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Attorney to Doctor path, but advice needed

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Hello all,

I am a former pre-med student who got my undergrad degree in 2009 and completed all prerequisites plus neuroscience, minus Organic Chemistry I and II. I went to law school (graduated in 2013), passed the bar exam, and have been practicing law for over a year. I am successful in my practice but my passion is medicine.

I am confounded on how to proceed next. Most pre-med post bac programs are only for those who have completed less than 50% of the prerequisites, and the SMPs are generally for those who have completed all of the prerequisites. Here are my current thoughts:

1. Complete Organic Chemistry I and II, plus other science courses like biochem, genetics, etc. at a local community college and then take the MCAT, and apply to med schools; or

2. Find a pre-med post-bac program that doesn't care that I have completed 75% of prerequisites, and pretty much do the same thing as #1 option but in official post-bac program; or

3. Complete Organic Chemistry I and II at local community college and then apply to SMP; or

4. some other idea...

I live in the Seattle area, so I don't currently have many options (Seattle U? - but post-bac says for none to minimal completed pre-reqs, Heritage University? - Again, looks like all pre-reqs must be completed, Portland State University?), but I would be willing to relocate for a program if it is my best option.

There is a lot more I could add, but I hope that this is sufficient to at least get some ideas and advice. I can always add more. Thanks.
 

Law2Doc

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1. Are there any "open enrollment" type places or your undergrad institution that would let you enroll for the courses you need in a non-CC setting? Community college coursework isn't as universally accepted, especially for the more difficult prereqs. Too many people have abused the lesser competition to inflate grades, so some schools just won't look at them. You don't really need a formal postbac (although they do offer some benefits in navigating the process and marketing you if you qualify). If you can't find an open enrollment option, then your choice 3 might be a viable option -- you can overcome the CC 'stigma" with an SMP.
2. You didn't mention how you did in the sciences or GPA -- do you have to retake any of that coursework?
3. bear in mind that you'll need health related ECs before you apply so I don't think you are at the point where you can just take two classes and apply.
4. Another option -- and just thinking aloud here, some graduate masters (not SMP) programs eg MS, MPH, MBA, allow you to use some of your elective credits toward undergrad level coursework -- you might be able to go to grad school and pick up the orgo in a four year institution as you get that degree. I don't know if this is a great option, but it might look better on your CV than CC credits in the harder science courses.
5. Finally, you need to come up with strong reasons/explanations why medicine is your "passion" and why your career path took a Detour into law and why you are making the jump and why now. Make sure there's something drawing you to medicine and that it doesn't come off like you are running from some aspects of law. emphasize transferable skills. It's not an overly difficult sell, but it's a sell and you have to pitch yourself correctly. You aren't getting in if you come off as yet another disillusioned lawyer who dislikes his job but wants to remain a high net worth professional. You have to come off as a superstar happy lawyer with some articulable draw that's making you think medicine would be a great and obvious next step in your career trajectory.
 
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deleted480308

yeah, just take the classes you need at a local university (cc if you absolutely have to)....you can declare a bogus second major if needed and then just bail when you are done
 

Snakes

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Lots of lawyer-to-docs here at SDN. I thought I was an oddball until I joined the forums. Nope. Lots of us here. I did a do-it-yourself post bacc, not a formal program. It was just way cheaper to do it through my state school. I didn't have most of the pre-reqs done so I had to start almost from scratch (I didn't take any labs or anything in undergrad--I was a humanities major). Don't do cc if you can avoid it, especially for the pre-reqs. I have no doubt that a strong post-bacc program can be beneficial, but it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to move for one and then have to move again for medical school (possibly). Not sure what your plans are, but obviously if you had to move to a new state and support yourself you'd have to take the bar in your new jurisdiction. That's a lot of work I would avoid if you can (maybe I'm just lazy lol).
 
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645095

Thank you everyone for the advice. It definitely helps.

