Stacked Up Against Me?

Hello All, this is my first time posting and I should have done it ages ago. I am currently applying to medical school for the 2009 cycle. Here is a brief history before my questions:

40 y/o, F, married, no kids

MCAT: August 2008=27L (9,9,9)

BCMP GPA: 3.66

Total GPA: 3.15*


1986-1988:NYU, studied French

1988-1990: University of the Arts, studied Industrial Design

1992-2005: University of Maryland, College Park, BS in Cell, Molecular Biology and Genetics


1997-2001: Georgetown University Medical Center, worked as ED tech and medical assistant.

2001-present: work for my family’s business (not medically related)


EMT-Paramedic, 14 year life member of local rescue squad.

*I attended college for 4 1/2 years prior to discovering medicine and accrued 91 credits of low GPA. I enrolled at Univ. of MD full time (worked part time) , did very well (major’s honors program,Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Fellow, etc.) and then crashed and burned during my sixth semester when I lost my housing, didn’t have any financial aid left and had to drop out of school. It took me another 10 years to complete my degree, taking classes as I could afford them. I accrued another 100 credits at Univ. of MD.

Comments/Questions/Worrie s:

I thought I was a decent candidate for MD school but after many rejections without interviews I am beginning to wonder. What I see as my negatives: age; low total GPA (mostly from art school); low MCAT; age of prerequisites (some like 16 years old, but I have 5 upper level science classes-including Biochem. I, II and III-with in the last 5 years; haven’t been working full time in a medically related field for the last 7 years (I had to work for my family’s business so I could finish my degree); applied late. My positives: age (I don’t feel 40); decent science GPA; 14 year community service; lots of medical experiences as paramedic and medical assistant; persistence; taking a post-bac class (suggested by my pre-med advisor since I have been out of school soooo long-all 2 1/2 years since graduating!); interested in rural medicine or serving the underserved-willing to move anywhere to go to school/practice.

I am a non-traditional, non-traditional applicant: I’m old, but wasn’t raising children all of this time (unfortunately) nor did I just recently decide to pursue a career change and have recent prerequisites.

I know I have control over some of my “negatives”, late application, low MCAT, not applying to schools that require recent pre-reqs, but I can’t change my low total GPA or my age or the fact that some of my pre-reqs are old because the number of classes I would have to take to erase bad grades in art school is cost prohibitive or the fact that I have worked for my family’s business for the last 7 years.

So, finally my question: If I were to reapply early next year with a much improved MCAT, would I have a chance or are my negatives just too overwhelming? I can’t afford to take a special masters program on top of medical school (my husband refuses) to try to boost my total GPA, so improving the MCAT and early applications are my only options.

Thank you so much and sorry if I sound like a whiny windbag.


rejected pre-secondary: WVU, Univ. Kentucky, EVMC

rejected post-secondary: Univ. of MD, Case Western, GW

pending/no word/not too hopeful: Drexel, Temple, Jefferson, Marshall, Commonwealth Medical College, Tulane, NYMC

Also, just now applying to osteopathic medical school (LECOM, PCOM, NYCOM, OU-COM, UMDNJ-SOM), probably too late-wish I had done it sooner-love their approach to medicine.

I really don’t think repeating your premedical prerequisites would have done any good for your application. (They would’ve been considered easy "A"s anyways since they’re in essence remedial coursework.) I’ve know people with older prerequisites than you get into medical school. They proved they could handle the medical school curriculum by doing well in recent, full-time advance-level premedical coursework. (Just as a side question: Who did you get to write your academic recommendations?) But in reality, your lateness in applying and your low MCAT score (and low subscores) are the probably the culprits in your application. As you know, 27 is sort of on the low end for most allopathic medical schools and, unfortunately, I do know that some allopathic and osteopathic medical schools do require at least a “M” in the writing section of the MCAT to able to consider an applicant any further.

Don’t give up hope, though. You’re still being considered by some allopathic schools and all of your osteopathic schools. I’ve known people who by this time were rejected by all 20+ of the allopathic medicals schools they had applied to and people with lower MCAT composite score than you get into osteopathic medical school (although I’m pretty sure all of them had writing scores higher than an “M” - Sorry, I had to be honest about that). You’re definitely not out of the game. In the meanwhile, are you preparing for the January 2009 MCAT? Are you taking some courses right now?


Thank you for your response. Please do not apologize for being honest with me. The L is very embarrassing. I ran out of time and didn’t have concrete examples in my essays. I know I can do much better on the MCAT. I am probably not up to snuff to take the January test, but will definitely start studying to take it early and apply earlier.

I am currently taking Principles of Immunology (400 level)-will get an A. I totally understand why admissions committees look for “recent full-time advanced-level premedical coursework”, but that is one of my problems, I can’t afford to do that. I sort of feel like I will be penalized for not having money. If I could afford take a $20,000-$30,000 special masters program I would. In the last 5 years I have taken:(all 400 level)Biochemistry I (grade B), Biochem II (B), Biochem III (A-), Pathogenic Micro. (A), Cell Bio (A). However, I took them spread out over the 5 years as I could afford them.

My academic recs came from my Biochem III and Cell Bio professors, I’m sure they are very generic since I only knew them for a semester each. My current professor was my research fellowship mentor so I can get a decent LOR from her.

