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Richie Truxillo

Your Scut Monkey Mentor
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Hello Everyone. My name is Richie Truxillo and I am currently a 4th year medical student. I am your SDN Mentor for those of you who have your background in computer science or information technology. I understand that it can be a harrowing experience to switch fields, especially when going to medicine. This is why I am volunteering my time to help those of you who are switching gears from what I did.

To briefly tell a little bit about myself, I have been building computers and programming since the age of 10. I worked at Corning, Inc in their fiberoptics division doing database work for 5 years while receiving my B.S. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina - Wilmington back in 2001. I then ran two internet businesses for a urology group for a couple of years...which is where I got serious about attending medical school. Since medicine was always in the back of my mind, I took my MCAT 3 times over a period of 5 years before getting my magic score that made the Allopathic and Osteopathic schools take notice. I decided on WVSOM as my school of choice because my best friend was there and most of the physicians I thought highly of were graduates of the program. Upon going to WVSOM, I entered the new Problem Based Learning program. It appealed to me because, like programming code, it taught medicine in a self-directed algorithmic way. I had a bit of trouble starting out, particularly with the anatomy course. However, I was able to pull myself together and get thru my first two years with a B average.

So here I am now. I knew almost nothing about medicine going into school and now here I am I'm in my final year of rotations. I passed my boards on my first try and I have done very well on my clinical rotations so far!

In addition, your experience in computer science will serve you well, especially if you can troubleshoot computers, PDA's, etc... Most physicians are not computer savvy and being able to help out with the computer stuff will make you the hero of the day multiple times. :laugh: Overall, I am completely delighted with my decision to go into medicine. My computer skills are just icing on the cake.

So with all of that out of the way, I'll be happy to answer whatever questions you may have. Keeping in spirit of the SDN Mentor program, I ask that all questions be posted here for all to see. That way I can respond to it publicly.

My best to all of you IT professionals looking into this exciting career change. Breaking free from cubicle life has been very rewarding.
 

Pavo

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Jun 9, 2007
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Hi Richie -

Glad that I found this website and your specific thread :) I'm hoping that you could be able to offer me some advice and feedback.

My background:

I took my first "real job" 6 months out of college with a financial software firm. My specific role was a consultant. In a nutshell, I lived in Excel, created financial models (lots of coding/mnemonics), automated workflow with VBA and proprietary automation programs, and worked with proprietary application programs - all which we offered to our clients in the world of high finance. It was a good gig - a nice intersection of finance and technology and what kept me afloat was that I was able to work with people a lot.

Worked my buns off (long hours), initial career doubts started to surface as well, and I was promoted after 14 months to product development (where I am at now). Now I am on the back-end working with other developers and intrastructure & software engineers in bringing our next generation platform to market as well as maintaining existing product lines.

I work for a good company, the pay is good, and I have good opportunities both internally as well as externally (Good growth opportunities internally and I also have the opportunity to go work for a client as an analyst on Wall Street or elsewhere in the U.S.), but, this is not my passion. The monkey business and cubicle life is not my cup of tea :)

So where does medicine come in for me? Well, in high school I volunteered at a hospital, and eventually was hired by the hospital as a peer counselor (later was a substance abuse technicion). I worked there for about 2 years until I left for college. Medicine, psychology, and specifically, working with and helping people were my first love - they were my passion. My plan was to follow this path when I began college, but the business world caught me by surprise and I ran with that.

Now here I am sitting in a cubicle faced with nostalgia (perhaps regret?). I can handle the corporate world, but I am young and have my entire life ahead of me (God willingly) and I am highly considering switching to medicine. I don't want to climb the ladder, nor do I want to make a killing in finance, or stick with IT/software, nor do I see another corporate role which interests me - I want to go back and follow healthcare and work with people. But...I fear that it's too late, or that I have stacked the cards against me. I don't have the science prerequisites under my belt (science courses in college were astronomy and zoology - topics I was highly interested in), and I don't know anyone that made such a drastic change to look up to for advice. I've begun speaking with doctors and dentists, but beyond that all that I have found so far is this site (which I am glad that I did).

Some specific topic questions that I have before I do anything about it:

1. I can keep my day job as I pursue my science prerequisites and take the MCAT, but is this even an option for me, i.e., can I take these courses part time? Do I have to take the courses at a university? Can I take them at a local community college? I've read about post-baccalaureate programs on this site...do I need to go that route, or would it be sufficient for me to only take the necessary courses?

2. What were some of the pros and cons for you coming from a computer/IT/corporate background? What were some of the major obstacles that you faced? Is there anything which you found to be helpful in your transition?

3. Anything additional which you think would be helpful for me.

I have a passion for working with others, a thirst for learning and knowledge, and an entreprenurial streak within me. If it may help you, and for what it's worth, here is my background:

- Bachelor of Science in Economics - finance concentration (3.56/4.00 GPA)
- 2 solid years of FT work experience (same firm); college internships include (A) financial analyst for a summer and (B) law clerk for a summer
- Extracurriculars: Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, The Japan-America Society (I studied in Japan during undergrad), and a tri-athlete.
- Considering an MBA/MD program; I'm thinking that I may leverage my passion of helping/working with people with the entrepreneurial streak that I have.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I am looking forward to your response. Please don't hesitate to ask me any questions.

- Pavo
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

Your Scut Monkey Mentor
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Apr 26, 2004
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Some specific topic questions that I have before I do anything about it:

1. I can keep my day job as I pursue my science prerequisites and take the MCAT, but is this even an option for me, i.e., can I take these courses part time? Do I have to take the courses at a university? Can I take them at a local community college? I've read about post-baccalaureate programs on this site...do I need to go that route, or would it be sufficient for me to only take the necessary courses?

2. What were some of the pros and cons for you coming from a computer/IT/corporate background? What were some of the major obstacles that you faced? Is there anything which you found to be helpful in your transition?

3. Anything additional which you think would be helpful for me.

I have a passion for working with others, a thirst for learning and knowledge, and an entreprenurial streak within me. If it may help you, and for what it's worth, here is my background:

- Bachelor of Science in Economics - finance concentration (3.56/4.00 GPA)
- 2 solid years of FT work experience (same firm); college internships include (A) financial analyst for a summer and (B) law clerk for a summer
- Extracurriculars: Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, The Japan-America Society (I studied in Japan during undergrad), and a tri-athlete.
- Considering an MBA/MD program; I'm thinking that I may leverage my passion of helping/working with people with the entrepreneurial streak that I have.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I am looking forward to your response. Please don't hesitate to ask me any questions.

- Pavo

What was your specific role with computers at Corning? Were you development, engineering, infrastructure, etc.? Just curious to see the kind of leap that you made
Hey Pavo! Welcome to SDN! I will have to give you a multipart reply here as I am getting ready to leave again for work. Let me tackle some of your questions though.

