Dec 27, 2010
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I did my undergrad in comp sc engineering from India. I have been thinking about writing my MCAT and applying for the medical schools here. I had taken the physics and chemistry courses but the AMACS website says that foreign students dont need to submit transcripts from their college.

I dont know where to start but I do have some questions. I appreciate if people on this forum may post some answers and share their thoughts.

1) How do I ensure that I have already taken the pre-reqs? Is there a service(pre med counseller, website) which can tell me if my eng undergrad courses meet the reqs and what courses I need to take to complete the pre req list?
2) Do colleges accept students who have done their undergrad from outside the country? How do they evaluate the GPA's for such students?
3) Will I have to take a 4 year course here?(really dont want to do that).
 

DrMidlife

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0. Green card? Hope so!

1. You have to retake the prereqs in the US, with very few exceptions. That's a year each, with labs, of genchem, ochem, physics & bio. You'll probably want to take some English & humanities as well.
- I suggest waiting to take the MCAT until you've completed these.

2. Foreign transcripts have to be evaluated by a 3rd party company, which can take months or years, so start now. Pick a med school, find their admissions web site, and look for instructions (repeat w/several schools).

3. No you don't have to do another 4 year degree. Just do a boatload of research on the med schools you'd like to attend and take their recommendations seriously.

Look for posts by Scottish Chap for more concise info.

Best of luck to you.
 

Scottish Chap

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0. Green card? Hope so!

1. You have to retake the prereqs in the US, with very few exceptions. That's a year each, with labs, of genchem, ochem, physics & bio. You'll probably want to take some English & humanities as well.
- I suggest waiting to take the MCAT until you've completed these.

2. Foreign transcripts have to be evaluated by a 3rd party company, which can take months or years, so start now. Pick a med school, find their admissions web site, and look for instructions (repeat w/several schools).

3. No you don't have to do another 4 year degree. Just do a boatload of research on the med schools you'd like to attend and take their recommendations seriously.

Look for posts by Scottish Chap for more concise info.

Best of luck to you.
Welcome. This question comes up a lot. There are many posts in the past regarding this issue and, indeed, it's one I faced. Please do a search to find those posts.

The bottom line is that U.S. medical schools honor U.S. and Canadian undergraduate degrees. If you don't have one of those, you have a non-standard application that is in danger of being relegated to the circular filing cabinet. In fact, most medical schools will tell you outright that they won't review your file until it looks more ‘American'. It's a stupid, stupid rule, but you pretty much need to do what they ask if you want to play in their sand box. Once you are in medical school, those games gets more serious.


You have two options:
1. Complete 60-90 credits of undergraduate work in the U.S. Those credits generally must contain the pre-requisite courses (6-8 credits of chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and biology all with lab experience). Some medical schools also wants English and a few want calculus. Some medical schools want only prerequisite courses. Some want more than that (hence the 90 credits for some). You must contact the schools you are interested in and do as they ask. They have the power. Most schools will also expect you (at your own expense) to pay a professional agency to ‘translate' your foreign undergraduate degree into a U.S. equivalent GPA. There are several agencies that provide this service if you use Google. Those evaluated grades can be entered onto the AMCAS form, but they will not be verified by AMCAS and they will not factor into the GPA calculation that medical schools use to ascertain whether you are medical school material.
2. Roll all of your foreign grades into a second, U.S. undergraduate degree as a transfer student. I know a couple of people who used this strategy (one from Australia, one from Scotland – both gained entry into U.S. allopathic (M.D.) medical programs). If you take this option, you may be able to get an undergraduate degree in 18-24 months.

A third option (the one I took, a path less trodden) was to figure out which schools will accept a foreign undergraduate degree if a U.S. graduate degree has been earned. I had 91 credits between a U.S. M.S. and Ph.D. I was ultimately only responsible for the prerequisite courses I did not take overseas (physics). Few schools will accept this option, but I am living proof that such schools exists. I also know two other people that found success with this option. Both were from England. One went to Yale Medical School and he's now a neurosurgeon and the other went to Cornell Medical School and he's now a dermatologist.

