Hello OPM! Like many, I’ve been lurking around this website, learning about the experiences of the many who’ve decided to pursue the journey towards medicine. I’ve been thinking about this journey for the past 8-9 months and now is the time I’ve decided to make my first move. A little about myself - I’m 28, graduated from an Ivy League School with an Applied Econ major(3.34) gpa. Currently, I’m working as an analyst in a financial planning and analysis group at a big law firm. With my current hours at work, I’m thinking of registering for gen chem 1 and putting in some volunteer hours at a county hospital. I hope to apply for some structured post bacc programs this fall. Any advice to strengthen my application would be appreciated.
Have you checked out the AMCAS site for other programs? It’ll filter based on more specific needs too.
Hello and welcome! The volunteer hours you mentioned will be a great start. “Constant and consistent” is the name of the game from everything I’ve seen and been told, and I wish I’d been more consistent in my volunteer efforts over the 10 years it took to finish my bachelor’s.
Do you have an idea of which post-bacc program(s) you’re looking at? I ask because there are generally two types: those for improvement (for people who already have the prereqs and are looking to raise their GPA, etc) and those meant for “career changers” who likely never took any/all of the pre-reqs during their original degree. These programs usually include all the prereqs as part of the curriculum. It sounds like you’re more in the second group. So I’d do a quick bit of research on programs, as I’d hate to see you take gen chem on your own and then have to retake it as part of an official post-bacc. Unless you can transfer in the credit, want to “try science” on your own first, or some other reason.
I was lucky to have a meeting with an adcom member at a state school and they told me about how they receive applications from non-trads who have shown no history of an interest in medicine. It was like they woke up one day and decided to apply to medical school. So the volunteering will be good because it gets the process started and will help confirm for you that this is what you want to do. Just keep in the back of your mind that “Why medicine? Why now?” are the questions you’ll be asked over and over again and you’ll want to be able to find your answers to them.
Hi Agnor - thank you for your insight. As for the post baccs, I am in the “career changer” category. I’m thinking of programs such as BM, Goucher, JH , uvm as well as programs in ny (Columbia, hunter, nyc, etc). I don’t know how competitive my application will be given my undergrad gpa (I also had a 3.66 in community college). Most of these programs say they don’t want you to have taken “most” of the requirements, which is why I figured if I took gem chem maybe they won’t require me to repeat it. Also I was thinking that taking gen Chem would help me regarding a letter of rec (if I am able to perform well and develop a good relationship with the professor) since it’s been three years I’ve been out of college. Lastly, I am also planning on taking the GRE exam because I don’t have SAT scores (I dropped out of high school). Any other feedback regarding taking gem chem along with other things I can do to make myswlf a better candidate would be highly appreciated.
I’ll defer to you on the prereq in combination with the programs, as I haven’t researched those types of post-baccs.
Kennymac thankfully posted the link that I should have included in my original reply, too. That’s where I started when I went fishing for programs.
Taking the course for a letter of recommendation (LoR) can be a good idea. Once you narrow in a little further on the programs you’re interested in, maybe you can contact their admissions and see if there are other letters they’re willing to accept: from employers, other professional relations, and so on. I don’t know much about the career-changer programs but it seems reasonable to assume they’ll have some options and wiggle room for you in regards to your LoR.
Regarding your uGPA, I wouldn’t worry about it too much (again, not knowing much about those programs). Many of them shoot for 3.0 minimums, which you have well above that, and in a major that (IMHO) can be considered a difficult major. Wouldn’t hurt to call up some programs and chit-chat with the admissions office people.
Do most programs require a GRE/SAT score? Maybe you’ve already confirmed this, but if not, I’d double-check before I went through the effort and expense of taking the GRE. I checked a few programs at random, and NYU didn’t mention an exam and Drexel’s program mentioned SAT/ACT but not GRE. So that’s definitely worth some extra digging to make sure you’ll really need it and that they’ll accept it.
Also, programs usually often have rolling admissions, so the earlier you apply, the better your odds.
Kennymac - Thank you for the link.
Agnor - Some programs do require GRE, while others don’t. I would prefer to stay in the city and do my per-requisite course work but I will keep an open mind in regards to post baccs. I was also thinking - would it be beneficial to pursue a second undergrad degree? I say this because looking at some of the MCAT 2015 posts it seems like additonal work in biochemistry and some social sciences would be helpful (I took psych and soc, but that was close to 6 years ago); not to mention, undergrads are eligible for federal funding…
Some folks go the second degree route for funding. Whether they finish the program or not I guess depends on whether they get into school early. I don’t think there’s any actual requirement to finish the second degree. Some schools do require you complete a masters program if you are enrolled in it at the time you apply. Can’t remember which ones I saw that specified that.
Thank you, Kennymac. Is there any chance that med school adcoms would frown upon students who haven’t finished their second degree?
I don’t know that they would know you’re in a second degree program. I’ve filled out so much paperwork in he last year I can’t remember if you have to specify it as an undergrad program or just as undergrad level post bacc. Either way I’m sure they get that you’re not actually trying to get a second degree. It’d be different for a masters program.