FromTheGroundUp

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Hey guys! I'm a current career changer Post-bacc. I am interested in doing an MPH at a local med school while taking the pre-reqs as planned at the state university. Do you guys think 1) this is doable, 2) this makes sense if I plan on having to do a SMP?

My state university has its own MPH program, but my logic is to "get in good" with the possible decision makers at the med school. Idk. Maybe this is stupid... But just thinking of ways to increase my future med school admissions chances.

Help please.
 

KindofBlue

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I don't have experience personally with MPH programs other than researching about them as a back up plan, but I don't think it's an impossible feat to achieve while doing a post-bac as long as you have enough time and energy.

But, if your post-bac program will allow you to make good connections (for LOR) and build a strong science foundation it does seem redundant.
You might be better off using that time to participate in research at your post-bac institute or gain clinical experience (shadowing, volunteering), or engage in any other cool extracurricular activity.

Besides, many MPH programs do have science prerequisites from undergrad and also a GPA cut off, given that they are respectable programs.
Also, make sure the MPH is not available just to current MD or PhD students. Hope that helps.
 
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Goro

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Don't take the MPH unless you foresee it doing you some good in case Medicine isn't for you after all. You can take the pre-reqs and DIY a SMP, or go for a regular SMP.

The "get in good" with the decision makers won't work unless they can actually see your performance in medi school-like classes AND get to know you as well. That's why I call SMPs the "back door" into medical school.

Hey guys! I'm a current career changer Post-bacc. I am interested in doing an MPH at a local med school while taking the pre-reqs as planned at the state university. Do you guys think 1) this is doable, 2) this makes sense if I plan on having to do a SMP?

My state university has its own MPH program, but my logic is to "get in good" with the possible decision makers at the med school. Idk. Maybe this is stupid... But just thinking of ways to increase my future med school admissions chances.

Help please.
 

Perrotfish

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Hey guys! I'm a current career changer Post-bacc. I am interested in doing an MPH at a local med school while taking the pre-reqs as planned at the state university. Do you guys think 1) this is doable, 2) this makes sense if I plan on having to do a SMP?

My state university has its own MPH program, but my logic is to "get in good" with the possible decision makers at the med school. Idk. Maybe this is stupid... But just thinking of ways to increase my future med school admissions chances.

Help please.
It's definitely doable, but if the only reason you're thinking of getting an MPH is to improve your odds of getting into medical school (i.e. you don't want a public health job) then I don't think its likely to help much.

To get into medical school, the main things you need to do are to have a good undergraduate GPA/ BCPM GPA and to do well on the MCAT. Based on the experience of other people on this site graduate level degrees like an MPH are not very good counterbalances to a poor undergraduate performance. So best case scenario I don't think it would help much to do the MPH. Of course that's assuming you got straight As in the Pre-reqs, which rarely happens when you're trying to do two things at once. Taking the pre-reqs AND doing an MPH will likely lower your pre-req grades and do more harm than good. f you need to rehab your GPA, an SMP is definitely a better bet. Of course, that's assuming you need the help at all. What's your cumulative undergraduate GPA so far?

Also remember that getting into medical school is not the end of this process. You need to make a career out of this, and I promise you are going to have more options in terms of your career if you don't accumulate a ton of debt just getting into medical school. MPHs are usually pretty expensive, even at state schools. What was your career before? Are you funding your career change with your savings? If so do you have enough to support yourself all the way through medical school? If not, have you thought about how you're going to pay down the debt your accumulating?
 
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FromTheGroundUp

FromTheGroundUp

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Jun 26, 2012
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It's definitely doable, but if the only reason you're thinking of getting an MPH is to improve your odds of getting into medical school (i.e. you don't want a public health job) then I don't think its likely to help much.

