Sep 1, 2013
2
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hey everyone,

Thanks in advance to anyone who bears with me and reads my post! I'd like to get thoughts on my plan of action from anyone who has been in a similar situation (or anyone for that matter). I have specific questions at the bottom, the rest is just background.

My situation - I am 23 with a B.S. and M.S. in environmental engineering from a top 10 engineering program (3.87 uGPA, 3.86 gradGPA, not sure about sGPA, but should be very high). I graduated in December '12 with my M.S. and stayed at the university through the spring to take a few classes and finish up my thesis research. I have extensive experience working in a research lab (though not medical) in the area of microbiology. For a multitude of reasons, I'd rather not get into them right now, I have decided to pursue a career in medicine. I have recently accepted a 2 year engineering research position to help pay off loans while preparing my application to medical school.

In terms of coursework, I still need to take orgo 1&2, and biology 1&2. With the exception of orgo 2, I am very familiar with the material learned in all of these classes. Environmental engineering, and my research specifically, requires a very high understanding of microbiology and organic chemistry. Additionally, I have taken multiple chem and bio classes in my program that won't count as prereqs, but have given me a great background in the subjects.

Road ahead - I plan to begin taking my 4 missing courses in spring '14, and the MCAT either in late spring or summer. I have plenty of time to put in self study beforehand on the topics I am weak in. I am going to begin volunteering at a local hospital in a week, as well as shadow a physician who is a family friend. My goal is to be able to have a fairly strong application to med schools next fall, though I am not sure how likely that is.

My Questions -
1.) I plan on taking the 4 remaining courses at a community college due to financial restraints. I've read plenty on the debate between doing these at a 4 year vs. community college, but I was wondering if it would look ok for me, given my extensive background in the hard sciences and engineering? Adcoms want to make sure students can handle the difficult science course load, and I feel i've already proven I can.

2.) Assuming I score decent on the MCAT, would my plan for a creating a competitive application in a years time seem possible? I know that most students will have much better ECs related to hospital and volunteer work, at least in terms of hours spent. However, I have been involved in various honors societies, as well as being a teaching assistant throughout my college career. And I will have about a years worth of hospital volunteering and shadowing by next fall.

3.) This is a strange question, and i'm not sure anyone will have an answer but I figured I'd try.- As mentioned above, I stayed an extra semester after my Master's to finish up research. However, since I completed my masters, the only way for my professor to fund me with a stipend was to transfer me to the Ph.D. program (although I had no intention of working towards a Ph.D., it was solely for the funding). Therefore, it will look on my transcripts as if I withdrew from the Ph.D. program after the semester, though that is simple not the case. Is this something that I can just easily explain on the application, or in my personal statement? My research advisor will be one of my LOR, so it should hopefully be very clear to the adcoms that I did not drop out of a program mid way.

(I guess its worth noting that I am looking to get into a middle-tier med school in my home state of Illinois).

Thanks again to everyone for reading! Have a great labor day weekend.
 

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2010
65,794
101,374
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Your plan is very sound.

Road ahead - I plan to begin taking my 4 missing courses in spring '14, and the MCAT either in late spring or summer. I have plenty of time to put in self study beforehand on the topics I am weak in. I am going to begin volunteering at a local hospital in a week, as well as shadow a physician who is a family friend. My goal is to be able to have a fairly strong application to med schools next fall, though I am not sure how likely that is.


CC coursework is perfectly fine. It's an urban legend among pre-meds that AdComs look down on CC work, which can be just a s rigorous as any at a 4 yr university.

1.) I plan on taking the 4 remaining courses at a community college due to financial restraints. I've read plenty on the debate between doing these at a 4 year vs. community college, but I was wondering if it would look ok for me, given my extensive background in the hard sciences and engineering? Adcoms want to make sure students can handle the difficult science course load, and I feel i've already proven I can.


We recognize that non-trads have a life, but there are things that you have to do, like patient contact experience, shadowing, displays of altruism...at a minimum, you need to show us that you wan tot be around sick and injured people for the noext 40 years, and that you know what you're getting into. Medical school is not a reward for merely being a good student. But what you have on tap sounds good.



2.) Assuming I score decent on the MCAT, would my plan for a creating a competitive application in a years time seem possible? I know that most students will have much better ECs related to hospital and volunteer work, at least in terms of hours spent. However, I have been involved in various honors societies, as well as being a teaching assistant throughout my college career. And I will have about a years worth of hospital volunteering and shadowing by next fall.

Withdrawing from the PhD program will be an issue raised at interviews, not in screening your app. Just answer honestly.

3.) This is a strange question, and i'm not sure anyone will have an answer but I figured I'd try.- As mentioned above, I stayed an extra semester after my Master's to finish up research. However, since I completed my masters, the only way for my professor to fund me with a stipend was to transfer me to the Ph.D. program (although I had no intention of working towards a Ph.D., it was solely for the funding). Therefore, it will look on my transcripts as if I withdrew from the Ph.D. program after the semester, though that is simple not the case. Is this something that I can just easily explain on the application, or in my personal statement? My research advisor will be one of my LOR, so it should hopefully be very clear to the adcoms that I did not drop out of a program mid way.
 

freakingoutabit

5+ Year Member
Aug 4, 2012
375
55
Florida
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
1. Given your background and GPAs, no one will blink an eye at 4 classes taken at a community college.

3. You can absolutely put together a decent application in a year's time. It's tough, but doable. I decided to go to med school in April 2012, and I'm applying right now. The key to your application will be showing ADCOMs that you know what you're getting into through shadowing and meaningful clinical experiences. You're obviously very smart, so you have to prove that there's a reason that you now want to go into medicine. Along with shadowing and hospital volunteering, I would try to do a little community volunteering (soup kitchen, Boys & Girls Club, etc). Being a member of an honor society is a little fluffy.

3. If you explain why your transcript looks as though you were in a PhD program, I don't think anyone will care. Honestly, I don't think they would care even if you had really dropped out.

Illinois is a good state for med schools! Good luck :)
 
Sep 1, 2013
2
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Thank you Goro and freakingoutabit for your responses. I will look into other local volunteer opportunities to do some volunteering outside of the hospital setting. I have a minimal amount of volunteering done in the community through undergrad societies, though nothing extensive.
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 7 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.