JD to MD - looking for input.

JDtoMD82

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Feb 8, 2013
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    Hello. Been lurking for awhile - this is my first post.

    So I've decided that I would like to go to medical school. I have a number of reasons for wanting to do this (including a recent family tragedy), but the process is a bit daunting. This is my situation:

    SAT: reading 670, math 760 (plus a bunch of subject tests)
    Don't know if it matters but in high school I took AP Calc AB and BC with good scores on the AP exams (plus a non-science AP as well). I received credit for these from my UG institution.
    ugGPA (in an arts-related major): 3.65
    LSAT: 170 (98th percentile)
    In May, I'll graduate cum laude from a top 10 law school (I'm not entirely sure of my class rank, but I'm estimating that it's probably top 25-30%).

    I have no undergrad or law school debt. My spouse has around 50,000 in loans from grad school. She is also considering going back to school again which may require another 40,000 or so in student loans. I probably will be able to manage a post-bacc without taking out a loan (and if i do take one out, it will be for just a small amount of the tuition). However, The debt burden of medical school is something that is a little worrisome.

    I am 26 now and will be starting a firm job after graduation (so ill take the bar this summer). I would prefer to go to a post-bacc that skips the glide year. Would really love to start med school by age 28, but if i were 29, it wouldn't be the end of the world. The temple program is very attractive for this reason but I guess I could avoid a glide year at most post-bacc programs with linkage. Is that the experience of most people?

    I have pretty extensive and varied experience in medicine. I am currently working closely with a hospital as part of a pediatric clinic. I am also a senior student associate for a clinic that advocates for those who have lost their insurance due to unemployment (many were in the midst of ongoing treatments or procedures when they lost their insurance). I have been working with this organization for the past 2 years.

    Additionally, during summers throughout high school, I volunteered at my mom's hospital as a translator for international patients (I'm not from the US, but I'm a permanent resident...anyhow, I am fluent in English and my native language). When I got to college, I started actually shadowing my mom formally during summers. I have more than 400 hours of shadowing experience. I spent a lot of time with my father and grandfather at their clinic, but it wasn't exactly formal shadowing.

    I don't know if this is a benefit or doesn't matter, but almost everyone in my family are doctors (most are MD/Phd). My grandfather and father owned their own clinic. My family had an apartment above the clinic thus I basically grew up in the clinic. My mother is the chief of her department. The remainder of my extended work in various fields, both in hospital and private practice settings, as well as research.

    In the upcoming year while I'm working, I'm planning to explore my options for pro-bono work in the medical field.

    Anyways, based upon all of that, what are my chance of getting into a good post bacc program? I don't think that legacy matters anymore, but these are the medical and dental schools in the states with which I have familial 'ties': Penn, Temple, Columbia, Stanford, and UWashington. For post-bacc, I would be looking at goucher, Bryn mawr, jhu (I am an alum of one of these three schools...will that matter at all?), temple, penn, maybe Columbia, and probably a few more. Any input (especially from law students with a similar story) would be really helpful. Thanks a lot in advance!
     

    JDtoMD82

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    Feb 8, 2013
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      I think most post-bacc programs require either an MCAT or GRE. Have you looked into that part of the admission requirements?

      So far I haven't run into any that require the GRE (were you thinking of one specifically)? I'm 99% sure that goucher, Bryn mawr, jhu, and temple don't require a GRE score. It's my understanding that if you have taken the mcat, generally you'll be asked to send it, but many post-bacc's have mcat prep as part of the curriculum.
       
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      Law2Doc

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        I think most post-bacc programs require either an MCAT or GRE. Have you looked into that part of the admission requirements?

        Um no. SMPs require MCAT. But they aren't postbacs. Traditional postbacs are for people who never took the prereqs and thus aren't people anywhere close to taking te MCAT.

        I see no reason you OP wouldn't have a shot at a good postbac but I think your target age of matriculation and need for no glide year are unrealistic. You need to take all the prereqs, which takes at least a year and a summer at most postbacs minimum, probably longer, and then spend time studying for and taking the MCAT, and then apply to and interview for med school. It will be a several year process.
         

