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How do Med schools look at a Pharm school graduate? Wow somebody please help me

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by PharmEnnui, May 8, 2008.

  1. PharmEnnui


    May 8, 2008
    Hey folks, I've searched all over the web and these forums for people in similar situations to me, but wow it really seems like I'm the only one in the world :( *Any* feedback or answers will be extremely appreciated!

    I'm currently moving on to my second year in pharmacy school and I've realized that I really would like to become a physician instead. My plan is to graduate with my PharmD and then try to go to med school.

    I did pretty crappy my first semester at Pharm school (18 hour semester, all Bs and 1 C = 2.72 GPA) because I really wasn't happy with where I was. I've experience an insane 180 degree turnaround since then (*explained at the bottom) and am extremely motivated about clinical/pathophysiological side of pharmacy (leading me to realize that what I really want to do is become an MD). Long story short, I got straight As this semester, took an extra 4 hours (22 hour semester total compared to regular 18 hour semester) including a 2 hour research elective, and was accepted for a research grant by Solvay pharmaceuticals for full time this summer. My straight As have brought my GPA from 2.72 up to a 3.42.

    Anyways, I am pretty confident I will end up with As for the rest of my time at Pharm school, ending me up with about a 3.844 at Pharm school, some pretty hefty research experience, and pretty good amount of clinical experience (just from attending pharm school itself).

    My undergrad gpa before being admitted to pharm school was 3.66 after 66 hours of study (I got into pharm school without my BS, a normal thing for pharm applicants).

    My questions are the following:

    1. Will the med schools look more heavily on my pharm school GPA than my (weak) undergrad GPA, since it's more recent? Or am I just wishfully thinking that?

    2. Do med schools actually see my attendance at a pharm school as a plus on my application? Or is it actually a negative? I've heard that it's harder for nurses to be accepted to med school, for example, because the school believes that opportunities should be given to applicants who haven't yet been given an opportunity in healthcare.

    3. Do you think med schools will take into any consideration that a high GPA in pharmacy school is really f-ing hard as heck because pharm school is actually quite rigorous (from my perspective so far, compared to undergrad)?

    4. Will I be able to apply to med schools during my 3rd year as a pharm student (like how everyone else applies during their 3rd year in undergrad) or will I have to wait after I graduate from pharmacy school?

    5. Is there any point in trying to go back to take undergrad classes towards a BS to bump up my undergrad GPA if my Pharm school GPA is stronger and more recent?

    To be honest, there is a single school that I *really* want to get into: MCG. My fiancee is going there for dental school and there's no way I'm going to live hundreds of miles away from her. I really feel like I'm in a bind because I've finally found my calling and for the sake of my personal life MCG is the golden opportunity for me. I know that the first rule of applying to med schools is to not put all your eggs in one basket, but I actually only applied to a single Pharm school and got in (my PCAT was 91st percentile among the nation, for what it's worth; not sure what that really indicates). Thoughts?

    If you have any comments or even a single hint of an answer to any of the above questions, I would really really appreciate it. Thanks. :)

    (***Oh yeah, as I mentioned above, my turnaround was due to a book written by David Allen called "Getting Things Done". Turned me into a productivity maniac machine and a straight A student.)
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  3. Bacchus

    Bacchus Administrator Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    1) Your undergraduate degree (your 1st four semesters) is not weak. It will weigh into your overall GPA that is calculated. If you do very well from here on it which it seems like you are fully capable of, it will look good for you. You have a reason for your drop in GPA and quickly rebounded it, as far as I can tell.

    2) The difficult isn't that those who have not experienced healthcare should experience before others. The difficult is that you obtained a professional degree in a field that you "are not interested in." You will probably be asked "why not pharmacy?"

    3)Pharmacy school is rigourus. I have 3 roommates that are going into 4th year. They have taken biochem, physiology, anatomy, immunology, etc. However, regular students take these courses as well. Therefore, I don't think it will hold much accord for you.

    4)You do not have to wait to apply until you graduate.

    5)The PharmD is a professional degree. As such, the years spent in pharmacy school should classified on AMCAS as Graduate (GR). Those hours were not applicable to an undergraduate degree.

    You cannot put all of your eggs in one basket. You can allude to your fiancee going to MCG for dental school and it will have weight but your stats will need to be up to or exceed par.
  4. 146233

    146233 Phthirius pubis

    Apr 12, 2007
    The PharmD is a professional degree. As such, the years spent in pharmacy school should classified on AMCAS as Graduate (GR). Those hours were not applicable to an undergraduate degree. :)
  5. PharmEnnui


    May 8, 2008
    Hey guys, thanks so much for the reply. I think I can make a pretty good case to MCG when they ask me the "Why not pharmacy?" question:

    I'll tell them the truth, which is that while I love the clinical aspects of pharmacy and actually wouldn't mind the career itself, pharmacy school has made me realize that it is the diagnosing, prescribing, and direct patient care aspects of health care that I love the most. Only a career a medicine can offer me that kind of option, and I'm willing to spend yet another huge chunk of my life in school to get there.

