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Business major, how should I approach med school?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by businessguy, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. businessguy

    businessguy That's gold Jerry, Gold!
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    Hello, I will tell you my current situation. I am a second year business student, I will be finishing this year at the end of April. Not too sure what my GPA is but on a percentage average it is about 86%. I know of the void year in the medical process, so I was considering taking a year amid my degree to go through the medical prerequirements.

    Summer Session 1 2006: Gen Chem 1 + Bio 1
    Summer Session 2 2006: Gen Chem 2 + Bio 2
    Fall Semester 2006: Phys. 1 + Organ. Chem 1
    Winter Semester 2007: Phys. 2 + Organ Chem 2

    I would take the MCAT and/or DAT & OAT after the Winter Semester and apply to schools, probably the ones where I have the most chance. Then I will continue my degree during the void year.

    1. Does this sound reasonable?

    2. I will be working full time with school and volunteering, will this affect my eligibility because of the course load?

    3. Are the prereqs for Dental, Med, and Optom. relatively similar? Or would I have to take a Calc as well? I pretty much want to get into any doctoral program, I have shadowed all three, and I really am facinsated by all of them.

    3. Any other business turned med students?

    4. Any general advice?

    Thanks
     
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  3. blee

    blee Senior Member
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    Welcome to SDN!

    For starters, you should move bio to the fall and spring semesters. Each summer session is going to be around 5 weeks long, which is about long enough to take one serious class full-time. Even if you could schedule both classes in the same session, you would not find it much fun.

    Furthermore, I can all but guarantee that you will not be able to work full time and also take a summer class. The hours might work out alright if you can work at night or if your classes are offered in the evenings. You will have to study, though, and you should count on studying for that one summer course about as much as you would study for two or three courses during a regular semester. If you can pull this off, you're one of a select few, but I would not assume that you are and set yourself up for failure. The same thing could happen during the fall, although there is a little more flexibility I suppose. Again, unless you work at night or unless your classes and labs are all in the evenings, you will have a very difficult time working during your postbac year. As for winter, I don't know of any schools that would offer those courses in such a compressed session (which is typically 3 weeks long if it is offered at all). You will most likely have to take these classes during the spring semester, which is fine as far as the April MCAT is concerned.

    To summarize my feelings on your courseload, I would highly recommend that you not work if you plan on doing the one-year route (as I did). Remember, you're not just taking the classes -- you've got to make high grades a priority, and working during this time is probably worth less than the money you'd make. There are ways to pay for this year if you don't have savings.

    You should also take some time to narrow down exactly what is is you want to do. The pre-reqs are not exactly the same, and the career paths are significantly different. If you start your post-bac year without a clear idea of what you want, you may also find it difficult to focus and succeed.

    I was a consultant for five years before I quit my job and started a post-bacc program in the summer of 2004. I'm almost done with my applications this cycle, and at the moment I've gotten five interviews, all of which have become acceptances. I'm not an all-knowing expert on the subject of post-baccs and non-traditional applications, but my way worked.

    As for advice, other than what I've already written: Know your limits, and work every day right up to those limits. Don't load up your schedule on the bright-eyed and myopic idea that you can handle an impossible workload. At the same time, don't sell yourself short if you know you can do more. This is the only way to get through the pre-reqs as quickly as *you* can, and to be successful at it. Good luck.
     
  4. blee

    blee Senior Member
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    By the way, you say you're a second-year business student. I'm assuming you have an undergraduate degree; are you in an MBA program? If so, be prepared to explain why you want a medical career after having gone through business school.
     
  5. businessguy

    businessguy That's gold Jerry, Gold!
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    Sorry I wasn't clear, I am in my undergraduate degree. Our Fall Semester is from September-December, and our Winter Semester is January-April.
     
