Deferral for Peace Corps?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Catalyst, Jun 26, 2002.

  1. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    I doubt this is possible, but has anyone succeeded in being granted an admission deferral (i.e. being accepted and then deferring matriculation) to go serve on Peace Corps? The reason I'm asking is that the Peace Corps commitment is approximately 2.5 years and am seriously interested in taking part in Peace Corps after I graduate from undergrad; but I don't know what my timetable would then have to be like with respect to taking the MCAT and applying to medical school.

    Thanks for any help you can give on this..

    Sachin
     
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  3. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel

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    I doubt you'll get that long of a deferral! Actually I am joining the Peace Corps (and was supposed to be gone already, but it was delayed) in October and also applying to med school eventually. I'm taking the MCAT now so I don't have to mess with it and I'm going to attempt applying in two years (though I might have to travel to have internet access). I did have everything all planned out but one thing with the Peace Corps is that it doesn't always go as planned! I would say to apply and take the last MCAT before you leave and attempt to plan but make sure you have backups!

    Once I eventually leave for the Peace Corps, I know that it will be worth it. Plus, peace corps will add to your application...I doubt you'd want to apply without it.

    Also, talk to mpp, he's the resident RPCV :)
     
  4. paean

    paean Senior Member

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    I have heard unverifiable stories of people be allowed to defer for two years. (But 2.5 would be awkward, unless you are planning to leave in Feb and return in August immediately before starting medical school, and could get interviews early.) If this is a goal, try writing the admissions director (not the committee, but the person who runs the process and is most familiar with the policies) at the schools where you are planning to apply, and ask. The director's name is listed on most admissions websites under contact info.
     
  5. TroutBum

    TroutBum Senior Member

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    Hey, I was also considering doing the Peace Corps before med school, but I was planning on applying while I was overseas. I don't think any schools over deferrals longer than a year, and even then I think it can get kinda dicey. I ultimately decided not to go, because I didn't want to wait the extra three years before med school, plus my finances weren't in great shape so it woulda been a struggle. I

    f you really want to go, I would recommend getting the MCAT outta the way, and at the same time start working on your Peace Corps application. It can take quite a long time to get a Peace Corps assignment from the time you apply (I went through the entire application process, right up until the medical clearance, which can be the longest part). That way, hopefully you'll be set to leave and have nothing to complete before you apply to schools, so you can do that while abroad, or if you wait until you return you can get right to it. Good luck!
     
  6. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    Thanks for the help everyone. I'm actually going to be a Junior next year, so I'm wondering whether I should take the MCAT in April of '03 or wait until later if I'm considering Peace Corps. This is assuming that many medical schools don't accept scores older than 3 years. I guess if I was seriously considering Peace Corps it'd probably be a good idea to take the MCAT sometime during or after my Senior year? Does one then go through the whole Peace Corps application process during Senior year?

    Also, what have been people's experiences been with the Peace Corps? I read over the website and have read some other resources on the Internet, but am looking to hear any personal experiences that people would like to share.

    Thanks again for the help guys,

    Sachin
     
  7. none

    none 1K Member

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    I think you're going to have a major problem with this. It's a noble cause, but a whole lot to ask of a medical school. Why not wait to do your overseas volunteer work? You'll be much more useful with the MD and less time off your life will have been taken with useless waiting.
     
  8. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    Well, I'm not sure I'd refer to the Peace Corps as "useless waiting" :D , but I see your point. That is exactly what a doctor here at the medical school told me recently (who is involved with multiple health projects). Makes sense, being an MD would clearly allow me to make a greater impact.

    On a side note, I took that little medical specialty quiz thing (the 130-question one) and I somehow came up with Infectious Disease as being my #1 matching specialty. Can anyone give me some insight as to what this specialty is like (lifestyle, hours, etc.)?
     
  9. none

    none 1K Member

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    I didn't mean the peace corp was useless waiting! I meant the downtime you're going to encounter with a 2 and a half year wait in the middle of application season.
     
  10. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    Ahh figures <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> , sorry about the misunderstanding. And the term of service for Peace Corps I found out is 2 years and 3 months, a little less than 2 and a half years.
     
  11. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel

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    Also, in many programs, it is not the full two years, three months. For example, Russia only gave out one year visas at a time so we would have only been able to stay for two years.

    Apply before December of your senior year and you'll be able to leave the summer after. Also, it depends on where you are...if you have internet access, applying from abroad would be much easier and my med school advisor recommended taking off a month and traveling back for interviews. So many posts in Eastern Europe do have internet access...keep that in mind.

    Actually people with higher degress (MD/PhD) usually do not do as well in the Peace Corps...I think they get frustrated, I'm not sure about the whole story. Plus how in the world would you pay off those loans? Anyone can make a difference and for the most part, people who don't go right after college don't go at all - in general, people get bogged down with responsibilities. I say go and yes, you might have an awkward year, but get a masters or something. Good luck and PM me if I can answer any questions :)
     
  12. none

    none 1K Member

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    I agree with the above poster to an extent. You probably shouldn't do the Peace Corps after your residency, but instead a specific program for medical volunteers.
     
  13. kathleeya

    kathleeya Member

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    i thought that johns hopkins allows deferrals of up to four years..? :confused:

    as a shameless advocate of public health, your extra year could be spent getting an MPH - it's a very useful degree to anyone in healthcare!!
     
