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[I] Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000
> Hi Rich,
> My name is ----- i live in Boston. In January 2001 i will start
> college, but since i didn't do well in high school and got a low SAT score i
> decided to take a short cut go to a 2 year college..Bay State College. Which
> i will study medical assistant. iI later plan to transfer my credit to a 4
> year college and if i do this do i still have to take the 4 years or will
> having this degree would actually cut down a year or 2 at undergratuate
> college?? Also after it i'm planning on taking the SAT to get into medical
> school...could you plz help me guide me in the right way...i mean what do you
> recomment i should do...i have already process at the papers to go into this
> college so now i must go there and i actually think it's a good idea because
> if i don't get into med school i'll have something to back down on.. Do you
> think this plan is ok or in what ways should i improve it?
> Thank you so much your words are greatly aprecciated.
Hi ------,

You will need to consult with an advisor regarding transfer of credits from two
year to four year colleges.

While going to a two year college may put you at somewhat of a disadvantage
for being accepted to medical school, it does seem that it provides you with
other options should your hopes of admission to med school not come to pass.
All the advise I can currently think of is contain in the Premed Zone. I
wish you the best of luck in whatever path your future may take.

[II] 17 Oct 2000
> just a quick question. i have heard that volunteering is better than
> pay work. on your site it says the reverse. i know yu must be busy, but
> if you could reply it would be greatly appreciated

While I admit that many premedical students believe admissions committees
look more favorably upon the nobler aspects of volunteer work as opposed to
paid work, I know of no evidence that volunteering is better than paid work.

What is most important is getting solid clinical experience, and since paid
work generally implies a greater level of responsibility and experience, all
other things being equal, paid work is more desirable than volunteering--you
not only get a salary, but also have a better chance of acceptance to
medical school!


> Hi Rich,
> My name is ----- and I am a sophomore at Stanford University in California. I
> am currently taking the Human Biology core here at Stanford, to which I have
> yet to receive any grades for yet. They will, however, count toward the
> Biology requirement.
> I have yet to take chemistry nor physics yet . However, due to a situation
> in my family I may have to take next year off and spend the year at home. I
> am from New Jersey , by the way, so the nearest University to my house is
> Rutgers University. My question is whether it is ok if I take my Chemistry or
> Physics/Organic Chemistry requirement at Rutgers and enroll part time or
> whether I should wait the year and take it at Stanford? Is there much of a
> difference between an institution like Stanford and Rutgers as far as premed
> requirements are concerned and as far as Universities are concerned? Rutgers
> is a University and not a comm. college. I don't want to seem as if I am
> taking the easy way out (though I would imagine...Stanford is much tougher).
> Thanx

Hi -----,

There is a difference, but it is not a very big deal, on the other hand,
taking a part time load is more problematic. Medical school committees want
to see how well you perform under conditions which most closely mimic those
you will encounter in medical school. You definitely should take Organic and
Physics as part of a full load, but not necessarily during the same

> Rich,
> I am a junior at an Ivy League school who has just received my MCAT
> scores from this summer's test. I recieved a 13 in PS, an 11 in BS, but
> a 7 in VR. The 7 in VR is a complete shock, for I never in the 6
> Full-Length Practice MCATs that I took as part of the KAPLAN course
> scored below 10 on VR. Moreover, I thought the VR on the MCAT I took
> was not nearly as hard as that on the KAPLAN tests. Also, adding to the
> oddity of my score of 7, on my SATs in high school I scored almost
> perfect in Verbal with a 770. In short, I have always done well on
> verbal tests (including MCAT verbal tests), so my score on this one
> remains a mystery.
> So, my question is whether there could have possibly been some type
> of mistake in the scoring of my test (e.g. could a stray mark have upset
> the scantron or could the person grading it have entered it into the
> computer as the wrong version--b/c I know there were several different
> versions of the test going around?) Anyway, I was wondering what I
> should do. Have you ever heard of the MCAT making a mistake on its
> grading somehow or someone having parts of his or her test regraded by
> hand and the score subsequently changed? Thanks for your time.

While it is not likely, it is possible that a mistake was made. You should
request that your VR be rescored by hand ASAP. The procedure for making this
request is explained on page 25 of the MCAT 2000 Announcement Booklet that
is part of the MCAT Registration materials. The cost is $30.

[V] >23-Oct-2000
> Hey rich,
> well I have a question that I would like your advise on. I am
> currently a junior. Now my freshmen year...I didnt do too
> well...but since then I have slowly but surely been trying to
> climb out of that disaster. Now because of that freshmen year
> ...I am probably going to have an appro. 2.95-3.0 gpa...I know
> this isnt good for medical schools but I would like your opinion
> anyways. Do I have a chance? Now I do have a lot of clinical
> experience includig an intership which is highly competitve to
> get into( they have an application process, GPA, Essay and I am
> also heavily involved in campus organizations aswell. I am and
> econmics major with a minor in natural science....also I got a b-
> in ochem A...probably will be able to pull off a B in ochem B.
> and A-'s in physics and molecular bio. Also I have a second
> question. If I dont get in and then decided to purue a masters
> in econ and then apply i need to take the science
> courses that I will be doing a masters in econ and not
> in a science. Or is there any type of specific program one can
> follow that is geared towards med school admission? Basically
> what are my options if I dont get in and still would like to
> apply again.
While a poor freshman performance is often discounted, a GPA of a 3.0 gives
you a very poor chance, even with the experiences you describe, with an MCAT
of 10, 10, 10, you'd probably have less than a 1% chance.