So again, I hope if I spend all the time and money reapplying, my lack of recent full-time coursework won’t hurt me. I know nothing is certain or guaranteed, but it would be nice to know I would have a fighting chance.

First off, I was quite shocked to see your posts, b/c I thought you were me…I kept thinking, “I never responded to this post.” Then realized that you have the same user name as me minus the space. Hopefully it won’t cause too much confusion.

Second, I am not an expert in this process, but I have read a lot and have seen a lot of people with grades and MCAT similar to yours who have gotten in to MD/DO school. I have to say that I don’t know what the letters mean attached to the MCAT scores, but it looks like the previous poster already addressed that.

Did you write an excellent personal statement (did someone help you–correct or critique it)?

You already know that you need to send in your apps sooner as most schools I have read about have a rolling acceptance.

It just seems prudent to give yourself all the advantages you can: great statement and early apps. Are you able to retake the MCAT? Again, I am not an expert, but you seems to be a pretty decent candidate. Good Luck.

Sorry! I didn’t know I was copying your name-honest. My favorite book as a child was “Leo the Late Bloomer”, and I always refer to myself as a late bloomer. I ran the two words together because that is how all of the “kids” on Student Doctor Network write their user names. Is there a way to change my user name? I should change it to Lame-O Copy Cat!


I answer your other question in the other thread, but I’d like to elaborate a little bit more on your application here.

I got accepted to an allopathic school with 27…(I think O or P - don’t remeber exactly)…but it wasn’t until late May/ early June, when the waitlists started moving… and the whole waiting process was sooo nerve-wrecking and I was already registered to retake the MCAT b/c I knew that 27 was what was holding me back (I got 7 in verbal). I was pretty sure that the rest of my application looked good and competitive.

I think you should definitely consider retaking the MCAT and shoot for at least 10 in each section and try to improve your writing score. I’m not sure if you used any MCAT prep course. I took Kaplan and they had lots of helpful hints on how to write the essay in the MCAT manner. In fact it doesn’t have to be a particularly good essay. As long as it contains all the elements they asked for, and you stick to basic grammar rules and avoid spelling mistakes, you should be able to score at least O… which i think is average. I know you mentioned that $$ is the issue and might not be able to take the prep class. You don’t really need the prep-class to master the essay writing. I would think the MCAT prep books you can buy in any bookstore would have examples of the essays and some advice on what MCAT is looking for.

I think your GPA is definitelly in the range that can get you into a med school… or at least to open the interview door in front of you. But you have to follow few rules:

  • make sure that you apply EARLY!!! I cannot stress it enough! You should have your application submitted mid-June the latest.

  • Have excellent letters of recommendation. Generic letters won’t do! While some people get in with OK letters, they might have 4.0 GPA and 40 MCAT.

  • write the best personal statement possible!

    Finally, keep calling all the schools that you still haven’t heard from. In fact, I also didn’t hear from Drexel and Temple for the longest time, despite me calling them on the regular basis. One of them finally rejected me in July (a week before I was about to start my med school) and I have never heard from the other one - I’m not sure which one; but when I called they kept telling me that I’m still in the pool and they will let me know as soon as they makeir decision!

    At this point you have nothing to waste! And your persistence can only get you into the door of some of these schools.

    Finally, as I said in the other post (although I’m not as familiar with DO application process as I am with allopatic schools): I wouldn’t apply this year so late in the application process. I’d rather save up the $$ and use it next year.

    Hope it helps,


I have a question that may fit into this blog:

  1. I’ve seen on a few sites that acceptance rates to allopathic medical are around 40-45%. This seems like a struggle but still reasonable. Yet when you look at the lists of individual schools acceptance rates(all 125) on sites like the rates are consistently around or less than 5% (even taking into account in-state rates). This doesn’t add up…can someone take a shot at explaining this? 45% makes me want to go for it at my late age…5% makes me weary.

  2. Why do private school still have higher in-state acceptance rates?

DLC1290, in response to #1, I think the stats reflect two different things.

Say 50,000 people apply to allopathic medical schools this year, and 25,000 end up matriculating. We could say that 50% get in and attend this cycle. Others may go DO, go to non-US schools, choose not to attend this year, or get rejected. Among those who get rejected, a good number will apply again next year.

At any given school, 4,000 people may apply, and 400 may get in. That’s a 10% acceptance rate, of which about half tend to matriculate. Of course, it gets a little different w/ waitlists and movement off of that, but I think it works out.

So to put this all in perspective, one thing we sometimes say around here is that it’s impossible to predict whether somebody will get into a particular med school. But if you’re sufficiently motivated, and you’ve got some talent and luck, you’ve got a good shot at getting into a medical school. And all it takes is that one, right? Hopefully the right one for you

The average allopathic medical school applicant applies to around 20 different medical schools. Many of these applicants won’t follow-up wholeheartedly with all of their initial applications because of the time, money, and effort involved in writing more essays, submitting recommendation letters, paying additional application fees, having to block out 2 or 3 days on short notice for an interview, paying for a plane ticket to get to the interview, etc. So you should really look at those admission numbers not like they are odds in winning the lottery, but moreover how arduous and time-consuming the application process is in winnowing down that huge initial applicant pool to a number that an admissions committee can handle.

By the way, what medical schools did your find that have higher than expected acceptance rates of in-state applicants?

Check out…and go to med school stats…many private schools still have significantly higher in-state acceptance rates.