HOW I GOT INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL: my GPA, MCAT and my non-tradional journey!


Hey everyone, my name is Jamie and I am currently
a first year emergency medicine resident. Today’s video has been very highly requested
and it’s been long overdue and it’s all about how I got into medical school. I did the first part of this video few years
ago where I described my journey through high school. If you haven’t seen that video yet, you
can check it out by clicking over here. You can hear about my move from Korea to how
I did in high school and my general experience of getting into. For today’s video I’ll talk a little about
my college experience and my medical school application process. I initially attended a Liberal Arts College
called the New School here in NYC. The reason why I ended up at New School was
because at that time I thought I maybe wanted to major in either pychology or music therapy–
so going to a liberal arts college made sense to me It took me a while to get used to college
courses but eventually I started to get the hang of things. I took a neuroscience class during my sophomore
year and taking that class was what gave me the idea and inspiration to go to med school. Having this goal made a big difference in
my DRIVE. It motivated me to do better in classes and
really strive to get the best grade possible. Growing up, my parents were never pushy in
terms of academics– they never cared about what grade I got BUT having a purpose of going
to medical school brought everything to a different level. My grades started to improve and I became
more active within the university. I participated in activities like Student
Activities Board, Peer Health Advocate, went on a trip for Habitat for Humanity after Hurricane
Katrina, tutored math on the side. I was even the orientation leader which is
funny considering I have zero school spirit. I also worked as a research assistant to my
neuroscience professor. After 2 years at New School I decided to transfer
to Barnard College. The reason why I wanted to transfer out of
the New school was because they didn’t offer any traditional science classes. For example, I took a class called “Genes,
Environment, & Behavior” which was basically an intro level genetics class but with a twist. The classes were super interesting but they
didn’t count towards pre-requisite classes for med school application. My first couple years at Barnard were TOUGH. Not all my credits from the New School transferred
over and I was going to have to stay extra 3 semesters to fulfill all my requirements
for graduation. On top of that, the whole environment was
very different. Everyone seemed more academically driven. Everyone worked really hard and seemed really
smart compared to me. I felt crushed when I saw that I had gotten
Cs on some of my classes my first semester. I know that Cs aren’t terrible but I knew
I had to do better to get into medical school. That first year it really felt like I wasn’t
smart enough. But I kept trying- I talked to upperclassmen
who took the classes before me and asked for tips on how to well in the class. I attended all the TA sessions and office
hours– especially for classes I struggled with like general chemistry, orgo, and physics. By the time I graduated, my GPA went from
2.81 in first semester to 3.91 my last semester. More so than increase in GPA, doing well at
a difficult school like Barnard gave me CONFIDENCE. I felt like if I can become a “good student”
here then I can do anything I put my mind to. It made me feel like I was smart enough and
that my hard work really does pay off in the end. After college, I still felt like my cumulative
GPA wasn’t competitive enough for med schools. So I took some extra science classes at a
local university and I made sure, MADE SURE I got As in those classes because 1) I was
paying for these classes per credit and 2) getting a B or lower would have hurt my GPA
instead of helping my GPA. My eventual total GPA for applying to med
school was 3.53. My science GPA was 3.59 and my non-science
GPA was 3.45. In preparation for MCAT, I think most test
prep courses offer good way to learn about the exam and test taking strategies but ultimately
I felt that I needed to strengthen my knowledge base for the exam. I took classes at THINKMCAT in New York City
which focused more on the exam content. I took the course and did everything I was
told to do including all the extra question sets and the practice exams. One thing I knew was I didn’t want to take
the MCAT more than once. I prepared as much as I could and dedicated
the last month before my exam to doing questions and practice exams. I took the exam in January because I wanted
the score to come back before applying in the summer. I took the older version of the test so the
scoring was out of 45. So I scored 33 which is equivalent to about
513-514 on the new MCAT. I want to make a quick note here about extracurricular
activities. I felt that the bulk of my activities should
reflect my interest in medicine- so some of these activities included working in a medical
office, volunteering for hospice and different hospital floors, physician shadowing, and
research experiences. But I also tried to show that I had a wide
variety of interests outside of medicine by including activities that I genuinely enjoyed
like music, event planning, and working out. Initially, I felt like I wanted to apply everywhere
but once the secondary applications started rolling in, it really made me consider which
schools I wanted to go to and where I wanted to live. In the end I completed about 20 applications
and received 5 interviews. Out of those 5 interviews, I got waitlisted
at 3, and I got accepted to ONE medical school. In the beginning I felt a little insecure
about it- like I felt like everyone else had so many options they chose from. But now it doesn’t bother me. All you really need for your MD is one school
and that’s what I had. The school I got accepted to is Rutgers Robert
Wood Johnson Medical school. Honestly I feel like everything worked out
perfectly because I had the in-state tuition, I had a fantastic education, and I formed
some really close friendships in that school that REALLY helped me through the ups and
downs of medical school. I really liked that my med school had pass/fail
system for the first two years which fostered more cooperative learning and the competition
was less cut throat. It also had a good mix of lectures and small
groups. I was super lucky in that the only school
I got into had the perfect curriculum and the environment I was able to thrive in. So that’s pretty much it for my process
from college to medical school. Now it feels like forever ago and a part of
me is grateful that I didn’t quite realize just how long and difficult of a journey it
was going to be. For me, some level of ignorance was bliss
and it kept me from being too scared to try. I hope this story is helpful to some of you
out there trying to go to medical school or into any other healthcare profession. Let me know if any part of my story resonates
with you- I’d love to hear about it. That’s it for today’s video. Thank you guys so much for watching and letting
me share with you basically how I spent my entire 20s. Hope you guys enjoyed it and I’ll see you
guys in the next video!

