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High School Student to Military Doctor

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by Kallistos, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Kallistos

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    Hello, I'd like to start out with some background information. I am 17 years old and am a junior in high school, since I can remember I've wanted to be a doctor and serve in the military. My CGPA will end up being around 4.2 and I should be in the 1% of my high school.

    I've been looking into the programs the military offers for about a month now, trying to see what routes I can take to becoming a doctor in the military.

    Right now these are the options I feel I have, please correct any misinformation.

    1. I could apply for a 4 year ROTC scholarship and complete my undergrad. After that I would apply for a HPSP and go through medical school. After graduating from that I would compete for a residency and finally be deployed as a doctor. If I took this route I'd incur an eight year obligation, 4 from ROTC, and from HPSP, correct? One question I had is how often are you moved as a doctor? Would you be stationed at one base and be allowed to serve there "forever" or would be moved (if yes, how often on average) This of course isn't including deployments due to war. I don't see why they'd move a doctor from one base to another, wouldn't that create a need for a doctor at the original base?

    2. This option I just recently found out, and that's through the Army National Guard. Most of the information I got was from http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=550134
    So during medical school I'd be getting paid as an active duty 2lt and getting around 40K a year. I understand there is no financial assistance in the ASR, but what about the HPLRP, that pays up to 50k, is that paid after you graduate medical school? Also, when would be the best time to take STRAP? Yet another question, do the National Guard doctors get moved from base to base or are they stationed and don't have to leave unless they won't to (unless of course there's a war)
    The major question I have with all this is what about Undergraduate school? What program does the Natl Guard offer for undergrad or can I do Army ROTC and transfer into this National Guard ASR program?


    I still have more questions on minor details that I will ask after reading some of your responsed. Please correct anything that I am misunderstanding and fill in holes if I'm not seeing the entire picture. I'd like to make the military a career so I'm not too concerned with racking up years of service obligation as long as I'm not being moved base to base often which from another post it doesn't seem like the National Guard does, but the AF, Navy, and Army does do.


    Thank you in advance for all your help. I'm scheduled to meet with a National Guard recruiter and doctor sometime this week, but would like to hear your opinions so I don't go in there and get sweet talked into a lie.
     
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  3. Dr Buddy

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    Kallisto,

    It's awesome that you're trying looking into military medicine so early. If I had my stuff together at 17 I'd be in a much better place now.

    If you specifically want to be military physician and not just in the military, I would suggest weighing heavily weather or not to commit to a ROTC or other military program as an undergrad. The reason is that ROTC, service academy's, etc. are grooming members to become active duty line officers (pilots, platoon commanders, etc) rather than support staff officers (doctors, lawyers, etc). While many people go from a ROTC/service academy into med school, there are only a certain number of slots available to do so and it is not guaranteed that you will get it. You may end up serving out your commitment in a job you don't want to do. However, if you want to make your way through undergrad as a civilian you can enter the military under your specific terms (i.e. as a physician). That being said, going civilian you will be sacrificing the finanical benefit of free college and the exposure to military lifestyle that you would get in those programs, but in my opinion that would be worth it just to make 100% sure you achieve your goals.

    Hope that helps. Good luck
     
  4. IgD

    IgD The Lorax
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    The best thing you can do is keep a military medicine career path in the back of your mind and focus on your undergraduate studies. Once you have a medical school acceptance letter in hand (junior/senior year of college) you can apply for a military medicine scholarship through the HPSP program. Another thing you could do is join military medicine after you finish medical school and graduate residency through the FAP program.

    There is some risk to taking the ROTC scholarship. One risk is you could be deployed before or during medical school. Another is that if you don't end up going into medicine you'll still have a military commitment. A third issue for consideration is a ROTC scholarship would extend your obligation if you took both HPSP+ROTC. 10 years is a very long time to be unhappy with no way out if the military didn't work out for you.
     
  5. Kallistos

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    Thank you for the responses. I was under the impression that if I did ROTC I would be allowed to go into medical school without any obstructions and while I am in medical school/doing a residency in the National Guard I would be immune to deployments? Is it true that after ROTC I could be deployed as a standard officer/be deployed during medical school?

    I really would like to be associated with the military in some way during undergrad and receive financial assistance. The Active Duty military pathway is clear cut with ROTC and HPSP, but the undergraduate part of the National Guard is unclear to me. Is there any undergraduate assistance offered by the National Guard (I live in WI) A Guard recruiter came to my high school and said they'd pay full undergrad tuition, but that was if you went in enlisted, are there any alternatives?