To get into medical school, the main things you need to do are to have a good undergraduate GPA/ BCPM GPA and to do well on the MCAT. Based on the experience of other people on this site graduate level degrees like an MPH are not very good counterbalances to a poor undergraduate performance. So best case scenario I don't think it would help much to do the MPH. Of course that's assuming you got straight As in the Pre-reqs, which rarely happens when you're trying to do two things at once. Taking the pre-reqs AND doing an MPH will likely lower your pre-req grades and do more harm than good. f you need to rehab your GPA, an SMP is definitely a better bet. Of course, that's assuming you need the help at all. What's your cumulative undergraduate GPA so far?

Also remember that getting into medical school is not the end of this process. You need to make a career out of this, and I promise you are going to have more options in terms of your career if you don't accumulate a ton of debt just getting into medical school. MPHs are usually pretty expensive, even at state schools. What was your career before? Are you funding your career change with your savings? If so do you have enough to support yourself all the way through medical school? If not, have you thought about how you're going to pay down the debt your accumulating?
Hey Thanks for replying! To answer your questions...

1) I DEFINITELY NEED a SMP. There's no question about it. (Unless I get the absolute best score possible on the MCAT....) My GPA was barely good enough for me to graduate with. I need the Master's.

2) I graduated with a degree in Organizational Leadership. No actual job or career came from that.

3) I am funding the career change/ pre-reqs through the fin aid I am receiving from the MBA program I am currently in. (VERY long story behind the MBA-- it's a means to an end).

4) I don't really have a plan in place (at this time) to substantially pay down my debt, except for getting a great paying job...

Thanks for the insight and making me think about the decision.

Don't take the MPH unless you foresee it doing you some good in case Medicine isn't for you after all. You can take the pre-reqs and DIY a SMP, or go for a regular SMP.

The "get in good" with the decision makers won't work unless they can actually see your performance in medi school-like classes AND get to know you as well. That's why I call SMPs the "back door" into medical school.
This is true. This is why I wanted to specifically take the courses at the Med School. I am now thinking of staying on task and finishing the pre-reqs at the State University, and then maybe applying directly for the SMP at the Med school. Their SMP takes med school courses with the MS1s... This seems like a more feasible option. The school is very small in comparison to other MD schools, this is why I think it would be pretty easy to rub elbows with some of the people who may determine my fate. (lol)

Thanks for your reply!
 

TheWeeIceMan

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So you want to do an MBA, MPH, and SMP before medical school? I was going to say skip the MPH before, but now I definitely think you need to cut out the MPH. I don't know your financial situation, but I'd suggest trying to cut back on unnecessary debt at this point (which, imo, an MPH would be). You really don't want to start piling debt on your back before even starting medical school.

Also, how low of a gpa are we talking? An SMP is basically firing your last bullet, so I'd suggest you make absolutely sure you 1. Need the SMP and 2. Are shooting for the right medical school (DO or MD, linkage percentage, etc.). Who knows, maybe you would be better served re-taking classes and applying DO.
 

notbobtrustme

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All you need is an SMP. SMPs are basically med school auditions. Do well in them and most of your academic problems are alleviated.

An MPH is basically worthless, as are all other grad degrees save for thesis MS and PhDs.
 

Goro

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Definitely an excellent pathway like this.


This is true. This is why I wanted to specifically take the courses at the Med School. I am now thinking of staying on task and finishing the pre-reqs at the State University, and then maybe applying directly for the SMP at the Med school. Their SMP takes med school courses with the MS1s... This seems like a more feasible option. The school is very small in comparison to other MD schools, this is why I think it would be pretty easy to rub elbows with some of the people who may determine my fate. (lol)
 

pietachok

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I have never heard of an MPH as a way to "get in good" with the adcom of a school. Often they are located on separate campuses and have entirely different faculty, with perhaps a few people who lecture or work with both programs. And the PH courses, even if you do well in them, do not really overcome any academic weakness in undergrad.