        Faha

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          If you are working full time at a law firm it might be difficult to carry a heavy science course load and expect to do well. Have you considered taking the required undergraduate science prerequisites at your state university or state college ? A possible scenario could be:
          Summer 2013- 2 introductory prerequisite biology courses
          Fall 2013 to Spring 2014- 2 introductory prerequisite chemistry courses
          Summer 2014- 2 prerequisite introductory physics courses
          Fall 2014 to Spring 2015- 2 Organic chemistry courses
          MCAT in spring 2015
          Apply June 2015 when all science grades are available
          Summer 2015- 2 courses in Mathematics ( Statistics and Calculus 1 )
          Fall 2015- Spring 2016- biochemistry course + any English course requirements
          Your medical school interviews would be from September 2015 until March 2016.
          Matriculate medical school August 2016.
          The key is to get the best grades and MCAT score possible. Where you take these courses is less relevant. You need to complete all the science prerequisites before you take the MCAT. There will also be a social sciences section on the new MCAT ( psychology, sociology, ethics, etc. ). Also apply to at least 20 schools, including any state medical schools in your state of residency. I have a friend who practiced law for 10 years before deciding to go to osteopathic school at age 37. He has been practicing Emergency Medicine for 18 years.
           

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            Um no. SMPs require MCAT. But they aren't postbacs. Traditional postbacs are for people who never took the prereqs and thus aren't people anywhere close to taking te MCAT.

            I see no reason you OP wouldn't have a shot at a good postbac but I think your target age of matriculation and need for no glide year are unrealistic. You need to take all the prereqs, which takes at least a year and a summer at most postbacs minimum, probably longer, and then spend time studying for and taking the MCAT, and then apply to and interview for med school. It will be a several year process.

            Oh, right. My mistake.
             

            JDtoMD82

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            Feb 8, 2013
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              Thanks so much for all of your thoughtful replies.

              Um no. SMPs require MCAT. But they aren't postbacs. Traditional postbacs are for people who never took the prereqs and thus aren't people anywhere close to taking te MCAT.

              I see no reason you OP wouldn't have a shot at a good postbac but I think your target age of matriculation and need for no glide year are unrealistic. You need to take all the prereqs, which takes at least a year and a summer at most postbacs minimum, probably longer, and then spend time studying for and taking the MCAT, and then apply to and interview for med school. It will be a several year process.

              I'd love to hear your story of going from law to medicine if you'd be interested in sharing it (either here or privately). In terms of the glide year (and whether to skip it or not), what is your take on linkages (or a program like Temple that actually feeds into its own Med School...a linkage of sorts I guess)? It seems like programs like Goucher, Bryn Mawr, Temple etc. set it up so that you can skip the glide year and potentially matriculate directly into med school essentially as an "early decision"-type applicant (i.e., you can only apply to one school, and if you get in, you are committed to going...if you don't get in, you take the glide year and apply to other schools). Is there any specific reason that this would be unrealistic? Just curious. But I am definitely interested in your background and story if you'd be willing to share.

              If you are working full time at a law firm it might be difficult to carry a heavy science course load and expect to do well. Have you considered taking the required undergraduate science prerequisites at your state university or state college ? A possible scenario could be:
              Summer 2013- 2 introductory prerequisite biology courses
              Fall 2013 to Spring 2014- 2 introductory prerequisite chemistry courses
              Summer 2014- 2 prerequisite introductory physics courses
              Fall 2014 to Spring 2015- 2 Organic chemistry courses
              MCAT in spring 2015
              Apply June 2015 when all science grades are available
              Summer 2015- 2 courses in Mathematics ( Statistics and Calculus 1 )
              Fall 2015- Spring 2016- biochemistry course + any English course requirements
              Your medical school interviews would be from September 2015 until March 2016.
              Matriculate medical school August 2016.
              The key is to get the best grades and MCAT score possible. Where you take these courses is less relevant. You need to complete all the science prerequisites before you take the MCAT. There will also be a social sciences section on the new MCAT ( psychology, sociology, ethics, etc. ). Also apply to at least 20 schools, including any state medical schools in your state of residency. I have a friend who practiced law for 10 years before deciding to go to osteopathic school at age 37. He has been practicing Emergency Medicine for 18 years.

