Thoughtful advice appreciated.

I am 30 year old non traditional mother of one.

To give some background I have a previous degree from an SEC school and decided, based upon a life changing accident (victim of a pedestrian hit and run) that I had absolutely no desire to want to continue upon that path to become a lawyer any longer and so my desire to become a physician grew. I had previous exposure to medicine as a sick child which probably gave me too much insight into some of the most negative aspects of a few poor examples of physicians and this created my initial idea of wanting to help the wronged in law. I took courses in college and although I enjoyed learning about other cultures tremendously, I found myself bored often and I didn’t do as well as I could have, which is completely my fault. I moved back home on a consortium agreement for my senior year of college as my father had a heart attack and stent placed in his LAD, with me being an only child I realized the importance of being closer and assisting my family. Additionally, this accident occurred in my senior year, where I was able to take a few courses until I was re injured even further in another accident which fractured several vertebra, which then kept me from finishing my degree for several more years. Essentially I recovered for a full year and a half of intense therapy, and then when swamped with medical bills had to work for several more years while continuing to have surgeries to correct my continued issues. I went back around 4 years later to finish a degree that I was sure that I wanted nothing to do with, however finished and graduated with a 3.1 cGPA. I looked into post bacc programs and attended a non formal post bacc program locally. Prior to attending the program I went through an additional back surgery in order to assist me with being able to sit more comfortably, as I was able to stand for long periods of time, just not sit. I was in the program for a few months when I found out that I was pregnant! I was excited as well as worried over the potential pain that could result due to added weight on my spine. Long story short I completed my core science classes (that I had not yet taken) that year while pregnant including lab and finished strong. However the next year when my son was an infant to 1 I overwhelmed myself with classes, took organic chemistry in the evening (failed it) because I was exhausted and in more pain from lifting my son. I take full ownership of my failures, I sincerely regret making the choices that I made, with the lack of resources that I had financially and the lack of childcare compounded my fathers being diagnosed with a movement disorder and now disabled, I was overwhelmed and made poor choices in the academic arena. After this particularly low point in my life, I decided that several things had to happen to make me more successful. First, I had to obtain reliable childcare, second I had to work on my own strength and health in order to feel better day to day, third I had to change my study strategy entirely and put in a jobs worth of hours at the library in order to succeed, and finally, I had to address and assist my father with getting his health out of a steady plummet. I decided to retake the organic chem class again, and made an A in both 1,2 and the lab. I have since completed a full year of straight A’s in upper level biology and chemistry courses including biochem. Additionally, I have been shadowing a physician for 100+ hours and volunteering at an Adult day center to assist those with similar mental and physical impairments as my father. I continue to work with my fathers excersize, transfers, office visits and hygiene around 20 hours a week. Currently I have started cardiovascular research and will take classes next fall and spring in addition to shadowing and volunteer activities. I currently have a science GPA of a 2.733 and 2.919 cGPA according to AAMC grading guidelines, again with an upward trend for this past year.

My question is, do you feel as though an SMP program is necessary to remedy these academic woes in the eyes of either allopathic or osteopathic schools? I am planning on taking courses this next year, and I plan on taking the MCAT in July (I have scored around a 31-32 in pre tests from the AAMC). I was also wondering if it would be a bad idea to apply this year to osteopathic schools or allopathic after having a strong year of performance. I cannot envision my lack of resources financially supporting another year of post bacc work after this year. I will be taking around 8 courses which is 24 credit hours. I want to give myself the best chance at admission, I am just not sure if that means post bacc or SMP or if I should apply.

I am sorry for the longevity of this post, but would sincerely appreciate responses.

I think an SMP/formal post-bacc would help a lot, especially if it is one that has a direct-entry opportunity into a med school. The statistics are bleak for sub 3.0, but a human-being using a holistic approach to reviewing your story and your increasing academic trend brings out possibilities. People with lower GPAs have gotten in, though there is no data available showing what helped bump up their competitiveness. A strong MCAT score will help your case.

What classes are you doing post-bacc? You may think about mixing in some retakes of classes with poor grades with some upper-level work. Have you done a GPA calc for AACOMAS? The DO app process allows for grade replacement and can help bring up your GPA (you may want to read the AACOMAS instructions for more specifics before spending money). If you do have retakes, I think you have a better shot at an osteopathic program. AMCAS gives you some credit for retakes, but I think it’s more an average of the two grades instead of outright replacement.