First of all. let me say I am sorry for your father’s illness @shinywen3834 . Family circumstances do make finding a school-life balance difficult.
Bad news-Good news
Bad news first–
● You are definitely NOT READY to apply to medical school. Not this cycle. Not next cycle. Maybe not the cycle after that either.
With ZERO clinical experience your application will tossed straight into the trash. And that’s without even considering your GPA/sGPA.
Many medical schools limit the number of times they will consider an applicant. Please don’t use up one of your limited chances for admission just because you don’t know what else to do. Especially don’t do it when you know your odds of success are extremely poor.
● It sounds like you’re not ready to take the MCAT just yet. If you have already scheduled a test date–cancel it or at least postpone it until some time next year.
You need a minimum of 6 weeks of full time dedicated study, (Full time mean full time studying–40+ hours/week.) You need to be doing practice problems and practice exam sections until you can see them in your sleep. And you should only take the exam once you’re consistently scoring at your target score range on full length practice exam taken under test-like conditions.
[Test-like conditions means taking the 6.5 hour exam in a single sitting with no more than a 10 minute break between sections. Test-like conditions means taking the practice exam in a mildly-noisy-and-busy distraction-filled environment like a library or a coffeeshop.]
Where to find full length practice exams–
All the test prep companies offer their own version of FL MCAT tests to those who purchase their products.
Also AMCAS sell 5 FL retired MCAT exams that students can buy. Price includes scoring
I recommend against taking the MCAT unless your’e close to applying. Scores expire 2-3 years from the date of your test sitting. (Varies by school) You wouldn’t want to have good score expire before you can apply.
And a bad score–those never go away. All scores–even expired scores–get reported to medical schools. Med schools average all scores to get “true” MCAT score if you have multiple scores.
● An exceptional MCAT score will NOT make up for a subpar GPA. If anything it makes your application more likely to get tossed out. High MCAT/low GPA applicants make med schools worry that you are a “lazy but bright” student who will not survive the intense academics of med school
Now the good news–you do have options.
● Your GPA is in range for osteopathic medical schools. But whether you’d be a strong candidate depends on what your sGPA is. If it’s below a 3.2–then you may need to do some remediation before you can be a creditable applicant.
● Remediating your GPA/sGPA. The best way to show adcomms that you’re ready for the academic challenge of medical school is by taking difficult upper level biology elective and ** acing them all**. Class like biochem 2, neuroscience, immunology, human anatomy & physiology, vertebrate embryology, advanced genetic, advanced microbiology.
Once you have earned enough A to raise your sGPA into the 3.6+ range for MD programs and 3.4+ range for DO programs, then you’re ready to take the MCAT and apply.
This is your most sensible approach, and it can be the least expensive approach if you take the coursework through your current college or part-time a local 4 year college after graduation.
● Other options;
Grade enhancing post-bacc. These are formal certificate or degree-granting programs offered by colleges. You will take upper level and graduate biology coursework that allows one to improve their sGPA
–Can be expensive.
–Also graduate coursework will NOT change your undergrad GPA–which is how most medical schools screen applicants. Your grad GPA will be listed separately and adcomms can consider it. Or not.
Searchable database of post bacc here: https://apps.aamc.org/postbac/
Special Master’s Programs (SMP) a special form of a grade enhancing post bacc. It’s a graduate program that mimics the difficulty of medical school. The best are offered by medical school themselves and SMP students often take the same classes in the same classroom with actual medical students. It’s an audition for medical school.
–Can be very expensive.
–No guarantees for an admission if you are successful, though some programs will guarantee you a admission interview at the sponsoring program.
–These are high risk-high reward programs. If you don’t finished with GPA >3.75 or in the top 25% of your class (and the class includes actual med students), your chances of ever getting a med school admission are gone.
Please realize that you have a lot of work to do before you're ready to apply to med school. Developing a compelling application takes time and it is a multi-year process. Think hard about if this is something you really want to devote several more years of your life to.
Things you need to do BEFORE applying to medical school.
1) **Get clinical experience.**
This is going to be difficult in the current pandemic environment. It's doubtful that most healthcare sites will be accepting volunteer before next spring. Consider getting a CNA, EMT, MA or patient care technician certificate and working in one of those job post-graduation to get your clinical experience. Medical scribing is another job to consider. Although the jobs are low-paying, they will give you exposure to healthcare environment required for entry to most health care professions
2) **Improve your sGPA**
You will need about 30 credits (~8-10 classes) of upper level biology classes with mostly A grades if you want to be competitive applicant for MD programs.
For DO schools, you'll need a sGPA in the 3.4+ range.
3) **Get counseling to learn how to better manage your family obligations**
This is going to sound cruel, but it's true nonetheless. Med students (and pre-meds) need to be selfish. There is no time in medical school to deal with family crises or ongoing family obligations. You need to be able to say "no" to helping out your family members.. Ideally, you need find some other resources or family members for them to lean on since you will not be available. Adcomms will ask during interviews about your less-than-ideal first 2 years in college and will further ask about whether you have resolved these issues. You need to able to answer a truthful yes to that question.