Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Answers

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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby scottly » Fri May 20, 2011 10:18 am

hi i was wondering if i can get into med school through a community college? i pretty much messed up in highschool and in my first year of community college due to some family complications. so my biggest concern is if i can still turn my life around and become a neurosurgeon as that is my dream career.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Sun May 22, 2011 4:09 pm

Scottly,

There are a few threads here already on that topic. I'd suggest you start with checking out this thread on community college and medical school and follow the related links at the end of the thread if you want even more information.

The quick answer is, yes, you can go to medical school after starting at community college. You really should take the required pre-med classes at a 4 year college. High school grades won't directly have an impact on your medical school application, but they do obviously affect where you can go to college. Hopefully your community college grades aren't too bad, as those will have an impact on your medical school application. If you do well from here on out, and you can reasonably explain why your grades suffered this first year when you apply, then you may still have a chance to get into medical school.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby lauran » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:34 am

Okay this might seem silly but i was wandering if going to a community college or an ive league school makes a difference im applying for schools and i just want to make the best choice possible
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:50 am

lauran,

There is a huge difference between community colleges and Ivy League schools. You would not want to take your required pre-med courses at a community college. However, if you do transfer from a community college and then graduate from a solid college with good grades in your pre-med courses and good MCAT scores, you probably would be in pretty good shape to get into medical school. If you go to an Ivy League school but get lousy grades, you will have a tough time getting into medical school.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Eleni Belay » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:35 am

I want to ask do we exactly need a degree to join medical school or doing A-level pre medical is enough?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:35 am

Eleni,

I believe there are a few medical schools that do not require an undergraduate degree, but that is a big exception. I think it is usually a good idea to have a bachelors degree as you will be close to meeting the requirements and if medical school doesn't work out for some reason, you at least have a degree to fall back on without having to do more school at that point.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Dippy » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:44 am

Hi,

I am nervous about applying to medical school because I have a low GPA. I am at an ivy league school and I have a 3.15 with one semester left. I am hoping to raise my GPA to at least a 3.3 by graduation in may. I am on track to score somewhere around 33-34 on the MCAT but have not officially taken the exam yet. I have great extracurriculars including leadership positions, some clinical, and tons of research, including second authorship on a paper that is currently under review. I am planning on doing a masters program, lab tech job, or teach for America (if I get in) with my time off after graduation. Granted that I get into these potential programs, which would be most productive in enhancing my weak application?

I can technically explain my grades for each semester, between adjusting to college life, dealing with the passing of a friend after a long battle with leukemia, and battling severe depression that resulted in two separate hospitalizations that interfered with two semesters. I have one semester where I have all As in science classes, which coincides with the start of treatment for the depression, but the semester afterwards was bad again because things in treatment were changing and it was a tumultuous time. I am fine and stable now, and can explain my poor performance, but I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses. How can I address these issues without sounding like I'm making excuses and without divulging too much serious information due to the stigma surrounding mental illness?

Thanks for your help,
Dips
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:23 pm

Dips,

I moved your topic to its own thread.

applying-medical-school-low-gpa-related-depression-t794.html
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby nl29 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:24 pm

Hello, I'm currently finishing my sophomore year of undergrad. Planning on going to either med school or grad school for a masters in biomedical engineering. I just wanted to know that if I have a 3.8 gpa, a good mcat score (example 38), what else would I need to increase my chances. Im currently in 2 credible engineering associations along with 2 honors societies. Do you guys think that if I manage to add a research position for this summer along with an EMT license and a couple of months of practice along with shadowing a doctor. Would that be enough? I'm afraid that I've started too late regarding extra curricular activities and volunteering. What do you guys think?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:31 am

nl29,

You have a solid GPA and with a good MCAT score you should be a strong applicant. It is not too late to get some volunteer work done, as you just need to have done some of it by the time you apply in order to be able to put it on your application and be able to talk about your experiences during interviews if need be. I don't think an EMT license would be worth the effort if you are only doing it to make your application stronger. Most medical students don't have an EMT license. Research is not necessary, but may help particularly at some of the more competitive schools if they have a strong research program.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Archivan » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:08 am

