klownzo

2+ Year Member
Nov 5, 2015
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I am a 27 y/0 that currently works in the health care field as a cardiac perfusionist. My current job provides me with a comfortable life and easy hours. However, I simply do not get satisfaction out of my job and find it quite boring. I have always wanted to be a dentist but due to poor academic performance in my first year of undergrad, I simply gave up. I finished undergrad in 2011 with a 2.85 cGPA and a 2.65 sGPA. I went on and got a MS for my current profession and finished that with a 3.45. Luckily I interview extremely well or I don't think I would have even got into the program. My undergrad and masters GPA's do not reflect my academic potential. Regretfully, I coasted through both degrees without putting in any effort. Six months ago I decided that I refuse to let my previous poor decisions shape the rest of my life. I knew I would constantly regret not trying to go to dental school if I didn't try now. I decided that I needed to prove to myself that I can succeed academically so if I scored good on the DAT, I would quit my job and do a year long informal post-bacc to bring my science GPA above a 3.0. I read breakdowns and bought what I needed to achieve a high DAT score. For the first time in my life I actually studied hard and on July 1st, I completed the DAT with 23AA 24TS 23 BIO 24 GC 24 OC 21PAT 22RC and 20 QR. Aside from academics, I only have 30 hours of shadowing and 70 hours of volunteering. Due to having to take call and very random hours, I am unable to take classes and work at the same time. This leaves me with two options on how to proceed from here:

Option 1:
I put in my resignation this week and begin classes this September
- I would have no savings left over when the 9 months ends
- I would likely have to leave my current state to find another job in my profession
- Take out a private student loan to pay for my classes
- Potentially lose my certification since I would not be able to afford to go to continuing education meetings
- I would be cramming 32 credit hours of science courses with a considerable amount of shadowing and volunteering
- My application would be ready in June 17' and I would get 2 application cycles with my DAT for any school

Option 2:
I work for another year and quit at this time next year
- I should have 17k left over after the 9 months of classes (nice buffer)
- I would pay for the classes out of pocket
- I could devote this next year to improving my application outside of academics (tons of shadowing, volunteering, maybe a mission trip with my job)
- My job certification would be good for another 3 years so I can make good money while I tried to get into dental school
- My application would be ready June 18' and I would get 1 application cycle with my DAT for any school. There are a decent amount of schools that would take it for June 19' though


I would LOVE to just say f*** it and and go with option 1, but option 2 is definitely the safer route. Do you guys think it is important to quit now to be able to take advantage of my DAT for another application cycle or should I wait a year and possibly have to retake it if I don't get in during the June 18' cycle. What would you guys do in my shoes??? Thank you for any input!
 
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fayevalentine

See you space cowboy.
5+ Year Member
Feb 13, 2014
505
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Pre-Dental
Yikes, this is a tough one. I would love to encourage you to go for option one, but as a fellow non-trad I can say from experience that unless you have substantial savings or someone to fallback on (would your parents let you move back in/float you some money temporarily?) it's risky to up and quit. That money will go faster than you expect... your car may break down, you may get super sick, your water heater may go, whatever. That being said... I up and quit my job. I am lucky because my SO is helping support me in the meantime, but not having a fallback is scary.

One other thing to think about is this: as your savings start to dwindle, are you going to start getting anxious and focusing on money rather than your grades?

Edit: I forgot to add, great job on your DAT! You killed it :).
 
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klownzo

2+ Year Member
Nov 5, 2015
193
228
Yikes, this is a tough one. I would love to encourage you to go for option one, but as a fellow non-trad I can say from experience that unless you have substantial savings or someone to fallback on (would your parents let you move back in/float you some money temporarily?) it's risky to up and quit. That money will go faster than you expect... your car may break down, you may get super sick, your water heater may go, whatever. That being said... I up and quit my job. I am lucky because my SO is helping support me in the meantime, but not having a fallback is scary.

One other thing to think about is this: as your savings start to dwindle, are you going to start getting anxious and focusing on money rather than your grades?

