Thankful for OPM!

As I sit here and think about how far I’ve come down the old premed road “only the MCAT and orgo II left” I can’t help but be thankful that I stumbled onto this site one day when I was doing a google search for people as crazy as me!

I think Pixie made the comment on a recent post comparing a contrasting this site to another site (which won’t be named nor bashed as that clearly isn’t the intention) about the general attitude of hope and good will found on this site! I agree, and personally wouldn’t settle for anything else! This truly is a site dedicated to reaching for your dream!

I had an interesting conversation with the dean of admissions for the Medical College of Georgia a few months back. Of course, upon meeting him I had questions about numbers, and what he replied pleasantly surprised me. He said, “For a non traditional candidate like yourself your personal statement speaks as loudly as your MCAT will.” I was really caught off guard by that! We all worry a bit too much about our numbers, but what he was getting at was, provided your numbers are in an acceptable range, YOU’RE SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST YOUR NUMBERS! A 3.2 GPA and a 27 MCAT with a fantastic application otherwise may be better than a 3.8 GPA and a 37 MCAT on an otherwise bland individual who is no more dynamic than their numbers! Obviously we all strive for a strong application, but if the only way you have of measuring yourself is a set of numbers, it’s a bit pathetic and immature. I’ve got several good friends who went offshore because that’s what they had to do, but now they’re practicing physicians and good at their career. They’re fulfilled. How much are you willing to give up to do what you want to do?

I’ve made so many good friends on this site and it’s been an encouragement to see their progress!

I’m thankful to the site of the “don’t ever give up” crowd!



I want to echo your sentiment as well! I am in class with students who range in age from 22-36. It seems as though, however, that those of us with the life experience understand that this journey is more than “numbers.”

I wish you success as you get prepared for Orgo II and the MCAT!

Honestly, for the past several days I’ve stopped at least once a day to laugh at myself, because I did get accepted - at a school I didn’t think would offer me an interview, because I had FUD.

I truly believe my acceptance happened because of the support and advice of OPMers, particularly Lynda and Kate, who helped me re-think my PS, and turn it into something worth reading. But every aspect of the application cycle was influenced by OPM, and the advice on the boards. As recently as this month, Bailey’s info about the group interview at LECOM kept me from panicking day of.

I love reading about people’s journey to medical school, and their experiences during, and answering questions because so many of you answered mine.

Besides, you’re a fun crowd to party with, come convention time. Long live OPM.

DUPLICATE POST, because my internet connection is awesome.

The reality the competitiveness of getting into medical school is being overtaken by the misperception that it is nearly mythically impossible to achieve unless you have nearly perfect GPA, very high MCATs, extensive research, and whatever else. This is beginning to FUD the allopathic schools deeply as the applicant pool for MD is growing at a slower rate than the increase in first year medical school slots. In addition to effectively shrinking the applicant pool, it also narrowing it to “high-end” students. This in turn effects the ability to get both a diverse class of students and a well rounded class of students.

As was mentioned by Guitardan77 and Pixie, the PS helps nontrads standout. Instead of mentioning the “cookie-cutter” items that most traditional students pickup during college, the PS gives older students a chance to make a concise, coherent and compelling narrative showing a broad and indepth pattern of commitment, motivation and achievement. Doing well on an MCAT shows an ability to compete academically with other students. Doing well on a PS, shows the experience, desire and fortitude to be a good physician.

Richard raises a great point. The ultimate goal of every admissions committee is to enroll a class of students who are dedicated to their calling and will do whatever it takes to get there. The depth that non-trads bring to the table is becoming more important as the pool of applicants becomes more homogenized. You do have to play the numbers game to an extent, but as Dan brought up, it’s different for OPMs. Maybe it’s because I’m OPM myself and more than a little biased in that direction, but I always check out the PS first when I review resident applications. I bet there are a few of my colleagues on the student applicant side of things who think the same way.

I don’t mean to discount the grades though. A healthy dose of fear can be a great motivator. I think the idea that I was 40 something and essentially had no marketable skills probably pushed me through those last biochem exams.

BTW…I’m really looking forward to the entering class of 2013 at MCG. Maybe I can get a guitar lesson?

  • jmdmd Said:
Maybe I can get a guitar lesson?

Maybe we should have an OldPreMeds Talent Show.

Hey Pixie - Happy to help but really you did all the heavy lifting. WTG!!!


I certainly hope you can get a guitar lesson, let’s keep our fingers crossed!


I couldn’t agree more, Dan. I feel like I learn something new every day from each of you, and I feel so fortunate to know you all! One of my favorite CS Lewis quotes is one about friendship…

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one!”

I think simply knowing that I’m not alone on this crazy journey–that there are other people out there like me…it just gives me the determination to push forward some days.

After my organic exam tonight, we were standing out in the hallway talking about the semester, and a fellow pre-med student looked at me and said, “Can you even imagine what it would be like to just be a student? You’re a wife, a mom, a touring musician, a corporate American, and pre-med student. Seriously? What are you going to do when you actually get to focus all your energy in one direction and go to med school???”

This person seemed shocked that I was not only staying above water, but actually doing really well.

It occurred to me that none of that seems strange or abnormal to me anymore. It sounds ludicrous to other people, but for me, it’s simply a new normal. And so many of you do all this (and more) each and every day, and you do it beautifully. A year ago, I didn’t think it could be done. You showed me differently.

You’ve led by example, and I’m not sure I’d have taken this “road less traveled” had it not been for some of your stories. And for Khan Academy. Definitely can’t forget Khan Academy.

Very, very, very cool. THANK you.