    How's that sound? :)

    And you're right about the fact that most other applicants have taken immunology, biochem, etc. which is a very sobering thought since that doesn't really give me any kind of advantage. But what about the courses I'll be taking the next 2 years, like pathophysiology of Renal/CV I,II, and II; Nervous system I and II; Muskoskeletal disorders; endocrine disorders; GI disorders; pulmonary disorders; infectious disease I and II; oncology, etc? I wonder if that will give me an advantage when trying to get into MCG? I'm pretty sure that most applicants won't have that kind of acedemic background, but I am not too familiar with the med school application process (it seems like black art to me). I could just as easily imagine an admissions staff looking at that and saying "So what? Med school students will get the same/better education anyways, how is that an advantage?". Any thoughts on that?

    Thanks again. :)
  6. Vitamin B6

    Vitamin B6

    May 2, 2008
    "Are you a Georgia resident?" Only 5% of the class comes from out of state.
  7. vicinihil

    vicinihil Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2004
    I know another guy from Boston that just got his PharmD from Northeastern University and now sitting for the MCAT in hopes of getting into med school. I think it's doable!
  8. PharmEnnui


    May 8, 2008
    Yeah, I'm a GA resident, thank Zeus. Otherwise I'd have an extremely narrow chance of getting into MCG.
  9. Tygacil

    Tygacil Phar_MD 5+ Year Member

    May 9, 2008
    Hey PharmEnnui,

    Normally I am more of a lurker, but I decided to register to leave my comments regarding your post.

    I am, however, in a similar situation. I am currently a 4th year pharmacy student graduating May '09. I realized in my P2 year that I was more interested in the art of medicine rather then in the art of providing medicine. I have always been a more hands on kind of guy and I am in love with physical assessment.

    I attend a health science campus (that has a med/dental/pharmacy/etc school) and met with the associate dean for medicine last semester and spoke with him regarding the subject. He was very encouraging regarding my possible application. I do not have any specifics, but we had a friendly talk and he made it seem to me that it was looked upon favorably. The only caveat would have been if I applied before I graduated then they would have recommended that I complete my PharmD which is what it appears you will be doing.

    So basically, what I am saying is, you are most definately not alone. The amount of knowledge that you learn in pharmacy school will set you apart from any other incoming first year medical student. You need to apply in accordance with their application cycle. For instance, I will be graduating in May of '09 and wish to enroll in medicine in the Fall of '09 so as soon as the AMCAS comes live next week, I will be filling it out. Also, if I were you I would go ahead and pick up the giant Kaplan MCAT book. Sign up for the MCAT in late July, Early August before you start your P3 year. Study like a madman during the summer. This is what I did. It was very difficult for me (us) because when you think about it, how many years has it been since we've had organic, general chem, physics etc? I still did well, I got around the same PCAT as you and scored a 29T on the MCAT, which was a bit dissapointing but around average acceptance so I am okay with it.

    I've done superb in pharmacy school (3.99 GPA, tied for first in my class, A- in infectious disease, bleh) and as you've done well I believe that shows any medical admissions board that you have what it takes to survive the rigors of medical school.

    So in a nutshell, study hard for the MCAT, meet with the admissions dean for the school you are interested in.

    Best of luck,

  10. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig 10+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    They will look at both.

    We have three former nurses and two PharmD's in our class. On rotations, I have come across at least one ex-pharmacist turned attending (he is an Infectious Disease specialist and the Chief of Internal Medicine at our hospital). The vast majority of our class was neither, so I don't think it makes difference either way.

    Your poor performance during 1st semester will definitely stand out. But generally speaking, undergraduate performance is what every medical school looks at first since it is a way to directly compare you with other candidates (i.e. everyone has an undergraduate gpa).

    Yes, you can apply whenever you wish. Some medical schools require you to finish the current degree you are on, but most do not.

    Its up to you. Do whatever you think is best to help out your GPA. Personally, I would only pick out classes that I also knew I could discuss during an interview (so you can at least come up with a more interesting reason for choosing to take another undergraduate class).
  11. PharmDstudent

    PharmDstudent 7+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    You're not the "only one in the world". :rolleyes: Do some shadowing or volunteer at a hospital. I posted about this a little bit in another pre-allopathic ECs thread (you'll find it in my post history).

