Anyone with inside tips or advice on getting into medical school?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 16, 2011 3:58 PM GMT
    Applied to medical school last year and interviewed at one school however didn't end up getting in. I know that my gpa isn't the highest and am taking some graduate level classes to try and improve my gpa.

    Some challenging stuff has happened to me in the past couple of years (can explain more if we talk) which I think all have stemmed from being confused about my sexuality. I recently came out (May) so am much happier now but I think not being out and being so confused and sexually frustrated definitely messed with my grades and some of the other poor decisions that I made.

    Hoping there is someone I could talk to about this as I really don't know where to turn and medicine is what I want to do. I hope I haven't screwed up my chances too much but if that is really your advice I guess I need to hear that too so I don't waste my time pursuing it even more.

    Thanks
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    Aug 16, 2011 6:03 PM GMT
    Well, in the US I dont know, but I hear the odds of getting in are like about 1% or something.... I didnt apply in the US.. too expensive for me... and opted to stay in my home country.... good luck in your endeavours!
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    Aug 16, 2011 6:37 PM GMT
    You can always try abroad. I would stay away from Caribbean schools though. They might have good programs to prepare you for the USMLE but there is a stigma attached to getting your medical degree from a Caribbean school.

    I opted for Australia personally, most of the schools here are highly recognized internationally. If you apply to the University of Queensland you can also enter the Ochsner program which allows you to complete your first two years of basic sciences here in Australia and your last two years of clinical placements in the US.

    Here is the link if you're interested to read more about it:
    http://www2.som.uq.edu.au/SOM/Pages/default.aspx
  • tautomer

    Posts: 1010

    Aug 16, 2011 6:37 PM GMT
    If you don't mind me asking, what is your GPA? If you're below a 3.5 when it comes to med school, you are pretty much SOL sorry to say. Med school is very, very hard to get into and you have to have a lot of things about you that make you stand out as a well rounded person, so GPA in the end isn't everything, but it's a big factor. If that's hurting you then try retaking the MCAT to try to boost your score a lot more.
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    Aug 16, 2011 6:42 PM GMT
    Other than boosting your GPA, you also might want to consider volunteering in hospitals or the community. Even your work experience may help. Most medical schools want well-rounded students that are more than just about getting good grades.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Aug 16, 2011 6:55 PM GMT
    have a really high gpa, mcat score, and umm... win a nobel prize (the field isn't necessarily important, but i assume winning it for medicine looks better than literature)
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    Aug 16, 2011 7:02 PM GMT
    Getting into the Med School is not about neither a GPA nor sexual orientation. It is all about the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). The MCAT is about chemistry and Biology so you most have a good English and math skills previously. What I advise to my students is follow this sequence: English, Math, Chemistry, and Biology. You have to be immerse in your studies so forget Real Jock and having fun during the weekends because your fun is to study right now. I am a physician from Cuba; I did not go to USMLE because I took my mother form Cuba when my father died so I became a full time Associate Professor Sir now teaching Anatomy and Physiology. Do the best, if you want it and focus, you will do it. This is a free advice guys!
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    Aug 16, 2011 8:56 PM GMT
    davo83 saidYou can always try abroad. I would stay away from Caribbean schools though. They might have good programs to prepare you for the USMLE but there is a stigma attached to getting your medical degree from a Caribbean school.

    I opted for Australia personally, most of the schools here are highly recognized internationally. If you apply to the University of Queensland you can also enter the Ochsner program which allows you to complete your first two years of basic sciences here in Australia and your last two years of clinical placements in the US.
    >


    I agree with this... the stigma is ridiculous, since we all do the exact same board exam, the USMLE anyway.... and we do all the rotations in the US, so it winds up being the same education on the whole... but the stigma is there,

    I would say Caribbean schools is better for people who are choosing to do a career switch, like me... since its so hard to get into med school fi you are already older, no matter what your grades are ... Even as graduates in the top percentiles for all the sciences, if you are over thirty like me, the European universities put you somewhere in the category 5 out of 7, ... needless to say thats not good,... it puts your chances at 40 to 50% only in the European selection.. in contrast .. graduate in the top percentiles and apply fresh out of school, you get automatic entry to many European med schools....

    Anyways, for me the stigma is no problem, since I never planned to practice specifically in the US... but for a fresh US student just out of school, Caribbean med schools are not the best option....

