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How to explain change of major in interview/personal statement

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amanda_jsu11

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In the spring of 2014, I started the BSN program at my university. I completed one semester unsuccessfully, with my final grades being pharmacology-B, assessment-B,nursing fundamentals-C.
I did not enjoy nursing school for several reasons.
1) I never wanted to be a nurse.. I chose nursing because of my interest in the medical field. I felt that I was not cut out for med school so it was never an option in my mind. I found myself daydreaming in class and losing interest in the lectures.
2) I have always felt a sense of comfort by a thorough understanding of the task at hand. I appreciate details and ask "why" about literally everything. I became frustrated in nursing school because there were so many things I did not fully understand such as why one medication is used over another or why this patient is receiving this medication? What is physiologically happening to this patient? What is this medication doing for this patient? How does it work?
3) I was at a point in my life where I was unsure of myself, had issues with my spirituality, and became depressed which in turn affected my grades.

I changed my major to biology/chemistry and have been doing extremely well in my classes. I have a year left of undergrad with a 4.0 sGPA, 3.6 oGPA on account of the nursing school slump. I have come a long way spiritually and feel more motivated and hopeful than ever.

So with all that in mind, my question is how do I explain this in an interview? From what I have read, interviewers will ask about any classes that weakened your GPA. Is this true? Should I talk about this experience in my personal statement? Explain my reasoning for changing my major?
Do I tell them about my depression and identity crisis?
Is this considered a weakness/strength?
 

OrdinaryDO

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You know, just my thought process on this whole thing:
1.) it is alarming that you chose a field you knew you never wanted to do just to get into the medical field. This is alarming, because how would medical schools discern without a doubt that you really WANT to attend medical school?
2.) Your poor performance in nursing school may raise a few red flags being that nursing is much less rigorous than medical school, and by a long shot at that.
3.) your reasoning for doing poor is very concerning, being that those classes are some of the classes you will be taking in medical school, but with a much higher yield of material.

These are just my opinions and in no way, shape, or form indicate what ADCOMS will think or say about your application. However, I think it would be suicidal to your application if you didn't address this in your primary or definitely in your secondary. There are several schools that offer an opportunity to address any concerning factors that you feel might have some impact on the decision of the ADCOMS. I would save it for the secondary application, but if this was a key component in directing your path to medical school, then definitely mention it in your primary and expand upon it in your secondary.

Your grades and MCAT are easily competitive for DO schools, but the whole picture has to make sense and fit their system. Therefore, I think it would be wise to address this as soon as possible and be able to answer questions regarding everything that went on, because I can guarantee you they will ask why you chose to drop nursing..I can promise you they will ask that one for sure.
 

amanda_jsu11

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1.) it is alarming that you chose a field you knew you never wanted to do just to get into the medical field. This is alarming, because how would medical schools discern without a doubt that you really WANT to attend medical school?
I chose nursing with the intentions of becoming a CRNA. I have always wanted to attend medical school, just didn't believe I was good enough. Won't my MCAT and pre-req performance be enough to ensure I can handle med school?

2.) Your poor performance in nursing school may raise a few red flags being that nursing is much less rigorous than medical school, and by a long shot at that.
If given the chance to retake these classes, and actually take them serious, I am 100% sure that I could easily make an A.

3.) your reasoning for doing poor is very concerning, being that those classes are some of the classes you will be taking in medical school, but with a much higher yield of material.
The classes were not the issue; the technicality of the job is what deterred me.
I cannot explain the place I was in during that time in my life. The self-destructive state of mind had been there previous to nursing school and took a lot of time and effort to change. Being a medical student, you should know the effects of depression.

Based on feedback from professors/advisors/med students, acceptance shouldn't be an issue. Im only curious as to how I should explain my situation during my time in the BSN program. Is a rough semester reason enough to receive rejection?


You know, just my thought process on this whole thing:
1.) it is alarming that you chose a field you knew you never wanted to do just to get into the medical field. This is alarming, because how would medical schools discern without a doubt that you really WANT to attend medical school?
2.) Your poor performance in nursing school may raise a few red flags being that nursing is much less rigorous than medical school, and by a long shot at that.
3.) your reasoning for doing poor is very concerning, being that those classes are some of the classes you will be taking in medical school, but with a much higher yield of material.

