Dismiss Notice
Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.

Debt free? -- the military way -- air force (hpsp)

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by alascari88, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. alascari88

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    Hey whats up everyone!

    I'm new to SDN so I appologize if I'm typing a novel here:

    I am currently a sophmore at Ramapo College (Northern New Jersey) and working as a HYPERBARIC TECH in a medical facility, conducting research there as well through case studies. My GPA is low, I have only a 3.0 and looking to bring it up, I will be taking the MCAT hopefully next year.

    I have spoken with a few recruiters regarding the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) and I had already been informed of all the perks and obligations of the Program, also I understand I won't begin until I am a senior heading off to med-school.

    In the mean time, I still in College and hope to be accepted into the HPSP as I begin Med-School. In the future I hope to work with the Air Force, possibly as a physician in the air, as well as in hospitals and eventually specialize.

    It would be great if anyone who shares the same interest as me or has some valuable information regarding such a Scholarship to shed some light on this goal of mine...


    --How compeditive is the scholarship today and in the next few years??
    **(Considering my 3.0 GPA should I look to ARMY HPSP instead??)

    --Where can I get more info about Air Force HPSP and applying?
    **(for example when should I begin to apply??)

    --Is there anyway I can shadow a military physician considering I am a civilian?

    --What are some things I can do to better my chances in getting the scholarship?? (possibly joining reserves??)


    THANKS, AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. Dissected

    Dissected All bleeding stops eventually
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    Messages:
    2,667
    Likes Received:
    37
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    #2 Dissected, Dec 21, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  4. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor AKA ActiveDutyMD
    Physician Partner Organization 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    Messages:
    5,145
    Likes Received:
    2,221
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    #1 Search the forum. someone walks in here every week and asks nearly the same questions.

    #2 Your recruiter most certainly did NOT inform you of all the obligations associated with the program. I have never once met an applicant who actually knew of them all. I bet you know most of the perks though. Again, search the forum.

    #3 If your career goal is really to be a "physician in the air" (AKA be a flight surgeon) and you don't mind waiting to "specialize" (AKA do a residency), then the Air Force might be a great fit for you. Don't be surprised if you change your mind about this stuff during med school and internship though.

    #4 The "scholarship" (it isn't a scholarship, it is just a different kind of debt you trade for medical training) is not currently competitive, and it is becoming less competitive all the time. If you manage to get into med school (which is somewhat in doubt given your GPA by the way, so I hope you're strong in some other areas and do very well on the MCAT), are a US citizen, and have no health issues, you'll get the "scholarship." Especially if you go to an inexpensive medical school.

    #5 Remember that getting the scholarship doesn't get you into medical school. So a decision to either "do research" or "do Army HPSP" to get into med school is a little silly.

    #6 Your two best sources of info are your recruiter and this forum. I also recommend you speak to SEVERAL active duty physicians that you meet either both through this forum AND through your recruiter. I would also call up an AF hospital and speak with several physicians in the specialties you think you'd be most interested in. One or two isn't enough to talk to about a decision that will affect your life for a minimum of 15 years.

    #7 You should begin applying as soon as you get accepted into med school. They are looking for healthy US citizens accepted to inexpensive medical schools who are willing to sign up with the military. They also like leadership experience and prior service, but like I said, it isn't competitive. In fact, the Navy hasn't even been filling its slots the last few years. They can't give these "scholarships" away.

    #8 Yes, you can shadow a military physician. In fact, there is a good chance you could shadow someone on this forum. But if not, have your recruiter line you up with someone to shadow.

    #9 No real difference between MD and DO acceptance rates. The military prefers MDs, because the DO schools are so expensive, but we are becoming more D.O. heavy all the time, probably because DO schools are expensive. The D.O. route may be a good idea for you given your GPA (I assume that's your science GPA, not your overall one.)

