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> Dear Rich,
> Thank you for providing such a wonderful resource on the
> advice seems excellent, so I'm hoping that you could send
some of it
> my way.
> I graduated from a small, competitive second-tier liberal
> in upstate New York in 1998 with a B.A. in Biology-Psychology
> minor in computer science. My overall GPA was a 3.59 and
> GPA was about 3.65.
> After graduating, I moved to Boston and worked in an immunology
> Harvard Medical School for 1 year. My intentions were to
> valuable experience while applying to graduate programs
> neurosciences. I spoke with numerous PhD's in the lab, and,
> listening to scads of sob stories (not enough grant money,
> opportunities, low ceilings, long hours with low pay, etc.)
> that the PhD route might not be for me.
> So, I recouped and decided to complete my pre-med requirements
> apply to medical school. I'm currently enrolled in Organic
> Physics at the Harvard Extension School and hope to pull
a B+/A- in
> Now, my concern is this: I feel as though I am embarking
> route with only a vague notion of where I want to take it.
> my insecurities is the fact that I don't know if/where I
might be able
> to get in. Presupposing that I score well on the MCATs (say
> 12s) do I have a decent shot? And might my cloudy notions
of my future
> path preclude me from admission?
> Sorry to lay all of this on you, but your advice seems helpful
> thought I'd give it a try.
------ reply 12/22/99
Elliot, if you were to score 11s and 12s on your MCAT, you
would have a
better than even chance, which these days is considered pretty
good odds. As
far as your uncertainty, at this point all you need to be certain
of is that
you do wish to pursue a career in medicine. If you are not sure
of this you
probably want to spend some more time learning about the profession
thinking about whether you really wish to proceed. Even though
bluff your way through it, it may not be in your best interest
to do so. I'd
advise that you talk it over with numerous MD's, just as you
did with the
PhD's in the lab.
PS The problem that many individuals eventually come up against
professional lives is that in almost all careers there are considerable
amounts of undesirable baggage. A decade or two down the line
minority of those in a profession are consistently having strongly
work experiences. To be fair, there is also a minority that truly
they do; most folks end up in the middle. Generally those lucky
few who get
the most out of their professional lives have a strong passion
aspect of their work that allows them to skate over negatives
much of the momentum from their less well motivated peers.
> Hi Rich,
> I'm a junior at Washington University in St. Louis, and
my pre-med advisor
> recently suggested to me that it would be to my benefit
to take a year off
> before going to medical school. I currently have a 3.2 GPA
and am hoping to
> get at least a 30 on the MCAT. Do you think that I should
take the MCAT in
> August and apply my senior year instead of my junior year?
My advisor told
> me that the average age in med school was 25 so obviously
people are either
> applying later or applying multiple times. What do you think?
------ reply 12/27/99
In applying to most any other graduate program a 3.2 GPA would
be just fine,
but with medicine a 3.2 puts you at a disadvantage. Waiting a
probably will not help, but using the year to raise your GPA,
solidify your record may.
What I am not clear about is what was the rational for waiting
a year that
your advisor had in mind. If it was along the lines of improving
record, or jumping into the rolling admission cycle earlier,
then I'd agree
that it could be to your benefit, but because there are other
your background that I am not aware of, I am unable to give definitive
> Hi Rich, Love the site, just a
quick question for you. I attend Keene State
> College in Keene, NH. It's a relatively small New England
> Although they do not actually posess a "Premed"
major, I am majoring in
> Bio, with a minor in Psyc. I am also actively involved in
> student government, and have been a medic in the US ARMY
> years and counting. My question is how much weight is carried
> undergraduate school, and whether or not my extracurricular
> and GPA (3.6), will make up for the school's lack of size
> Thanks for you help!
------ reply 01/12/00
Thanks for your comment about the site.
Grades are evaluated based on the school from which they were
prevent "grade inflation". In many cases this is not
a significant variable,
but it can be. GPA evaluation data for large schools is usually
necessary, but for smaller colleges most medical schools independently
create documents which help them to evaluate the relative significance
student's academic record.
Your extracurricular activities will be evaluated as part
of the over all
picture presented in your application. If not much is known about
they could help make you a more attractive candidate.
I am Pranay -------. I am a junior in
high school, and I want to become a
cardiologist when I grow older. I have no family/friends who
but I want to be one. I want to know what the "path"
is to becoming a
doctor. What type of college to go to? What courses to take?
extra-curriculars to choose?, etc. Also, please include what
type of SAT
Scores are needed, and class ranks, etc.
Your FAQ on Pre-med is very helpful,
but no college application has a
program "premed". I am confused, and need help.
------ rely 01/12/00
First off, their is no premed major. Second, high school class
rank, or SAT
scores are not very important for those students that apply to
school via normal channels -- see early acceptance programs for
to this: < http://www.premed411.com/pages/app.html >
What you need to do is be accepted into a college or university
which has a
strong program in the premedical sciences (Biology, Chemistry,
a good pre-health advising committee. You may elect to major
subject(s) as long as you complete the core premed requirements
include one year of biology, two years in chemistry, and one
physics. You can find out more about this process at http://www.aamc.org,
and once you enter college, from your premed advisor, as well
premedical organizations that you may which to join.