  6. Static Line

    Static Line America's Guard of Honor
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    Yeah, but then he would kinda understand the pace at med school.
    :laugh:
     
  7. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    As a prior poster indicated, you will have a tough time finding anyplace that lets you take 4 science courses in one summer. You may also find it very hard to work more than part time with a one year schedule postbac. Very few postbacs who take a full load work full time, and a lot end up failing to get into med school because they didn't devote adequate time to their studies. The goal is to get As. If you want/need to work full time and still get As, in most cases you need to spread the courses out over a much longer time span. There are one or two people who managed to work full time and knock of the sciences in a year, but they are definitely in the minority. You may also find, coming from a nonscience background, that you need to spend an inordinate amount of time mastering the material -- perhaps more than your science backgrounded peers. I suggest you try one class first and see how it goes -- if it goes well, step it up to two the next semester. Good luck.
     
  8. blee

    blee Senior Member
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    Ah, so you're not as non-trad as I'd thought. :) Actually, I guess my advice doesn't change a whole lot. But thanks for clearing that up.
     
  9. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    Sounds like you have decent grades. Just remember that med schools are kind
    of picky about business degrees. They will look down at poor grades from b-schoolers. My prof told me of a student she had advised who had a 34 on the MCAT (very good score, typically a shoo-in at state med schools) and he couldn't get in anywhere b/c he had gotten a <3.2 on his GPA as a bschooler. Even though it was years ago that he took he did his undergrad, he was given a hard time about it---b/c, he was told, it's bschool. He had to do a post-bacc and did almost a 4.0 and then got accepted to his state school.

    Sounds like a very heavy load if you are working fulltime, better hold off on the summer session. Science classes are time consuming, especially premed 'weedout' classes like gen chem. This isn't like high school where you just need to do your requirements and you'll get in 'somewhere', med schools have high GPA standards and many people are not accepted because of subpar grades (like too many B's :rolleyes: ). Also, science courses at the college level is nothing like high school (unless you went to a tough high school!), and probably requires more studying than your average bschool class (from what my bschool friends have told me).

    Summer school would condense the load even further. I would NOT recommend doing fulltime work while taking them.

    As for fall, orgo is a killer class and med schools will crucify you if you don't ace that class....I think working fulltime during this time is also not a good idea. Can you work part time? Personally I think that's a much better option. Remember, you need to do GOOD...and probably a lot of students in your class will all also be vying for that 'A', so you need to 'beat the curve!'.


    2. You can work and go to school, just not recommended, see above.

    3. I think the pre-reqs are similar, but check to make sure. I know some med schools require biochem and/or genetics and at least one school (washu med) requires calc). I can't tell you about the dental and optom schools. A better idea may be to focus on what area you want to go into. Don't just dive in or you may end up six figure in debt and hating yourself. Why do you want to get into 'any doctoral program'? Make sure you enjoy science!


    3. I knew of one bschooler who thought about attending pharm or med school and he had absolutely no idea how much work it took to get an 'A' in a science course. He typically studied the night before on his business classes and managed to get his B's and C's. He was surprised when I had mentioned I would never put more than two or three science classes into one semester...he figured everyone would only need to cram for a couple of days before hand to do semidecent on their classes. If you are like that, please be aware that science classes, at whatever university, typically require more studying than the night before cramming.

    4. I highly recommend more bio classes, especially genetics. Also, get clinical experience, be consistent with it, don't try to sample a little bit of this and that. And read a lot to practice for MCAT verbal! ;)
     
  10. Non-TradTulsa

    Non-TradTulsa Senior Member - Resident
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    I hope I can help. I'm one of those odd birds with a business background, too. Actually, my Masters' is in Accounting and I'm a Certified Public Accountant. But, I spent 20 years working in hospitals and the healthcare industry and first caught the "fire" ten years ago when I worked for a medical school for a couple of years. I finally figured out that, if I was going to change my life, my "biological clock" was about to quit ticking!!