    Once again thank you in advance for your insight.
     
  6. IgD

    IgD The Lorax
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    So in other words, you want something for nothing. How could that be true?
     
  7. Kallistos

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    No, I thought that if I accepted a 4 year ROTC scholarship I would be able to serve the 4 year obligation after I graduated from Medical School/Residency.
     
  8. IgD

    IgD The Lorax
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    I've heard of a few people taking this route but it carries significant risks as described above.
     
  9. AandW

    AandW Habagat
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    To help you understand the ROTC to National Guard doctor route, and variations of the same....

    I am contracted with the ROTC to become an officer this next May. There are many different kinds of ROTC Cadets. Some have scholarships, some don't. Some have plans to be active duty officers while others like me plan to be National Guard officers. Each of us will have 8 year officer commitments when we graduate. This is called a Minimum Service Obligation (MSO). But each of our MSOs are structured differently, depending on whether or not we received scholarship money or not and depending on whether we are Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard officers.

    Active Duty officers are typically required to serve 4 years of active duty + 4 years of inactive ready reserve (IRR). Personally, I will have a "6+2" year commitment. This means I will spend 6 years in an "active" status and two years in an "inactive" status beginning this coming May. The "active" national guard years means I will be attending monthly training assignments or "drills" in addition to one 14 day assignment sometime during the year (typically during summer months). During "inactive" years, there are no such assignments. I could deployed anytime during these 8 years. If you contract with the ROTC you will incur some kind of MSO.

    When I guaranteed the ROTC that I would be a National Guard officer, I gave up the HPSP option. Had I chosen to pursue it I would have incurred the respective active duty obligation in addition to the ROTC "4+4" MSO described above. Like you, I couldn't see myself (nor could my wife see herself) being moved around by the army. In the National Guard you are free to live wherever you choose. You will also be free to pick your unit of assignment, even if it is Texas and you are living in California (not recommended).

    It is true that only some cadets who wish to attend medical school, law school, etc. must get "education delay" status and those are limited. It is also true that the ROTC program uses an infantry branch model to instill and assess leadership. This could be viewed as either an unnecessary obstacle or a diversified experience that will help acquaint you with Army ethos and culture.

    More about me... I originally enlisted in the Army as a linguist before joining the ROTC as an SMP (Simultaneous Membership Program = simulaneously in the National Guard and the ROTC) cadet. The experiences that resulted from this alone added some interesting color to my med school applications. It also qualified me for GI Bill and Federal Tuition Assistance. These programs covered most of my undergraduate education costs. The ROTC stipend ($400-500 per month) was helpful. I did not receive any scholarship money from the ROTC. I could have, and I wonder if I should have contracted with a Guaranteed Reserve Forced Duty scholarship.

    Presently, I am holding a few acceptances to medical schools. As a result, I am able to access (pronounced assess) as a Medical Service Corp officer this coming May. It has been up to me to find a medical unit in the National Guard that I would like to join. I could stay in a unit in my home state while I went to medical school, but since I want to be an ASR I will be joining a National Guard unit in the state I choose to attend medical school. All details of the ASR (and future changes) can be applied to me on this point. What I expect is to receive active-duty pay and benefits for three of my four years of medical school. This is the maximum benefit. I will still conduct monthly training assignments and the 14-day annual training (dictated by the state ASR director but thought to be medical and recruiting related). There is no added MSO as a result of my participation in this program. I will still conclude my "6+2" MSO 8 years from this coming May. This does mean that my med school and residency years are counted toward my MSO.

    The National Guard AMEDD recruiters I have been speaking to lately in each state are accustomed to recruiting med students, dental students, and PA students who have no MSOs. These new to the Army recruits will incur 8 year MSOs and be directly commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants. I will share the same rank as them despite my additional time being cultured in the Army. But, I will be at an advantage when pay checks arrive because of my added time in service. Also, I will be able to retire earlier than these late-comers. By the time I am fully trained as a primary care doctor (my preference) I will have nearly 13 years of service. Of course, I could choose to leave the National Guard at this point. Or I could stick around because I like it and my little girl will want my bonus for going to college.

    With National Guard I will be able live the civilian life and still answer the call to serve. It is a perfect fit for me, but it won't be for everyone. I sure appreciate those who find a fit with the active duty side. I have no less admiration for those who choose to employ their citizenship outside the military entirely.