  14. lola

    lola Bovine Member

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    the mph is a good idea, but there aren't any programs that i know of that offer a 1 year degree if you're not already a health professional. for anyone interested, some schools have combined mph/peace corps experiences. i think it's 3 years or so. can't remember which schools. maybe tulane? emory? i always thought it sounded interesting.
     
  15. kathleeya

    kathleeya Member

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    i'm in an MPH program now at Michigan, in Health Management and Policy, and there were a few i my class (non MD/MPH) who finished in one year...

    none of the schools really advertise an accelerated program, but if you contac them individually, i'm sure you'd hear differently.
     
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  17. none

    none 1K Member

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    It is a mildly useful degree for a physician, but I don't think you'll find many (or really any) one year programs. The shortest I have seen is two years and most appear to be three.
     
  18. lola

    lola Bovine Member

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    kathleeya,
    oh... ok. where i went it wasn't possible to get an mph in one year unless you were a health professional. they required 80 units of everyone else, which could only be done in 2 years. maybe other schools don't require quite so many units.
     
  19. lola

    lola Bovine Member

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    i disagree that an mph is a "mildly" useful degree. it is very useful, particularly if you don't want to be a full-time practicing physician. if you want to go into public health leadership or medical research, an mph will really help you out. i have never heard of 3 year programs. i applied to 7 or 8 schools a few years ago, and they were all 2 year programs unless you had an advanced degree.
     
  20. kathleeya

    kathleeya Member

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    actually, most of the top MPH programs in the country are two year programs (except for Johns Hopkins - if you are coming straight out of college, you are expected to spend an extra year earning an MSW - and Harvard, where you have to hold a professional degree to even be eligible to apply).

    and as a medical school applicant who is in an MPH program, i believe that it is more than mildly useful...i personally feel that i will have an advantage going into the medical field because i have a much more comprehensive understanding of the US healthcare system (i.e. managed care and the intricacies of healthcare costs and accounting, new technologies, how doctors are managed and viewed by others in the field, etc.). plus, if you have an interest in holding an administrative position, it definitely helps to have the degree and the experience.

    like everything else in life, though, our experiences are what we make out of them. :)
     
  21. lola

    lola Bovine Member

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    One little thing, you can get an MS (in 2 years) from Harvard if you're a recent college grad. You can't get an MPH there unless you are a medical professional. You can get a 1 year MS degree at Harvard if you have an advanced non-clinical degree such as a PhD in Bio or something.
    When I applied to Hopkins, a recent college grad could get an MSPH in 2 years. Maybe that's changed.
     
  22. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    You know there are many Peace-Corps-like organizations that only require 1 year commitments -- that might make it feasible to apply senior year and defer for one year.
     
  23. Anath

    Anath Senior Member

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    Oh, and if you do decide to take the MCAT now and hold off on applying to medical school, remember that most medical schools DO NOT accept scores that are more than 2 years old. So if you go ahead and do this 2.5 year program and then apply afterwards, you might find yourself having to retake the test.
     
  24. jaboy

    jaboy Senior Member

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    Diogenes:
    Do you know of any orgs with a 1 year committment?
     
  25. UCLA2000

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    I wanted to join but after I found out about the 2.5 year term I decided not to.

    I concluded that rather than volunteer now (when I have no medical training), I would be more useful if I volunteered after I became a physician...
     
  26. simpleG

    simpleG Member

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    i just came back a few months ago from tanzania, stayed there about 2 months. the global service corps is a good program (www.globalservicecorps.org). goes from short term to long term projects. only problem is it's freakin expensive. sheesh.

    there's a lot of volunteer programs out there, just look around the web. i looked into peace corps, but i didn't like the 2 year commitment. i met a lot of very happy peace corps volunteers abroad though.
     
  27. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    The Peace Corps/MPH program sounds interesting. I thought I remember reading about 5 year MD/MPH programs in which one would do an MD in 4 years and an MPH in 1, does anyone know anything about these programs? I also remember reading that one could go to Duke and do an MD/MPH in 4 years. Is an MPH helpful if one wants to take a leadership role in International medical efforts? Could someone give me information on what type of work a MPH really is meant for? I currently have a pretty vague understanding of it.
     
  28. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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  29. USeF

    USeF sunny L.A.

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    don?t commit for 2 years then, do 2 WEEKS or just a shade over.
    Do Volunteers for Peace (www.vfp.org)
    damn, in an internet cafe, no time.. check it otu!
     
  30. lola

    lola Bovine Member

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    I actually spent a long time trying to find opportunities similar to the Peace Corps that were 1 year in length (before I decided to apply to med school). I had a really difficult time finding any that didn't cost money. As far as I could tell they all cost money, except maybe one that was through the UK. I'm not sure what it's called, though, or whether or not US citizens can particpitate. As far as I coul tell, financially, the Peace Corps was the only opportunity (other than the UK thing) that wasn't going to put a major strain on your bank account. There may be organizations out there that pay or don't cost money, but I certainly couldn't find them. Also, the UN takes volunteers, but I think it's VERY difficult to become one without years of work experience.
     
  31. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    Hmm that sucks. I am thinking that with the experience and connections I will have from doing research in Ecuador, that I may apply for a Fulbright award to do a more intensive study for 11 months in Ecuador. Does anyone know the timetable for applying for a Fulbright student grant? I heard that one has to apply pretty early in advance.
     

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