Do I Need to Switch Paths?

<p>Hey everyone, this is obviously not a conversation I am too excited to have. After 3 semesters of college, I find myself in my sophomore year with a really depressing situation.
After a rough first year of college complete with a younger sister sick with cancer and other distractions that didnt help, I didnt do well. Part of it was I really had no idea how to study the chemistry stuff well. In my first 3 semesters I got a C in orgo 1, B- in orgo 2, and a C+ in pchem (gen chem 2), B in calc.
I am confident that I could do so much better if I retook these classes now, I know what I have been doing wrong and I could fix it. However, I know that med schools (other than DO) average them so even with an A it would only bring it up to a B.
So, I am honestly asking you guys if you think I have a shot at pre-med still. It really is what I love and want to do. I dont really have a backup idea or other things I'd love to do, other than I know I love biology.
So here are my questions for you all.
1. Do I have a chance in hell at getting into med school? I really am ready to put my nose to the grindstone and A my way through my science classes, but is that even enough?
2. I was thinking about being a dual nueroscience and psych major, but now that my science gpa is in shambles I am thinking I should maybe switch to a normal bio major to boost my gpa a little. I am interested in biology so its not a drastic change. Thoughts?
3. Any other ideas of a big way to makeup for my obvious first 3 semester failures? Research? Volunteer? etc?</p>

<p>Thanks so much everyone.</p>

<p>If your question is "is it still possible to get into a MS", then the answer is yes. There are MS students who have reported amazing comeback stories, such as in this thread:</p>

<p>Has</a> anyone who had less than a 2.0 GPA at one point ever been accepted?ver | Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ] | Student Doctor Network</p>

<p>but the odds are building against you and you would need some time to repair the damage. This could mean applying a little later than you may have planned. It would probably be good to get counseling on both your career goals and college plans. My advice is to keep it simple. Forget the double majors, you need focus at this point. </p>

<p>
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and a C+ in pchem (gen chem 2), B in calc

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</p>

<p>What do you mean by "pchem (gen chem 2)" and which calc is that? I assume you started college with ochem I? Were you ready for that? Maybe some poor advising added to your problems?</p>

<p>1) Not impossible, but it will be a long and difficult road.</p>

<p>Some questions first:</p>

<p>--are you willing to consider an alternative path? As in being a non-traditional applicant (i.e. not straight out of undergrad) so you can take extra time & coursework to strengthen your application.</p>

<p>--are you willing to consider DO schools?</p>

<p>--are you willing to pursue a post-bacc to improve your GPA?</p>

<p>--would you consider a SMP?</p>

<p>--will your university allow you to re-take a class that you passed? (Some schools won't allow a student to re-take a course if they finished with a C or better. Check your school's policies)</p>

<p>--what's different now that causes you feel confident that you will do better? (aside from having seen the material before and your sister's illness being resolved) What are you doing study skills-wise that's different than in the past? If you have discovered how you're not studying effectively, why haven't this past semester's science grades shown better results from these new improved study skills?</p>

<p>(You can feel confident all you want, but unless something changes significantly, you're not going to get different results. And if you've been slacking--as you seem to indicate in your post--why did you just now "see the light"?)</p>

<p>2) Why a bio major? Neuroscience classes usually count as BCPM classes**; psych won't. I don't see that choosing bio over neuro gives any advantage. You will need plenty of additional science coursework to raise your sGPA, but there are no guarantees that you'll find bio any easier than chem.</p>

<p>**depending on how your school lists them. Some schools crosslist neuroscience with bio; some with psych. Which convention does your school use?</p>

<p>~~~~~</p>

<p>Students do get into medical school with less than perfect GPAs. (Case in point, my older D who had a sub 3.5 cGPA and sGPA and was still accepted, but she's non-trad who changed from physics/math into pre med AFTER graduation and did exceptionally well on her bio & chem pre-reqs and MCAT)</p>

<p>~~~~~</p>

<p>3) You will need to do both research AND volunteer because those are part of the basic expectations for all med school applicants, but neither will make up for a low sGPA.</p>

<p>In response to your questions:</p>

<ol>
<li>Yes, I think I would be willing to put in extra work. Its the one true thing I want to do.</li>
<li>Yes, but I would like your opinions on them. I know they are considered not as "elite", yet are supposed to still produce just as good doctors. I figure it might be a good idea because they do grade replacement.</li>
<li>Would you mind explaining what a post-bacc is? Also the SMP? What are the benefits and risks with each?</li>
<li>I believe I am allowed to retake classes.</li>
<li>The reason I feel more confident know is complicated. First of all, like you said, for now my personal life is in check. I underestimated the science classed and how important they are to get As in during my first year. It was basically during this semester that I truly learned how to study. I now know that, for me personally to succeed, I need to go to office hours, take classes the same times as people I know are for help, and I started a different way of taking notes (basically I mark confusing topics and take them to office hours that day to make sure I know it. Other than that, I have basically realized the situation I am in and I need to climb out. Obviously I am really upset with myself that I did not catch onto this sooner.
As for advising, I definitely think I was poorly advised. I was not ready for orgo, yet I tested out of the first semester of gen chem. I brought up my anxiousness about hopping right into such a hard class, but I was urged to take it. Well, I wasnt ready. </li>
</ol>

