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CC or State university?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by darkosbunny, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. darkosbunny

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    I've recently decided to pursue a career in health care. At first I thought about eventually being a CRNA...I could get my RN much faster than a medical license, and I wouldn't be in much debt. However, I don't think I'd be totally happy as one. I want to pursue a MD or DO degree.

    I'm 24 y/o male who's getting out of the Marine Corps in April. I have 33 credits of school done, but when I left for boot camp almost 5 years ago, I left in the middle of a semester, well actually about a week past the withdraw date. As a result: 3 Fs on my transcript. My grades are solid other than that, I somehow have a 2.9 even with those Fs. Thankfully, I never took any of the prereqs for med school, so I still have a clean slate so to speak for those courses.

    At any rate, I've always thought that I would go ahead and go to a community college, probably Valencia CC in Orlando, which is where I went before I left in 2004. But I've read on here that CC courses aren't exactly optimal when applying for med school. I've also read that you should go full-time, not part-time. 2 weeks ago, I signed up for Biology I from FCCJ, a community college in Jacksonville, FL. It's a 100% online course, but that doesn't show on the transcript. Should I cancel it since I'm not going full time next semester?

    If I don't go to a CC, that would mean I have to take either the SAT or ACT, get into a university, and take courses there. But I've been out of high school for over 6.5 years now, and quite frankly I don't know that I'd do good on it. If I went to a CC, I could get my AA degree, and easily transfer to a state school. Not really quite sure what the best path is to go down right now.

    What I was planning on doing was completing at least some of my prereqs at a CC, transfer to UF as a history major, and then apply to medical school. Bad idea?

    As a side note, I would probably be looking at DO schools, due to my low GPA. I could probably get it up to 3.6 or so, if I got basically straight As the rest of the way.
     
    #1 darkosbunny, Dec 26, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
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  3. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Some things to think about: You have been out of school (away from the academics) for a period of time. It makes good sense to start back slow, do excellent and high quality work before jumping in and getting overwhelmed.

    Take some of your general education requirements at the community college such as English and Math but leave the pre-med coursework for university. Since you are going to be a non-science major, you want your pre-med courses to be as strong as possible and you want an admissions committee to have no doubt that you can perform at a high level at university.

    Community college is fine but you don't need to get an associates degree. You just need to take coursework that will transfer. If you wind up with enough courses to qualify for the associates degree then fine but don't take any coursework that doesn't transfer to your university. Non-transferable courses just set you backward instead of forward.

    If you are working full-time, you can't attend college (even community college) full time. To load up on hours just invites burn-out and dropping of coursework or even worse, poor performance. You are not in a position to be able to afford to do poorly. If you need to work, go slow on the coursework until you are ready to transfer to university. Then, borrow enough money and go full-time and get good grades.

    It is not unusual for people to start out, have some adjustment problems, enter the armed forces, get some maturity and come back to do excellent work and get into medical school. You need to make up your mind that you want to do this and then work toward your goal. It's going to take some time but you have plenty of time to do this. The more time between your previous poor work and you recent excellent work, the better.

    No, it doesn't completely go away but time and recent good work is helpful. Just don't rush into anything and do poorly.
     
  4. pharm B

    pharm B Phar Noir
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    Do you plan on working while in school? I did my six years in the nav and got out, so I've got my GI Bill (plus kicker). It equates to a paycheck of $1500 a month.

    If you want to go to school full-time, then you'll probably not want to work. Start budgeting. ;)

    Oh, and does your Bio course from FCCJ (lived in Jax for a little bit) include a lab credit? I know for Texas schools, there is a required number of lab hours in addition to just class credit.
     
  5. darkosbunny

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    First of all, thanks for all the advice, njbmd.