I am a Physical Therapist practicing
the profession for 11 years and hoping
to become a physician someday. I am licensed in 5 states namely
and ME and have extensive experience in the medical field as
profession. I graduated from the Philippines. My question is
how do I apply
to take this MCAT exam, and the procedures to follow.
Thank you very much.
What you need to do is to get a free copy of the 2000 MCAT
that should be available in early February at most colleges and
universities. It contains all the information you probably will
when you call a school, the individual helping you is not sure
how to direct
your call ask for pre-health advising or for the testing center.
> I am finishing my second year of college, and I am planning
> medical school. : ) Is it ever too early to take the MCAT?
Can I take it as
> many times as I would like? What is the cost of the test?
If I take it a few
> times and my scores keep improving would it be wise to post
all scores from
> the beginning or to wait till I have taken a few? Your site
has really helped
> me a lot!!! It answered so many of my questions. Also, I
am currently a
> phlebotomist at a top hospital in the Houston Medical Center,
> from high school a year early.....will this help make me
a "keeper" along
> with my high MCAT score which I hope to make? Thank you
for your time!!
> Becky : )
> Is it ever too early to take the
You want to take the MCAT when you are ready for it and expect
to do well.
You do not want to take the test more than once if you can avoid
> Can I take it as many times as
I would like?
Yes but you must ask special permission to do so after your third
> What is the cost of the test?
$165 on Sat. $175 on Sun.
> If I take it a few times and my
scores keep improving would it be wise to post
> all scores from the beginning or to wait till I have taken
There are too many variables here for me to give you a short
taking the MCAT repeatedly is not a good idea unless you are
forced to do it
by low scores. The competitive advantage goes to the student
who makes the
highest score while taking the test once or twice.
> Also, I am currently a phlebotomist
at a top hospital in the Houston Medical
> Center, and graduated from high school a year early.....will
this help make me
> a "keeper" along with my high MCAT score which
I hope to make?
Yes! GOOD LUCK [:-)]
> Hi there Rich, I have quite a situation
here that I need some advice about. I
> recently graduated from New College ( a small liberal arts
> with the Univeristy of South Florida) with a major in neurobiology.
> that a career in medicine would be ideal for me but I have
a few things
> stacked against myself. Number one is that New College does
not assign letter
> grades but rather evaluates students on a Pass/Fail system
> professors give written evaluations concerning the student's
> know grades are of top priority so does this mean I have
> exceptionally well on the MCAT even to be considered? Would
> recommendation/ research experiences be weighted more in
light of this? Number
> two is that I did not complete all the med school requirements
> wondering if it would be disadvantageous if I took these
courses at a
> community college rather than a four year institution. In
addition, I am
> currently taking a year off from studies before I continue
with my education.
> How do med schools view students who decide to take some
time off before
> continuing their studies? I know this is a lot to chew on
but I would
> sincerely appreciate any advice on my conundrum, thanks.
------ reply 01/20/00
Hi, I'm a bit familiar with New College because a
friend of mine went there. Yes letters of recommendation, etc.,
MCAT scores will take on an even greater importance, but an above
but less than exceptional MCAT score, may do the trick.
As far as scores from community colleges they are typically
not held in as
high regard as grades from four year schools.
Taking time off is no real problem, but is a likely issue
to come up during
> I am currently attending John Jay
College of Criminal Justice in New York City
> and I am a junior majoring in Forensic Psychology. However,
recently I have
> been very much interested in becoming a doctor of Medicine.
My question to
> you is can you offer some insights as to what I should do
before and after I
> graduate from college. Is it too late to become a doctor?
What can I do now
> even though I will have a degree in Forensic Psychology?
Any help or advice
> is greatly appreciated. I look forward to your reply.
> Thank you, Mel.
------ reply 01/20/00
What you need to do is to learn as much about the admission
possible. http://www.premed411.com/home.html is a good place
to start. Make
sure to get a copy of MSAR. You also should look at the on-line
http://www.premed411.com/pages/pmr.html . Also the email archive
It is certainly not too late to become a doctor, and there
are many things
you can do, but educating yourself about the whole process makes
sense as a first step.
> To whom it may concern,
> I have taken the MCAT once and plan on taking it again in
April. I took the
> Kaplan prep course and I want to try something else. What
other choices do I
> have and what do you recommend.
> Thank you,
------ reply 01/20/00
Some other choices are another commercial MCAT course, a private
studying on your own. I usually recommend the latter, but without
information concerning your abilities and personality, I really
See http://www.premed411.com/pages/mcat.html for tips.
> i need to know if you can help
me. i am looking to go back to school in the
> fall. i want to start a pre med program but i want to pick
the best school i
> can. i don't know where to begin. if you could be of some
assistance i would
> really appreciate it. thank you sincerely, Liz
------ reply 01/20/00
You could try going to the reference desk of a large library
and ask for
publications that provide comparative information concerning
schools. (It is important that these sources are independent
Looking at brochures and web sites will be of some help, but
you also might
try emailing the officers of premed clubs at the schools you
interested in to try and get some inside information.
Hope that helps.
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