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My nontrad story, advice requested!

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by PerfectSine, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. PerfectSine

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    I'm a comp eng/comp sci undergrad/grad. I'm currently re-enrolled in a chem major at my old university to take care of the remaining bio and chem pre-req's (I have bio2 currently and then genetics this fall, biochem this spring). As I got to my junior and senior year of ugrad I felt like I didn't want to do comp eng anymore. I ended up meeting a professor who liked me enough to pay for my grad school in comp sci (an opportunity I couldn't pass up). But, as I was about to graduate from my MS and I was applying/interviewing for jobs, I knew that CE/CS wasn't what I wanted to do with my life. Being a physician is the only other thing I have ever wanted to do, but all my life I thought was going to be in computers so I never thought about it as an option. Now I am here, no one is my family has done medicine and I am lost in a sea of courses, advisors and voluteering.

    Where do I go from here? My GPA's were 3.33 and 3.6. I'm hoping to enter the 2013 cycle. I just got off a shadowing experience with an internist at a local hospital and I loved it. Should I go for more shadowing?

    I'm planning to have at least 3 LOR's. I have one already from the physician I shadowed and then at least 2 more from professors.

    My ugrad gpa is low. I really didn't try hard in my ugrad and I worked full time for nearly all of it and my grades suffered, but now that I have a serious goal of med school. I'm really motivated and I have made A's since. How will that impact med school applications/interviews?

    What does everyone recommend for MCAT studying? Are the professional courses worth the pricey fee?

    I currently don't have the funds to pay for medical school. I'm wanting to try to get into a underserved aid program to get it paid for. I'm also considering the military option as well as loans. Are loans a bad option? or worth taking?

    I don't mean to put all the questions up at once, but I just found this website and everyone on here seem great and also have been through similiar experiences!

    I would be eternally greatful for any advice and stories you would have to share!

    -Paul
     
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  3. NightGod

    2+ Year Member

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    More shadowing can't hurt, especially if you can get it with a few different specialties.

    You need volunteering time. At the least you need clinical volunteering. Ideally have both clinical and non-clinical time.

    An upward trend in your grades is definitely a good thing. Not as good as having a solid GPA, of course, but it can be enough for quite a few schools.

    Loans are pretty much a fact of life if you aren't coming from a wealthy background. I'd venture to say that the people who *don't* use loans are in the minority, by a rather large margin. IMHO it's better to take the loans and then look into public health service options to repay if you realize you can't afford to do so after you graduate than to make a decision to enlist or commit at the start of your med school education. You might very well end up getting into some extremely well paid specialty that would allow you to easily repay your loans only to have to skip out on years of earning potential because of the commitment you made back when you weren't even sure what kind of doctor you wanted to be.
     
  4. km17

    km17 Annyong
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    #3 km17, Jul 24, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  5. PerfectSine

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    Thanks for the comments! Going the loan/aid route is making more sense after reading your words.

    I didn't know the grad gpa doesn't apply, I'll just have to make the few A's left that I can!
     
  6. vc7777

    vc7777 Nontrad MD/MS Resident
    Rocket Scientist Physician Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    OP, did you work between your two degrees? Meaning, as an engineer?

    If so, you should seek a LOR from your former employer too. Doubly so, if your job involved research, as this is desirable for your application.

    I am not sure the merit of a LOR from someone whom you shadowed. The goal is to get personal, and strong, testaments to your ability to handle medical school. The majority of these letters typically come from academic settings. The large exception for nontrads is generally work-related LORs which can emphasis your ability to perform well in small groups, interact with people, etc. etc.

    Good luck
     
  7. PerfectSine

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    Hey vc7777,

    Yes I am currently employed as a systems engineer. So what you are saying is I need to get one from my current boss, from my MS prof, and I have another prof which I worked on several projects with. I also have a bio professor which I am going to be taking several times for a variety of courses, I'll get him as well.

    I just finished a year of Ochem with another professor, should I ask him as well?

    Really appreciate it vc7777!!!!!!
     
  8. vc7777

    vc7777 Nontrad MD/MS Resident
    Rocket Scientist Physician Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Well, the name of the game is quality over quantity (beyond the minimum). Also, make sure you have at least a couple from professors who have had you in class. If they know you from both class and lab work, even better. You should also check to see if your school offers pre-meds "committee letters". As such, they will compile and submit one on your behalf. I am of two minds on these letters, for nontrads. You should sniff this one out and see what it would take to get one from your premed advising office (that is, if they offer them). Many schools take these letters at face value and waive many of their other letter requirements.
     
  9. Iwillhealyou

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    #8 Iwillhealyou, Jul 24, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014

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