Please help a nontrad give himself the best chance for an acceptance

Good morning Oldpremeds. I am a long time lurker here on the forum and have learned a great deal from many people here. I am a 29 year old Post-Bacc student who originally graduated in 2005 as a communication studies major and then went back to school last January to complete a postbacc at a well respected state school. Before last year the only science class I had ever taken was Astronomy. I decided to go back to school after taking care of my 93 year old father who has progressive dementia and is paralyzed do to numerous strokes. With the support of my now fiance I was able to leave my job as a district manager of a fortune 200 company to solely focus on attaining my dream of going to medical school. I played division 2 football during my college years and academics was not a priority to me. I graduated with a meager 2.66 gpa so I knew that I would have a tough road ahead of me. In the last 17 months I have completed 49 credit hours of science classes and attained a 3.88 post bacc gpa. I am currently taking Biochemistry which will end in 3 weeks after which I am applying to medical school. I am waiting to apply because after this class I will finally have my cgpa over 3.0. I took the MCAT on May 31st and am keeping my fingers crossed. I averaged just over a 31 through a large sample of practice tests (TBR 1-7, AAMC 3-11). In the last 17 months I have also acquired over 200 clinical volunteering hours at a top ranked hospital as well as 70 hours doing clinical research. My stats when applying will be cgpa 3.01, sgpa 3.83, postbacc gpa 3.88(52 credits) Finances are an issue for the application process and I have a few questions. How competitive will I be for allopathic schools if I get an MCAT score of 30-33. I will be applying to both MD and DO schools. The second question I have is that if I get under a 30 on the MCAT (28 or 29) would it be worthwhile retaking at the end of July even though I would not be complete until the end of August? My state of residence is Pennsylvania in case that should matter. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

-Thank You

I’d say you would be pretty competitive for MD schools with those stats and a 30-33.

Welcome out of the shadows!


I met with admission director of a top MD school and she confirmed what everybody else will say. A trend upward is definitely what they look at.

However, some schools may have cutoffs, like where under a cGPA the computer just doesn’t pop your name. But given the info you have and if you do not care about which MD school you will end up with (applying broadly), I’d say things look good. In your case, I would place a great emphasis on the personal statement.

Now if you score below 30, and if you do not want to go DO at all, then I would probably retake. I scored 30 on my first attempt and yet decided to retake. Note however that I am limiting myself to Texas schools (8 schools) and with only 1 DO school, which by the way is very competitive. So 30 would perhaps have cut it, but not sure (and my VR was very low : 6).

So it is up to you, your own satisfaction and your goals.

Thank you for the advice. One problem I am having is trying to decide which out of state schools to apply to. Using the MSAR it only gives school’s bottom 10th percentiles. Since I am an outlier applicant, that does not help me very much. Are there some schools that are more forgiving of an older applicant’s weakness than others?

red, if you’re looking to apply OOS, focus on private schools. state schools outside of your state will likely only give you notice if you have stellar stats.

after going through the process and talking with others, the sense i gathered is having very strong EC’s and displaying passion in a certain area can outweigh low to mediocre numbers.

I received my MCAT score yesterday and am relatively happy to report I received a balanced 31 (11 ps,10 vr,10 bs) in addition to getting an A in biochemistry. I am applying to 30 allopathic and 4 osteopathic schools and hope to be an inspiration to all other low gpa hopefuls out there. Thank you for all of your advice and I will keep everyone updated.

WOOO HOOOO!!! Nice scores to apply with! GOOD for YOU!!!

Congratulations. That is a nice balanced score. Good luck with your application cycle.

Nice score. You can expect some interviews.

(Your nickname has anything to do with shawshank?)

Good luck to you SoWasRed.

awesome job red. i also applied to a lot of schools so get ready to spend a ton of time on secondaries!

Awesome news! Congratulations!!

Thank you everyone!!! The following is my school list and I was hoping I could get some feedback if possible. I know some are reach schools but you can’t get accepted if you don’t apply.

School List:





5.Penn State



8.USF (Fiance’s family has house in Tampa)

9.Univ. of Central Florida

10.George Washington




14.Univ. of Colorado (I lived in Colorado for a year in 2006 and loved it)

15.Univ. of Arizona

16.Virginia tech

17.Virginia commonwealth

18.Univ. of Vermont


20. Wayne State

21.Wright State

22.SUNY Downstate

23. Albert Einstein

24.Eastern Virginia

25.Florida International


27.West Virginia

28.Indiana Univ.


30.New York Medical College

31.Ohio State


33.Stony Brook



Any advice is appreciated. Thank You

I can’t offer advice since it’ll be a few years before I apply, but that looks like a solid list. A couple of places on your list have low OOS numbers (Arizona and Indiana) but the rest look good on OOS stats. Assuming you get secondaries from all or nearly all, that should keep you busy next month. Also you mentioned DO - are you considering applying to any of those?

Arizona increased their OOS numbers to 50% and it seems like there are quite a few non-trads in my incoming class. If you get an interview, you can stay with me!

Thanks Shawn! I may take you up on that. Is anyone familiar with any other schools that may be more OOS friendly then appears on the MSAR?

I don’t know anything personally about UC-Denver, but they made a very positive impression on me when I was looking at postings for nursing positions a year or so ago (my husband had a job lead in Denver). It is written in the job description (for the affiliated hospital) that this is a teaching hospital, so if you are not interested in working with people who are new and still learning, then don’t bother applying. It sounds like they really take the interdisciplinary collaboration to heart.

Shawn would you recommend applying to both Arizona schools?

Red - Yes. They are separate programs but both under UofA so they do a combined recognition of the up-to-50% OOS. It was also my impression that they attract different personality types so you may resonate better with one over the other.

But I can only host if you interview in Tucson!

Thanks! I appreciate all of your advice.

I really appreciate on the words of inspiration I have received on OPM. I officailly submitted my amcas application last week and was able to apply to 39 schools since I was approved for the FAP. I have already started to pre-write many secondaries since I also work full time. For people who have already gone through the process, will it hurt me if I do not take any classes during the fall semester? I have already taken 52 postbacc credits which included all of the pre-req’s as well as getting A’s in many of the mid/upper level classes(Biochemistry, cell physiology,microbiology, etc.) I recently went back to work full time in the business world but will still be volunteering 1 day a week at a large urban hospital. Any advice is appreciated.