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I am an international student who currently does not have a green card, but will be receiving one this upcoming Spring. So, I would like to apply to medical schools during the next year cycle. (My undergrad peers belong to the class of 2010.)

As the result, I would be somewhat "forced" to take 2 years off, and would definitely want to do something productive which would strengthen my application. Currently, I am taking this one non-science class for graduation, am restudying for MCAT and am doing both research and volunteering.

However, I don't know what to do during my second forced year off. I am planning to work as a certified nursing assistant during Spring, but I believe my 400 hours volunteering experience in various places have adequately covered every clinical exp I could get by doing CNA. And EMT is almost impossible to get a job in my state.

So, I was thinking of doing Master's program in Medical Science in the University of South Florida. Its curriculum is essentially similar to the first year med school. I did talk to the program director and asked about the rigor and whether I should do this or not and she said.


"Most students would say the master’s degree is as rigorous as a first year med student, but that’s a very subjective. It really depends on the students ability to do well in graduate level biomedical sciences. You have a good undergraduate GPA, so it’s up to you to decide if having master’s degree will benefit you when applying to medical schools"

Isn't it a little risky move to do this, if I already have a okay GPA for med school? (3.75, 3.71 science and 3.8 upper level)
If this program's rigor is tantamount to med school, then isn't it detrimental to my application if I get anything below 3.71(my sci gpa) in this program? Meaning that I should be only making A and A-s in med school level courses while all I need to make is B or pass grade in the real med school?
 

ronaldo23

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I am an international student who currently does not have a green card, but will be receiving one this upcoming Spring. So, I would like to apply to medical schools during the next year cycle. (My undergrad peers belong to the class of 2010.)

As the result, I would be somewhat "forced" to take 2 years off, and would definitely want to do something productive which would strengthen my application. Currently, I am taking this one non-science class for graduation, am restudying for MCAT and am doing both research and volunteering.

However, I don't know what to do during my second forced year off. I am planning to work as a certified nursing assistant during Spring, but I believe my 400 hours volunteering experience in various places have adequately covered every clinical exp I could get by doing CNA. And EMT is almost impossible to get a job in my state.

So, I was thinking of doing Master's program in Medical Science in the University of South Florida. Its curriculum is essentially similar to the first year med school. I did talk to the program director and asked about the rigor and whether I should do this or not and she said.


"Most students would say the master's degree is as rigorous as a first year med student, but that's a very subjective. It really depends on the students ability to do well in graduate level biomedical sciences. You have a good undergraduate GPA, so it's up to you to decide if having master's degree will benefit you when applying to medical schools"

Isn't it a little risky move to do this, if I already have a okay GPA for med school? (3.75, 3.71 science and 3.8 upper level)
If this program's rigor is tantamount to med school, then isn't it detrimental to my application if I get anything below 3.71(my sci gpa) in this program? Meaning that I should be only making A and A-s in med school level courses while all I need to make is B or pass grade in the real med school?

To be clear: is that GPA from a US school? If so, just focus on the MCAT, as you'll probably need to score a little higher than a 30 since you are an international student. Find a research job, continue volunteering, shadow, etc., but taking a SMP for you is a waste of money, risky move with a high GPA, and best case scenario you will gain very little from it admissions wise. An adcom may question why you did it, in the same way they may question why someone who scored a 37 on the MCAT chose to retake (even if they ended up with 39 on the retake).

The program director at Florida won't flat out say you don't need it, because he certainly doesn't want to ever turn down potential revenue, but really an SMP is meant for people with average to poor GPAs (often coupled with higher MCATs), as a second chance to prove to adcoms that they have what it takes to cut it in medical school
 

gravitywave

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it's a terrible idea. if you read between the lines on what she told you, she was trying to say the same thing.
 

Bernoull

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I am an international student who currently does not have a green card, but will be receiving one this upcoming Spring. So, I would like to apply to medical schools during the next year cycle. (My undergrad peers belong to the class of 2010.)

As the result, I would be somewhat "forced" to take 2 years off, and would definitely want to do something productive which would strengthen my application. Currently, I am taking this one non-science class for graduation, am restudying for MCAT and am doing both research and volunteering.

However, I don't know what to do during my second forced year off. I am planning to work as a certified nursing assistant during Spring, but I believe my 400 hours volunteering experience in various places have adequately covered every clinical exp I could get by doing CNA. And EMT is almost impossible to get a job in my state.

So, I was thinking of doing Master's program in Medical Science in the University of South Florida. Its curriculum is essentially similar to the first year med school. I did talk to the program director and asked about the rigor and whether I should do this or not and she said.


"Most students would say the master’s degree is as rigorous as a first year med student, but that’s a very subjective. It really depends on the students ability to do well in graduate level biomedical sciences. You have a good undergraduate GPA, so it’s up to you to decide if having master’s degree will benefit you when applying to medical schools"

Isn't it a little risky move to do this, if I already have a okay GPA for med school? (3.75, 3.71 science and 3.8 upper level)
If this program's rigor is tantamount to med school, then isn't it detrimental to my application if I get anything below 3.71(my sci gpa) in this program? Meaning that I should be only making A and A-s in med school level courses while all I need to make is B or pass grade in the real med school?
it is very simple.. look at it from a cost/benefit or risk analysis perspective. As far as admissions go, you stand to gain very little IF anything from it but will risk everything; no upside/huge downside!! That's the definition of a no-brainer. If u do poorly u will shut urself out, single-handedly.