Edit: I forgot to add, great job on your DAT! You killed it :).
I do have a SO and she will be helping me out with whatever option I choose. We just have too much debt that her income is not able to keep us afloat. She has a good amount of student debt ($1100/month) and I have car payments and a motorcycle payment. Those combined along with insurance adds up to around $1000/month and then you throw in rent in a city and we're tapping into our savings by a decent amount every month that I'm not working. Working another year would allow me to pay off my car and motorcycle. I've tried to sell my motorcycle but it's on the expensive side so I haven't had any bites yet. We could make option 1 work financially if we were to move apart for 9 months. She could go live with her parents and work in Chicago and make almost double what she makes here. She's offered to do this but I would like to avoid this, especially with a wedding coming up in May 17'. I know my parents would keep us afloat if they absolutely had to but being that they are paying for my wedding, I am trying to avoid asking them for more and more... I am very fortunate already that they are covering the wedding. Good luck with your classes! I'll be joining the fun soon enough :)
 

LaughingGas

7+ Year Member
May 17, 2010
1,713
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Dental Student, Dentist
Option 2 in my opinion, reasons/ questions in bold.

Option 1:
I put in my resignation this week and begin classes this September
- I would have no savings left over when the 9 months ends Schools may not cover the yearly living cost. For example, if the academic year is 9 months, they will cover for 9 months of rent but not the additional 3 months that you need to survive lol.. pretty stupid.
- I would likely have to leave my current state to find another job in my profession too much stress on top of classes
- Take out a private student loan to pay for my classes not worth it.
- Potentially lose my certification since I would not be able to afford to go to continuing education meetings
- I would be cramming 32 credit hours of science courses with a considerable amount of shadowing and volunteering cramming32 credits with shadowing and volunteer when you are trying to increase your GPA, not a good idea IMO.
- My application would be ready in June 17' and I would get 2 application cycles with my DAT for any school you want to maximize your chance and get in if possible in 1 try, it's mentally and financially draining.

Option 2:
I work for another year and quit at this time next year
- I should have 17k left over after the 9 months of classes (nice buffer) as stated above, some buffer to figure out rent and other misc $$.
- I would pay for the classes out of pocket How much would you be paying for these classes?
- I could devote this next year to improving my application outside of academics (tons of shadowing, volunteering, maybe a mission trip with my job)
- My job certification would be good for another 3 years so I can make good money while I tried to get into dental school so now your savings will be more than 17k.
- My application would be ready June 18' and I would get 1 application cycle with my DAT for any school. There are a decent amount of schools that would take it for June 19' though
 
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fayevalentine

See you space cowboy.
5+ Year Member
Feb 13, 2014
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Pre-Dental
I do have a SO and she will be helping me out with whatever option I choose. We just have too much debt that her income is not able to keep us afloat. She has a good amount of student debt ($1100/month) and I have car payments and a motorcycle payment. Those combined along with insurance adds up to around $1000/month and then you throw in rent in a city and we're tapping into our savings by a decent amount every month that I'm not working. Working another year would allow me to pay off my car and motorcycle. I've tried to sell my motorcycle but it's on the expensive side so I haven't had any bites yet. We could make option 1 work financially if we were to move apart for 9 months. She could go live with her parents and work in Chicago and make almost double what she makes here. She's offered to do this but I would like to avoid this, especially with a wedding coming up in May 17'. I know my parents would keep us afloat if they absolutely had to but being that they are paying for my wedding, I am trying to avoid asking them for more and more... I am very fortunate already that they are covering the wedding. Good luck with your classes! I'll be joining the fun soon enough :)
It definitely helps having a SO around, haha! Is there any way you guys could go down to one car to get rid of insurance for one of you? I would definitely keep trying to sell the motorcycle, as sad as that may be. Would you guys be very far from one another if she moved to Chicago? To be honest, if you're going to try to get everything done in as short of a time as possible, you may not be seeing each other much anyway. However, I definitely understand wanting to wake up and see your SO's face every morning, especially if you've already gotten used to it :).

Congrats on your wedding! We have one upcoming as well so I totally get the insane fees that are associated with them and why you wouldn't want to ask your parents for more help. It's nice that you know that would if absolutely necessary, though.

I finished my classes already but thanks for the luck! Good luck to you as well and I'm sure you'll find a way to make either option work.
 