    #10 The best thing you can do to get the "scholarship" is to get into med school. Concentrate on your remaining science classes, getting good letters, acing the MCAT, giving service, and gaining health care experience. Quit worrying about getting an HPSP scholarship. With a GPA of 3.0 at a college I've never heard of, that should be the least of your concerns right now.

    Happy Holidays. This advice is meant to be frank, but I am known to occasionally step across the line into insulting.
     
  5. dr93534

    dr93534 Dead Sexy

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I would get your GPA up as high as you can, but an MCAT in the high 20s low 30s would be fine. As long as you have an acceptance letter to med school (allopathic or osteopathic, doesn't matter).

    As far as shadowing, just ask your recruiter to take you to the nearest Air Force hospital or clinic.

    Do your homework, but think of this as a good place to formulate questions. Most of the posts here will try to sway you from HPSP, but talk to as many current and former AF physicians you can to get a well rounded opinion base. Whatever you do don't join just to pay for school, you should like some aspect of military medicine.

    Don't join the reserves it won't help. The HPSP cares that you have an acceptance letter, decent GPA and MCAT and you're not a crook or disabled.
     
  6. mitchconnie

    mitchconnie Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    2
    Does anyone out there have specific knowledge about whether the cost of an applicant's medical school is still a factor in acceptance to HPSP? Back in the 1990's when HPSP was still competitive, there was a quota on the number of acceptances from so-called "high-cost schools." But in these more desperate times, can it really be much of a factor? Given the number of DO's we now have, I'm guessing that they no longer have the old quota system which tilted the playing field toward those from lower-cost schools.
     
  7. Sarg's kid

    Sarg's kid HPSP Butterbar
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    If you're set on the military, you can start your scholarship work ahead of time. I was boarded and received my scholarship back in September, a whole month before I got my first acceptance.

    There's a lot of paperwork to do, and no need to put it all off until later. (Although, in order to qualify for the scholarship prior to having an acceptance letter, you have to meet GPA and MCAT cutoffs.) You could still get all of the security paperwork done and your physical out of the way, even if you had to wait for a letter of acceptance.
     
  8. Sarg's kid

    Sarg's kid HPSP Butterbar
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Seconded. I grew up in the military system, and believe me, NOBODY wants a doc who hates the military and is just doing their time. You'd just make yourself miserable, and be lousy at your job.

    As for the HPSP application, what has been said above is true. They are not making the process very difficult for the applicant. The HPSP was much lower stress than the DODMERB stuff/etc. I had to do for USUHS.
     
  9. afdoc77

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    ActivedutyMD is spot on. Not to be buzzkill Alascari, but getting the HPSP scholarship is the least of your worries right now. They're giving a bonus now to HPSP students as a way to entice more people to take it. So, bottom line, this is not where you need to focus your attention right now.

    Where you do need to address 100% of your focus is your application: grades, MCAT, and other "extracurricular" activities. There's no secret formula, but I believe it is generally a 45-45-10 breakdown for the above categories. Again, that has wide lattitude, but having bad grades or MCAT's will prevent you from getting in. Right now, the 3.0 you have will be a severely limiting factor in your getting into an allopathic medical school. You need to bring those up as soon as possible, starting with your winter term of 2009. Not sure where you are in school, if you're a frosh or soph disregard this, but if you are a junior you will need to rock the MCAT and you need to start studying over this X-mas break. The extracurricular stuff: research, volunteer activities, working in a hospital. I believe that this isn't the stuff that gets you in to med school but a complete lack of it can keep you out, especially when every other applicant probably has something.
    Just to put this in perspective, my nephew is a senior at a very solid private school in the midwest, 3.9+ GPA, 36 on the MCAT, published research--wait listed thus far at 4 med schools, outright rejected at 5 others, no acceptances.
    Alascari, you can do it and I hope you will. And though I have been buzzkill (sorry) the things that med schools seem to love is perserverance. So when you do apply next year or whenever you graduate, and if you don't get in, take a research job and reapply the next year. The admissions committees seem to love that passion for wanting to be a doc. Best of luck.
     

Share This Page