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Athlete now, doctor later???

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by dukejen04, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. dukejen04

    dukejen04 MS4
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    Hi guys!

    I'm trying to figure out my "long term plans" and how they include med school. I'm getting to a point where I'm going to have to start making some decisions, and I was wondering if you guys had some advice!

    My background: graduated from Duke in 2004. Double major in Hindi and Biology, dean's list w/distinction every semster after my freshman year (orgo as a freshman...I've had better ideas.). 36 MCAT, volunteer EMT, Howard Hughes scholar.

    After I graduated I got recruited to join an Olympic Training program. I train 5-6 hours a day with the national team and have been doing that for two years now. Going to med school now is not an option- we're travelling constantly and are out of the country for weeks at a time.

    2007 is a big year for the team with our Olympic qualification and World Championships/qualifiers.

    My coach also wants to send some of us abroad next year to play regular seasons with teams in Europe. I really want to do this for a year or two (or more if it goes well)

    IJ expect to be playing overseas until 2009 or so, at which point I will definitely be a "non-trad" which I'm fine with. At the same time, since I've been training so much, there isn't much time to do other things. I still have to work because we don't receive enough athlete support to live off of, so I teach MCAT classes for Kaplan and do some assistant work for a law firm. Not much philanthropy to squeeze in a 16/18-hour day.

    Am I going to have to re-do coursework? If I go abroad for a few years, should I try and take science classes in universities there? My coach got a master's degree when he played overseas in France (he's since completed a PhD), and most likely I can get this paid for as part of a contract, if it is worthwhile. Not sure how med schools will feel about coursework in foreign universities.

    I don't want to have to come back to the US and take another year or two of classes here, further delaying my application til I'm 90. I was a strong applicant as an undergrad- how much is taking this time off to pursue my sport and Olympic career going to screw me over?

    Am I going to have to start from scratch?? Will I have to come back here and re-do all of my classes just because it has been a while? I'm resolved to the fact that I will have to retake the MCATS (which is fine since I've been teaching them anyway), but my coursework falling out of date worries me, as does my lack of philanthropy/volunteer work.

    Advice? thoughts? Thanks!!!! :)
     
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  3. chopper

    chopper Senior Member
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    Advice - the chance to compete in the Olympics is a unique opportunity that would look amazing in an application. Go for it, Go for it, Go for it! I would think adcoms would be falling over themselves to get ahold of you after you are done.

    But don't take my advice - go talk to them. I"m sure adcoms would be happy to discuss this with you, and I'm almost positive they would recommend you do the olympic thing. You may have to end up taking some recent coursework, but I don't see you having to re-do any of the pre-reqs (like maybe you would have to do an upper level bio course or something). And you might have to re-take the MCAT.

    Look - you'll be practicing medicine for the rest of your life. When you are 60, would you rather be the doctor who has been practicing for 35 years but didn't do anything else but medicine. Or the one who has practiced for 32 years and went to the olympics? No brainer to me.
     
  4. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Five years is not an incredibly long time to be taking off, especially if Olympic hopeful is on your resume. Many people have applied with much older prereqs and still been accepted. A few schools have expiring requirements, but very few.

    Do keep in mind that you'll probably need to retake the MCAT, which expires at 3 years at most schools I've seen. So you'll need to keep your head in the game. Also continue trying to volunteer where possible.

    What sport is it, by the way? I thought it odd you didn't mention it.
     
  5. Wahoos

    Wahoos Member
    SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

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    Hey,

    You are a strong applicant coming out of Duke with your majors and a 36 on the MCAT + the sport thing. I was a former NCAA Div I athlete and I took a year off to do research. Everywhere I interviewed for medical school asked about my experience as a college athlete. I had good interviews from a couple of top 10 schools and got into Umich, UVA, and Emory. Waitlisted at a couple. I worked with the admission committee at UVA as a 4th year med student. My advice:

    Your pre req classes are already done and you do not need to repeat them again, even if you apply 20 years later. You did finish all the pre reqs, right? Duke is a strong undergrad, will help you alot. I assume your GPA is strong as well? Having the volunteer activities is good, but everyone has them. 36 on the MCAT is excellent.... you would have to retake it again if you do not apply within 3 years. I would make sure that you can score high again... it is not a gurantee, I had friends that got a 28 and then a 36 on retake after not doing much the 2nd time around. Having a teaching experience will help alot, like Kaplan (I taught for them in med school as well), maybe working with camps in your sport in your off time. You committment to your sport and being able to participate in the Olympics will be HUGE for your application. It shows depth of involvement, motivation, that you can work hard, be able to overcome failures, persistence, Team work, ability to organize time to do well in both school and having the sport committment, which is all the traits that you would need to succeed in med school and as a physician. Thus, it is what the committee look for in the experiences that you have accumlated in life........

    Basically the bottom line is that:
    1.) You should now focus on doing well in your perspective sport and qualify for the Olympics or what ever goals that you have set for your self. Don't worry about the pre reps and classes or getting a phD or Masters, you won't have to retake anything and getting a phD or grad classes would be counter productive.

    2.) when you retake the MCAT, study hard and rock it.... >30 will be fine the 2nd time around with a 36 the first time.

