They have a career as a nurse but have never given up their dream of becoming a physician. This nontrad is looking for guidance on which prereqs to re-take.
Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from premedhangout.com. Go ask your questions there and use #OPMquestion.
Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
The MCAT Minute
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As a nontraditional student, your schedule is probably one of the most protected important things and potential challenges that you have.
Use Blueprint MCAT’s free study planner tool because it’s an amazing way to help maximize your schedule, maximize your calendar, and maximize your time when it comes to being a nontraditional student.
OldPreMeds Question of the Week
“I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. The first time I considered studying medicine was in 2006. When I was 19, I always loved science and helping others. I thought that medicine was the obvious path to take, of course. But I had a rough time in college. I had zero study skills, and I had no idea what I was doing. I kept switching majors dropping classes, switching universities, and I felt lost.
Struggles with Depression and Anxiety
On top of all that, I had been struggling with episodes of depression and severe anxiety from a young age. In a moment of despair, I stumbled into a nursing program at my local university but managed to finish my degree, I excelled there. I was fascinated by Health Sciences and the Human Body. I also knew from day one that nursing would never be enough.
Working as a Nurse
By then, I was in my mid-20s and needed to start my life. So I thought I’d work as a nurse for a short while until I figured out what I wanted. That was almost 10 years ago, and you blink, time flies. In 2015. I took a backpack, and a small suitcase in my nursing license and moved to Western New York. I’ve been working here ever since I now work at a large emergency department and love the chaos but I crave more knowledge.
How Therapy Helped Their ADHD
I was diagnosed with ADHD at 29, which explained a lot. I’ve since gone to therapy developed a meditation practice and learned more about what works for me, and what doesn’t. I have matured and have become more organized. But none of that changes these facts.
Poor Grades and Old Prereqs
I have 28 W’s and seven F’s on my transcript. I haven’t set foot in a classroom in a decade. I never took organic chemistry. My other prereqs are 15 years old. Some of those courses I repeated a few times. But here are the final grades Gen Chem I and two B’s General Biology I and II, A and B, Physics I and II, A and B plus many math courses, a few of which I got season, according to the GPA calculator on Mappd.
My cumulative GPA is 3.15 and my science GPA is 2.72 with an upward trend.
The dream of becoming a doctor has never wavered. I’ve had well-intentioned nurses tell me I’m wasting my time here. And a few doctors asked when I’m going to med school. I have to try again. Should I repeat all of those courses, find a formal Postbac program, and apply to an SMP? I’m open to advice and suggestions, no matter how brutal they may be.”
A Display of Resilience
Medical schools love students who show resilience amidst the adversities they face. They love students who learn what’s working or not, and still have the motivation to come back and do it. It’s going to take some time, patience, and money, of course, because going to school costs money. Ultimately, your goal is to prove your academic ability.
The good thing is that these classes are really old. The bad thing, too, is that the classes are really old. And you’re probably just going to have to repeat them to increase your chances of getting into the majority of schools.
Considerations in Retaking All Your Prereqs“Some schools have requirements on prereqs age… you have to take them within a certain amount of time.”Click To Tweet
First, check with the MSAR or the individual websites of medical schools as to their requirements for their prereqs. Since some schools have requirements in terms of the age of the prereqs taken.
The goal is to retake all of those prereqs, get A’s, and as close to a 4.0 as possible. You don’t have to be perfect, but get as close to a 4.0 as possible.
Look at taking genetics, statistics, and epidemiology courses that will qualify for improving your science GPA trend. Because with a 2.72 science GPa, you really have to improve that. But probably because the denominator is so big and the number of credits that you have is so big. And so, you’re just going to have to rely on a trend. Then hope the med school sees that there are a couple options in terms of taking courses in this situation.
Taking a Master’s vs. Taking Undergrad Classes
You can take a master’s degree, an SMP, or something like that. Or you can just take undergraduate-level classes. I would highly recommend in-person versus online. That’s not always possible. But again, that increases the number of schools that will find your trajectory, your work, and your recent academic ability being the most relevant and most acceptable.
Additionally, I would probably recommend just undergraduate-level courses. Historically, it seems like med schools care more about that than anything else.
Don’t get caught looking forward to that next class, that next game, and you find yourself flat-footed in this class that you’re in right now because you may get “punched in the face.”“As Mike Tyson says… everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Click To Tweet
Focusing on Other Parts of the Application
If this is your goal, this is what you want to do, you need to get as close to a 4.0 as possible. And then obviously, you have to take the MCAT. Go to Blueprint MCAT, get your free account, work on a study plan, and figure out what you need to do because that’s going to be the other big hurdle.
Now luckily, it’s fantastic that you’ve been working in a clinical environment. You don’t need to do any more clinical experience. Keep working as a nurse as much as you want.
Moreover, nonclinical experiences such as volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters are becoming more and more important in terms of what we’re hearing from medical schools. And so, maybe you could dive into that one weekend, or for a month or two just to add a little bit of community service onto your plate.
Tell Your Story
Ultimately, it comes down to telling your story in your application, which is what we focus on at Medical School HQ if you ever want one-on-one help with that or if you need group help through Application Academy. As you go through this journey, if this is what you want, go do what you need to do to reach that goal to make sure you don’t live with regret. Make sure you are following your passion as authentically as possible and know that this is possible!