Sorry everyone, I need to vent.
This process is exhausting, I’m seriously considering forgetting the whole thing.
My recommendation letters are impossible to get together - most of my recent volunteer work was 9/11 related and a lot of those organizations (or the people doing the work at the time) have been disbanded. My boss has already told me he won’t write me one, because he wants me to stay here. NY Cares (which I did most of the 9/11 work through) claims to have no record of that work, because it didn’t fall under their regular umbrella, so any letter of recommendation I get from them will only state that I have 30 or so hours of volunteer work, despite the fact that I volunteered nearly that much per week while I was unemployed.
My volunteer work pretty much stopped as soon as I started school again, because I can’t juggle two classes (plus TPR on Sundays), a full-time job and a consistent volunteer gig. I know plenty of doctors, but I don’t know how I’m going to find time to shadow them - probably wait for my lag year.
I can’t seem to lift my overall GPA over a 3.0 in such a limited amount of time, even though I have a 4.0 post-bacc GPA with only Orgo II and Orgo labs left to go on the pre-reqs. Also, more advanced classes are extremely difficult for evening students to find or get into.
My Princeton Review class keeps screwing up their scheduling, and eating my weekends away with make-up classes. I should probably stop going since I decided not to take the April MCAT anyway, but I don’t want to because I paid for the damn thing.
My advisor is completely useless - he dispenses desultory information, and seems to have no familiarity at all with the process. On the plus side, he’s retiring at the end of this semester. On the downside, he’s retiring at the end of this semester.
Finally, my uncle (who I adored) died two weeks ago (http://www.coffin.org), my cats are 4 months overdue for vet appointments, as am I for the dentist. I haven’t paid taxes on my corporation in I don’t know how long. I thought I’d be able to get all this done during the break, but I just can’t get to it, because instead I’m just making up lost time at work – I haven’t left before 7:30 in I don’t know how long. I’m tired, I’m munchy all the time, I’m not prepared for next semester and dammit, I need a haircut.

Skeeter - talk to the TPR people. If you are planning to take a later test, you should not be doing the class now. I work for them, and at least in my office, they are very reasonable about letting you re-do the class. You won’t get your money back, but you can re-start fresh when you do plan to take it.
Add this to the fact that they are screwing up the schedule (unforgivable in my book - please tell me it’s not the Chicago office), and I think you have a good chance of postponing.
My analog to using these review course for MCAT is preparing for a marathon. You may have trained a bunch six months ago, but it won’t mean squat if you took the 4 months before the race off. The practice tests, especially, are there to build you up to that specific test.
Good luck!

Erica, most of my medical school applications wanted my LOR’s to be entirely from people familiar with my academics or 2 of the 3 to be from professors. Some even required that all three be from people familiar with my academics and at least two from science academics. I only had one non-academic person write me a letter, and I only had that letter submitted to one school.
I think others have stated previously that most medical schools will not spend the time to verify the EC’s listed on your application. I would represent them honestly and just be prepared to explain the circumstances if someone actually does call the organization to verify your volunteer hours. Your volunteer work sounds like great material for your personal statement.
I don’t know how many courses you’ve taken recently, but as long as you have done well in them you should be okay. Despite my near 4.0 in the pre-reqs that I took over the past year and a half, I still didn’t boost my overall GPA over a 3.0. You may get rejected by some schools outright because of that, but most will look at the recent trend.
As to the advisor - if you have a good advisor, great, but it can be done without one. I made it through most of this process with only the assistance of the people on OPM and other internet resources. If you really feel you need an advisor to guide you through the process, consider hiring a professional.
As to your boss, just maybe say “I’m flattered that you don’t want me to leave, but this is something that I am going to do with or without your recommendation, so I hope you will reconsider.” Then, depending on the reaction, approach him/her after awhile and see what kind of feedback you get. Again, most schools prefer academic LOR’s anyways.
Good luck!

