What do I do now?

Hello, my name is Louis Gonzales, and I’m 27 years old. I have put off going to medical school for the last 5 years due to personal/family reasons (I’ve been taking care of my sister who developed a form of psychosis back in the spring of 2013 and I was my grandmother’s caretaker during her fatal bout with Liver Cancer in 2014). I was trying for Optometry School, but after shadowing several optometrists I just don’t think that it was the correct field for me. I graduated in 2011 with a 3.4 Science GPA and a 3.7 cumulative GPA. I, at this time, only have 450 hours of volunteering and 3 years worth of science tutoring (biology, microbiology, chemistry, and organic chemistry) experience at the local community college near my home (I can’t travel that far due to my sister’s health). I did have shadowing experience, but the doctor I shadowed back in 2011 doesn’t have an office in this state anymore.

I know I’ll have to start shadowing and taking my MCAT (I got a 23 on the 2012 MCAT), but what else should I do to prepare my application? I’m taking my MCAT in mid August, so is it a good idea to get letters of recommendation right now and apply late or wait till the next year and ask those professors in early 2018 to write LOR’s? Also, is research necessary? I went back to talk to an adviser at my university about applying to medical school in December, but she told me that I had a ‘zero percent’ chance of getting into medical school at this point due to lack of research. Overall, any advice would be most helpful. Thank you! :smiley:

You don’t need research experience to get into medical school.

Also, why are you taking the MCAT in August? Is that something you could move up? It sounds like you could have an application ready to go in the summer if you could take your MCAT sooner.

My suggestion would be to start collecting letters yesterday (use Interfolio if possible), focus on your MCAT studying, and try to move that up to May/June, do some more shadowing and be ready to submit applications this summer. I would suggest strongly against applying late (although it worked out for me). With an August MCAT, the earliest you could be complete would be mid-September, which could put you at a significant disadvantage at some schools.

Good luck, and I hope your application season (be it this one, or the next) works out for you.

I think not needing research depends on where you plan to apply to school. Most top schools (1-20 or so) seem to indirectly require it IMHO.

I answered this on today’s OPM podcast! Subscribe and listen! http://opmpodcast.com/63