Apr 9, 2010
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I am sorry if I posted this in the wrong topic..

First, my name is Yuriy. I am very interested in becoming a Pathologist specializing in both the clinical and anatomic specialties.

Here is my situation. I am currently in my 3rd semester at a community college. I am at a community college because I did poorly in high school but that was years ago. From what doctors tell me, what’s more important is how well I do at a four year college, pre-med courses, and the MCATs.

Doctors are telling me I have to try and get accepted into a very good four year college and that’s understandable. They also say that I need to do some shadowing and volunteer work. The college I am looking at is Columbia University, to make it easier to then apply for Columbia Medical School. I am a bit stuck on what to do. Currently, my GPA is 3.5 and going up. For now, it’s not enough in my opinion to get into Columbia.

I was planning to get enough credits to then transfer early from the community college without any associates degree, to a four year public college and major in a Forensics Science bachelor’s degree. But since I am told that I should apply to a good college, and have considered Columbia, I have to do something different as I probably have no chance at the moment.

I am now thinking that This will also give me some time to shadow a doctor and do some volunteer work as I have not done it yet.

Here are my questions…

1) Instead of transferring to a low quality four year college, will it be ok if I do get an associate’s degree at the community school? Would this benefit my chances for Columbia?

2) What’s the best approach for me to get into Columbia University?

3) How do I get volunteer and shadowing work? Do I just simply go to a hospital and ask politely?

4) I also read that as a student, doctors may allow me to sit through a surgical procedure in the operating room. Is this true and will medical schools look at this positively for a prospecting student? How do I go about asking that?

Thanks for taking the time to read, Yuriy K.
 
Apr 9, 2010
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
New York.

Currently in Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. From what I read about it, it's considered one of the top community schools in the country, if that even means anything for future schools lol

The college I first wanted to transfer to for a Forensics Science degree is John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
 

DrSmooth

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I am sorry if I posted this in the wrong topic..

First, my name is Yuriy. I am very interested in becoming a Pathologist specializing in both the clinical and anatomic specialties.

Here is my situation. I am currently in my 3rd semester at a community college. I am at a community college because I did poorly in high school but that was years ago. From what doctors tell me, what’s more important is how well I do at a four year college, pre-med courses, and the MCATs.

Doctors are telling me I have to try and get accepted into a very good four year college and that’s understandable. They also say that I need to do some shadowing and volunteer work. The college I am looking at is Columbia University, to make it easier to then apply for Columbia Medical School. I am a bit stuck on what to do. Currently, my GPA is 3.5 and going up. For now, it’s not enough in my opinion to get into Columbia.

I was planning to get enough credits to then transfer early from the community college without any associates degree, to a four year public college and major in a Forensics Science bachelor’s degree. But since I am told that I should apply to a good college, and have considered Columbia, I have to do something different as I probably have no chance at the moment.

I am now thinking that This will also give me some time to shadow a doctor and do some volunteer work as I have not done it yet.

Here are my questions…

1) Instead of transferring to a low quality four year college, will it be ok if I do get an associate’s degree at the community school? Would this benefit my chances for Columbia?

2) What’s the best approach for me to get into Columbia University?

3) How do I get volunteer and shadowing work? Do I just simply go to a hospital and ask politely?

4) I also read that as a student, doctors may allow me to sit through a surgical procedure in the operating room. Is this true and will medical schools look at this positively for a prospecting student? How do I go about asking that?

Thanks for taking the time to read, Yuriy K.
This is sort of like applying to medical school. I would finish your associate's, and get involved in some solid ECs that interest you, and then apply to some colleges you like and go to the best one you get into and can afford, whether that's Columbia or somewhere else.

For volunteering, search online for hospital volunteer programs in your area or call around to hospitals and talk to the volunteer coordinators. Just be sure to find something that will give you clinical experience (like with patients and not in the gift shop). For shadowing just go to these doctors who are giving you all this free advice and shadow them and their colleagues.

Good luck! Be sure to check out all the FAQs on this board and it will give you a good idea of the things you need to start doing to make it into med school.
 
Mar 16, 2010
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Pre-Medical
I don't know about New York, but in New jersey when you graduate with your associates from a community college when you transfer to a 4 year college your automatically considered a junior. However, it is always preferable to transfer into a 4 year university as soon as you can.
Find an undergraduate school you like and can afford, consider the prestige of the institution after that.
Once you do that, major in whatever course interests you the most, so you will have an easier time getting a good GPA.
Have you taken any prereqs?
You should start looking around for volunteer opportunities, particular ones that will expose you to patients such as volunteering in a hospital. Call the hospital and ask to speak to the volunteer coordinator.
 