#1: I worked part-time at Corning through all of my college and was able to pull off a decent GPA. Organic Chemistry was a bear though as was Calculus. (Calculus was the only C+ I've made :( ) It's definitely doable to take them part-time but I would recommend having a schedule in place to allocate for study time. If you can, I would take them through a local university if possible. Some medical schools place more "weight" on university courses than community college courses. You can still pull it off taking the community college courses. Do what you need to do to meet the requirements. Nothing more, nothing less.

To Summarize: All you need are the prerequisite courses. It's better to take them through a univerisity system in the eyes of admissions but in all honesty, if you take the classes at some type of college you will meet the requirements. However, the MCAT is the great equalizer so be sure you can ace your MCAT. That is the most important step for you in your application process. Medical school admissions is a straight-up numbers game and you need to shine. :)

#2: Well, first off, learning all of the material for the MCAT was a beast. Go from thinking logically and in an algorithmic structure to taking one of the most random tests ever, the MCAT. I took the MCAT 3 times. The first two times, without opening a book, I did pathetically bad: got a 23 both times. The third time, I actually studied and got a good score. I used Examkracker's MCAT Audio Osmosis as my only study tool. Was great to listen to at work (one of the perks of having a desk job). I suggest completing organic chemistry and physics before tackling the MCAT.

My first day of school, I was lost. There were lots of people in my PBL group with previous clinical experience or a research background. I knew a boatload about computers and business but not much else. Also my study habits were non-existant. I don't think I cracked a book in high school and in college I wasn't very well prepared for the studying involved in medical school. Let me tell you, I learned FAST to study hard and efficiently.
Now the good news. You'll feel lost for awhile but everything started clicking for me around week 10. Since thinking in an algorithmic fashion is already engraved in your mind, you'll find that seeing the big picture will be much easier for you than most. Also, your life experience will put you ahead of the curve in maturity, which is a nice advantage to have in medical school. It'll make more time for your studying and minimize time worrying about the freshman drama that goes on.

#3: I guess one tip that is worth mentioning is consider an Osteopathic school in your admissions process. My school won me over because they made me feel at home. I was told at one Allopathic institution (that sent me an acceptance letter ironically) that I "was out of my mind for going to medicine from computer science." I was given the impression that they wanted cookie-cutter pre-med majors for their class. Of course, the acceptance letter says otherwise but it still left me with a poor impression of the staff and program. At the school I am at now, they actually welcomed my diverse set of skills. It made me feel close at home. So that is my little plug there for Osteopathic schools.
So with that said, my advice to you is find a school that makes you feel at home, whether it is Allopathic or Osteopathic. Don't settle on a place because of their price or name.

As for my work at Corning, I did database work along with some engineering projects when time allowed in the summer. Here is a photo for nostalgia. :)


-Richie
 

stbxTechie

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Jun 12, 2007
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I'm looking at moving from programming/IT work to medicine, and am starting on my prereqs informally at a local community college with the goal of moving to a full-time post-bac (either formal or informal) in a year or two.

I was wondering if you had any sense on two things, and then a more direct question about your experience:

1) I have a nearly-finished graduate degree (MS in Computer Science) although I've been out of grad school, "on hold" for a few years. Would skipping finishing the degree hurt my admission chances?

I'm assuming that is the case, and thus by finishing that degree, even though it's no longer in line with my career goals, I avoid potential red flags about why the degree isn't finished.

On the other hand, it would be probably six to nine months out of time when I could otherwise be working on prereqs.

2) Is there any benefit to non-biomedical research experience? I have two published conference papers in CS; would there be any value in trying to get a third finished and accepted somewhere? There is some work that's necessary to finish my master's project that's probably publishable, but if it's not going to be of any help outside CS, it's definitely not worth the effort.

3) Did you do your prerequisite work while doing your BS, or afterwards? Do you have any advice about handling the premed science courses from a CS major's perspective?
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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Apr 26, 2004
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1) I have a nearly-finished graduate degree (MS in Computer Science) although I've been out of grad school, "on hold" for a few years. Would skipping finishing the degree hurt my admission chances?
I don't think it would hurt your degree chances one bit. Medical schools have a tendency to dwell on your undergraduate work. Your best bet would be to pursue your prerequisite courses ASAP to get started toward the medical path if you are resolute in applying.

2) Is there any benefit to non-biomedical research experience? I have two published conference papers in CS; would there be any value in trying to get a third finished and accepted somewhere? There is some work that's necessary to finish my master's project that's probably publishable, but if it's not going to be of any help outside CS, it's definitely not worth the effort.
It's a nice little perk to have research published and I applaud you for it! :thumbup: However, since it is not medically related, I am not sure whether it would benefit you to put in the extra effort to publish a 3rd paper. I will tell you this with 100% certainty: A strong MCAT score and a GPA will do more for you than any extracurricular work. I would channel your efforts into doing well in your required coursework and MCAT preparation.

3) Did you do your prerequisite work while doing your BS, or afterwards? Do you have any advice about handling the premed science courses from a CS major's perspective?
I was fortunate enough to have a boatload of college credits from AP Coursework. Therefore I took just the barebones minimum of required courses for medical school while getting my CS degree. As for handling the coursework.... For organic chemistry, don't waste your time trying to understand why certain reactions happen, just brute memorize them over and over again. It will help you greatly on tests to be able to recognize and recall reactions. Physics, you've probably already had it but it's a breeze with your CS background if you haven't. Take some extra time and learn some of the basics in your biology coursework. It's the only college knowledge you'll actually utilize while in medical school. Also, if you have time, take a biochemistry course to get your feet wet. Biochemistry is usually the washout course in medical school so having a little bit of background will help you out.

Cheers!
Richie
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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Coming from a business/corporate background, how would the rate the transition in terms of culture?

The business world can have mixed results depending on your department and the firm you work for. I know that in my former role as a consultant there were many of your "standard" things such as backstabbing, one-upmanship, dog-eat-dog, etc., but the unwritten rule was you always go out drinking with the crew. It was looked down upon if you did not at least stop by and socialize for a while. My current role as a developer is more lax: carry your weight on the job and you can live your life as you see fit.

What have you seen with medicine thus far? I presume the classroom setting is competitive, but is there camaraderie among peers? I know you're a student and have not practiced yet, but anything which you may have heard or observed from clinicals, rotations, volunteering, or others?
I'm probably not the best person to answer this question, seeing that I am not a doctor yet. I will tell you that medicine is a politically charged environment. The vast majority of doctors are Type A personalities and as such will butt heads from time to time. Just like in the corporate world, you'll have your share of backstabbers (particularly in the research area, where some will go to extreme lengths to get their names published in a journal). With that said though, adversity has a way of bringing people together and doctors, I feel, share a special comradre with each other. I have personally had all positive experiences with the physicians I have crossed-paths with, including those I did not think I would like at first meeting.

