cardiologist office to sign off on a LOR

  • Suggested I formally ask for LOR’s starting in January

  • Said that average med school accepted student last year had 3.7 GPA and 32 MCAT. I’m good with GPA so I should aim for the 32 MCAT score.

    For research, I contacted my Physics prof from last semester and may work with him on a project. Usually students have to go through a whole application process but I may be able to circumvent it.

    I also learned today that my physics lab partner from last semester just received his MCAT score of a 31. He used Examkracker books to study.

    Ok, just thought I’d share for anyone who’s following or curious.


Sounds like a good plan, Shawn.

Good luck with getting the research position – those are tough to get!