In the end, the MCAT is a great equalizer. If you rock the MCAT, some schools will forgive you for applying to their medical school with a foreign undergraduate degree.

Good luck!

SC

P.S. Forget about pre-medical counselors. The are totally clueless about this stuff through no fault of their own. They just don't see people like you. The honest ones will admit that. The weaker ones will pretend they know what they are doing, but they'll send you down the wrong path. When I enrolled for the physics classes I was missing, they asked me to meet with the chair of the physics department because my undergraduate transcript didn't say "math 101". I met with the physics chair. He asked what my highest degree was, then laughed loudly, apologized, and signed the form without asking any more questions. It was a huge inconvenience to drive 20 miles to enroll twice but, as I said, most people are clueless about this stuff.

P.P.S. If you don't have a green card, fix that problem first. It is the most time-consuming part. I filed for my green card a year before I took the MCAT. My green card came through seven days before my first medical school interview......two years later. Forget about scholarships. If you don't have independent wealth, there are few places that will be willing to help you. Those that might offer money, will break your knee caps with a hammer when you can't pay back the 50% interest that comes with their loan.
 
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Hi

British BSc here, this is the best post I have seen on the issue.

I was actually told by SGU to just do MCAT and they would let me in...

But then told me to just do a master's in Epidemiology instead.

Out of curiosity what was the MS in?
 

Scottish Chap

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Hi

British BSc here, this is the best post I have seen on the issue.

I was actually told by SGU to just do MCAT and they would let me in...

But then told me to just do a master's in Epidemiology instead.

Out of curiosity what was the MS in?
SGU is totally different. They are a for-profit Caribbean medical school and so they can do whatever they want. They also accept A-level applicants, so they are used to seeing what an average British person looks like. The M.S. and Ph.D. are pharmacology. Good luck.
 
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Jun 18, 2010
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Hi Bajwa,

I am in the same boat with a foreign undergraduate degree.

A few things I might add to the comments above....

1) It's better to have a citizenship than a Green Card. If completing your prerequisites takes several years, you might as well "upgrade" from a Green Card to citizenship. It will be a lot more beneficial for you.

2) Before enrolling to a U.S. school you'll have to take TOEFL (an English test for foreign students)

3) I found admission committees at professional schools to be very specific and strict regarding the courses their require. They require a specific number or level (for example, General Chemistry 121) of the course, a specific course name, etc. And they don't see it in your foreign transcript. They basically don't know that material was included in the class you took. So, they kind of look down on foreign degrees.

4) I evaluated my foreign diploma with ECE. As far as I know, their evaluations are widely accepted; I haven't had any problems.

Nothing else comes to mind right now. Good luck! If you have any more questions, just ask :)



 
Dec 27, 2010
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Thanks folks
Does it make sense to just get the pre-reqs done from a local community college or a local university? Or should I aim for a masters degree instead although that may take 2 more years. Im 32 yr old and starting now with a degree and then 4 more years means I would be graduating out of a med school by the time Im 38-40.

I was excited about writing an MCAT but now that I understand the overall complexity of the process especially for foreign undergrad seems a bit disheartening :).
 
Jun 18, 2010
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Does it make sense to just get the pre-reqs done from a local community college or a local university?
I think, it does. If I was starting from the beginning now, that's what I would do. I completed a Master's Degree, but I am not sure if it's going to make a difference. And then I still need to finish Chemistry and Physics at a Community College.... So, how much sense does it make?

As for the age.... Just decide for yourself if it's worth it.... If you don't feel like spending all this time pursuing the goal, do something else :)
 

DrMidlife

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The best way to go is to do coursework at a 4 year university. This sets up admissions committee members to not have to do extra work to understand your competitiveness. You're up against ~5000 other apps, per school, so it's in your interest to be easy to understand.

