how do you really know?

I don’t know if I am too old to be on this board (almost 27). I have a good background in chemistry and biology, and my work involves mostly chemistry, with some bio.

I will be taking august mcat, just to see how well I can do (I have been reviewing a LOT), and already thinking about med schools.

I grew up in Minnesota, but have been away for over ten years. I also have family in northern Iowa and Illinois, so am thinking about schools in those areas. It is certainly a lot less expensive to live in the midwest! I’m single, and have been pretty frugal, but I will have to take out loans unless I get some scholarship money.

I know there are at least two of you in the upper midwest (U of Minn. and MCoW) and especially welcome your feedback.

For example, what were the characteristics that finally moved you to choose the one you ended at? Or how did you even begin your search? I have a few ideas, but am so new at this that I need all the help I can get!

I’ve been lurking on this board for a few months and finally decided to join. I was a bit afraid to post because I know I will have a lot of stupid questions, but I also saw how truly nice you all are! Maybe instead of pestering you all with these questions you could guide me to some resources to help in choosing a school? Or briefly share your experiences. Thank you SO MUCH!!


Susan -

Welcome! Some general advice, courtesy of George Carlin: Don’t sweat the petty things, and don’t pet the sweaty things.

Members of this board are a really supportive group, so I wouldn’t worry too much about self-consciousness-inducing questions.

As for your age - you’re almost too young to be here I’m about the same age, and I’m one of the youths around here…

I’ve yet to take the MCAT, but I see frequent admonitions that one should not take it “just to see” - instead, only take it when you are good and ready for it.

Glad to see you register, and hope to see more of you around here!

A couple of suggestions:

1.) Don’t take the MCAT just for to see how well you do. Do it when you are absolutely sure you are going to apply to med school. And do it after you’ve done the necessary preparation.

For example, have you bought a review book and tried the practice tests? How well did you do? Are you confident you can score well on the real thing? If the answer to any of these is NO, please wait, especially if you have some time before applying.

A bad MCAT score will stand there for all schools to see. Yes, you can retake and hope to improve your score. But, the schools will still see the lower score.

2.) As for picking schools, get a copy of the MSAR. This lists all the allopathic schools in the US (and Canada). Go through the list. Cross out those that are in places where you have no interest in spending 4 years, and cross out those that do not take (or take exceedingly few) out of state students. This at at least gives you a starting point for further research.

Visit the AACOMAS website where you can download similar information for osteopathic schools.

3.) The MSAR will also list the prereqs for the schools in which you are interested. Please check your transcript, and consider taking courses to fill any holes.

4.) Start thinking about how you are going to assemble your application. Can you get recommendation letters from former professors? Do you have any experience in a clinical setting, either through shadowing or through volunteering? You will need that.

5.) Finally, this is a good time to invest in some hobbies that have your interest. It will give you something else to write and talk about during the application process, and will make life more enjoyable as well.

Thanks for the great replies! I didn’t realize that the mcat was on your record forever… I thought it would be automatically replaced by a higher score, or a more recent score. I guess I had the impression from other posters that it disappeared.

I am going to postpone my MCAT at least until the spring, so that I can study very thoroughly. I will check out all the resources that you mentioned.

I have the opportunity to take a new job (improvement) which has a lot of flexibility. Right now I am visiting relatives in Minnesota, and I will continue to discuss med school with them, now that I have more information.