Help from all non traditional students that are willing to give advice :(

Nov 6, 2010
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Pre-Medical
*Note to all you non traditional students, I have read many of your stories and it is really aspiring for me who will soon to be on a nontraditional route*

I have weird circumstances. I am running out of undergraduate money. I had to switch up my major just to graduate in time. I choose a non science field (had to pick something I was interested in) so I am a sociology major minor in urban education (may have to drop due to me having to graduate so early. Since I am running out of money I can't finish my pre med course (I have done physics 1 and 2, Chem 1 and 2 and biology) I may be able to fit my calculus in to finish my math but I don't have time to finish anything else besides maybe a biology 2.

I don't want to give up! I know there is a way. I don't think a post bac program would fit me to well (currently awaiting wake forest admission to contact me on the best thing to do for my situation). I am looking for something closer to my home (Ga) because my father has cancer and I am the only child really there for him. I was looking at the option of attending graduate school while finishing up my pre med course. Is that possible? I would do a graduate program in the Sociology area most likely unless I can find a great Behavioral Analysis program.

I'm just looking for a way right now. I can't imagine me doing anything else besides becoming a pediatric neurologist and I always said I would try my hardest to make it to my goal.

Another option that I have is getting a second degree in biology. Which I would love consider that was my primary focus in the beginning but I won't have enough funding for that I don't believe.

HELP HELP HELP

I really need advice, this has gotten me so off guard. I had no idea my financial aid was running out and I am so upset because now I must plan to graduate a full 3 semester earlier than I expected! (WHY is the federal aid not offering me full grants when I have an elder parent who is laid off, on social security and has cancer anyway???) Going to graduate school and completing my pre med course would be excellent plan for me, I hope I can do it.

Links to schools would be great also. PLEASE HELP!

p.s oh anyone possible know how the GRE will be as far as difficulty??? All my brainy friends say its a breeze :)


Another option is graduating, getting my teacher certification and going to work. I know they have the TEACH program where you have to agree to teach 4 years out but I rather not have that on me and maybe think of getting my certification and teaching and going to school. I know this is possible (my mom after graduating undergrad in 76 is getting her masters online now while being a full time teacher of special needs pre-k and she is 53 with diabetes! ) but I was trying to avoid this route unless it is necessary because even though most of you all have been able to work and go to school I just want to look at all other options before BUT if I had to be a teacher I would go into special needs education because they are the reason I want to be a pediatric neurologist now :)

any advice would do. I am pulling out my hair. I don't even know if I have enough to finish all the way for undergrad at this point with the debt being so close to the maximum :(
 
Sep 28, 2010
104
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TX
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Medical Student
I am really sorry about your situation. My father was also diagnosed with throat & lung cancer 3 yrs ago, but it was after I graduated college in '07 & started working. It was the most difficult time helping my family & care for my dad on top of working fulltime. And it was the best thing I did in not going to medical school then. And adcoms do empathize with you. He passed away this year & I am interviewing for med schools now (had 6 interviews so far as a TX resident). I accumulated funds for med school & skills to succeed in medicine during this time on top of everything. So, be proud to take the longer road and don't despair.

If anything, I would advice you to follow your heart. There is no greater meaning in life than to serve your parents. I sincerely wish you the best. World needs physicians like you.
 
OP
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Nov 6, 2010
13
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Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks! I am really crossed between working and finishing my pre req and doing the graduate thing. My dad of course doesn't want me to teach and just rather me continue. It has been stressful for me. I just don't know who will let me do graduate studies and do my undergrad pre-req,or if that is even allowed. If it is then I will feel so much better and go that route which would make my dad happy. Plus I could pick somewhere close to home :)

I know I couldn't possible runn through 100,000 (max for loans for grad) in the time I need to finish my pre-req then!
 

Isoprop

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Are you running out of financial aid (loans, grants)? I had the same exact problem. You can go to an informal post-bacc as a "second-degree seeking student" and qualify for loans (no grants) or see if you can get more loans as a second major. You don't have to complete the second major; it will just allow you to have more time and financial aid. Once you complete your prereqs, just quit the post-bacc or graduate if you are seeking a second major.
 
