I will apologize in advance for what I think will be a long post…
I met at SUNY Upstate with the Dean of Admissions and a member of the Committee yesterday and was told some fabulous news. They (this is where I can make the post shorter ) said that as I was older, had a house and family here, was a PA at a local hospital, was going to stay in the area after I finished (and probably would be on staff at the hospital I work at now) that they were going to do everything that they could to make sure I was a student there in 2006. Holy Crap, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The only problem that the Dean saw was my grades from many years ago. Back in 1981, I was asked to leave Syracuse University with less than a 1.0. Since then, I have done much better, with a 3.0 for an AAS in Resp. Care and honors from my PA school. Now, I am taking my prereqs again and have about a 3.7 GPA.Obviously, my MCAT scores will be very important.
Now, to the nitty gritty. I know that AMCAS “packages your grades” on the application and I have downloaded a form “AMCAS grade conversion guide” that is slightly enlightening, but if anyone has any insight into how AMCAS does what they do with your grades, I would appreciate some help. Also, if there is anyone that has a phone number or contact that can lead me to a real person at AMCAS, I would love to be able to speak with someone to decide if I need to do something else (i.e. take some other courses, etc.) to package my app a little better.
I thought that you guys would appreciate the story in the beginning. I am blessed with these guys at the school helping me and also my family who are the biggest part of making my draem come true. Any help on the subject would be appreciated.
Once again, Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post.
If you go to aamc.org you can find phone numbers to contact amcas. There is also a very large pdf file that it behooves anyone applying this year or later to read…it gives detailed instructions on the application through amcas the how to and what needs to be filled in.
Basically, AMCAS is going to breakdown your grades into Science and non-science. PA and respiratory will be included in the non-science GPA. There will be a GPA for undergraduate (your first bachelor’s degree), graduate degree (if you are in a degree program) and post-bacc (everything that you got after your first bachelor’s degree).
You may want to invest in a professional admission’s counselor (i.e. Judy Colwell) to get the kinks ironed out of your application as you are clearly a non-traditional student. I will re-interate strongly, if you are anything other than a competitive (above 3.5 GPA and above 32 MCAT) traditional student, you need to invest in a professional medical school admissions counselor. There are too many pitfalls and mistakes that make doing this on your own, a real problem for a non-traditional. In some ways, I was very fortunate to make it in on the first try when everyone that I knew (both non-traditional and traditional) did not get an acceptance.
As I have gone through the process on both sides, both medical student and member of admissions committee, I can tell you that “luck” can be created and that you can do some key things that will put you in a more favorable light as a non-traditional student. Remember, I applied back in 1997 when non-traditional students were relatively rare. That is not the case in today’s environment. You need good advising before you invest potentially thousands of dollars in attempting to gain admission to medical school. The cost of professional advising is relatively cheap compared to the cost of tuition.
You can read every AMCAS publication out there but AMCAS publications and attempting to speak with someone at AMCAS will not replace a professional counselor who has a vested interest on your behalf. Every professional counselor wants to make sure that their clients achieve their goals. The more successful you are, the more successful they are so look into the professional route as you are interested in a specific school in a specific location.
I would also caution you that Deans of Admissions and admissions committee members change. This is another reason to make sure that your package is as tight as possible.
Good luck and great to hear good news.