Law2Doc - Unfortunately I went to undergrad in NYC, so that really isn't an option. There are universities around here that I could take classes at though. As for grades, I did get a couple of A's, a few B's, and only one C in my science coursework. My undergrad GPA is about 3.3 but with an upward trend. I might retake the C grade (it was my first science course) and continue with Organic Chem I and II and also upper science classes. Hopefully doing so will also raise my GPA a bit as it is on the lower side, instead of trying for a SMP or other master's program with current undergrad GPA. I also don't think I am quite ready to just take 2 classes and apply, I did do clinical research at a emergency department in NYC through Columbia University (not my undergrad, just a program through them), and somewhere between 60-100 hours of shadowing (neurosurgeon, radiologist, emergency medicine doctors, general surgeon (got to observe a bowel resection surgery)), but all within 2007-2009. I do also understand the problem with "switching" professions and getting over that hump, and will continue to make sure my story comes out. I did take two semesters of health law in law school and I practice in an area where I constantly deal with doctors on cases and present their testimony. Thanks for bringing up those points.

sb247 - I think that your opinion is becoming the general consensus. I will avoid taking CC classes, and it has also become clear that I will need to and expect to take upper science coursework anyhow. Thanks for the advice.

Snakes - Its good to know that I am not the first one out there. And I agree with not having to ever take the bar exam again, lol. I also am starting to agree that I don't need to go back east to do formal post-bac. Thinking formal one around here or DIY at nearby university.

Update: Okay, thanks again to everyone. I have been thinking this over and I am starting to rule out some options.

Option #1: I am thinking of staying in Washington State and either doing a sort of DIY post-bac or SU formal post-bac if they would accommodate me with 3/4 of prerequisites finished already, and get back to shadowing and other extracurriculars.

Option #2: The other serious option I am now considering, and may be top choice thus far is to hop the boarder to Oregon and enroll in the Portland State University pre-med post-bac program. I know the area well, living there wouldn't be too expensive, and is at tops two hour drive from where I grew up. Not like moving across the U.S. with a 6 hour plane ride for a post-bac. My understanding of the program is that it would be close to a DIY with a little bit more structure. They have a wide arrange of classes and I would also be able to take biochem, genetics and other classes to to supplement my older undergrad classes and to better prepare myself for the new MCAT. There wasn't much on the threads concerning their program, so if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions that would be greatly appreciated.

Any thoughts, comments, or further advice is very welcomed. Thanks.
 

makingthejump

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Be careful what you listen to on here. If you only need a few more prereqs, I would take them at CC, take mcat, and apply. There won't be another app like yours, therefore it will stand out if you have an interesting story. The CC fear from some is only valid in cases where traditional undergrads intentionally take prereqs at CC to avoid their undergrad school b/c of the perceived difference in level of difficulty....which we all know is not true in all cases, some CC professors are wayyy better at teaching than big research heavy school professors....just take everything you read with a grain of salt and formulate your own plan...I vote a DIY postbac thru local CC while working as a lawyer and saving $ to put towards your future medical school endeavor.
 

Law2Doc

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Be careful what you listen to on here. If you only need a few more prereqs, I would take them at CC, take mcat, and apply. There won't be another app like yours, therefore it will stand out if you have an interesting story. The CC fear from some is only valid in cases where traditional undergrads intentionally take prereqs at CC to avoid their undergrad school b/c of the perceived difference in level of difficulty....which we all know is not true in all cases, some CC professors are wayyy better at teaching than big research heavy school professors....just take everything you read with a grain of salt and formulate your own plan...I vote a DIY postbac thru local CC while working as a lawyer and saving $ to put towards your future medical school endeavor.

Lawyers applying to med school aren't common, but aren't that rare either, as evidenced on this thread. It can be a selling point, but not enough to close the deal. And some of us on this thread have a bit more experience on this path and have seen how CC credits are regarded. Yes take things with a grain of salt, but also be cognitive that the guy with the status listed as "pre-health" may not have the most expertise with adcoms. :)
 
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deleted480308

Lawyers applying to med school aren't common, but aren't that rare either, as evidenced on this thread. It can be a selling point, but not enough to close the deal. And some of us on this thread have a bit more experience on this path and have seen how CC credits are regarded. Yes take things with a grain of salt, but also be cognitive that the guy with the status listed as "pre-health" may not have the most expertise with adcoms. :)
Law2doc is right...most DO schools don 't care about cc credits. But..there absolutely are schools that literally do not take cc credits.

