right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Sincerely, A worried premed

bluedreamsbluedreams 86 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Hello. I have pretty much nowhere to go to ask for advice as of right now and decided to just go ahead and post here.

I’m currently starting my junior year of undergrad as a biology major and I feel like I’m having a quarter life crisis. I had hoped and dreamed that I would apply to med schools (I’m a Texas resident studying in Texas) during the 2020 application cycle however lately I feel like everything about my application is below mediocre. I don’t think that my application would stand out in any way. I’m currently trying to make it looked polished and even tried getting a job as a medical scribe but I got rejected bc in between my class schedule and commuting as well as other responsibilities and balancing extracurriculars I have little to no availability. At this point, I don’t even know what to write about in my personal statements. I’m currently planning on going on a humanitarian medical trip for a week (one of my dreams) and have applied to several hospitals looking for volunteer opportunities. But still, I get rejected from volunteering bc of my availability. I have had this ongoing dilemma for weeks now and I have started thinking about delaying my application until the 2021 cycle (basically the end of my senior year). I feel that it will give me time to gain more experience, find research/internships, volunteer more overall improve my application as a whole including having a better gpa. Do I sound sane? Am I making the right decision to hold off on applying? Has anyone else been in this position before? Does anyone have advice to make my worries go away. Medicine for me has been my lifelong dream and at 20 years old, I have no will to give up. There’s no plan B for me.

Thanks for reading my sad story.
Sincerely,
A worried premed
16 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Sincerely, A worried premed

  • NASA2014NASA2014 2331 replies128 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    First of all, don't give up. Your best bet is to wait until the 2021 cycle. That way like you said will gain experience in doing internships or maybe shadowing a doctor at a hospital. Don't give up now You're too young. Why give up?

    · Reply · Share
  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 1530 replies18 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 17
    Random thoughts:
    There’s a saying about med school application process (It’s a marathon, not a sprint.) There’s no rush. It’s best to apply one time with strongest possible application. If that’s 2021 or 2022 or 2023, or whenever, so be it. More applicants today take gap year(s) to strengthen their med school apps. There are people who start med school in their 30’s, even 40s.

    It would help if you could provide:
    your overall GPA (this includes any college courses taken in hs)
    your sGPA. (A sGPA is calculated for all bio, chem, physics and math (BCPM) courses taken)
    are you GPAs for first two years steady, or uphill/downhill trend
    have you taken ochem? How’d you do?
    I assume you haven’t taken MCAT

    As to ECs:
    Research is not a mandatory EC especially if you are planning a career in primary care.

    A humanitarian med trip will probably be of little to no value for most med schools. You’re better off looking for volunteer activities closer to home. I will defer to @WayOutWestMom to expand on possible ideas for ECs.

    If medicine is your lifelong dream, then you simply must make the time to be available to find and get involved in ECs. There are other areas of health care you may find rewarding. You absolutely need a Plan B. Good luck.
    edited August 17
    · Reply · Share
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41740 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Apply in 2021 or later - the average is 24, I think. No need to apply as a junior.
    See if you can live closer to your college and, cutting the commuting time, volunteer at a local hospital. That will be the most important element beside GPA and you so need two full years of that. One week abroad may be interesting but won't help with led school. Can you become an EMT or CNA?
    · Reply · Share
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10152 replies201 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 18
    I concur with the idea of postponing your application for a year, two would be even better. You can use the extra time to work on your ECs and polish your application. You want to apply only once and with the strongest application possible. Right now your portfolio looks .... awfully anemic and unfocused.

    You say your dream is become a doctor, but you're not actually doing the right things to make it happen and you cannot articulate why you want to BE a doctor. Neither are positive indicators that you're taking the whole process seriously.

    A couple of comments--
    1) international medical trips have become controversial in recent years with more than half of adcomms reporting serious reservations about the ethicality of such trips. Unless you have extensive domestic (US) medical volunteering, your international trip will likely be viewed as a big negative by med schools.

    2) there are plenty of places you can volunteer that aren't hospitals. Try contacting nursing homes, rehab hospitals, Planned Parenthood, your county health clinic, a free clinic for the homeless, suicide or rape hotlines, group home for the physically or mentally disabled, summer camp or weekend/after school program for chronically ill or autistic children..... These sites may be more accommodating of a less than flexible schedule. (Also volunteering in a nice, clean suburban hospital may be pleasant, but it's not reflective of what an actual medical career is like. Get outside your comfort zone and try to work with disadvantaged population groups--homeless, poor, recent and non-English speaking immigrants, LGBTQIA, mentally ill, etc.)

