Howdy - Give me some thoughts, please?

Hello all, I’ve been reading on here and other forums and everywhere I can for a while. Thought this place seemed like the best fit for me. I’ll be 29 in a couple of weeks, married, 1 child, I run a lot.

I’ve been thinking this over for a while and I’ve decided that I want to get into medicine… a variety of reasons (I’d be happy to elaborate if anyone wants me to) have guided this decision and my motivation is pretty solid. I’m just not sure about how to go about getting in. If anyone could give me some thoughts on what I could do I’d really appreciate it. I’ve been reading so much that I’m not sure if I should feel like it’s actually possible or if I’m just dreaming. Other forums seem to have an air of elitism that if you don’t come to the table with a 4.0 and an almost perfect score on the MCATs you might as well go back to flipping burgers at McDonald’s - I don’t feel like it’s this way… but I do want to be realistic about my situation.

I’m coming up on an opportunity that I feel like is going to be the best chance in my life to continue my education. My wife is going to graduate from her master’s program as a nurse practitioner. Shortly after, we plan on relocating. Ideally, not very far, but that’s not off the table if necessary. As an FNP she will be able to support us (we have a 4 year old son) while I go back to school.

I have a BS in Computer Science and I work at a university doing IT work. Part of my benefits package is a few grand per year to pay for courses. So while my wife is finishing up I plan on working on some of my pre-reqs.

My first concern is my GPA. To say it’s low for med school would be an understatement - 3.03 overall. I’ve not computed my science GPA because there’s not a whole lot there to contribute to it and what is there isn’t good except for the A I got in physics. At the end, though, I was pulling 3.66s for my semester GPAs. I graduated in 2006.

Is it going to be bad that my GPA is so low if I get As in all my pre-reqs? Does it matter that some/all of my pre-reqs will be taken part time? I still have to take Chem I/II, Physics II, Orgo I/II, Bio I/II so I’ve got a pretty clean slate to prove myself in the sciences. I am confident I will do well.

I’m taking Chem I this fall. Going full time isn’t an option until I can quit working around this time next year. That year will be spent on Orgo I/II and I could add any other beneficial courses if I need to be FT to prove that I can handle the workload - Is that advisable?

I live about an hour from a DO school and about 1.5hrs from an MD school. Neither are what one would consider a “top school”. The DO school’s average class had a 7.59V, 6.96PS, 7.42BB with a 3.3 GPA. The MD school has 9.8V,9.4PS,9.7BS with 3.68 GPA. Both have a commitment to primary care and producing physicians that will serve in rural, underserved communities which is what I want to do. So I feel like if I can get my stats up I would be a decent fit for either of these schools. I have no preference of MD over DO. I like the approach both take to medicine so I’d be happy to get into either.

I know this has been a long rambling post but this is a major decision that will affect my family for a long time. I’ve just got a lot to think about. I feel committed but I just don’t want to end up pouring myself into this only to get shot down because my stats aren’t good enough.

So anyway. Hello. I’ll probably be lurking more but just wanted to put some thoughts out there and see if anyone had any advice for me. I’ll be reading.

Welcome JamJar,

You’ll find this forum unlike the other ones. Read some of the posts and diaries here and you’ll see that your past GPA will not hold you back as long as you do well going forward. I think the plan you’ve laid out is sound. Like you, I can’t go full-time yet but will have to do so in the future, even if only for one semester. So you’re on the right track with your current plan. At some point also think about adding in volunteering in a clinical setting because that is almost a requirement. I could not answer all your questions, but others will chime in pretty soon.

Thanks, I started to mention my plan for volunteering and getting clinical experience. Since my goal (and these local schools like) is rural medicine I want to put some time in with a local event called Remote Area Medical. Med Students, MDs, Optometrists, Dentists, Nurses, and a whole host of other folks come out and for a few days they provide free health care to anyone who wants to stand in line long enough to get it. So I think that’d be a great thing to work at. It’s coming up in a few weeks so I’m going to contact some folks next week and see if they have anywhere they could use another person.

I’ve got a good personal relationship with a few MDs in the area so I might try to hit them up for some shadowing time. I figure if I can do a little here and there over the next two years it will add up to a significant amount.

I concur with dullhead on this. Most OldPreMeds start with the “grade baggage” that you have and focus far too much on their original GPA’s. The truth is you cant change it so worrying about won’t help. The question is what can you do to move forward. There are two factors that make courses/grades after your original undergraduate degree that will show your improvement directly to admissions committee.

  1. Both MD and DO applications have a separate line item for post-baccalaureate grades. So if you have you get a 3.85 in post-bacc, it will show up as such thus being an example of what your able to do.

  2. DO has a grade replacement policy so that only the latest grade of any repeated course is calculated in your application GPA.

    Additionally, combine an excellent post-bacc with a good MCAT score and you have an excellent chance of making the initial grade cut to get interviewed. Will your grades still be a factor? Yes, but now they won’t be the only factor at that point. Once you get past the initial score cut, the adcoms factors breakdown roughly to:

    1)GPA (mitigated partially by good post-bacc)

    2)MCAT (best current comparison with you and all other applicants)

    3)written application with experiences and personal statement


Welcome to OPM! The RAM outreach is great but my experience was that they plan it a lot in advance and may not be able to take you on this close to the event…but you could sign up for next year. You also might look at any ongoing opportunity for volunteering. Some hospitals have ER “scribes” which gives you some patient interaction in a clinical setting. Free clinics are other opportunities to volunteer.

You might want to shadow a DO as well as an MD, if you plan to apply both directions, as DO schools often require you to have shadowed a DO.

The shadowing will also help you to decide if you really want to live the doctor’s life.


Thanks for the info. I’m looking into some more volunteer opportunities as well. Hopefully something will pan out for me.

I’m supposed to go meet with a DO tomorrow just to talk with him, discuss his time in med school. He went where I’d like to go so I’m interested to hear what he has to say. I’ve been working on a list of questions to ask him.

I know this is what I’d like to do, a lot of it is still determining the feasibility of it all and trying to make sure that my family will make it though the process in one piece. I’ve got a young son that, in 10 years, I don’t want to look back and feel like I’ve missed his childhood because I went to med school. At the same time, though, succeeding at this will give me the ability to provide opportunities for him that I didn’t have.

I’ve been reading more blogs and diaries about how folks handle family time. I’m just trying to get my wife to look at the big picture and make sure she realizes what the commitment means from a “I’m going to be EXTREMELY busy, you’ll have to let me work” perspective.

Welcome to the journey.