Be smart, there's a bazillion different things u can do in two years short of an UNNEEDED, potentially hazardous SMP. Save ur tuition money, travel, do research, take stand-alone courses if u want, party, enjoy urself.... Again be smart and don't be ur worst enemy...

gdluck
 

IlDestriero

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How about just getting a job, and use the $$ to enjoy yourself, travel, and pick up a few toys. If you're interested in a masters degree get something potentially useful.
 
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libraryismyhome

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Thank you very much guys. To be clear, I got that GPA at Univ of Florida. I am currently trying to raise my MCAT score by couple of points, so I can get that 30+. Verbal killed me. :(

Working and traveling would be fun. I am thinking about working as a CNA half time then do more research for another half time. Or I can get a master in molecular medicine since this is more oriented toward Ph.D program and my friend told me that it was easy.
 

mspeedwagon

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No-brainer... you'd be a moron to do it.

More school will NOT set you apart. There are lots of people that apply with masters degrees/PhDs etc. What would set you apart more is interesting work experience. I would suggest looking for jobs a clinical research coordinator (preferably in oncology units). You'll learn a lot about medicine, FDA regulations and clinical trials.

There are lots of other interesting jobs out there where you can get good experience in a hospital setting that are not CNA or EMT.
 
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libraryismyhome

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No-brainer... you'd be a moron to do it.

More school will NOT set you apart. There are lots of people that apply with masters degrees/PhDs etc. What would set you apart more is interesting work experience. I would suggest looking for jobs a clinical research coordinator (preferably in oncology units). You'll learn a lot about medicine, FDA regulations and clinical trials.
wow.. that was an eye opener. You see, I really don't know how to get a job like that one. I have looked at craiglist, wanted and etc. I also searched for hospital jobs too. I recently got my employee authorization card, so now I can finally work and get paid. The reason that I am trying to get that CNA certificate is because my friend previously applied to like 10 jobs which only required high school GED, but he couldn't get one. Perhaps he didn't apply right.
 

IlDestriero

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You could just get a fun and interesting job. I was an Ocean Lifeguard. It came up at every interview within the first few minutes. They said why a lifeguard. I just smiled, paused, and said it's great job with great perks. (I already had a serious summer research fellowship under my belt w/ a presentation and paper). Exciting, fun, helping people, valuable service to the community, blah blah blah. You've checked all the mandatory boxes, learned something volunteering, in the lab, etc. Try something else. No one ever asked why I didn't take a research job or work while in school. I didn't pretend to want to be a research scientist. Do something that interests you. They like that. Your a real person. It gives you something real to talk about. They did ask why I took 2 years off, even though I had the grades, MCAT, etc. already. I honestly said that I wanted to pursue medicine for as long as I could remember, but there were some other things that I wanted to do as well first. (travel, {lounge, party, sleep in}, etc). No problem.
 

nabeel76

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Don't do the SMP - it will be a waste of your time and a complete risk for you.

If you are actually interested in furthering your education in the biomedical sciences, however, than doing a masters degree (not SMP) during your year off is great way to do this. I am doing a masters degree in biochem right now and love it. I have learned a lot - especially in the context of how biochemistry is applied in research. I feel I have a much greater depth of understanding of biochemistry because of it.

But don't do it just because your worried about what medical schools might think you did during your time off - it's an expensive and harder alternative to working, volunteering, and research, which are all just as good as long as medical school admissions are concerned. So if you really do not have a desire to do a masters for simply the sake of advancing your knowledge in a specific area then don't do it - get a job and make some money.
 

Lokhtar

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Do a MPH, get a job in research. Anything but a SMP - on a list of 'things not to do' in your situation, it's on the same level as becoming a California resident and then applying to Medical school. Meaning, lots of downside, no upside.
 

Perrotfish

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Learning a language might help you be a better doc

An MPH might help your career down the line. It's a factor in residency match.

Work experience would help you not be poor. Research work might help with med school admissions as well

Travel/extreme sports/clown college might be fun and might help set you apart in medical school interviews.

However an SMP only helps with GPA repair, so don't f- around with it unless that's what you need. Not only are you risking your own resume for no good reason, you're talking a spot from someone who needs the help.

If it was me I'd do the MPH.
 

mspeedwagon

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What state are you in? I can probably direct you to the right resources in your state to find hospital jobs. I was a biology major and an international student. I started working in my field as a clinical research coordinator at the Dana-Farber on an employment authorization card (and they applied for an H1-B for me). It was low paying (mid-30s or so five years ago, but excellent experience).

I now am a clinical research monitor and love it and would do it long-term if it didn't mean being on a plane several times each week (I fly more than friends of mine that are pilots). Relatively interesting work, great money ($50 hr plus or $80k plus to start with income potential in the 100,000s) etc. I also think it's great prep for medical school. However, you can't really be a monitor without being a coordinator first (i.e. not an entry-level job).

But, yeah... I'd research the role of clinical research coordinator and call hospital HR departments and tell them you are interested. Also, circulate your resume online and call some of the doctors listed as PIs at various hospitals in your area (a great way to do this is to go to clinicaltrials.gov and try to find protocols with participating sites in your area.


wow.. that was an eye opener. You see, I really don't know how to get a job like that one. I have looked at craiglist, wanted and etc. I also searched for hospital jobs too. I recently got my employee authorization card, so now I can finally work and get paid. The reason that I am trying to get that CNA certificate is because my friend previously applied to like 10 jobs which only required high school GED, but he couldn't get one. Perhaps he didn't apply right.
 
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