These are just my opinions and in no way, shape, or form indicate what ADCOMS will think or say about your application. However, I think it would be suicidal to your application if you didn't address this in your primary or definitely in your secondary. There are several schools that offer an opportunity to address any concerning factors that you feel might have some impact on the decision of the ADCOMS. I would save it for the secondary application, but if this was a key component in directing your path to medical school, then definitely mention it in your primary and expand upon it in your secondary.

Your grades and MCAT are easily competitive for DO schools, but the whole picture has to make sense and fit their system. Therefore, I think it would be wise to address this as soon as possible and be able to answer questions regarding everything that went on, because I can guarantee you they will ask why you chose to drop nursing..I can promise you they will ask that one for sure.
 

mathnerd88

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Take the MCAT, report back your score, then we'll talk. All of this is moot if you don't have the right stats and EC's. MCAT is a huge part of your application.

It seems that you have a great GPA, but without an MCAT score, we can't really give any advice. Also, isn't pharmacology counted as a science course? If you got a B in it, how can you have a 4.0 sGPA?
 
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OrdinaryDO

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1.) it is alarming that you chose a field you knew you never wanted to do just to get into the medical field. This is alarming, because how would medical schools discern without a doubt that you really WANT to attend medical school?
I chose nursing with the intentions of becoming a CRNA. I have always wanted to attend medical school, just didn't believe I was good enough. Won't my MCAT and pre-req performance be enough to ensure I can handle med school?

2.) Your poor performance in nursing school may raise a few red flags being that nursing is much less rigorous than medical school, and by a long shot at that.
If given the chance to retake these classes, and actually take them serious, I am 100% sure that I could easily make an A.

3.) your reasoning for doing poor is very concerning, being that those classes are some of the classes you will be taking in medical school, but with a much higher yield of material.
The classes were not the issue; the technicality of the job is what deterred me.
I cannot explain the place I was in during that time in my life. The self-destructive state of mind had been there previous to nursing school and took a lot of time and effort to change. Being a medical student, you should know the effects of depression.

Based on feedback from professors/advisors/med students, acceptance shouldn't be an issue. Im only curious as to how I should explain my situation during my time in the BSN program. Is a rough semester reason enough to receive rejection?

You wanted to be a CRNA, so why did you back out? Be careful with your confidence, it's a gutsy statement to say "acceptances shouldn't be an issue," because I have seen many people not get in with excellent stats. Schools may offer you an interview, MAYBE, but they need to like you as a person before you can ever expect to get an acceptance. I think you should be okay on paper, but you better have a very good explanation for why you dropped the BSN program, because it is a red flag on your application. The MCAT is key. They will ask you why you did poorly in nursing school as well, and you need to have a true and confident answer because those issues could arise again in medical school. Basically, you sort of gave them ammo to use against you, BUT, that could be a blessing in disguise. You can use that as a chance to show them how you have matured and how you made a mistake and stepped back to rehash your life goals. Maturity is a big deal for medical schools and that could be your chance to shine. Just be careful with what you say.
 

mathnerd88

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You wanted to be a CRNA, so why did you back out? Be careful with your confidence, it's a gutsy statement to say "acceptances shouldn't be an issue," because I have seen many people not get in with excellent stats. Schools may offer you an interview, MAYBE, but they need to like you as a person before you can ever expect to get an acceptance. I think you should be okay on paper, but you better have a very good explanation for why you dropped the BSN program, because it is a red flag on your application. The MCAT is key. They will ask you why you did poorly in nursing school as well, and you need to have a true and confident answer because those issues could arise again in medical school. Basically, you sort of gave them ammo to use against you, BUT, that could be a blessing in disguise. You can use that as a chance to show them how you have matured and how you made a mistake and stepped back to rehash your life goals. Maturity is a big deal for medical schools and that could be your chance to shine. Just be careful with what you say.

