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another advice thread (quit Masters?)

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meshesafternoon

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Hello all,

Thanks for taking the time to listen. I'm looking for some advice vis-a-vis certain scenarios I envision for myself over the next couple of years.

Right now I am finishing up my first year in a two-year Masters program. It's in a field I've generally decided I'm not interested in and won't provide a secure or satisfying enough of a future for me. However, I have been offered TA positions for each quarter of the coming year, so I would be able to graduate debt-free.

I am now considering a career in medicine; most likely I will want to go to Medical School. I am beginning to volunteer at a local medical center, which I am enjoying. I have applied for financial aid for local community colleges where I would plan on taking at least some of my prereqs (I only have the Mathematics and Statistics (?) covered).

My undergraduate degree is in a somewhat challenging field, and my GPA is good but not outstanding. I am 25 years old.

My questions:

  1. Because it is only one more year, and the school will pay for me, should I complete the Masters degree?
  2. I am able to take one year of absence from the Masters program and then continue without having to reapply. I am considering doing this, taking science courses, and if I do well enough, commit to a career in Medicine. If not, I can return to the program and a life of relative disappointment :).
  3. Would Medical Schools frown upon leaving the program before finishing, or could I make a convincing story along the lines of "tried it for a year, didn't like it", and didn't want to waste anymore time (I'm getting old...)?
  4. Is there any advantage to having completed my program (think one of those not-terribly-useful-unless-you-went-to-a-top-5-program managerial type degrees) for entrance into Medical School?
Thanks guys. Some great information up here.
 

realmeaning

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1. Yes. You've already started the degree, which I assume you'll have to report on an application, so med schools will know you were interested in this field before having a change of heart. The question then becomes, will you have finished the degree for the sake of follow through, or will you quit halfway? Med schools "hate quitters," so go on and finish up to prove you can do it. Especially if you're going to be debt free! However, if it would like, suck your soul to do this extra year, that's another question.

2. From the standpoint of med school adcoms, I say no. They want to see that you can finish degrees in time. Also from the standpoint of practicality I say no, even though it seems counterintuitive. If you're reasonably hardworking and motivated, I imagine you will be successful if you put your mind to medicine. You're already in a Master's program that is somewhat quantitative and logical, and thus it's not like you're switching from art history or something (not a farcry from my Ugrad major). Point being, I bet you're smart enough to do medicine. There's really nothing to see about (although I know it feels like it). Do whatever you have to do to determine your desire, but when/if that is established, commit. Don't doubt your ability.

3. I think so. I don't think it's a make or break though.

4. Yes. See #1.

What I've written above has been garnered from browsing this forum for a relatively short time, so these are no oracle's words. Hopefully other people will chime in, and you can make the decision that is best for you. Good luck!
 

theseeker4

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Hello all,

Thanks for taking the time to listen. I'm looking for some advice vis-a-vis certain scenarios I envision for myself over the next couple of years.

Right now I am finishing up my first year in a two-year Masters program. It's in a field I've generally decided I'm not interested in and won't provide a secure or satisfying enough of a future for me. However, I have been offered TA positions for each quarter of the coming year, so I would be able to graduate debt-free.

I am now considering a career in medicine; most likely I will want to go to Medical School. I am beginning to volunteer at a local medical center, which I am enjoying. I have applied for financial aid for local community colleges where I would plan on taking at least some of my prereqs (I only have the Mathematics and Statistics (?) covered).

My undergraduate degree is in a somewhat challenging field, and my GPA is good but not outstanding. I am 25 years old.

My questions:

  1. Because it is only one more year, and the school will pay for me, should I complete the Masters degree?
  2. I am able to take one year of absence from the Masters program and then continue without having to reapply. I am considering doing this, taking science courses, and if I do well enough, commit to a career in Medicine. If not, I can return to the program and a life of relative disappointment :).
  3. Would Medical Schools frown upon leaving the program before finishing, or could I make a convincing story along the lines of "tried it for a year, didn't like it", and didn't want to waste anymore time (I'm getting old...)?
  4. Is there any advantage to having completed my program (think one of those not-terribly-useful-unless-you-went-to-a-top-5-program managerial type degrees) for entrance into Medical School?
Thanks guys. Some great information up here.
Welcome!
I agree with the previous response. The best thing to do is to complete the Masters since it is only one more year, you won't have debt from it, and you will have "finished what you started."

If you refer to your being 25 as "you are getting old" you will feel a lot of wrath from some of the members of this forum, just warning you :p. I am 29 starting med school in August and one of the youngest "non-trads" in here.

How good is your "good but not outstanding" GPA, and what field? The actual number could be the difference between "just finish your pre-reqs, take the MCAT and you are good to apply", vs. "you will need two or more years of pre-reqs plus GPA repair to even have a shot at DO schools." That difference could be the difference between you deciding to pursue this or not.

With a little more information we can give you better advice, but in general, it is better to finish you degree, then dive in to preparing for med school. Shadow and volunteer clinically in the mean time to be sure this is what you want to do, and once you have your Masters degree, start a formal or informal post bac for the pre-reqs and anything else you need to take. :luck:
 

sagain

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Just my 2 cents:

I agree with previous posts.

