Newbie..I don't know where to start... HELP!

I don’t know where to start! I know it’s kinda far down the road but I’m trying to gain some clarity into how and what’s the best way to go about this. So here’s my story, the short version. I graduated college back in ’00, majoring in health/ wellness. My GPA well lets just say its not worth mentioning. My priorities were wrong during my undergrad. I have worked in Public Health and in the hospital setting now for 5 years. Due to family obligations etc, well the timing wasn’t right for me to start this journey any sooner.

With the major that I had I only have taken 2 of the required classes for med school. I got a C, which I know is cutting it kinda close. So to get the ball rolling I want to enroll in some evening classes offered at a local university. With their set up and as long as they offer one of the classes each term I believe I can have all the Med school requirements done by Fall 2011. I’m unsure about timing everything out.

I have thought about applying to a school with a linkage program to cut out glide year. And I have thought about applying to a SMP, but I’m still facing glide year. If I do it on my own I can still keep my job until I’m I get accepted. But in reality I know I don’t stand a chance of getting in to a linkage with my stats and I’m probably better off doing it on my own.

Here are my questions:

1.When should/would I take the MCAT?

2.At what point can I apply to med school? ( I’m trying to cut down on glide year as much as possible)

3.Am I crazy for thinking this plan of mine will work? :-p

I am open to any suggestions you all have. If I have posted this in the wrong spot, I’m sorry I’ve never done a posting like this before.

First of all, welcome to OPM! I hope you find this site to be as helpful as I have.

Second of all, let me offer you a piece of advice, stolen from Gonnif (one of the sage regulars around here): “Take a breath!”

You have waited this long, don’t screw yourself over by rushing things now. Take your time and do it right.

Here are a few suggestions …

You mentioned several times wanting to cut out the glide year. That’s pretty tough, if not impossible, to do. Getting into a program with a linkage is INCREDIBLY competitive. If you have a less-than-stellar GPA, that may not be possible, as you suggested. (I’m not trying to be negative here, just realistic.) I would recommend either taking the courses on your own at a nearby university or doing a post-bac program. During your glide year you can work/save money, research, get clinical experience, etc. There are many ways to use the time wisely and effectively.

In terms of coursework, it’s obviously important to take the required core classes (gen bio, gen chem, orgo, physics) and do well in them. But I would also suggest taking some upper-level classes (microbio, biochem, anatomy, etc.). This will increase your competitiveness, hopefully boost your GPA a little, and also help prepare you for med school. I think this is especially important because of your lower GPA – you want to show med schools that you have matured academically and are capable of success in difficult, upper-division science classes.

As far as the MCAT goes, you should take that when you’re ready. I.e., after you have finished your core classes and have taken time to study for the test. Since your undergrad grades weren’t the best, it’s really important to do well on this test. You can study on your own if you’re motivated to do so, or take one of the review courses offered (there are several, and they are quite pricey, FYI).

Applying to med school … do this EARLY! As in, the beginning of June. (This was the advice given at the last OPM conference, so I’m not making this up.) Getting your application in early in the cycle is very important, as schools schedule interviews and admit students on a rolling basis.

If you haven’t done this already, consider doing some volunteer work and shadowing a physician or two. This will be good experience, and will also be good for your application.

Hope this helps, and best wishes to you.

  • sunstar0304 Said:

2.At what point can I apply to med school? ( I’m trying to cut down on glide year as much as possible)

3.Am I crazy for thinking this plan of mine will work?

Is your goal to get into medical school or to get into medical school quickly?

Your not crazy for thinking that this plan will work. You are crazy, or at least very short sighted if a major criteria in your process to become a physician is to cut down on your glide year.

To quote a very successful old premed, Dr. Wally Newkirk, what are you willing to give up?

Thanks ya’ll for the quick response. It’s nice to have a sounding board to bounce my thoughts off of about this crazy process. I’m in no means trying to rush it. If I’m gonna do it I wanna go about this the right way. The more I read post after post, the more questions that came to mind. Fueling my intial post.

I’m going to start taking the required classes this coming spring. I know I have alot of work ahead of me, but I know all the hardwork will be worth it in the end. No matter how long this takes.

As for clinical experince I have some. I have prior volunteer experince,I’ve worked closely with the dr at the urgent care office I worked at,and most recently I have an opportunity to observe a CABG soon. ( Which I’m super excited about.)

To clear up things. I just wraped my head around the glide year and how all that works along side everything else. I think my inital concern with glide year is I felt like I was wasting a year. But I now see the purpose behind it.

  • sunstar0304 Said:
I just wraped my head around the glide year and how all that works along side everything else. I think my inital concern with glide year is I felt like I was wasting a year. But I now see the purpose behind it.

"It ain't over til it's over"

Yogi Berra

It may be called a glide year, but there is lots of work to be done towards application and some good reasons to continue prepping.

1) After your applications are in, you still will have secondary applications from each individual school. These are essay-driven, fast turn-around items where the ability to present an additional concise and compelling narrative to support your desire to be a doctor. After these, you may have several interviews to attend.

2) And wouldn't it be good that when you attend these interviews when the inevitable question of what you are currently working on , you have something showing your committed motivation. Perhaps is a job in a research lab or even as a clerk in a project or clinical based setting or taking an additional advanced course or two in biochem, microbiology, genetics, immunology, etc.

3) the other reason to keep prepping during your glide year is for the most direct reason: you many not be accepted and have reapply. There is an important psychological and morale issue with this. Imagine that you have done all this work, you submit your application and then get rejection after rejection. Then you have to start to climb this steep mental hill to begin the process of prepping again. This is especially true if your MCAT was mediocre. But you had continued with some volunteer, a class or two, and keep on top of MCAT, you will have already enhanced your application with the above

4. The glide year can also give you a chance to prep for the actual medical school classes. While the med schools will teach you everything you know, having even the basic outline of material you have little familiarity with will help. For example, biochem, anatomy and physiology, etc. These could be just basic self study or advanced by getting some of the med school/STEP review guides. While many may not see much value in this, I think 3 areas are well worth looking into.

Biochem is often described by med students as the killer course. If you have not taken a biochem course, it may help immensely to have at least the briefest of introductions to it. A medical terminology self-study workbook or online site would also be an asset. This goes hand in hand with gross anatomy as so many structures are named on the latin and greek roots.

So in sum, glide year should be overlooked as an important chance to continue your towards medical school acceptance and success.