I am currently an Architecture student. I am becoming aware that following Architecture is not my calling and that I should have followed pre-med. Would an Architecture major with a bio major get me into med school? I am currently a 3rd year Architecture student with a high GPA. What should you suggest if medicine is my true calling?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:33 am

Archivan,

It doesn't matter what your major is. You don't need to be a biology major. A good GPA is important, but you will need to take the required pre-med courses - 1 year biology, 1 year general chemistry, 1 year organic chemistry, and 1 year of physics. And you will need to take the MCAT.

If it's possible to also complete the architecture program, it would be a great back-up option to have in case you ultimately decide that medicine isn't for you.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Domge » Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:28 am

Hi,
I just stumbled across this thread and I have a couple of questions.

1. I am at community college right now and am planning on transferring to UCSD in the fall as a Biochemistry major (premed of course). I was wondering if medical schools place greater importance on the grades achieved at a four year university at UCSD than at community college. I actually have a decent GPA of 3.8, but I have a withdraw from O. Chem that I plan to retake at UCSD. Also, I have a C+ in Physics. I didn't decide to that I wanted to pursue medical school specifically until about half way through my community college experience so I have a couple Bs plus the W and the C+.

2. I was thinking about taking one more year at community college but just retaking the O. Chem and Physics and an easy online class to keep as a full-time student. My second semester I would finish off my physics and my O. Chem sequence. Besides just wanting to retake the classes I feel a need to slow down and decide what I really want and to develop study skills. I never planned on going to college in high school so never really bothered to develop any. I kind of get by on just being smart in a pinch, but I don't really think that's a great way to learn. So the actual question is that worth it or is it better to not worry about retaking physics and to just push off the O. Chem to UCSD? Do med schools prefer classes like O. Chem to be at a four-year university?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:39 am

Domge,

There are a few threads here on Community College before transferring and then applying to medical school. You probably want to check those out for more info.

Everything I have read or heard suggests that medical schools strongly prefer you take the pre-med courses at a 4 year university. You should definitely make an effort to contact the medical schools you are most interested in and see if they will accept any pre-med requirements taken at a community college. If the medical school wants you to take physics at a 4 year college, you'd need to retake it. If they would accept your community college physics course, I really don't know if you should retake it or not. If you are pretty sure you would get a B or better taking it at the 4 year college, then I'd be more inclined to suggest you retake it. Getting a C+ in physics at a community college will not look good as medical schools generally regard community college level science courses as easier than the pre-med level science courses at a 4 year college.

The overall GPA of a 3.8 would be very strong if it were at a 4 year college. The 3.8 GPA at a community college doesn't hurt you any, but in your case, your GPA at the 4 year college will probably be more important.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Bogues » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:30 pm

So here's the thing...

My eldest son aspires to be a doctor, and seems to be doing well following a pre-med track at BU (3.8 GPA at middle of Sophomore year). From what we have researched, maintaining that GPA, getting moving on some relevant ECs, and getting a fair MCAT should mean he has a chance at some pretty good med-schools.

We are the classic squeezed middle-class family. Pretty good salary (if I can keep my job), but a big mortgage, consumer debt and 3 more kids mean we are very budget-constrained. Basically, my wife works to pay half the COA at BU (my son has 50% tuition scholarship, and is borrowing the ~$7k per year everyone seems to qualify for). The upshot is that if he goes on to med school, he's on his own! We cannot afford to help him with any more money while our other kids line up for their colleges.

Financially, U Mass Medical looks like a no-brainer, as we live in MA. And it sounds like a pretty good school. But what would YOU do if you had a chance to go to, say, BU Med, or Tufts? Or even Harvard/Johns-Hopkins and other big boys? I really want to hear an opinion here - I know the stock answer is all about trade-offs!

