torsten

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hi everyone, this is my first post on this forum and i'd appreciate any advice you might be able to give me!

i am currently 26 and would like to enter med school at 28. i majored in political science for ug so i haven't taken any of the prerequisite classes. the way i see it, i have 2 options in front of me:

(1) start taking the prereqs at my local state school this fall and attempt to get them all done with in time for the august MCAT, which would in theory allow me to start med school in Fall 2008 at age 28. i would take GenChem I, Physics I, and Bio I fall semester, and then hope to find a way to circumvent the prereq requirements and take GenChem II, Physics II, Bio II, and Orgo I spring semester. i would then finish up with Orgo II in the summer session and take the MCAT immediately afterwards (the whole time i will obviously be a full-time student and not hold a job)

does this option sound too ambitious? not trying to brag at all, but i feel that i have the brainpower to do it (1500+ SAT, PBK in ug, etc). my main concerns would be (1) getting them to allow me to register for Orgo I in the spring semester, and (2) the fact that i would only have one shot at nailing the MCAT. if this plan fails, i would have to wait until i'm 29 to start med school

(2) continue working this year, and then apply this fall and (hopefully) get accepted to either bryn mawr or goucher's class of 2008 and participate in their linkage programs which would allow me to skip the glide year. this might be the safer play, but it would cost a good deal more money than my state school. in addition, there is the risk that i would be accepted to neither program, and in that case i would have to find another postbacc program that offers good linkage options (can anyone name any?)

if anyone can tell me whether option 1 is realistic and which option appears better i'd appreciate it. also, can anyone speak to how hard it would be to get accepted to an MD granting school after completing my prereqs at an average state UG school? assuming that i emerge with ~3.7 GPA and can get over 30 on my MCAT, how much volunteer work/research would i have to do? would volunteering in the ER sometimes cut it, or would more be necessary? i'm also unsure of what kind of research options i will have at my local state school, which is another problem, and how MD schools will look upon coursework completed there as opposed to Bryn Mawr or Goucher. thanks for any advice!!!
 

Sporky

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Personally I think that trying to circumvent the Orchem standards is a mistake. You are still very young and have plenty of time. What is really most important in the pre-req classes is that you learn something. I know everyone says that the most important thing is the grade, but in reality this isn't true.

Perhaps there are some who can take GenChem II, Physics II, Bio II, and Orgo I in 1 semester and not get below a B, but I cannot imagine it. Perceived intelligence aside, there just isn't enough time to complete four courses with labs, even if you slept in the classroom. If someone has done this successfully, then they are a rare bird and my hat is off to them.

In my opinion, (which may or may not be valid) Going to medical school isn't simply about getting high scores on exams and high letter grades in the classroom. If it were, every doctor would be a biochem, engineering or physics major. Initially it struck me as odd that so many of my classmates were being rejected by medical schools when their grades and scores were far superior to mine. Then I learned that it is during the interview that the school will determine your true eligibility for a medical career - fairly or no. This is why young ladies with 3.98 gpa's in biochem and 38 MCAT's are rejected by all of the schools they apply to and are told to become chemists or researchers. One young lady in my Physics course was told she was far too "serious" to become a doctor, even though she is a straight "A" student and had a decent MCAT.

Don't get me wrong, it sounds as if you are very intelligent and would do well in any class, and certainly high scores do not hurt, they only help. But what I am trying to convey is the idea that academic performance alone will not enable you to attend medical school and if you are taking 4 heavy science classes, there isn't any way for you to volunteer, or shadow a doctor, or help old ladies across the street.

Take your time, do some things you enjoy, give of yourself to others and you will be successful.


Blessings,

Sporky
 

mich79

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hey there sporky i couldnt have said it any better. I am in her situation, 26 thinking of doing premed at tufts w/ a linkage program which has the potential to be verrry costly or my regular college. Still havenet decided yet. I need to figure out whether a formal post bacc program is prefered to a take the necessary classes at some college. In my research i realise that rushing something like this could spell disaster inthe end. I too would love to enbter at 28 but its just not practical. like you said volunteer and you need to learn something in these classesnot just get a grade.

Sporky said:
Personally I think that trying to circumvent the Orchem standards is a mistake. You are still very young and have plenty of time. What is really most important in the pre-req classes is that you learn something. I know everyone says that the most important thing is the grade, but in reality this isn't true.

Perhaps there are some who can take GenChem II, Physics II, Bio II, and Orgo I in 1 semester and not get below a B, but I cannot imagine it. Perceived intelligence aside, there just isn't enough time to complete four courses with labs, even if you slept in the classroom. If someone has done this successfully, then they are a rare bird and my hat is off to them.

In my opinion, (which may or may not be valid) Going to medical school isn't simply about getting high scores on exams and high letter grades in the classroom. If it were, every doctor would be a biochem, engineering or physics major. Initially it struck me as odd that so many of my classmates were being rejected by medical schools when their grades and scores were far superior to mine. Then I learned that it is during the interview that the school will determine your true eligibility for a medical career - fairly or no. This is why young ladies with 3.98 gpa's in biochem and 38 MCAT's are rejected by all of the schools they apply to and are told to become chemists or researchers. One young lady in my Physics course was told she was far too "serious" to become a doctor, even though she is a straight "A" student and had a decent MCAT.

Don't get me wrong, it sounds as if you are very intelligent and would do well in any class, and certainly high scores do not hurt, they only help. But what I am trying to convey is the idea that academic performance alone will not enable you to attend medical school and if you are taking 4 heavy science classes, there isn't any way for you to volunteer, or shadow a doctor, or help old ladies across the street.