    Anyways, yes I do plan on working. This upcoming summer, I plan on getting EMT-B certification just to get some valuable medical experience, which I hear is a must for a med school application. Anyways, starting in August 2009, the VA is implementing the new GI Bill which pays 100% state undergrad tuition up-front, and then the student also receives BAH for the zip code of the school, at the E-5 w/dependent rate. So for UCF in Orlando, for example, free tuition and a little under $1500 a month for a housing stipend. The BAH rate in NYC is something like $2700 a month, pretty insane. And yes, that biology course does include a lab credit. But I may not take it now, especially in lieu of njbmd's advice.
     
  6. darkosbunny

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    I do have one more question, however.

    What if I didn't major in history? What if I were to major in biology? Could I then take the lower-division biology prereqs at a CC? Obviously, majoring in biology, I will take boat loads of upper-division science courses, and if I do well in those, that should alleviate any doubts that the med admissions people may have, right?
     
  7. FrkyBgStok

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    i'm taking all my prereqs at a community college. and some extras all part time. but i work full time and have 3 kids, and the fact that no four year school offers the prereqs at night, i don't have a choice. will it hurt? i don't know. but like i said, i can't do anything else. i think they look at everything.

    I also read that if you can major in something else other than biology than do it. you will be studying something that interests you, and you'll be able to do well. and you are going to learn more biology than you ever wanted to know.
     
  8. hector219

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    EMT-B is a good route. That's what I've done and it's been an invaluable experience. Great for confirming your desire. In CA, if you have the money, there's a very short, intensive EMT-B course in Fremont. It's expensive though.

    I'm also taking most of my prereqs at CC, just because that's the schedule that works for me. I haven't started applying, so I can't say whether it was a good idea or not, but I assure you that how much you learn in Bio, Chem, Physics, and OChem has to do with what you put into it, not the professor.

    Personally I consider an A in all these courses a must, just because I imagine that some look down on it. Just study hard. A solid MCAT, A's in at least the basic prereqs, and medical experience will be hard to deny.
     
  9. Bellonium

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    I too have read multiple times on here of people saying CC credit isn't as good as a 4yr school etc. I'm interested in DO schools and personally emailed/contacted every DO school South of MN and none of them said they looked down on CC credit. Their recommendations were to just get good grades in the courses you take and score as high as possible on the MCAT.
     
  10. pharm B

    pharm B Phar Noir
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    We did have the head of Emergency Medicine (and member of a school's adcom) tell our club that he HIGHLY values military experience. And both he and the DO's I shadowed mentioned that your personal statement in your application carries a lot of weight. The one thing they pointed out was that the question is not "Why do you want to be a doctor," it's "Tell us something about yourself."
     
  11. dragonfly99

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    I agree with njb. That is great advice.

    One more thing - nothing wrong with taking some credits at a community college, especially if you feel you need a warmup semester, but don't dodge the state U because you fear the SAT/ACT. If you can't do well on those tests, how are you going to do well on the MCAT, which is a damn lot harder? You have to face your fears and I know you can do it - if you could hack the military the ACT is small potatoes.
     
  12. darkosbunny

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    Thanks for all the responses everyone. It is very encouraging to hear that maybe some of the ADCOMs value military experience. I feel that maybe, even I have something already really great on my resume due to that experience.

    Anyways, it's not that I fear taking the SAT/ACT. It's that I've been out of high school for almost 7 years now. I simply am not well versed in those academic areas anymore. And really, I don't believe it matters a whole lot. I only need 27 more hours to get to 60 credits, at which point the SAT/ACT score is obsolete. In Florida, once you get to 60 credits, you can transfer without a test score. I've not decided however, and I still may take the ACT and try to go right into a state U this fall, but I'm leaning towards getting my 60 credit hours at a CC and transferring into UF.
     
    #11 darkosbunny, Dec 29, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
  13. scottyT

    scottyT Real Member
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    Many colleges allow for retroactive withdrawal if you are ordered to active duty (mine does/did). Even though you voluntarily joined up, the orders should indicate that you were "ordered" to active duty. Check with your original school to see if they will do this for you. This would be a really quick way to boost your GPA.
     

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