You might get away with doing coursework at a community college. You can't control how this coursework will be interpreted by admissions committee members. Med schools do not typically specify whether CC coursework is accepted or not; I challenge you to find an admissions committee member, at a school you're targeting, who will recommend community college coursework. If academic prowess is in question, CC coursework is a mistake. The current state-level economic crises will add additional negative stigma to CC coursework - CC budgets are less contentious to cut than university budgets, which reflects negatively on CC quality. Fundamentally, this is about perception, because CC prereqs are no more or less standard than university prereqs, a CC may or may not be a more effective learning environment for you, and the actual pain of budget cuts may or may not be greater at a university.

You might get away with doing US graduate coursework in lieu of US undergraduate coursework. The GPA earned in grad coursework does not equate with undergrad GPA, so it does not give admissions committee members a basis by which you can be effectively compared to conventional med school applicants.

Best of luck to you.
 

Scottish Chap

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Thanks folks
Does it make sense to just get the pre-reqs done from a local community college or a local university? Or should I aim for a masters degree instead although that may take 2 more years. Im 32 yr old and starting now with a degree and then 4 more years means I would be graduating out of a med school by the time Im 38-40.

I was excited about writing an MCAT but now that I understand the overall complexity of the process especially for foreign undergrad seems a bit disheartening :).
Community College credits will probably get you there with good grades and a presentable MCAT score, but you need to prove you are as capable as the average U.S. applicant. Most average U.S. applicants attend a 4-year college and apply to medical school shortly after. You have to look as close to one of those applicants as you can. In the end, it's your time and money, and so you can gamble any way you feel you have to.
 
Mar 3, 2011
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I am in a similar situation and am not sure where to begin.

I did my undergrad outside the U.S. I then came for graduate school and earned my Ph.D. from a U.S. school. I have been working for the past three years at a hospital. I am now a permanent resident.

My plan is to go to the local community college or university and take chemistry, organic chemistry, psychics, and english composition. I need to schedule the classes around my work.

I was hoping to not have to retake biology. Some of the courses I took as part of my graduate studies were undergraduate level courses.

My questions are:
- Is a negative to take some of the classes at community college and others at the university? I do plan on keeping classes of the same type at the same school (i.e. chem I and chem II).
- Will my graduate work be sufficient to satisfy the biology requirement?

Thanks for any help.
 
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nabeel76

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For you foreign grads, the reason you are in the predicament your in in the first place is because it is hard for US Medical Schools to determine how you academically stand up to US graduates.

The same variance that exists amongst different foreign instutitions in terms of grading, also exists when comparing the rigor at community colleges and US graduate programs, some are rigorous, and some aren't. It's hard for medical schools to evaluate students due to these variances and therefore most medical schools will not recommend community college coursework nor will they use graduate coursework to override a prior lackluster performance in undergrad - or in your case basically the lack of a usable undergrad GPA.

So by attempting to try and give medical schools a comparable basis in terms of grading for evaluation, you shouldn't be taking cc courses or graduate courses but primarily undergraduate courses in the sciences at a 4 year school.
 

Scottish Chap

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I am in a similar situation and am not sure where to begin.

I did my undergrad outside the U.S. I then came for graduate school and earned my Ph.D. from a U.S. school. I have been working for the past three years at a hospital. I am now a permanent resident.

My plan is to go to the local community college or university and take chemistry, organic chemistry, psychics, and english composition. I need to schedule the classes around my work.

I was hoping to not have to retake biology. Some of the courses I took as part of my graduate studies were undergraduate level courses.

My questions are:
- Is a negative to take some of the classes at community college and others at the university? I do plan on keeping classes of the same type at the same school (i.e. chem I and chem II).
- Will my graduate work be sufficient to satisfy the biology requirement?

Thanks for any help.
It's a gamble because you risk bias and some adcoms already direct plenty of that toward internationals.

As stated above, a 4-year school should remove all doubt in their mind if you bloom. I will, however, submit to you that internationals (myself included) who are missing just a few credits can and do get admitted to medical schools every year with CC credits as long as the rest of the application package is presentable.
 