Jun 27, 2015
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i know perfusionists make pretty good money, especially with calls and what not. To leave that job completely and pursue dentistry seems like a risky movement. Not saying you won't get in, I think it would be wiser for you to work for a few more years, save up as much as you can (spending only a bare minimum), then start taking classes. I am not sure what classes you are planning on taking, but I am guessing you are trying to retake some science courses and more upper level courses? or prereqs that you haven't taken?

Also, doesn't your hospital have some kind of education assistance for benefited employees? You can also think about doing part time, and get at least some education benefits.

That science GPA is going to be the biggest hurdle for you, take only as much classes as you can handle. I've seen people taking lots of upper level science in 1 semester in hopes of redeeming their bad GPA, but a lot of them actually did badly and shut the door for themselves completely.
 
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klownzo

2+ Year Member
Nov 5, 2015
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228
Option 2 in my opinion, reasons/ questions in bold.

Option 1:
Thanks for the input! A year of classes will cost me somewhere around $13k as a non-degree seeking student

It definitely helps having a SO around, haha! Is there any way you guys could go down to one car to get rid of insurance for one of you? I would definitely keep trying to sell the motorcycle, as sad as that may be. Would you guys be very far from one another if she moved to Chicago? To be honest, if you're going to try to get everything done in as short of a time as possible, you may not be seeing each other much anyway. However, I definitely understand wanting to wake up and see your SO's face every morning, especially if you've already gotten used to it :).

Congrats on your wedding! We have one upcoming as well so I totally get the insane fees that are associated with them and why you wouldn't want to ask your parents for more help. It's nice that you know that would if absolutely necessary, though.

I finished my classes already but thanks for the luck! Good luck to you as well and I'm sure you'll find a way to make either option work.
It would be a 7 hour drive or 1.5 hour flight. So not terrible but not close... Her going to Chicago would help her advance her career too. She is hoping to start her own contract company for speech pathology for hispanic communities. Thanks for the input and have fun with the wedding planning :D

i know perfusionists make pretty good money, especially with calls and what not. To leave that job completely and pursue dentistry seems like a risky movement. Not saying you won't get in, I think it would be wiser for you to work for a few more years, save up as much as you can (spending only a bare minimum), then start taking classes. I am not sure what classes you are planning on taking, but I am guessing you are trying to retake some science courses and more upper level courses? or prereqs that you haven't taken?

Also, doesn't your hospital have some kind of education assistance for benefited employees? You can also think about doing part time, and get at least some education benefits.

That science GPA is going to be the biggest hurdle for you, take only as much classes as you can handle. I've seen people taking lots of upper level science in 1 semester in hopes of redeeming their bad GPA, but a lot of them actually did badly and shut the door for themselves completely.
Money is only one factor for me. As you said, I make good money right now but I would make more as a dentist. The main issue for me is that I do not get satisfaction out of my job and I am very bored every day that I go to work. I know I am capable of more so I constantly think about how I underachieved. A lot of people think I'm crazy for planning on quitting my job but I cannot see myself doing what I'm doing for another 30 years. I'm going to pursue what I always wanted to pursue. Life is too short to not take risks and have a little adventure :). When I take classes, I'll be taking a variety of biology/chemistry classes for a total of 32 credit hours. The bio courses will be ones that I haven't taken before and I'll repeat orgo 1 & 2 and biochem. If I can get an A in every class, my sGPA will be 3.04 and BCP GPA will be 3.17. I know it might not work out as I plan, but I strongly believe I am capable of getting all A's during that year. I just need to give it my all like I did for the DAT. As far as education assistance, I am employed by a private contracting group. I don't think I would receive it for my profession anyways. I wish I could work and take classes, I only work 30 hours a week. Sadly the nature of the field simply doesn't allow for it. Sounds like you're for option 2, I appreciate the input!
 
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sarriball

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Oct 16, 2014
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Make sure you can handle both the course load and the difficulty of undergrad before putting all your eggs in one basket. Upper-level Bio courses were, in my opinion, much more difficult than preparing for and taking the DAT. These classes throw a boat load of complex material at you... The material you must learn for the DAT is a joke compared to what I was tested on during the semester. In addition, you're saying you will be taking 32 credits of science... You may not be prepared for that kind of pace after such a long time out of school. You are going to want to be pulling A's and will have no room for error. It's possible, but it is no easy feat.

Just curious... why did you give up on your last three years of school when you had only one bad year?
 