              Thanks so much for laying out that entire course of study for me. I really appreciate the time you took to do it. I think for various reasons/aspects of my situation, I would need to do a formal post-bacc, and would do this full time (i.e., leave my job at the law firm). There are various reasons for this, but essentially, taking classes and staying at my firm would probably not work out.

              Also, that is encouraging to hear about your friend. Was he 35-36 when he ultimately matriculated into med school? What were his reasons?
               

              Law2Doc

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                Thanks so much for all of your thoughtful replies.



                I'd love to hear your story of going from law to medicine if you'd be interested in sharing it (either here or privately). In terms of the glide year (and whether to skip it or not), what is your take on linkages (or a program like Temple that actually feeds into its own Med School...a linkage of sorts I guess)? It seems like programs like Goucher, Bryn Mawr, Temple etc. set it up so that you can skip the glide year and potentially matriculate directly into med school essentially as an "early decision"-type applicant (i.e., you can only apply to one school, and if you get in, you are committed to going...if you don't get in, you take the glide year and apply to other schools). Is there any specific reason that this would be unrealistic? Just curious. But I am definitely interested in your background and story if you'd be willing to share.
                ?

                Was a practicing lawyer before I switched to medicine, something i had been mulling for an assortment of reason for many years. I think my law background and transferable skills were nice selling points to certain med schools looking for a diverse class.

                Nothing wrong with programs with linkages if that works for you, but you have to meet certain hurdles, take things at a certain pace and end up locked in geographically for 4 years, which might not be worth saving a glide year to some. i think you have to realize that medicine is really a lifelong journey, and it becomes incredibly silly to focus on saving a year here or there. Med school is long, residncy can be longer. Some do fellowship after that. And then you go into practice for a long stretch after that. So patience and willingness for delayed gratification are key. Its all about te journey, not the destination. Focusing on saving a year here or there shouldn't be a big focus because that's like focusing on a grain of sand while sitting on the beach. In a journey of a thousand steps, nobody cares if it's really 1001 or 1002.
                 

                Faha

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                  My friend was premed briefly as an undergraduate but never applied to medical school. He practiced law for 10 years but later in his law career he decided that his original calling to medicine was what he wanted to do so he took the premed courses and applied to medical and osteopathic schools. He was accepted to osteopathic school the first time he applied and started at age 37, finishing at age 41. He then did an ER residency .
                  If you decide not to take that position with the law firm you could complete your science prereqisites in a year if you were a full time student and devoted all your time to your premed courses. Your scenario could be:
                  Summer 2013- Take the 2 prerequisite introductory chemistry courses with labs ( you need to take these first since you cannot take Organic Chemistry until you finish these courses )
                  Fall 2013 to Spring 2014- Take the 2 prerequisite Physics courses, the 2 prerequisite Biology courses, the 2 Organic Chemistry courses ( all these courses should have labs ). This would be a heavy course load so do not plan to work or take other courses during this time.
                  Spring 2014- Take the MCAT. Take a MCAT prep course in the months prior to the MCAT.
                  Apply June 2014
                  Fall 2014 to Spring 2015- Take other required prerequisites- 2 Mathematics , 2 English, Biochemistry.
                  Good Luck !
                   

                  JDtoMD82

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                  Feb 8, 2013
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                    Well I thank you for all of these helpful replies. Certainly a lot of great points to consider and think about. Stories of successful JDs to MDs are very encouraging since, as I mentioned, this process can seem daunting from the outset as a non-trad.
                     

                    SpaceLeftBlank

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                      Um no. SMPs require MCAT. But they aren't postbacs. Traditional postbacs are for people who never took the prereqs and thus aren't people anywhere close to taking te MCAT.

                      I see no reason you OP wouldn't have a shot at a good postbac but I think your target age of matriculation and need for no glide year are unrealistic. You need to take all the prereqs, which takes at least a year and a summer at most postbacs minimum, probably longer, and then spend time studying for and taking the MCAT, and then apply to and interview for med school. It will be a several year process.

                      This sounds right to me as well. In my case, my undergrad degree is in biology and I've taken all the prereqs, but I'm retaking some because, frankly, it's been a while and I need the refresher for the MCAT. Currently plan to take the MCAT in about a year, and apply the following summer to start med school the summer after that. So, best-case scenario, I'm still looking at about two-and-a-half years before I'd start.

