What would you do?

I took most of the pre-med course work 15 years ago as an undergrad, except for orgo. Also I didn’t do well in 1st sem chem or 2nd sem physics. I took the MCAT also many years ago, and got a mediocre score. I’ve approached a number of admissions people about my transcript and background (the gist of which is in my signature) about how to approach my curriculum, and have heard a range of advice, from “just take orgo, do well, and re-take the MCAT, and do well” to “take orgo, retake the chem and physics and do the MCAT” to “don’t retake anything, take advanced courses and do the MCAT.”

I thought I’d approach this all slowly and just take orgo with lab this year and the MCAT over the summer, and submit application to mostly DO schools this summer, plus a couple foreign schools, and a couple masters programs. However–I know I am interested in research, and wonder whether I should instead have a 2 or 3 year plan and retake gen chem and physics plus more advanced coursework (via masters or within postbacc) during the 2nd or 3rd year.

I may not even have a choice in this, as chances are I’ll get rejected across the board the first round, but say I do get into a DO school the 1st round of apps. Would you advise me to go? What if it were only a provisionally accredited program, would you advise me to go then?

one thing that all of us who have been around for a while have said is that you are running a marathon and not a sprint.

Applying to medical school is not only taxing on your psyche but on your nerves and your wallet. If the average student applies to 20 schools, the AAMCAS and AACOMAS application fees alone are about $500. Then you need to add in each secondary. And since 90% of the schools do not screen that means that 18 schools will send you their secondary. With an average secondary application fee of about 75$ that runs you $1350.

So you just spent $2000 on applications and the question you need to ask yourself is “Am I a competitive applicant?”

Based on this information, you need to decide for yourself if you want to go ahead and apply now or make yourself as competitive as possible with a new and better MCAT and some new grades to show the schools that you can handle high level science courses.

If you are confident that you will get rejected with your application as is, I would advise you to wait and do what you need to do to be more competitive. You are young and you have time. Do it right the first time and you will not have to worry about more what ifs in the future.

I took biology in 1997 then retook it last year and boy were there advances in the field! It is no longer just a counting and classifying field - the science is really taking off with genetics, protein crystalography etc. I would suggest that you retake the bio to get up to speed on modern topics. Basic Physics and GenChem haven’t really changed in 100 years, so if you’re comfortable with just brushing up for the MCAT, go for it and good luck!