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In need of guidance.

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by Mizled, May 13, 2007.

  1. Mizled


    May 13, 2007
    Any advice would be extremely appreciated.

    Presently I am 17 and living in Clarksville, TN (right by Fort Campbell) and I'm considering enlisting into the military and following a health based path in the hopes of becoming a doctor. After taking the ASVAB I received an overall score of 96 and scored perfect on the General Science, Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension categories and only missed one in the Arithmetic Reasoning subset.

    At the moment I staying with friends and don't have the ability to finance a path towards an MD outside of the military as far as I can see. But I had screwed around in high school and will not be able to receive my diploma so I must settle for a GED.

    So I have some questions. If I enlist as is will it be possible for me to become a doctor? Will the military help finance my pre-med education and then the subsequent doctoral degree? Or am I completely screwed?

    I need help. :(
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  3. g293

    g293 2+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Why would you enlist if you want to go to medical school? Given the current deployment schedule, you won't be home taking night classes towards your bachelors degree. If you want to go to school, go to school. Take out loans, get a job, etc. Look into a ROTC scholarship after some college work perhaps. Look, into the prep schools at one of the service academies. Without good undergrad grades, med school is pretty unlikely, so focus on that first.
  4. Droopy Snoopy

    Droopy Snoopy 7+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2006
    The Alamo
    If your goal is to become a physician, enlisting in the military will not help you accomplish it. There are literally thousands of grant/scholarship programs available to undergrads -- achievement (high ACT scores/grades), need-based, special populations (ethnicity, religion, etc.), and others (essay contests and such). Additionally, federal education programs like Stafford and Perkins allow you to take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans, all deferable until graduation or longer. Most students use some combination of these two plus part-time jobs to finance their educations and living expenses. My advice is to get your GED and enroll in your local community college for a year or two. Take a broad range of intro courses and then see where you stand. If you like bio, chem, A&P, and Micro, and are making A's, transfer to UTenn or somewhere and pursue this thing. Take it one step at a time.
  5. BomberDoc

    BomberDoc ex-BomberDoc 2+ Year Member

    Absolutely do not enlist. You can do it better, faster, cheaper, and with much less pain as a civilian. As stated above, go to school, take loans if scholarships won't cover it, get good grades, and stay out of the military. The military will only delay your progress and strive to detain you to serve its interests. Caveat emptor.
  6. jeepgirl

    jeepgirl Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 11, 2005

    Most of the med school prereq classes need to be taken at a brick and mortar school as they have associated labs.

    While the enlisted military lifestyle sets up well for distance learning via the internet, its pretty darn tough to take classes at an actual school due to scheduling and location constraints. You might have a supportive chain of command that allows you flexibility to attend classes. However, with today's OPTEMPO, it is frequently mission first.

    You might even be thinking about a 2-3 year enlistment to secure an enlistment bonus in addition to the GI Bill. Be forewarned though, that your initial commitment to the military is 8 years. After you serve your 2-3 years, you'll serve the remaining time in the Individual Ready Reserves or IRR. If the military needs you, they can pull from the IRR and put you back on AD. This is currently happening in the Army.

    By joining the military, there is a very real chance that you'll be postponing your dream by several years. Think very long and hard if this is worth it to you.

    There is money out there to pay for school. Grants, scholarships, and loans. Its there for the taking. You just gotta apply. Considering your background, start with your local community college. Do well in your classes. After you get a year or two under your belt, transfer to a 4 year school. If your grades are decent (and they should be if you want to go to med school ;) ), you might even qualify for a transfer scholarship. Worst case, take out some loans and find a part-time job.

    Good luck :)
    MikePsychNpPsyD likes this.
  7. megadon

    megadon 5+ Year Member

    Aug 26, 2006
    Got a couple of thoughts here, and I am at UT, down here in Memphis, so PM me if you have any questions. Completely different world from Crossville (orginally from Oak Ridge). I'm a Navy grad, and technically I think I'm still on the IRR clock. Second thought, got off last year. I had the IRR question though and pursued it pretty vigorously. This is the answer I got. If you go to the med school UNDER HPSP, your designator changes (officers in the Navy have designators for their field, enlisted have something similar to MOS), and that makes you uneligible for recall. For anyone that has been recalled while in medical school under HPSP, some kind of screw up has occured.

    My best advice, go to college, get a BS in something, but make sure you take organic chem and bio, and maybe learn all that bio metabolism crap. I had enough pad in my grade that I made it through first year without really learning it. Guess what I am doing this summer, learning it (on my own, thank you). If you are that committed to the military, go ROTC to fund your ride. Trying to do college in the military is doable, but it's going to be difficult to get a BS.

    One of my best friends is from Crossville, I'll put him in touch if want. My bottom line, enlisting will deffinitely grow you as a person, but it doesn't much put you towards med school. My class, zero corpsman, one SEAL, me, a post operational sub guy from the Naval Academy, and a green West Point grad.
  8. Croooz

    Croooz Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2003
    Possible but not likely. It depends on so many factors that are out of your control. The rating, sea/shore rotation, watchbill schedule, collateral duties, coworkers, duty station, chain of command......just too many factors not even including Iraq. We just had a HM2 (E5) get accepted to med school. He came in with most of his coursework and just needed a few classes and the MCAT. I know of 6 prior active duty guys who are now physicians. The fastest got to med school in 6 years. Getting to med school is a long hard road and adding the burdens of the military usually guarantees you will go into PA school if anything at all.

    Yes the military has tuition assistance while serving. However again this is not under your control. Get a crappy eval, piss off the right person and your TA request can just sit there if it even gets approved. Usually it goes smoothly but you have to be flexible and remember all about the needs of the Navy. People in your chain of command, especially those who refuse to take classes will put you under a microscope. At some places education is frowned upon and at others you are given leeway because you are in school.

    The military will pay for undergrad and obviously offers money for doctoral studies. However it is not easy. This is not a challenge for you to join to prove how tough you are. Listen to the advice of those who've posted who are physicians. I was enlisted for 10 years and got out to finish school and apply to med school. I'm STILL in the hunt and have a 3 semesters left so I apply next year. If I had to do it over again I would've gone to my local community college for the first 2 years and then my state school for the last 2. I figured my parents were too poor so my only hope was to join the military. The ironic thing is it's because we were so poor that I had all the money available to me but joined the military. I enjoyed my time in the military. However I can't recommend anyone go the route I did. It's not smart and a waste of time if your goal is to become a physician.
    MikePsychNpPsyD likes this.
  9. mar8d

    mar8d 7+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    I agree with everything above. Look for loans, grants, scholarships, and other options for financial aid while getting a degree. That piece of paper and a good MCAT are the best route to getting an MD/DO.

    Good Luck
  10. tscottturner

    tscottturner Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 31, 2005

    If you enlist, the military will provide you the money to go to school but not the time. In my 6 years on AD with the Army, working with hundreds of troops, I can only think of one that actually completed their BS through the military, and they didn't do it in four years - it was more like 8 or 9, and this was during peace time (before 9/11). Since starting my quest to become a doctor, I have NEVER heard of anyone getting kicked out of any med school anywhere for not being able to pay. Once you are admitted, the administration will do what they can to help keep you there (loans,grants, etc...). FYI, ASVAB scores are pretty much useless - it's like saying that you passed the driving test and got your license.

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