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Help an old guy become an MD..

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Geoffro, Jan 24, 2002.

  1. Geoffro

    Geoffro Junior Member

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    Hi all,

    Let me give you a little info about myself. I'm 33 year old male, divorced w/2 daughters that I have custody of. I am 1 1/2 years from my BBA. I want to try and get in to med school and fulfill my lifelong dream. I have some questions that I hope you can answer.

    1) Is it possible to maintain a job while going to med school?

    2) If it isn't, how do you survive? Is there extra support available for people with families?

    3) Are all med school classes in the day or do they have programs that have classes in the evening?

    4) Would I need or would you recommend any other classes besides the chem, biology, physics requirements?

    5) Can you suggest some ways I might be able to volunteer while still raising my family and attending school?

    6) Should I have all of my chem, biology, physics out of the way before taking the MCAT?

    Thank you to all in advance!!

    I realize that I probably won't be ready to apply until the 2005 class so any tips are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!!

    Geoff
     
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  3. GoatBoy

    GoatBoy Manboob Extraordinaire

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    I cant answer any of your questions, sorry.

    But can you help a young guy become an MD?
     
  4. Geoffro

    Geoffro Junior Member

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    ---I cant answer any of your questions, sorry.

    But can you help a young guy become an MD?-----

    I'll help as much as I can but, as you can see, it won't be much help!

    :D
     
  5. PimplePopperMD

    PimplePopperMD Senior Member

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  6. Geoffro

    Geoffro Junior Member

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  7. Dylann FMD

    Dylann FMD Senior Member

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    Geoff:

    I will try to be as positive as possible, but, I must admit, the news probably isn't what you wanted to hear.

    1) About maintaining a job--its very rarely ever done. Sometimes people might pick up a few bucks by doing things at the med school (note taking service, working in library/hospital orderly, research subject), but the money gained from these avenues are very, very minor. The only way I know people support themself with "job" is by either going the military or MD/PhD route. Either way your education is paid for and you get a stipend, but, it comes with obligations.

    2) How do we survive in med school--well, except for the exceptionally rich or the military/MD-PhDers mentioned above, its loans, loans, loans. Also a few grants are available for those who qualify. After you are accepted, you get a financial aid package. As a family, you probably will get some relief, with better loans/some grants, but I doubt (though can't be sure) that it would be enough to raise a family.

    3)I am not aware of any med school that has evening classes. As I mentioned above, med school is more than a full time job in itself. There may be a night school I am not aware of, but all schools I know of have their classes and labs predominately during the day. One option, however, I do know of is the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), which offers you to spread out the "first year" over two years (and go to school for 5 years). This means one year you would have class in the morning, one in the afternoon. This would allow you to work (though probably not full time).

    4)Many bio/med courses would help. Definitely take genetics prior to MCAT, and though it isn't required, a good biochemistry course is invaluable. I also found a cell biology class helpful (and endocrinology, though I know those are rare). For the physical sciences, I found analytical chemistry to help (though probably not necessary).

    5) I am not sure you mean volunteering now or when in med school. If you are talking about now, check with a local hospital. I volunteered in an emergency room for a couple hours a week a while back, and it was a good experience. Check to see how flexible they are--mine was real flexible, which helped out.

    6)I would try and take the courses before the MCAT. That MCAT does not require you to know a whole lot, but, the more you know the better. Overall the test is primarily analytical, like they give you a passage and you need to interpret. But its a long test, and if you are familiar with the subject matter, it will go much better.


    I hope I haven't discouraged you too much. You are definitely not going the usual route, so that means it probably will be more difficult. But thats not to say its impossible. If you have any other questions, let us know. And good luck--we're all rooting for you.
     
  8. med student

    med student Senior Member

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    1) Is it possible to maintain a job while going to med school?
    Some do work part time (less than 15 hrs a week) but this is by far the exception to the rule and I would not plan on it. Also for your third and fourth years this will not be possible because you will be spending all your time in the hospital.