I completely agree with this. At my interviews adcoms mentioned that they could've easily filled the class up with high GPA and MCAT candidates but they also want personable people in their class who aren't just GPA and MCAT drones. They want someone who can bring something new to the table and bring their experiences with them.

You just have to figure out a good way to explain why you want to become a physician and how your unique experiences contributed to that.

I used to think DO schools were easy to get into a couple years ago, but my opinion of that has drastically changed. It isn't easy anymore, and they're looking for more than just stats. I know if I applied last year I may not have gotten in, even though I have the same stats.

Also OP, if you can't do well in nursing school, how can you do well in medical school? Medical school is a lot more intensive than nursing school. A rough semester should be okay, but you have to show that you have recently improved.
 
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TUVIX

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Don't address it at all? Who cares that you changed majors? People in college are trying to figure out what they want to study. If you took the premed requirements it kind of doesn't matter. Plus, it seems like your reasoning is kind of odd so just avoid it and focus on why you want to be a doc. If you are going to address it I would have it be one sentence like "While I studied nursing I realized that I was interested in finding deeper understanding of my patient's illnesses on a molecular and physiological level, so I changed my course of study to stimulate this interest...blah blah." Don't focus on it. PS is to find out who you are and why you want to/should be a doc.
 

amanda_jsu11

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Don't address it at all? Who cares that you changed majors? People in college are trying to figure out what they want to study. If you took the premed requirements it kind of doesn't matter. Plus, it seems like your reasoning is kind of odd so just avoid it and focus on why you want to be a doc. If you are going to address it I would have it be one sentence like "While I studied nursing I realized that I was interested in finding deeper understanding of my patient's illnesses on a molecular and physiological level, so I changed my course of study to stimulate this interest...blah blah." Don't focus on it. PS is to find out who you are and why you want to/should be a doc.

I agree. But they will ask me why I did poorly in these classes and I am not sure how to answer that since my reasoning seems to be "odd".
 

amanda_jsu11

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You wanted to be a CRNA, so why did you back out? Be careful with your confidence, it's a gutsy statement to say "acceptances shouldn't be an issue," because I have seen many people not get in with excellent stats. Schools may offer you an interview, MAYBE, but they need to like you as a person before you can ever expect to get an acceptance. I think you should be okay on paper, but you better have a very good explanation for why you dropped the BSN program, because it is a red flag on your application. The MCAT is key. They will ask you why you did poorly in nursing school as well, and you need to have a true and confident answer because those issues could arise again in medical school. Basically, you sort of gave them ammo to use against you, BUT, that could be a blessing in disguise. You can use that as a chance to show them how you have matured and how you made a mistake and stepped back to rehash your life goals. Maturity is a big deal for medical schools and that could be your chance to shine. Just be careful with what you say.

I backed out because I did not enjoy nursing school and I saw a window of opportunity and took it. I learned about the AA program that allows students with a pre-med background to become an anesthetist without going through nursing school. So I chose a major that I love and had plans to apply to this grad school @Emory University or South University in Savannah, GA. As I made my way through the first and second semester as a biology major, I began considering medical school in hopes of landing a residency in anesthesiology. Like I said, I know that acceptance is extremely difficult. But I have been told by so many that I should go for it. I still have AA school as back up I suppose. And I do believe that I have truly grown and matured from these experiences.
 

amanda_jsu11

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Take the MCAT, report back your score, then we'll talk. All of this is moot if you don't have the right stats and EC's. MCAT is a huge part of your application.

It seems that you have a great GPA, but without an MCAT score, we can't really give any advice. Also, isn't pharmacology counted as a science course? If you got a B in it, how can you have a 4.0 sGPA?

I was referring to the pre-req courses required to apply to med school along with the other various science courses I have taken. I was unaware pharmacology would be averaged into my sGPA.
 

mathnerd88

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I backed out because I did not enjoy nursing school and I saw a window of opportunity and took it. I learned about the AA program that allows students with a pre-med background to become an anesthetist without going through nursing school. So I chose a major that I love and had plans to apply to this grad school @Emory University or South University in Savannah, GA. As I made my way through the first and second semester as a biology major, I began considering medical school in hopes of landing a residency in anesthesiology. Like I said, I know that acceptance is extremely difficult. But I have been told by so many that I should go for it. I still have AA school as back up I suppose. And I do believe that I have truly grown and matured from these experiences.