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klownzo

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Nov 5, 2015
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Make sure you can handle both the course load and the difficulty of undergrad before putting all your eggs in one basket. Upper-level Bio courses were, in my opinion, much more difficult than preparing for and taking the DAT. These classes throw a boat load of complex material at you... The material you must learn for the DAT is a joke compared to what I was tested on during the semester. In addition, you're saying you will be taking 32 credits of science... You may not be prepared for that kind of pace after such a long time out of school. You are going to want to be pulling A's and will have no room for error. It's possible, but it is no easy feat.

Just curious... why did you give up on your last three years of school when you had only one bad year?
I understand your concerns but there's really no other option for me. I either go all in or I don't do it. I am confident that I can do it, it will just take a lot of effort to get it done. If I can't succeed in that year I probably wouldn't do that great in dental school. I wouldn't consider this putting in all my eggs in one basket. Regardless of how I do in my classes, I'll be working as a cardiac perfusionist again]. I'll either be working as one until I get into dental school or I'll be working as one for a long time. The job market for my profession is excellent right now so it shouldn't be a problem finding work. The worst case scenario of me taking classes is I lose 9 months of pay and have to relocate (I do like my current location). I will always wonder if I could have done it if I don't try... I have to give it my all so I don't continually regret not trying.

Looking back, I feel like there were several reasons why I gave up. Giving up might not be the best way of saying it either since I didn't even try my first year. I coasted through high school and received a good GPA (3.7). I figured I could do the same thing in college and that wasn't the case. After I got several C's in my first year, I lost motivation instead of becoming motivated. I'll admit, I'm an extremely lazy person when I'm not motivated. I wanted to change my trajectory after my first year but I got bad advice from my adviser told me that I would have an extremely difficult time getting into any professional school since I did bad my first year. I remember her saying "You have to realize that the people that will get into med school and dental school got all A's during their first year. Maybe you should look into other professions...". I then made an account on SDN and asked about what I needed to do and only a couple people responded and they both basically told me I was screwed. So I was like ****.... what do I do now? Nothing else seemed appealing to me so I just partied, played video games, and lounged out the rest of my college career. It was a complete waste of my time and money. I wish I could go back and do it over again but sadly that's not an option.
 

irishson2

2+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2016
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First of all what is your current state of residency? And what are the school that you planning to applying for? Because that determine your future option.
I think with two post bac semesters of full time classes you can bring you undergrads gpa above 3.0. You need about 30 credits hours to be in that shape. You can sign up for 12credit hours for next fall and another 12 credit hours for next spring. You can take 3 credit hour of the two following mini sessions and with that you Would have 30 credit hour on hand . However this whole story will end about the 6th of June 2017. Btw you can keep your current job and if it's possible ask for workhours reductions. You still can survive with 30 work hours per week. Also please Apply for financial aid if you can .. It's investment that worth the risk. Don't waste time take the full risk now and save a year of feeling empty.

Best of luck


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klownzo

2+ Year Member
Nov 5, 2015
193
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First of all what is your current state of residency? And what are the school that you planning to applying for? Because that determine your future option.
I think with two post bac semesters of full time classes you can bring you undergrads gpa above 3.0. You need about 30 credits hours to be in that shape. You can sign up for 12credit hours for next fall and another 12 credit hours for next spring. You can take 3 credit hour of the two following mini sessions and with that you Would have 30 credit hour on hand . However this whole story will end about the 6th of June 2017. Btw you can keep your current job and if it's possible ask for workhours reductions. You still can survive with 30 work hours per week. Also please Apply for financial aid if you can .. It's investment that worth the risk. Don't waste time take the full risk now and save a year of feeling empty.

Best of luck


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I live in MN. When the time comes, I'll be applying to ~20 schools. Obviously I can't be picky about my choices. What are you considering mini semesters? Summer semesters? My job won't allow me to work and take classes. We have to take call for a week straight. Taking classes would prevent me from taking call, thus they would let me go. It would be great if I could work. Option 1, thanks for the input!
 
May 1, 2016
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Thanks for the input! A year of classes will cost me somewhere around $13k as a non-degree seeking student
I know there are people applied for 2nd bachelor to avoid the open university tuition/fee. What are your thoughts on it?

Great scores on the DAT btw!!! It shows commitment and dedication.
 
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