New entry into oldmed race

I would like to introduce myself as a potential nontrad. I am currently employed fulltime in engineering, a career I sort of stumbled into. Like most people here, I spend many hours of regret and disappointment in not having been able to pursue medicine at an earlier time.I have contemplated this path now for a couple of years and almost at the point of actually pursuing this ambition.

Background: 38 year old,married with kids but also caring for older parents. I came to this country about 15 years ago with no formal degree on a marriage visa and soon thereafter enrolled into a community college with the intention of beginning the med school path. At the time I felt extreme remorse that my wife worked but at the same time I needed to finance my family overseas. So I took on blue collar jobs and still maintained relatively good grades. Long story short, due to family obligations, birth of our first child, wife’s chronic illness and other complaints, I felt after getting into university I needed to find a job and be on a fixed salary.

I career advisor prompted me to go into engineering with promises of 90K starting salaries and I figured why not.

The decision was a bad one as I still dread not going into medicine; visiting a doc office or hospital and seeing docs walking around with scrubs etc. gets me really depressed and including the fact that my job is depressing even though I am not bad at it.

so my questions which are typical but I will research in this forum: with a bad overall gpa of 2.8 but a science prerequisite gpa of 3.2 (from a community college) and yet to study for MCAt, my concern is that I cannot afford to pay for additional science courses at university level to increase my GPA. My hope is to rock the MCAT and apply to schools that focus on internal medicine as my focus is internal medicine with service to community. Is this a safe and probable option to pursue?

Second, on the issue of loans. I realize that med school will flood me with 200+K loans and the burden of repayment. I don’t know anyone who has been in the exact same situation as the few docs I met had been honest and admitted to substantial assistance from parents.

These are what has held me back thus far and also the fact that no one else can know of my intentions other than my wife so additional stress there. Anyway best wishes to all who are on this path and considering it.

I think you have some work to do on your GPA to really have a shot at admissions. You want at least a 3.0 from what I know, so you’re not automatically screened out by computers. Some (not all, but some) schools will not take community college science credits, and if it’s been a long time since you took the pre-reqs, studying for and rocking the MCAT will be difficult.

Grade replacement can really help you at DO schools though! I think your best course of action is to ask for a meeting with admissions people at a few schools, just keep asking around until you get a yes. Talk about your experiences, your plans, your pre-reqs and see what they have to say. In addition to getting solid advice, you’ll start to put a face to a name at these schools for yourself.

Plenty of people here have overcome low GPAs and are practicing physicians now. You just need to set yourself up for the best shot at your dream, and that will probably require a couple of years of laying the groundwork with more coursework to raise your GPA and maybe retake some courses or ace upper levels.

Oh and welcome to Old Pre-Meds! Lots of valuable advice and conversations to be had here.

Concur with Tallulah on the GPA issue. There are a few ways that could unfold: 1) Retakes for DO grade replacement (though they still see all grades); 2) Recency of academic success based on more upper level science courses if your undergrad is not that recent; 3) Success in “harder” sciences and/or other courses to raise your GPA. In case 3, you wouldn’t necessarily need to retake courses you’ve already taken, especially if you got a B or higher… The philosophy is that grades correlate to success in med school, MCAT correlates to success on board exams. Schools typically want both out of their applicants. Do what you can to show them that you aren’t a “gamble”.

For loan payback, there are several state and federal scholarship programs that will pay down your loans if you agree to fill their service needs. This is typically some form of primary care in an underserved area, however some of the scholarships don’t have a specialty requirement. Just so you know, the federal loan that you can get is dependent on what the school you attend calculates as the overall cost of attendance. Unfortunately, they account for the most typical student: single, no immediate debt (deferred loans), with no dependents. What this means is, you may need additional loans or an alternative source of family income (ie spouse) to meet all of your financial needs. These funds probably won’t be covered under any of the loan payback programs and may or may not be able to be deferred while you’re in school.

You need to take things one step at a time. You have to work on your overall academic resume and that means your GPA. There is no need to think about the MCAT at this time as that part has not been resolved. You need to show the schools that you can handle high level science courses and a rigorous curriculum. You need to address that before you should consider the MCAT.

Can it be done? Yes. But it will take time and a lot of hard work.

Thanks so much for everyone’s responses. I value the suggestions and appreciate you taking the time. I will have to increase my GPA and to do requires a full year commitment to at least 3/4 upper level science courses. I realize that it may not be a wise decision to focus on the MCAT but I think until I actually enroll in post bacc or general pre-req class(based on finance resources) i will consider starting reviewing general science content to get in the right frame of mind.

I will have to carefully review the decision again. Just managed to meet someone a day ago who worked as a chiropractor and then went into medicine.

His words of advice were pretty straightforward: its going to be Hell. Unless your wife is earning well or you have financial and logistic support from family, it will be very difficult for your family which then places stress on you. you need to be able to separate from them mentally and focus on this path.

He mentioned how it almost ruined his marriage and that was only in his second year.

But he is a surgeon now making 400k plus in california, paying off those loans but not regretting his decision.

So lotsa thinking for me.

Thanks everyone