100 thoughts on “HOW I GOT INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL: my GPA, MCAT and my non-tradional journey!

  1. This makes me so happy and gives me some hope in times when I just want to give up. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. 💝🙂

  2. Ever since I was a little girl my dream was to go to medical school. I'm in college right now and last semester I transferred to a new school thats more academically focused and honestly really quite hard for me. My GPA is a lot lower than what it was prior to transferring and I often feel stupid compared to my peers. I decided to switch my major to one that I thoroughly (to sociology from biology) enjoy and I honestly cannot wait for what the next semesters hold. I still have to do extremely well in all my classes, especially my science classes, but I think the switch is worthwhile because I absolutely love sociology and I never realized that before taking a few courses in it! I am excited for what the future holds and would like to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for this video! I now realize it is possible to go to medical school and achieve my dreams despite the few setbacks I've had. Thank you so much, I absolutely love your videos and your wisdom.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this video! I have been feeling really anxious and insecure about my grades from first-year university and have been worried about how they might affect my applications to medical school and this reminded me that they are just one year and that I can always turn it around. So thank you so much! You're amazing!!!

  4. I’m struggling with a 1.8 gpa. It’s so much lower. And I’m on academic probation. If I don’t get my gpa above a 2.0 this semester, I get dropped from my major and dismissed from the university. I’m literally scared that the one class I’m struggling in, I will never pass with a C. I need at least a C to move on. But it looks like it may not happen. I need much more motivation. This class I’m talking about is Biology. It’s an intro to biology class for science majors, and I usually don’t struggle with science classes, but my college is OP when it comes to everything. And funny thing is, I’m in my second semester here as a transfer student and I’m already in danger of failing and getting dismissed. I won’t mention personal struggles but yeah. Really trying to stay motivated, but I really want to quit sometimes cause there are others around me who get A’s no problem.

  5. I love this video… It is so inspiring. Thanks for showing us that it is still possible to pursue your dreams even if it is the "non-traditional" way.

  6. I am currently a pre-med student, going into my junior year at university, and I feel like my GPA isn’t good enough. Seeing your journey is inspiring to know that I can do this, I can take my time, and I can succeed.