    2) If it isn't, how do you survive? Is there extra support available for people with families?
    Lots of loans. I go to a private school and will have around $200,000 in loans when I leave and this does not include the interest. Also this is just for myself if you have to support children then it will cost even more. But if you go to a state school you can save allot of money on tuition. My school has no services specificly for families other than married student housing.

    3) Are all med school classes in the day or do they have programs that have classes in the evening?
    All my school's classes are during the day.

    4) Would I need or would you recommend any other classes besides the chem, biology, physics requirements?
    see below

    5) Can you suggest some ways I might be able to volunteer while still raising my family and attending school?
    ????????????

    6) Should I have all of my chem, biology, physics out of the way before taking the MCAT?
    Basic chem and physics classes will cut it for both the MCAT and medical school because the MCAT only test basic concepts in these 2 areas and once the test is over you will never see the material again in medical school or later. In the case of Biology classes I would take as many advaced classes as possible because they will definately help on the MCAT and in medical school.
     
  9. mma

    mma Senior Member

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    I'm a late-comer to medicine also. I will try to answer your questions as best I can...

    1) Is it possible to maintain a job while going to med school?

    I am going to say no. Classes can meet anywhere from 2 to 8 hours a day. With studying and just plain living, your whole day is booked. Sometimes you can hold a part-time, low stress job. Some schools do do a work-study thing.

    2) If it isn't, how do you survive? Is there extra support available for people with families?

    Loans, loans, and more loans. If you have a family, they let you borrow even more.

    3) Are all med school classes in the day or do they have programs that have classes in the evening?

    I don't know about evening med school. I would guess that there is none.

    4) Would I need or would you recommend any other classes besides the chem, biology, physics requirements?

    Calculus and English--some schools require them.

    5) Can you suggest some ways I might be able to volunteer while still raising my family and attending school?

    Volunteer at a VA for a few hours a day. They usually don't make you come in at any particular time and let you do a lot.

    6) Should I have all of my chem, biology, physics out of the way before taking the MCAT?

    Yes.

    Best of luck to you! It is a long road, but I think it will be worth it. ;)

    mma
     
  10. goldie

    goldie Senior Member

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    I don't know how to answer some of your questions, but I can give some encouragement.

    I, like you, decided to become a physician later in life. I had a lot of worries about applying as an "old man" at the ripe age of 31. But from the interviews I've had, it seems like medical schools are dying to get "mature" people into their classes. So if you have any reservations regarding that aspect of your application, have no fear!

    Good luck!
     
  11. Geoffro

    Geoffro Junior Member

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    Ok, I have gotten VERY helpful responses!! Thank you all! In summary, here is what I have come up with.

    1) No job during med school. I'll have a family as well as school commitments so the job has to go.

    2) Three words...Loans, loans, loans. :)

    3) No/few classes at night. That's fine with me. I'd rather be home at night with my kids anyway even if I am studying the whole time.

    4) Looks to me that I just need to have all of my pre-meds finished for the MCAT and maybe a few extra if I can fit them in.

    5) The volunteering question.. I appreciate the suggestions. I should have no problem finding something now.

    Ok, now I have a few more questions. Eventually I'll run out of questions right?? LOL

    1) How many med schools do people apply to? I figured 3-5 but then I saw people were applying to 20+!! What is the reason? Just improving chances?

    2) Does med school last year round?

    3) Does it matter, April or August, when I take my MCAT? Why?

    Thanks again!!
     
  12. jasmine

    jasmine Member

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    You may want to check out Ohio State University - the med school has an Independent curriculum track, where you have to be present for the 6 weeks of anatomy lab but from there on out study on your own for the first two years - it's very nice for people who need flexibility. Some of the students don't even live close to the campus for the first couple of years. Other schools may do something similar, I don't know. But just thought I'd let you knwo you have that option.
     
  13. Papi

    Papi Member

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    The Medical College of Wisconsin has a 5 year medical program for people who have to take care of kids and work at the same time. It's basically med school but at a slower pace so you can take care of other things.
     
