I need you, OPM oracles!


I am starting to evaluate the old premed student route, and I would like to consult everyone.

Here is my background:

I have always wanted to be a doctor since I was a little kid and excelled in science courses up until high school. I planned my life around becoming a doctor and meticulous planned everything even in high school.

I entered undergrad. (Charlottesville) as a premed student, but after a traumatic event that happened to me in my first year in college, I failed academically. I did terribly in my courses for 3 years and ended up majoring in humanities.

I even got an F in organic chemistry. I was suffering from PTSD and depression, and sometimes I couldn’t even go to class. Psychotherapy did nothing for me, and I helped myself out of severe depression by studying philosophy and religion at school. Humanities helped me to get better. I did pretty well in my humanities major (3.5).

My undergrad. GPA was horrible: 2.86

After I graduated from college, I stayed in school to take more classes because I didn’t know what I wanted to do or could do. I was lost. I knew pre-med was not possible for me at the time. I knew a friend who worked in cancer research, and he said I should explore doing research. I took chemistry again and got A’s. I got to know a TA who recommended me to a research lab. I worked there as a research assistant. The professor really liked me and encouraged me to apply to a science PhD program. I figured getting a degree was better than nothing so I did it even though I didn’t have my heart in it.

I took Bio I and Orgo I and got B’s (not great, I wasn’t as focused). I applied to the program and got in so I withdrew from my second semester science courses in Bio II and Orgo II as I was commuting more than an hour from school at the time.

I took upper level science courses in biochem, cell bio, genetics…etc. and received A’s and B’s. I left the PhD program early with a master in Science degree.

Now I am much older (31), focused, and happy and I am finishing up a master degree in business management in Europe. I excelled in my business education. 4.0 so far.

I am a stable point in my life emotionally and financially, and I want to see if I can pursue my childhood dream of becoming a doctor again.

I know that I lack consistency in my academic choice and life, but I tried to make the best of what I had to work with. (I am going to have a difficult time explaining my choices to the admissions committee.)

Normally, I would look for prehealth and postbac programs to improve my chances, but I think I am ineligible for these programs because of the previous sciences courses I took over 7 to 10 years ago. It looks like all the postbac programs are only for people who did not study science before.

I am not sure how I should approach this. Could someone recommend good OPM advisers or schools that are willing to speak to OPM students and help evaluate your chances?

I know in my heart I can do this, but in your opinion my chances are pretty bad right? I know on paper, my numbers look bad.

Thanks a lot for reading!


I’m not going to be of any help with advising, but there are definitely post-bacc programs for people who have already taken science courses. I looked into one at UPenn and they had entirely different curriculum options for students who had already taken basic sciences.

-F - I’m going to suggest the post-bacc premed program at UVA: http://www.scps.virginia.edu/programs/program-deta …

Have sent you a private message with more info.



You need to look a little harder. Plenty of post-baccs accept students regardless of whether or not you’ve taken the courses before - they know that the whole point is to prep for application to med school, not get a new piece of paper for your wall. Also, many medical schools will not count your older classes (10 years).

You can also consider SMPs, but I believe a post-bacc is better based on your history. Doing a full program, and performing well in it, shows that you’ve made a commitment to this decision. I do not recommend pursuing a second bachelor’s degree, if you can fund a post-bacc instead.

Good luck, and trust Licia (Kate) because she provides excellent advice.

Pixie –

whatever I was going to write got swallowed up by a Star Trek flashback (which your husband will get even if you are not as familiar with “classic” star trek

Spock “Really, Captain…my modesty!”

Kirk “Does not bear close examination!”

Thanks Pixie and PHCat for your input.

Is it true that most med schools won’t put too much weight on classes that are 10 years and older?

I will look harder definitely, but where I am located right now, there are no postbac programs I can get into with my academic situation. I should contact the admissions office directly to double check.

I would relocate, but it means I won’t be starting on this journey for at least one or two more years. But what’s two more years right? I am 10 years late already! I don’t want to rush into this without being fully prepared.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and support!


I would also recommend a post-bacc over an SMP in your situation, and a fair number of them do accept people who have taken the classes too long ago to count toward med school admission (and I bet your other pre-meds, like 2 semesters of English, are even older). There is a whole list of them on https://services.aamc.org/postbac/ - give each a call, and don’t be discouraged. Try either the “Career Changers” or “Academic Record Enhancers” (mostly SMP, but may be a post-bacc in there as well).

As for how adcoms regard those old classes, most look at how they fit into the “big picture”. You will be required to entire them into AMCAS, which has categories for Undergrad, Post-Bacc Undergrad, Grad, etc. You can’t change how those grades affect the GPA of the respective category, but the adcoms will look at the GPAs for all categories, and obviously give preference to more recent work done successfully in the relevant/required subjects. There is a mock AMCAS GPA Calculator floating around on Student Doctor Network that can give you a better idea of how all your grades would be categorized (search for it).

You might want to give Dr. Solhaug at Eastern Virginia Medical School a call - they have an SMP, and unlike many schools EVMS is usually quite willing to speak with students - tell him you are considering the SMP, and he may be able to give you a better idea of which track (PB vs SMP) you should pursue.