Mar 18, 2010
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Hi all, this is my first time on the forum. My stats are bellow, and following is a question about me doing a 5th year to finish up some premed requirements and do some more volunteer work.


My stats are:

BCPM GPA = 3.5
Cumulative GPA = 3.5

Research Experience:
I work with a professor who is considered an expert in his field (by other people, not just himself), and have gone to 2 research conferences to present my work. I also recently won an undergraduate research grant that I had to write a proposal for.

Volunteer Experience:
I don't have any clinical experience, just some helping out with the honors programs at my university.



I'm a junior right now in a chemical engineering B.S. curriculum, but over the past year I've been drawn more and more to medicine as a future career. My problem is that because I'm in the honors engineering program, I have to complete 135 credits of course work, without any premed requirements (it's 145 credits if I take analytical chem and another bio class with a lab for the premed requirements).

My problem is that since I've decided on medicine a little later in college, I haven't completed the premed requirements that didn't fit in with my degree. I could probably get them all finished in the summer while I'm applying to medical school, but I have no clinical volunteering experience, only some non-clinical volunteering work. If I were to take the premed classes this summer, I wouldn't have time to do any volunteering, because I also have to work. I was wondering if I should wait until next year to apply, spend a 5th year to earn my undergrad degree (and get a minor in chemistry by taking some extra classes for a year), and do a whole bunch of volunteering work over that time.

Would medical schools look down on someone that took 5 years to complete their undergrad? Most engineering students usually take 5 years, and considering I would be getting a minor in chemistry along with the B.S. in chemical engineering, I think I can justify it to a medical school admissions committee, but who knows.

Thanks for reading the long post, and any help is greatly appreciated!
 

J ROD

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You appear to be smart enough to make it....

it will take some time and prep work. I think you need to finish off eng then go after the prereqs and ECs....

I think it might take even two yrs...depending on what chem you have.

you need to get into a clincal volunteering spot soon....
 
Sep 4, 2006
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Would medical schools look down on someone that took 5 years to complete their undergrad?
No they won't look down on you for taking longer to finish college. They will look down on you for having a low GPA, so do your very best work in the prerequisites. Don't rush them and sabotage yourself.
 

LuciusVorenus

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Take the extra year! I've never met anyone who's majored in engineering and finished in 4. If your engineering curriculum is anything like at our school you'll probably be graduating with well over 230 quarter units so you've obviously kept busy. You don't even really need the minor. I'm just curious as to how you're going to do all the prereqs in 1 year? A lot of the classes are prereqs for each other and build upon each other. I guess you could take the prereqs for the prereqs during the summer but that would be one busy summer. Anyway, it sounds like you might have to take 5 years to finish and a year off to actually study the stuff from the last year for the MCAT before applying. The good news is you'll have a lot of time to do ECs like volunteering. Just try and raise the GPA above a 3.6 (or at least your prereq GPA above 3.8) and get a 30+ on the MCAT.
 
Mar 18, 2010
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Thanks you for all your input! This actually puts me a lot at ease.

One thing I think I should clarify though, is that I've already taken several of the premed requirements (1 year of orgo with labs, 1 semester of bio with lab, 1 semester gen chem with lab, 1 year of physics with labs, 1 semester of biochem) because they were also required for my degree. From looking at most medical school requirements, this means that I just need to take analytical chemistry with a lab, and another biology class with a lab. That's why I think I could finish the requirements in a year. The minor in chemistry is just because I want to learn more about chemistry!

Again, thanks for posting everyone, it really helped.
 

J ROD

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Thanks you for all your input! This actually puts me a lot at ease.

One thing I think I should clarify though, is that I've already taken several of the premed requirements (1 year of orgo with labs, 1 semester of bio with lab, 1 semester gen chem with lab, 1 year of physics with labs, 1 semester of biochem) because they were also required for my degree. From looking at most medical school requirements, this means that I just need to take analytical chemistry with a lab, and another biology class with a lab. That's why I think I could finish the requirements in a year. The minor in chemistry is just because I want to learn more about chemistry!

Again, thanks for posting everyone, it really helped.
5 yrs for sure then!! And, I will say most engin I know that take the MCAT have all gotten 33+....
 

surftheiop

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Thanks you for all your input! This actually puts me a lot at ease.

One thing I think I should clarify though, is that I've already taken several of the premed requirements (1 year of orgo with labs, 1 semester of bio with lab, 1 semester gen chem with lab, 1 year of physics with labs, 1 semester of biochem) because they were also required for my degree. From looking at most medical school requirements, this means that I just need to take analytical chemistry with a lab, and another biology class with a lab. That's why I think I could finish the requirements in a year. The minor in chemistry is just because I want to learn more about chemistry!

Again, thanks for posting everyone, it really helped.
Wait why do you have to take analytical lab? I'm almost positive that's not even close to being required
 

surftheiop

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Also, if you made a 3.5 in ChemE you should surely be able to score well on MCAT so long as you aren't one of those engineers who really struggles with reading comprehension.

I was making 3.3 in ChemE before I transferred majors junior year and made in the high 30's on MCAT with a month of self-study preparation.
 
Mar 18, 2010
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Wait why do you have to take analytical lab? I'm almost positive that's not even close to being required
Well most medical schools I've been looking at require 1 year of general chemistry with labs. At my school, the second general chemistry course is analytical chemistry.
 

surftheiop

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Well most medical schools I've been looking at require 1 year of general chemistry with labs. At my school, the second general chemistry course is analytical chemistry.
Ah that's interesting. Not sure how common that is, it might be worth calling up a couple schools to see if you need to take it, could possibly save you a lot of trouble depending what they say.
 
Mar 18, 2010
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Ah that's interesting. Not sure how common that is, it might be worth calling up a couple schools to see if you need to take it, could possibly save you a lot of trouble depending what they say.
Well, either way, I want to take analytical chem. All of the other premed students at my college take it, and it is a prerequisite to some more interesting chemistry classes that I also want to take.

I know for a fact that Wayne State University's School of Medicine wants you to take analytical, and those that don't are at a serious disadvantage.
 

surftheiop

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Well, either way, I want to take analytical chem. All of the other premed students at my college take it, and it is a prerequisite to some more interesting chemistry classes that I also want to take.

I know for a fact that Wayne State University's School of Medicine wants you to take analytical, and those that don't are at a serious disadvantage.
Have fun pipette-ing water for three hours to study error propagation :p