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NotFritz

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Okay, so I'm trying to decide what I should do for the next few years.

As far as some background info goes, I am currently a junior and I'm majoring in clinical lab science (also known as medical lab science), which is a four year degree where we essentially learn how to run all of the lab tests that physician may order, as well as how to provide preliminary diagnoses based on our results as well as patient symptoms. I want to be a doctor, which is why I chose this major rather than Bio or BioChem. I still need to take 2 medical school pre-reqs (biochemistry and physics 2) before applying. My science GPA isn't bad but its not good either (about a 3.3+) and my overall is a 3.6 or something like that. My extracurriculars are good though, I'm the president of my class as well as the president of another student organization. I also work 20 hours a week for university housing. I'm considering getting my masters in molecular pathology, which is a one year program and it would allow me to advance further in the lab (and hopefully look better for medical schools).

So, my dilemma is when should I take my MCAT? I've been studying since December, but I do not feel ready for it at all (and I still need to take bio chemistry and physics 2, both of which are covered on the test) and I don't think I will get into medical school for the fall of 2017. But if, by some stroke of luck, I did get in for the fall of 2017, then there would be no reason for me to get my masters which would save me a year of my life and some money.

Will taking the MCAT before I'm fully ready, and doing poorly on it hurt my chances of getting in in the future?

Also, to anyone who has gotten into medical school with a degree in CLS/MLS or a masters in Molecular Pathology, did having those degrees help you get into as well as once you were in medical school?

And does it sound impossible for me to get in with these scores/GPA/major?
 

eteshoe

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I would not take the MCAT until you're ready. For me this point was when I was consistently scoring in the 90th+ percentile on my practice exams (you can modulate for your preferred range). If a masters would cost you too much, then get a job and take a gap year. Med school is going nowhere and it's better to apply once and apply well.
 
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NotFritz

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I would not take the MCAT until you're ready. For me this point was when I was consistently scoring in the 90th+ percentile on my practice exams (you can modulate for your preferred range). If a masters would cost you too much, then get a job and take a gap year. Med school is going nowhere and it's better to apply once and apply well.

But do you think the masters would help me with getting into medical school as well as getting a residency once I get out? The money isn't an issue (I'm very fortunate to have parents who have saved my whole life so that I can go to whatever amount of school I want to), I just don't want to have to spend it if it will not help me.
 

eteshoe

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A master's would only play a marginal role in your med school application (and absolutely no role in your residency applications, unless you got the master's while in med school). The reason being that many grad programs tend to inflate grades and thus don't give a clear picture of the student's scholastic ability. I only did a MS because I knew I was going to do the MD/PhD route and needed some more bio-like research experience (even though I had doubled in biochem as an UG, my research was more physical chem/engineering) and it was free. In your case (assuming your are URM), your efforts would be better spent on doing well in your last two pre-req courses and working on crushing the MCAT. Check out the link below:

https://www.aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/157998/factstablea24.html
 

PurpleHaze

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But do you think the masters would help me with getting into medical school as well as getting a residency once I get out? The money isn't an issue (I'm very fortunate to have parents who have saved my whole life so that I can go to whatever amount of school I want to), I just don't want to have to spend it if it will not help me.

Don't take the MCAT until you are ready - it's a lot of money, might as well only take it once.

A Master's Degree will help only if you have something to prove academically - like improving your science or overall GPA, etc. Otherwise, I don't think it's all that helpful. In terms of residency, no one will care if you have a Master's Degree -- it only matters how you did during medical school. Anything before that is pretty much ignored.
 
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NotFritz

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Don't take the MCAT until you are ready - it's a lot of money, might as well only take it once.

A Master's Degree will help only if you have something to prove academically - like improving your science or overall GPA, etc. Otherwise, I don't think it's all that helpful. In terms of residency, no one will care if you have a Master's Degree -- it only matters how you did during medical school. Anything before that is pretty much ignored.


Thank you! Another question: Will my classes for clinical lab science count for my science GPA or do only the required pre-reqs count towards that?
 

thatwouldbeanarchy

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Thank you! Another question: Will my classes for clinical lab science count for my science GPA or do only the required pre-reqs count towards that?
Other science courses will definitely count towards your sGPA, not just the prereqs!

Take a look at the AMCAS course classification guide for a description of how to decide what's considered a science course. When you complete your primary application, you'll enter every course you've taken and classify them according to this guide. https://www.aamc.org/students/download/181694/data/amcas_course_classification_guide.pdf

AMCAS says that how you classify your courses should depend on the content of the course, not just the department it's in. (So a "history of medicine" course taught in a Bio department should probably count as history, not Bio.)
 
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