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Law student wants to become med student

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Law_Student

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Hello,

I'm new to SDN. After years of consideration, I want to start putting my desire to become a doctor into action. First of all, since I know the first reactions to my post will be "are you sure you've thought long and hard about this?" and "it will be unimaginable difficult for you," I want to assure all readers that I have indeed considered all facets of the decision and determined that it is the path I wish to pursue. I've talked with many physicians (and attorneys), career-changers and non, who have encouraged my desire to chase this dream.

Here's the information that you are probably looking for:
- Undergraduate GPA of 4.0 from a liberal arts school that is not well-known (political science major, communications minor) (took one semester of chemistry and one semester of math and got A's in both);
- After finishing my first year of law school as #2 in the class of 250 students (3.91 GPA), I transferred to a top-4 law school in the country, where I will ultimately earn my degree from in 2019 -- we don't receive GPA's at my new school, basically just pass/fail; and
- I've worked all throughout college and law school at various places (law firm, financial agency, and real estate development group).

I'm looking into post-baccalaureate programs in Chicago, so I've narrowed my focus to Loyola and Northwestern. What are my chances of getting into these schools, and then getting into medical school after finishing these programs? I really would prefer not to take the GRE to gain admittance to a post-bacc program. Will I have to? (I believe Northwestern doesn't require one, and GPA numbers are the critical consideration).

I'd love to hear some advice from all of you who are lucky enough to be immersed in the world -- my path is obviously unconventional and will raise eyebrows, how do I deal with this? Do I need to be volunteering in the medical arena? What would my timeline look like after graduating from law school in May 2019? How do schools evaluate my history and will certain things be weighted differently against each other (perfect undergrad (but basically non-science) cGPA, top law school, work experience, unknown post-bacc GPA, etc.)? Is there anything I should be doing right now to assist in this process? Is there anyone like me out there? Am I totally hopeless? Really anything that you think should be brought to my attention would be fantastic.

Thank you in advance for your time spent reading this and thinking about responding. While I am confident this can work out, getting the ball rolling is nerve-wracking and any constructive advice/support would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
 

SpoiledMilk

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Upon your graduation with the JD in 2019, you will need approx 2-3 years to acquire the following:

1) MD schools won't consider grad school GPA, DOs will in admissions consideration. With your undergrad 4.0, you don't need to take the GRE to do a DIY PB at a CC or 4 year university for upper level sciences. Take medical school prereqs. and some upper level science courses, esp Biochemistry. Subscribe to the MSAR to see what courses are required for the particular school you want to apply to;

2) Start building your ECs. Do clinical volunteering with active patient contact, non-clinical volunteering with low income, underserved populations or with those less fortunate than you, shadowing primary care physicians, leadership positions, clinical employment, and/or research, etc.

3) Study for the MCAT and ace it;

4) Write a compelling personal statement telling who you are, why medicine, and why you are attracted to medicine and not running away from law.

5) If you do all that's require, you can reasonably apply at the earliest in the 2021-2022 to matriculate in 2022.

**Most importantly, while speaking to doctors and attorneys about changing from law to medicine is ok, that won't cut it. You must get your feet wet and get a feel for dealing with patients, especially when they are not cooperative and are being difficult with treatment. After doing this and you can see yourself treating patients for the rest of your career, then go for it. Don't do this if you have a romanticized vision of medicine....
 
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sumtimesuwonder

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Hey OP,

I actually went to law school for a year, went to work medically for 2-3 years and then applied to medical school. I'm currently a DO student. It can absolutely be done, and I didn't have the credentials that you do. I agree with most of what DV-T said. I took the science classes I didn't already have from undergrad at a CC (it wasn't much though since I was a bio minor). There are specific programs for people with non-science degrees that could get to you the prerequisites pretty quickly, but it might be a little more expensive than doing it at your local CC. I did have to explain my career change on interviews though and my healthcare work experience definitely helped me convince adcoms that I am committed to medicine.

Also the MCAT is an entirely different beast than the LSAT. Do well in your classes and take your time with getting ready for the MCAT, don't take it before you are ready.
 

Law_Student

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Upon your graduation with the JD in 2019, you will need approx 2-3 years to acquire the following:

1) MD schools won't consider grad school GPA, DOs will in admissions consideration. With your undergrad 4.0, you don't need to take the GRE to do a DIY PB at a CC or 4 year university for upper level sciences. Take medical school prereqs. and some upper level science courses, esp Biochemistry. Subscribe to the MSAR to see what courses are required for the particular school you want to apply to;

2) Start building your ECs. Do clinical volunteering with active patient contact, non-clinical volunteering with low income, underserved populations or with those less fortunate than you, shadowing primary care physicians, leadership positions, clinical employment, and/or research, etc.