Take your time, do some things you enjoy, give of yourself to others and you will be successful.


Blessings,

Sporky
 

mshheaddoc

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Look at your states schools schedules. You can probably still look at the spring schedule somewhere (maybe their archive) and then look at the fall schedule. See what classes are offered when. usually larger universities offer ochem I in the spring.

My advice, take your time. Some of us rush into things because they think they are 'getting old' and don't realize that sometimes things don't work out the way you want them too. I would suggest taking a full year to do prereqs. Plan ahead. Be prepared (financially) to go back to being a student living off of loans or just take your prereqs at night if you can and do them over the next 2 years. I made sure I paid off ALL of my debt that was current before I quit my job and did the prereqs. I would suggest maybe a summer/fall/spring/summer program? That way you are still done in a year but you can plan it better. The jump into medicine and prereqs shouldn't be taken lightly and I'm not saying that you don't know whether you want medicine or not. I'm saying from someone who quit their job to do prereqs full time ... planning is necessary. Don't rush to get it done. I'm in the same boat as you (27). I had a plan for almost a year before I implemented it. Now that worked for me but I understand it won't work for everyone else. Sporky had some great points.

I'd say take this year to evaluate HOW you want to proceed and start summer 2007 OR just take a class at night and start things while you plan. Its not intelligence that matters, its also stress levels and pressure you may put on yourself as well as you need to do WELL in these classes. So overdoing yourself won't help your plight.
 

Law2Doc

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torsten said:
(1500+ SAT,
The SAT is no longer a meaningful credential and doesn't mean you are going to ace a college physics or orgo class. And your Phi Beta Kappa in nonscience classes doesn't mean you are going to be a solid science student -- it is a very different discipline. (Speaking as a former non-sci career person). It is actually not uncommon to see people who ace the sciences and struggle in humanities/social sciences and vice versa.
Listen to the above advice. Take things slow. This is not a race. It's more important that you get A's in everything then that you get done in a year. Med school will still be there if you get As. It won't be if you tank a bunch of the prereqs. Good luck.
 

eccles1214

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Sporky said:
Take your time, do some things you enjoy, give of yourself to others and you will be successful.
Do you think this approach would apply to us oldsters (I'm close to 43)?

I'm at least 4-5 years away from applying.
 

ssh18

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I think taking all those lab courses in one semester is a lot. I took Physics II, G-Chem II and Orgo II in one semester as an undergrad and that was a mistake. I dunno about other schools but at our school labs are extremely intense. Orgo II lab for us was a killer. I spent more time doing lab work than lecture stuff. Having 3 labs each week, (3.5+ hours per lab), doing pre/post lab work for each lab is a lot. Then of course, there is lecture material. Being a senior that year, I was also going to recruiting so I def. didn't have as much time. It's a shame because up until that point, my GPA was extremely high but that semester I took a hit. What's worse is that at the end of the semester, I knew I didn't learn things as well as I would have had I spread out the classes. For me it wasn't an option though, I decided end of my junior year that I wanted to go to med school. At that point, I wanted to finish all the prereqs before getting out of school.
 

poly800rock

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yeah, above is correct. ochem II for me was all alcohols and carbonyl compounds, pretty heavy topics on all the practice tests i've done so far..
 

NonTradMed

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To the OP, it sounds like you are preoccupied with trying to get into med school as soon as possible. Don't we all? :D

However, may I sugget you take it slow and do it right rather than stumble and fall? I was kind of in your shoes. When I was an undergrad, I wanted to ensure that I get all my premed stuff done by end of my sophomore year so I could spend the entire summer studying for the MCAT and take it in August. However, that meant cramming more classes than I could handle (I was also engineering and had required courses to take along with my premed classes). My advisor warned me, my friends all thought I was crazy, but I took an insane load, similar to what you are suggesting. Four hard science classes are not fun. I didn't do as well as I could have. I resented that others had more time to study than me, and I was burning myself out by the end of that year.

I decided not to apply to med school, four more years of studying just didn't seem possible in my burned out state. After working a couple of years, the medical tug became hard to ignore and I decided this time to carefully plan my strategy for med school.

My motto was to take it one step at a time.

Admittedly, I did not have the same problem as you since all I needed was to retake my MCAT (after it expired). But I decided to set up a schedule and spread out my studying. I made sure to give myself time to rest between studying and to not push myself beyond what I could handle. Med school can wait an extra year if needed, I wanted to make sure every step I took was not going to dig myself into a deeper academic pit.

Eventually, it did get to a point where I had to quit my job and focus on the med school thing fulltime. I decided to add some classes to up my less than steller sciGPA but I made sure to only add as much as I think I could handle and not burn out. I am happy to say my hard work paid off and I will start med school next week :scared: .

I guess the reason I am giving you my life story is to convey two things:

1. Don't rush through your science classes. You screw up on them, it will delay your application for at least a year. Many people here have had to take more classes just to bring their low GPA up. Rather than having to take more science classes than you need, try to do it right the first time, and that may mean spreading your classes around.

Your first semester is ok, but your second semester is horrendous.....I was also a top student in high school, as were many of my friends in college, that does not mean you will be able to handle four tough science courses well. I suggest spreading your classes into three semesters.

2. Don't burn yourself out! If you truly have a passion for medicine, waiting a year won't diminish your desire, but rushing through your year will delay your acceptance. If it wasn't for the fact I piled on a crazy schedule my first two years of school, I'd probably have applied and gotten into med school years ago, rather than taken such a long route to it.

Good luck! :luck: