SAHM to MD - DIY postbacc?

Hi all,

I just posted this on SDN (the ‘What are my chances’ forum), and it was suggested that I repost here.

So, I went to an Ivy undergrad, graduated cum laude, did a ton of semi-impressive-sounding ECs (stem cell research at HMS, shadowing at MGH and community/VA, volunteered in pediatric oncology for 2 years, interned for a former surgeon general - that kind of thing)… then got married and had 9 kids. While I wish this would count as diversity somehow (pretty sure most med schools haven’t ever had a mom of that many, and shouldn’t that count as leadership? I definitely started a unique organization…haha), I’m afraid spending 12 years primarily as a stay at home parent will work against me.

On to my (sadly, not super impressive) stats:

cGPA: 3.52, upward trend, similar sGPA

Completed all prereqs with decent grades, but graduated in 2001.

MCAT: 32, August 2001 - didn’t really study at all, because I was verrrrry sick with my first pregnancy (signed up for the exam before finding out I was pregnant)

Since graduating, I have done some research (three years as an analyst with the National Lung Screening Trial), shadowing in outpatient oncology, and am about to start volunteering as a Spanish medical interpreter at our community free clinic.

If I take (and ace) a few upper level science courses at a good institution to show that my brain still works, and I absolutely kill the MCAT, do you think I have a chance at mid-tier allopathic schools?

So that was my SDN post. Any advice here about the best steps to take next in terms of DIY vs. formal post-bacc? If I completed a formal post-bacc with a 4.0, it would only raise my cGPA to a 3.6 - not sure that’s worth it in terms of record enhancement for the cost, but I don’t want adcoms to reject me just because they’re worried I won’t be able to handle the load after so much time out of formal school.

Thanks in advance for any input.

PS - Yes, I have a ton of kids and logistics are crazy and all that. I will have support (mom living with us and very supportive husband, not to mention driving teens, haha) and by the time I reach residency, half my kids will be grown/gone, and the other half will be teenagers. This is what I want to do in my post-baby life! :smiley:

PPS - I’m 35 currently, hope to start med school at 38ish when my youngest is in 1st or 2nd grade, so I have some time to get my ducks in a row.

Any comment from you wise OPMs? I’m thinking of taking a few online courses from HES…

Does anyone know if adcoms will even consider my old ECs, or will they only care about recent activities?

9 kids, wow…

Your old ECs should count for something. Regardless of when you did them, you still did the activities. People seemed to understand that some have more time than others to do extracurricular type stuff. Having a family doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for other non-familial, non-financial type stuff.

You may want to recheck the prereqs, as they have changed since you last took the MCAT. I probably wouldn’t retake anything, just top off whatever you need and/or take some other classes to brush up on what it’s like to be in school again. With a good track record, there’s no reason for them to think you’ve regressed, especially if you just refamiliarize yourself to school.

If you live in an area near a med school, you may want to attend an info session if they offer. I attended one live and one via the internet from a school I was interested in that was on the other side of the country. They may take individual questions. Worst case, you should email admissions folks to see what they would recommend since you’ve been out of school for so long.

Hi, I’m a SAHM that returned to school to finish my BS 2 years ago (will finish my degree in another year. took the mcat this month and will apply shortly.)

I’m just looking to talk to other SAHM’s who are on this journey. I feel very unsure of how to write my PS and how to present myself.

Whatever topic or experience you choose to focus on in your PS, make sure it is one that you enjoy talking about and be true to yourself. Don’t choose something because that’s what you think the ADCOMS want to hear about or is the key into an interview. ADCOMS really enjoy hearing about personal stories that they can explore more when the applicant comes to interview. The PS is the place where you can explain any hiccups you’ve encountered along the way, and answer the question WHY you want to be a physician. As you write your PS really try to think of the experience that solidified your decision to attend medical school and become a doctor. As a nontrad your path is a little different, so it’s ok to explore that in your PS! Hope that helps! Good luck to you on your journey.

I have no idea how to answer your questions - but just wanted to say how impressed I am with your drive to succeed in your goal! Best of luck to you!

Take this with a grain of salt, since I’m no expert on the application process, but I am another mom who recently got accepted to a solid MD program in my mid-30s. Your application will be unique, and your undergrad stats aren’t bad. The Ivy League degree with a 3.5+ will help; the Harvard brand is solid. However, the 3.5 is not ideal, and being out of school that long is even less ideal. I reached out to the dean of admissions at my local school when I decided to apply, and while he was encouraged by my 3.94 in my senior year of college, he strongly encouraged me take graduate school classes to prove I was still capable of excelling academically- not just the one I intended to take, but a full-time course load. Initially, I ignored his advice (I had a full-time job and an infant at home) and submitted both my AMCAS and AACOMAS applications. After I went through that process, I stopped and thought about how hard it would be to move my family, and I chose to enroll in grad school while working. It paid off.

I would strongly advise you to to do what I did and get feedback from admissions at any school you really want to attend. Take their advice seriously. Had I not enrolled in grad school seriously (as opposed to taking one class) they probably would have discarded my application. A DIY postbacc may have worked for some schools, but I would have been rolling the dice.

I think that as a clearly intelligent and driven parent, you may have some advantage; they may take you more seriously than anyone else applying with your stats from your school. However, I was taken aback by some of the kids who are in my grad program and have graduated from schools like Cornell and Harvard with 3.6+ GPAs and impressive research experience- this process is more competitive than it’s ever been. You really can’t take anything for granted. Choosing to do this after spending 12 years as a SAHM is incredible, and absolutely WILL set you apart from other applicants, but you need to do more research and tailor your applications more carefully. Reach out to everyone you can, starting with admissions at the school that makes the most sense for you. Don’t just blindly enroll in classes as a post-bacc; find out what they want from you.