Am I a Non-Traditional Student? And if so...what is the game plan?

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rom73085

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A little bit of background about myself. Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Religion, minor in Econ.) from Emory U., in Atlanta, GA in May of '07. The plan was to go into finance, and after having worked in the industry for almost a full year, I'm slowly realizing its not what its worked up to be. I've passed several of the stock brokerage exams needed, and things are going fine, but I just want more. I entered college in fall of '03 with the mindset that I wanted to go into medicine. So I enrolled in my first Chemistry class, and being immature and blindsided by other things and classes, I failed, and decided to take other classes that I enjoyed more. My first two years of college were not so hot, with an average GPA of a 2.3 after my sophmore year.

My junior year of college I decided to shape up, and changed my major and did very well, with an average GPA of 3.6. After graduating my total undergraduate GPA was a 2.9. Not so stellar I know, but I'm hoping my last two years are of somewhat importance.

So fast forward to now...I want to go back. I'm not a total noob to the whole thing, I know whats required, and whats needed, and what looks good, but my main question is how does an individual who has already graduated go back to take those pre-req. needed to apply.

I know I need: Chem 1 & 2; Bio 1 & 2; Orgo 1 & 2; and Physics 1 & 2. On top of that, is it necessary for me to have Genetics, Biochemistry, and additional classes?

Secondly, will I be a NON-degree seeking student? Or will I be trying to attain a Bachelor in Science--or does it even matter since I already have a B.A.? How important is the school I go to to take these pre-reqs? Do I have to go to a school with the same ranking that Emory has? Can I take these classes at my local state school, University of Central FL, University of North FL, University of South FL, etc...?

Thirdly, I understand what needs to be done. Get the grades, get the score, apply, cross your fingers and let destiny take its place. However, how should I attack the process. Would you recommend doubling up with Chemistry/Bio...or Bio/Physics? I get different opinions on this...some say, you don't want to double up with Physics since its a difficult subject, but again this seems to be with varying opinons. If everything is said and done as planned, I should be done with everything by Spring of 2010.

Fourthly, and lastly, my biggest question, that perhaps I should have placed at the first part of my post...is it even worth bothering? I don't mean that with all negativity. And I know the old saying goes, "Where theres a will theres a way." But, honestly, is my undergrad. performance going to several overshadow how I do in these required science classes in the next year or two. Yeah, I know straight A's and a 35 on the MCAT will account for something, and we all want to shoot for the stars, but worst case scenario, with A/B's and a 27-29 on the MCAT, am I just reaching for nothing. I'm really hell bent on going to a U.S. Med school (I know you all are thinking, "Buddy, get in line"), but there is determination and strong will here. Having graduated, been in another field, quitting my job, and going back (Though, I know my career change isn't as severe as some who have been working for years and years), but still, would this account for something. Does this show anything that an admissions committee may look at in a positive light?

Sorry for the long post...mostly questions I've had and I've been thinking about. I do have an appt. with a pre-med advisor at Emory soon, so I'll present the same questions to her, but its always nice to have people who are going through/or have been through the same ordeals answer. Thanks so much!!
 

nontrdgsbuiucmd

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A little bit of background about myself. Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Religion, minor in Econ.) from Emory U., in Atlanta, GA in May of '07. The plan was to go into finance, and after having worked in the industry for almost a full year, I'm slowly realizing its not what its worked up to be. I've passed several of the stock brokerage exams needed, and things are going fine, but I just want more. I entered college in fall of '03 with the mindset that I wanted to go into medicine. So I enrolled in my first Chemistry class, and being immature and blindsided by other things and classes, I failed, and decided to take other classes that I enjoyed more. My first two years of college were not so hot, with an average GPA of a 2.3 after my sophmore year.

My junior year of college I decided to shape up, and changed my major and did very well, with an average GPA of 3.6. After graduating my total undergraduate GPA was a 2.9. Not so stellar I know, but I'm hoping my last two years are of somewhat importance.

So fast forward to now...I want to go back. I'm not a total noob to the whole thing, I know whats required, and whats needed, and what looks good, but my main question is how does an individual who has already graduated go back to take those pre-req. needed to apply.

I know I need: Chem 1 & 2; Bio 1 & 2; Orgo 1 & 2; and Physics 1 & 2. On top of that, is it necessary for me to have Genetics, Biochemistry, and additional classes?

Secondly, will I be a NON-degree seeking student? Or will I be trying to attain a Bachelor in Science--or does it even matter since I already have a B.A.? How important is the school I go to to take these pre-reqs? Do I have to go to a school with the same ranking that Emory has? Can I take these classes at my local state school, University of Central FL, University of North FL, University of South FL, etc...?

Thirdly, I understand what needs to be done. Get the grades, get the score, apply, cross your fingers and let destiny take its place. However, how should I attack the process. Would you recommend doubling up with Chemistry/Bio...or Bio/Physics? I get different opinions on this...some say, you don't want to double up with Physics since its a difficult subject, but again this seems to be with varying opinons. If everything is said and done as planned, I should be done with everything by Spring of 2010.