I wasn't at a place in life to do anything but cc credits and i got in, but your mileage may vary...particularly if you lean MD
 

makingthejump

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Lawyers applying to med school aren't common, but aren't that rare either, as evidenced on this thread. It can be a selling point, but not enough to close the deal. And some of us on this thread have a bit more experience on this path and have seen how CC credits are regarded. Yes take things with a grain of salt, but also be cognitive that the guy with the status listed as "pre-health" may not have the most expertise with adcoms. :)


Yeh, valid points but I am just saying to be smart and formulate your own plan while drawing from insights gained from others via shadowing, internet, etc
 

QofQuimica

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It's a continuum like anything else: all things being equal, many (and probably most) adcoms would *prefer* that prereqs be taken at brick and mortar four year schools. Can some people who do less optimal plans (CC credits, online degrees, etc) still get in? Sure. My own school "strongly prefers" that credits be taken at a four year school, but the adcom makes occasional exceptions.

The issue for many nontrads in particular though is that you want your app to be as competitive as possible, especially if you're trying to make up for a poor prior college performance. Taking CC classes and doing well in them is better than not doing well in them. But it's not as good as taking university classes and doing well in those. So if you're a guy or gal with something to prove academically, then it follows that you want to be in an environment that will "allow" you to prove yourself. And the same principles and methods for strengthening one's app apply to everyone, even to lawyers. ;)
 
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makingthejump

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Great point. It sounded like the OP had many of the prereqs completed and a solid academic history, so if he/she only has a few left, taking them at CC would seem like the most affordable and practical path? However, I do agree that if someone is trying to do grade repair, take them at a 4 year school hands down.
 

jl lin

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Well, even though this anit-CC is a real factor for many MSs, it's kind of stupid. First, why should CC's present, on the whole, undergrad science courses that do not hit all the components to the same degree as 4 years? I'd have much less of a problem with MSs' preferences, if the 4 year schools' courses weren't so damn expensive. I mean people are really being squeezed here. Isn't it nice for the universities and other 4 year schools that the MSs are helping to add to their pockets?

You could use similar reasoning for non-science courses. Yet you have a ton of people that have taken their Communication/English courses at four-years, and they frequently/consistently write sentence fragments. I see it here at SDN. I mean some folks do it all the time. I don't know if they do it just to be onry, or if they are just plain unaware. Either way, it's idiotic for them to do this if they understand the point of effective communication in the first place. Still, there they are--in MS or beyond--doing their thing, and they cannot effectively put together subjects and predicates into clear thoughts w/I sentences or construct clear sentence clauses.

I have often failed to see how in the world a TA may necessarily be a better or more effective teacher than professors that really love to teach. One can easily find professors that love to teach and give individual attention in a good number of CCs--at least on the east coast. Don't get me wrong. I love my university, but really > 80% of the professors that taught me at a linked community college were excellent.

I understand there are games that people play, but come on. Education costs are relentless, and these costs just skyrocket at many universities--even state universities.

I trust what Law2doc and others have said. They have gone through the process. It's just biased and even a bit ridiculous from the med school's perspective.

University students continue to fill up the CCs in my area at night--absolutely no parking--in order to save on the costs of their education. You don't have to be stone poor to need or want to do this. Also, again, in general, the professors at many good CC's give a lot of individual attention to their students. This can be tough to find in many university settings.
 
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Law2Doc

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Well, even though this anit-CC is a real factor for many MSs, it's kind of stupid. First, why should CC's present, on the whole, undergrad science courses that do not hit all the components to the same degree as 4 years? I'd have much less of a problem with MSs' preferences, if the 4 year schools' courses weren't so damn expensive. I mean people are really being squeezed here. Isn't it nice for the universities and other 4 year schools that the MSs are helping to add to their pockets?

You could use similar reasoning for non-science courses. Yet you have a ton of people that have taken their Communication/English courses at four-years, and they frequently/consistently write sentence fragments. I see it here at SDN. I mean some folks do it all the time. I don't know if they do it just to be onry, or if they are just plain unaware. Either way, it's idiotic for them to do this if they understand the point of effective communication in the first place. Still, there they are--in MS or beyond--doing their thing, and they cannot effectively put together subjects and predicates into clear thoughts w/I sentences or construct clear sentence clauses.

I have often failed to see how in the world a TA may necessarily be a better or more effective teacher than professors that really love to teach. One can easily find professors that love to teach and give individual attention in a good number of CCs--at least on the east coast. Don't get me wrong. I love my university, but really > 80% of the professors that taught me at a linked community college were excellent.

I understand there are games that people play, but come on. Education costs are relentless, and these costs just skyrocket at many universities--even state universities.

