law student wanting to get into med school

I’m currently a law school student (I’m in the middle of my first year) but actually want to be in med school. I graduated in 2005 from a good school with a biology degree (relatively high GPA, ~3.8), then went directly into a MPH program. While I worked for a year as a health educator, I applied to med school but only got on the wait list. Needless to say, I was pretty upset and my confidence was totally shot down. I decided to go to law school thinking that I would study public health and health policy. So, here I am and all I can think about is wanting to go to med school! I’m going to finish the law school program, but I want to apply to med school so that I start the same year that I finish law school. I started volunteering at a hospital and am planning on taking the MCAT again (I think this was one of my biggest weaknesses - I only got a 29 the first time around, but hopefully I can take it again and do better) this summer.

I know that there are other JD-turned-MDs out there and I was wondering if you could give me some advice. Right now I’m trying to figure out what to do this summer and am thinking that I should do more volunteer work at the hospital (shadowing doctors, etc). However, I wonder if I should do something policy/law related as well?? At the same time, I want to study for the MCAT this summer and don’t want a full-time job/internship eating up all my time (it has been awhile since I’ve taken the MCAT and I definitely need to brush up on my physics/organic/bio). Would you suggest focusing on the MCAT and volunteering, or should I try to find a job related to the JD program??

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much.

Hi Janie.

I had a similar experience with respect to the MCAT being my weak point for admission. I went to a school whose average entry MCAT scores and GPAs is on the high end. Given that my GPA wasn’t ultra high, but that my background was otherwise interesting to the admissions committee, they were looking for my MCAT scores to prove that I was up to snuff with the rest of their class. This was of course what the dean of admissions told me after I didn’t get in. In retrospect, I knew I had really not studied well prior to the MCAT, but focussed on my lab research job, and training in track and field (wouldn’t have done it any other way that summer).

My point in all of this is that admissions committees simultaneously want candidates that they know can survive the demands of med school academics, but also add diversity to their class. Certainly you have the GPA and soon a JD to make yourself “interesting”. I would prioritize the MCAT, as it is looked at as “the great equalizer” (even though the merits of doing so may be hotly debated). Further volunteer work in the hospital never hurts, but if you are really interested in the health policy piece, I would go for it as your second priority, as it makes you that much more interesting as a candidate. If, however, you have never done volunteer work in a hospital setting prior to now, I would prioritize that over the health policy job.

Best of luck, you’ll no doubt be getting in somewhere at some point. I know the feeling of the rejection letter, but those feelings soon pass, confidence comes, back, etc…and it’s all in the past.

Hope this helps somehwat