SMPs, on the other hand are a way to do exactly what you want to do. However, you need to be very careful, b/c the grading in those programs is rigorous and often directly curved against medical students and other SMP students. Nobody goes into the program expecting to get mediocre grades, and everybody there has a lot on the line and is thus extremely motivated . . . yet one of those bright, motivated people is going to be a the bottom of the class. You should not do an SMP until you figure out why you didn't do better in undergrad *and* you have performed well in rigorous courses. Otherwise, the SMP (1) is a waste of boatloads of tuition, and (2) cinches your fate and actually worsens your chance of getting into med school. The stats vary program to program, but many SMPs only get about half of the graduates into med school on the first attempt -- the best programs cite 75% admissions after multiple application cycles.

How "bad" is you GPA?
 

Perrotfish

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1) I DEFINITELY NEED a SMP. There's no question about it. (Unless I get the absolute best score possible on the MCAT....) My GPA was barely good enough for me to graduate with. I need the Master's.!
Well it definitely sounds like prereqs --> SMP is the pathway you need to go down. If it helps I got in the same way, graduated with a 2.7 and got in through an SMP a year later. A few thoughts:

1) A lot of people who start down this pathway don't finish. How far are you into the MBA pathway? How much student debt have you accumulated so far? Is it still possible for you to quit the MBA? Why did you start the MBA in the first place? You'll get better advice if you type out the long story rather than writing "its a long story".

2) What, exactly, is your undergraduate GPA? Could you give an actual number? Were you a straight C student, or did you have more of a mixture of A/B semesters and D/F semesters? I ask because if you're mostly being dragged down by really bad grades your best shot might be to retake those classes, and then to apply to DO schools which allow you to replace your grades with more recent retakes. If your undergrad GPA is better than your implying it might be best to just take more undergrad credits. If you have a 2.0 you might be looking at grade repair just to get into the SMP. The only situation where an SMP is definitely the best option is when you have an unbalanced application: a low but not automatically unacceptable GPA (2.8-3.3) with a relatively high MCAT (33+), and when its really hard to bring up your GPA through grade replacement (no Ds/Fs and/or you have a lot more that 120 college credits).

3) Have you researched SMPs yet? Which ones are you planning to apply to? You should be aware that these programs have proliferated/expanded dramatically since schools realized what cash cows they are. There are a lot of programs with really negligible success rates, and other that only take students that would likely have been good applicants for medical school without ever doing the program. You need a decent GPA to get into one at all, and you need to do your research to make sure you're not flushing your money down the toilet.

4) What made you decide on the sudden career shift to medicine? Have you volunteered? Shadowed? Are you sure you're running towards medicine and not away from a bad job market? It's easy to pick up a LOT of debt in a panic if you feel like your job options are limited in your last career, when often the only thing you really need is a little more patience in your job hunt. Why didn't you want to do management? What inspired you to change careers?
 
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pietachok

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Oh wow, I missed the part about the MBA program. If you're doing it part time, that means it's going to take more than 2 years to finish, and you're accruing a lot of debt . . . and is it a program that's even going to help your career goals in the end? You can get financial aid for a full time post baccalaureate program or SMP, so doing an MBA just for the $ while doing pre-reqs is senseless.

Passionless accumulation of degrees does not help a medical school application, and can indeed hurt your application if it leads people to question your judgment or interest/passion for medicine.
 
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FromTheGroundUp

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Oh wow! so many replies in a few hours! Where to start??

The Longggg story... Its very long.

Undergrad Background
I graduated from undergard with a 2.6 GPA (according to my transcript. Thus my definite need for SMP) with a BA in Organizational Leadership. I now have close to 200 credits on my transcripts

I went to undergrad out of state and spent 6 years trying to get a degree (blame depression, almost being homeless, transferring, and not knowing what I was doing). I transferred from a quarter term school to a semester calendar so "all" of my credits didnt transfer. My time for undergrad financial aid was expiring, so I finished my BA. I took intro bio and anatomy during my first few years but felt like I needed to explore other options.

Explore i did.

