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Jan 20, 2021
9
1
Hi SDN,

TL;DR: Please see the problem I list at the very bottom and help me come up with a solution.

Overview:
I am 23 years old and obtained my BBA in May of 2019 with a 3.1 GPA. I currently work as a full-time (8AM-5PM) in corporate banking. For many reasons, I know my truest passion and purpose in life is to be a doctor (dermatology, interventional radiology, anesthesiology, or emergency medicine). I chose a path in business/finance because I thoroughly enjoy the field and aspect of Finance. Although I love my job and the work I do, at the end of the day I feel my work does not fulfill a purpose beside profiting for a corporation. When I talk about business, I think money. When I talk about anything related to medicine or being a doctor, I think about the kind of struggles, work, and lives my work will impact. I am now at the point I know I need to make a career change. Unfortunately, I do not know where to start considering all the factors that will be involved. Can you please tell me if my plan is feasible?


Step 1: Meeting Medical School Requirements

1a. Obtain a 2nd degree (approx two years) to take the required courses for medical school.
2a. Because of my 3.1 GPA, I plan on taking more advance BCME courses that will prove to the admissions board that I have matured since graduating and am prepared to excel in the classes I take now.**
3a. Gain experience, foundational background, and participate in researches and extracurricular activities (pre-med student organizations, summer research, honors college).**
Step 2: Study for MCAT and work towards scoring within 93rd to 100th Percentile
1a. Plan to study for 6 months-1 year
Step 3: Choose and apply to Medical Schools

Problem: Working full-time at the bank and finances

**3a. I am currently working full-time at the bank. I currently am living paycheck-to-paycheck. Not because of my current lifestyle, but because of poor long-term financial decisions that I made back when I was younger (~18y.o.). Therefore, I NEED this job to pay my debt and expenses.

Question: How do I gain experience and be able to participate in researches and extracurricular activities (volunteering, summer research, honors college, student lead evens)? The dilemma that I face is I know I need to be as active as possible in my education and participate in researches. On top of that, I need to gain experience. Should I stay at my current M-F 8AM-5PM job? Or should I look into getting a job working as a scribe AND/OR server/bartender to free up my schedule?

I can't figure out a plan that will allow me to be fully involved in my education and allow me to participate in research. If I work M-F 8AM-5PM, I would only be able to attend classes in the evening, some online classes, and be involved in weekends only activities (researches, student led events, etc...). I do not even know if there are opportunities for research or events during the weekend..

I understand this is a long thread. If you have read this far, I appreciate ANY and ALL answers and guidance that you can provide.
 
Last edited:

2020NonTrad

I am Alpharius
2+ Year Member
Feb 21, 2019
111
315
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
It's possible, but not easy. I managed to do a DIY post-bacc while working full time. I also did research, shadowed, took the MCAT, and interviewed for med schools while working full time. The only reason this was really possible was because I had enough seniority and PTO in my job to take days off when needed. The PI in my lab was also very flexible and understanding of my situation, so I was able to be in the lab only on my days off between classes.

A couple pointers: You probably don't need a second degree. Have you calculated what your overall GPA and science GPA would be if you aced all of the prereqs? Outside of COVID it's my understanding that online prereqs are frowned upon. Whether they're accepted at all is school specific. Is there a university in your area that offers night classes for the prereqs? In my case, I volunteered to work later shifts so that I could take morning classes but I'd imagine this is more difficult in banking.

I can't speak for being a scribe or bartender but I will say that part of the reason I stuck with my public safety job instead of leaving for something more forgiving or medical related was that it would've paid much less.
 

GreenDuck12

7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2014
1,974
2,040
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
A second degree won’t add much to your application. If by completing the courses to raise you GPA you earn one that’s fine but I wouldn’t make it a goal. If it’s a decision because of financial aid then that makes sense but remember, just because you are enrolled in a degree seeking program does not mean you have to earn it. I don’t know what you mean by honors college above - typically an honors college is for first degree students not those who are returning. Regardless, being in an honors college doesn’t count for much - it reflects what you did in high school, not undergrad. Research can be useful but is not essential. Start with classes and connect with professors. See what research they are doing and ask if you can volunteer. I also wouldn’t emphasize med student organizations - often times these are thinly veiled attempts to add lines to a resume with ”leadership” positions that don’t involve leadership. Focus on service to others particularly those less fortunate than yourself / have different backgrounds. I did mock interviews for med school applicants and everyone wants to talk about their research - very few were able to speak to challenges with underserved communities because it wasn’t in their background. Think about food banks, homeless shelters, hospice, community clinics, etc. If you feel uncomfortable at first then you’re in the right place.

As for your dilemma. Either working full time in your current position or finding a new position to address scheduling issues is fine. I worked full time and did my postbac over 3 years with 2 courses per semester. That worked well for me. I also volunteered and did other activities. I was fortunate to have a program with classes scheduled in such a way that made that possible. You might not be in the same position. I generally don’t recommend changing positions right now due to the pandemic, and especially not to the food industry as the pandemic is likely to continue to take its toll. Take a look at how classes are scheduled at programs in your areas - you don’t have to make a decision now.
 
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Jan 20, 2021
9
1
It's possible, but not easy. I managed to do a DIY post-bacc while working full time. I also did research, shadowed, took the MCAT, and interviewed for med schools while working full time. The only reason this was really possible was because I had enough seniority and PTO in my job to take days off when needed. The PI in my lab was also very flexible and understanding of my situation, so I was able to be in the lab only on my days off between classes.

A couple pointers: You probably don't need a second degree. Have you calculated what your overall GPA and science GPA would be if you aced all of the prereqs? Outside of COVID it's my understanding that online prereqs are frowned upon. Whether they're accepted at all is school specific. Is there a university in your area that offers night classes for the prereqs? In my case, I volunteered to work later shifts so that I could take morning classes but I'd imagine this is more difficult in banking.

I can't speak for being a scribe or bartender but I will say that part of the reason I stuck with my public safety job instead of leaving for something more forgiving or medical related was that it would've paid much less.

I figured the 2nd degree was the best route as taking my prereqs would require 2 years time (approx 50 credit hours) for the classes that I am missing. I am currently trying to get in contact with an advisor at the university I plan on attending.

I have saved a lot of PTO, so perhaps I can use my PTO too for day that I need off. I did not think of that. Thank you for the idea. How did you get opportunities for research and shadow? Did you network with professors and doctors or knew friends who could vouch for you? I'm looking into all my possibilities.
 
Jan 20, 2021
9
1
A second degree won’t add much to your application. If by completing the courses to raise you GPA you earn one that’s fine but I wouldn’t make it a goal. If it’s a decision because of financial aid then that makes sense but remember, just because you are enrolled in a degree seeking program does not mean you have to earn it. I don’t know what you mean by honors college above - typically an honors college is for first degree students not those who are returning. Regardless, being in an honors college doesn’t count for much - it reflects what you did in high school, not undergrad. Research can be useful but is not essential. Start with classes and connect with professors. See what research they are doing and ask if you can volunteer. I also wouldn’t emphasize med student organizations - often times these are thinly veiled attempts to add lines to a resume with ”leadership” positions that don’t involve leadership. Focus on service to others particularly those less fortunate than yourself / have different backgrounds. I did mock interviews for med school applicants and everyone wants to talk about their research - very few were able to speak to challenges with underserved communities because it wasn’t in their background. Think about food banks, homeless shelters, hospice, community clinics, etc. If you feel uncomfortable at first then you’re in the right place.

As for your dilemma. Either working full time in your current position or finding a new position to address scheduling issues is fine. I worked full time and did my postbac over 3 years with 2 courses per semester. That worked well for me. I also volunteered and did other activities. I was fortunate to have a program with classes scheduled in such a way that made that possible. You might not be in the same position. I generally don’t recommend changing positions right now due to the pandemic, and especially not to the food industry as the pandemic is likely to continue to take its toll. Take a look at how classes are scheduled at programs in your areas - you don’t have to make a decision now.