    O and if you speak French... everyone can apply and join in France... but if you dont pass the first year in the top percentage, you will not allowed to go through to second year... the first year is brutal selection process there

  • nanidesukedo

    Posts: 1036

    Aug 16, 2011 9:01 PM GMT
    miami0010 saidGetting into the Med School is not about neither a GPA nor sexual orientation. It is all about the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). The MCAT is about chemistry and Biology so you most have a good English and math skills previously. What I advise to my students is follow this sequence: English, Math, Chemistry, and Biology. You have to be immerse in your studies so forget Real Jock and having fun during the weekends because your fun is to study right now. I am a physician from Cuba; I did not go to USMLE because I took my mother form Cuba when my father died so I became a full time Associate Professor Sir now teaching Anatomy and Physiology. Do the best, if you want it and focus, you will do it. This is a free advice guys!


    Not true at all...I'm a senior medical student and a member of my medical school's admission committee. A lot of things go into the matter of deciding whether or not you will get in: Grades, honestly, do matter the most. A good GPA accounts for just as much as the MCAT. Also, it's not only your overall GPA that matters, a good amount of consideration goes into your GPA for your pre-requisite courses. It's important to have diverse extra-curricular activities. You need to have pretty extensive and a broad exposure to clinical medicine (by this, I mean patient interaction...be it volunteering or shadowing or whatever...clinical research DOES NOT count). Research and community service also come into play, as well. Finally, some thought is given to your letters of rec and your personal statement...Unless they are either exceedingly poor or absolutely outstanding, they will neither help nor hurt you.

    An option for those with an undergraduate GPA that isn't as competitive as it should be is a post-bacc program. Doing well in a post-bacc program greatly increases your chance of getting into a medical school as it shows schools that you are capable of doing well with a curriculum similar to that of medical school.

    Anyways, if you have any questions, feel free to let me know. I spend a large portion of my day doing file reviews of medical students and determining who gets interviews. Also, will be starting to administer the interviews soon (once the season hits). So...first hand experience here icon_smile.gif
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    Aug 16, 2011 9:07 PM GMT
    nanidesukedo said
    Anyways, if you have any questions, feel free to let me know. I spend a large portion of my day doing file reviews of medical students and determining who gets interviews. Also, will be starting to administer the interviews soon (once the season hits). So...first hand experience here icon_smile.gif


    All hail, med school admission god. icon_wink.gif
    Seriously, GPA is only one of many things that determine admission. Extra curriculars are very important.

    When the economy is bad, people tend to flock to professional schools because of job security. In good years, Wall Street eats them up. I happen to have applied during a lull in the economy so it became a bit too competitive for me. (And then the Internet boom happened) I suppose it's getting tougher nowadays to get in med school compared to 5 years ago.

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    Aug 16, 2011 10:47 PM GMT
    nanidesukedo said< Finally, some thought is given to your letters of rec and your personal statement...Unless they are either exceedingly poor or absolutely outstanding, they will neither help nor hurt you.>


    Could you please restate this? I did not understand it... too many unlesses and neithers and nors... what is this? elimination USMLE format? lol icon_razz.gif
  • nanidesukedo

    Posts: 1036

    Aug 16, 2011 10:59 PM GMT
    GreenHopper said
    nanidesukedo said< Finally, some thought is given to your letters of rec and your personal statement...Unless they are either exceedingly poor or absolutely outstanding, they will neither help nor hurt you.>


    Could you please restate this? I did not understand it... too many unlesses and neithers and nors... what is this? elimination USMLE format? lol icon_razz.gif


    When people look at your letters of recommendation and your Personal Statements, they really don't matter as long as they are just average. You aren't gonna really help yourself or hurt yourself on either of them unless they are really, really good or really, really bad (respectively).
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    Jan 16, 2012 7:53 PM GMT
    Have you thought about taking the DO route? Studying abroad is an option. Other national medical systems are ok if they are approved in the WHO listing of medical schools. Any school that does not appear on this list is not acceptable. Some Caribbean schools are ok, just choose wisely if you opt for that. St. Georges and Ross University are historically more notable. Their graduates do well on boards and in practice. Some of my medical students and residents who have rotated on my services ( Family Medicine) have been from those schools. UNIBE in the Dominican Republic is also great, their graduates do well. Other than that, Polish, German, some Italian, Austrailian, British, Irish and Nigerian medical schools have good records and well trained graduates who are successful in the US and abroad. Good luck!icon_biggrin.gif
  • blueandgold

    Posts: 396

    Jan 16, 2012 8:10 PM GMT
    caramelopelon saidHave you thought about taking the DO route? Studying abroad is an option. Other national medical systems are ok if they are approved in the WHO listing of medical schools. Any school that does not appear on this list is not acceptable. Some Caribbean schools are ok, just choose wisely if you opt for that. St. Georges and Ross University are historically more notable. Their graduates do well on boards and in practice. Some of my medical students and residents who have rotated on my services ( Family Medicine) have been from those schools. UNIBE in the Dominican Republic is also great, their graduates do well. Other than that, Polish, German, some Italian, Austrailian, British, Irish and Nigerian medical schools have good records and well trained graduates who are successful in the US and abroad. Good luck!icon_biggrin.gif


