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Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 13:37:33 EDT


I am concerned about my interviews in 2004-5. I am very behind in my
current events. Every since HS, I was somewhat secluded from the outside
world and don't really know what is going on as far as health care...I
really need some advice. What should I do? How do I catch up?

Thanks Rich.


Hi Sam,

You can certainly learn a lot about health care by working/volunteering at a
hospital or at a doctors office--clinical experience rather than assisting
with research or paper work is best. Since you will need to get some
experiences of this kind anyway, you should use this opportunity to become
conversant in the relevant issues. In the short term, why not go online?, THE premier search engine, can help you to catch up on issues
that are not only important to be aware of for your interviews, but also,
your future!

Thanks for the heads up re the "eMCAT"!


> Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002 08:08:25 -0600
> Subject: Completing 2nd Semester Physics/Organic Chemistry before the MCAT?
> Hi, my name is Scott and I am a non-traditional pre-med student that is
> struggling with the timeline of when to take the MCAT. I had planned to take
> the MCAT in August 2003 but read on the internet that the MCAT is designed so
> that 2nd semester Physics and Organic are not necessary. I would like to take
> the MCAT in April 2003 but simply do not have the time to adequately prepare
> if I am taking 2nd semester Physics and Organic(I work full-time and have two
> kids). Is it true that I can adequately prepare for the MCAT without this
> information? Also, is it looked upon negatively if you have not finished all
> of your pre-req's at the time of your med school application? I look forward
> to hearing from you. Thank you!
> Scott

Hi Scott,

Second semester physics and orgo ARE necessary for the MCAT. It is EXTREMELY
inadvisable to take the MCAT unless you have taken, or are taking, these
courses. The MCAT/most-physics-courses are set up so that the last couple
weeks of Physics II deal with topics not on the MCAT.

Not completing your pre-req's is less of a big deal but, will also put you
at a disadvantage. Sounds like you have your hands full; you should consider
taking orgo II and physics II in the spring, and the MCAT in August of 2003.


Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 11:54:59 -0700
Subject: application to medical school at 50

Hi Rich,
I have always felt it was my path to attend medical school, but have
sidetracked myself with higher education as a dental hygienist with a
Master's in Health Science, postgraduate work in screenwriting, and an
ex-husband. Having most recently turned 50 and now on the faculty of a top
ranking hygiene school affiliated with UCLA, I want to further my education.
Is it feasible to consider medical school at this age? I don't perceive
retiring and would consider general family practice or a specialty in
craniofacial. What does UCLA offer with regard to postback premed


Hi Cynthia,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

While discrimination on the bases of age is not allowed, a calculus of a
sort is most certainly applied in determining the expected professional
lifetime of a physician versus the resources applied toward her education.
For this reason, expressing an interest in a specialty which requires less
time and resources would be expected to increase your chances for

The percentage of those accepted declines with age, from over 70% for those
under 20, to 20% for those 38 and over. Of the 34859 applicants for the 2001
entering class 11% were over 28 years old. Of these, four were over 55. The
oldest person accepted was 47 years old. You will find additional
information at:

UCLA has a solid premed program, both undergraduate or postbac programs
would include 1 year of general chem w/ lab, 1 year of organic chemistry w/
lab, 1 year of physics (w/o calculus) w/ lab, and at least 1 year of biology
w/ lab. A year of English, and a semester of statistics and biochemistry may
also be recommended by an advisor.


> Date: Mon, 01 Jul 2002 19:56:50 CDT
> When I was in high school, I took college classes at the university I am
> currently attending and will graduate from. Because I took college classes
> full-time while I was in high school, pre-med physics *was* my high school
> physics (I knew nothing about physics at all prior to taking the course), and
> I got a B and A-. It was also the first science class I took in college
> (probably I should have taken chemistry, since I only had a bad high school
> course, but I was curious about physics), and I hadn't had any science in a
> year, so I feel I was at a diasadvantage. Would it be my benefit to retake
> them if I got As, or should I not bother? This was 00-01, by the way, so I
> also wonder if I've forgotten a lot.


Under the circumstances a B and an A- looks good. You may wish to sit
in/audit a physics course to help you review for the MCAT, although this may
not be necessary.


Date: Thu, 4 Jul 2002 15:24:49 EDT
Subject: best premed school

My son will be a senior in H. S. and wants to be a doctor. His plan is to
go to a 4-year university with a major in Psychology-premed. He's having a
hard time deciding on what colleges to apply to so I was wondering if you
could recommend the best premed programs on the West coast. UCLA is
currently one of his choices but we need more. He has a lousy sophomore
year in HS because of a serious illness but has done well in junior
year--all A's and B's. His first SAT score was 1380, 690 math, 690 verbal
(He plans to take it again in the fall) and his ACT was 29. Do you have any
suggestions for him?



