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Guidance needed please -kinda long post-

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Nova77, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. Nova77

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    Let me start off by first saying ever since I was a freshmen in highschool I have always wanted to become a surgeon.

    I graduated with good grades and I wanted to go to college to start on my way to becoming a MD but my parents didnt come from money nor did they save for my college either so I started looking into alternative ways to begin college but right when I started doing that my parents got divorced, 1 moved out of country and the other gave me the choice of joining the army or going to the streets( not BS just have a bad father).
    So not knowing what to do or where to go I joined up made it through basic easily with no problems but in AIT I had a bad run in with afew DIs and my CO and long story short I was discharged.

    The army sent me back to where I came from wich is Anchorage Alaska and I had to start working at the highest paying job I could find right away wich was working manual labor out in negative degree weather for poor pay. I have worked as hard as i can for the past year and a half to regain a foothold and have a place to stay etc.

    Its once again time I go for my dream career and complete my goals.

    Im a hardworker and I have no problem at all with the studying or acedmic portion of becoming a doctor, my only problem is strictly finacial.

    I would like to ask this great community if anyone knows what my first steps should be in following through with this goal.

    Can I become a MD with no money,no credit,and no scholarship?
    If so how do I go about getting funds to go?

    How much money would I have to get to go to 4 years of college and 4+ years of med school?

    Should I leave and go to seattle where there is a better medical school and better weather?

    What pre-reqs do I need to knockout to be accepted into a decent medical school?

    I just want to get a better education and do some meaningful work that can help people live longer and healthier lifes! and not be stuck working manual labor in this icebox lol
    ANY help or advise you guys can give me would be very very much appreciated!!
     
  2. serpant55

    2+ Year Member

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    Wow. That's a very touching story. I hope you make it buddy. Well first of all since you don't have that much to spend, I would definitely go and enroll in a 4 year state school. CC (community college) is okay but since admissions is so competitive lately, it looks better to have classes done at a 4 year...Did you take the SAT and stuff? If you didn't, you're going to have to do that first probably. I didn't find any medical school in Alaska, so if you think you can maintain your funds (i.e. can find a job) and it's better weather, go to Seattle then, it seems UW accepts students all around the area though, regardless. Prereqs that you have to do -
    General Biology I and II
    General Chemistry I and II
    Organic Chemistry I and II
    College Physics I and II
    College Composition I and II (usually needed as part of General Education program anyway)
    and sometimes
    Calculus (I or I and II)
    And you should try to do some upper level science courses as well (after the initial prereqs, like cell biology, etc).

    I would also post in the finance forum and see what advice they can give you since I'm not in that situation and can't really help you there. But, asides from working, it's not that hard to build good credit, and once you do, hopefully you will qualify for some loans for medical school/undergraduate.

    Good luck man. Hope it works out and all.
     
  3. RxWildcat

    RxWildcat Julius Randle BEASTMODE!
    Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    Sounds like you've had it rough, stay in there! Here is a link to the financial aid forum, maybe you can do some searching there and find some help.

    Link
     
  4. Dr Lyss

    Dr Lyss Professional Student
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    I hope you find some answers and wish you the best of luck. It looks like you have the determination & motivation.

    If I had any bit of advice it would be to focus on one step at a time. Concentrate on getting the funds to get into a decent priced state school that is in your range and finding a decent paying job that you can do while you are getting your Bachelors degree. Once you get settled into school & start finishing up your prereqs you can start talking to financial aid counselors at your school or a nearby medical school to talk about your options for medical school. Best of luck!
     
  5. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane
    Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

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    Nova, the hSDN forum is primarily for high school students. Since your situation is more complicated than, and somewhat beyond the realm of most high school students, I'm going to move this thread to the Pre-allopathic forum. I think that you may hear from more people with a wider variety of appropriate experiences there.

    Feel free to ask your financial aid questions on our Financial Aid Forum.
     
  6. JeetKuneDo

    10+ Year Member

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    Wow, that's a tough life. If you choose to stay in alaska, the University of Washington will accept students from the Alaska as in-state students since alaska is part of the WAMI program which accepts students from places that do not have in state med schools. This means you'll get in state tuition and the same preference as other washington residents. Also, if you choose to go to Seattle, I'll tell you seattle is a very nice city. I think this actually would be a very nice fit for you. UW has this program called the husky promise which offers to pay for your tuition if you are a resident and are in a bad socioeconomical status. Since you're from Alaska you might need to work 30 hours a week for a year to gain residency in Washington, which would qualify you for the husky promise. Doing that, you probably won't need to work much except for some spending money. Best of luck.
     
  7. tdittyx2x3

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    It sounds like you have next to nothing and you have very high aspirations. That's admirable and I appreciate your refreshing perspective. Annnd your goals are possible. It's up to no one but yourself actually.

    So first things first, be realistic. Do you know what you are getting yourself into? Ever actually spent time in the hospital? The good news is that you have four years of undergraduate to contemplate these things. Think of this one step at a time.

    1. Go to community college for two years. VERY CHEAP way to get half of a degree. You need to well, period. Part-time job. Save.

    2. Transfer to a four year accredited undergraduate school. It would be better if it was public and in state. Receive your diploma in literally whatever subject you want - no, it really doesn't matter. Yes, you need to do well. You can take out loans for this and pay them after you graduate.

    Those are your two biggest goals for sure. Aside from an undergrad education, you'll need a lot of other things for a successful application. You have more than enough time to do it (I started working towards this as a junior in college) and you can find just about all of your answers here on SDN. Try the search button.