  7. loveeed that you used time lines and such lol. Your video sounded like an essay almost. Sooo perfectly worded

  8. do u mind telling us what are the 20 med schools u had applied to and which 3 med school had put u into waitlist?

  9. thank you so much for sharing your story, it really helped elevate some of my anxiety as I go into the 2019-2020 application cycle! 💕💕

  10. Can you please make a video on how you financed medical school, afford your apartment in new york, basically how to manage work and school if you have to live on your own while also affording med school, loans etc.

  11. Hey, as you said you migrated from Korea. How did you pay for med school? Did you get a PR or what??

  12. Thank you for the encouragement, I honestly don't know if I be able to get into med school with my GPA. I tried so hard in all my classes and nothing comes out right. I tried everything, going to my tutoring session, talking to my professor, study with friends, I still did not get the grades that I want. I'm about to be a senior and studying for my MCAT rn. What should I do to bring my GPA up?

  13. Thank you for this video! I love the transparency and how vulnerable you are with us. I am very happy that everything worked out for you. So inspiring!

  14. I struggle in chemistry and I want to go to med school! Knowing that I don’t have to have a 4.0+ GPA has taken such a hefty weight off my shoulders. This helped! Thank you!

  15. Hi Jamie this is off topic question since u live there in New York, I wanted to ask b/c my family and i are planning to visit new york by drive from ontario (we’re from Canada) and i was wondering if u know or have a suggestion on how we could commute to tour NYC efficiently when we drive our car there. Do u know if there are certain parkades there we could park our van for the whole day and we would just ride the subway/train/uber/walk around New york?

    Thank you!

  16. Wow, thank your for sharing your story! It's so inspiring 🙂 It's similar to mine and my pathway to getting into medical school. I will be starting this fall >.< I agree with what you said about some level of ignorance as bliss haha

  17. i love this! it’s always comforting to hear that there’s more than just one cut and dry path to medical school! mistakes happen, and that’s okay. you are probably so much wiser than some of your colleagues because of the non-traditional journey that you went through!

  18. I graduated with 3.4 GPA with Neuroscience major this May. Do I still have a chance of getting into any MD schools if I do well on the MCAT?

  19. I wish my school was pure pass-fail and didn’t share class averages. It’s very difficult to willing help others when you want to be above average, but it’s a conflicting mindset because helping each other to become better physicians should be the greater goal.

    Therefore, I admire schools that really try to foster a non-competitive, cooperative environment, and I’m sad that others like my own do not prioritize that.

  20. It’s possible to get admitted with a ~3.5 gpa and not a perfect mcat score?! I always see people with -3.7 or above and they say that’s the average

  21. New school and Barnard college now that’s some $$$. Both those schools will run you 60k/year for tuition and board if not more

  22. Similar story here, minus the transferring. I finished my freshman year of college with a 3.0 cGPA and less than a 3.0 sGPA. My chemistry professor then told me I would never get into medical school with the way I performed in his class (a C in both gen. Chem. 1/2). I was worried for a solid month before I decided to take a course over the summer. Because I'm at a religious liberal arts school, I enrolled in Theo. 100. The professor was an amazing person who both listened and encouraged me. I got an A in his class and finally realized that I could do well in school, especially if I could take a class that was condensed over the summer and still do well. Since then, my lowest cGPA has been a 3.6 and I have gotten 4, 4.0 semesters in a row. Now, I have to finish one more course this summer to get my Biology degree. I also studied for the MCAT, took the MCAT, and applied to medical school last summer. Though I did poor on the MCAT by many people's standards, I was able to get a few interviews for medical school. Unfortunately, I didn't get in. It originally discouraged me greatly, but I am approaching the MCAT and the application process the same way I did my grades nearly 4 years ago. Don't let a bad semester, year, or the words of a negative person slow you down… Use those people as extra fuel for your journey. I know I'm not stopping until its M. K., MD.