You are absolutely right! Changing career during a pandemic may not be a smart decision. I did not account for that when typing this post. The reason for the "second degree" is due to the amount of credit hours I need in each subject to meet the requirements of the medical schools I wish to attend. Since I have not taken any BCME besides two or three courses, I will have a lot to take. I know my GPA will be another factor into being admitted, so I want to show that I can take advance level courses and excel in them compared to my academic history of taking lower level and doing poorly. Maybe I am overthinking this part too much?

My only concern is are there really any opportunities that I can look at that is offered on weekends only. I like the idea of community clinics. I did not think of that and was more focused on hospitals and bigger practices. I will definitely look into this!
 

petomed

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
167
45
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hi SDN,

TL;DR: Please see the problem I list at the very bottom and help me come up with a solution.

Overview:
I am 23 years old and obtained my BBA in May of 2019 with a 3.1 GPA. I currently work as a full-time (8AM-5PM) in corporate banking. For many reasons, I know my truest passion and purpose in life is to be a doctor (dermatology, interventional radiology, anesthesiology, or emergency medicine). I chose a path in business/finance because I thoroughly enjoy the field and aspect of Finance. Although I love my job and the work I do, at the end of the day I feel my work does not fulfill a purpose beside profiting for a corporation. When I talk about business, I think money. When I talk about anything related to medicine or being a doctor, I think about the kind of struggles, work, and lives my work will impact. I am now at the point I know I need to make a career change. Unfortunately, I do not know where to start considering all the factors that will be involved. Can you please tell me if my plan is feasible?


Step 1: Meeting Medical School Requirements

1a. Obtain a 2nd degree (approx two years) to take the required courses for medical school.
2a. Because of my 3.1 GPA, I plan on taking more advance BCME courses that will prove to the admissions board that I have matured since graduating and am prepared to excel in the classes I take now.**
3a. Gain experience, foundational background, and participate in researches and extracurricular activities (pre-med student organizations, summer research, honors college).**
Step 2: Study for MCAT and work towards scoring within 93rd to 100th Percentile
1a. Plan to study for 6 months-1 year
Step 3: Choose and apply to Medical Schools

Problem: Working full-time at the bank and finances

**3a. I am currently working full-time at the bank. I currently am living paycheck-to-paycheck. Not because of my current lifestyle, but because of poor long-term financial decisions that I made back when I was younger (~18y.o.). Therefore, I NEED this job to pay my debt and expenses.

Question: How do I gain experience and be able to participate in researches and extracurricular activities (volunteering, summer research, honors college, student lead evens)? The dilemma that I face is I know I need to be as active as possible in my education and participate in researches. On top of that, I need to gain experience. Should I stay at my current M-F 8AM-5PM job? Or should I look into getting a job working as a scribe AND/OR server/bartender to free up my schedule?

I can't figure out a plan that will allow me to be fully involved in my education and allow me to participate in research. If I work M-F 8AM-5PM, I would only be able to attend classes in the evening, some online classes, and be involved in weekends only activities (researches, student led events, etc...). I do not even know if there are opportunities for research or events during the weekend..

I understand this is a long thread. If you have read this far, I appreciate ANY and ALL answers and guidance that you can provide.
Step 1
I'm unfamiliar with your current degree type and cannot say whether you would need more coursework just to check the four year degree box. But you will need post-bacc work to cover your missing med school pre-req's. It's crucial to ace these pre-req's. All of them. Do as best as possible. These courses represent 'the new you' and your dedication to becoming a doctor will be on full display, every single test you take. Never forget that. See how you do with the baseline pre-req's, then you can judge for yourself whether you need more advanced coursework. Dive into research if it's available, snatch up applicable extracurriculars. Shadowing ASAP should be your #1 though. You need to get in there and see if your turned off. #2 should then be volunteering. I also work a 9-5 M-F and found my local emergency room to be perfect for that schedule. You may need to affiliate yourself with a local university before they let you in there to volunteer, but jumping through the hoops to get in is worth it.

Step 2
Aim high, start early--that's all you can do. You'll know where you stand after you've taken the pre-req's and your first practice exam.

Problem
Lots of people get into medical school with virtually no research experience. I'd put that more towards the bottom of your list.