    3.) keep involved in the medical field by volunteering, even it is just a few hours per week, it is better than nothing. This will show that you are still interested in medicine

    4.) Research experience... this the only thing missing in your app... but I assume the Howard Hughes scholar covers this aspect?

    With the Olympic training or participation experience in your Application and all the other pieces...... You are strong enough applicant to get into anywhere in the country. I can almost gurantee you that you will get interviews from Harvard, Hopkins, Duke, etc, etc if you apply to them. If you have a half way decent personality and not cocky or come off as cocky, you will get into those schools.

    Best of Luck with you Olympic dreams.... I had those dreams in college, but realized that I was not talented enough or had enough financial support to make it as a professional. Maybe I will see you in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.... I might be one of the volunteer team physicians for the track and field team... got a sweet connection :D .

    Feel free to PM me if you ever have a question.
     
  6. dukejen04

    dukejen04 MS4
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    Thanks for the advice- my premed advisor is swamped, so I haven't gotten much feedback from her. How would I go about talking to the admissions committees? Any ideas? I guess now is a bad time with applications going in, is there ever a "good" time? I'm not going to lie, I'm interested in applying to pretty competitive programs, so I get the feeling they don't have time for people. But I really have no idea.

    My sport is team handball. It is a sweet sport that's like soccer with your hands/waterpolo on land. It is played professionally in Europe, but it isn't that well-known in the US. However, it has been in the Olympics longer than soccer. It kind of looks like basketball (you dribble the ball on the court), but instead of shooting into a basket, you throw into a goal. It is a contact sport with a lot of spectacular goals (scores average around 30 goals per team).

    We have a webpage: www.usateamhandballwomen.com
     
  7. dukejen04

    dukejen04 MS4
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    4.) Research experience... this the only thing missing in your app... but I assume the Howard Hughes scholar covers this aspect?


    Hi Wahoos! Thanks for the reply...yeah, I did tonnnns of research. I went to a science and math school for high school and started doing work in a lab at duke after my junior year of high school. Stayed in the lab through my senior year of college, published as second author on a few things and got a howard hughes grant to do my independent senior project.


    As for the volunteering stuff- I really don't know what to do about this right now. Sometimes I get a chance to do stuff with the team, which I LOVE, but I can't commit to any kind of program right now. It sucks. I get up for training at 6:30am for two hours, go to my crappy office job all day, then go to practice at night from 7-9:30pm. I teach on my one night off and tutor when I can. Travel on weekends. It is INSANE.

    I'm hoping that I will have more opportunities in the next few months. We're going to Lake Placid for a while, and we won't have to work since we'll have room/board covered. I love doing the clinics with the school kids- that's great. Maybe if we get more sponsorship we'll have an opportunity to do more of this.

    Beijing 2008- hope you're there (and us too!). You going to Pan-Am Games in Brazil?
     
  8. Wahoos

    Wahoos Member
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    Hey Jen,

    Nice website. I think if you are definitely going to apply for medical school in the future and I think you have an excellent application that will get you into alot of places. If I were you, I would email the Dean of admissions at the places that you are interested going, for example, Harvard, Duke, Penn, etc... if these top places are the ones you are interested. Get a nice CV together and email it to them, explain your situation, and ask them if it is possible for you to apply this year, interview, and if you were accpeted, get a deferrment offer for the time that you will be with the Olympic team. This way, you will never need to retake the MCAT again, not worry about getting into medical school because you would already have a spot, and can concentrate on handball. It can be done for exceptional people... and I think you have one of those exceptional applications. I think this is the way I would go. Ask the Dean of these schools if you can apply this year and get a deferrment if you were accepted until you are done with the olympics.

    You should look into UVA medical school. It has a very good medical program and I have nothing but good things to say about it. We are building a 40 mil dollar medical education building / campus this year and will be done in 2009. It is currently a top 25 medical school, but I think it will be a top ten school in the future in terms of research. It has a great reputation with residency directors. Our dean came from Baylor medical school (he was the dean there), he rised the baylor research ranking to top 10 and his goal is to do the same for UVA. Our school would be very interested in someone like you. Plus our dean is very friendly and you can email her directly with questions anytime. Her name is Beth Bailey, email is

    [email protected]

    I would send her an email with your CV, tell her about your situation and ask her if deferrment for a few years is an option if you were accepted this year.
     
  9. AT12

    AT12 Member
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    If your premed advisor is really busy, I would go ahead and email admissions directors some med schools........get their feed back. Don't be afraid to contact them. Tell them your story. You are exactly the kind of student they would love. You went to a great undergrad, did well, you are well-rounded (going to the olympics), did fantastic on the MCAT. They would probably love to brag to say they have a former olympic athlete as a student (who also did well at school).
     
  10. dukejen04

    dukejen04 MS4
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    Do you think there's a good time to email admissions people? Now probably isn't that time, but I guess this stuff goes on year round...hmmm.
     
  11. High PSI

    High PSI New Member

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    My dentist was in the same boat. MLS or go be a dentist. He did the MLS thing for a couple of years then went back to school.

    Does not regret a thing.
     
  12. olahbongin

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    Hi Dukejen,

    It's now 5 years later, what did you end up doing, and how did you fair?
     
  13. n3xa

    n3xa "the anchor"
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