First off, if you want to do anesthesiology, better go to an MD school. You will have to absolutely be at near the top of your class and then some (ace your boards) to get into a competitive residency if you go DO.

That being said, dropping out of a medical program is a big red flag to adcoms. I believe some secondaries even ask about it. It gives adcoms a reason why they should not take you. They'll wonder if you'll do the same during medical school. You'll have to find a better reason than "nursing didn't provide me with enough deep understanding of the illnesses, so I did poorly in those classes and dropped out to pursue medicine instead." Now, if you graduated nursing school and wanted to do medicine, it would make more sense. I would probably recommend retaking the courses you did badly in to demonstrate ability to handle harder classes.
 
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amanda_jsu11

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First off, if you want to do anesthesiology, better go to an MD school. You will have to absolutely be at near the top of your class and then some (ace your boards) to get into a competitive residency if you go DO.

That being said, dropping out of a medical program is a big red flag to adcoms. I believe some secondaries even ask about it. It gives adcoms a reason why they should not take you. They'll wonder if you'll do the same during medical school. You'll have to find a better reason than "nursing didn't provide me with enough deep understanding of the illnesses, so I did poorly in those classes and dropped out to pursue medicine instead." Now, if you graduated nursing school and wanted to do medicine, it would make more sense. I would probably recommend retaking the courses you did badly in to demonstrate ability to handle harder classes.

The classes I did poorly in are not offered to students outside of the BSN program. Is there some other way to prove myself? I felt that I was wasting time/money on nursing school when I could be doing something I love. It was a very tough decision to make because I know how it looks. How can I show that I am committed/trustworthy?
 

TUVIX

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I agree. But they will ask me why I did poorly in these classes and I am not sure how to answer that since my reasoning seems to be "odd".

Well first of all they may never ask you. I have only been asked about grades once in 5 interviews and my GPA was my weak part of my application. They may not even ask. If they do ask just be honest. Being honest in an interview is really important but how you present yourself in your personal statement should be a little more calculated in terms of what you choose to focus on. They aren't asking you anything in your PS. You are choosing how to present yourself.
 

mathnerd88

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The classes I did poorly in are not offered to students outside of the BSN program. Is there some other way to prove myself? I felt that I was wasting time/money on nursing school when I could be doing something I love. It was a very tough decision to make because I know how it looks. How can I show that I am committed/trustworthy?

Your GPA is good. I honestly think you just need to ace the MCAT and try not to mention any deficiencies in your application. If they ask, just say you were young and jumped into a program prematurely, and later realized it wasn't for you. Be adamant that you want to go to medical school. Use examples on what you've learned throughout your journey that reiterate why you want to go to medical school.

Go shadow some physicians and be sure it is what you want. The best way to convince adcoms is your actions. Go do some volunteer work, work with physicians as much as you can, and present knowledge that you know what you're getting yourself into. Many physicians I know keep telling me it isn't worth it and are depressed. A lot of them wished they chose another career path. You just have to be sure this is exactly what you want and present yourself well.

I'm sure you can get an acceptance somewhere.
 

Goro

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So retake in an SMP or postbac and prove it. Words are easy, doing is hard.

2.) Your poor performance in nursing school may raise a few red flags being that nursing is much less rigorous than medical school, and by a long shot at that.
If given the chance to retake these classes, and actually take them serious, I am 100% sure that I could easily make an A.

3.) your reasoning for doing poor is very concerning, being that those classes are some of the classes you will be taking in medical school, but with a much higher yield of material.
The classes were not the issue; the technicality of the job is what deterred me.
I cannot explain the place I was in during that time in my life. The self-destructive state of mind had been there previous to nursing school and took a lot of time and effort to change. Being a medical student, you should know the effects of depression.

Based on feedback from professors/advisors/med students, acceptance shouldn't be an issue. Im only curious as to how I should explain my situation during my time in the BSN program. Is a rough semester reason enough to receive rejection?[/QUOTE]
 
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