  14. med student

    med student Senior Member

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    1) How many med schools do people apply to? I figured 3-5 but then I saw people were applying to 20+!! What is the reason? Just improving chances?
    The reason for this is that the application proceess is extremely random. Everyone has stories about the so called safety schools that they knew they would get into but ended not even getting an interview while at the same time getting into one of their dream schools. The point is nothing is guarenteed unless maybe you have a letter of rec from god. So to be safe you need to apply to more than 10 schools to be safe.

    2) Does med school last year round?
    Fisrt year has 2 months off in the summer, after that you go year round.

    3) Does it matter, April or August, when I take my MCAT? Why?
    No what ever works best for your schedule.
     
  15. LizardKing

    LizardKing Veteran Member

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    1) How many med schools do people apply to? I figured 3-5 but then I saw people were applying to 20+!! What is the reason? Just improving chances?

    The average is 20-25 schools. The more applications you can do, the better. It will increase your chances of getting in dramatically. Start early (June-Aug.) so you can finish them all.

    2) Does med school last year round?

    Most med schools have a two month summer vacation and a really short winter break.

    3) Does it matter, April or August, when I take my MCAT? Why?

    There's no significant difference between the two dates. More people take the April exam. This might make the curve a little more generous, but I'm doubtful. They give out around 20 different test forms of varying difficulty each time they test.
     
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  17. LizardKing

    LizardKing Veteran Member

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    Oh yea, the advanced science courses that may or may not help on the MCAT are Biochem, Molecular Bio, and Physiology. Biochem and Molec are probably more useful than Physio for the MCAT.

    Other than the basic courses, that's pretty much all you need.
     
  18. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member

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    hey,
    never give up on your goals. you will just have to work alittle harder. but med schools are getting better about people with families, married people, etc.
    1) Is it possible to maintain a job while going to med school?
    NO, unless you do TAships at a place like stanford which seems to pay their TAs alot (but that would be after the first year). some curriculums allow time for that like UCD and Stanford where you can take 5 years instead of 4. i knew one kid who did work however, and he was on the 5 year plan.
    2) If it isn't, how do you survive? Is there extra support available for people with families?
    i think there is. FAFSHA i think accounts for that. some schools are also well funded and have internal scholarships that they wouldn't mind giving to a hardworking father in medical school.
    3) Are all med school classes in the day or do they have programs that have classes in the evening?
    they are all in the day usually. at many places they end by 1:00 (unless you have lab). at some places, you don't have to go to lecture cause it is all on the web or the class syllabus is enough. even lab is optional at times.
    4) Would I need or would you recommend any other classes besides the chem, biology, physics requirements?
    biochem, calculus, one year of english (almost definite for all med schools), some type of human physiology so you don't bomb the MCAT, maybe genetics.
    5) Can you suggest some ways I might be able to volunteer while still raising my family and attending school?
    hospice- very easy, set your own schedule, not always used as a volunteer, good experience cause you are working with chronically ill people
    free clinics- mainly on saturdays so your kids will be home, they are old enough right?
    ER or other hospital work at night-more interesting at night and your kids are asleep
    research- get paid for it like at biotech company summer programs, or be a research assistant at a med center or something
    6) Should I have all of my chem, biology, physics out of the way before taking the MCAT?
    oh yeah!


    remember, they like diversity and people who are well rounded. i think you have a chance. don't give up. your road will just be a little harder. let me know if you need anything else. [email protected]
     
  19. UCLA2000

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    You've gotten some great responses from the other people so I'm not going to say the same things.

    1. Try to avoid taking extra classes as some of the MD's advised. I wouldn't take anatomy, or physiology. Frankly they're hard...why risk the gpa hit. Just take em later.

    Do take biochem and genetics. they show up on the mcat.

    Take the MCAT in April. Reason: It's easier in April because everyone is taking classes, and has a million things to do. If you can focus on the MCAT you should do well. Also, alot of med schools have rolling admissions. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of getting accepted.

    Volunteer: Volunteer in a doctor's office if you can. Get some hands on experience. Take an EMT course.

