Med School Late Thoughts - Redux

Kid graduated from a top engineering school in BME and went into the CDC for the 2 year PHAP program. She’s a frontline health care worker serving an indigenous population in the South Pacific,working with infectious disease (leprosy, drug resistant TB). While “I never want to be a doctor” has always been her mantra in college (and why she went to an engineering school), her PHAP experience has been eye-opening, and now she’s talking about applying to PA or MD school. She doesn’t have all the med school classes (because she came in with AP and took the credit) and her GPA suffered (think cum laude–not summa cum laude) because it was a top program. She’s a great standardized test taker. I’m wondering if there is a consultant who might be able to look at her credentials and say “MD is never going to happen” because of the GPA—and save her a lot of headache and time on the med path. I’ve heard school and degree difficulty don’t really matter on these forums. I don’t want her to spend more $ grinding on a post bacc that won’t be successful and create more final career delay–she can go get a masters in BME or a more research focused field. Anyways—just trying whether as a parent I can’t get some practicality inserted into the thought process on the front side. (Given her commitment to the CDC, she really couldn’t start med school/apply until at least 2023 now—maybe 2024.) Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

From the limited bit I’ve seen, those with various experiences showing their transforming thoughts and post bacc proving they can hold their own are those who tend to be more likely to be accepted with the lower GPAs.

@WayOutWestMom what have you seen?

What is her sGPA? (sGPA only includes math, physics, biology and chemistry coursework)

What pre-reqs is she missing?

I think with some GPA repair and a strong MCAT score, med school is not out of reach. She has some interesting experiences to hang a good “why medicine?” story on.

If she can successfully complete a formal or DIY post-bacc with mostly A grades, some med schools will only consider her most recent 30 science credits for her sGPA (which is more important than her overall GPA for med school admission).

Your D also needs to be open to applying to osteopathic medical schools. DO schools have slightly lower median GPAs/sGPAs and are more open to academic re-inventors than MD programs are. Functionally, there is no difference between a MD and a DO. Both are physicians with same practice rights and privileges. And both train side by side in the same residency programs.

However, it’s important to remember there are no guarantees when it comes to med school admissions. She could ace her post-bacc, get a strong score on the MCAT and still not get an acceptance. There just aren’t enough seats to accommodate all qualified applicants. Every year about 60% of med school applicants get rejected everywhere.

If she is serious about med school, your daughter would need to add the typical pre-med ECs to her resumé–physician shadowing (esp in primary care fields), non-medical community service with disadvantaged groups and clinical volunteering. Leadership experience is also a plus.

RE: PA school. PA school admissions have a requirement for paid hands on direct patient care experience. Her PHAP work may or may not fulfill that requirement. I would encourage her to reach out to some target programs to ask. Generally PA schools want students to have worked in jobs like CNA, nurse, EMT, phlebotomist, surgical tech, military medic, etc.

Another option for your daughter to consider–nurse practitioner. NPs like PAs are mid-level healthcare providers and work in most of the same clinical settings and capacities as PAs. NPs can practice independently in some states. (PAs are always required to work under the supervision of a physician.)

Your D would need to earn a BSN first, but there are BS->RN programs for individuals with science based undergrad degrees. A DNP can be earned part-time while working.


I have particular knowledge and experience in this area. I just sent you a private message.

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