Non-trad, low GPA, aspiring physician scientist

Hello everyone, hope all is well!

Wondering if guidance and wisdom can be imparted on this journey, for an aspiring physician-scientist (MD-PhD):

  • 30 years old, prerequisites are more than 8 years old, currently in the 4th gap year post-graduation
  • 3.30 cGPA, 3.20 sGPA (UC and DIY post-bacc 28 credits of community college courses combined) – with upward trend
  • 1,500 hours of clinical experience
  • 3,000 hours of academic research, with one co-authored paper in high impact journal
  • 1,000 hours of clinical volunteer
  • 200 hours of non-clinical volunteer
  • no MCAT yet
  • massive undergrad debt (over 160K)

Would it be a good idea to take more post-bacc courses at a 4-year institution prior to applying? Or try to focus on the MCAT and try to apply next cycle?

Thank you so much for your guidance! :slight_smile:

Hi there. Based on what I have read here, on SDN, and feeback from yesterday’s (October 16th) UC Davis Prehealth Conference, I think you need to raise your overall and science GPA. In one of the workshops at the conference, a student who had a GPA of 3.1 and also took 28 units of CC courses was told that she should focus on raising her GPA. I am not sure where you are located, but see if you can find some 4-year colleges that offer upper division science. Look at extension programs: You mentioned “UC” is that University of California? Then try taking classes (even online) at UC Berkeley Extension and UCLA Extension. They have lots of upper division courses, many of them are proctored with live proctors via ProctorU. I know that online courses are frowned up on by some, but having proctors may lessen that. After all, we are still in the pandemic and some colleges won’t let students take live in-person classes.

I’m in a similar boat! - just happen to be one year further out so I can definitely emphasize with your social and financial situation. I’ll try to give the best advice I’ve been given, stay off redditt and SDN… it’s just the blind leading the blind. UF has an online MS physiology program, might be more your speed than taking a bunch of undergraduate courses again. Granted, the MCAT is hard, so if you feel like taking those pre-reqs again to help you with the test and simultaneously boost your GPA, then go for it! I didn’t want to re-take classes so I used a test prep company and loved it. Really helped me focus on what’s going to be on the test and what to weed out. MCAT is a mile wide and inch depth. Meaning you have to know a little bit about everything.

I’m not sure what’s your profession, but if you work for a university, a lot of them offer tuition assistance. Just food for thought. Best of luck!!