Need Advice: Accepted to Top 5 Law School But Want to go to Med School?

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ltcm

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Ok, I need some help from you guys. Thanks in advance for reading this.

I'm 24 and have been accepted to a Top 5 Law School to start this fall. I was a government major in college and applied to law school because it seemed like the right thing to do. I've always considered being a doctor but never really pursued it wholeheartedly. I've been thinking about signing up for science classes beginning spring quarter here and trying to get through the prereqs in the next two years, take the MCAT and apply for the fall '10 class.

Couple things: what's the median age of med school candidates? would 28 be too old? will these science classes count positively towards my undergrad GPA? my undergrad GPA through LSDAS was 3.29 - will the med school calculation be approximately the same? is there any negative connotation with taking the prereqs one or two at a time as long as I do well in them?
 

Law2Doc

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Ok, I need some help from you guys. Thanks in advance for reading this.

I'm 24 and have been accepted to a Top 5 Law School to start this fall. I was a government major in college and applied to law school because it seemed like the right thing to do. I've always considered being a doctor but never really pursued it wholeheartedly. I've been thinking about signing up for science classes beginning spring quarter here and trying to get through the prereqs in the next two years, take the MCAT and apply for the fall '10 class.

Couple things: what's the median age of med school candidates? would 28 be too old? will these science classes count positively towards my undergrad GPA? my undergrad GPA through LSDAS was 3.29 - will the med school calculation be approximately the same? is there any negative connotation with taking the prereqs one or two at a time as long as I do well in them?


Go check out the nontrad board, and you will see that 28 is hardly close to the top age of med school attendees. There are folks in their 40s and early 50s in med school. Average age is about 24, but the median is probably closer to 23. DO avg ages are higher. Undergrad level courses taken after your BA are considered postbac, and will be combined in a column on AMCAS and looked at for med school purposes. Bear in mind that the way AMCAS calculates GPA is likely very different than LSDAS does. Do well at the prereqs and MCAT and you should be fine. But you will likely have to explain why the change in stream from pre-law to pre-med all of a sudden.
 
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Couple things: what's the median age of med school candidates? would 28 be too old? will these science classes count positively towards my undergrad GPA? my undergrad GPA through LSDAS was 3.29 - will the med school calculation be approximately the same? is there any negative connotation with taking the prereqs one or two at a time as long as I do well in them?

The average age for ms1's is 24 I believe. No 28 would not be too old. As long as you are taking "undergraduate" science courses they will count towards your undergraduate gpa. I don't know how LSDAS considers your gpa, but without knowing I wouldn't imagine it would change much with either. Although consider AMCAS reviews your BCPM (biology, chemistry, math and physics) gpa as well. So you'll want to make all A's in those classes to off set your 3.29. There is no perfect or best way to get in. Lots of people apply after thinking about other careers. Some people of course go straight from high school knowing they want to be a doctor. It is hard to say what is the best method, I'd say your experience will make you unique so it shouldn't hurt you. I think taking a full load would be the best option, but if all you can do is take 2-3 classes while working then that's that. Don't just take 2 classes at a time because you don't want to work hard though, only do that if you have a real reason behind it. (working full time, parent etc)

Hope that helps :)
 

Shpamme

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I'm 28, finished law school and hopefully will start med school next fall, pending a acceptance. I don't regret it at all. You're gonna get old anyway--might as well get old doing something you love, right? =)

Congrats on the acceptance! That's quite an accomplishment!!

In your case, I'd investigate your interest thoroughly before embarking on all these science classes. Defer the law school admission for a year, and shadow a lot of physicians, get a lot of clinical exposure. If it turns out medicine is truly what you want to do, I wholly advocate going for it. Taking a year to shadow and explore will really help you justify the switch to interviewers and adcomms--and believe me, they will ask. Many interviewers have questioned my motivations and whether I would not "abandon" medicine like I did with law. But if you get the shadowing experience upfront, IMHO interviewers will be less likely to question your motivations. You can just say "I always had an interest, and finally had the time to explore it after finishing the gov't major. When I did, I realized I liked it a lot because (insert your reasons here) and decided to press onwards with coursework."

If through the year of exposure you decide it's not for you, then at least you haven't wasted money on courses. In fact, in that year, you could have made money by working at a physicians office (or something else taht gets you clinical exposure but still pays). And you'd still have that top 5 law school admission in hand at the end of the year, provided they allowed you to defer.