You do not need to retake the science courses, but a masters in Economics
will not be nearly as helpful in increasing your chances of admission as a
Masters in a medically related science.

Your best bet is to enroll in a serious Masters program in a medically
related science and reapply after you have demonstrated your abilities to
handle such a demanding program. In the mean time your best short term bet
to to really go all out preparing for the MCAT. Though hard to do, a 12, 12,
12 would probably boost your chances to 25% as long as your GPA is 3.0. Any
lower and the odds drop off a cliff.

Best of luck,
[VI] > Time: Mon, 23-Oct-2000
> Hey everyone- I sent my apps in end of August -mid sept and I
> haven't heard anything yet-I heard it takes about a month- how
> long does it take top hear- is all hope lost.

3 to 8 weeks. Usually a month. Hope is not lost until you get a l
etter that begins... "Thank you for ... we are sorry but..."
[VII] > Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000

> Hi Rich
> Briefly.. UCLA 3.6 GPA major in Neuroscience. MCAT in April VR 7 BS 10 PS 10,
> August VR 9 BS 10 PS 11. Work in Cardiology dept for 2 years. Presented
> papers. Play Tennis, Golf and active in student affairs.
> I feel I am well rounded and love medicine. Would dearly love to go to any UC
> school. What are my chances now ? Any tips would help.
> Thanks

Based on the info above I'd estimate your odds of admission at between 40% to 50%,
depending on how well you interview. All the tips I can think of are posted at

Good luck!
[VIII] Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000
> Hello and thank you very much for providing such a wonderful website. I'm
> glad to have stumbled on such a resource!
> Just received August 2000 MCAT scores today and I am a little worried. I
> graduated in the Spring with a 3.9 GPA and am currently doing research at
> National Institutes of Health-I plan to apply in the next couple of years. I
> have great references and lots of volunteer and clinical experience (7 years
> of hospital volunteering, Pediatrics work...) as well as 5 different
> research projects within biology, psychology and physiology, one of which is
> being published and presented at a conference in a few months.
> MCAT was a 28. Verbal 9, Phys 10 and Bio 9, Writing O
> I am disappointed, but would prefer to apply without retaking the MCAT-in
> your opinion, do I have a chance...or do I really need to retake?
> Any advice is much appreciated-my advisor is nowhere to be found.
> Thanks much-

Hi ,

I'm glad you found the website helpful. You probably do not need to retake the
MCAT, you have a terrific background, but you definitely should retake it. A
simple cost/benifits analysis makes this a no-brainer. By the way, I do understand
your not wanting to retake; I have received a lot of email from premedical students
expressing similar feelings.


> Hello Rich-
> Thanks for your advice...I am starting to slowly accept the fact that I need
> to retake the MCAT. By being a 'no-brainer' do you think that it is just
> worth the effort-as I really do need to get higher to make myself
> competitive (I got a 28)? My other question is in regards to preparation-I
> took the Kaplan course, and like I've been reading on your website, those
> prep courses are not always the most helpful. Do you think that this second
> time around, the best prep might just be in reviewing all of the info myself
> and just studying on my own?
> Any other suggestions? I would like to take your course, but I live in
> California....
> Thanks Rich-


I inferred from your first email that if you applied yourself you could
improve your MCAT score. Assuming this, retaking the MCAT is a no-brainer. I
do not believe that retaking a prep course (any course, including my own) is
very useful. Once you understand what you need to do, YOU need to do it.
Prep courses may give you a head start, but after that you have to do the


[IX] Sat, 28 Oct 2000

> I really find your website,, very helpful! I have a
> couple of questions and concerns of my own...I am a junior right now and
> getting my bachelor degrees in Computer Science and Economics/Finace. My
> first year was terrible and plus my major is tough.. and now it has cost my
>'s about a 2.8 right now but I'm slowly bringing it up...I have
> always felt like being a doctor, but now I'm really considering it.
> Do I have a chance of getting in to med school even though my major is
> not biology and/or chemistry?

You do, a bio or chem degree is not needed.

> I am getting a minor in biology and have taken a bunch of math courses which
> i'm really liking and I don't know if they will help much. Since my freshman
> year has cost me my GPA, what other things can I do so I can have a chance to
> going to med school?

The usual things, volunteer work stressing clinical experience, letters of rec., club
activities, extracurricular activities, careful academic planning to enhance your
GPA, getting familiar with members of the premedical committee or adviser at
your school...

> Also, I am thinking about taking the MCAT's in August and take a prep
> course to help me out! Is the timing too late or is it ok? I would
> appreciate if you can give me any advice as soon as possible...thank you!

The timing is fine.

Best of luck,
[X]  Time: Tue, 31-Oct-2000
> Hi Rich:
> Your website has been incredibly helpful. I was wondering is it
> possible to transfer from an osteopathic school to medical
> school. Thanks for your help!!

Yes, but you have to start over as a first year medical student.



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