I went from early childhood education to communications, to psychology, transferred schools and ended up with more comm credits, switched back to comm, did a semester as a visiting student in ATL, loved it, moved to Atlanta, decided not to transfer to ATL school because 1) I knew I didnt have the money, and 2) they said I needed 2 extra years to graduate, tried to finish comm degree online, no online option for degree, so instead of moving back to my KY campus (too expensive to live and had NO support system), I scrambled and found an online degree option I could complete before running out of aid.

At this time, it was too late to start a premed program, so I began looking for formal post-baccs. I applied to 3 and got accepted. Because of money, I had all of my applications deferred to the spring 2013 term. Graduated and took a year off to find a job and become a fully functioning member of society to pay for post bacc... didnt work at all. Literally-- no job that year. I withdrew my postbacc applications and counted my losses. Went into a depression...

MBA for Financial Aid
After this debacle, I enrolled at a State school in ATL with the $3k I had remaining in undergrad aid and took BIO and CHEM 1. Passed those with B+ and B. So excited!!! At this point (Spring 2013), I have a minimum wage job, and no more fin aid. I took Summer 2013 off to work and save, but Sallie Mae came knocking because they have some rule about only being able to defer loans for 60 months at a time... But I digress...

I needed to finish these prereqs!! It's the end of the summer and school is supposed to start soon. What can I do to get back in??? Lightbulb! MASTER'S DEGREE!! I look to see what programs at the State school still had an open application for the Fall. Business. Specifically the MBA program. I graduated with a somewhat business degree, and I own a business... why not? I put in my application and was accepted. My plan was to get the max aid/ loans I was eligible for take 2 MBA classes and then use the refund check for premed classes (since you cant use GRAD aid for UNDERGRAD courses.. or so I've been told). This didn't pan out because the school doesnt release refunds until AFTER registration closes. Bummer. So now, I am working full-time and attending the MBA classes.

I knowingly wasted a semester and want to kick myself for it, but wait. I CAN USE GRAD AID FOR UNDERGRAD PRE-REQS! Since I am now in the system as a grad student, I will be charged as a grad student, but I can use my financial aid for it. So, this Spring I am registered for BIO and CHEM 2... as a graduate student. I am only 2 classes into the MBA, so it's nothing for me to stop, but I dont want to jinx my financial aid loophole.

UGH. Just ugh...
I just feel like I'm wasting all of this time and need to find an "in" to medical school. I've never wanted something so much in my life and just feel like this is the right fit for me. I neglected the "itch" I had early on in undergrad because I didn't know what to do. I had no guidance. I blame it on being a first generation American and college student.

There's the long story.

I've volunteered
I have volunteered in a clinical setting (OB/GYN ambulatory clinic as an exam chaperone and working with a program for low income expectant mothers, and hospital Peds ward talking with older kids about their ailments and playing games with younger kids so they could understand their ailments.) While this experience was a summer long, I volunteered 5 days a week for 6 hours a day. After leaving my home state for school, I attempted to volunteer at my then University's Hospital, but they said I had a criminal offense on my background check (from where?? Ive never been arrested nor have I been involved in anything criminal) and it was never rectified. So I was unable to follow through with it.

I plan on shadowing
I am in contact with an anesthesiologist who came and spoke to the AMSA group at my school about shadowing opportunities... We'll see what comes of it.

This is my life...
IDK what more to offer, but my path of becoming a doctor is more than me trying to avoid a bad job market... It is a genuine interest that has nagged at me for as long as I can remember. I didnt have some life changing story that encouraged me. Just a passion to help, and compassion for underserved urban women since that is a category I am all too familiar with.

The MPH?
I thought of the MPH route because, as I stated, it would be at the medical school ... Morehouse to be exact. This is a smaller school that I have visited and it seems as if everybody knows everybody. I figured that rubbing elbows couldnt hurt if I was working hard and they saw how hard I was working. But the more I think of it and the more people comment here, it doesnt seem like the way to go. Especially since I have no genuine interest the technical MPH. I will wait until I complete the pre-reqs and take the MCAT to apply to SMPs. I am in search of a reputable program, that will give me the knowledge, experience, and skills to have a strong enough application.

