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Graduate School Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Luwi25, Apr 1, 2002.

  1. Luwi25

    Luwi25 Senior Member
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    Hi guys! First congrats to everyone accepted so far...I'm so proud of all of you! <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />
    Now I need your advice and help in getting into med school also. I graduated UCLA in 2001 and have been doing research and a ton of ECs for a year. I've now decided to go to UCLA for my masters in Public Health this summer and apply to Med school this June. By next June (6/03) I would've completed most of my PH degree but do you think med schools will look down upon my not completing PH school before entering med school? I will complete my PH degree before graduating med school...I know this for a fact.
    I could wait another year until my masters is complete but I'll be done with my masters in Dec 2003 so then what should I do for ANOTHER year (from Jan-Sep 2004? I'd really like to get med school started. I've had all the time off of school I need and need to continue with my education.
    Any advice? Should I apply this June?
     
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  3. Green912

    10+ Year Member

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    The question that comes to mind is do you think you need the MS to get into Med School? I'm ending the first year of my Biology MS and will be applying this June, but I definetly needed the boost. When I asked around I got mixed answers about the whole finishing your MS thing. Some schools don't seem to care much while at others it's a definite requirement. But even if I get accepted this time around I'll be able to finish before starting so it's kind of a mute issue. I don't mean to rain on your parade, but from lurking around the posts and getting a feel for what the first two years will be like I don't know how you'll possibly finish your Masters once your start Med School. Much less if you'll even want to. In summary my advise is that if you don't need it then don't create another headache for yourself. If you're borderline then maybe apply as is. I don't think a summers worth of work will make a big difference. However if you really need it then do what you gotta do. One thing I found out pretty quickly is that there is no doing the MS thing half time. You get pulled in deep pretty quickly.

    Good luck.
    RE
     
  4. Luwi25

    Luwi25 Senior Member
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    Thanks for the advice. I really feel like my masters in Public Health is relevant for what I want to do as a physician. I can always take a leave of absense from my masters or transfer to a school that already has a masters in PH and complete it there. Many physicians have their MPH/MD and this is what I really want. I just hope they don't look down on me not completing before starting med school.
    Has anyone been in this situation? Going to med school without completing the masters program?
     
  5. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member
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    actually it is a very bad idea. med schools aren't in the practice of 'stealing' med students out of grad school, and it's strongly encouraged that you finish what you start--meaning that you finish the grad degree. some med schools won't even consider your application if they see that you're in a graduate program, *especially* if they see you just started one--you need to have written proof that you will finish the degree before med school starts. i had to get a letter from my graduate advisor stating that i was in good standing and would graduate on time before a few med schools would even look at my app. some schools, however, don't care. also, it would work out if you were accepted to the med school at the same university where you're doing your grad degree, provided they have a combined degree program. but you would really be limiting your options. besides, as the other person mentioned, if you're looking to get this degree to improve your med school app, one summer's worth of work won't mean squat.

    i don't know what the rest of your application looks like, but you'd be risking a lot. you would really benefit from waiting until you finished your degree. stretch the final semester out so that it takes you a year to finish if you're worried about not having anything to do. or get a job. or just relax--you'll probably miss having time to yourself once med school starts.
     
  6. Mutterkuchen

    Mutterkuchen Senior Member
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    I am curious how you can be mostly done in one year, and completely done in 1.5 years. Does UCLA have a special accelerated program? Most MPH programs that I am familiar with take 2 years.
     
  7. Luwi25

    Luwi25 Senior Member
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    I'm so confused...everyone tells me something different. I was to finish my PH degree in 1 and 1/2 years because I was going to take summer classes and a full load each quarter...I was basically squeezing it in to finish early. I appreciate the constructive honest yet harsh words. What schools don't even look at your application till you finish graduate school?
     
  8. sundevil1

    sundevil1 Senior Member
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    I'll try to help a little with my story, though it is a little different than your situation. I started a PhD program in Fall 2000. By spring 2001, I had decided I had enough, withdrew and took the MCAT. I really wanted to be a doctor (MD), I don't want to get into the story but it took me a while to finally make that decision and quit lying to myself. I applied this past year to 10 schools, completed secondaries at 9, got interviews from 6, rejected from one and withdrew pre-interview from the other two. I only have one acceptance, but hey one is all you need.

    I did have to answer about why I left my PhD program and how I knew I wouldn't do the same with medicine. But I expected that and I had really thought about my decision so I was comfortable with it.

