Meeting with a Dean

Hello All,
I haven’t posted in a long while but I had a recent experience that I thought might be useful for folks here since we all share the non-trad label and probably some general experiences. I had a meeting with an assistant Dean at my local medical school (allopathic) to see if my application has any hope of acceptaance and found it very helpful. I would suggest that everybody out there look at your perspective med schools to see if they have someone who would do this for you to personalize the eval.
To help understand his comments I’ll give a brief synopsis of myself. Grew up with not so much money in a predominately Chicano town. I finished undergrad in 95, ended up with GPA of about 3.1. In the process I failed an anatomy and phys class and got a D in another my sophomore year. Did a masters (Exercise Science) right after and did so so. Another low B average GPA. Have worked primarily as a research assistant since then with some clinical experience (evaluated pacemakers and ICDs). Started back in school part time 4 years ago taking my all of my pre-req science classes. Aced them all. Took the MCAT this past Spring 10 Verbal, 11 bio science, 6 physical science . Applied this fall (all materials in at the beginning of this month).
The Dean’s comments were that my application has a chance but is a long way from a sure thing. The pro’s of my app are a variety of experiences and my background. Getting A’s in my most recent course work was something that was also a positive but he mentioned that ideally I would have an A or two in some recent upper level science courses (e.g. biochem) as further proof that I can handle the classes in med school. My MCAT was also something that he would like to have been higher. The average MCAT of accepted apps was a 30 and they look a lot at the bio science score (good for me at least). Another strike against me was that I did not retake the August MCAT.
Maybe this gives some people a couple of things to consider. There are so many things that you can think about to make one’s application better that it can get overwhelming. It was nice to hear from an authoritative source. I wish I would have done this last year but if I don’t get in this time around I’ll have some concrete things to work on next time around.
So based on this, I guess that I better start studying for the MCAT this spring just in case. I used Examcrackers tapes and books last time around and will do so again. One thing I will do differently this time is do multiple full lengths along the way. I ended up only doing one diagnostic full length last time around and it bit me in the a**. I ran out of time on the phys sci section and had 12 questions left. I’ll also follow the schedule posted in the exmkrackers section of this site. Last time I did one subject at a time starting with physics and gen chem and didn’t get a chance to go back and review these subjects.
I’m also looking into some grad biochem courses. The school that I’m applying to is starting a one year M.S. degree in physiology that is billed as a “bridge to medical school for prospective students with minimal undergraduate experience in the life sciences. This one-year program comprises Medical Physiology and Medical Biochemistry, and provides an opportunity to improve your course credentials and overall GPA before applying for medical school.” Sounds just like what the doctor ordered. I am and will be working full time if I don’t get in so I’ll probably only take one course at a time but it will hopefull do the trick.
I hope this is of some use to someone out there. Congrats to everyone who has been accepted so far, good luck to everybody out there with current pending applications, and for those who didn’t make it this time or are still working towards it, keep going.

Damon -
Ohio State has a post-bacc program designed for “educationally and economically disadvantaged students”. I will not rehash their website - anyone interested can find more info here.

Good luck with your application. If you don’t get in this year, at least you know what you need to do to improve your chances.

Thanks for the link. I’m actually in OH now but am down south in Cinci. Because of circumstances this will be the only place I apply.

Damon, those are all EXCELLENT insights and I hope lots of people read your post! Thanks for sharing.

Damon -
I forgot to mention earlier that I am surprised that someone met with you while you are currently in the application process. A lot of schools (including mine) will not meet with students who have submitted applications during the cycle unless they have already been rejected.
Consider at least interviewing at schools other than UC (not that UC isn’t an excellent school). Wright State is not so far from Cinci, and all of their lectures are available online. Ohio State has an Independent Study Program. Although you would have to go to campus nearly every day during anatomy (12 weeks at Ohio State), once anatomy is done, you might be surprised at how much you can get away without going to campus. I currently have to go once a week, possibly twice a week after the first of the year. Not quite sure how clinical years will work out, but I know that they are often happy to place students outside of the greater Columbus area due to the large number of placements they need to make.
So, if you don’t get accepted this year, consider applying to those two programs at least. When you interview, you can make arrangements to talk with people who can help you decide how feasible commuting is for you. One of my classmates commutes from Dayton to Columbus (even though he was accepted at Wright State).
Good luck!

Thanks for the tips. I have considered other schools and next year I’ll think about again. The one huge reason that I didn’t apply elsewhere is that my wife is faculty at UC and as such I have a tuition waiver. $120,000 in free money is hard to turn down. Will see what shakes out. I’m only getting older though. At some point I may have to bite the bullet.

Damon -
I can definitely understand why you wouldn’t want to go elsewhere! If you can do what UC advises and get in there, go for it. Ironically, I was admitted straight out at UC and waitlisted at WSU (of course, I also refused to play the game of telling them during my interview that I wanted to do primary care).
Good luck!