                      I suppose I could speed the process up a little bit if I weren't still working full-time, but it's kind of not an option for a lot of reasons (including the fact that my wife is on the home stretch of her surgical residency).
                       

                      Snakes

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                        Nothing wrong with programs with linkages if that works for you, but you have to meet certain hurdles, take things at a certain pace and end up locked in geographically for 4 years, which might not be worth saving a glide year to some. i think you have to realize that medicine is really a lifelong journey, and it becomes incredibly silly to focus on saving a year here or there. Med school is long, residncy can be longer. Some do fellowship after that. And then you go into practice for a long stretch after that. So patience and willingness for delayed gratification are key. Its all about te journey, not the destination. Focusing on saving a year here or there shouldn't be a big focus because that's like focusing on a grain of sand while sitting on the beach. In a journey of a thousand steps, nobody cares if it's really 1001 or 1002.

                        :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
                        This right here is genius. I didn't even get it when I was 34 and decided I wanted to switch from law to medicine--I was looking for the fastest way to get from A to B. It really sunk in when I started taking my pre-reqs. It really is about the journey, not the destination. I think you enjoy the process so much more when you come to this realization. It took me 18 months to figure it out. At this point, the age I will be in 10 years is the same regardless of when I finish med school. I honestly think coming to that understanding was probably when I actually became a real "adult". It's a shift in mindset that is awesome. My 30s have been awesome. I didn't know what the hell I was doing in my 20s.
                         

                        Goro

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                          AdComs do not care about SAT, LSAT, or high school. MCAT is what counts, along with GPAs. If you're a good standardized test taker, fine. Your law school GPA will mean nothing because law and medical school are two completely different things.



                          SAT: reading 670, math 760 (plus a bunch of subject tests)
                          Don't know if it matters but in high school I took AP Calc AB and BC with good scores on the AP exams (plus a non-science AP as well). I received credit for these from my UG institution.
                          ugGPA (in an arts-related major): 3.65
                          LSAT: 170 (98th percentile)
                          In May, I'll graduate cum laude from a top 10 law school (I'm not entirely sure of my class rank, but I'm estimating that it's probably top 25-30%).


                          Patient contact is good. You need to show us you want to spend time with sick and injured people. Keep in mind that we want people who will be good doctors, not merely good students. 4.0 automatons are a dime a dozen. Shadowing is one thing, patient contact is another.

                          I have pretty extensive and varied experience in medicine. I am currently working closely with a hospital as part of a pediatric clinic. I am also a senior student associate for a clinic that advocates for those who have lost their insurance due to unemployment (many were in the midst of ongoing treatments or procedures when they lost their insurance). I have been working with this organization for the past 2 years. I have more than 400 hours of shadowing experience. I spent a lot of time with my father and grandfather at their clinic, but it wasn't exactly formal shadowing.

                          That may actually be a red flag. We are VERY wary of people who are choosing medicine as a career merely because their parents want them to be doctors, or all their siblings are doctors. Believe me, when we see people like this, our radar goes up! Medicine is a calling, so do it because YOU want to do it, and no one else.



                          I don't know if this is a benefit or doesn't matter, but almost everyone in my family are doctors (most are MD/Phd). My grandfather and father owned their own clinic. My family had an apartment above the clinic thus I basically grew up in the clinic. My mother is the chief of her department. The remainder of my extended work in various fields, both in hospital and private practice settings, as well as research.


                          I think you'd be fine for any post-bac program. Strongly suggest choosing one that is given by a med school, like, say, PCOM, Drexel or BU. There are a lot of them out there.

                          Anyways, based upon all of that, what are my chance of getting into a good post bacc program?

                          Those are only good for getting you an interview. Then the AdCom will say "this guy will never survive our curriculum", especially at those top-tiers you list.


                          I don't think that legacy matters anymore, but these are the medical and dental schools in the states with which I have familial 'ties': Penn, Temple, Columbia, Stanford, and UWashington.

                          See my comments above. Being an alum may indeed count for something.

                          For post-bacc, I would be looking at goucher, Bryn mawr, jhu (I am an alum of one of these three schools...will that matter at all?), temple, penn, maybe Columbia, and probably a few more.
                           
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