    One thing you might want to try to do is transfer into an MD/MPH program. Contact schools with these programs and see if it would be possible, given that you first get admitted to the MD program. Schools suggested I transfer into the MD/PhD program but I didn't want to, so this might work out well for you.

    If you can't transfer, then yes, complete your degree first then start med school. I don't suggest you withdraw, especially since you seem to really like the MPH program.

    I hope this helped.
     
  9. johnM

    johnM Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Luwi25:
    <strong>I'm so confused...everyone tells me something different. I was to finish my PH degree in 1 and 1/2 years because I was going to take summer classes and a full load each quarter...I was basically squeezing it in to finish early. I appreciate the constructive honest yet harsh words. What schools don't even look at your application till you finish graduate school?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The point is that many schools will not allow you to leave a degree-seeking grad program to go to their med school, unless you finish the degree. If you can finish the MPH before fall 03, then you are set, but if not, many schools will not consider you, i.e., they won't let you drop out of another school's MPH program to start their MD.
     
  10. johnM

    johnM Senior Member
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    you can check w/ individual schools to see which ones (if any) will let you leave a program, but I would imagine that even if the school does not have a strict rule about it, it won't make you look very good.
     
  11. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member
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    elreyde4play raises a good point that i would like to clarify about my post. if you withdraw from your grad program *before* you apply, then it won't be as much of a problem, but as elrey's experiences demonstrate, you will still be asked to account for why you walked away from the program.

    i wasn't trying to be harsh in my post, but there is simply no denying that there are med schools who do NOT want to consider you if you're in the middle of a degree. there is no arguing with this. it has been discussed several times in depth on SDN, so do a search for 'poaching', which is what this is commonly called. off the top of my head, i know that loyola and vermont will reject you right off the bat if you are in grad school and cannot state that you will be finished prior to matriculation into med school. i applied to loyola and they actually enclosed a letter with my secondary stating that they noticed i was in grad school and reminding me that their policy is to NOT consider anyone who wouldn't be finished with their degree before classes started, and that i should have proof that i would be graduating before the summer before they would consider my app. i know there are other schools out there that won't consider you either--these are the only two i can think of at the moment. i waited until i was in the last year of grad school before i applied to med school so i didn't research this a whole lot because it didn't apply to me.

    no one is denying that you can't get into med school at *all* after leaving a grad program early. like i said earlier, it depends on the school and their admission policies. but i know people personally who applied to med school in the first year of grad school and were rejected immediately from certain schools by virtue of the fact that they were enrolled in a grad program that they could not possibly finish before med school started. it can go either way and is completely dependent on which schools you apply to--you really need to play your cards right if you plan on applying before you finish your MPH and you really need to research the admissions policies at the schools you're interested in. my point was that because there ARE schools out there that don't want to see you leave your grad program early, you would be limiting the number of schools you could apply to that would take your application seriously.

    an MPH certainly is a great degree and can really round out your medical education--in fact it's the same degree that i'm finishing up. but you need to be aware of the risks of leaving grad school early. personally i don't see it as being worth it--what's one more year out of your life if that one year would allow you to enter med school with an MPH in hand? if you can get into a combined MD/MPH program, then your problem is solved, but in case it doesn't turn out to be that simple, just be aware of what you may be getting yourself into.
     
  12. Arch Guillotti

    Arch Guillotti Senior Member
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    My background - MHA from top-ranked SPH, now MS2. I went the MHA route to shore up parts of my application as well as give me a degree that I could put to work if med school did not pan out.

    One thing I am not clear on - can you or can't you finish the degree before next fall? The programs I am familiar with can allow you to get an MPH in a year, but typically these require prior professional experience. They also require an internship during the summer, which could potentially tie up some of the time for class. Speaking of which, not all classes are offered in the summer. you need to be absolutely clear on the schedule.

    If you can finish by next summer, then I say apply. I think every school will consider you so long as you will complete the degree by the time that you matriculate in med school.

    If you can't finish the degree in time, then that may hurt your admission chances. Most schools don't like to pull students. they want to see the degree. Schools I applied to asked when I would be done (even though it was obvious from my application). it was cool so long as they knew I was on track to finish before med school.

    But in all reality, slow down and yake it easy if public health is what you really want to do. you are young and there is plenty of time. A one year MPH can be a vacation between first and second year of med school. Or take your time w/ the MPH and apply a year later.
     

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