Whatever you decide, props to you for taking time to think carefully about what you want now. I wish I had done that when I was graduating college. If you have any questions feel free to come over to nontrads and ask. Here are two threads that might be of some help, although these were geared more towards people who already finished law school/had worked as a lawyer for a bit.
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=370215
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=360163
The lawyers in those threads are also really nice and might be able to help with your decisionmaking too.

I don't think there's anything wrong with taking one or two at a time initially, but at some point they are going to want to see that you can handle a full load of science all at once. At some point I think it would be helpful for you to take a full 15-16 units of science.

Good luck!!
 

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How the hell did you get into a top 5 law school with a 3.29 GPA?! I always thought top law schools were even more hardcore about the GPA than med schools.
 

SunshineNYC

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Clearly your mind is telling you one thing and your heart another. If your heart is not in law school then don't do it. How would you attitude change if you had a near death experience tomorrow? Would that wake you up to the fact that you have to live out your dream, regardless of the obstacles?

That being said, don't go to law school because "it is a good idea", that is a HORRIBLE idea. If you want to go to medical school, you can do it. I would suggest working a medical related job while attending pre-med classes as a part-time student, or earning a full-time post-bac degree from some program (there are a bunch of pre-med post-bac programs that feed right into medical schools). I did it the first way I mentioned (it took me two years) and I was just accepted to NYCOM!!! I am SO happy that I bothered to put the effort in because I know that I'll get to do what I love every day instead of just working at some job because it pays well.

Apply to some allopathic as well as osteopathic schools and without appearing flaky or impulsive, definitely include the fact that you gave up going to a top 5 law school to follow your dream of becoming a doctor in your essay! ;) Use it as an opportunity to show how you've grown and become wiser and realized that you had to follow your heart, which led you to medicine.
 

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How the hell did you get into a top 5 law school with a 3.29 GPA?! I always thought top law schools were even more hardcore about the GPA than med schools.
Because she is lying about getting into a top 5. Must have meant a bottom 5!:D
 

thejonqproject

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How the hell did you get into a top 5 law school with a 3.29 GPA?! I always thought top law schools were even more hardcore about the GPA than med schools.

law schools weigh the LSAT more heavily.
 

Shpamme

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Apply to some allopathic as well as osteopathic schools and without appearing flaky or impulsive, definitely include the fact that you gave up going to a top 5 law school to follow your dream of becoming a doctor in your essay! ;) Use it as an opportunity to show how you've grown and become wiser and realized that you had to follow your heart, which led you to medicine.

I could well be wrong.. I know there are a lot of different opinions on this subject. But I remember when I did my first draft of my personal statement, EVERYONE told me not talk explicitly about how I gave up a amazing job offer at a large law firm to become a doctor. Every single person who read my first draft flagged that and told me to take it out. They said it came across as cocky and arrogant, and made it seem like it's much harder and more prestigious to get a offer like that and to get into med school. Now, that's certainly not what I believed, and I'm certain that's not what Sunshine NYC was trying to convey.. but for some reason, it came across that way to everyone who read my essay. So if you do go this route, I'd advise being just a little cautious with the way you word it. I do totally agree with SunshineNYC that you need to portray the time after your major finished as "how you've grown and become wiser and realized that you had to follow your heart, which led you to medicine." I dunno...just my two cents. =)
 

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You could defer your acceptance and explore the med school option. I'd recommend starting with basic science prereqs and do some volunteering/shadowing/etc. Many premeds realize while doing this that med school isn't for them and quit. If you go through a year doing the premed gig, and find that you enjoy the clinical exposure via shadowing etc, then medicine may be for you. Othewise, go to law school knowing that the medical bug is out of your system.

FYI, medical school is pretty hardcore about grades. There isn't other activities you can go do (at least within a year) to offset your GPA. I don't know how the LSDAS calculates GPA, but I imagine it can't be too different from how the AMCAS does grades. A 3.3 is considered too low for most allo schools. You will need to raise it up to at least a 3.4 (preferably 3.5+) to be competitive. Also, do well on your science classes, med schools will look at that very closely. Also,look into the MCAT. I have heard of people who opt out of med school b/c of that exam. Make sure you are willing to put yourself through that. They've cut the exam down to 5+ hours now, but it's a tough exam to crack.
 
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