There is a maxim: Treat others the way you want to be treated. The golden rule is still alive and well in medicine. If you aid your fellow collegues, most of the time they'll be there for you. If you like to socialize, you'll feel right at home in medicine.

This is contrasted with Richie's corporate golden rule: "Do unto them, before they do unto you." as you are already all too familar with. :laugh:
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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Hi Richie, I have been in the computer/networking field for about 10 years now and am currently an early pre-med student. I am 33 years old with no medical experience at all (except for a few trips to the ER). I have taken a more serious interest in the field of medicine, more specifically Radiology and maybe even a sub specialty of Nuclear Medicine. I have yet to find any info that will tell me how long the process will take once I (hopefully) get enrolled into Med School. Can you help me out on this or point me in the right direction?
It will take 4 years of medical school, then in most cases a 3-4 year radiology residency to become a radiologist. Beyond that, if you are interested in subspecializing in Nuclear Medicine, a 2 or 3 year fellowship will be required. So you are looking at a total of 9 to 11 years of training from the day you walk thru those medical school doors. :) Keep in mind though that your training is paid once you graduate from medical school so you won't be taking out loans the entire time.

It seems like a long road but medical school, at least so far, has flown by for me. Good luck!
 

riffraphe

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Oct 18, 2007
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I graduated in 06 with a BA in Computer Science, but had already decided I wanted to go into either neuro research or medicine or both. I did a one year neuro post-bac, and am now taking my premed requirements.

My first question is, do comp sci courses count towards the science GPA, or is it only bio/chem/physics/math courses? Do any courses in these depts count, or is it only the premed courses in these depts?

I took Calc II my first semester of college, wasn't really ready for it, and made a C. Should I retake it for a better grade, or not bother and spend my energies on other things?

Also, I'm interested in your experience in a DO program. I don't know much about such programs, but I was interested in the case western college problem-based curriculum, and what you're talking about seems similar.
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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Apr 26, 2004
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My first question is, do comp sci courses count towards the science GPA, or is it only bio/chem/physics/math courses? Do any courses in these depts count, or is it only the premed courses in these depts?
Sorry for the late reply. First of all, Yes your computer science courses do factor in to your science GPA. I made a C and a C+ in both Calculus and multi- variant Calculus. It was never brought up in any interviews because people were just enamored with the fact I had a Computer Science degree. Oh and by the way your Computer Science degree is a B.S. -- at least mine is. :cool:

Also, I'm interested in your experience in a DO program. I don't know much about such programs, but I was interested in the case western college problem-based curriculum, and what you're talking about seems similar.
I was not aware that Case Western had a PBL program but you are free to read my other mentor thread on Problem Based Learning for my experiences at WVSOM. I'll add that one to the list once I can verify! :)
 

virya

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Jan 18, 2008
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Hello, It is great to hear that CS grads are moving into medicine.

My back ground:

BS in Computer Science (not from US) about 2.6 GPA -- Did excellent in High school but was not interested in CS at all in under grad. Should have switched to medicine then :)

MS in Computer Science (US) 4.0
MBA (US) 4.46 while working full time
18 years of IT experience, currently a senior manager at a big company
I have done lot of chems and phys. in my under grad. But retaking all the prereqs

Finished Bio-I, BIo-II, Chem-1 - all As so far and shooting for All As in future

Taking Org Chem-I and Phy-I this semester, Volunteering in the Hospital
Also Shadowing a Physician

Plan is to
Take Org Chem - II, Phy II, Chem - II in summer (2 quarters)
Take MCAT in June 2008 (Started preparing from Dec 2007, Have a study plan and sticking to it so far)

Planning to apply for 2009

What are the chances?
Do the schools require to finish up all the prereqs prior to applying or they are ok if I complete most of them and then show them the plan to finish them all before starting med school?

Thank you in advance
 

Meteo

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Im currently an undergrad with a computer science major and on a pre-med track. I love computing but a future sitting at a desk programming all day is not ideal for me. But I also dont want to "waste" my time studying something so different from medicine.

Have you found anyway to meld computer science and medicine? Or are they mutually exclusive disciplines?
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

Your Scut Monkey Mentor
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Apr 26, 2004
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Planning to apply for 2009

What are the chances?
Do the schools require to finish up all the prereqs prior to applying or they are ok if I complete most of them and then show them the plan to finish them all before starting med school?

Thank you in advance
Well, hard to say. Some schools will accept you contingent on your pre-reqs. Your biggest factor comes down to your MCAT score though. It is absoultely critical that you score well on your MCAT. DO schools will be more likely to accept a non-traditional applicant as well. You should not have to take your completed pre-reqs again but get Organic out of the way as soon as possible!!! It all comes down to the MCAT though.

Good luck!
-Richie
 

gman33

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Hi Richie - In a post above you told riffraphe that computer science classes count towards his science GPA. They do not (at least for AMCAS). They only count BIO, CHEM, PHYS and MATH. Now as a comp sci major, you may have taken math and physics but the actual computer classes don't count.
 

hoss22

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Hi Richie,
I swear I searched for a thread like this back when I decided to leave my job as a software engineer and attend medical school and never found it. I just happened to be searching around again the other day...and here I am!

Like I said, I am a software engineer w/ a BS in CS :). I have been accepted to LMU-DCOM (awesome school by the way). My question is did you have any advanced bio courses like A&P, BioChem, Genetics, Immunology, and such before you started medical school? If not, do you feel that you are always behind your classmates who are usually bio majors? Have you had to work harder to catch up? Do you wish there were any undergrad classes you would have taken before you started med school?

It's nice to finally have someone to talk to about all this. Bio majors can't understand my anxiety :).
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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Hi Richie - In a post above you told riffraphe that computer science classes count towards his science GPA. They do not (at least for AMCAS). They only count BIO, CHEM, PHYS and MATH. Now as a comp sci major, you may have taken math and physics but the actual computer classes don't count.
Hey gman33! I completely agree with what you are saying there but I believe it showed up in my transcript as such. I will try to dig up my old application materials from my pre-med days (I printed out everything and went nuts over every little number) and confirm for sure. Maybe I'm getting confused with the DO applications but I applied to MD and DO schools and I am pretty sure they were the same. As I have explained in numerous PMs though, your GPA, as long as it is over 3.0, matters less than a solid MCAT. Do as well on your MCAT as possible and everything falls into place. Unfortunately, that is how the game is played. If you have other questions/comments, please do not hesitate to post again. :)

ike I said, I am a software engineer w/ a BS in CS . I have been accepted to LMU-DCOM (awesome school by the way). My question is did you have any advanced bio courses like A&P, BioChem, Genetics, Immunology, and such before you started medical school? If not, do you feel that you are always behind your classmates who are usually bio majors? Have you had to work harder to catch up? Do you wish there were any undergrad classes you would have taken before you started med school?
Hoss22! Grats on your med school acceptance! I took the BARE MINIMUM pre-reqs only with the exception of Immunology as an elective. When I started the problem based learning track at school I was literally lost for the first 10 weeks. As I developed a core knowledge based, I was able to do exponentially better. Passed Step I and Step II first try and I have only gotten better as med school has gone on. Yes, admittedly you'll have a rough start but just study and stick with it. Part of my problem was I really never opened a book in high school and part of college. You have to read alot in med school, especially when you are essentially teaching yourself medicine in a PBL track. It's all about dedication, regimentation and drive.

