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Currently serving active duty U.S. Army. HPSP Scholarship? Post 9/11? What are my options/chances?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by TheBeavers, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. TheBeavers


    Oct 29, 2014
    I'll give a brief overview of my situation:
    -Enlisted Active Duty US Army soldier.
    -75% done with B.A. in non-science field.
    -Average student. 3.0-3.15 GPA.

    In light of discovering the the HPSP scholarship that the Army (military) offers, I'm considering switching my major to Biology or Bio-Heath Sciences so I can get the pre-req's taken care of so I can apply to medical school and obtain a B.S. However, there are a lot of variables I am trying to take in. First and foremost is that I'd be completing my Bachelor's degree while serving in Active Duty status. So I'm worried my GPA (Which already is just average) could suffer. Second is that I'd like to be able to have as little debt as possible. I have existing college debt from both my wife and myself, and I don't want anymore. Lastly, I'd be drastically changing my area of study so I'd be much farther away from obtaining a Bachelor's degree than I currently am.

    I realize that my first priority needs to be obtaining a B.S. with a good GPA and then scoring high on the MCAT. However, I would like it if anyone out there with experience with Active Duty military can assist me with making the decision as to weather or not I should set my goals on applying for the HPSP scholarship or using the GI bill to attend medical school? Which would be more beneficial for career progression?

    If anyone has any other input or questions to please don't refrain from commenting.
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  3. DrOMG

    DrOMG 2+ Year Member

    Oct 13, 2011
    District 12
    I am prior military applying this cycle and I just want to chime in on a few things. First off you don't need a B.S. to get into medical school. You can apply with a B.A. no problem. You need to work on your GPA though because it isn't average, it's below average for medical school.

    I was Air Force so it may be a little different but you should go to your local education office to ask questions. In the AF they will pay for your classes while you are on AD but they need to go towards a degree. I wouldn't switch to BS to get it done since that would take too much time overall. You can finish you BA, sign up for a second degree like general studies and have the military pay and it will count towards the general studies but you will use it for med school. Again - go speak to your education office.

    Concerning actually paying for medical school, if you plan on making AD a career then it is HPSP all the way. Plus if you have dependents you can transfer your GI Bill over to them to use in the future. If you plan to use it yourself know that the GI Bill only covers up to ~$40k so you will likely need to fund the rest of it another way. Also I am not sure if the GI Bill can be applied to graduate programs. Call the VA and ask. Also ask about Vocational Rehab. Voc Rehab can't be used for AD servicemen.

    While I know I haven't fully answered your questions I hope I have provided a little clarity and given you some avenues to get the answers you need.
  4. C.S. Peirce

    C.S. Peirce Abductin' 2+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2014
    I second everything that OMG said. Tuition Assistance should be able to help you out even if you complete your BA, but check with your education office to make sure. From here out you've got to aim for 4.0 every semester to improve your GPA to the point it's competitive, so make sure you can balance the classes with your work schedule/requirements. The MCAT looms, so pay attention in your science classes and study hard. Also, if you're not a medic and can find the time/opportunities, try to get some experience in medical settings; most (civilian) hospitals and clinics have volunteering positions available with flexible schedules.

    Post 9/11 GI Bill can be used for graduate and professional programs; it may be in your interest to save those benefits for med school if you don't want to go into military medicine (for much more information on the pros and cons of military medicine, there is a forum on SDN that has tons of information). If you're planning on going into military medicine, there is also USUHS in Bethesda in addition to HPSP scholarships. Both will involve commissioning, so if this is your goal you'll want to work hard, be visible in your unit, and show leadership that you're worth recommending for a commission. It'll be a lot of work for a few years, but I think it's totally possible. Good luck!
  5. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection Physician Faculty SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    Inside the tesseract
  6. ZX10R

    ZX10R 2+ Year Member

    May 29, 2014
    HPSP is a much better deal than the post-9/11 GI Bill if you are willing to stay in the military longer. After school you have to pay back a minimum of 4 years, if your residency lasts 5 years; then you pay back 5 years. Bonuses of HPSP are you make more money while going to school than post-9/11 and more money during residency. But like others said focus on GPA and a great Science GPA. Don't think your service time makes it any easier to get into medical school, you apply for HPSP once you are accepted. Unless you have a 3.8+ and a 33+ MCAT then you can apply early. I'm former combat veteran 11B and my prior life was only relevant after my GPA/MCAT score.

    Also factor in if you are willing to live on Post/work in a military hospital for potentially 10 years.
  7. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 26, 2007
    I'm a current AD physician, did the HPSP scholarship, no prior service prior to medical school.

    -Your GPA is way below the average for an accepted medical student. The average accepted student last year had a 3.65. Almost no one gets in with less than a 3.3. You should do whatever it takes to get that GPA up.

    -You do not need to get a biology degree. You do need to complete the prereqs. For 2015 that means 2 semesters gen chem (with lab), bio 1 and 2 (with lab), organic chem 1 (with lab), biochem (with lab), physics 1 and 2 (with lab), intro to psych, intro to statistics, and intro to sociology. Some schools may also require 1 or 2 semesters of calculus and organic chem 2. Only you can decide if you can get As while doing that on active duty.

    Be aware that the chemistry courses are sequential, so you need at least 4 semesters to get the chem prereqs done. If you are going to do just some of the prereqs on active duty I would start with Chemistry.

    -When ask what is better to 'advancing your career' are you sure you want to complete a full 20+ year career in the military, or do you mean your career in medicine in general? Also there are a few other options besides HPSP for joining the military, including HSCP, FAP, and USUHS. Make sure you've reviewed all of them.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014

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