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Please i have a similar issue of a foreign bachelor's degree but interested in medical school but i want to take the option of going in for a second degree.One of my problems right now is that, i cant even find a school that offers a second degree as most schools i have spoken to says they don't offer a second degree.Please can someone recommend schools here in the States that accept second degree students.
 

kitanai

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Can anyone in here at least recommend a school that accepts pre-requisites that had been taken in foreign university? I only have 2 schools that I applied that accepts foreign courseworks. University of Washington and University of Iowa are the only schools I submitted my apps. Anyone know more based on their experience? I am not planning to retake any prerequisites.
 

Scottish Chap

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Can anyone in here at least recommend a school that accepts pre-requisites that had been taken in foreign university? I only have 2 schools that I applied that accepts foreign courseworks. University of Washington and University of Iowa are the only schools I submitted my apps. Anyone know more based on their experience? I am not planning to retake any prerequisites.
Albany was the only place I encountered in my blinkered world that did not ask for more U.S. pre-req's. That was in 2004. Things may have changed. I only surveyed around 50 schools, and I only applied to 9. Take a long, hard look at their tuition before you apply, though, and then ask yourself if it's worth it.....
 

kitanai

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Albany was the only place I encountered in my blinkered world that did not ask for more U.S. pre-req's. That was in 2004. Things may have changed. I only surveyed around 50 schools, and I only applied to 9. Take a long, hard look at their tuition before you apply, though, and then ask yourself if it's worth it.....
Thanks for the input. I will try to apply to Albany. They only need at least two years of coursework in a US or Canadian university. Where did you applied as well? What were those other 8 schools you applied? Thanks again!
 

n15

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A third option (the one I took, a path less trodden) was to figure out which schools will accept a foreign undergraduate degree if a U.S. graduate degree has been earned. I had 91 credits between a U.S. M.S. and Ph.D. I was ultimately only responsible for the prerequisite courses I did not take overseas (physics). Few schools will accept this option, but I am living proof that such schools exists. I also know two other people that found success with this option. Both were from England. One went to Yale Medical School and he’s now a neurosurgeon and the other went to Cornell Medical School and he’s now a dermatologist.
Hi Scottish Chap,

Great post! I'm finding myself in the same boat right now - foreign undergrad, US PhD in life sciences, well, plus US citizenship, which is great.

Could you please elaborate on which schools will admit foreign undergrads with an additional US degree? It seems really silly for me to go back for a second bachelors in biology, especially given that I taught and graded undergrad courses for US pre-meds while in grad school, haha.

Thanks!
 

linglei

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Hi I am in the similar situation, I received my undergraduate degree from China and my major was applied chemistry, I moved to the US 3 years ago and just finished a master degree in bio molecular science in a 4 year university.I didnt get to know all the infos about medical school until last semester and I am right now in the pre-health program in a 4 year university. I retook Org II and Physics I& II last semester and I am not sure if I have to take general biology since I took a lot graduate level biology course during my master program, however when I study for the Mcat I feel that I am really lack of the basic knowledges in biology , and also even though I took many chemistry courses during my undergraduate study I have forgotten most of them and I didn't get good grades on them, so can anyone tell me that if I spend another two years to finish all the science pre-reqs and maybe an extra English class and will I have a good chance to get into a medical school?

Also I am working in a hospital (it belongs to the state university that has graduate school and medical school)as a secretary, and I am going to work in a lab ( the graduate school part of the same hospital) and do some researches on stem cells, hopefully all of these experience will help me in the future when I apply for the medical school. Thank you! Please feel free to tell me what you think and advices are welcome!
 