    My advice (and, keep in mind, I just turned 44): SLOW DOWN!! I agree with the previous posters - if you want to go to medical school or any of the health sciences, you're entering an *extremely* competitive field. You really have to have great grades and do well on the MCAT - you don't have to have a 4.00, but a 3.00 just won't cut it in most places. I'm guessing here, but I have a feeling that you don't realize yet the level of dedication that is going to be required to get through prerequisites, take the tests, and apply - it's nerve-wracking, heart-breaking, and you will feel that your life is not your own - for at least two years.

    I worked full-time at a professional job in a hospital throughout my premed studies. It can be done. It's also the most difficult thing I ever attempted - it made accounting graduate school and the CPA exam look like child's play. I was in class four nights a week and I usually didn't get home until 10:00pm at night (wearing my lab coat, dragging my briefcase, and dead on my feet) since I took all my pre-reqs in night school.

    You really should not take more than 1 basic science in any summer session. I particularly don't recommend orgo in summer school. Some of your biology classes are also going to be torture in summer school - you may have papers to write and projects to do and it's all going to be double-time. I took Gen Chem II in summer school at night while I was working, and that entire summer is just kind of a blur of days and nights.

    My advice would be to do some more shadowing - select the field you want. The prerequisites for medical school, dental school, optometry (and also pharmacy school and P.A. school, for that matter) are pretty similar - but, if you're going to survive this, I think you need to have an extremely clear vision of what you want to do with your life - otherwise, you may just not be able to make it through. Those nights of studying at 2:00am when you have to be at work at 8:00am are painful. Most health schools don't require calculus, but if you want to be competitive anywhere - some med schools do require calc, it doesn't hurt (business calculus doesn't count, by the way - I went back and took Calc I & II). You're going to need a lot of shadowing and/or volunteering and a humdinger personal statement to explain why you went to business school but want to go into the health sciences - I did it and others have done it, but I'd worked in healthcare for many years.

    I know how much it may annoy you to be told "take an extra year or two to do this" - but, trust me, in five or ten years you'll be glad you took a little time - and, in the big picture, two years doesn't matter nearly as much as you might think it does right now. If you decide on med school and really want to do this "right", you might consider a post-bacc once you've got your baccalaureate. GOOD LUCK!!

    The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine - Class of 2010
     
  11. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy
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    I agree with above posters. Slow down. Do the classes over the rest of your undergrad, extend if necessary. I have my MBA and I can relate to your rush.
     
  12. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Yes - to echo in again -- getting into med school IS NOT A RACE. Far more people who spend the time they need to get As will get in than those who hurry through with lower GPAs.
    Having taken both graduate level business classes and postbac science classes, I can assure you that the latter will take at least twice the number of hours to master (at least for me), so plan accordingly.
     
  13. Gatewayhoward

    Gatewayhoward Senior Member
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    Understand wanting to rush too. I've been in college since 01 and have just earned my 2 year degree after going part time for awhile and getting my EMT-Paramedic liscense. It would be great after all these years to have a four year degree and begin applying to med schools sooner than 2 or more years but that's what I gotta do.
     
  14. businessguy

    businessguy That's gold Jerry, Gold!
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    Wow. This is really great. I really appreciate all of the advice you guys/gals are giving me.

    Working full-time is not a necessity. I was just hoping to pay off some student loans. I will take your advice, and not work full time. I understand that it will be difficult. It has been difficult with my business classes; although, a science curriculum might be more of a challenge for me as I haven't taken any sciences (Except Psychology :D) since highschool.

    I am having a hard time narrowing my choices. I am really in a predicament between medicine and optometry. I may have to do some more shadowing.

    Does this look better?