Great board, by the way. Already learned a lot...
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:32 pm

Bogues,

It seems like you are aware of most of the relevant factors. It really depends on the individual and it may make more of a difference for certain career goals. If your son wants to have a research career, each school may have different strong departments regardless of the overall caliber the school. There are also options of MD/PhD programs which frequently cover tuition, but I would only recommend that if someone is REALLY set on having a research career. The programs are extremely difficult. It can be very tough to switch between the medical school and the graduate school as the nature of the work is extremely different.

If your son is interested in a very competitive field, such as orthopedic surgery or neurosurgery, it may help to be at a better school, but he would have to do well there as just going to the top medical school doesn't guarantee you will get into your first choice of residency.

I think then it comes down to how much better is the school and how much more will it cost after factoring in financial aid. Ultimately, an average medical school will get you a very good education. If your son does well at an average medical school, he will have many good choices for residency, and can possibly select a top tier program for his residency if he wants to go that route.

Given the high cost of medical education and the pressures of work after residency, I would think VERY hard before spending a lot more money to go a top medical school over an average or above average school.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Brock13 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:57 am

Hi, I'm looking at having around a 3.6-3.7 gpa when I apply for Med School but I'm really worried about the MCAT. If I were to get around a 3.7 GPA but score around a 27 or 28 overall on the MCAT what do you think my chances would be of getting into Med School? Also, I have all A's and B's and one C in Human Physiology. Do you think the C would stick out too bad? Should I retake the class? Thanks for any help
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby Brock13 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:00 am

Oh also, I play both Soccer and Basketball at my University. Do you think that would be helpful in the application process?
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby DrDave » Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:18 am

Brock13,

The extracurriculars are nice if you are otherwise equal with another applicant, but it isn't enough to make or break your application.

As for your GPA and MCAT question, you can check out the tables in this thread which has tables with acceptance rates for GPA and MCAT scores. According to the 2008-2010 data, applicants with a 3.60-3.79 GPA and 27-29 MCAT score had a 51.5% acceptance rate into medical school. If you can manage to get into the 30-32 MCAT score range, the acceptance rate was up to 72.1%.

The C in human physiology is a potential problem, as that is a topic that obviously is material relevant for medical school. I don't think there is a whole lot of value in retaking the course, unless you are pretty sure you would get an A if you retook it, and even then, I'm not sure how much that helps. Perhaps if you have a valid reason for getting the C the first time around, then retaking it and doing great would show that you've addressed whatever the problem was. There is no way to know for sure how much of an impact that grade will have until you apply and see how you do. Just be prepared to have a valid explanation for the low grade.

If you do well on the MCAT and apply to a good range of medical school, you should have a reasonable chance of getting accepted somewhere.
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby talal84 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:17 am

Hello

I took the Mcats in 2005 and scored 28 on it, are their any med schools in the U.S that don't have a time frame of when you have to take the Mcats.

Thanks
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Re: Medical School Requirements - Frequent Questions and Ans

Postby AdSE » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:47 pm

I suppose my situation is odd.

I started at community college with no med school aspirations or any other goals at all. I took bio 1, failed my first time, retook got a c+. Took bio 2 got a c+. Graduated and transferred to a 4 year school where I failed out for never going to class. Thought I was done with school.

After that I worked in construction for a year before deciding to return to school. I enrolled at 4 year college where I graduated with a 3.78 gpa majoring in psychology and minoring in philosophy and was part of at least 4 national honor societies I can remember at the moment. During that summer after graduation I decided I wanted to go to med school.

I enrolled (same 4 years school) in gen chem which was the only class still open that fall. Got A's in gen chem 1 and 2 and in both of the labs. Now I just finished up this semester taking macro anatomy, organic chem, and physiscs, all with labs. I'm looking at almost all A's except a B+ in physics lab and maybe an A- in orgo lab. I also work 18-27 hrs per week as a scribe in an ER, volunteer 1 night a week as an EMT (I'm state certified), and take part in a research program 4 hrs per week which I go to whenever I the have time.

I value any input on how this looks from an unbiased viewer.
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