I know how you feel. Take a deep breath; this is not a sprint; this is a lifestyle. Consider reducing your schedule. Frankly, I think it doesn’t matter if it takes a little longer to do the pre-reqs as long as you do it well and aren’t shirking. You, my dear, are not shirking.
Make sure you set yourself up to do as best you can on the MCAT. Would it be tragic if you applied next year instead of this one? Don’t be afraid of radical change to make it work. I second the above-mentioned suggestion to talk to TPR and reschedule–but consider that studying for it in summer is really a full time job due to the shorter timeframe.
As for your boss, could you continue to work for someone who sabotaged you in this manner? Can you diplomatically get this point across to him? Can someone else in the organization be your champion (above your boss?)?
Best of luck. You’ll find lots of good advice here; read old threads.

Heh, no it’s the New York (Soho) office. I gather the person who organized the original schedule quit, and then failed to communicate all the schedule changes back to the person taking over. It’s been a total disaster. They’ve screwed up four classes already.


The Jesuits have a saying, “do what you are doing.” Working on one thing at a time when you are overwhelmed at the outset seemes daunting but it has two useful outcomes. First you accomplish something and the added benefit of being distracted from things you can’t (immediately) change. Things will come together. Regarding the hair cut, from one Cousin It to another, I’m glad you are keeping your sense of humor. It will carry you far. Be well O’Hairy One.

PS Regarding Amy’s suggestion to possibly hire a professional advisor. I met with Judy Colwell last summer. She’s easy to talk to and a wealth of information. I did have the benefit of a face to face meeting, but she does work with people not in her immediate area.

Amy -
Congratulations on your acceptance to University of Cincinnati.
Thanks for your advice, especially regarding the grades. It still kills me though, because I’ve become something of a perfectionist when it comes to school work.
Just to clarify, the LORs are for our pre-med committee. I have to progressively submit recommendation forms from each of my professors each semester (which is a huge pain, because they don’t like to write them) to the committee. If the medical schools need academic letters in addition to the committee letter, I’m not sure what I’ll do. I’ve only had one or two professors that know who I am, I’m pretty sure.

Thanks so much for the suggestions everyone!
Part of the problem is that I still have quite a lot to do, and I’m already starting to burn out a bit.
1. I called TPR and moved my MCAT class up to the summer version.
2. I’m going to drop the stats class…
3. …and try to get into hospice volunteer work, which I’ve been motivated to do since hospice was such a vital component of my uncle’s care.
4. I think I’m going to postpone the application process for another year, and try to pump up my GPA a little more next year.

Erica -
Most schools require either a committee letter OR 3 letters (or 4 or 5) of reference. The schools that asked for a committee letter gave the option of x# LOR’s if your school does not have a committee. I’m not sure how it works if the school asks for x# of LOR’s and all you have is a committee letter. Maybe someone who is more familiar with the whole committee letter thing can help out here.
You will probably be much happier deciding to take an extra year. A friend of mine who is working to get into pharmacy school ended up pushing her application back a year and was very glad she did. She was having a tough enough time with classes and said she doesn’t think she would have been able to handle prepping for the PCAT and all of the applications stuff too.
P.S. Thanks for the congrats. BTW - at a recent interview, I was asked how I did in my classes last quarter. When I answered honestly that I got a C in biochem, my interviewer said “Hah! You’re not perfect after all! You’re recent academic record was pretty boring.”

From my experience this year applying, most secondaries that I filled out asked for a comittee letter only if you have it - because the comitte letter should fold in other recommendation. They only required individual letters IF you did not have access to a comittee.
That said, my school required 2 profs and a clinical letter to participate in the comittee. They sent those with the comittee letter ‘just in case’ to the schools. So in in the end schools did recieve all the letters. I’m not sure how other schools do it, but I can’t imagine having to ask for a set of letters twice. That would be a huge pain.

Five of the six schools I applied to wanted the committee letter. I think it was easier for them to have as few pieces of paper as possible. As was perviously stated, it encompassed the comments of other letter writers. However, the sixth school wanted two letters in addition to the committee letter from previous work and/or academic experience if you were non-traditional.
Good luck,