    GOOD LUCK
     
  8. airplanes

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    Look into the WAMI program, it will help you out because other schools will give you resident status. I'm not sure about the Husky promise thing, which sounds like it could be competitive so I wouldn't put all my eggs in that basket and move to Washington.

    I don't think you need to worry too much about finances. A lot of people who cant pay end up taking loans in undergrad, I guess it's important to start saving now though. Money isn't really an issue with medical school. People can end up with up to 300k in debt, which is a pain but if essentially not a problem once you finish residency and start your doctor's salary.

    For now, I would say focus on getting into a college and moving on from there. It's gonna be a long journey but it sounds like you are v. persistent and a hard worker. You've had it rough, no doubt, which can only help you in the long run. Best of Luck!!
     
  9. prions06

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    Your story is inspiring and when you become a physician it will become even more. I commend you for making it to this point and still having that dream of being a physician inside of you. It really is a calling and if it is truly in you, you will succeed.

    The first piece of advice that I can give to you is not to worry too much about funds. By no means am I being flippant concerning the economic realities out there, but if this is your goal, you have to take hold of it. I also do not agree with some people who will tell you not to go to community college. Community college can provide some class time experience along with a cheaper price and if you do well, you may then have the opportunity to transfer to a more rigorous 4 year university where you can really be challenged and show your mettle. Many students and physicians have taken this route. One of my good friends in med school who had a story akin to yours went to a community college for two years, transferred to a 4 year and made it med school. She is now doing her residency in Rads. Another friend drove big rigs for 5 years, saved up money went to community college then a university and is in a neurosurgery residency.

    On a personal note, I was blessed to get into and ivy league school for med school and have been able to be an admissions committee member during my 2nd and 4th year. I can tell you from experience, that if you make it and do well in your studies and tests, your application and story would be a breath of fresh air amongst the other non-traditional trust fund babies and failed investment bankers that I see. Of course, I am kidding about caliber of non-traditional applicants, but I am serious about you having a great path to medicine if it is truly what you want.

    In closing, remember to never let anyone keep you away from your dream; it is yours and you must claim it.

    Good luck on the journey, and of course, I wish you well. If you need any other advice, don't hesitate to ask.

    p
     
    #9 prions06, Dec 18, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2009
  10. 236116

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    I agree with polarbear- leave Alaska. Try to get a position lined up first.

    Your first step should be a CC. You might even be able to get a guarenteed transfer to a public 4yr after two years at the CC.

    You have 4 years to get credit, both academic and financial. Being in your situation, you should qualify for federal grants, etc.

    Good luck.
     
  11. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S
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    It is entirely possible, although certainly not easy, to attend college and medical school even if your parents are not helping you and you come from a socioeconomically challenged background. I grew up in foster care and living with various relatives and haven't received a dime of assistance from my family, and am currently in the middle of residency applications- if I can do it, so can you. As another poster said, it is in your hands.

    I have been fortunate to receive scholarships for undergrad and med school tuition, so I have only had to borrow for books/fees/living (which is still a substantial amount, particularly in med school when you can't work). There are many scholarships and grants out there and I suggest you look into them; the financial aid office at whatever school you decide to go to is a good place to start looking for resources. Whether you get scholarships or not, you will be able to take out adequate loans so that, combined with part-time work, you can attend school. There are federal and state student loans that are not based on credit, most students are able to take these out. The website for federal student aid is http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/; there is a lot of information about financial aid on this site and you will need to fill out their application to qualify for aid wherever you go.

    I was once in your position of having a goal and not knowing where to start looking for information. The internet, including this website, is a great resource if used wisely. Your options for an affordable undergraduate degree are either public university for 4 years or 1-2 years of community college followed by transfer to a university. I opted to spend all 4 years at a university because I wanted to put myself in a more rigorous environment from the beginning, having not had that before; but a CC is a fine option, particularly for your general (non-premed) requirements. Look into the options available to you for state schools and CCs in Alaska and Seattle if you are considering moving there- look at their websites, read their admissions info, and decide where you want to go. Then get everything together and apply- all the info about how to do so is there. That's all there is to it; most state schools (outside of CA at least) and all CCs are not competitive so you should be able to gain admission to one without too much difficulty.

    Once you are accepted, talk with the fin aid office about assistance and plan on working part-time throughout college. If you can't get a medically related job, start doing some medical volunteer work or shadowing on a regular basis. Just pick an organization you care about and talk to them about volunteering. Get mostly As in college- you need to shoot for a GPA of 3.5 or above to be competitive. If you are having trouble with grades, seek help from professors or advisors early and often. Obviously this is a lot to do while also working to support yourself but it is completely possible if the end goal is worth it to you.

    Good luck and PM me if I can help answer other questions.
     
  12. MILK07

    MILK07 Silence, I kill you!!
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    I don't know what in-state tuition is like for college in Alaska, but where I went to college it was pretty reasonable. I worked 30 hours a week during the semester and full-time during summers and breaks. I waited tables and had more than enough for tuition, rent, food, fun, etc. Lots of people work their way through college, so you can do it, too!

    So start taking classes as soon as you can, get the pre-reqs out of the way, etc and do really well. It is easy to get loans for med school, so I wouldn't worry about that right now. Just focus on paying for college. Apply to some scholarships, fill out the FAFSA and see if you qualify for any aid.

    Just take it one step at a time and you will achieve your dream eventually! Good luck!
     

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