    I hope this answers some questions in addition to inviting further questions and discussion. I need to go for now. The little one needs a bath.
     
  10. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    Yes, BUT:

    1) You need to get into medical school on your first try for this plan to work. Otherwise they deploy you as a line officer. It took me two tries to get in. Hope for the best but plan for the worst, you know? I had a great HS GPA/SAT too, BTW. College premed is a different animal.

    2) There's no guarentee they'll let you go to medical school even if you get in. Once you've accepted an ROTC scholarship you need to apply for the right to attend medical school. Right now they're short on applicants for the medical corps so if you have a med school acceptance you're pretty much allowed to go. If the situation/culture changes, they may decide to make you serve out your time as a line officer.

    3) If they let you go to medical school, you'll probably be going on a military scholarship (I'm not sure it's required, but with what officers are paid theres no other feasible financial options anyway). The obligations for the ROTC and military scholarships are served consecutively, so after residency (when you're at least 29 years old) you'd have a minimum of eight years of military service left ahead of you. If you end up not liking the military (a lot can change in a decade, when you're 17) you're talking about a lot of your life that you'd be stuck with them. Keep in mind that there's a lot of complaints about military medicine that aren't applicable to the miliary in general.

    4) Even if you get in on the first try, they let you go, and you love military medicine, chances are you'd be giving up a fortune by taking the ROTC scholarship. The bonuses they pay to retain you as a doctor can be an order of magnitude greater than what you'd have gotten out of the ROTC scholarship for the same four year obligation. No reason to give up more money than you have to.

    So, yeah. Spend your time in college as a civlian and maybe drill with the ROTC unit during your senior year (no scholarship/obligation) if you really want a taste of the culture. Worry about military scholarships when you actually get into medical school.
     
  11. Kallistos

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    I feel as though I am in the same situation that you were in 4 years ago. :)

    I had no idea that the Army wouldn't allow you to go into medical school unimpeded after ROTC, better I learn it now than 4 years from now.

    For me the ROTC - HPSP route isn't too pleasing, I wouldn't want to be moved around by the Army, personally I hate moving and would rather settle in one place. That and I can't see myself living anywhere other than the Midwest.

    This leaves me with the National Guard route, you said that you were in ROTC during your undergraduate years and in the SMP (Natl Guard and Army at the same time?) and you still are able to go to medical school?

    The idea of being deployed in medical school or being forced to work in a different profession after ROTC isn't really an option for me. So it seems like that option is dead.

    I recently spoke to a hero on call (about a few hours ago on the Natl Guard site) and he explained how I could come into the Guard as enlisted and receive full tuition in my state (Wisconsin) and then enter the ASR program. Does anyone know anything about this route? Would I be deployable during medical school/residency.

    Right now this seems like a last option for me being affiliated with the National Guard during Undergrad, I'll talk more about this with my recruiter. If anyone has anything more to add it'd be very much appreciated, the previous responses have been extremely helpful!
     
  12. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    Sure, I'll add something. NO. I have no earthly idea why anyone would join the national guard these days. It's a guarenteed trip to war. You might as well go AD and at least get the full GI bill. Your recruiter will tell you it's a great idea, BTW. Ignore your recruiter and all future recruiters. Why the furvor to be military before you've graduated college? Why not just one and then the other? I mean with your grades it seems like you shouldn't have too much of a problem getting a real, no obligation scholarship for undergrad. Also state school, for undergrad, are pretty danged cheap anyway.

    I think he's refering to HPCP, a program only offered to medical school students. It's an alternitve to HPSP, and you can look up the details on this forum. If you're on the HPSP or HPCP scholarship then you can't be deployed. But you need to get the scholarship first, which means getting into medical school. The only thing you can join in undergrad that doesn't deploy is ROTC, which has the problems I mentioned above. Joining the National Guard in Undergrad means they CAN deploy you!

    Also, 'hero on call'? Was 'Army physician' really that hard to put on the website?

    If this is the case you would want to avoid the military entirely. They will move you to anywhere in the country they want, as often as they want to, whenever and however you join.
     
    #11 Perrotfish, Dec 10, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  13. AandW

    AandW Habagat
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    Point: When you are a part of the ROTC, HPSP, or ASR program you are considered "non-deployable." Essentially you are training for your job and the Army won't put you to work until you are fully trained. ROTC and AMEDD recruiters can validate this. Nobody knows medical scenarios but AMEDD recruiters, especially if your questions entail the very new ASR program.