    If your GPA stays up, you'll be a shoo in. Unless you have something specific to address concerning your application, you shouldn't be posting threads like this in the general pre-med forum. You're a non-traditional, pre-med student after you graduate from a professional program. It's a totally different ballgame, IMO.

    There is no reason to talk about why you don't want to pursue pharmacy. You want to apply your knowledge of medications more broadly, right? Essentially, you are not discounting your degree in pharmacy... you will use it to supplement your future career as a physician. :idea:

    I don't really know what GPA they will use since you did not finish a bachelors degree. You need to call the school to find out. You can't believe what they post on this forum, because you are in a unique situation.
    :rolleyes: You're assumption of what goes on in pharmacy school seems to be significantly limited. You need to add Pathophysiology, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, Therapeutics, Molecular Biology/Biotechnology, and perhaps Nutrition to the list (all are taken at the professional level!). Pathophys, Pharmacology, Therapeutics, and Nutrition (at least the fundamentals) will be repeated in medical school. Therefore, I think it will hold much accord for him!
  12. Dr2Bee

    Dr2Bee 2+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    I know of an anesthesiologist that was a pharmacist before going the medical route. He had worked for couple years as a pharmacist and then decided he wanted something more, so returned back to medical school.

    I think its doable, but be prepared to justify your decision for changing your mind midway through pharmacy school. It raises some concerns because you're taking up a spot in pharm school. Adcoms may wonder whats to assure it won't happen again in med school. I also agree with our fellow posters, try to speak with a dean at a med school to see what they think. Good luck.
  13. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig 10+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    I don't see what the problem is with just being honest and saying you don't want to do pharmacy. Its your life. This theory that you're taking up someone else's spot is bogus. People have used that line for nursing students all the time. Its as if theres this myth that so many people were dying to have their precious slot in pharm or nursing school in the first place. Hogwash.

    Anyhow, of all the other degrees you can receive, I think a pharm degree is among the most practical for future doctors. While being a nurse probably won't do much for you during your first few years in medical school (particularly basic sciences), having a strong background in pharm will absolutely help.
  14. PharmDstudent

    PharmDstudent 7+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Great post!

    Schools admit students, not the other way around. If he was required by the school to practice pharmacy after graduation, then he would be obligated to be a pharmacist. Since this is not the case, I agree that "it's [his] life".
    We live in a society where someone's occupation (legal occupation of course!) is not set by the government or familial lines, minus the military or contract work. Simply stated, he can work wherever he wants if he has the means to do it.

    Instead of saying that he doesn't want to do pharmacy, I think he needs to address what he does want to do. As long as his desire to practice medicine is sincere, rational, or at least thoughtful, then he doesn't need to talk about why "[he doesn't] want to do pharmacy". That information is completely irrelevant when he starts medical school.

    The question is... Why does he want to do medicine? To the OP, there may not be anything wrong with pharmacy. Therefore, he may not have justification as to why he doesn't want to do it. He may just want to do medicine instead, because he prefers that line of work.
    My point is that he wants to do medicine for some reason. That is what he needs to put center stage when it's interview time.

    I also agree that a PharmD is very practical. I can not say how practical it will be, but I believe that his knowledge of medications will put him at an advantage when he takes Pharmacology, which is suppose to be one of the hardest classes in medical school. He will also be very familiar with medications that are used therapeutically to treat disease states.
  15. PharmEnnui


    May 8, 2008
    Wow! :D Thanks for all the responses! I had no idea I would get so much great feedback. You guys have really eased my mind...I somehow got the idea that because of my situation I didn't stand a chance of doing what I wanted to do in life. This is really encouraging guys, I'm starting to study for the MCAT this summer. It's really good knowing that some other folks are in the same boat as me too.

    For once, a forum actually provided really helpful answers. :)

    Thanks again to everyone.
  16. chr123

    chr123 7+ Year Member

    Jul 7, 2007
    Did you ever think about clinical pharmacy? I know a lot of pharmacists who did a 1 or 2 year residency after pharmacy school.
  17. PharmEnnui


    May 8, 2008
    Yes, I've thought about that a lot actually. The emphasis is on drug monitoring, MTM, etc. with clinical pharmacy, which is actually quite fascinating. But I am pretty certain that I'd like to be in a healthcare provider role that demands the challenge of diagnosing, deciding treatment, and prescribing. Clinical pharmacy (and nursing for that matter) is slowly nudging in that direction, but with pretty severe limitations. The physician role is the only viable career choice (currently, in my best judgment) in our health system that puts me there.

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