Jun 10, 2011
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Hi I am in the similar situation, I received my undergraduate degree from China and my major was applied chemistry, I moved to the US 3 years ago and just finished a master degree in bio molecular science in a 4 year university.I didnt get to know all the infos about medical school until last semester and I am right now in the pre-health program in a 4 year university. I retook Org II and Physics I& II last semester and I am not sure if I have to take general biology since I took a lot graduate level biology course during my master program, however when I study for the Mcat I feel that I am really lack of the basic knowledges in biology , and also even though I took many chemistry courses during my undergraduate study I have forgotten most of them and I didn't get good grades on them, so can anyone tell me that if I spend another two years to finish all the science pre-reqs and maybe an extra English class and will I have a good chance to get into a medical school?

Also I am working in a hospital (it belongs to the state university that has graduate school and medical school)as a secretary, and I am going to work in a lab ( the graduate school part of the same hospital) and do some researches on stem cells, hopefully all of these experience will help me in the future when I apply for the medical school. Thank you! Please feel free to tell me what you think and advices are welcome!
If this is one of the schools you are planning to apply to, go in and physically meet with the counselors there and get their advice. This is probably the single best thing you can do to make sure you are on the right path.

As for the Biology and Chemistry, I'll ask you this: Which would you rather do? Spend 36 months (two years classes + application cycle) and get into med school or spend 24 months (one year classes + application cycle) and not get into med school due to a bad MCAT score and then spend another 24 months to get in AND add the stigma of being a re-applicant to your difficulties? If you are having problems with Biology and Chemistry on the practice MCATs, every indication is that you will have equal difficulties when you actually take the test. I think your better choice would be to spend the extra time to a) relearn what you have forgotten/learn what you don't know that US med schools expect and b) fill out your class resume a bit more to build a stronger application packet.

As is often said around non-traditional forums, remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint. The longer, more methodical path is going to serve you better than the quick dash and increased chance of failure.
 

linglei

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If this is one of the schools you are planning to apply to, go in and physically meet with the counselors there and get their advice. This is probably the single best thing you can do to make sure you are on the right path.

As for the Biology and Chemistry, I'll ask you this: Which would you rather do? Spend 36 months (two years classes + application cycle) and get into med school or spend 24 months (one year classes + application cycle) and not get into med school due to a bad MCAT score and then spend another 24 months to get in AND add the stigma of being a re-applicant to your difficulties? If you are having problems with Biology and Chemistry on the practice MCATs, every indication is that you will have equal difficulties when you actually take the test. I think your better choice would be to spend the extra time to a) relearn what you have forgotten/learn what you don't know that US med schools expect and b) fill out your class resume a bit more to build a stronger application packet.

As is often said around non-traditional forums, remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint. The longer, more methodical path is going to serve you better than the quick dash and increased chance of failure.
I think i am going to retake all the pre-reqs that I needed, and probably a english class as well,and ill try to see if i can talk to someone from the school i want to get in,

Thank you very much for the good advices!
 

linglei

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I have another question! I have talked to my advisor the other day she suggest me taking anatomy and physiology I& II instead of Gen Bio I&II, she was saying that Gen Bio I& II talks a lot about plantes and anatomy and physiology will be more helpful towards preparing for Mcat, and I also called the medical school which is a state university I want to apply to, the person I talked to is the chief of the admission office and he thought this is a great idea so my question is will this work for every school, which means they will count anatomy and physiology as the biology pre-req? Thank you!
 

Scottish Chap

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I have another question! I have talked to my advisor the other day she suggest me taking anatomy and physiology I& II instead of Gen Bio I&II, she was saying that Gen Bio I& II talks a lot about plantes and anatomy and physiology will be more helpful towards preparing for Mcat, and I also called the medical school which is a state university I want to apply to, the person I talked to is the chief of the admission office and he thought this is a great idea so my question is will this work for every school, which means they will count anatomy and physiology as the biology pre-req? Thank you!
This is tricky. My experience was that most medical schools were quite emphatic about wanting general biology 1 and 2, and would not allow 'replacement' with physiology, anatomy, etc. Some medical schools may assume you have taken biology 1/2 and they will welcome any additional classes, so make sure you stress that your desire is to replace rather than supplement.
 
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