  23. Thanks for the video! Though I would consider this to be a traditional path. Most of my friends are also taking gap years

  24. I stumbled across this video trying to do some research for a friend going to med school…. you are a QUEEN, I love hearing about peoples success and journeys

  25. I don’t usually comment on YouTube videos but I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story 🙂 I’m now starting my 4th year but I also had a similar journey in getting into med school and felt insecure during my first two years with the non-traditional path I took. Seeing a lot of my peers come straight through from undergrad made it seem a bit taboo to share my “not so perfect” story, but I’ve come to realize everyone has their own unique journey and there isn’t one right way.

    Congrats on finishing intern year and good luck with the rest of residency! I look forward to your next video 🙂

  26. Hi Jamie! I was wondering, how many science classes did you take per semester for your post bacc? Also, what types of science classes did you take, and how did you pay the tuition (did u take out loans)? Thank you for sharing + thank you for all your hard work !!

  27. For the past couple of days, I’ve been extremely upset about how I couldn’t graduate in exactly 4 years for my biology bachelors and I’ve been worrying about my gpa because it isn’t where I want it to be. I have the option to graduate in one more semester but I really want to bring my grades up so I’m taking two semesters to do so. I started to doubt so much about my future and how everything will go. I have a great fear of the unknown. But now listening to how long it’s taken you and seeing how so far and successful you’ve become, I now have so much hope. I greatly appreciate you sharing your story! I always use your “study with me” videos and I’ve been getting straight A’s in the past two semesters because of them! I know that I can do it. I will go to med school! I will not give up! I can do it! And so can all of you! ❤️❤️❤️

  28. It's really the GPA, which enough people don't realize you get from having the best friends as well as studying. If you don't know what everyone else is doing, you're studying blind. I applied with slightly over a 3.5 and a 35 on the MCAT. 30 schools. Two applications. 7 interviews. No organic nerds allowed, and I mean that literally.

  29. I got my first C just this last semester (albeit every other class was an A) and it crushed me. My GPA is still around a 3.8, but I felt like it was a brick wall. Im currently taking summer classes (switched majors one semester in so just taking a few in the summer to catch up) and overall it has been a good experience. This video has reminded me to keep on going even if you have a bad semester. Thank you for sharing your story, you are truly an inspiration. One day, when I get my MD, I hope to share my story with others to help encourage and inspire others just as you do. 🙂

  30. I definitely agree that ignorance is bliss. I started as a biomedical science major on a pre-med track right out of college thinking I was so ahead of the game knowing how the next 10 years would go- even factored in a break to backpack or just work- and I scared myself out of it after the first semester. Looking at the entire path I had laid out terrified me; I ran from the hill before I really even tried to run it. The curiosity gets to me sometimes. I'm glad you ended up where you were supposed to be & had the drive to make it work!

  31. How did you get a funding? FAFSA is only given to citizens or at least you should have a ssn number. So how did you get an SSN as a student? And which Funding did you receive?

  32. This video really motivated me to do better and remember that not everyone is perfect, and that its never too late to boost my gpa. When you have that drive, you can do anything ❤️

  33. This really helped me. Thank you so much! It’s so great hearing from someone with a non traditional medical school journey, now working towards their dream life.

  34. Great video- I just subscribed! I loved listening to you talk about your path. So encouraging and an excellent reminder to KEEP GOING!

  35. You got in for diversity reasons, plain and simple. Congrats, I'm sure your parents are proud of you that better applicants were rejected because we 'need more women in the medical field'

  36. Are math classes calculated into your science GPA? Can you please tell me exactly what classes were considered in your science GPA?

  37. This video is really inspiring. I started my freshmen year of university well, but did terrible my second year in classes like General Chemistry and Biology. I retook those classes 4 times. I feel like such an idiot. My third year of college I did great and passed both classes I struggled with. I hope my next two years to stay on a straight path and do great on all my classes. Thanks for the video!!