I'm not an expert in this area, but I hope the links below will help.


> Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2002 09:56:35 -0400
> Hi,
> My name is Megan, I am a sixteen year old student from Trinidad West
> Indies and I really need a list of premed colleges and advice on admission for
> them.
> Our education system here in Trinidad is similar to the United Kingdom's. We
> start school at two and a half where we complete two years of kindergarten. We
> then go onto do two years at infant level before going onto primary school. In
> primary school we complete five years before we sit an exam to attend
> secondary school.
> In secondary school we do five years. After those five years are completed, we
> sit an exam equivalent to the Cambridge 'O' Levels. We can then either leave
> school and get a job or continue studying for two more years and then sit our
> Cambridge 'A' Level exams. We then go on to University.
> For three of the five years, in secondary school, we do thirteen subjects
> including all science subjects (physics, biology, chemistry). For the other
> two years we do either eight or nine subjects, four of which are compulsory
> and the rest we get to choose.
> I am currently studying mathematics, add-maths, biology, chemistry, geography,
> spanish, english literature, english language and principles of business. I
> start add-maths in June. When I sit my exam, I plan on doing the two extra
> years at school. For those two years I will be studying chemistry, biology,
> maths and general paper.
> I have given you all this history because I need to know if I am eligible to
> study medicine in the U.S.A.,I am not sure as yet what I want to specialise
> in. Could you please advise me on how to proceed. Please also note that I hope
> to obtain a scholarship is there any way that this can be achieved.
> Regards,
> Megan

Hi Megan,

I am not an expert in this area, but I would guess that you would be
eligible, although an examination of some kind may be required. You should
be able to get most the information you need on the internet, after which a
few phone calls may be necessary. It may take some work, the link below is a
start. Sorry I am not able to be of more help.


> Date: Mon, 08 Jul 2002 19:24:23 +0000

> hi RIch, I have started learning about processes and common concerns about
> geting nito med schools since i came across your site. Introducing myself, I
> am Ricky -----, and I will be attending well-renowned southern Georgia
> Institute Of Technology in this Fall as a Freshman. Georgia Tech holds strong
> academic reputation as far as academics are concerned(they only acceply 5s on
> Bio, Physics and Chemistry AP!!) That is the main reason i chose to go to GA
> Tech over University of Georgia. I think my B.S. will mean somehting once i
> get out of Tech. I do realize that it matters what Undergrad college you go
> to, but to what extend does it matter, if it really does? Please take some of
> your precious time to give me some advice on this. Your time and advice will
> be appriciated!
> Thank you,
> Ricky

Hi Ricky,

As far as I know there is no published information that can answer your
question precisely, especially since the importance of which undergraduate
institution you go to will vary from one medical school to the next. But the
stats below should give you some idea:

93: Percent of Hopkins students (90 total) in the undergraduate class of
2001 who applied and were accepted to medical school on their first try.

50: Rate of acceptance to medical school, nationally.

3.62: Mean GPA of Hopkins students/alumni accepted into medical school in
2001. The national average was 3.60.

31.2: Mean MCAT total for Hopkins students/alumni accepted into medical
school in 2001. The national average was 29.6.

Going to a very good school or to a very poor school can help you a lot, or
hurt you a lot. Otherwise, the difference, although still present, should be
a smaller deal. Bottom line: Stay at George Tech.


> Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002 12:50:54 -0500

> Hi Rich,
> I was just wondering what you think my chances of admission to a top-tier
> school would be with my credentials. Here's a quick rundown of my app: 3.93
> GPA at a state school, 9VR 11PS 13BS and WS of N, and 14 extracurricular
> activities including clinical volunteer experience, leadership activities,
> community volunteerism, and various jobs (one being a job in the medical
> field). Also, I am a bio-chem major.
> Thanks,
> Nick

Hi Nick,

Your chances for acceptance to a top tier medical school are about 65%.


> Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002 17:29:12 -0400
> I was hoping to get some good advice. I am getting ready to apply to med
> school for the second time. I am 27 years old, married with two kids and I
> have worked full-time and gone to school full time for all of my college
> career to take care of my family. My resulting cum. GPA is 3.3 and my science
> GPA is about 3.0. I have a Bachelors in Communication and in Dec. will have a
> second bachelors in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology. I have a very
> wide range of experiences including plenty of clinical and volunteer work (I
> spent 2 years as a missionary for my church too that is why I am a little
> older). My big crutch is the MCAT, I took it the first time and got a 9V 6P
> 6B. I applied anyway just to see what would happen. I took the MCAT again
> and got an 8V 6P 8B so I am a little frustrated. I have some good letters and
> a good personal statement but I want to know what is the best thing for me to
> do to increase my chances of acceptance. I know I want to be a doctor and I
> know that I will be a great one. I have heard many people say that taking the
> MCAT 3 times is looked down upon. Is that true? If not should I take it in
> August of this year ( a little over a month away) or April of next year. I am
> applying to D.O. schools also what do you think my chances are of getting in
> this year? Finally, how big of a deal should I make about going to school
> full-time while working full-time and taking care of a family? I would
> appreciate any feedback or advice you could give.
> Thanks
> Dave

Hi Dave,

Sorry for the late reply--I receive a lot of email around this time of year.

The good news is that the number of applicants has been in a steady and
significant decline since 1997 and this trend is almost certain to continue
into the near future.

The bad news: While a higher GPA would help somewhat, the truth is you need
a 24 on the MCAT to have a reasonable shot at D.O. (27 for M.D.) While it
doesn't look that great taking the MCAT three times, you really have no

As far as taking a full load for your second bachelors degree, while working
full time and taking care of a family, even though its got to be very hard
to do so, taking a full load will look good on your transcript and you
probably should continue to do so except...

...give yourself a break and cut down to part time status temporarily during
the spring semester (2003) in order to make available the time you need to
prepare for the April MCAT. You should devote as much time as possible
toward improving your scores--all other obstacles are insignificant by



Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 02:48:13 EDT

Hi Rich. Thanks for your wonderful website, I have it on my favorites so I
check it out once in a while.

I'm an undergraduate studying Biochemistry. I have a G.P.A of 3.7 right
now, but I think I can raise it to 3.75 or something by the time I will be
taking the MCAT. I just can't find any hospitals that offer programs that
allows for gaining experience in the medical field, except doing office
works and running chords for hospitals like filling charts and answering
patient questions. Right now I work at the health center at my school, but
so far that's all been available to me so far. So is this what they call
clinical experience?

I also had a medical emergency last semester and I had to leave U.S for one
semester, so I dropped all of my classes and I got six W's on my record, but
rest of my grades are mostly A's and some B's with one C in Calculus. The C
on calculus was because, it was the first course I took at college and I
took it in summer, so I wasn't experienced enough. I was wondering if these
issues will effect my chance of getting into med school?

And the last question, is that, someone told me that it is better to take
Kaplan courses during the summer rather than a regular semester, why is

Thank You,

Hi Faezeh,

Well it sounds like you are getting "limited" clinical experience since you
have some contact with patients. Sometimes it is hard to get more extensive,
experience which would involve greater exposure to medical procedures, but
if you can, you should.

As long as you are able to explain why those W's are there, they will not
affect your chances for admission, and one C in calculus is no big deal.

Perhaps they meant to say that taking a prep course during the summer, when
you are not taking lots of classes, gives you more time to prepare.



> Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 14:11:43 -0700 (PDT)
> Hi Rick,
> I am permanent resident residing in USA. I have finished my Vety medicine
> about 7 years back. I am working as a software programmer now. I have always
> wanted to study medicine, but couldn't do due to some personal reasons. Now at
> this point in my life, I want to fulfill my dream. I do have any idea about
> what is involved like finishing the premed courses, take MCAT and apply for
> medicine etc. My problem is I don't know where to start? Do I have to join a
> Post bacc program or do I get a waiver in some courses because of my
> Veterinary degree? Is it a good idea to take the necessary courses in
> Community college? Who can give me a good advice? Please guide me to a right
> path.
> Thanks in advance
> Geetha

Hi Geetha,

Because of the time period involved since you received your veterinary
medicine degree, it is probably best that you retake your core sciences,
although you could, and may wish to get a waiver for a course such as
general chemistry should you believe you are still knowledgeable in this

Going to a University is preferable to a community college, especially when
taking organic chemistry and physics. What you need to do is to take a full
load and show medical schools that you can do well. Since it has been
sometime since you have last seen this material, performing well in these
classes will help your chances for acceptance.

As far as getting some additional advice you can do a search
using "premed-program" and the name of a school in your area, or the name of
the area where you live. Usually you will be able to find a local phone
number to call. If not call the admissions office of a school in your area
and ask to speak with the individual in charge of their postbaccalaureate
premedical program.



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