Having trouble getting into postbacc as a PhD

New to the forum here. I’m a nontraditional premed who had a tumultuous undergrad career (graduated 2009) because of a health condition that I did not get treated for until after I finished. I got my B.S. in chemistry, which means I took all the premed prereqs but with really poor grades. My UGPA was a 2.5. From the very beginning, I was actually pursuing a research career.

Since I overcame my health condition in 2011, my life has really turned around and I finished a M.S. in a STEM field (GPA = 3.8 with academic honors) and I am currently finishing my PhD (current GPA 3.8) in the same STEM field with a few first-author publications. In between I also worked in pharma as a scientist. I had some experiences during my PhD that made me want to get in touch with the clinical impact of what I do and this drew me towards medicine. Right before COVID, I started volunteering at a hospice center and continued as soon as I was allowed to after being vaccinated. This solidified my decision to pursue medicine. My research career, hospice experiences and my experiences with my own health conditions are all part of my “why medicine?”

I’m a little bit older than the average med school applicant (35) and married, so I can’t afford to apply to medical school multiple times. I want to put my best possible application forward and so my thinking was that trying to get into the best postbacc program I can get into would really increase my chances given my poor GPA. I applied to some of the best ones in my immediate geographical area. So far I have been rejected from 2/4 postbaccs I’ve applied to because of my low UGPA.

I identify as a career changer (I truly never was a premed, never applied to medical school, and never took the MCAT) AND a GPA-enhancer. But the conundrum is that even if I wasn’t a career changer or GPA-enhancer student (i.e., did superb in my undergrad), my prereqs would still be out of date (it is my understanding that most medical schools want prereqs taken no later than 5 years ago). Another option that GPA-enhancer students take is to get a special master’s program, but I already have a M.S. and am on my way to getting a PhD.

I’m starting to have second thoughts on whether I am truly a good candidate for even a postbacc program given my low UGPA (which is explainable) and unique post-graduate career.

Any wisdom, words of encouragement, advice, etc. would be really appreciated.