    Apply to at least 15 schools to be safe. Getting into med school is all about luck. I applied to 27 schools. Filled out 25 secondaries (got lazy with 2 after I got accepted because they came too late).

    Offered 13 interviews..attended 11 of them (I think).

    Note: I was not offered interviews at 14 schools. So far I've only been offered one acceptance (most schools haven't sent out acceptances yet..but why chance it?)

    Good luck
     
  20. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member

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  21. I got in

    I got in Senior Member

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    Hey Geoffro
    I know of a lady who stated med school at the age of 52, she is at GW.
    I personaly know of a friend taking courses and the MCATs at the age of 35 with a learning disability.
    I know of a stock broker who left Wall Street to persue medicine; he is applying this year also.
    So, you see there are several people in your situation who are trying to realize their dream.
    I wish you the best of luck in this process.
    ````````````````````````````
    The truth is out there.
     
  22. Cobragirl

    Cobragirl Hoohaa helper ;)

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    You only get summer break during your first and second years...after that you're on rotations during the summers.

    Better check into the loan situation too...I don't get any extra money for being married (actually it's held against me, as my husband's income is taken into account) and I've never heard of getting "extra" money for dependents. Basically, as a "graduate" student, you are ELIGIBLE to borrow up to $38,500 a year from the Federal Government. The CATCH is that you are only ALLOWED to borrow what your SCHOOL determines YOUR budget is. In other words, the SCHOOL will make up a budget that goes like this:

    Tuition/Books: $15,000 year (this is STATE tuition, not private!)

    Housing: $5400 (my school gives us a whopping $450 a month for "housing"...that's supposed to cover rent AND all utilities...and I guess it would if I had 4 other roommates)

    Transportation: $3000 (I believe we get $250 a month for this...fine if you have an old clunker that's paid off...sucks if you plan on driving something that might have a warranty still..)

    Clothing: $500 (need I even comment?)

    Food: $3000 (obviously the budgeteers don't have to pay for THEIR food in the school cafeteria...)

    Other/Misc: $1500

    Grand Total: $28,400...and that's ALL you will be allowed to borrow FROM ANY SOURCE!!! (Unless you have a rich uncle that'll slide you some cash)

    So, as you see, you CAN borrow enough to get your tuition paid, but for anyone that has a "family", the money isn't going to stretch very far. If you try to go to a private school, your $38,500 will get eaten up by tuition alone, and you'll have to have good "credit" so you can borrow the remainder of your "budget" from private bank lenders.

    Your best bet is to make sure you have ALL of your debts paid off before you even apply to med school. The application process is very expensive...especially if you listen to the people that say apply to 20-25 schools (I applied to 7, personally) and once you get in, you start getting hit from every side with "expenses" that weren't even dreamed of by the "budget" committee (class t-shirts, student organization memberships, social events, etc)! Granted, I guess you don't HAVE to spend your money on those things, but you'll find it hard not too. SOME (not very many) schools DO have a "budget" for child care costs, but like everything else on these budgets, what they GIVE you is NOTHING compared to what the REAL costs are.

    Sorry to sound so negative, but as an older, married student, I have a LOT more insight as to YOUR obligations (and living style) probably are than many of the younger folks on this board might. I'm not trying to discourage you at all, but just giving you a heads-up so you won't be stuck in a situation like I am right now (living on credit cards, racking up more debt!) Had I known better, I would have sold BOTH of my cars, paid off ALL my credit cards, and saved as much as I could have before coming. I had NO IDEA, I couldn't actually borrow the WHOLE $38,500...and I didn't figure it out until I was signing for my financial aid....

    Oh yeah, be prepared to get your PARENTS tax info (even though you're in your mid-30's, all grown up and have kids of your own!) if you expect to get ANY sort of grants / scholarships / or low/no-interest loans from your school! I was dumbfounded when I was told I had to get my parents info, despite being 31 and married....
     
  23. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member

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    To add to the above post--
    I remember reading somewhere that you can get money for dependents, just not spouses.
     