Today was great. I removed a squamous cell CA from a patient and sutured it up. I immediately left that room, and went into the back room and fixed my attending's PDA and EMR server. Medicine is awesome! Having computer skills to go with it is icing on the cake. ;)
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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Heya Richie, I noticed you skipped my question. Perhpas I should have elaborated my question more. Do you feel that CS has helped you in your career in medicine? If so how? How does it make you different than the cookie cutter doctor? Do you feel you could do your job better if you majored in a science?

I dont want to be at a disadvantage for choosing CS. Though I do enjoy programming.

-Meteo
Hey Meteo, sorry I didn't see your post. The moderator options for the mentor forum confuses me :p

By the way, your Meteo username a Final Fantasy Reference so you get cool points!

I think CS provides a unique spin on your productivity as a doctor. You'll sail through electronic medical records and wow people with your computer savvyness. You'll think and learn differently than your peers since you'll be thinking algorithmically from your programming days. Medical school will teach you everything you need to become a physician, whether you are a CS major, a bio major or a spanish major. The skills you bring with you to medical school will shape the way you approach learning your trade and utilizing your practice.

So in essence, as long as you can maintain good grades and do well on the MCAT, go ahead and major in CS if that is where your heart lies right now. The door to med school is always open to those who have the numbers and the required courses!

Ok need to goto sleep, been a long day at work. Sorry I didn't see your reply. I'll post it on the thread tomorrow when I get a chance!

-Richie
 

Nasem

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Nice thread :thumbup:

Hi Richie,
I am pretty much in the same position you were in before you got accepted to any med program...... I been working as a software engineer since 2005 and its a pretty "OK" job (good money / great people / pretty flexable with hours).... I've started doing my pre-med req at our local 4-year university (MSU) since Spring of 2007, in 2 months (end of april this year), I'll have all my chemistries / organics completed (along with thier labs)

There is one huge concern I have, I am very much like you, I don't have very strong study habits, I been doing really well in my chemistries (nothing under 4.0) because it takes very logical thinking and I find that sort of easy..... but when it comes to classes like biology/microbio/biochem/etc etc (all that reading and "underestand" those huge chapters) scares the crap out of me, and It makes me feel like I am going to strugle when I get to medical school.....

I have a friend of mine who is in wayne state MS1 right now, he tells me he goes to school 35 hrs a week but studies close to 40 (he is honoring his classes tho) but still, 70+ hrs every week just for school sounds scary as hell

how were u able to find your "rhythm" in med school ? Do you think Im worrying too much about this ? lol
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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My rhythm? Well, given that I was in Problem Based Learning, it took me a good 10 weeks to catch on. I'd say I spent on average, 15 hours a week in class and studied at least double that outside of class. Medical school is all about memorization...however there is only so much you can memorize before you forget so being able to conceptualize certain topics aids you better in the long run.

No I do not think you are worrying too much about this. Just don't go into med school thinking that "This is a cakewalk" because it is not. It is alot of hours and stress. A good friend of mine who used to work with me at Corning is 5 years out of school and making a good 70k+ doing database management...working his paltry 40 hours a week. Yes you'll be making, at a minimum, double that...but you'll also be investing alot more time into education and working more each week on average. So be sure medicine is what you want to switch to before taking the plunge :p

Now the other end of that question: If you are dead set on medicine and you are worried about "adjusting" to the study schedule. Quit worrying about it and enjoy life. You'll adjust on the fly when it starts. Nothing you can do will quite prepare ya so if you get accepted, go take that vacation you've always wanted to instead of reading biology books :smuggrin: You'll be glad ya did once Anatomy starts hehe
 

roflamingo

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Jul 4, 2007
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I'm a first semester undergraduate student that is looking into pre-med and majoring in computer science. However, I'm having problems with keeping a good GPA. I love computer science, it's been my passionate hobby since I was 14 or so, and love my classes, but it's still very difficult for me, and I struggle to get As (typically I get low to mid Bs). However, in subject areas where I'm not as interested in, I am able to get much higher grades, just because they come more naturally to me, but I don't really enjoy them.
At this point I could change my major to virually anything with no problem at all. Would you recommend changing majors simply to achieve a higher GPA?
In the past I've had no problems scoring well on standardized test (such as the ACTs, SATs, etc), so I'm not expecting to do terrible on the MCAT, but if I stay with computer science, I'm afraid I may only get a 2.9-3.2ish GPA, despite my passion for the material.

On a side not, I'm very interested in this Problem Based Learning you're talking about. Are there any MD schools that offer it? Sounds a lot like what you have to do with CS problems, which is what I love about the subject.

Thanks!
 

Gautam

The Forever Student
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Mar 11, 2008
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Hello, Richie,

I have been wandering the college circuit for a while, as I was trying to break into the game industry, studying programming and graphics, studying long hours (at one place I was doing 60+ hours of classwork alone), and generally kicking my own butt.

Well, after looking at these options, and the thought process that I had the rather large possibility of getting laid off even after I finished anyway, I turned back to my first thought of doing Medicine, since it is in my family and I always liked Biology quite a bit.

Most of my questions have already been answered by the other people who have visited this thread ahead of me, but the main question I had (which might be a little out of your field, but I thought I would hazard a guess anyway) is this: what should I do if I am looking to do something more than just regular medicine? Like possibly help work on something cutting edge like designing machines to help with long distance surgical procedures? I assume I would still need a degree in medicine in the first place and a good deal of practical experience, but would my experience with programming and graphics help a good deal with this? And is there a place where other physicians would be working on something like this?

Many thanks for the help.


--Gautam.
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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Hello Gautam,

Well you could work as a programmer or an engineer for these companies. On the flip side, you could do what I am doing: A fellowship (read: beyond residency) in Medical Informatics. There are tons of opportunities out there for physicians with extensive programming or computer hardware expertise, mainly in a consultant type of role. Your post has intrigued me though along with my recent experiences with the Da Vinci surgical system, I'll try to do more research and get back to you on it.