I trust what Law2doc and others have said. They have gone through the process. It's just biased and even a bit ridiculous from the med school's perspective.

University students continue to fill up the CCs in my area at night--absolutely no parking--in order to save on the costs of their education. You don't have to be stone poor to need or want to do this. Also, again, in general, the professors at many good CC's give a lot of individual attention to their students. This can be tough to find in many university settings.

I'm not saying a cc is necessarilly bad teaching or that it's not cost effective. I'm saying that enough med students over the years have saved their orgo courses to take someplace with weaker competition and so some med school responses have been to simply disallow CC credits.
 
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645095

Taking everything with a grain of salt. Good thread though. I personally know that a lot has to do with the actual community college or four year university and the professors for each individual class. I know its not fair, but the stigma of one over the other can be very real. Same thing goes with universities with big names or ivy versus others. I went to a top 50 undergrad but had some more intellectually challenging CC classes. At the end of the day I am looking for the best fit personally, as well as making sure I don't "half-ass" it in any way so that I am the most competitive applicant that I can be.

As for myself, I would probably take CC classes and continue to work and then MCAT-->apply, if the classes I needed were available after 5 pm. However, I have researched every community college within a 75 mile radius and none of them fit my needs in that regard. Same thing with Universities within ~75 miles. So, if I will have to do the remaining pre-reqs and other upper division science classes during the day, I figure I will go the university route and with the structure of a pre-med post bac. No final decision yet, but this is the direction I am currently researching in.
 

Goro

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Concur here. Suggest investing in MSAR Online to see what MD schools accept CC credits. There's no rhyme nor reason to these policies either. Non-trad students will get cut some slack because it's realized that they have a life, as opposed to the UG student who's trying to avoid the difficult weeding coursework at his/her own school.

That said, I have no problem with CC course work, neither do my fellow AdCom members. They can be just as rigorous as any 4 year school.

I'm not saying a cc is necessarilly bad teaching or that it's not cost effective. I'm saying that enough med students over the years have saved their orgo courses to take someplace with weaker competition and so some med school responses have been to simply disallow CC credits.
 
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QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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The main reason there is bias against CC courses is because CCs are not selective in terms of admissions. Here in Florida, they are now calling our CCs "state colleges," and at least some (maybe all?) even offer a few BS degree options. But, the fact remains that anyone with a HS degree or a GED equivalent can walk through the door of these "colleges" and sign up for classes. Contrast that to the opposite extreme of, say, the honors program at University of Florida, which is almost ridiculously selective. Those kids have the same caliber HS academic credentials as kids going to any fancy private university you care to name. And that's why, when a med school is looking at Applicant A, who has a 3.8+ GPA from an extremely selective school/program, versus Applicant B, who got a 3.8+ GPA from a CC that anyone with a high school diploma/GED equivalent can attend, the first guy will be more competitive academically than the second guy, even though they have the same exact GPAs.

As for the ridiculousness of the spiraling costs of higher education, I can't argue with you there. And as bad as it is at the UG level, it's much, much worse at the med school level. Which is why I don't think anyone contemplating medical school should pay to attend a private UG for any reason, and also why premeds should preferentially attend their state med school over a private med school if they have the option (assuming they would have to pay full price).
 

jl lin

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Well, for one thing, certain CC programs can be highly selective, depending upon their enrollment/seats for the particular year. Example, some schools of Nursing or Ultrasound Tech or Rads Tech can actually be highly competitive at certain CCs--especially those where there are generally high or the highest board scores.

Secondly, the science and math courses should have to do with what is agreed as a whole, as what needs to be taught in particular science courses, and what the depth of that material should be, period, end of story. In reality, it often has to do with the fact that the schools don't want you to take too many science courses outside of their school or particular program--b/c, here it is: THEY WANT YOUR MONEY.

I don't get why people won't see that post-secondary schools have a main goal--and that is to MAKE MONEY.
If you evaluate a CC science course, and say, "Hey. This course taught the same exact principles at the same level. Ut Oh." That means the private AND public 4-year schools lose out on making money for such courses.

At the end of the day, it's mostly about money. This is why some CC schools have articulating agreements with four-years. These 4-years have taken the time and evaluated the CC's curriculum, professors, scope, sequence, approach, testing--the whole pedagogy. They know it meets the sniff test. But they keep it to a few, if they do it all. Why do you think that is so? MONEY.
 
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