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Give it to me straight! (please)

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Alexindra, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. Alexindra

    Alexindra New Member

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    I started out in pre-med 18 years ago. I got married (very young) and immediately had financial trouble which made me re-think things and decide to switch degrees to something fast and that made good money....ACCOUNTING! So now I'm 36 and a CPA and have made some great money for the last 12 years. But I am not at all happy. I'm a people person and like to help people...not crunch numbers month after month! I've been frugal and saved money over the years and I'm now ready to re-try my first ambition...medicine!

    I've read the posts and I am convinced that I am not too old. But I do wonder about how to proceed at this point. I had a 3.9 GPA in school (which I think will be good) and the fact that I passed the CPA exam shows that I can organize huge amounts of info. My problem is that my biology and physics pre-reqs are all now 17 years old! Does this matter? I feel like I should retake them to be more fresh. I know I have to take Chem and Org Chem (as I didn't get to these before). They are offered in the evening at my local community college which will allow me to keep working (and SAVING) for another 1.5 years. I could stay these 4 semesters with biology and physics again if you guys think I should. Any advice? I have my old biology text book and I've been reading it on my own and much of the information is coming back to me. Do I need to show a RECENT "A" in these classes? Also, should I take anatomy even though it isn't a pre-req?

    By the time I complete my pre-reqs and take the MCAT I'll be applying to med school at the age of 38. Do you think an older student have to do better on their MCAT than a younger student to be competitive?

    .So MCAT at 38 and applying..... starting med school at 39... finish med school at 43...take an 3-4 year residency (no surgery for me)... I'll be practicing by the time I'm 46-47. Not bad since I never want to retire (until I'm forced to). Hopefully a good 20 year career.

    Sorry for all the questions....any advice?

    Alex
     
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  3. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh!
    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    RE: Your pre-reqs. It doesn't matter if we think you shoudl re-take them, how do you feel about out knowledge of those subjects? Are you willing to bet your MCAT score (one of the more difficult tests out there) on your 17 year-old knowledge of those subjects? I wouldn't take anatomy unless you are extremely interested in taking it now. I maintain that physiology will help you for the MCAT, and might be worth looking into taking. Also, some schools will not accept courses older than a certain age, so it might be worthwhile to do a little research and see if the school(s) that you are interested in do/don't. It's better to take your pre-requisites at a 4-year college, rather than a community college, but people have gotten in taking them at a CC.

    I would think that if you decide NOT to re-take a lot of coursework, you would need a higher-than average MCAT score to show that you can still excel academically in medical school. You need to prove that you will be both an excellent medical student and excellent doctor. For the latter you will need to get some clinical experience by volunteering in a clinical setting, shadowing a doctor, etc.
     
  4. robh

    robh Senior Member
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    Some of my prerequisites were 24 years old. No school made it an issue. In this situation, I think it is important to do very well on the MCAT. A great MCAT score proves you know the material. Conversely, scoring well on the MCAT requires you to know your stuff. If you can do that without retaking your prerequisites, I think you're okay. If you can't, that answers your question about retaking the courses.

    My advice is to take/retake any prerequisites at a university, not a CC. You've been out of school for some time. One of the questions the Adcoms are going to ask about you is: "Can she handle the coursework NOW?" It will help them to see that you can perform of a high level against talented competition. This is also a very important source of recommendation letters. Get to know your professors. Distinguish yourself with excellent work & participation. Hit them up for letters before they forget you! Good luck!
     
  5. TexasRose

    TexasRose Gotta run
    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Of course you can do it.

    I would suggest strongly considering retaking the Bio classes. It will help you prepare for the MCAT, some schools may have limits to how old your prereqs can be (look into the specific schools you're interested in), and a lot has changed in Bio in the last 17 years. I felt that Genetics was a very useful class to take, especially once I was in med school. Anatomy would have been handy too, but neither is a requirement.

    Good luck and enjoy the journey.
     
  6. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    A biology text from 17 years ago is virtually worthless to be used as anything other than a paperweight because soooo many changes have occured during that period. Not only is it worthless, it will also be dead wrong in quite a few issues.

    While it is illegal to discriminate based on age, it happens. Proving it would be impossible. Some schools are much better at accepting older applicants than others. I started med school at age 42, so you're not too old by any means. I believe that you do have to prove yourself a little more as an older student. Some schools are going to want to see some recent grades just to prove that you can still hack taking classes and do well.
     
