Lost Non-Traditional App. HELP!!

I’ll keep my introduction short, but I need help.

I am 28, a tenured teacher in PA and have been teaching Mathematics and Biology in high school for the last five years.

I graduated my undergrad in 2008 with a major in molecular biology and mathematics but with a GPA of 3.0 due to severe health problems.

I graduated grad school in 2012 with a major in Mathematics Education with a gpa of 3.8.

Over the years of teaching, I realized how much I enjoy teaching and medicine, and the ultimate dream, to teach in medical school.

I took the MCAT after a few months of studying and scored a 29, this was my first time ever taking it.

I applied to a few local medical schools, and didn’t even get an interview.

I don’t know how to circumvent getting letters of rec from science professors, or if I should get another masters and then apply. Either way, I found this forum and thought maybe other non-trad applicants can give me guidance because I feel stuck with this aspiration with no map in front to reach my destination.

Thanks for reading my sob story!!!

Hi! Welcome!! First off, I don’t think another masters is the answer! Look at the new requirements and see if you need any courses.

Your 3.0 gpa may have been just below 3.0 for science gpa or because AMCAS application service does not consider any grade replacement. They do their own calculation of gpa. Many schools use gpa as a screening tool and generally do not review applications if they fall below 3.0

Having said that, any post-baccalaureate classes you might take would have their OWN gpa calculation, and this is a good way to demonstrate your current academic ability. THe graduate gpa is not usually considered as med schools tend to feel that many masters programs have some grade inflation.

A 29 on MCAT is enough for some med schools, and about the average MCAT score for many DO schools. You might research DO schools and see if that appeals to you. YOu would need to shadow a DO to get a letter of rec from them.

So, if you take some current courses, undergrad, including some new upper division science courses, sit in the front, ask questions, go to office hours, you should be able to get some letters of rec from science and non-science faculty. Think about studying, taking some practice tests, and retaking the MCAT. If DO is a possibility use this year to find out a bit more and shadow a DO (in this case, probably do NOT have to retake MCAT). Apply, EARLY next spring, with recent MCAT if you retake it, and apply broadly (12-20, MD and DO). Do additional volunteer and/or shadowing this year if that aspect of your application is thin (Get LOR’s from volunteer coordinator and doctors you shadow). That should give you a really good shot next spring.

If you have the money and willingness to consider DO, you COULD do an AACOMAS application NOW, send your MCAT scores you have, and research school web sites and/or call the admissions offices of osteopathic med schools regarding possible alternate LOR’s instead of from science professors. Also shadow DO and get LOR from them. That would let you apply this cycle - again applying early is important - by mid June still gives you good chance.

Those are two possibilities of how you could handle this. GPA often comes out a bit better on AACOMAS application as they do grade substition - the most recent grade you got in a repeated course is the one they count.

Hope that helps!


To begin with, sounds like you’re most of the way there! Another application season is upon us, and you’ve got some knowledge of what it’s like. Being that you’ve already developed an application, it should be easy to get your applications completed and submitted early this time around. You may also considering broadening your search a bit.

Your stats aren’t great, but you can definitely get accepted with them. I would advise you to consider retaking the MCAT. If you could bump that up a few points, that would definitely make you more competitive. See this chart for some ideas of numbers and acceptance rates for MD schools: https://www.aamc.org/download/321518/data/ 2012fact…

Regarding letters of rec, my advice would be to get with the school’s you’re interested in right now and present them with your situation, and ask them what kind of letters they would be willing to accept. Most places have some provisions that if you’ve been out of school for a few years that they would accept LORs from your employer, or other people you’ve worked with closely.

It’s looking like I’m going to be reapplying this cycle as well, so I’m trying to get everything prepared now. Good luck!

I second bennard about the LORs. Some schools don’t specify who can write them while others do. I was able to get a waiver from every school I applied to except for one to submit 0 faculty letters. Instead, I submitted 2 supervisor letters and an MD letter. I supplemented my DO app with an additional letter from a DO.

Show recency of academics in “upper level” science classes and they may look past your 6yr old GPA.

So is your dream to be a doctor or teach in a higher level professional school?

Medical school and residency are difficult so if your goal is to teach then maybe look at what you need to teach at a medical school or nursing/PA/NP school…as it doesn’t necessarily require you to be a MD or DO.

Now if your goal is to be a doctor then you need to optimize your application as best you can. My recommendation would be to come the conference in June and learn about the process, talk with others who have been through this, and optimize that app of yours!

Hope to see you there, M