#1 - Shadow ASAP
#2 - Begin coursework / affiliate with college
#3 - Begin volunteering (ER is a great start)
#4 - Ace coursework, acquiring letters of recommendation (crucial)
#5 - Score well on MCAT
 
Jan 20, 2021
9
1
Step 1
I'm unfamiliar with your current degree type and cannot say whether you would need more coursework just to check the four year degree box. But you will need post-bacc work to cover your missing med school pre-req's. It's crucial to ace these pre-req's. All of them. Do as best as possible. These courses represent 'the new you' and your dedication to becoming a doctor will be on full display, every single test you take. Never forget that. See how you do with the baseline pre-req's, then you can judge for yourself whether you need more advanced coursework. Dive into research if it's available, snatch up applicable extracurriculars. Shadowing ASAP should be your #1 though. You need to get in there and see if your turned off. #2 should then be volunteering. I also work a 9-5 M-F and found my local emergency room to be perfect for that schedule. You may need to affiliate yourself with a local university before they let you in there to volunteer, but jumping through the hoops to get in is worth it.

Step 2
Aim high, start early--that's all you can do. You'll know where you stand after you've taken the pre-req's and your first practice exam.

Problem
Lots of people get into medical school with virtually no research experience. I'd put that more towards the bottom of your list.

#1 - Shadow ASAP
#2 - Begin coursework / affiliate with college
#3 - Begin volunteering (ER is a great start)
#4 - Ace coursework, acquiring letters of recommendation (crucial)
#5 - Score well on MCAT

Thanks for the advice. How did you get involved with the local emergency room? Did you contact HR or a specific doctor? I'm very curious as to how students get opportunities like that.

I majored in Finance and a degree in Business Administration. The college advisor that I spoke to advised that because I need approx 50 hours of prereqs, I would technically be getting a second degree. Going through the general chemistry to biochemistry sequence would take 5 semesters alone (which can include summer semesters). How did you manage to juggle working from M-F 9-5, going to school, and volunteering/shadowing/working at the local emergency room?

I have decided that I will stay at my current job working M-F 8-5. Plan on taking classes during the evenings (which I was advise would be very hard to fit into my schedule) at a 4 year university. And lastly try to figure our what time works best to fit volunteering and shadowing in.

I was advised to take intro courses at a community college since they are more flexible with their class schedules. Do you know if this will raise red flags with medical school admissions committees? I'm afraid they'll think I may be taking the easy route since its common for people to think that community colleges have much easier classes. Or that I am trying to inflate my grades.
 

petomed

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
167
45
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I believe I went through the hospital's website, navigating to their volunteer page. Had to fill out the online form but someone did respond to me. This ultimately lead me to the Volunteer Coordinator. Believe it or not some hospitals have fulltime staff to manage all the volunteers throughout the hospital. This person has been one of my biggest advocates and will be writing me a LOR. Your local hospitals may not have a route like this, but call whoever you have to. HR, admin, whatever number you can find. No one is going to get you into medical school but you, especially as a non-trad.

I shadowed my first doc back in 2016 to see if this was going to be my path. I was very fortunate to have a great experience that night. I was so sold that I enrolled in my first official post-bacc course before heading to bed that night. I've taken my time since then. One course per semester, online, while volunteering. Online is not ideal. Going online at that time meant at least 50% of MD schools would toss my application. But I need my job and no other path was possible, so that's what I had to do. Let me reiterate, do not take online classes unless you have no other choice. As for the schedule, it was something like below.

M, W, F
8a-5p - work
6p-7p - gym (a.k.a. anki flashcards + treadmill)
7p-12a - school/study

T, R
8a-5p - work
6p-9p - volunteer
9p-12a - school/study

Weekend
study, study, study

This lasted roughly two years, till I finished my last pre-req. I only needed five of them so your schedule will necessarily be different. Especially if you are at a brick-and-mortar school.

The collective wisdom of SDN has lead me to believe your post-bacc work should be performed at (from best choice to worst):

1) 4-year university
2) community college
3) regionally accredited online program
 
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