    Point: The ROTC bridge to HPSP will be competitive... subject to your performance in the infantry model as a cadet and as a student. If you want to be a National Guard doctor/officer you should do your best in the ROTC program, but your acceptance to medical school will completely drive the kind of officer you will be.

    Point: There is a Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty scholarship for cadets wishing to stick with the Reserve or National Guard. This would be in addition to your ROTC stipend.
     
  14. Kallistos

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    Ah sorry posted at the same time as you and didn't read your post. So, the transition between ROTC and Medical school are a little more complicated than I thought. I like to be confident and say I could get into med school on the first try (my sister did) but like you said, plan for the worst and being a line officer isn't what I want to be. Could you further explain on your 4th point, are you saying that by taking a ROTC scholarship, my benefits/pay later on as a doctor would be lessend due to having already received the chunk of money from the scholarship?

    Right now I'm thinking (changed my mind 3 times today >.>) if I went enlisted, and got 4 years of tuition paid for and then went ASR, which is 3 years I would graduate with only 1 year of obligation to serve. (am I calculating this correctly?) Also, if say on the first time I don't get accepted, wouldn't the worst that could happen is for the year between the next application process I'd have to drill with the National Guard (2 days a month, 14 days in the summer)?
     
  15. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    Alright, I'm not this far in my career yet, so someone correct me if I'm wrong here:

    From what I unerstand, when your obligation as a physician is up, you have the option to accept another obligation and continue working with the military. To make this a more attractive idea, compared to the huge salaries in the civilian world, they offer you a gigantic bonus for staying (it still doesn't make up the pay gap compared to the civilian world, of course, but it's a significant amount of money). If, however, 4 years after residency you still have another 4 years of obligation left to go they don't need to give you a bonus, because your obligation isn't up yet. They don't need to pay you to stay because they already have. So you've traded maybe 10k/year in state school tuition from an ROTC scholarshiop for 5-10 times that amount in annual bonuses for extending your obligation as a physician.

    What? The worst thing that can happen here is that they send you to Iraq halfway through college. I think you're confusing the National guard program for medical students with just enlisting in the national guard during college. If you do the National Guard program for medical students you can't be deployed during medical school. If you just enlist during college I think it's the same as enlisting in the guard if you went to work after HS: you can get deployed and you have to drill (doesn't matter if you have a huge organic test after the weekend where you drill, either). Also you're going to eat up two full summers with basic training and then your MOS school. And I don't see the return here. DON'T JOIN THE GUARD. ROTC is a better option than the national guard. So, once again:

    Waiting until medical school to join>> ROTC/a service academy followed by Medical School >>>>>>>>>> enlisting in the national guard during Undergrad.

    Again, why are you so sure you want to be in the military before finishing college? Why can't this wait?
     
    #14 Perrotfish, Dec 10, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  16. dwb8p

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    Like the previous poster, I am also in ROTC (Army) and will be commissioning this May. A couple months ago I received an education delay from the Army, allowing me to delay my active duty committment after graduation and attend medical school. If I had not been selected by the Army to receive an education delay, I would have been forced to join my peers as a platoon leader of some line unit, be it active or reserve forces.

    Receiving an education delay in Army ROTC is definitely not a guarantee, but at the same time it is not incredibly competitive (or at least not significantly more competitive than gaining admission to a medical school). To put it in perspective, only 16 Army ROTC cadets out of ~4000 nationwide were granted an ed delay this past year. Pre-meds are an insignificant minority among Army ROTC cadets, and therefore it is often difficult meeting the demands of both programs (pre-med & rotc) while going through undergrad. That's not to say it's impossible (obviously others have done it), but the hardest part for me during undergrad was juggling my extracirricular activities and committments in order to best position myself for both Army ROTC accessions and medical school admissions. Also, from what I have heard from friends, the other services (Navy, Air Force) are even more stringent in granting ed delays.

    Although I have been admitted to civilian medical schools and could elect to take the HPSP scholarship over the next four years, I will instead be attending USUHS (the military's medical school) in the Fall. Going to USUHS is a different route than HPSP, because you are active duty the entire time (you get paid more than HPSP), and you also incur a greater committment afterwards (7 vs 4 years). In other words, I will be the Army's bitch for at least the next 18 years while on active duty (4 years at USUHS + 3 residency + 11 committment).