3) Study for the MCAT and ace it;

4) Write a compelling personal statement telling who you are, why medicine, and why you are attracted to medicine and not running away from law.

5) If you do all that's require, you can reasonably apply at the earliest in the 2021-2022 to matriculate in 2022.

**Most importantly, while speaking to doctors and attorneys about changing from law to medicine is ok, that won't cut it. You must get your feet wet and get a feel for dealing with patients, especially when they are not cooperative and are being difficult with treatment. After doing this and you can see yourself treating patients for the rest of your career, then go for it. Don't do this if you have a romanticized vision of medicine....

Thank you for the helpful analysis. Does the quality of the institution in which I’ll complete my required courses matter? Should I shoot for a top institution to complete the courses or will my community college suffice? Also, weighted alongside undergrad grades, how important are the grades in the science courses? Is it just more about completing the courses then doing well on mcat? Or are top marks necessary?

I’ll be staying in Chicago, which provides at least 4 options of medical schools (Feinberg, Pritzker, Loyola, and UIC). Will these schools care where I take the courses or just the grades in them?
 

SpoiledMilk

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Thank you for the helpful analysis. Does the quality of the institution in which I’ll complete my required courses matter? Should I shoot for a top institution to complete the courses or will my community college suffice? Also, weighted alongside undergrad grades, how important are the grades in the science courses? Is it just more about completing the courses then doing well on mcat? Or are top marks necessary?
I’ll be staying in Chicago, which provides at least 4 options of medical schools (Feinberg, Pritzker, Loyola, and UIC). Will these schools care where I take the courses or just the grades in them?

As a nontraditional, taking prereqs at a CC is fine. The caveat is that while more medschools are moving toward accepting CC classes, some still recommend against it. Therefore, get a subscription to AAMC's MSAR ($30) to determine each school's requirements. Additionally, you will need to take upper level courses like biochemistry at a 4 year. Biochem is either recommended or required by medschools, and is a vital course to take in preparation for the MCAT. The PB institution's reputation does not matter as long as all your courses taken in the PB are mostly A's.

GPAs and MCAT scores are very important, but more weight is given to the MCAT score because it is standardized to account for the variety of difficulty in each undergrad's classes. Your GPAs will be divided into cumulative GPA and science GPA (BCPM), with the sGPA being weighted more in terms of importance (medicine is science-based after all and medschools want to know you can handle the curriculum). The standard BCPM classes are the following:
upload_2018-3-22_6-0-33.png


This is how the AMCAS app will list your grades:
upload_2018-3-22_5-57-53.png


The stats indicate that every application cycle, applicants apply to about 16-25 schools and of those, roughly 40% of applicants are accepted. Therefore limiting yourself to only those 4 schools in Chicago won't cut it. Your will need to subscribe to AAMC's MSAR ($30) to get a list of other schools to apply to as well as the school's prereqs.

Lastly, unlike law school where a 4.0/180 LSAT will get you accepted at the Top 5s, a 4.0 cGPA/4.0sGPA/528 MCAT won't get you admitted into the bottom tier of medical schools IF you don't have the requisite ECs that I listed above. Medicine is a service oriented profession and every year 4.0/528s are rejected because they don't show an altruistic side and a dedication to service...

See the factors of interview invites and offers here:
upload_2018-3-22_6-8-34.png


Also, to get an idea of the stats of prospective applicants, go to What Are My Chances? and/or Home - MDApplicants.com

GL!!!
 
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curbsideconsult

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Agreed with everything everyone has said so far.

You need a very good reason for why you're going straight from law school to med school. For some reason, no one really questions people pursuing a combined MD/JD program (except for: are you crazy?!), but they do question switchers. Treat this like you would treat a legal assignment: you need a good argument and solid evidence to back it up.

As for CC classes, in your case, you might need to do your classes at a well-recognized 4-yr or do an official post-bacc from a well-recognized institution. It can be odd to see someone from a top tier professional program do their prereqs at a CC or a really low-ranked program.

Honestly, you might have the creds to go to Bryn Mawr. It's in PA, but it has amazing linkages and you're pretty much guaranteed a spot at a well-respected med school. You should go for it.
 
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Goro

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Agreed with everything everyone has said so far.

You need a very good reason for why you're going straight from law school to med school. For some reason, no one really questions people pursuing a combined MD/JD program (except for: are you crazy?!), but they do question switchers. Treat this like you would treat a legal assignment: you need a good argument and solid evidence to back it up.

As for CC classes, in your case, you might need to do your classes at a well-recognized 4-yr or do an official post-bacc from a well-recognized institution. It can be odd to see someone from a top tier professional program do their prereqs at a CC or a really low-ranked program.

Honestly, you might have the creds to go to Bryn Mawr. It's in PA, but it has amazing linkages and you're pretty much guaranteed a spot at a well-respected med school. You should go for it.
To follow up on this wise advice, OP will need to make a compelling case as to why s/he's running TO Medicine, and not simply away from the poor employment environs of the Law.
 
