I made my decission but I need guidance

Hi all,
I am so glad I found this site! Going to the MCAT course made me feel like I was the only over 30 who wanted to get into medicine.
Anyhow, I need some guidance and I’d try to explain my situation quickly.
Firsly, I am 34, I wasn’t born in the US and I am determined to get into Med school as soon as I get my green card (in process).
Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Med School. I don’t have a GPA because I didn’t do my undergrad in the US.
I didn’t do my undergrad in the US but I have a Bachelor in Chemistry, a Masters in Molecular Biology and Ph.D. in Neuroscience.
I am planning to take the MCAT in April 06 and apply to med schools in 2007.
My questions are:
Firstly, Who can give me some advice about my chances or ways to increase them?
What do you do if you don’t have a GPA?
Do I still have to take some post-bacc courses? I think that I’ve covered most of the subjects aready?
Anyhow, I am a bit lost with the chances of my non-non-traditional application and I’d appreciate some advice.
Thanks a lot

Where did you obtain your other degrees, in what country? What kind of academic records do they keep?

Hi again,
Bachelor and Masters in Spain (Europe). My Ph.D in Australia. Yeap, I have records of everything.

Well Isn’t there class rank? It wasn’t all pass/fail right? Maybe Judith can post?
You may want to hire an advisor to help you too.

Arturo hablas Castellano? yo creci en Madrid.

I obtanined my first degree in Poland. It was however in teaching ESL. Therefore when I came here and decided to become a doctoer I had to start over again, because I’d never taken any college level sciences (although had four years of all of them in High School). Anyway! I was sure that I could only take prereqs and apply! However my pre-med advisor @ my college told me that I HAVE TO get an AMERICAN degree! He told me that during his 20 years of advising students he never met a single person who made it into a medical school without an AMERICAN degree. I have not idea if it’s true or not…I decided to get one anyway, just in case something doesn’t work out I can still do what I love.
I guess your first step would be to get your foreing transcripts evaluated by a competent organization. I used this one http://www.ierf.org but there are others. And then you should call admission offices of the schools you’re interested in and talk to them.

Arturo -
I second Kasia’s advice. I don’t know if I read it on here or on the “other” pre-med forum, but there are quite a few schools that require and undergraduate degree and/or pre-reqs taken at an American institution. However, I’m sure there are plenty that don’t. Make a list of schools that you are interested in, then call them and explain your background. From there, you can either decide to investigate more schools, decide that there are enough schools that will consider you without additional coursework, or that you need to take additional coursework to be competitive at schools you are really interested in.
Buena Suerte!!

Arturo, yours is a special situation that we haven’t encountered before on OPM. You don’t just have “coursework” done in other countries, you’ve earned a DOCTORATE in a science - that is a huge thing and before you contemplate doing additional coursework, you’re going to need counseling that is much more specific to your situation.
Since you are at HMS, it seems to me that a logical place to start would be in their admissions office. Stop in and talk to them, and find out what they’ll require if you apply there. That will help you better formulate your questions for other institutions.
Good luck!

Thanks for the advice.
I’ll have a chat with the advisor.
Good luck

Dear Amy,
Thanks a lot for the help.

I’m with Mary on this one. I’d give HMS a call. Make an appointment with the dean of admissions or asst. dean of admissions and go in and chat with them about this. Also, since you are in Boston, trot over to Tufts and BU and ask them the same thing. Some schools want some record of ability to do work in the US system, but others just want you to have your work at an English speaking college/university (e.g. UK). You may have to take a few science classes in the US - especially if you don’t quite have all the pre-reqs (e.g. physics). This could go a lot of different directions, so check with the med schools which are easy to get to in person.
When you talk with these schools, make sure you talk with someone who understands that your situation is unique and that you have a PhD in neuroscience.

Hi Arturo,
I also have degrees from a different country and have talked to several schools. It seems like most school just want to see some courses taken in the American Institute and not an entire degree. I also noticed that some school mention on their website that they require at least one year of academic work done in the U.S. My advice is to contact the specific schools you are interested in and see what they say. Since you are at Harvard now, why don’t start with them?
good luck

In addition to talking to the Harvard admissions office, you could find their pre-med advisor and talk to that person. I was a faculty member before I applied to med school, and found the university’s pre-med counselor to be very helpful.