    In hindsight, I do not know what I was thinking taking that ROTC scholarship four years ago. I did not realize how unnecessary joining ROTC was in order to become an Army doctor, and I certainly was not cognizant of how restrictive ROTC would be on my career. As a pre-med, an ROTC committment is realistically not just 4 years active duty like the rest of your peers, but at least 7 even if you do not have the military pay for your medical school (via HPSP/USUHS). This is because all ROTC cadets who receive an ed delay must complete a military residency just like those who were not ROTC but took HPSP. Additionally, very few ROTC graduates do not take the HPSP or USUHS route, simply because they have already been locked into the military for 7 years minimum and figure they might as well just have their medical school paid for as well. Then you're looking at 11 years active duty.

    Saying that, there were indeed particular experiences I gained from ROTC that set me apart from my civilian peers and no doubt enhanced my medical school application. The biggest opportunity was probably my internship at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany last summer. It was essentially a glorified shadowing job, but nonetheless allowed me to actually talk to and work with active duty physicians (of all services) and get a taste of military medicine.

    Whether or not taking ROTC was the best planning decision on my part 4 years ago, it has been a worthwhile experience for me. I have learned how to actually lead others, done a bunch of the hooah hooah stuff, and at the very least have a better understanding of and respect for my future patient base.

    Has it prepared me better for military medicine, however? I doubt it. My recommendation for you if you are still interested in ROTC would be to try it out your first year of college when you are without obligation even if under scholarship. This will give you time to further weigh your options, get a better feel for the military, and decide if committing yourself to the military right now is truly worth the perks of ROTC scholarship--free college tuition, a monthly stipend, and waking up at 0600 for PT several times a week.
     
  17. Kallistos

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    Okay, overwhelming majority reccomending not taking the ROTC route.

    The reason I considered the Enlisted to ASR path was from the Online chat at the National Guard website. From now I think it's best I stop assuming things...and I didn't really take into account the whole drill whether it's final exams or not. I give in Perrot, I guess waiting until medical school to join would be my best bet. Although I would like to add that I'm 99% sure (from reading/the other poster) that if I joined the Guard I could choose where I wanted to work.

    It's a hard feeling to explain, I've always wanted to join the military and this is the time when I'm eligble so I guess I'm in a hurry to throw myself in. Since going in enlisted and going ROTC do not seem beneficial, I guess I'll have to wait and go into the National Guard ASR program after I get a medical school acceptance.

    Calling it a night - I'll check again tommorow and send out some PM's - thank you all for the input.
     
    #16 Kallistos, Dec 10, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  18. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    I think everyone understands the feeling. If you want a little taste of military culture definitely drill with the ROTC for a year. As long as you don't take their money there's no obligation. Also the Navy occasionally recruits premeds for mission trips with the Comfort of the Mercy, so keep an eye out for that. Finally make sure you know what you want to do. Maybe, upon reflection, you'll realize you do want to spend a few years as a line officer, and then go to medical school as a civilian. We have several veterans in my medical school class, there's nothing wrong with doing one and then the other. Anyway, good luck with whatever you choose to do.
     
  19. Galo

    Galo Senior Member
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    Clearly you are very smart. Be sure you read through this forum thoroughly, and contact as many military physicians as you can. I'd avoid doing anything that commits you to the military at this time. Go to college, do great, have fun, and then go to med school, do the same, get well trained, and then look at the military. None of us can predict what will happen in 10-15 yrs, and that's how long it may take for you to be finished with your training. PM me if you like.
     
  20. DrMetal

    DrMetal To shred or not shred?
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    all good advice above, read and heed!

    I'd just echo that you should only go ROTC if you're interested in serving in the line military , and by 'line', I mean you'd be in some sort of war-fighting (or in direct support of) capacity. You'd perhaps pilot a ship, or a plane, or be an infantry officer, etc etc. Now this is something you may want to do, it can definitely serve as a nice break in between college and med school, and it can definitely give you another perspective on life! But you have to want to do it.

    Although it's possible to go from ROTC to med school, it is competitive and difficult. If you want to go straight from college to med school, it's probably best to not do ROTC.

    Another piece of advice I can give all undergrads (or soon to be), CONCENTRATE ON YOUR GPA! Your undergrad GPA is crucial, will follow you where-ever you go, should you decide to go to medicine or something else. And it can't be changed once you finish college.