Apr 9, 2010
13
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0
30
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I don't know about New York, but in New jersey when you graduate with your associates from a community college when you transfer to a 4 year college your automatically considered a junior. However, it is always preferable to transfer into a 4 year university as soon as you can.
Find an undergraduate school you like and can afford, consider the prestige of the institution after that.
Once you do that, major in whatever course interests you the most, so you will have an easier time getting a good GPA.
Have you taken any prereqs?
You should start looking around for volunteer opportunities, particular ones that will expose you to patients such as volunteering in a hospital. Call the hospital and ask to speak to the volunteer coordinator.
Hmm I think it's the same here in NY. As far as pre-reqs, I am not planning to take any at the community school, only at the four year college. I still have to take the annoying high school math course at the community college since I did horrible in HS. It is keeping me from taking advanced math courses as well as science courses.

Also why do you think its preferable to transfer as soon as possible?

When I thought about doing this, the only reason that came to mind was the fact that I didn't want to waste any more years. But as I thought about the years it takes to actually become a doctor after residency, I don't think that getting an associates would make a significant difference in terms of my age later on.
 
Mar 16, 2010
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Hmm I think it's the same here in NY. As far as pre-reqs, I am not planning to take any at the community school, only at the four year college. I still have to take the annoying high school math course at the community college since I did horrible in HS. It is keeping me from taking advanced math courses as well as science courses.

Also why do you think its preferable to transfer as soon as possible?

When I thought about doing this, the only reason that came to mind was the fact that I didn't want to waste any more years. But as I thought about the years it takes to actually become a doctor after residency, I don't think that getting an associates would make a significant difference in terms of my age later on.
If you don't plan on getting your associates your best bet is to transfer, i am a transfer student and i'll enroll in Rutgers in fall, i don't regret this decision because there are courses i need which simply aren't offered at my cc.
The only reason for an associates is flawless transfer, and the fact that its affordable. You said your in your third semester, your a sophomore.
You should ideally be taking the MCAT's in your sophomore-junior year.
To take the MCAT's you want to be done with your prereqs (1 year gen chem, 1 year physics, 1 year organic chem, 1 year bio) so you will prepared. It's fine if you take your prereqs at a community college as long as you don't take them all there or plan on taking upper level science courses at the 4 year university to demonstrate that your capable of doing well in them.
 

DrSmooth

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You should ideally be taking the MCAT's in your sophomore-junior year.
You really only need to take the MCAT by mid June of the year you are applying. Of course, it's nice to take it earlier so you know your score when you apply and have time to retake :eek: if necessary.
 

LizzyM

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You need not attend the undergraduate institution connected to a med school in order to have a good chance of being admitted to medical school.

Major in what interests you but do well in the pre-reqs.

Don't be in a rush to finish... take the MCAT after you finish the pre-reqs. Work or do a masters degree after college if you need that extra year to make your application the strongest it can be (so you apply after senior year rather than after junior year).

Consider a masters degree leading to a career as a pathologist assistant is you are concerned about your age & how much longer this is going to take. From NYC you can look at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut- there are others, too.

Consider getting a job or a shadowing opportunity in the medical examiner's office and/or as an autopsy technician in a hospital.

Do get some work or volunteer experience interacting with people/patients to show adcoms that you are willing and able to do the patient care activities that are going to be an essential part of your training in medical school even if you don't intend to work with patients as a career.
 

TexasPhysician

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I just don't understand why you care about Columbia so much. It is extremely expensive and you would just end up competing against some really smart undergrad students. Not to mention being stuck in NY, but I guess I can't fault you for that. Don't make the application process more difficult than it is.

I would choose a college that people have at least heard of across around the nation. Someone mentioned Rutgers and that is just fine. I doubt many people have heard of John Jay in medicine. Baylor in TX has a forensics degree also.

Pathology is uncompetitive as a field in medicine. Get into any US medical school and you could land a very good pathology spot.
 

LizzyM

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I just don't understand why you care about Columbia so much. It is extremely expensive and you would just end up competing against some really smart undergrad students. Not to mention being stuck in NY, but I guess I can't fault you for that. Don't make the application process more difficult than it is.

I would choose a college that people have at least heard of across around the nation. Someone mentioned Rutgers and that is just fine. I doubt many people have heard of John Jay in medicine. Baylor in TX has a forensics degree also.

Pathology is uncompetitive as a field in medicine. Get into any US medical school and you could land a very good pathology spot.
John Jay is part of the City College of New York system so anyone who has been in and around NYC has heard of it. In terms of keeping costs down, it may be a reasonable choice particularly as a commuter student (again, keeping costs down by living with family).
 