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siliso

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You’re in a great spot that there’s nothing wrong with your undergrad transcript. With my similar background of academic success as a political science BA and then several years doing something else here is what I did:
Enrolled in local state university for bio, chem, physics with labs in fall and spring semesters, organic with lab over the summer. Took MCAT same summer as orgo. Applied that summer into fall, accepted fall, took some biochemistry/cell bio/micro and tutored during the gap year and entered med school 2 yrs exactly from starting prereqs. Fit in some clinical/shadowing experiences during the prereq year. Already had an ongoing health related volunteer position.

So that’s what worked for me. You know you best and whether you could implement same plan with 4.0 high MCAT success or if you need more time. Your background is not going to hold you back and will likely be an asset if you can cogently express why medicine is right for you now.
 
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Moose A Moose

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Hello,

I'm new to SDN. After years of consideration, I want to start putting my desire to become a doctor into action. First of all, since I know the first reactions to my post will be "are you sure you've thought long and hard about this?" and "it will be unimaginable difficult for you," I want to assure all readers that I have indeed considered all facets of the decision and determined that it is the path I wish to pursue. I've talked with many physicians (and attorneys), career-changers and non, who have encouraged my desire to chase this dream.

Here's the information that you are probably looking for:
- Undergraduate GPA of 4.0 from a liberal arts school that is not well-known (political science major, communications minor) (took one semester of chemistry and one semester of math and got A's in both);
- After finishing my first year of law school as #2 in the class of 250 students (3.91 GPA), I transferred to a top-4 law school in the country, where I will ultimately earn my degree from in 2019 -- we don't receive GPA's at my new school, basically just pass/fail; and
- I've worked all throughout college and law school at various places (law firm, financial agency, and real estate development group).

I'm looking into post-baccalaureate programs in Chicago, so I've narrowed my focus to Loyola and Northwestern. What are my chances of getting into these schools, and then getting into medical school after finishing these programs? I really would prefer not to take the GRE to gain admittance to a post-bacc program. Will I have to? (I believe Northwestern doesn't require one, and GPA numbers are the critical consideration).

I'd love to hear some advice from all of you who are lucky enough to be immersed in the world -- my path is obviously unconventional and will raise eyebrows, how do I deal with this? Do I need to be volunteering in the medical arena? What would my timeline look like after graduating from law school in May 2019? How do schools evaluate my history and will certain things be weighted differently against each other (perfect undergrad (but basically non-science) cGPA, top law school, work experience, unknown post-bacc GPA, etc.)? Is there anything I should be doing right now to assist in this process? Is there anyone like me out there? Am I totally hopeless? Really anything that you think should be brought to my attention would be fantastic.

Thank you in advance for your time spent reading this and thinking about responding. While I am confident this can work out, getting the ball rolling is nerve-wracking and any constructive advice/support would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
I personally know a gen surg resident who is a law school grad. It’s doable. Just do well on the MCAT/postbacc and you’ll be set. Patience will be your biggest challenge.
 

Dr. Scribe

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Personally, I think you have a great shot at MD schools.

Great GPA, work experience, etc.

Since you would be graduating from a top law school, you’re also showing that you aren’t going into medicine for the money (as many people do) because you would be giving up a likely lucrative position as a lawyer in order to do so.

Get medical experience, volunteer, ace the MCAT, take the prereqs, and you’ll be fine
 

DokterMom

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Let me suggest that you shadow a few physicians FIRST --

Why? Because switching from law to medicine provokes the presumption that you didn't like 'high-paying profession A' so are therefore switching to 'high-paying profession B'. So the more reasonable and defensible course of action will not be jumping from 'school A' to 'school B' but investigating the proposed 'profession B'. I'm not trying to imply that you haven't fully investigated 'profession B' already -- I'm just suggesting that you investigate it in a way that is visible, demonstrable and logical for someone in your position.

Once you've shadowed, start volunteering! Do NOT look for a nice suburban hospital gig, but rather something a little bit gritty or uncomfortable. Why? Nice suburban gigs will string you along for months (years?) as they have plenty of pre-med volunteers. Less-cushy, less-comfortable places have a real need and importantly - immediate openings. Plus, as a career changer from 'high-paying profession A' you will want to demonstrate that you're not in it for the money and/or prestige. Also, if you can't handle the dirt/smell, medicine might not be right for you...

I have every confidence that you will be able to succeed academically. Hence my advice to focus first in these areas which are likely to be the areas that make or break your application.
 
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psych md jd

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Invariably, the question you will be asked at interviews for medical school and residency is: what do you plan to do with both degrees?
 