    Avoid getting involved in a dozen extra-curricular activities (ECs), which I'm sure you've done in high school. ECs are great, but they're the #1 GPA killers. Get involved in 1 or 2 (at most 3!), and get strongly involved (hold a leadership position, etc). But don't get involved in too much, they'll eat up your time. Besides, med schools don't look for the # of ECs but rather how passionate you are.
     
  21. Kallistos

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    Okay, so I've spoken with my sister (2nd year med student) and she recommended looking into some 6 year medical school programs. One that caught my eye is the program at the University of Missouri - Kansas City where I would apply as a senior in high school and go 6 years straight to MD. Very attractive program considering there's guaranteed admission into the medical school/no MCAT requirement.

    The only BIG problem is tuition. I'm in Wisconsin and out of state tuition is roughly $50,000 a year. I really have no idea how I would pay for this, I'd rather not be 26 and have $300k worth of loans + interest.

    Any idears? :)
     
  22. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Yeah. Don't do it. Those programs are exploitive.

    Most premeds will change their minds and not become physicians. Once you're halfway through a program like this, if you have doubts, you are incented to ignore your gut and keep going. Medicine soon becomes a field that is very difficult to leave due to investment and you can wind up one of these bitter physicians that feel handcuffed to their career.

    Alternately, you can change your mind and leave the program, in which case you find yourself saddled with a whole lot of debt at an average-at-best school. With the exception of, I believe, Brown, none of the other shortened BA-to-med-school programs are at top notch schools.

    Do four years of undergrad and experiment and have fun and broaden your horizons. It truly will make you a better doctor and (more importantly) a happier human being in the long run.
     
  23. Kallistos

    7+ Year Member

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    I understand Missouri is much less prestigious than UW-Madison but I'd like to keep my options open. Since I was a kid I've wanted to be a physician so I doubt I'll have a change of mind in the middle of school.

    Regardless, I will still be applying to UW-Madison for the traditional 4 year undergrad to 4 year medical school. With this 6 year program, does the Navy/AF/Army provide 6 year HPSP scholarships?
     
  24. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    I've heard this a lot, even in medical school, and it's always baffled me. My ambitions are/were, in reverse chronological order: doctor-Marine-doctor-engineer-chemist-nanotechnologist-journalist-lawyer-politician-billionare buisnessman-Marine-Ninja Turtle. How in the world did you choose your career when you were too young to drive? Honestly you should go into college with an open mind, there are a lot of other great careers out there and you might find one that's a better match for who you are than medicine.

    I'd say go with the option that has less debt, both because I think it leaves you with fewer options if things go wrong (sh!t happens) and because I personally had a really good time in college and I think you should enjoy those years rather than trying to rush through them. That's me, though. No idea if HPSP would cover all 6 years, though I'd bet they'd find a way to make it work. My only definite advice is not to accept any deal that has you going into the military with 100K of debt (i.e., you pay for the first two years and they pay for the rest). Military salaries, though not bad, really aren't enough that you want to be paying down that kind of debt if you have an option about it. And again I think you're GPA is high enough that you'd be getting close to full ride scholarships if you just went to a normal state/low tier private school. Or you could pay the ton of money and go to a really prestigious school. But, yeah, this seems like the worst of both worlds to me, though I guess getting done 2 years faster might be nice if you really can't wait to be a doctor. Anyway, end ramble.

    Again, good luck.
     
    #23 Perrotfish, Dec 14, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  25. Kallistos

    7+ Year Member

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    I think I've been tainted a bit by a family tradition of going into either Law or Medicine, not saying that I'm being forced to, I truly do want to be a doctor, but that might explain why from such a young age I've wanted to become a doctor. (Well I started out wanting to drive an 18-wheeler but that's besides the point)

    I'd like to reiterate that I just starting to look into this program although it does have some advantages. 2 years shorter, no MCAT, and just the security of knowing that if I don't bomb my classes I'll go on to be a doctor. This view again could be influenced by watching my sister stress over her MCAT.

    I agree, I wouldn't go this route unless all 6 years were paid for, I know the options I have if I go in-state, but I'd like to speak with someone about how the HPSP could be altered if I chose this 6 year route.

    I also do understand that Missouri isn't the most prestigious school, but I'm not looking to get into some of the most competitive specialties. After graduating the military is going to put me to work regardless of what school I attend. So does anyone know who I should contact to see how the HPSP would work with this 6 year school?