-Richie
 

cflat

10+ Year Member
Mar 20, 2008
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Just wanted to say, this is a great thread! Didn't know there were so many of us. lol I've been in the IT industry for about 15 years now, graduated in 1992 with a 2.5GPA as I was working 60+ hours a week while taking a fulltime courseload at night. Only science courses I took were Biology 1 and 2. I know my clock is ticking, as I'm 38, but I think to go to medical school I need to get a pre-med BS, both to fulfill the science requirements, and to present a good GPA. I've not taken the MCAT yet, but have scored mid-30s on practice tests. (I've always been a good test-taker) My question, do you think the BS is necessary, or would the courses alone from a local university be sufficient to overcome the poor GPA in undergrad?

Thanks for your input!
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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My advice to you: Get started on those pre-med classes and be sure to make straight A's if possible to boost your GPA. After taking organic chemistry, take the MCAT and bust out some good numbers. That will take you far. Med schools tend to place the most emphasis on MCAT numbers so be sure to knock it out of the park!

To answer your question exactly, you only need the pre-requisite classes that schools require. You can have any undergraduate degree as long as you have completed those classes!

Now...I must say, being 38 you really need to evaluate how much you want to pursue medicine. It is a long and hard 4 years plus a minimum 3 year residency afterwards. This journey will consume your next 7 years and you must be totally dead set on being committed before doing so!

Best of luck! :)

-Richie
 

Perfoman

10+ Year Member
Nov 28, 2007
43
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Hello, I am currently making the transition from computer science to medicine. Going from engineering to bio-science is a big change, but I am really glad I have the background in CS/eng. I am pretty sure i'm on the right track... my only problem is that I am not sure when I should stop boosting my application and just apply.

Background:
My biggest hurdle to overcome is my overall undergrad GPA. When I realized I wanted to go into medicine I was a Computer Science senior with 110 credit hours and a 2.6 GPA. I have been programming since junior high and always thought CS was what I should do with my life, however my perspective of the industry and discipline as a whole has changed over the years (that is a whole separate discussion). Long story short; I was hired on as a software engineer to develop a video game under a federal (USDE) grant. I worked there for a year and as a result decided to switch career paths.

Med School Maintenance/Plan:
I changed majors to something that is both interesting and has a strong grounding in science (Environmental Science) and i'll also have an automatic CS minor from my previous CS work. It's nice because it gives tons of leeway with the core sciences, allowing students to emphasize chem or mbio or math/phys etc... and allows me to complete my pre-med reqs within the degree. Also changing majors gives me two extra years for GPA maintenance; graduating with CS then doing post bac was not really an option for me due to financial limitations, so staying in undergrad was the best choice to prepare for med school. A's and B's are easy to make after being in college for 4 years, and my GPA will be above 3.0 after this summer but because of the amount of hours I currently have it is very unlikely to be above a 3.2 by the time I apply to med school.

Aside from GPA maintenance I am getting all the clinical exposure I can. I volunteer at a free clinic on saturdays, the local ER on sundays, and I will finish my EMT-B in june. I am also working with one of my professors to write my own grant proposal, which if I can actually get funding I'll be an undergraduate PI with potential for many first author publications. It's likely I won't get funding, so my backup plan is to latch on to someone else's project for the summer. I will be taking my first MCAT at the end of the upcoming fall semester which will give me enough time to take again if I have too before next june. My pre-med advisors are pretty good about getting committee letters out in time for early application so I am planning on having everything ready to submit at the beginning of next june. I am applying to both MD and DO programs and my state has a school for both that accepts a huge % of matriculating class from in-staters.

That is what I have figured out so far...

Application time:
What I havn't figured out, is if my app will look good enough to apply next year, or should I wait one more year and then apply.

So here is a snapshot of what i'll be looking at come application time next year... Applying to state MD/DO schools + broadly application out of state.
Major: Environmental Science
Minors: Computer Science, Chemistry
GPA: 3.1-3.2, BCPM: 3.5+, MCAT: 32-35 (estimated)
ECs: Tons of volunteer hours in free clinic and in the ER. Also years worth of using my emt-b, normal amount of shadow hours, I'm not counting on the funding for my project so most likely nominal research exp via undergrad assistantships.

If I wait one more year to apply then I will be applying with ~30 more hours applied to my GPA. It will also give me another year to boost my ECs and research significantly. It would also give me another year (after applying) to finish a second undergrad or complete an accelerated masters in enviro science, or even apply to an MPH program at my in-state MD school. All these things are good, but if I can get into med school with the previous year's stats then I would much rather just go to med school since that is my end goal anyway.

I am just trying to plan two steps ahead and would like to know if I have a shot at applying next year, or if I should wait 1 more year. I'm not sure if I can fund two application cycles. Also I'm wide open to any suggestions as to what else I can be doing to make my app look strong... I have 4 years of undergrad behind me that I need to make up for so I'm doing all I can to show I'm ready for med school.
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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Hey Perfoman,

A very nice detailed application note there! You have a sound plan. Again, the number one factor in your admission success is going to come down to your MCAT score. Buy Examkrackers MCAT Audio Osmosis if you can. It took me from a 23 to a 30 on my MCAT with no additional study (I still believe the MCAT is a crapshoot though). As a computer science major, the MCAT is the "Great equalizer" in the eyes of admission committees.

As it stands right now, you have an excellent shot at Osteopathic schools if you go ahead and apply next cycle and take your MCAT ASAP. As for Allopathic schools, the GPA will need to be up a smidgen more and it will heavily depend on your MCAT score. I didn't get allopathic school acceptance letters until my last MCAT score came back with the magic numbers they wanted.

Your volunteer work is good also. I was an EMT for short while when I was in undergrad so it helps when you are in your interview as a discussion point.

I feel if you continue to take an organized approach you have a good shot. Alot of it will depend on your MCAT score so work hardest towards that. You are on the right track. Keep working hard!

-Richie

On a side note, I will be getting married this Friday so I won't be responding to this thread much until I get back from the honeymoon. :)
 

akmedman

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Sep 20, 2007
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In your experience how do med schools look at a CS major when evaluating their grades? I feel I have personally done well however I don't really know where I stand when it comes to what is a reach school, what is a realistic goal.

Also! I have received B's in a few of the premedical classes however I felt it was BECAUSE I was programming for 35 hours a week to get my assignments done! My premedical advisor told me that they generally scale up GPAs for majors that are "more demanding"... have you found this to be true?

Lastly do you miss CS and ever feel that medical school is just too much mindless memorization? Currently I have taken some upper level biology classes and don't mind the memorization however in medical school it will be at another level. How was this transition? What type of medical school curriculum do you think work well with a CS major's approach (I would guess problem solving based.

Thanks!