    3) @Jugulator20 is correct. Research is not a critical EC unless you are planning on applying to research intensive medical schools. Community service with the disadvantaged, medical volunteering or employment, physician shadowing and leadership are valued more highly by adcomms than research.
    See p. 14 to see how adcomms rate the importance of various factors when making decisions about who to interview and accept.
    https://www.aamc.org/download/462316/data/mcatguide.pdf

    BTW, a gap year or two has become very common, with over 60% of matriculants reporting that they have taken one or more gap years. You don't need to be in a hurry to apply. Med school will be there when you're ready.
    edited August 18
    · Reply · Share
  • GoldenRockGoldenRock 1550 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 18
    @bluedreams
    Another random thoughts response.
    1. Don't worry and it is not going to help. You are 20 and not even spent 20 or 25% of your lifetime. At this age where your energy, determination and the will to succeed is (and should be) at prime. Read few obituaries in WSJ or NY Times once in a while to see famous or successful people stories, what they have gone thru in life before they reached that stage. Nothing is red carpet and glossy in life or happened exactly as planned.
    2. Read head line news for a week. You will know how people are struggling even to survive whether in Asia or Middle East or Africa or America. You are in the best place on planet earth. In some countries once you reach 23, no longer you can study and become a doctor. US is a forging place, even after few gap years you can pursue MD.
    In US, you are in the best state, Texas for medical profession. 90% of students have to be Tx residents for seats. All that you need to do is work hard and be resilient.
    3. As others said, go to all the places wowm mentioned than the clean and fancy hospitals. That is where you will learn more (than doing admin / front desk work in hospitals) about the profession. Volunteering helps you to validate beyond dream if that is the right profession or not in addition to strengthen your application.
    4. For all you know, the more you volunteer in harsh places, you may get ideas to write for your PS. Try weekends if there is conflict during weekdays to volunteer.
    edited August 18
    · Reply · Share
  • bluedreamsbluedreams 86 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @WayOutWestMom
    I'm not sure I understand the part where you mentioned "you cannot articulate why you want to BE a doctor." I wouldn't want to do anything else. I know that I am struggling but it doesn't mean that I'm not fit for it. I may have spent the last few years of college dedicating too much time on college courses and thus my ECs may be weak now. I think I can still become a good candidate and I have time for that. It may not look like it but I am very serious about becoming a doctor. Family issues and mental health lapses may have made me fall behind but I know I can bring myself back and that is exactly what I intend to do this semester and the following ones. Thank you for your advice about the other places I could look to volunteer. I have already looked to volunteer at a clinic nearby that is 100% volunteer based and offers care to those who have trouble affording it.
    · Reply · Share
  • bluedreamsbluedreams 86 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Jugulator20
    Overall GPA: 3.401
    BCPM GPA: 3.327 (includes honors courses)
    Freshman year was pretty steady in terms of GPA, Sophomore year first semester went down bc one of the courses I took was way too hard for me (honors genetics) so I made my first and only C and I was experiencing some personal issues as well however it went uphill second semester sophomore year. This upcoming semester im taking 3 more courses that will count towards BCPM and I hope to do really well in them.

    Yes I have taken both OChem 1 and 2 with labs and made a B in all. I haven't taken the MCAT yet but I plan on taking it somewhere between March and August of 2020 since I'm not applying next year. Is that too early?
    · Reply · Share
  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 619 replies55 threadsRegistered User Member
    To answer your most important questions: Yes, you sound sane, and based on all you've told us, it's a good decision to wait to apply.
    And you don't owe it to us-or anyone else at this point-to justify/explain why you want to be a doctor. Just remember, as part of the application process, you will be asked "why".
    And you've been given good advice on where/how to fill the non-academic gaps in you still-developing application package. You have time for the volunteering, shadowing, etc. but you'll have to be flexible and make time for these activities.
    But let's focus on what you can control: academics. It's pretty tough to get into medical school, so your GPA is a pretty important number, so dedicate yourself to your studies. There will be other important numbers(MCAT, for example) but work on your classes so that you can give your best possible effort to get the best possible outcome.
    · Reply · Share
  • artloversplusartloversplus 8546 replies248 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @bluedreams
    You have received very good and constructive advice above.
    Just to make you more at ease, to illustrate that med school is for all ages. My neighbor who was a sales manager until in his 40's before he applied to med school and got in. He is now about 90 years old and fully retired physician.
    · Reply · Share
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41740 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Perhaps wait till Spring 2021 so that your GPA is as high as it can. Keep taking advanced science courses and get As in them. Try to take bioethics if you can. Most importantly, focus on our activities (volunteering, etc). Perhaps your own campus clinic might need help? Or the crisis hotline?
    If you can bring your BCPM and overall GPA to 3.5 DO schools become possible. (You *do* become a full fledged physician at DO schools).
    · Reply · Share
  • AndorvwAndorvw 340 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited August 18
    It is good that you posted your questions here on CC and many had provided great advice to you.
    I have pretty much nowhere to go to ask for advice
    First of all, does your college have a pre-health office? It sounds like you never visit them (if there is) or talk to your pre-med advisor. The only things you've done for pre-med so far are taking pre-med courses with 3.4 cGPA and 3.3 sGPA, no volunteer or shadowing or clinical experience so far, no MCAT... and you worry about your application cycle? You with me so far? Frankly, you NEED to do all those EC's plus a good MCAT score before you even talk about the application cycle. A lot of pre-med these days are taking gap year(s) to do those EC's, so you're not alone. The very few pre-med that are able to apply at the end of junior year are those well-informed, well-prepared, well-connected (connections are very important) and well-supported. You are not one of them, so take your time.