    Thank you all, I've learned so much over the past week. :)
     
  26. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    I don't know much about these programs, but I will recomend that you make absolutely sure you know what 'bombing' your classes means. Questios to ask include: Can you retake a class if you maintain the appropriate GPA? How high a GPA do you need to maintain? Is that every semester or just overall? Make sure that you're not screwed if you get a C in one class, because there's a good chance it will happen. Most of all ask how many students in the program end up as doctors. If it's only 50%, run. If it's 98% it might be worth it (though I still wouldn't trade my college experience for it).

    On the plus side the prestige of your undergrad/medical school has basicially nothing to do with your chances of landing any kind of residency even in the civilian world, let alone in the military. It really only matters at all if you're planning on going into academic medicine, and even then no so much. The reason I might worry about it, though, is that it DOES matter if you decide, after some experience, that you'd rather choose to go Law, or even to be a real rebel and choose engineering.


    A military healthcare recruiter should be able to help you here. Make sure you're not talking to any other kind of recruiter, though, or if you do check back here and make sure their recomendation makes sense in terms of your career. Actually, on second thought, do that in any event.
     
    #25 Perrotfish, Dec 14, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  27. Kallistos

    7+ Year Member

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    Thanks Perrot, I sent an e-mail to a UMKC admissions officer basically asking what you said. :) This program also holds summer classes and I asked after which years in the program these are held, because I'm pretty sure it's not every year.

    I'm also sending an e-mail out to [email protected] to see how this would all work out with it being 6 years and conflicts with the 45 day ADT and actual classes.

    I'll definetely be updating this thread with any information I get.
     
  28. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Just as an aside, I'd be careful with that approach when you apply to medical school. Lots of interviewers get hinky about the whole "it's a family business thing". Some folks feel that family pressure can lead people in to medicine when they're not cut out for it, and they can end up miserable.
    Here's one big disadvantage of the program: they tend to be competitive to get in to. The downside to that is that most applicants who have what it takes to get into a combined BA-MD program by definition have what it takes to get in to a much better medical school.

    Don't discredit the beauty of choice. There are hundreds of medical schools out there and when it comes time to apply, it's nice to have options. Even if a particular program is great for you right now at 18, odds are very good a different one would be better for you by 22 (God save us from the person who is the same individual at 22 that they were at 18...).

    I ended up choosing amongst five medical schools, and I am FAR from what you'd consider a particularly attractive applicant. These schools were in different parts of the country, had different focuses, had different strengths, had different weaknesses, and had different price tags. I can't imaging roping myself in to a single program at 18 by choice. Of the hundreds of schools out there, it's one thing to be forced to go to one because you had no options. But right now, the world is your oyster.
    The MCAT will be a distant memory soon enough. I studied a lot harder for my first block of med school finals than I ever did the MCAT.
    You have no idea what specialty you're interested in at 18. Most medical students change their minds several times during medical school. Also, you have no idea how competitive specialties will be 6 or 8 years from now.

    You will have all your life to be a doctor. The beauty of undergrad is the ability to spend 4 years learning about life and other subjects that you'll probably never have a chance to again.

    Just my $0.02.
     
  29. Kallistos

    7+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I'm definitely not gonna try to pull the everyone else in my family is a doctor that's why I wanna be one. (use of tainted instead of positively influenced :) I realize if I chose this route I would be "theoretically" locked in, but on the flip side can you see the security of hey if I keep my head on straight and work hard I'm going to make it. Regardless, going the traditional route if you work hard you'll make it, but you see what I'm getting at with the guaranteed admission/no MCAT, there's no re-application after undergrad. I have a sense of "security."

    I've read about the various specialties and I absolutely realize that one paragraph cannot completely describe a specialty, (or even come close to).

    Again I'm still going to be applying for Undergrad at UW-Madison for the traditional route and I see no harm in also applying to this program. Worst case is I waste the $50 application fee. :) Obviously I'll be visiting (already visited Madison) both campuses and in the end I'll have to decide which way seems best.

    I've been cursed with wanting to know all my options and therefore I've already found out how the military ties in w/ the traditional route and am in the process of finding out how it'd work with this 6 year route. It's safe to say that none of this would be possible w/o this forum because frankly the general enlistment recruiter I spoke to had a very limited knowledge on health care recruitment.
     
