Any advice given to me will be very much appreciated. I thank you in advance for taking the time to read this entry. I know that it's lengthy, but the content is necessary.
I have been interested in the field of medical physics for the past 5 years, and I will be graduating with a Bachelors degree in physics in about a year. I was recently given a scholarship, which I will use entirely on graduate school application fees and 1 on 1 GRE prep sessions. I need to spend this money wisely and would really like to know which CAMPEP graduate programs give me the best shot of getting accepted after reviewing the following information. Without getting into too much detail, society says that I wasn't supposed to make it this far in my education because of my rough upbringing fueled by drugs, violence, and poverty. I hate when people use that as an excuse for falling short, because it's a cop out for not taking accountability for what "you" as a person are capable of. In high school, I moved out of my home and left my family and friends to pursue academic excellence, where I found multiple outside resources to entirely fund my private high school and college tuition. This information is relevant because for the first time in my life, I have come across an obstacle that I cannot seem to overcome and it has tremendously affected my GPA. In the summer after my sophomore year, I was diagnosed with narcolepsy. Yes, I do fall asleep randomly sometimes, but the academic issue is that I miss so many classes because I honestly cannot control when I wake up. Surprisingly, I am actually doing "OK" academically given that I have to pretty much teach myself the material, but my grades suffer when I miss quizzes or when I'm not there to submit homework / class participation. Since I'm not in a wheelchair or missing an arm, it's challenging to get professors to understand that I overslept despite medical documentation. When I'm in class, I am an active participant and I find myself helping other students understand the material. However, my understanding of the material does not reflect on my GPA, which will be about a 2.7-3.0 by graduation. My change in medication and joining support groups has made my condition more manageable, and my grades will reflect that, but not extraordinarily to the extent to where I'm a competitive candidate for a graduate program. Also, before someone says "Narcoleptics are born with the condition. How did you get by in high school and your first couple years of college?" I've always had someone to physically wake me up until my roommate's class days became inverse to mine. My neurologist said that the only cure is to find a wife, which is a work in progress.
Other than my GPA, my application will be extraordinary.
- 4 summers of internship experience (Engineer, Chemist, Business Management, and Marketing)
- Purpose Statement (I've won every scholarship that I applied for at my school (4) because of my content and writing abilities)
- I am currently doing clinical research at a respectable hospital where I am also working with Med Physicists.
- I've been approved to visit other hospitals in the area to shadow their Rad Onc unit.
- My letters of recommendation will come from people in the medical field.
- My GRE score should be respectable as well.
Do I even stand a chance in this application process? If so, which programs would give me an honest look? If not, what else could I do to make myself a better candidate?
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