<p>The way neuroscience works is half MCDB classes, half psych. Bio is mainly all science. Plus, I think I am more interested in biology. If I had to go into research rather than med school, I would definitely want it to be biomedical rather than psychology based. I think I strayed towards neuroscience by passing out of the bio's with AP and not getting to take it in college yet. I have genetics (my first bio) this next semester.
I will start up my volunteering at the hospital this semester and hope to start research by the summer.</p>

<p>Furthermore, I think I can kill the MCAT. Standardized tests are my strong point. I have a good memory (why I am good at Bio type classes rather than chem) and I am good at studying for them.</p>

<p>A post bacc (short for post- baccalaureate) is a structured graduate degree in biology whose purpose is to improve the GPA of someone whose undergrad sGPA and science grades are less than wonderful. Usually it's in MS in physiology or something similar.</p>

<p>AMCAS has a searchable database of such programs. Enter GPA enhancer as the type.</p>

<p>Postbaccalaureate</a> Premedical Programs - Search</p>

<p>A SMP (Special Master's Program) is a graduate program offered by some medical schools. (I think there are about 15-20 of these nation-wide.) Basically you take the first year of med school classes with the med students. If you do well (read: top half of class or better depending on the school's policy), you will usually be offered the chance to enroll as full medical student. Typically the students who get accepted have a strong MCAT, but weak sGPA/cGPA.</p>

<p>DO schools offer an excellent opportunity for individuals who truly want to be doctors. DO education is 98% identical to that which MDs get and both take the same licensing exams and have the same practicing privileges. DOs can compete for MD residencies if they choose. DOs also have their own DO-only residency programs. DOs are able to enter every specialty that MDs can. The only downside is that in some areas of the country DOs are much less common/familiar than others. (Where I currently live, there are probably fewer than 300 DOs in the entire state; where I grew up--in PA--DOs were common and basically indistinguishable from MDs.) </p>

<p>My older D is in MD school, but I've already talked with my younger D (great GPA, but no MCAT score yet) and her friends about DO schools as a option.</p>

<p>One thing to remember when considering DO schools is they require a LOR from a practicing DO as part of your admission application. </p>

<p>Cautionary note: The MCAT is not like any standardized test you've taken before. It is not about memorization. It's more about critical reasoning, critical reading skills and application of knowledge to novel problems. And the peer group against whom you'll be judged is much more selective than any prior standardized testing you've done. Don't get cocky about your test-taking skillz. Lots of kids say that they'll "kill" the MCAT--and most of them don't.</p>

<p>D. thought of neuro/psych classes as being somewhat easier than other Bio classes, as she was considering neuro. minor, but had to drop it being 2 classes short becuase of additional requirements of one of her Med. Schools. However, it might depend on school.
Another point is that if you continue successfully and get to explain about your low GPA at the beginning, drop your unfortunate personal situation, never oficially refer to it, not in application, not during interview. It is better to state that you were immature and grew up. Why? Medicine is a profession that requires to be disconnected from your personal unfortune. This is brutal truth.<br>
Well if you continue with straight A's, this will show great personal growth and I believe you still have a chance if you get decent MCAT score and medical EC's. And if you shine during interview, then here is a winning strategy.</p>

<p>Miami is right about not referring to your sister's illness. </p>

<p>Med school want individuals who can succeed despite personal adversity. Unless you can point to it as a turning point or an inspiration, don't mention it at all.</p>

<p>Depends on the school w/r/t to neuroscience. At D2's school, neuro is among the most difficult majors and has more required courses than even an engineering major. All her required coursework is thru the bio, chem, cognitive science, math or BME depts. Neuro has no crossover whatsoever with psych.</p>

<p>kirtip, you should visit the student doctor network online forums. You will find many many threads about this exact topic. From what I have read from med students, you still have a chance and should not give up. It still seems to be possible if you show an upward trend in your gpa in upper level science electives.</p>

<p>Switching to a bio major seems like a great idea since you are already very interested in it. This makes it far more likely that you will actually perform better as well.
And if med school does not work out, then you would have the option to go to grad school for bio or do work in the bio field.</p>

<p>If it is the healthcare field you want and med doesn't work, of course there is always nursing/nurse practitioner or physician assistant. The job of a P.A. is very similar to that of a doctor and is more ideal to some. </p>

<p>best to you.</p>

<p>warning about SDN - keep it cool, while there, protect your psych.</p>