  38. It really sucks how B’s bring down your cumulative GPA. Basically anything besides all A’s makes your GPA go down rather than up. I only got three C’s in my whole college career and my graduating GPA was a 3.3. I also had to take some extra science classes at a community college to help my science GPA. It’s ridiculous how difficult they make it to keep up your GPA.

  39. If you were black with the same GPA these comments would be full of people claiming that your GPA was too low and the only reason you got into med school was because you were black.

    I know this because I had the EXACT same GPA and MCAT as you , didn’t get into until my second try – but was still told by several classmates that I didn’t deserve it or it was easier for me to get in because I’m black 🙃

    And the hilarious part is there’s only 5 black people in my cohort. Out of 99 !! But STILL somehow I didn’t deserve it and stole the spot from a “smarter” Asian or white person.

    Not even trying to be a downer but it’s annoying that you constantly have to prove yourself to people who do know your scores, don’t know the stats and don’t know who AA actually benefits.

  40. Thank you for being so vulnerable and honest. I think this will help a lot of people understand that you don't have to be perfect and that everyone's journey is different. I wish I had these videos when I was in college.

  41. Thank you so much for this video! I too decided I wanted to go to med school my sophomore year of undergrad. At first I felt discouraged, because I was not sure if I had the capabilities to raise my semester GPA. With this video, I feel that I can do whatever I set my mind to! Thank you! You were the inspiration I needed to continue on the path I chose ❤️

  42. You rocked it Jamie!! I'm non-traditional and just graduated with my DO a week ago 🙂 3.5 in undergrad, worked in R&D x1yr, went to grad school x2yr, worked in clinical lab x5yr, took the old MCAT and got a 28 which I was okay with since I had taken physics & Ochem almost 10yrs earlier at that point! Got one interview + one acceptance, did well in med school & on boards and even enjoyed myself a little! Starting internal medicine residency in a couple weeks. I encourage anybody who thinks they might not be a strong candidate for whatever reason to apply to DO schools too, especially if you want to do primary care. MDs & DOs officially share all of the same residency spots now, so the differences are smaller than ever.

  43. I've been watching your videos for years now and currently on my own very long journey into getting medical school.

  44. But everyone who applies gets accepted to only ‘1’ school. If that 1 school doesn’t accept you what do you do next?

  45. Hi Jamie! This story was really helpful and encouraging because I have been kinda late to the volunteering and shadowing game, so I was feeling discouraged about my resumes not being good enough or my GPA not being strong enough. Thank you!

  46. I am preparing for a big exam tomorrow and found your videos out of searching for inspiration to continue studying. The "study with me" are so helpful and I love the rest of the content! Thank you!

  47. look forward to following your videos until (and even after) you become a practicing physician! This video speaks a lot about your character imo and it's exciting to see we'll have physicians like you in the future

  48. This is really helpful because i want to go into med but am worried i am not doing it right, ur story is really good

  49. First-year em resident. I just got to say you're incredibly sexy oh, I mean damn. I hate to be so blunt. Anyway your videos are super inspiring

  50. You’re such an inspiration, Jamie! And not just for aspiring med students. I really adore how humble and real you are and how you work hard just to achieve things and not to show off in any way. Take care 🙂

  51. 6 years to take mcat then 4 years to graduate from med school then ahe starts her residenty program , is that right ?