  7. Truth_seeker

    Truth_seeker Member
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    You have an awesome GPA. That will definitely help you. You have graduate work under your belt, another plus and a professional license. No problems thus far. You are correct in that you'll need to take general chem and organic as well. However, as far as 17yr. old pre-reqs, I'd recommend taking them again. University vs. CC, I'd say check with the medical schools you're intending on applying at. If you're looking for a state school, more than likely CC is fine. If you're shooting for a top tier school, I'd say a university would be your best bet. Word of caution though for CC classes. CC's are typically vocational. They have most of their classes that prepare for a career rather than for academics. I suggest looking for the classes that are for an actual degree (AAS) or intended for transfer. I don't think you're too old to take this on. Sounds like you've got a good head on your sholders. The MCAT is the big mountain to pass over. If you can nail that and add some other pieces to your app, you should be in good shape.
     
  8. fellowserv

    fellowserv Junior Member
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    A bit about me: I am 37 and in my 3rd year in medical school.

    My thoughts:
    1. I'd retake everything at a University if you can, not a CC for the reason posted previously. If you are confident you will crush a class, take more classes that term while working. The level the classes will be taught and graded at a University will be different and the refresher WILL help. You want a high level to prepare you to do well on the MCAT. If you think your CC has that then go for it, just be careful.

    2. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT take anatomy because you are worried you won't be able to memorize all the stuff in the short time medical schools teach it to you. If you get there you'll be able to do it. If you REALLY want to take extra classes take them in the underlying biology such as cell bio, immunology, genetics. Of course if you REALLY just want to learn anatomy, go for it - it is fascinating!

    3. Prepare yourself for a long haul. I am glad I am doing this but there is a LOT of sacrifice to this path for me and my family. Just make sure you are enjoying the journey and all will be well.

    good luck!
     
  9. spot the cat

    spot the cat Member
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    When I took biology three years ago, my sister, who has been a veterinarian for 8 years now, probably took Bio 101 about 15 years ago, looked through my book and said "Oh - they teach freshmen this... didn't learn this until 2nd year of vet school... hmmm... think I read that in Nature last year... didn't know that... uhhh... can I borrow this book when you are done?"

    Not even going to go into my dad's reaction - he's just retired from an executive position in biotech (science side, not so much business)... suffice it to say he was impressed with what is in the most basic bio text.

    Maybe don't take bio over again (or maybe you should, depending on what schools you apply to will prefer), but definitely do look at Examkrackers or something that will bring you up to speed on genetics & biochem developments in the last decade or so. It's no harder than it used to be, just different. More voluminous, as my sister said

    Chris
     
  10. MedSchoolFool

    MedSchoolFool Shake Zula
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    Being a professional with some graduate work certainly is an advantage for you as an applicant. Sounds like you did well in your classes, too.

    As others have said, take your classes at a 4 year university vs. a community college. Yes, it is more expenisve. No, it is not as convenient. Yes, it will look better to an adcom.

    Also, as stated in an earlier post, be ready for the long haul. Realistically, with work schedules, family, and everything else...it could take you more than 2 years to get everything in order that you will need. I would say your "to do" list should look something like this:

    1. Take and retake all prereqs.
    2. Get as much medical volunteer EC experience as possible (Consider volunteering with Hospice or becoming an EMT or just do the ED thing)
    3. Part of taking the prereqs over is not only for the grade, but so you can develop a relationship with a professor that will produce a solid LOR. A great LOR from a premed committee will open a lot of doors. This is a must, in my opinion
    4. Rock the MCAT...do not take it until you know that you know that you know that you will make 30+ score. I promise you..you do not want to take this test more than once. Over-prepare.

    Just my 2 cents...probably worth less than that...but I think you have an excellent chance just as long as you square away some of the basics that apply to all premeds. Good luck.
     
  11. Zoom-Zoom

    7+ Year Member

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    Yeah that was definitely something I noticed in my intro bio class, how my professor introduced almost every topic with a story about the people who discovered it and how he remembered them or people who knew them, and how they won the nobel prize, etc. I can tell he must really want a nobel prize. I can also tell his intro bio text must have had like 15 pages in it. :D
     
  12. powerbooki

    powerbooki Member
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    Agreed on biology. When I took cell biology two years ago, I was in the library doing reseaching for my presentation. I was excited to find many journal papers covering my topic, but I realized quickly that those old journal papers talked about the same contents already covered in my cell biology text book!

    I think you are OK not taking the physics again if you feel comfortable reviewing it on your own. I took physics 11 years ago and I was fine reviewing it on my own. Plus, the new stuff (string theory, Higgs Bosom) will not likely be on MCAT, since they don't enhance the understanding of basic physics for MCAT like F=ma, I=V/R.
     

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