Homeless Applicant

I am a nearly 35-year-old prospective applicant with a less than desirable academic history for medical school purposes. I graduated from undergrad in 2009. My undergrad GPA is 2.79. In 2013 I went back to school to complete a post-bac program in biomedical science. I graduated in 2018 with a 3.17 GPA.

I feel like the reason for my academic scores is directly attributed to struggles I have been working to overcome while trying to make something of myself in the classroom so that I can be someone in life.

I attended 14 different schools between kindergarten and dropping out in 12th grade to earn my GED. I stopped because I needed full-time income to afford room and board; additionally, it was a requirement at the homeless shelter I was living in during Fall 2004. I lived in a lot of group homes as a child and as an adult. Mom gave up her rights to me when I was born, and she didn’t know who my father was. I have had very little in the way of a support network. A volunteer at the shelter helped me enroll in a community college in the Spring of 2005. Because of this, I started college at a four-year university in Fall 2005, just like the rest of the college-bound seniors in my graduating class.

I moved directly to the dorm from the shelter I had been living at, and it was a bit of culture shock. I couldn’t believe we had an all-you-can-eat dining hall! I continued to work 20 hours a week on work-study. I have a learning disability that made learning difficult but possible, and I began to know how I learned best. My intention was always to be a doctor; however, social workers and advisors wisely talked me out of taking many sciences to ensure that I didn’t fail out of college or end up on academic probation. I earned a degree in Communications. I took the advice to consider law school because I would gain admission without math or science requirements. I hadn’t completed any math or science while I was in high school. I applied and got accepted to law school; however, I immediately knew that it wasn’t an appropriate fit. I had opted to go because many of the board of directors of Girls’ Haven where I grew up, and many of the major donors were lawyers. I knew if I finished, I would hopefully not be homeless again and could be someone in life.

I continued to work full-time doing odd jobs and in the concession stand at the local baseball field Minute Maid Park. My grades were low, and I was academically dismissed after the first year and almost immediately homeless again after completing my 1L summer associate program.

I worked odd jobs in a warehouse, several call centers, and even a medical school admission department (my time working in the medical school admission office helped me know that I wanted to continue pursuing the study of medicine). I was in and out of various shelters until I began a graduate certificate program at a major university in August 2013 and eventually gained admission to a master’s degree program in 2015. At the same time, I found meaningful full-time employment at a BMW dealership, and I worked and had stable housing, which helped me tremendously while I completed school. I graduated with a master’s degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University in August 2018. Since then, I have been trying to save enough money for Med school because I know I won’t qualify for loans or scholarships. My BMW job was $10 an hour, and I didn’t make a lot of financial progress there, although it was a stable environment. I did an alternative certification program and taught school for a semester. Then door to door sales from January 2019 to July 2019. I got a job selling cars in July 2019 in Austin and moved there from College Station. I sold cars for about six months and struggled at it wound up homeless again in January 2020. I lived-in a suspicious motel for a few months and then found work in my field as a Microbiologist in April 2020 and later as a COVID-19 epidemiologist in June 2020. That’s what I do now.

Now that you know a bit of my background, my question is how to present this information to the medical school admission committee? During the four months I worked at the medical school, I saw how any imperfection was a red flag. However, I also saw how much they wanted to help students succeed once they were accepted. They offered study sessions and tutors- things I never had before.

I know if I could go to school without working full or even part-time with stable housing and food that I could shine.

How can I prove this to admissions committees despite not having the luxury of stable housing and not working during school previously during school to prove that it would improve the likelihood of my success?

Do you have any clinical experience or a meaningful experience related with the health environment? That is the question. They want to know in what part of your life you experienced something that led you to pursue medicine, not just the desire of learning something new or some cliches we all know. Have you done any shadowing or volunteer work in any clinical based or exposed environment? Your story is by far super impactful but the question is why medicine?? I do not see a problem exposing a little bit about your struggles but remember all they want to know is why medicine?

My clinical experience includes public health epidemiology-I work with COVID-19 patients presently. I previously worked in alongside physicians recording vitals chief complaints and patient history in 2015 before I began graduate school.

Beginning in elementary school I would flip through and read college biology textbooks I found at my grandmother’s house that belonged to my birth mother. Later, when I was in a placement I sat in the library for hours reading old medical books and the autobiography “White Coat”. This kept me engaged and out of trouble with the other girls. I understand the material and I find it personally interesting. I have a calm and patient demeanor and an understanding of those in indigent circumstances.