Dec 12, 2010
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Psychology Student
I need some serious advice from hopefully some people who have med school admissions experience- or anyone else! =)

I am currently a junior at the University of San Francisco, a psych major/neuro science minor and was recently accepted into the honors psych program that involves writing out a thesis and conducting some research.

Dilemma-- I have changed my plans from wanting to become a clinical psychologist to going to med school and specializing in psychiatry. I don't have ANY of the pre reqs for med school so I am opting to do a post bacc (hopefully at Mills or Berkeley extension, because moving away to do Harvard's extension program seems a bit drastic. I'd love to go to Scripps but that out of my league FOR SURE).

I could stay at my school and get some of my pre reqs done but I rather attend a structured pre med program where MCAT practice is also involved.

SO, the problem is this. I CANNOT decide whether staying to do this honors thesis will be beneficial to me later on during med school admissions or if I should just graduate early and begin the post bacc program. Some of my professors feel it would look "good" to the admission board and others not so much. As you all know, writing a thesis takes a loooong time, and I feel maybe that time isn't really worth it if med school admissions don't really care about that sort of thing.

I need to make a decision soon before next spring semester. I'm just need of some guidance since I don't know much about med school admission boards. Also, since I don't have TONS of EC's, because my school is TINY and very limited in them, I though maybe the thesis would help. I don't know.

Anyone? Help? Thanks =) :xf:
 
OP
K
Dec 12, 2010
4
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Psychology Student
I don't believe a structure PB will give me any "special" knowledge.. It's just that, structured. Since I am new to pre-med I just figured a structured program could keep me on track.

Thanks for the reply! It helps put things into perspective.
 
Jan 17, 2010
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Your GPAs, MCAT score, grades in pre reqs, having some research, quality of activities, compelling essays - these are the things that matter.

A major, a minor, an "honors" program with a thesis - mostly irrelevant.

Drop the minor and start with the pre reqs at USF.

Your EC comment is lame. You're in a big city, you've got more opportunities 15 minute from USF than you could ever handle. Including all the UCSF stuff that you're right in the middle of.


I don't believe a structure PB will give me any "special" knowledge.. It's just that, structured. Since I am new to pre-med I just figured a structured program could keep me on track.
YOU need to keep yourself on track. It's a long road ahead that most don't complete successfully. If you don't have the desire and personal motivation NOW to do whatever is necessary to power your way to the end, I personally wouldn't even start.
 
OP
K
Dec 12, 2010
4
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Psychology Student
Thanks Musclemass.
However, if you are not attending my school or live in the bay area with specific knowledge on the opportunities that are available here, then I suggest you not be so rude with your comments. I do what I can. I am a very underprivileged student and I work most of the time trying to pay for everything. I do what EC are available to me and then some. What I meant is that other schools with undergrads from CAL, UCSF, and Stanford take a lot of the opportunities out here, because they are "core" schools. Whether you believe me or not thats the reality. I get my head in the game when the opportunities appear and pursue many others. I'm not the president of any organization, which is what I was really referring to, but I did my time in the military so I resent the fact you question my motivation and desire to accomplish my goals. So, I really appreciate your advice but there is NO need to be rude.
 
Jan 17, 2010
550
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As I look back at my post, I tried to give brief views on your questions and I was perhaps curt. I didn't intend to be rude. Sorry if you took it that way. While I am not currently in the area, I am quite familiar with it.

You're not losing out on opportunities to UCSF undergrads, there aren't any. Stanford students have their own research and med centers and orgs to be busy with. I don't know what a core school is, but there is no better respected or connected school in SF than USF and its Jesuits. Whatever opportunity might interest you should be available.

No matter, I did try to address your questions and I'm sorry if you didn't find my comments worthwhile. I do respect your military service, thanks for that. And good luck.
 
OP
K
Dec 12, 2010
4
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Psychology Student
TriagePreMed:

Thanks so much for understanding. I'm not from San Francisco, but a small SMALL border town in Arizona so it's pretty overwhelming beginning the premed so late in the game out here. I would LOVE some help since you seem to know from experience.

Time is something of an issue because I will already be starting my spring junior semester in January, leaving me with only one year to complete pre reqs. When I figured out my schedule, it would seem I'd be taking Ochem, Calc, and physics all in one semester then their counter parts the following semester--on top of other classes to fulfill my major. I haven't taken any science courses like chem and physics since high school, so I don't think cramming them all in a semester and holding a job plus volunteering would be a good idea if I want to keep a high GPA.

Doing the honors thesis would add a considerable amount of time to my undergrad studies and we are advised not to register for more than 3 courses when taking it. It would basically cancel out any possibilities of getting pre reqs in. I did attend arizona state university for a year where I took several honors courses because I was doing my undergrad through their honors college, but then I transferred up here to SF. So hopefully that counts for something.

I'm thinking premed at CAL because its pretty close and I wont be pressured to take like 3 science courses at once along with other courses. I feel that if I do a post bac instead of staying at USF to complete some pre req's or absolutely gambling my GPA on cramming all pre reqs between now and spring 2012, would be the best way to go. Perhaps I have the wrong assumption on all this because I'm a novice at pre med stuff, but a post bac seems more do able this late in the game.

Also, I recently got in touch with some volunteer coordinators at SF general, so God willing I get to some volunteer experience. Because health wise, the only other EC I have under my belt is being a camp nurse. My current job as a dog trainer probably wont be looked upon greatly but it's what I currently have going on. I plan to go back home to Mexico in the summer and do a volunteer medical program with the Cruz Roja so thats something else I can count on EC wise.

How do you go about shadowing a doctor? Do you just ask?

Thanks so much TriagePreMed!!!
 

TriagePreMed

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Apr 28, 2010
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No problem. You can send me a PM any time.

One thing you have to keep in mind is that you don't need to take all prerequisite courses at USF. You could finish half of them and half at Cal/Mills/etc.

Are you sure you want to apply to UC med schools? I ask because it is mostly UC med schools that ask for Calculus. Every university has different standards. My experience is that Osteopathic Medicine doesn't ask for any and at most recommends statistics. Some schools in NY like NYMC and Albany also don't require you to take Calculus. I think a good first step for you would be to make some rough list of places you might want to go to and research their prerequisites. The easiest way would be purchasing the MSAR through the AAMC website. Almost all schools have 1 year bio w/lab, 1 year GChem w/lab, 1 year OChem w/b, and 1 year Physics w/lab. I would focus on those first.

Don't be scared of prerequisite courses. I never took physics in my life. I took it while taking chemistry and had an A. I took one semester of chemistry in high school and got a D-. I took chemistry 10 years later in college and have a B+. Only reason I didn't land an A is because I bombed the first test and the professor doesn't curve. On hindsight, I didn't prepare properly.

Your honor thesis sounds like it will take up more time and resources than compared to the benefits. I would simply drop it and focus on taking some prerequisite courses. Of course, don't feel this is your only option.

Try contacting California Pacific Medical Center. I did an orientation meeting and will begin my volunteering in the ER pretty soon. They will have a new orientation meeting coming in January. Just beware that there is a 100 hour commitment.

Unfortunately, I haven't had any shadowing and haven't had any luck finding someone to shadow. However, they told me at Cal Pacific that doctors there are usually willing to let students that volunteer to shadow them, so it could come from that.

Best of luck.