Fourthly, and lastly, my biggest question, that perhaps I should have placed at the first part of my post...is it even worth bothering? I don't mean that with all negativity. And I know the old saying goes, "Where theres a will theres a way." But, honestly, is my undergrad. performance going to several overshadow how I do in these required science classes in the next year or two. Yeah, I know straight A's and a 35 on the MCAT will account for something, and we all want to shoot for the stars, but worst case scenario, with A/B's and a 27-29 on the MCAT, am I just reaching for nothing. I'm really hell bent on going to a U.S. Med school (I know you all are thinking, "Buddy, get in line"), but there is determination and strong will here. Having graduated, been in another field, quitting my job, and going back (Though, I know my career change isn't as severe as some who have been working for years and years), but still, would this account for something. Does this show anything that an admissions committee may look at in a positive light?

Sorry for the long post...mostly questions I've had and I've been thinking about. I do have an appt. with a pre-med advisor at Emory soon, so I'll present the same questions to her, but its always nice to have people who are going through/or have been through the same ordeals answer. Thanks so much!!

suggestions on an approach, I'm a definitely nontraditional student w/undergrad degrees, mba finance, etc; no medical background until recently:

1) on the "half full glass" side; math/science/bio/chem gpa is very important; if you've taken few courses in those areas, you can get that gpa way up. MCAT in my experience is more important than gpa, in that it indicates what you know now for science material.

1a) on the "glass half empty" side, many schools have a preliminary screen based on gpa. You'd need to get past that for them to look at recent versus older gpa.

1b) what's needed in addition to grades/mcats? enough clinical volunteer work to let them know you're serious, i.e. 100+ hrs. Family/personal experience (I've learned) is mostly disregarded as "biased". Community experience (non-medical) is viewed very favorably by many schools.

2) I'm taking post-bac courses at a local college, and have heard nothing negative from any admissions committee (I've spoken with around a dozen) about this approach. My thought is, why complete specific coursework based on what the bio or chem department wants, when what I intend to do is prepare for the mcat? I don't want another degree beyond the ones completed to date!

2a) Some schools (i.e. mine) did not cover in the entry level science courses all MCAT material. I'd suggest checking that on aamc.org web site; just so you don't ace chemistry in school and then see something totally foreign to you on the mcat. There is a 10 page or so detailed list, per subject, of all areas covered under aamc.org, mcat section.

3) The most important thing now is to get As in every class. From my experience, don't take ochem + physics (especially physics 2); too much time involved. I've been doing 15-16 hrs science coursework, and that's OK but I have no life for now outside school. I found bio coursework less time intensive, chem/ochem/physics more time intensive.

4) the experience is taxing & draining, you've got to decide for yourself to pursue or not. Lots of negative peiple out there will try to talk you out of it, a few nice ones will be positive.

good luck!
 

Gitana

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Secondly, will I be a NON-degree seeking student? Or will I be trying to attain a Bachelor in Science--or does it even matter since I already have a B.A.? How important is the school I go to to take these pre-reqs? Do I have to go to a school with the same ranking that Emory has? Can I take these classes at my local state school, University of Central FL, University of North FL, University of South FL, etc...?

Fourthly, and lastly, my biggest question, that perhaps I should have placed at the first part of my post...is it even worth bothering? ...... Yeah, I know straight A's and a 35 on the MCAT will account for something, and we all want to shoot for the stars, but worst case scenario, with A/B's and a 27-29 on the MCAT, am I just reaching for nothing.

I don't know a lot about pre-med, being pre-pharmacy myself, but about being a non-degree-seeking student, if you need financial aid (in the form of federal loans, since you have a B.A. already) you need to be degree-seeking. USF has a nice post bacc program and all you need to do is say that you are in pursuit of a second bachelors degree. You don't have to finish it or take classes that are not in your pre-reqs. Also, by the time non-degree-seeking students have access to registration, most of the science classes are closed because they are full already. Talking from experience here :mad:

Whether or not it's worth the work in terms of your chances is something that you will not know until you actually do it. Nobody can tell which is going to be the scenario, the straight As/35 MCAT or the other one. As long as you meet the minimum requirements for them to look at your application, anything can happen. Yes, statistics are probably going to be against you, but ask any big lottery winner how much he/she cares about statistics. :laugh:

Whatever your decision, Good Luck.
 

j127

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I was pretty much in the same boat - I graduated from the business school at NYU 2 years ago, worked in finance for a year, and since last August I have been at my local college doing my post-bacc. I'm taking the MCAT's this May, and will be applying starting this summer!

I don't know how long you're planning to take, but regardless, definitley focus on getting the prereqs under your belt before you think about more advanced classes like genetics, biochem, etc. Only you know how much you're capable of/willing to handle, so don't try to do too much unless you know you can get A's in all the prereqs.

Whether you do your classes as a non-degree, or through a program, depends on the school. My program is a post-bacc, non-degree program - meaning I basically take the pre-reqs and whatever else I have time for. Luckily, just being a pre-med post-bacc has granted me priority scheduling along with the rest of the ugrad pre-meds! And definitley just go to your local school (not a CC though), you'll save money, and in the end its not going to matter all that much where you went for your post-bacc.

If you think that going into medicine is what you really want, and that all the sacrifices and hard work are going to be worth it, then go for it. When I quit my job, a lot of ppl thought I was crazy, but I knew it was what I wanted. Your ugrad GPA will make it tougher - but if you can excel in your post-bacc classes, you could have a kick-*** BCPM GPA and adcoms will also see a positive GPA trend which will work in your favor. In addition - def try to get some medically related EC's in there to show adcoms that you know what you are getting into and that you really are committed!
 
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