Thank you everyone for the replies!
 

pietachok

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Your story makes me feel exhausted and overwhelmed, so I cannot even imagine how you feel. That said, I don't think many if any people here actually have the expertise, experience, or information to really give you proper advice. In an ideal world, I think you would benefit from professional financial planning, b/c essentially your finances are driving your educational decisions, which is intuitively backwards. Getting control of those might help you better decide what to do with regards to further education. I wonder if your school's Financial Aid Office can help you find a financial planner who is familiar with graduate education?

My under-qualified gut says that continuing the plan of protracted MBA w/ postbacc work followed by SMP is a bad idea.
Have you considered aiming for DO and doing grade replacement rather than an SMP? You can do that slowly/part-time while working.
Is it really worth it to get the MBA (I'm worried about the quality of a program that had last minute openings and whether it increases your future earning potential if you don't go to med school) rather than to try to get more gainful employment and do post bacc work as a non-matriculant?

You might find better, more -informed advice on the non-trad forum, b/c your life circumstances are more similar to people who are working and returning to school than they are to the majority of the pre-meds here.

If you're interested in attending an historically black school, you may want to specifically ask them how you should address/remedy your academic weaknesses. It sounds like you might be a member of a community they are trying to serve, so more than other schools, they may have advice for someone who has been so financially and educationally disadvantaged. If you are looking for volunteer or research positions for your ECs, I would look to Morehouse b/c finding a mentor there might be a boon to your success.

You need to fix whatever is going on with your background check. That's important all around and may be difficult to sort out.
 
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FromTheGroundUp

FromTheGroundUp

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Your story makes me feel exhausted and overwhelmed, so I cannot even imagine how you feel. That said, I don't think many if any people here actually have the expertise, experience, or information to really give you proper advice. In an ideal world, I think you would benefit from professional financial planning, b/c essentially your finances are driving your educational decisions, which is intuitively backwards. Getting control of those might help you better decide what to do with regards to further education. I wonder if your school's Financial Aid Office can help you find a financial planner who is familiar with graduate education?

My under-qualified gut says that continuing the plan of protracted MBA w/ postbacc work followed by SMP is a bad idea.
Have you considered aiming for DO and doing grade replacement rather than an SMP? You can do that slowly/part-time while working.
Is it really worth it to get the MBA (I'm worried about the quality of a program that had last minute openings and whether it increases your future earning potential if you don't go to med school) rather than to try to get more gainful employment and do post bacc work as a non-matriculant?

You might find better, more -informed advice on the non-trad forum, b/c your life circumstances are more similar to people who are working and returning to school than they are to the majority of the pre-meds here.

If you're interested in attending an historically black school, you may want to specifically ask them how you should address/remedy your academic weaknesses. It sounds like you might be a member of a community they are trying to serve, so more than other schools, they may have advice for someone who has been so financially and educationally disadvantaged. If you are looking for volunteer or research positions for your ECs, I would look to Morehouse b/c finding a mentor there might be a boon to your success.

You need to fix whatever is going on with your background check. That's important all around and may be difficult to sort out.
Thanks for that... My background is indeed overwhelming and exhausting! The MBA is a means to an end. I do not intend on completing the program. My finances is the driving factor for actually matriculating into the program in order to get financial aid for the pre-med classes. since i am in the school's computer as a graduate student, I (was told by fin aid office) am able to take the undergrad course and use the graduate aid for them. The only catch is that I would pay the graduate rate as opposed to the cheaper undergrad cost.

So from this spring semester, I will solely be taking the pre med classes. Im not to afraid of the cost (regarding loans) since I am in state and pay ~$3k for 8 credits... I have only the physics and orgo sequences to complete in order to "qualify" to apply to med school (MD or DO... I dont discriminate!)

I'll just take it one day/ semester at a time...

Thanks again!