Law_Student

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Invariably, the question you will be asked at interviews for medical school and residency is: what do you plan to do with both degrees?

Based off your profile name, did you experience this? If so, what’s the ideal response and how did the interviewers seem to respond?
 

Law_Student

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Agreed with everything everyone has said so far.

You need a very good reason for why you're going straight from law school to med school. For some reason, no one really questions people pursuing a combined MD/JD program (except for: are you crazy?!), but they do question switchers. Treat this like you would treat a legal assignment: you need a good argument and solid evidence to back it up.

As for CC classes, in your case, you might need to do your classes at a well-recognized 4-yr or do an official post-bacc from a well-recognized institution. It can be odd to see someone from a top tier professional program do their prereqs at a CC or a really low-ranked program.

Honestly, you might have the creds to go to Bryn Mawr. It's in PA, but it has amazing linkages and you're pretty much guaranteed a spot at a well-respected med school. You should go for it.
How do these linkage programs work? You need a certain GPA in the post bacc classes to successfully link? And then only some schools require the MCAT in addition to successful completion of target GPA in post bacc courses?
Is there some sort of hierarchy for post bacc programs? Is Bryn Mawr a particularly powerful program just because of the number of linkages?
 

Law_Student

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As a nontraditional, taking prereqs at a CC is fine. The caveat is that while more medschools are moving toward accepting CC classes, some still recommend against it. Therefore, get a subscription to AAMC's MSAR ($30) to determine each school's requirements. Additionally, you will need to take upper level courses like biochemistry at a 4 year. Biochem is either recommended or required by medschools, and is a vital course to take in preparation for the MCAT. The PB institution's reputation does not matter as long as all your courses taken in the PB are mostly A's.

GPAs and MCAT scores are very important, but more weight is given to the MCAT score because it is standardized to account for the variety of difficulty in each undergrad's classes. Your GPAs will be divided into cumulative GPA and science GPA (BCPM), with the sGPA being weighted more in terms of importance (medicine is science-based after all and medschools want to know you can handle the curriculum). The standard BCPM classes are the following:
View attachment 230788

This is how the AMCAS app will list your grades: View attachment 230786

The stats indicate that every application cycle, applicants apply to about 16-25 schools and of those, roughly 40% of applicants are accepted. Therefore limiting yourself to only those 4 schools in Chicago won't cut it. Your will need to subscribe to AAMC's MSAR ($30) to get a list of other schools to apply to as well as the school's prereqs.

Lastly, unlike law school where a 4.0/180 LSAT will get you accepted at the Top 5s, a 4.0 cGPA/4.0sGPA/528 MCAT won't get you admitted into the bottom tier of medical schools IF you don't have the requisite ECs that I listed above. Medicine is a service oriented profession and every year 4.0/528s are rejected because they don't show an altruistic side and a dedication to service...

See the factors of interview invites and offers here:
View attachment 230789

Also, to get an idea of the stats of prospective applicants

GL!!!
Thank you for this, it’s incredibly helpful. This follow probably seems naïve and rudimentary, but is getting volunteer and shadow experience commenced by calling facilities and expressing my interest/describing my status and emailing and calling physicians to spend some hours shadowing them?

I know there is likely extensive paper work and forms/training to complete prior to actually getting into a clinic, but I presume that’s not the case for shadowing? As I’ve expressed, I’m totally novice in these regards, so I apologize for my less elementary questions, just trying to soak in what you’ve already learned.
Thanks
 

SpoiledMilk

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is getting volunteer and shadow experience commenced by calling facilities and expressing my interest/describing my status and emailing and calling physicians to spend some hours shadowing them?

For volunteering opportunities, you will need to start by googling hospitals, clinics, homeless shelters and ask them if they need volunteers and what you need to do to become one. Or you can contact the volunteer offices of the local universities in Chicago and ask them for the numbers of organizations that need volunteers.

For shadowing, if you have connections to a doctor or know doctors, then contact them to see if they will allow you to shadow them. If not, then you will need to start googling local doctors and cold call/email them, explain what you are trying to accomplish, etc...Focus on primary care physicians (IM, Family, Pediatrics, OBGYN)...
 

curbsideconsult

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How do these linkage programs work? You need a certain GPA in the post bacc classes to successfully link? And then only some schools require the MCAT in addition to successful completion of target GPA in post bacc courses?
Is there some sort of hierarchy for post bacc programs? Is Bryn Mawr a particularly powerful program just because of the number of linkages?

Something like that. Each program has their own requirements and agreements with the various schools they link to. You should definitely call around and get some information.

It's not really a hierarchy so much as there's Bryn Mawr and a few other programs at the top and then everyone else. Bryn Mawr is one of the oldest and most respected programs and has great linkages. That's what makes it great. BUT there are other schools with direct linkages as well so you should look into those too. Google around, you'll find them.
 
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