    Haha my partner is an anesthesiologist and he always says he shouldve just gone to DO school so he could have partied in college.
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    Jan 18, 2012 10:04 PM GMT
    Do you really wanna be puked and peed on?... Can you endure smells worse than a rotting corpse, can you deal with accidental exposure to HIV infected blood... And deal with the nausea that comes with the prophylaxis for a month.... Do you mind working in a thankless profession where patients care more about suing you than their own health, how about the sleep deprivation or the A.hole attendings.... How about the long hours and terrible pay...
    Can you work on Christmas day, your birthday, new years? Cos you'll have to

    I've experienced all of the above

    If you can, then medschool is for you.... The prestige that comes with being a doctor ends at the title..... So think carefully bud

    Just saying.....
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 18, 2012 10:25 PM GMT
    Ignore the post above. Send me a private message, I'll give you some advise.
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    Jan 18, 2012 10:28 PM GMT
    Have you ever experienced the amazement of being the first human to touch a newborn infant when it's born? Have you ever been on the receiving end of a heartfelt thank-you from a patient whose life you just changed for the better? Have you ever truly saved a life? Have you ever just been there for someone who you just gave the worst news of their life? Have you ever just listened to a patient who needed to be heard? Have you ever fought the system for someone who really needed your help and won?

    The hours are long. The demands are high. The standards are high. Medicine is indeed a vocation, not just a job. Your patients will always come first because while a babysitter or neighbour can take care of your kids for little while, YOU are where the buck stops a lot of the time for your patients.

    I'd be lying if I said there weren't points in my residency where I wanted to quit. I'm lucky to be nimble enough to avoid the puke and the pee, but I wouldn't call my job thankless. I, like every other resident in the WORLD, have some attendings who treat me better than others, but I'm pretty sure everyone has a superior in their job they don't like. But I'm also in a rare and privileged position to help people in a way very few others can. And while the earning is indeed, likely lower when you consider the debt, and the delayed entry into a true earning position, if that's what's irking you about medicine, maybe you shouldn't be doing it. There are a lot of easier ways to make money. The reality is that as a physician in the US or Canada, you'll _still_ be making a very comfortable living, even in the lower income specialties.

    Just had to counterbalance the very jaded post above.

    In terms of tips, you should always follow-up your unsuccessful applications with a request for application feedback. That will tell you what you are missing. Every medical school has different requirements. I was basically ineligible to get an interview at 3 schools that I applied to due to my GPA, despite having a Masters because of the way they chose to calculate GPA. I was missing courses other schools considered mandatory (a full year credit of English--not just any of the humanities-- was one of them, again despite having a graduate degree and publications) I was missing unstated mandatory volunteer work for another set of schools. Getting this feedback will help you a) not apply to schools you'll never get into because of their rules, and b) maximize your chances of filling all the tick-boxes that a medical admissions reviewer had to tick off (because it's easy for them to reject your application if everyone has all the boxes ticked off and yours doesn't).

    Getting into medical school is a game and a lottery. You have to know the rules of each school you apply to. Other than that, having a CLEAR idea of why you want to do medicine specifically, as opposed to any other 'helping' profession like nursing, or PT/OT or pharmacy, and being able to articulate it clearly is useful.

    Your first goal is to get an interview. And with the number of people applying, the quality of the tick-boxes isn't nearly as important as filling the boxes themselves. No one cares if you have clinical exposure or a wide-range of extra-curriculars until you've secured an interview.
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    Jan 18, 2012 10:29 PM GMT
    Durbdoc saidDo you really wanna be puked and peed on?... Can you endure smells worse than a rotting corpse, can you deal with accidental exposure to HIV infected blood... And deal with the nausea that comes with the prophylaxis for a month.... Do you mind working in a thankless profession where patients care more about suing you than their own health, how about the sleep deprivation or the A.hole attendings.... How about the long hours and terrible pay...
    Can you work on Christmas day, your birthday, new years? Cos you'll have to

    I've experienced all of the above

    If you can, then medschool is for you.... The prestige that comes with being a doctor ends at the title..... So think carefully bud

    Just saying.....


    That can be said about any other job, but some actually want to go into medicine to help people (even after hearing horror stories). And for the most part, if you play your cards right, US doctors make a comfortable living.
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    Jan 18, 2012 10:32 PM GMT
    Wish I could tell you...
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    Jan 18, 2012 10:42 PM GMT
    redox87 said
    Durbdoc saidDo you really wanna be puked and peed on?... Can you endure smells worse than a rotting corpse, can you deal with accidental exposure to HIV infected blood... And deal with the nausea that comes with the prophylaxis for a month.... Do you mind working in a thankless profession where patients care more about suing you than their own health, how about the sleep deprivation or the A.hole attendings.... How about the long hours and terrible pay...
    Can you work on Christmas day, your birthday, new years? Cos you'll have to

    I've experienced all of the above

    If you can, then medschool is for you.... The prestige that comes with being a doctor ends at the title..... So think carefully bud

    Just saying.....