  24. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member

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  25. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    Is parents' financial information abosolutely required? What if you just leave it out of FAFSA? I know I won't qualify for any grants or scholarships 'cause parental income is too high, but they're not going to pay for my med school after paying for 4 years of private university studies, so I'm going to need those loans.
     
  26. mma

    mma Senior Member

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    Most schools require you to fill out the parent portion of the FAFSA if you want to qualify for any institutional aid. If you are going to rely only on loans, I don't think you have to give your parents' financial information.

    Some schools don't require financial info if you are over the age of 32 or 35 or something. I don't remember which schools these are...

    Financial aid offices will take into account anything vital that you need money for. So, if you have minor dependents (vital), they'll increase your loan amount. But if you have a spouse (apparently non-vital) who is making any money at all, they will decrease it.

    Money--the ugly face of medical school. Sigh.

    mma
     
  27. Cobragirl

    Cobragirl Hoohaa helper ;)

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    No, you don't HAVE to give parental info, but if you don't you will NOT be eligible to receive "institutional" loans/ grants/scholarships. In other words, yes, you can borrow all the money you need (assuming you go to a state school) from the Federal government...but you'll be paying interest on ALL of it at some point. If you're like me, and have a spouse that works, you'll be getting mostly UNsubsidised loans which means you'll be accruing ~8% interest quarterly. BELIEVE ME it really begins to add up quickly (I only BORROWED $36,000 in undergrad, but as of right now I OWE $52,000! And that's not including ANY med-school tuition!)

    If you get grants / loans / scholarships you won't be paying any interest (or VERY low interest) on the money.

    Oh yeah, even if you THINK you won't qualify for those grants, etc because of parental income, you might still want to submit it. I know my school has SEVERAL merit-based, non-income based scholarships that go unclaimed every year because the "rich" kids don't bother applying. At the same time, if you really DON'T think you'll get any grants etc, and your (rich) parents aren't going to help out, you ARE better off not reporting them. That way you will qualify for more subsidized loans.
     
  28. isomerjohn

    isomerjohn Senior Member

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    To UCLA 2000 or anyone else - is the MCAT really easier in April because students are still studying for their courses ?
     
  29. Keith

    Keith Senior Member

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    Age Factor:
    believe it or not, you're not that old. my mother started med school in her forties. i'm applying now at 34. have 13 interviews and 6 rejections post-secondaries. i worked full-time while i did all the pre-med. i applied to numerous schools as i thought age would be a factor, however, it is now clear to me that adcoms appreciate life and work experience. good luck to!!!!!!!
     
  30. Geoffro

    Geoffro Junior Member

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    Wow!! This thread has really generated some great information.

    I am in no way discouraged by what people are saying. It's the facts, and if I make this commitment I have to deal with it. Actually, I should say WHEN I make this commitment. :D

    As I mentioned before, I'll have more questions and I do!

    1) If I am lucky enough to be accepted, how long do I typically have to accept the invitation?

    2) If I am accepted at a second, more preferred, school can I reject my first acceptance?

    3) This may be a dumb question.. :D When do classes start? Beginning of the year or Fall?

    4) I realize this will be affected by when the classes start but when is the best time to apply?

    5) Are there classes that you will have to take on weekends or are these generally reserved for studying?

    Whew!! That's it for now!

    Thanks again everybody!!

    Geoff
     
  31. UCLA2000

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    Is the MCAT really easier in April because all of the other students are still studying for classes?


    Well...The MCAT is graded on a curve. Students who take classes while studying for the MCAT have less time to study than they would over the summer when they could devote their entire time to the MCAT. Therefore if you can devote all of your time to the MCAT in April I would conclude that you'd have an advantage over the other students.
     
  32. tentative at best

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  33. Geoffro

    Geoffro Junior Member

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  34. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member

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  35. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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  36. tentative at best

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  37. Ciardeme

    Ciardeme Senior Member

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    Geoffro- check out the medical student diaries on this page. There are a few students that are in your situation...being a med student while having a family to support. Good luck to you.

    :p
     

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