TexasPhysician

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John Jay is part of the City College of New York system so anyone who has been in and around NYC has heard of it. In terms of keeping costs down, it may be a reasonable choice particularly as a commuter student (again, keeping costs down by living with family).
I'm not saying it is a bad school, but if you are trying to maximize your chances of getting into medical school - you will apply broadly. People who have never been in the NE still know Rutgers, Boston College, etc.

During most every interview (med school, residency, etc.), my undergrad is brought up. Even schools across the country knew the current news on my school, and loved talking about it.

Not to mention, undergrads can have a lot of networking going on. Picking a quality school with a national reputation is beneficial for anything.
 

LizzyM

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I'm not saying it is a bad school, but if you are trying to maximize your chances of getting into medical school - you will apply broadly. People who have never been in the NE still know Rutgers, Boston College, etc.

During most every interview (med school, residency, etc.), my undergrad is brought up. Even schools across the country knew the current news on my school, and loved talking about it.

Not to mention, undergrads can have a lot of networking going on. Picking a quality school with a national reputation is beneficial for anything.
It is possilbe to apply very broadly and still be within a 5 hour drive of Brooklyn. (NYC & suburbs, Boston, Philly and points in between). If people know Rutgers & BC it is because of sports, not academics.

People here talk about med school debt but what about the debt going into med school ?John Jay's tuition is $4,600/year (2 semesters)for NY State residents.

I took a look at the science dept at John Jay and the Molecular Biology major covers all the pre-med pre-reqs and some upper level classes that would be very helpful (Genetics, and Instrumentation, to name two).

There may be some regional bias here but I think that the urban corridor between Boston & Philly is dense enough that the OP will have plenty of choices at schools that would be familiar with the CUNY system.
 

TexasPhysician

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If people know Rutgers & BC it is because of sports, not academics.

.
If you don't think sports plays a direct relation with academics, prestige of the school, and ultimately-networking, you are kidding yourself.

I even know of medical groups that won't add physicians unless they have an affiliation to a certain school. This is how business works now.
 
Apr 9, 2010
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I just don't understand why you care about Columbia so much. It is extremely expensive and you would just end up competing against some really smart undergrad students. Not to mention being stuck in NY, but I guess I can't fault you for that. Don't make the application process more difficult than it is.

I would choose a college that people have at least heard of across around the nation. Someone mentioned Rutgers and that is just fine. I doubt many people have heard of John Jay in medicine. Baylor in TX has a forensics degree also.

Pathology is uncompetitive as a field in medicine. Get into any US medical school and you could land a very good pathology spot.
Well almost every doctor I talked to said to go to a very good four year college, such as Columbia if I want to land into a good american medical school, instead of some caribbean med school. I mean I just don't know at the moment as I should speak to some advisors but they are of no help.

Lizzy, the Forensics Science, in particular the Molecular Biology track is exactly what I was looking into at John Jay. But from what I heard from doctors, it worried my chances of getting into med school.

As far as "good colleges" goes, the other reason I chose Columbia is because it is in NY, and I really am not in a position to go out of state at the moment. If it does come down to me applying there then, I do have to be prepared in terms of academics, and volunteer/shadow work. Maybe like Lizzy sugested I can plan to get a Masters first as a Pathologist Assistant and that will look good and increase my chances.

Thanks.
 
Mar 16, 2010
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There are plenty of great schools in NY don't be so focused on Columbia.....
Focus on Columbia for medical school!!
 
Jan 5, 2010
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You have a 3.5 at community college. You won't get into columbia. That GPA is bellow average for people who get into ANY medical school, let alone a top program like columbia. You do realize, once you transfer your gpa will likely drop a lot. The courses at a 4-year will be harder AND you have yet to take the pre-reqs wich are very difficult.
 

TexasPhysician

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Well almost every doctor I talked to said to go to a very good four year college, such as Columbia if I want to land into a good american medical school, instead of some caribbean med school. I mean I just don't know at the moment as I should speak to some advisors but they are of no help.

Lizzy, the Forensics Science, in particular the Molecular Biology track is exactly what I was looking into at John Jay. But from what I heard from doctors, it worried my chances of getting into med school.

As far as "good colleges" goes, the other reason I chose Columbia is because it is in NY, and I really am not in a position to go out of state at the moment. If it does come down to me applying there then, I do have to be prepared in terms of academics, and volunteer/shadow work. Maybe like Lizzy sugested I can plan to get a Masters first as a Pathologist Assistant and that will look good and increase my chances.

Thanks.
My roommate (who is top-10 people in my med school class) went to a school you never heard of - I never even heard of it and its in my state. You can get into med school from anywhere, its just a little easier if people recognize the name.

I'd argue that you would have a much easier time getting into med school with a 3.9 gpa from Texas A&M vs a 3.2 from Columbia. I don't argue that Columbia is the better school though.