    #28 Kallistos, Dec 15, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
  30. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    This is the logic of marrying the first girl you sleep with because, hey, it's a sure thing.

    If you can get into a rushed BA/MD, you can get in to a medical school. Applying to med school and taking the MCAT is a pain in the *****, but it's not something I'd sacrifice much of my undegrad degree to avoid. It's penny-wise and pound-foolish.

    I'm still waiting for folks tho chime in on what a great idea rushed BA/MD programs are, but I haven't heard much support of them. Given that very few well-respected med schools offer them, I don't think the conventional wisdom is very favorable about them either.
    Good call. Along the way, talk to physicians and ask them if they regretted the undergrad years. For most folks, four years of undergrad are years they look back on the rest of their life with fondness. It's not something you check off to move on to medical school.

    Best of luck with your decisions. Exciting times...
     
  31. IgD

    IgD The Lorax
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    Kallistos, I admire your drive and enthusiasm but my advice is keep your focus on the long term goal but slow down. The medical education pipeline is a journey where you will grow as a person. You have to go through the process before you get to the end. I think a lot of the choices you are trying to make are better made at a later stage. Maintain flexibility by keeping as many bridges open as you can.
     
  32. Kallistos

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    Took a little break and digested everything and talked to my sister and a HPSP recruiter. My sister basically echoed what you all have said, undergrad years are "fun" and these schools aren't necesarily prestigious and turn out "mediocre" doctors. Anyways if I'm going to keep all my options open this still is an option although less appealing as I look further into them.

    I e-mailed a HPSP recruiter about how this would all work out seeing as this is a 6 year program and he replied.

    The students in the six-year program apply for the Army Health
    Care Scholarship in their second year. They'll receive the scholarship
    for the next four years of Med-School.


    I then asked him if there was any assistance for the first two years, seeing as each year is $50k and he said...

    If you took the 4 year Army Health Care Scholarship, your
    pay-back to the Army would be 5 years on Active duty after completion of
    residency. Let's say you did your 5 year pay-back on Active duty and
    then decided to stay on an additional 3 years. For those additional 3
    years, the Army would give you $120,000 towards student loan repayment.

    I really don't know too much about student loans, but let's say I take a $100k loan for the first two years of school. Would I be able to let that loan sit for 9 years without making any payments on it? (I highly doubt this) Has anyone else heard of this $120k loan repayment?

    Happy Holidays!:highfive:
     
  33. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm
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    If you do the regular normal ROTC, you have to apply for the ability to apply to medical school. It's not guaranteed. Also, if you're not ROTC and you don't get into med school, it's not that hard to do some research and buff up your application, and then reapply the next year. Whereas if you're rotc and don't get into med school on your first attempt, you're screwed.

    So, if your goal is be a military physician, first focus on getting into med school. The military will be throwing scholarships at you once you have a med school acceptance letter. Whereas, if your goal is to be in the military, regardless of whether it's as a physician, then do rotc.

    Another thing to keep in mind is the time delay. If you do ROTC + HPSP, keep in mind that you won't actually start paying that 8 year commitment off for approximately 12 years after signing on the dotted line. Yet the military is basically going to own you for that period. So don't look at it as just 8 years, it's much more than that.
     
    #32 Mirror Form, Dec 27, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  34. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
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    A recent change in loan repayment laws means that you won't even be allowed to finish your residency before beginning to repay the loans, let alone residency plus 4 years of active duty service.

    I've never heard of the loan repayment program. I do know there is a rather large bonus they pay to retain you if you stay past 4 years. Is this benifit instead of that one, or in addition to it?

    Anyway, my opinion: this is a horrible idea. You should go to a nice normal college, then medical school with an HPSP scholarship if you still want to do that in 4 years. Also, again, make an honest effort to try out law, engineering, computer science, etc. You may find a better fit than medicine.

    Again, good luck.
     
  35. pokerslut

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    Personal opinion from a guy that enlisted at 17 years old and left for boot camp in 1995-- now studying for STEP I. So I'm half way done with medical school. FYI, I ended up reenlisting and playing poker for 2 years between miliary and medicine. :), hence the "delay".

    Short and sweet: Join the regualar Army straight out of h.s for 3 years with a medical job. That three years will go buy so fast and will accomplish many things to include, money for school, see that you still want to be a doctor? and EXPERIENCE.

    Drop a line for any questions. Gotta get back to the books.
     

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