Military Spouse, USUHS, and Volunteer Experience Questions

Hey everyone! I have a few questions that I haven’t been able to find much information about.

A little bit about me and my current situation: I am 24 and am living in Hawaii with my husband who is active duty army. I work full-time in a military hospital as a healthcare tech in Neurodevelopmental pediatrics, along with school full-time, and doing research with one of our pediatric infectious diseases docs. I have been doing healthcare related jobs since I graduated high school in 2016. My first two years of college were while I was still in high school, and I was able to obtain my associates degree by the time I graduated high school. Well, back then I didn’t know I was going to be pursuing med school so I totally had the C’s get degrees mindset so my GPA was around a 2.75. I then went to college for one year after and did poorly and got my first two F’s. Now for the questions…

  1. I’m super stressed that because of my low GPA in my past, I will need to get straight A’s. Which hasn’t been the case. My junior year GPA was a 3.75 and I am just starting my senior year. Will getting some B’s look bad at this point?

  2. I know a lot of schools have in-state preferences, but I was curious if they possibly look at military members/ military spouses a bit differently than just in-state or out-of-state since we kind of have to move around.

  3. I am extremely interested in USUHS. My husband serves, I work in a military hospital, and am extremely close to the three physicians I work under, and know I will get very very good letters of rec from them. I also do research in the military hospital. Would USUHS look favorably at this, and could it possibly help them see past my previous low GPA a bit more? Anything else I can do to increase my chances of getting accepted to USUHS?

  4. Sorry for the long post, but last question. I spent two years as a volunteer firefighter, but I am kind of confused on if I can count this as my volunteer experience. For one, that was 4-5 years ago. My second concern is that while I was labeled as a volunteer firefighter, I did technically get paid, just not much. We got a small stipend of $10 per call. We could spend 6 hours on a fire, and we would get $10. It clearly wasn’t much, but since there was some pay involved, I don’t know if I can count it.

Thanks so much for any advice for any of my questions above!

Hi there.

  1. Given that you are in undergrad, you need to do everything that you can to get high grades, i.e. A’s. Perhaps some of the stress is due to working, being a spouse, and research — all comendable, but in the end it comes down to grades and MCAT scores that get you in.
    Because you are still in college (undergrad), try to get those A’s. As far as the F’s, if they were in the past, then that is better.
    So, is there a way that you can cut back on some commitments to put priority on grades?

  2. U Hawaii at Manoa has in-state preferences, as do some states on the mainland.

  3. The USUHS Uniformed Health Services university would be great because you have a military background and you are under their age cut-off, which I believe is 38.

  4. The volunteer experiences do NOT have to be healthcare related, but it helps. Firefighting is not necessarily involve medical care per se, but firefighting does involve health and safety, which is a plus. Your current work as a tech in pediatrics can augment your volunteer experiences. I would focus on grades and, then, MCAT. As far as the $10 payment, I would go with whatever was your job description or job title. The volunteer work can come later because of your healthcare work experiences.