    Summer Session 1 2006: Gen Chem 1
    Summer Session 2 2006: Gen Chem 2
    Fall Semester 2006: Phys. 1 + Organ. Chem 1 + Bio 1
    Winter Semester 2007: Phys. 2 + Organ Chem 2 + Bio 2
    Summer Session 1 2007: MCAT
    Summer Session 2 2007: MCAT

    Fall Semester 2007: Business
    Winter Semester 2008: Business
    Summer Session 1 2008: Business

    Fall Semester 2000: MED SCHOOL :D :D

    Now another question that I have is whether I should do another year of business or not. I will be finishing 2nd year business in April. Should I go straight to the schedule above? Or should I do another year of business and then go into the schedule above. Instead of going straight in, if I do another year of business, my schedule would be as follows:

    Summer Session 1 2006: Business
    Summer Session 2 2006: Business
    Fall Semester 2006: Business
    Winter Semester 2007: Business

    Summer Session 1 2007: Gen Chem 1
    Summer Session 2 2007: Gen Chem 2
    Fall Semester 2007: Phys. 1 + Organ. Chem 1 + Bio 1
    Winter Semester 2008: Phys. 2 + Organ Chem 2 + Bio 2
    Summer Session 1 2008: MCAT
    Summer Session 2 2008: MCAT

    Fall Semester 2008: Phys. 1 + Organ. Chem 1 + Bio 1
    Winter Semester 2009: Phys. 2 + Organ Chem 2 + Bio 2

    Fall Semester 2009: MED SCHOOL :D :D

    Another year of business or not? I guess there are a lot of variables. GPA, Volunteering, Age, etc...
     
  15. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Is there a reason you cant do a little business and a little science each year rather than a year of one and then a year of the other? If you can break up those Physics, Orgo, Bio semesters a bit your life would be perceptively better. Or else you could use the Summer '07 in the first scenario to take either Bio or Physics (rather than all three in one semester) and then take the MCAT the following April perhaps. (If that leaves you some time to study for the MCAT while taking business stuff).
     
  16. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy
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    I agree with above poster also about mixing it up. I would take business and science classes so that way you're not burning yourself out.


    Also side note, if you want to pay off debt, feel free to do that first then finish up school. If you have to put off med school, don't worry about it. Many of us have had other priorities that came first prior to school in our journies as a premed. I suggest taking your time and getting it right your first time, meaning get done what you need to be done then soley focus on school.
     
  17. Non-TradTulsa

    Non-TradTulsa Senior Member - Resident
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    Now I've had a full night's sleep and I'm remembering everything I wanted to say last night and forgot... :p

    Yes, you should *definitely* continue your business studies - and graduate with a baccalaureate in business - you can do your prerequisites as electives, but it might take an extra year. Get the degree for several reasons: one, if you look at medical school (or other health professions) websites, they will tell you that you can apply with 90 hours of undergraduate work. Well, yes, you can, but you have about a snowball's chance in the desert of getting in. People getting into professional health schools with no baccalaureate are extremely, extremely rare. If you took two years of business and then switched to pre-health sciences for two years and showed-up at medical school with no degree, I'm afraid I can pretty much predict what will happen: they'll say, "no focus - not enough maturity." If you have the prerequisites (and grades and test scores), the schools don't care all that much what your undergraduate degree is in, but they do care (a lot) that you stuck with a degree program and finished it.

    I wouldn't think about switching to pre-health science as your major. If you do, you'll have to go back and take a ton of general arts-and-sciences stuff that you haven't taken as a business major. If you get the degree in business, you can then take the prerequisites and additional coursework that will be truly helpful to your goal.

    Lastly, you need the business degree so that you can keep yourself fed and clothed. Anybody who applies to a professional health school needs to have a "Plan B". Not everybody who applies to medical school gets in. Not everybody who applies to optometry school gets in. Even though there is a shortage of health professionals, standards aren't being relaxed - I read that, at my state school's Physician Assistant (P.A.) program, only 1 of every 4 applicants is accepted.

    My personal feeling is that there is only one reason you should become a health professional: you can't imagine doing anything else with your life. If that's you, well, welcome aboard - you're as nuts as the rest of us!!!
     

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