How Best to Approach this Situation

Hi everyone, so glad to have found this site and I have been listening to a lot of the podcasts lately, which has been quite informative, but none has really been able to set me on the course to a competitive chance.My situation is unique, in that I have a Bsc Biochem (cgpa-3.53; BCPM-3.62) from 2008 (see attachment), went on to complete a PharmD (gpa 3.14 2012).I have been working in community practice ever since.At age 32, I have come to realize my desire to make a greater impact on humanity through the field of medicine.I have a family who are supportive of my dreams, but i’d hate to disappoint them by making the wrong choices towards my pursuit.I believe this platform has guided people towards a path of success & hoping I can gain some insights as well. Here are my questions & concerns:

  1. Would I need to do some more volunteering (I love tutoring) even though I did some tutoring during my undergrad days? What is more ideal for me as a candidate, Volunteering and/or shadowing. I have secured a shadowing with a psychiatrist.I may be able to also do Hospice volunteering.

  2. Is my community pharmacy practice sufficient as a clinical experience? As far as research is concerned, I did some independent research in the lab during undergrad (2007-2008) with no publication.Worked in a Pharmaceutical company as research associate for 1 yr before Pharmacy school. How sufficient are these even though it has been over 10 yrs?

  3. MCAT has been my biggest concern thus far. I have bought the TBR & tried to read up on some of the courses but I am having difficulty grasping Chemistry & Physics.Most of my core prereqs were completed by 2006, which makes it difficult to recall concepts and work around mathematical formulae.Do I continue to relearn by combining TBR with EK and KA or Should I retake all my prereqs first (DIY postbacc)? Would an online prep course (princeton|Kaplan|TestPrep etc) be adequate? I want to apply in 2020 but not sure which way to approach the MCAT.

PS:I am Texas resident so I emailed all Med schools in Texas & they indicated that prereqs do not expire.

I apologize if my repost is annoying or intrusive as I do not want to give up on my personal-professional achievement in life. I don’t know what else I would want to do in my 40s other than give myself to the profession of serving others, take care of my family & inspire others with my story. Thanks!

I think it may be beneficial for you to complete a few courses in a post-bac program due to the downward GPA trend. Devoting the time to show schools what your academic work ethic is now compared to what it was years ago will help prove that you are serious.
1.) From what I hear about volunteering consistency is key, I am in a similar boat in the sense that I do not have many hours of volunteer work, and need to bolster that area of my application. What I have been told is to find something that will be enjoyable and donate consistent time to that cause every week or every month. ex: animal shelter, soup kitchen, etc.
2.) As for your clinical experience, I think that pharmacy exposure alone won’t cut it. As I have heard, and I think Dr. Gray has said it you have to be close enough to smell the patient. Passing interaction as patients pick up medication or counseling them on interactions is good, but not enough. I would check with local hospitals many of them have shadowing programs that will help you get that clinical exposure. You can also contact your PCP to see if they would let you shadow.
3.) I am going to be starting a live online Princeton Review course in mid-May, but I think if I were to choose again I would likely go with Next Step Test Prep and their one on one tutoring. The cost is similar and the fact that you get that one on one attention would likely be beneficial. Check out Kahn Academy they are a wonderful free resource with self-guided course work on every subject on the MCAT. Their videos in the MCAT section are sponsored/in collaboration with the AAMC.

Best of luck to you! I will also be applying in 2020!

I really appreciate your response. It has been quite sometime now and no insight from this platform. I will go with my gut feeling and try my best to do what I can. Again I appreciate you rachelsooy! Goodluck to all the other non-trads out there.

Hi, Dino-T! It’s exciting to hear you’ve decided to fulfill your dreams through medicine.

I agree with Rachelsooy regarding volunteering. Several episodes on Dr. Gray’s podcasts and on other podcasts for pre-med students have underscored how important consistency is with volunteering than actual numbers of volunteer hours. If possible, see if you can merge volunteer and shadowing.

For example, where I live there are numerous free clinics serving underserved populations. Many are in desperate need of volunteers and you often can work along a doctor(s) in various specialties and merge the volunteering with shadowing. It’d be up to you to determine how to classify any experience (i.e., as volunteer or as shadowing) but if you can do both in the same location it’ll save you a lot of headaches! As an aside, hospice is great volunteering/service and provides great insight into the entire team-based approach to healthcare.

I don’t know enough to say whether your community pharmacy practice is sufficient nor whether your research experience is outdated. As. Dr. Gray has said, citing others, too, clinical experience is when you’re close enough to “smell the patient.” Perhaps consider speaking with admissions advisors at the colleges you’re interested in applying to in order to confirm whether this would count.
Seems like the MCAT is a big concern for all of us! I definitely recommend listening to the MCAT Podcast – it has been such a huge help to understanding study techniques, content review, etc. The best advice (for me) that I’ve heard is to study the MCAT like you’re going to teach all the material! For me, this has proved successful in retaining content and learning it in my own words. I also am an auditory learner, so I have to find content (e.g., YouTube lectures, open courses published online from universities) and listen to it for it to digest.

Last note, my friend: keep your head up! It’s a long process for all of us and you have a wealth of experience, it seems, to make your application strong. Reflect on your time in pharmacy and what you’ve learned. Make sure you take small notes when you reflect on an aspect of your origin story that makes you a strong candidate. Once application season comes, you’ll have bits and pieces then to draw from.

Good luck!

Thank you for your thoughtful message. This was quite helpful and I came to the realization that my Medical school journey might take 2 years or even longer. I realized there were so many qualities, leadership experiences, minimal research, I engaged in, during my Pharmd journey & beyond. So I hope to draw on those experiences in my PS and how it has shaped my yearn for medicine.

After speaking to a College prehealth advisor (as well as a phone conversation with a DO school advisor), it became clear that retaking classes might result to a waste of precious time along with undue out of pocket cost. So i weighed several advices & decided to spearhead my content review with Chad’s lecture, & oh my God I am done with Physics content review! 6 Chps away from Finishing Gen Chem all in less than a Month!!!. The next month is going to be spent on OChem then use of Aug to Dec for a 4hrs daily Studying (Kaplan + Khan videos + AAMC FLs & maybe TBR if FL1 sucked). I am quite elated that I don’t have to retake prereqs & ultimately won’t be applying to schools where prereqs expires (leaning DO). My intention is to continue the volunteer at Hospice on the weekends.