Also if you have any other helpful tips let me know! I am applying this summer.
 

cflat

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Mar 20, 2008
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Now...I must say, being 38 you really need to evaluate how much you want to pursue medicine. It is a long and hard 4 years plus a minimum 3 year residency afterwards. This journey will consume your next 7 years and you must be totally dead set on being committed before doing so!
Yeah, that thought has crossed my mind. lol

Thanks for the advice! My plan at the moment is to pursue just the science classes and take the MCAT, and see how it goes. I got a 40 on the last practice test I took, so if I can do that well on the real thing, hopefully the second BS won't be required. :D
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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In your experience how do med schools look at a CS major when evaluating their grades? I feel I have personally done well however I don't really know where I stand when it comes to what is a reach school, what is a realistic goal.

Also! I have received B's in a few of the premedical classes however I felt it was BECAUSE I was programming for 35 hours a week to get my assignments done! My premedical advisor told me that they generally scale up GPAs for majors that are "more demanding"... have you found this to be true?

Lastly do you miss CS and ever feel that medical school is just too much mindless memorization? Currently I have taken some upper level biology classes and don't mind the memorization however in medical school it will be at another level. How was this transition? What type of medical school curriculum do you think work well with a CS major's approach (I would guess problem solving based.

Thanks!

Also if you have any other helpful tips let me know! I am applying this summer.

Sorry for the late response. Been trying to buy a house and move for residency hehe. ;) Every med school I applied to and interview at was floored at my CS degree. They just don't get many crossovers from the computer world. Don't worry, it's in a positive way. The B's should be okay if you have A's in your core computer science classes. Be sure you get your Organic Chemistry grades and Physics grades up there. You are going to laugh but my Achilles Heel was Calculus...the only C's I ever made. Try to keep your GPA as high as possible.

Yes, I kinda missed CS...but I've been doing affiliate web marketing on the side which keeps me immersed in the SEO and PHP/SQL end of things. On the other side, I build computers on the side to keep my hardware skills sharp. Last, I'm doing a Medical Informatics Fellowship, which basically deals with Digital Medical Records systems and hospital networks. Kinda a cool thing to do on the side in addition to practicing medicine as pretty much, physicians know squat about technology like CS majors do. I'm hoping my expertise can help benefit physicians as a whole someday, if anything to keep us from getting taken advantage of. Who knows, maybe an open source medical records system could be down the pipe someday.

My transition was a little rough. I did very poor on my first anatomy test and practical...but then I never truly studied in college so I had to really learn how to study in medical school. After I caught wind of how to study, it was relatively smooth sailing from then on. Clinical rotations were great with my Problem Based Learning training and CS background. As for the traditional vs. problem based learning approach...I strongly believe you should read my other mentor thread to see if you personally meet the criteria. It's really about choice. It's about how you learn and how motivated you are to acquire knowledge to stay afloat.

Hope this answers your questions and good luck in applying!

-Richie
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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I'm a first semester undergraduate student that is looking into pre-med and majoring in computer science. However, I'm having problems with keeping a good GPA. I love computer science, it's been my passionate hobby since I was 14 or so, and love my classes, but it's still very difficult for me, and I struggle to get As (typically I get low to mid Bs). However, in subject areas where I'm not as interested in, I am able to get much higher grades, just because they come more naturally to me, but I don't really enjoy them.
At this point I could change my major to virually anything with no problem at all. Would you recommend changing majors simply to achieve a higher GPA?
In the past I've had no problems scoring well on standardized test (such as the ACTs, SATs, etc), so I'm not expecting to do terrible on the MCAT, but if I stay with computer science, I'm afraid I may only get a 2.9-3.2ish GPA, despite my passion for the material.

On a side not, I'm very interested in this Problem Based Learning you're talking about. Are there any MD schools that offer it? Sounds a lot like what you have to do with CS problems, which is what I love about the subject.

Thanks!
Sorry for the late reply. This is a hard decision because your GPA matters alot to admission committees. Personally, all of my programming experience and CS knowledge came from my own tinkering around rather than my classes. However if you know that you are going to apply to medical school, changing your major wouldn't be a bad idea if you think that your programming curriculum will squash your GPA. It's a tough decision, but it'll have to be made soon if you are going to apply to medical school for sure. I'd recommend something else you are passionate about if you switch. Sometimes a degree in business or Information Systems is better. Information Systems is pretty much "Computer Science Lite" and my friends who dropped out of the CS program said it was still enjoyable. Be sure to talk to the pre-med advisor at your college too.

Good luck to ya 8)

_Richie
 

ushavenkat

10+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2008
1
0
Boston
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Pre-Medical
Hi Richie,
I'm a CS undergrad major(in India), and have an MS(in US)in Bioinformatics and 3yrs experience in DataWarehousing, Database Architect and worked for insurance and financial companies.
Medicine was always my passion - did biology and maths very well in high school, but the first time i applied, couldn't get thru a med school, and decided to take a CS - i shud've waited one more year then only and get into medicine...nywys...done cannot be undone now...:(

I want to take the pre req courses from this august and give MCAT in 2010. And i want to know if a Dean's letter of recommendation letter is mandatory to apply for a med school?
All schools need 3 LORs - can i have them from professors and employer...will that be good.

And thank you so much for your time to mentor us and sharing your experience. Congratulations on your graduation.
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

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I want to take the pre req courses from this august and give MCAT in 2010. And i want to know if a Dean's letter of recommendation letter is mandatory to apply for a med school?
All schools need 3 LORs - can i have them from professors and employer...will that be good.
For most US Schools, 3 letters from your University Faculty will suffice. I had some from my employers as well. Hope this answers your question and good luck!
 

didiervaron

10+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2008
4
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Chicago
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Pre-Medical
Hi Richie,
I am a foreign graduate Systems Engineer with a MS CS from DePaul University in Chicago and over 9 years of IT experience, but lately I am getting very interested in medicine and the idea of going to med school is coming to my mind a lot. This little bug started a year ago when my wife got pregnant and I was exposed to the whole process and the delivery was an incredible experience, unfortunately after baby was born my wife had some complications and we went to the ER four times; each time I was more fascinated and intrigued by the work ER doctors were doing, now I even had a dream that I was taking a bioch class (due to the fact that I was reading one of my wife books, she's dentist) and my job is so boring that I want to just run away. Anyway here are my questions

1. When did you feel the need to go to med school and how did you now that medicine was the path to follow?

2. Before I new I was going to be a father I was preparing to take the GMAT, but business school is a no to me now, is the verbal on the MCAT similar to the one on the GMAT?