  52. kapitalisten system hat erkrankungen kinder schuld!
    problemlagen die Arbeitsmigeranten, die Arbeitsförderung, die Arbeits niedrige lohn, die zeit Arbeit und unbefristete Arbeit, kurz Arbeit und stunden Arbeit ab 1993 ledeglich mehr als 40% ausreichende sprachkenntnisse wegen generation eigene sprache verbal gut beherchen unterdurchnitlich ausländische frauen einwanderung verschidenen länder intersive soziale bezeichnung migeranten einheimtlichen eine garantie weiter leben erwartet werden, fast drite vom mittele migerante keine gegenüber freunde deutschen vorjahren bemerkenswerte rückgang intertechnischer ausländiche wohnbevölkerungen immer wenige menschen ihre lebenschance in ihrem heimatland sehen könnten, die indenfikation ist am starkesten in der 2, und 3 generationen ausgeprägt hier fühlen sich über 25 bis 35% deutsche kultur mentalität sprache leben, Arbeits ins gesamt ausländische bevölkerungen zunehmende segregationen gekennzeichnet, *ob wohl als Ausländische bevölkerungen dauerhafte aufentalt in deutschland haben ab 1994 haben gezeit als mehrheitlichen hochproduktive Gruppe den wichtige Arbeitsplätze in der industrie einnemmt und lebensbedinungen sozialversicherungen, pflichtigten auch familien entsprechen ,tariefsysteme und gleichbehandelungen wurden, was am meisten danach Erkrankungen kinder alte bemerken! vielzahl der studiern weisen erhöerste krankrisiko migeranten im säuglings und kinder alter hin wurden immer wieder mit ausnahme einige regionale schwankungen signifikant höherefetionfantile Mortalitätes arten eine höher muttersterblichkeit bei entbindungen ausländische frauen diskutiert! * in ein studiern Ausländische kindern wurden wesentlichstärkere identitätsströrungen Ängste verhaltnissen störungen und psychosamtische befindlichkeitsstörung das hat viele kinder vom ausländer familie passiert meine auch! die neue studiern zeigen welche, wenn die falche politik, und rechte kapitalisten politik immer entscheidet, was an menschen passiren, die akademische meinungen versucht weit die Arme menschen Angst geben, etwa da oben die wesentliche politik ablaufen neue erfahrungen bei bringen können! *seit 1995 ebenso kinder migeranten erhöerte infektionkrankheiten, und unfahlzahlen körporal, die hinweise auf besondres versorgungsprobleme, infektionkranlkheiten kommen nach mehrere immer häfiger überhöete bedutung für nach sterblichkeit, naturlich alle Ausländer egal welche stellen ,Arbeiten ,studiren ,lernen was, und wieder die erfahrungen im Ausland bringen! was alles kapitalisten system in moderne zeit, welche strategie, und technologier und plannungen politik, wirtschaft haben, die idee weiter in ausland probiren wollen, die gesamte kapitalen system eine nach andre weit versuchen getanzenmassnamen kinderAngst, studenten Ausbildete über dizeplin akademie und infektion migeranten probleme verschöben die nach sterblichkeit hat sich im jahr (1990.S. 583ff.) sonder auswertungen statestik überverkersunfälle ergaben einen wesentlichen höheren Anteil tödlicher verletzungen und notwendige unfahlbehandlungen sowohl bei Ausländichen kleinkindern als auch migeranten Ebenso waren, warum habe wieder die Alte geschichten hier bei gebracht! wir mussen vom vergangenheit lernen, was posetive an zukunft bringen, die menschen egal welche stehllen als soziale gründ versichern werden und garantie gesunde leben bekommen die menschen wille und wünsche die obene Akzeptiren, was die menschen ihrem erfahrungen, frei meinungen, freiheiten und gleichheiten bewerben lassen, jeder sich selbst behärchen wo sie sind !was sie wollen! wohin mit wem sollen weiter anreisen! und suchen gehen! man lernt alles im praktik, man soll sich jeder stellen pflicht nehmen und verantwortlichen, nicht immer Abhängig werden!
    Ahmad Hesam

  53. Hi Jamie, thank you for sharing this. I also attended a women's college but got a 3.0 GPA and 2.8 sGPA! I moved back to NYC and am working as a pharmacy tech/fast food/studying at community college. I was wondering what school you took extra courses in and how many classes you felt was enough? How did you plan/manage your post-bac journey (job, classes, MCAT studying, and having productive non-medicine hobbies)? I'm currently supporting myself entirely and feel exhausted after a 40-50 hour week, struggling to keep up with class. I've wondered whether PA, NP, or nursing would be better suited for me, esp since the stats are higher for Asian applicants. I would appreciate any words of wisdom from anyone!

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