    That can be said about any other job, but some actually want to go into medicine to help people (even after hearing horror stories). And for the most part, if you play your cards right, US doctors make a comfortable living.


    I didn't say I didn't love my job, couldnt imagine doing anything else. just pointing these things out, no one really breaks down the bad stuff for you..... And it's very important I think. And yes there's a lot of money in medicine, just be prepared to work hard for it and wait a decade before you see it. A friend lost his life last year at the hands of a psych patient who stabbed him in the heart....he was 27. A pediatrician I know is fighting for her life after contracting extreme drug resistant TB. So your life will be at risk, weather you in the states or the UK.

    It is an amazing field nonetheless and it never gets boring...especially if you an adrenalin junky
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 18, 2012 11:14 PM GMT
    I write all this, and the guy posted last fall icon_neutral.gif

    Oh well, maybe it'll be helpful to someone else.



    ---------------------------------------------------------




    Seems like you need to figure out if this is feasible and truly what you want. Why med school? There are other ways to be involved in health and medicine.

    You might take a look at this link which shows overall acceptance rates by GPA and MCAT score, to give you an idea of where you stand:
    https://www.aamc.org/download/157450/data/table24-mcatgpagridall2008-10.pdf.pdf (PDF)

    A copy of the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements) will show you exactly what each school wants:
    https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/requirements/msar/
    More importantly, it will show you the average stats of students accepted to each school, so you can judge how competitive you would be.

    DO and foreign schools are options, and between the two, DO schools have a better residency match rate than foreign. Neither matches as well in general as allopathic schools. For what it's worth.



    The rest you've already heard:
    GPA and MCAT are both very important and can't substitute for each other. Extracurricular interests, past scientific research, and community service are all the norm. Exposure to the medical field is vital: shadowing physicians, volunteering in a hospital, working as an EMT. Personal statement and letters of rec help tie together the application, don't often help or hurt but they are part of the application.
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    Jan 18, 2012 11:29 PM GMT
    Um to the "studying abroad" thing...the chances of getting into medschool aren't better in Europe than they are in the states.

    In Austria you have to do a test (8 hours brain fucking)and there'd be about 200places for foreign students in Austria and only a patt of them are for non-eu students. Last year about 7000 students took the test...so you'd be better of trying in your own country. In other eu states is the situation even worse e.g. Germany if you haven't got certain marks in your final exams you're not even allowed to do the test.
    Plus in Austria it would take you 6 years to get your degree (and that's the minimal time and I'm not even sure if anyone ever made that happen) plus you have to do 3 years of Turnus and when you want to specialize in something it takes you another 6 years => 15 years of learning, tests, no sleep, bad salary and doing all the work no one else wants do to.

    I really really don't want to discourage you at all, if it's your dream just go for it icon_biggrin.gif
    I applied myself last year and going to give it another try this year. Would be more than happy to study with you bud icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jan 18, 2012 11:30 PM GMT
    The only advantage is that the costs are really low compared to the states icon_biggrin.gif
  • araphael

    Posts: 1148

    Jan 19, 2012 1:16 AM GMT
    hookem525 saidApplied to medical school last year and interviewed at one school however didn't end up getting in. I know that my gpa isn't the highest and am taking some graduate level classes to try and improve my gpa.

    Some challenging stuff has happened to me in the past couple of years (can explain more if we talk) which I think all have stemmed from being confused about my sexuality. I recently came out (May) so am much happier now but I think not being out and being so confused and sexually frustrated definitely messed with my grades and some of the other poor decisions that I made.

    Hoping there is someone I could talk to about this as I really don't know where to turn and medicine is what I want to do. I hope I haven't screwed up my chances too much but if that is really your advice I guess I need to hear that too so I don't waste my time pursuing it even more.

    Thanks


    The first thing is do not get discouraged. I know several of my colleagues who failed on their first attempt to get accepted. I assume your MCAT scores were high? (this was important in the ancient days of my schooling, lol) GPA in the sciences especially is important, but admissions boards are usually looking for applicants that have demonstrated a well-rounded volunteer, work, and academic experience. There is no magic bullet that will get you accepted to med. school if that's what you are looking for. Persistence is the key. Also, remember that who you know is often just as important as what you know. Start hanging out where med. people hang out. Hope this encourages you a little.
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    Jan 19, 2012 1:21 AM GMT
    When you apply next, get all your applications in as early as possible.