3. One thing that is a big red flag is anatomy class, no due to the heavy load of study but the lab, I have been reading my wife anatomy book and I am fine with the images, but I not sure how I will feel if I made it into med school and I am in front of the cadaver. How was your experience the first day on anatomy lab or when you did the first dissection?
 

atomikn00b

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Aug 11, 2008
1
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Before I begin, I would like to say that I am highly appreciative of the existence of such a site tailored to answer many questions of those facing the option of medical school. I am also thankful for this specific thread as this pertains to the option I am now facing.

At the present moment I am supposed to be a sophomore college student. However, due to my laziness and lack of self motivation, I have wasted my first year with several failing grades and an ending GPA of 2.15. Upon entering college, my intention was to major in Biology and from there go to medical school, but I have now decided to change my option.
Since medical school only requires a completion of the prerequisite courses and the MCAT exam, I would like to major in something that I am passionate about which happens to be both medicine and computer science, but more computer science at this instance in time. My ultimate goal is still be become a practicing surgeon, but for college, I want to focus on computer science.

And so, my questions arrive.
1. I have calculated that I can bring up my overall GPA to a 3.2 and my math and science GPA to around a 3.36. If coupled with a high MCAT score, will this be sufficient for acceptance into medical school?

2. With my current focus being computer science and my future focus medical school, which would it be better to gain some experience or exposure to at the present moment? Should I try to get a computer-related part time job or work in a medical environment? Even better, is there a better option to prepare for both?

Thank you very much for your time.
 

Corry

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Sep 16, 2008
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ugh, you know the bain of non-cs majors, typing something up and then losing it (Sometimes happens to us too!), well it just happened. Perhaps the forums decided I was too long and boring, so I'll try and keep it really short this time :)

So the main(int argc, char**argv) err wait, force of habit.... reason I am posting here (Like the joke? I can make more!) is I cannot really believe that I can knock out pre-med in 2 semesters. 2?! I have physics, 1 and 2....didnt get to modern though...and they were the calc based ones, not the wimpy ones for non-science majors, and included labs. Following that trend, I had Calc 1, and 2. Had the choice btw linear algebra, or DiffEq...took linear algebra. More relevent to graphics, and has helped immensly in my Defense contracting job :). So that really leaves me with what, Freshman Bio, Freshman Chem, and Organic Chem? I thought there was 1 more...well, if there is, that makes it....4 classes/2 semesters=2 classes/semester+working a full time job=having no life. perhaps phrased having no life(2 classes/semester+working a full time job)=0 is better? Hmm that makes me look like a 0, nm. Anyways, yeah, doable. I could do that, immediatly take the MCATS while everything is fresh in my mind and see where I stand with very little investment, and therefore, very little risk, with a possible high payout. Seems like a no-brainer, so again, what am I missing?

Quick Bio: Nutty software engineer been programming since I was 8, all with the single focus of making video games. My bad experience with CS at UNT (Other than Dr. Parberry - who rocks by the way), and the crappy jobs in the game industry today (no more ferrari's with piston collections like John Carmak), I decided to finish up at PennState, still with a focus in graphics, but surely others...like I dunno, maybe defense contractors could use it :) Now working at a large defense contractor, 4 years out of college and working as a lead in the group I am in. I'd say I'm an excellent programmer, but that'd be arrogant! So I'll say all my managers think I am an excellent programmer :) (Type A personality? I think so!) I have been considering a career change for about a year now, and the realization that my back is throughly trashed means that Fighter Pilot is out of the question. (Too bad, I'd have beed good at that too!). Medicine always interested me, but then so did computers, and as a kid, I could work on computers....I suppose I could have tried to be a doctor then too, but, that might not have turned out well. Experimenting on live things is much different that code :) By the time I graduated High School I had 9 credits in CS, and 3 in Calculus, CS was the path of least resistance, and I went along for the ride. Could I tolerate the office scenario for the rest of my life? Well, I'll say maybe, but probably not in defense. (too much waste and stupidity for my taste). The A-Mav ADR nearing FDA approval (I hope anyways) and the recent degeneration of my back has led me to have my medicine interests reawakened. Add to it the ...changes... in my team, and pretty much expected to be defense industry wide, and I'm considering looking for well, something else. Possibly a career change.

If indeed, I can knock out the premed stuff in 2 semesters, then I think I'll move forward with the plan to do so, probably at a local college to keep the cost down, unless it seems the quality of the class sucks, which I doubt it would in this area :) Then, once finished, take the MCATS. If I do well, perhaps its time to seriously consider med school, otherwise perhaps its not for me. So I see it as low risk, low investment, for a possible high gain (Both salary in many many many years, which will be needed to pay off the massive student loans hehe, and a new exciting career change.

Lastly, for all those who got into programming at a young age. Do you still do personal programming projects? I know I get home from the office, and if I open Developer Studio, I sit there till my eyes glaze over, then I go do something else. I have image processing, sound processing, digital design, etc projects I want to do, but I've just had enough of technology when I get home :) Am I the only one?

(Ctrl-A Ctrl-C cross fingers...)
 

Neuronix

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I could do that, immediatly take the MCATS while everything is fresh in my mind and see where I stand with very little investment, and therefore, very little risk, with a possible high payout. Seems like a no-brainer, so again, what am I missing?
I don't recommend this. Always take the MCAT as if you mean it. Don't take it if you don't mean it. A bad score will go on your record forever, so if you decide later to go to med school you will have a tremendous personal hurdle to overcome. Adcoms will still see that old score, and while they will look at your new scores, it's better that bad score was never on there to begin with.

I always recommend taking a prep course, and make sure you're scoring 30+ on your practice tests before you take.

Lastly, for all those who got into programming at a young age. Do you still do personal programming projects? I know I get home from the office, and if I open Developer Studio, I sit there till my eyes glaze over, then I go do something else. I have image processing, sound processing, digital design, etc projects I want to do, but I've just had enough of technology when I get home Am I the only one?
No, I still code. For my research in Biophysics I have a tremendous niche being able to program in numerous languages. This has given me a handle to be quite successful in a field dominated by physicists who have a hard time using the computers they must use to run experiments. Personally I also help with numerous projects on this site (some of which involve coding).
 

Neuronix

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1. When did you feel the need to go to med school and how did you now that medicine was the path to follow?
I did half my comp sci degree and got really bored with programming. I had already been in the Internet biz for a few years and felt that I already knew a lot of what I was learning. I was adding skills and improving, but I was ahead of most of the other students and getting easy As in my classes. My family has a strong history of chronic illness, and this gave me the curiosity necessary to enquire about being a pre-med. I decided that I wanted a new challenge in life and off I went to Neuroscience/pre-medical. I still continued using my computer skills in research at the time, but branched out by working in molecular biology labs for some time.

In any case, for me it was just personal desire and curiosity. In retrospect I am very glad I did it because I love challenges. I don't feel like my life would have been as interesting had I stayed a programmer/sys admin.

