Hello, and thank you

Hello everyone.

I’m a future med school hopeful who is so glad to have stumbled upon this site. I’m 30 years old, active duty in the military (contract will end in 2020), and currently taking classes at Penn State online. I went to community college from about 2005-2010, where I had a 2.6 GPA. I know that’s no where near med school levels, but I’ve gotten hopeful since my first 2 classes at Penn State end in 3 weeks and should both be A’s. After I went to community college, I applied and got into William Paterson University in New Jersey. I was still far too immature for school, and being that age and 20 minutes from Manhattan led to disaster academically. I went for 2 semesters. The first resulted a medical withdrawal of all classes, no credits earned. The second semester I was dis-enrolled for non-payment (lost my financial aid eligibility from the previous semester). Shameful and stupid, I know. After this, I decided I really needed to grow up and be an adult for once, so I enlisted in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. I love it. I work in Walter Reed Bethesda, in a nursing unit. After getting a feel of what Med/Surg nursing entails, and shadowing ER nurses and Peds Nurses, I know nursing just isn’t for me. Great and honorable work, just not the job for me. The best part of my day is when the doctors make morning rounds. I basically follow them around or near my patients, they ask me questions on how the patient did overnight, improvements, did I notice this or that, new developments, etc as I basically work as an LPN without a license. A few of the nicer MDs and DOs use it as teaching moments for me, which not only helps me become a better corpsman, but also fuels my drive to better myself. I’ve always wanted to be a physician, but I never really thought I’d have a shot. Even if I was mature enough mentally when I was younger, the cost would have stopped me. However, now I’ll get the GI Bill, plus if I go to a yellow ribbon school I’ll get a scholarship, and a few of those schools even pay our tuition in full. This has really got me thinking. So what I could really use is some guidance on where to go from here. I’ll bullet point a few things.

    30 years old
      2.6 GPA from Community college (69 credits no degree, though I've recently talked to the college, and they said if I can come to the school I can clep out of my last requirement)
        2 semesters at a 4 year college, no credits.
          Military service ends in 2020
            Currently taking 2 classes online, BS in Biobehavioral Health, Penn State. Penn State took almost all my credits, I will graduate from them if I have no interruptions by 2019. I plan on taking 4 classes per semester starting this spring.
              Recently married, wife is also active duty, also plans on going to med school after we are both out of the military. No kids, would like to have one in about 2 years.

              An immediate question I have is if anyone has had any experience taking online classes, but taking science prereqs at an actual university. I understand that taking the science prereqs online and trying to get into med school with them is generally a bad idea, so my current plan is to take 2 science classes at the University of Maryland in the summer, then when I change duty stations, take some more classes each summer there. I'm pretty sure using military TA I can't actually be enrolled in 2 schools at once, so if anyone has a way to better approach this, I'd really appreciate it.

              I'm sorry for the wall of text guys, but as I guess most of us on here do, I have a bit of a long story as to how I got here. I just wanted to be thorough with everything I have so far, and not sugar coat or embellish any of it. And I just want to add in how appreciative I am that you all are here. Google first led me to a bunch of other forums, and the gist of it on those sites is that I shouldn't even bother. Too old, messed up too much, too much money, too bad so sad. But it feels like you all are so helpful and knowledgeable on here, it got me inspired to join and see if I could gain some wisdom from you all. Hopefully I'll have a success story for you all, and can help those following after me as you all do. Thanks again.

              Welcome and good luck on your path to medicine. You’ve got an uphill battle ahead of you, but if you’re committed to doing this, you can get into medical school.

              What you need to do right now is to kick ass and make A’s in the classes that you’re currently taking. This will help you to build on your narrative of prior immaturity and improvement over time. If you make all A’s from here on out, you can get your cGPA in the 3.2 kind of range, which will help you get your foot in the door. Do that, and kick ass on the MCAT and you’ve got a good chance. Also, if there are a lot of science classes in your community college credits, you may want to consider re-taking some of those (especially if you’re thinking of applying DO). I don’t know that finishing an associate’s degree would help that much, so I wouldn’t spend much time on that.

              Regarding online prereqs, some med schools are OK with them, some are not. If you have the option to take them in-person, that would be preferable. You can check out the MSAR for some more information on which schools are good with online prereqs. If you’re planning on taking those science classes in-person during the summer, realize that those will be accelerated courses and the difficulty is often increased due to the pace. For example, taking 2 semesters of organic chemistry in 10 weeks will not be fun (but it is doable).

              Finally, if there’s a specific school or schools that you’re interested in, go and talk to their admissions folks and lay out your plan with them and get some feedback. They will likely have some good advice for you, plus it helps to start building those relationships.