OP
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Nov 6, 2010
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Pre-Medical
Running out of loans. Of course, well hopefully they continue to offer me grants but that doesn't cover everything. As a second major I will still be under undergraduate money. Which I am running out of now so I won't have enough for a second degree or money for a post bacc courses :(
 

Isoprop

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Running out of loans. Of course, well hopefully they continue to offer me grants but that doesn't cover everything. As a second major I will still be under undergraduate money. Which I am running out of now so I won't have enough for a second degree or money for a post bacc courses :(
I know that there's been some restructuring with federal education loans, but when I was a student, the cap increased when you were a second degree seeking student. Go ask your financial aid office about this. They should have the most up-to-date information
 
OP
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Nov 6, 2010
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I would hope so! When I was talking to the fafsa people they told me otherwise. They told me won't I reach my max I won't be eligible for no more loans unless I go to graduate school. Reason to why I started getting upset. So far, I have sent many emails out to possible schools to talk to them about my situation so I can be prepared to know where I am going because I am running out of time sadly.
 

TriagePreMed

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If you finished

Bio 1 and 2 w/lab
Chem 1 and 2 w/lab
Physics 1 and 2 w/lab
Calculus and Statistics

all of them with better than a 3.5 total, I would say you can definitely complete your Organic Chemistry sequence at a community college without it hurting you too much. If you need biochem, you can probably take that from an extension program at a 4-year.

If you're sure you want to be a doctor, don't waste your time with teaching credentials or another miscellaneous program. A low paying research job could be more beneficial to getting you into med school.
 
OP
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Nov 6, 2010
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Calculus is the only thing that I have time to complete because it can fill my current degree requirements area. I am on a rush schedule now. My school is a huge school, they are NOT very helpful for trying to help students out with money issues (many of my friends are out of school now because of this) All other course on that list have been completed already except the Biology 2. I want to do the community college (they have a non degree program for pre-med) but as stated I don't have money for it. The only thing I have money for is graduate school :(
 

TriagePreMed

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Calculus is the only thing that I have time to complete because it can fill my current degree requirements area. I am on a rush schedule now. My school is a huge school, they are NOT very helpful for trying to help students out with money issues (many of my friends are out of school now because of this) All other course on that list have been completed already except the Biology 2. I want to do the community college (they have a non degree program for pre-med) but as stated I don't have money for it. The only thing I have money for is graduate school :(
In California we have such a thing as the "board of governor's waiver" where you basically pay like 25 dollars for as many units as you want per semester. Have you tried finding a job that may not be too pleasant to pay for your class bills?
 

Isoprop

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Did you go to the financial aid office of your school in person? Why EXACTLY are they cutting off aid? It's hard to believe that you hit the cap if you are graduating early. Did you take a bunch of credits and changed majors a whole bunch of times?

I was in a very, very similar situation, and I remedied it by petitioning the financial aid office for an extension for 2 quarters. Then, in my post-bacc, I was able to get more financial aid by declaring myself as a second-degree seeking student.

Go to your financial aid office in person to see what your options: i.e. ask if you can petition and ask them if you can declare a double-major.

You only have a few more prereqs to complete so doing it at a community college would be viable. You could work and take the classes in the evening. It wouldn't be pleasant but there's another way.

I understand you are in a difficult situation. Take care of yourself and your family first. Good luck.
 
OP
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Nov 6, 2010
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I have 23,000 in loans that I have already accumulated. Because in the beginning years,even with scholarships I still needed loans. We even tried having my mother claim me one year to see if they would give me more money since she is a teacher but instead they put me on loans completely for a year. For my degree of course I am not graduating early, when I said early I mean that I won't be able to finish my pre-med courses. To my degree program of course I am graduating right on time. Financial aid office is of no help to me. They just keep telling me bad news with all these tuition hikes going up every year it seems less help is given. I will ask again to see if I become a double major if they will give me more money. Maybe they will give me more money if I ask that way because all other question have been swiftly denied. They just keep referring me back to the fafsa rules and website. The fafsa people keep referring me back to my school financial aid office. Seems to be a big circle. Advisors are no help, just keep suggesting that maybe I should change my career path -_______-

I just wonder if becoming a teacher would hurt me any. I will do what I have to do even if I don't want to. I work with special needs children every week and have been for over 5 years. They are my motivation for why I am going into the field I choose. It is hard sometimes, when I look at my friends who are already in med school, never had money issues and just having the easiest time getting to where they want to be. It really makes me feel down about my situation,as if it is my fault or something. THEY even suggest I give up (what kind of friends are those) I thought I was doing everything right, go to school and get good grades and then you will graduate and go on into higher learner. But it seems that I just keep getting thrown off. I never expected all this to happen. It having a toll on everything including my personal relationships.
 