2. Before I new I was going to be a father I was preparing to take the GMAT, but business school is a no to me now, is the verbal on the MCAT similar to the one on the GMAT?
Sorry, don't know. Try the med/business forums.

3. One thing that is a big red flag is anatomy class, no due to the heavy load of study but the lab, I have been reading my wife anatomy book and I am fine with the images, but I not sure how I will feel if I made it into med school and I am in front of the cadaver. How was your experience the first day on anatomy lab or when you did the first dissection?
I had no problem. Most students don't, and those who do typically get over it within a day. Many students fear this but it's very rarely an issue. Dead people aren't quite like real people. You start on the abdomen/chest and don't see the hands and face until later, so it's a little easier that way as well. For me personally it was never a concern, but I think for very very few students is this ever a serious handicap.
 

Neuronix

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1. I have calculated that I can bring up my overall GPA to a 3.2 and my math and science GPA to around a 3.36. If coupled with a high MCAT score, will this be sufficient for acceptance into medical school?
Yes. An upward trend is also considered in admissions, so if you have a very high GPA through the rest of college you will make it. Shoot for a 30+ MCAT score and a 34+ even better.

2. With my current focus being computer science and my future focus medical school, which would it be better to gain some experience or exposure to at the present moment? Should I try to get a computer-related part time job or work in a medical environment? Even better, is there a better option to prepare for both?
You can try to find research where you can use your computer skills. Computational research is one area, but you might be able to get creative and find others. I work in medical imaging, and you can get lucky and find a PI who's interested in a comp sci person to take on projects processing data or making the equipment do novel things. Otherwise it's kind of up to you. It's a good idea to have some amount of shadowing/volunteering, but you don't need to work in the medical field to get into medical school. Do what interests you the most while maintaining a high GPA and getting that high MCAT score.
 

Neuronix

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Well here's my story. Started out as a Bio major freshman year but got scared when I had a tough time with Biology I, but managed to get a "C". Spent the next 4 years majoring in CIS and graduated with a 2.7 GPA(Unfortunately, my CIS program was not "Computer Science Lite" and programming courses were the enemy. Add to this loss of focus, confusion on what to be when you grow up, and those darn upper level math classes like Cal II and Linear Algebra, and you've got yourself the perfect storm for ruining your gpa... But I digress.) So now here I am five years later. I've spent 4 years with a technology company in various roles such as QA Analyst and Project Manager and am now starting on my journey to pursue a career in medicine.

Luckily I haven't taken any of the required medical school science pre-reqs except Bio I, so I have the opportunity to do well on them the first time out and boost my GPA. But at the same time those upper level math classes are not helping my BCPM and are effectively pulling my GPA down.

Here is where some perspective might help. I've given thought to taking the Cal II over(as the D is soo ugly) but then again Cal II wasn't the easiest class the first time and its definitely going to be a bear when you figure I haven't looked at Calculus in almost 10 years. Not to mention its not a requirement for most medical schools so I don't even know if it would be of benefit.(except for the obvious GPA boost if I did well) Any thoughts?

Also since your are in the Osteopathic track how do you like it? I've been doing a lot of reading on both Osteopathic and Allopathic medicine and like the Osteo idea of treating the whole person as well as the additional study in manual manipulation techniques to help the body heal. I especially like this as I'm interested in pursuing a surgical speciality and think that it could be really helpful when you initially see patients or during post-op.

I notice you say your MCAT score went from 23 to 30 once you took the ExamKrackers. I'm wondering did you attempt the MCAT(practice or real) before you completed your pre-reqs?
To be frank: that 2.7 GPA will be hard to overcome. Unfortunately, medical schools usually don't care (and if they do, not much) if your major or undergrad school was harder than someone else's. That raw culumulative GPA number is probably the most important thing on a medical application.

But, hope is not lost. If you're serious about switching to medical school, here's what I would do. First, if financially possible, try to find a position that combines your computer background with medicine. A research job in this regard is ideal as I commented in my previous post. I know this is easier said than done and will likely involve a large pay cut if you can find such a position.

Then you should enroll in a post-bacc program. One option is an "official" post-bacc. These schools have named programs sometimes called Special Masters Programs or other such names for people who are making a career change or who didn't take the pre-med requirements but decided on medical school. You can also do an "unofficial" post-bacc where you just go to any undergrad that will take you or maybe where you did your undergrad degree, and work out a plan with them, either returning full-time and part-time for some time or just taking the pre-med night courses. The "unofficial" route is often much cheaper and allows you to access all the same services. The "official" route often requires an application and your 2.7 GPA may hurt you there as well.

You should take all the pre-med requirements. I would recommend taking Bio I over again, both to get an A in it and to refresh your memory for what's to come. At this point I won't mince words. Your goal is: get an A in every course. Strategize to make this happen. Everything else must take second priority to your studies. Take as light a courseload as you can to stay on track, get A grades, and hopefully work in medical research. You need to show that now you are mature enough to handle the heavy courseload that medical school will throw at you. You'll also need to throw in the standard medical volunteering and/or physician shadowing so you can pretend you know what you're getting yourself into.

As for Calc II specifically, I'd say to probably just leave it. AMCAS doesn't replace grades--only averages them. Since it's not a pre-med requirement and it's been a long time, it's just one of many mediocre grades you had as an undergrad. Take more relevant science classes to medical school. They will count the same and look better on your transcript.

I recommend strongly for you to take a MCAT preparation course. Part of overcoming that 2.7 GPA and showing your maturity for medical school will be scoring highly on the MCAT. Thus, you will want as high a MCAT score as possible. My personal choices are TPR and Examcrackers because they have more teaching time. Though your mileage varies on just how good your teachers are and how much focused classroom instruction helps you. Put in several months of several hours a day of preparation just for the MCAT but only once you have the pre-med courses mostly or entirely behind you. Once you start taking the pre-med courses, you should have an advisor at your school who can help you time these things.

Once you have done all this, you can begin to consider Osteo versus Allo. I wouldn't think about it too much right now. If you really do get a high MCAT score and all As in your post-bacc, I see no reason you wouldn't have a good shot at state and lower-tier allopathic programs, if that is what you so choose.
 
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Richie Truxillo

Richie Truxillo

Your Scut Monkey Mentor
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Apr 26, 2004
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Thanks Neuronix for stepping in and helping! :) I'm in the middle of internship and have hit a couple rough months (discharged 7 and admitted 11 in the same call day last week! :scared:).

I completely agree with Neuronix's advice, especially with getting striaght A's in all of your pre-med course-work. You have to score well on the MCAT as all medical schools use the numbers as a predictor of you passing your Step I and Step II Boards. I highly suggest picking up MCAT Audio Osmosis and the Examcrackers books. A MCAT prep course would be an excellent idea also. Some are hit and miss, depending on the instructors involved.
 
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