1.Complete the Masters.
2. At 25, you are not old.
 

meshesafternoon

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"If you refer to your being 25 as "you are getting old" you will feel a lot of wrath from some of the members of this forum, just warning you :p."

Ha, apologies to any I offended. I'm simply suffering from my quarter-life crisis, perhaps earlier than others.

Thanks to the advice from all.

With regards to some of the specific questions:

"How good is your "good but not outstanding" GPA, and what field?"

I majored in Economics and minored in Math and Statistics, from a regionally well-respected school. My overall GPA was a 3.6. My Masters GPA is a 3.8, but I'm not sure this matters.

One more question: has anyone on this board taken the prereqs for Medical School while also being in an unrelated Masters (or PhD) program?

Thanks again all!
 
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MedPR

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Average age of MS1 is 24 isn't it? 25 definitely isn't old.
 

meshesafternoon

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I don't consider myself old now, but after completing this Masters program and prereqs I could be near 30. But blah, I shouldn't have mentioned it at all :)
 
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theseeker4

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"If you refer to your being 25 as "you are getting old" you will feel a lot of wrath from some of the members of this forum, just warning you :p."

Ha, apologies to any I offended. I'm simply suffering from my quarter-life crisis, perhaps earlier than others.

Thanks to the advice from all.

With regards to some of the specific questions:

"How good is your "good but not outstanding" GPA, and what field?"

I majored in Economics and minored in Math and Statistics, from a regionally well-respected school. My overall GPA was a 3.6. My Masters GPA is a 3.8, but I'm not sure this matters.

One more question: has anyone on this board taken the prereqs for Medical School while also being in an unrelated Masters (or PhD) program?

Thanks again all!
Your GPA is only slightly below the average of med school matriculates. That means you have no need for GPA repair, you simply need to get in the pre-reqs. You need 1 year bio, 1 year gen chem, 1 year organic chem and 1 year physics, all with labs. I assume you have at least year of math, probably calc included, considering your minor? You also need a year of English for most schools, and many schools like or require biochemistry. Genetics, Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Cell Biology can all help as well on the MCAT, but are certainly not necessary. Since you really don't have that much to do compared to applicants coming back from a <3.0 GPA, and you want to get a solid 4.0 to keep your chances as high as possible, you should either take maybe a single class per semester until you graduate from your masters, or wait on the undergrad courses until you are done. Getting as close to an A average as possible is your goal to keep the most doors open for you, so rushing into the courses can only hurt you. :luck:
 

realmeaning

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Your GPA is only slightly below the average of med school matriculates. That means you have no need for GPA repair, you simply need to get in the pre-reqs. You need 1 year bio, 1 year gen chem, 1 year organic chem and 1 year physics, all with labs. I assume you have at least year of math, probably calc included, considering your minor? You also need a year of English for most schools, and many schools like or require biochemistry. Genetics, Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Cell Biology can all help as well on the MCAT, but are certainly not necessary. Since you really don't have that much to do compared to applicants coming back from a <3.0 GPA, and you want to get a solid 4.0 to keep your chances as high as possible, you should either take maybe a single class per semester until you graduate from your masters, or wait on the undergrad courses until you are done. Getting as close to an A average as possible is your goal to keep the most doors open for you, so rushing into the courses can only hurt you. :luck:

This.

You're actually farther along than you think, I suspect, and are in a very enviable position of having a decent GPA! (Great by general standards, very passable by med school standards.)

If you have extra time during the Masters, I'd start exploring volunteering (at a hospital, free clinic, etc.) or shadowing opportunities (shadowing opps are often a one time thing, affording great flexibility).
 

Flim Flam Man

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be prepared for them to grill you on why you'd think you'll like medicine more, especially if you drop out of your masters program after one year and apply to medicine so quickly after, you could look like you are unsure of what you really want. Might be better to just complete the program and do a ton of volunteering and shadowing in your spare time to show that you are really interested
 

MFi24

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Hello all,

Sorry to revive an old thread, but I am new here and have a similar question. I have a degree in Finance with a Minor in Math from a decent state school, graduated with a 3.85 GPA. I have been working in Finance for about a year, and am working part-time toward an MS in Finance at my alma mater. I rushed into the Masters program after finishing undergrad because my school waived my GMAT/GRE requirement, gave me a sizable scholarship, and I was strongly encouraged to apply by a professor. I was pre-med for one semester of undergrad, and basically freaked out and lost confidence in my ability to do well/ get into med school, but after graduating and working in the corporate world for a little while I realize I really should have pursued medicine.

Anyway, I could potentially finish my Master's in a little over a year, but ideally I'd like to start taking prereqs for Med School as soon as possible. Also, motivation is difficult when I know I don't want to continue working in the field. My questions are:
1.) Should I just suck it up and finish my masters? (Note: I am in a different situation as the original poster because I am racking up debt - my scholarship isn't covering all of my grad school tuition) Will this be a serious detriment to my eventual application to med school, or is it possible to overcome with high GPA and (hopefully) test scores?
2.) If yes to the above, does anyone know if it is possible to enroll in a part-time post bacc program while still finishing my masters? I would likely only take one class at a time until I finished my masters, and I would begin in fall 2015 as I don't have enough money saved to quit my job in time for a summer semester start.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
 
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