Sep 28, 2010
104
0
TX
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Medical Student
Thanks! I am really crossed between working and finishing my pre req and doing the graduate thing. My dad of course doesn't want me to teach and just rather me continue. It has been stressful for me. I just don't know who will let me do graduate studies and do my undergrad pre-req,or if that is even allowed. If it is then I will feel so much better and go that route which would make my dad happy. Plus I could pick somewhere close to home :)

I know I couldn't possible runn through 100,000 (max for loans for grad) in the time I need to finish my pre-req then!
I know where you stand here too. My parents also wanted me to quit working & go back to academia like nothing was happening to my dad. This was their way of showing love & concern for my wellbeing, but you probably know that its very dificult to balance academia with personal life in times of crisis. Adding grad school to that, I would have compromised my GPA. Besides, I could never get over the guilt of putting family second to academics. So, I chose family as my first priority. I don't regret it. Besides, I was fortunate enough to be successful at my work in being promoted. Just wanted to let you know that your dad might be thinking that he is helping you by being selfless, but ultimately you know more about your capacity and medicine than them, so think critically & decide. No matter what you decide, make sure that you spend as much time with your dad as possible.
 

eablackwell

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For Med School purposes, it will actually help. However, if your goal is medicine, it would be good to take the shortest path there.
I agree. With both points. I will have taught math and chemistry for 3 years upon entering med school this fall. I was lucky enough to get a job at a medical magnet school a few years back when I was down and out. Honestly, without that place I wouldn't be where I am today, but it would have been nice to have gotten here sooner. ;)
 

Isoprop

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I have 23,000 in loans that I have already accumulated. Because in the beginning years,even with scholarships I still needed loans. We even tried having my mother claim me one year to see if they would give me more money since she is a teacher but instead they put me on loans completely for a year. For my degree of course I am not graduating early, when I said early I mean that I won't be able to finish my pre-med courses. To my degree program of course I am graduating right on time. Financial aid office is of no help to me. They just keep telling me bad news with all these tuition hikes going up every year it seems less help is given. I will ask again to see if I become a double major if they will give me more money. Maybe they will give me more money if I ask that way because all other question have been swiftly denied. They just keep referring me back to the fafsa rules and website. The fafsa people keep referring me back to my school financial aid office. Seems to be a big circle. Advisors are no help, just keep suggesting that maybe I should change my career path -_______-

I just wonder if becoming a teacher would hurt me any. I will do what I have to do even if I don't want to. I work with special needs children every week and have been for over 5 years. They are my motivation for why I am going into the field I choose. It is hard sometimes, when I look at my friends who are already in med school, never had money issues and just having the easiest time getting to where they want to be. It really makes me feel down about my situation,as if it is my fault or something. THEY even suggest I give up (what kind of friends are those) I thought I was doing everything right, go to school and get good grades and then you will graduate and go on into higher learner. But it seems that I just keep getting thrown off. I never expected all this to happen. It having a toll on everything including my personal relationships.
You have quite a bit of loan money left so I think you are running out of MONEY (undergrad cap for unsub stafford loans = $31k http://www.finaid.org/loans/studentloan.phtml); rather you are probably hitting a timeframe cap. Ask them which FAFSA rule is prohibiting you from qualifying for aid? My guess is that you are hitting the credit unit cap.

Even if you graduate, you may go to a post-bacc program where some financial aid money is available if you are a second-degree seeking student. I highly recommend you NOT do an masters program: you will have to commit to it, and you will not use it. Plus, we have a teacher shortage and you may be taking away a seat of someone who really wants to be a teacher.

Finishing your pre-reqs at a community college is another option.
 

jadealer

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Another idea: Get a job working at a university, i.e. lab setting or something similiar. The pay is **** but I know at my University, after 6 months of employment, you can take UG classes and only pay 5% of tutition. I took 6 credits this semester and it was only $200. My SO is a fulltime student and he was going to take a 4 credit summer class which would have been $2400 out of pocket! Plus you can gain valuable research experience for medical school simulataneously.

Also, I don't understand how 23K in loans is making you unable to qualify. My boyfriend is getting his degree on his own and he will have close to 50K in loans by the time he is done. According AES, you can qualify for up to $58K in loans as an independent or a dependent whose parents can't get PLUS loans and $31K as a dependent if you parents can get PLUS loans.