    You need to take care of your GPA first, 3.3 sGPA (even 3.5 assuming you can bring it up to) may be too low for MD schools. All the EC's can easily be done during gap year(s) but GPA is the hardest thing.
    edited August 18
    · Reply · Share
  • bluedreamsbluedreams 86 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Andorvw
    FYI, yes my school has a pre-health office and yes I have visited my pre-med advisor. In my meeting with her during Spring 2019 semester we went over my pre-med reqs and talked about the application process including the health professions committee review that my school offers. I even addressed my concerns over my GPA and personal issues that I had over the past few semesters. I think I understand now very well that I need ECs LOL. And I will be spending more time in doing those. I consider myself well-informed, maybe not that well prepared, but alsoI I feel like I have adequate support. I only reached out because I was feeling overwhelmed and thought maybe someone else had some words of wisdom and comfort to offer me. Nonetheless, thank you for the emphasis on my GPA and ECs. I will spend my time working hard on those. I have understood now that I have simply only completed two years worth of college work and that I still have room for improvement.
    · Reply · Share
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10152 replies201 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 18
    @bluedreams
    You wrote:
    I don’t even know what to write about in my personal statements.

    A PS is literally your answer to the question: Why medicine? Why do I want to be a doctor?

    If you cannot write a PS giving an answer besides "it's my dream," then you're unable to articulate why you want to go into medicine. And please understand, saying you want to help people isn't a good enough reason. (Wanting to help people is necessary, but sufficient.) There are tons of ways to help people, 99.9% of them do not involve being a doctor. Teachers help people; librarians help people; police officers & firefighters help people; social workers help people.....so do plumbers, nurses, and auto mechanics.

    I'm not saying that you can't be doctor, just that right now your application is no where near ready to submit. You have a lot fo work to do to get your application ready.

    In the next year or two, you need to strength your GPA, prepare for and take the MCAT, and develop your ECs. Even if you can't find a site to start clinical volunteering, right now, you can find a community service program that's meaningful to you and dedicate a couple of hours each month.

    Given your GPA, I would also suggest that you explore osteopathic medical schools, which tend to have slightly lower GPA expectations in applicants.
    edited August 18
    · Reply · Share
  • bluedreamsbluedreams 86 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 18
    @bluedreams
    A PS is literally your answer to the question: Why medicine? Why do I want to be a doctor?

    If you cannot write a PS giving an answer besides "it's my dream," then you're unable to articulate why you want to go into medicine. And please understand, saying you want to help people isn't a good enough reason. (Wanting to help people is necessary, but sufficient.) There are tons of ways to help people, 99.9% of them do not involve being a doctor. Teachers help people; librarians help people; police officers & firefighters help people; social workers help people.....so do plumbers, nurses, and auto mechanics.

    @WayOutWestMom
    Ohhhh I understand now. My bad, sorry about that. What I meant to say originally was that I don't have any experience or "story" perhaps to use to support my reasoning behind becoming a doctor, like something that would demonstrate my qualities in the medical field that I would get from some sort of clinical experience. Otherwise, I think I do have a foundational answer to those questions. Anyways, thanks again for your help, I am firm on the decision to delay my application until 2021. I will definitely try to follow your advice in making myself a good candidate.

    edited August 18
    · Reply · Share
  • AndorvwAndorvw 340 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited August 19
    Thanks for the clarification that you did talk to your pre-med advisor.
    I wouldn't want to do anything else. I know that I am struggling but it doesn't mean that I'm not fit for it.
    Every pre-med said that, but not everyone gets in. Your stats as a pre-med so far are your GPA (no MCAT, no EC's) and your GPA is not competitive for MD, borderline for DO. Since you have 2 more college years to go, assuming you will get all A's for the remaining 50% of credits then your GPA will be 3.65 (sGPA) 3.7 (cGPA), which maybe ok as Texas resident for TX schools if you can score well in MCAT (510+). But getting all A's (plus scoring 510+ in MCAT) is easy said than done.
    edited August 19
    · Reply · Share
  • coolguy40coolguy40 2077 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You still have time to bring up those grades. Yes, it is possible, but you're going to have to get As in basically everything, and blow away the MCAT. You might want to take a gap year after college to study for the MCAT and take your time applying to as many schools as you can. Texas just built 3 new medical schools in the last couple of years, so there's opportunity here for you.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity