genes&tats

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I've recently decided that I would rather attend Med School than Grad School and have been reading a lot both online and in books about applying. It's been nearly 8.5 years since I was last in school and I'm worried about my pre-req's "expiring". Does the MSAR include each school's policy about the maximum interval between completing pre-req's and applying? Or will I just have to slog through each school's admissions info individually?

Does anyone know of any schools who won't accept pre-req's taken many years ago?

And a little background/intro for anyone interested... I'm a few weeks shy of 33, married 12 years with an almost 6 yr old DS. I have a BA (Anthro) from Rice University and a BS in Biological Science from Cal State Hayward (now CSU Bay Area I guess). I put my career aspirations on hold to support my DH while he earned his PhD in Computational Physics. I gave up a fabulous Research Associate position at Livermore National Lab (in Reproductive Cytogenetics and Toxicology) to follow him to Los Alamos, NM where he was offerred a Staff Scientist position without having to complete a Post-Doc. Unfortunately the Bio research at Los Alamos is very limited compared to Livermore and I never found a PI who was doing anything that interested me. I stayed home wiith my son and then worked part-time at his elementary school until I decided I just couldn't take it any longer.

This spring I applied for several positions in Houston at the Medical Center (primarily at MD Anderson and Baylor Med). All were research positions except for one lone Clinical Cytogenetics job. I spent a whirlwind couple of days in Houston interviewing and received offers for every position. In the end I let my love of Cytogenetics win out over more money and prestige (and publication potential) and accepted the Clinical Cytogenetics position in Baylor's Kleberg Cytogenetics Laboratory. The work environment is way different from my research job and morale sucks, but I do get to see interesting cases and I spend the afternoons doing a little research.

My co-workers think I'm nuts for turning down offers from MD Anderson but I have always loved Cytogenetics. Ultimately I want to be a Clinical/Medical Geneticist and actually see patients as well as participate in limited research. I've ruled out MD/PhD because of my age and advice from the Geneticists with whom I work. They unanimously agree that if you actually want to see patients then an MD is a necessity but the PhD would be a waste. A program like Baylor's Research Track with just one extra year devoted to research appeals to me. I need to find out what other schools offer such an option.

Where I apply is going to depend largely on where my DH could find a suitable position. Obviously the DC area would work and we could always move back to Livermore (SF Bay Area). I really want to stay here in Houston though - I grew up in the area and still have some family here. For now DH and DS are staying in Los Alamos while I work and study for next year's MCAT. No need to uproot them twice (or at all if I do not get into med school). Plus DH's job is incredibly flexible with insane benfits and even a pension.

If you've made it this far, thanks. I look forward to picking y'all's brains and reading about the experiences of my fellow non-trad's.
 

Sundarban1

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Pre-reqs do not expire. There are only a few schools I know of that require all of your pre-reqs be done within a certain time frame and both of them are public schools. One is UMass (which you don't have to worry about unless your a MA resident as they don't accept OOS applicants) and another school in TX I believe.

So I believe that most, if not all, private schools have no limit on when pre-reqs are completed. They do however like to see recent coursework (although I'm sure this is not a requirement) if there has been a significant interval between your last schooling.
 
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genes&tats

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Sundarban1 said:
Pre-reqs do not expire. There are only a few schools that require that all of your pre-reqs be done within a certain time frame and both of them are public schools. One is UMass (which you don't have to worry about unless your a MA resident as they don't accept OOS applicants) and another school in TX I believe.

So I believe that most, if not all, private schools have no limit on when pre-reqs are completed. They do however like to see recent coursework (although I'm sure this is not a requirement) if there has been a significant interval between your last schooling.
Thanks Sundarban1! No plans to apply to UMass though I guess I should figure out which Texas school might have limits on pre-req's. I can't really go back to school to add recent coursework so hopefully my own independent studies related to my job and monthly karyotype rounds and journal club will count for something.

And thanks for your lobbying to get the Nontrad forum moved back where it belongs. :)
 
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relentless11

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Heh, I kinda wish my pre-reqs expired...i can retake them and score a 4.0;). Anyway, yea as Sundarban1 stated, they do not expire. As more time goes by there will be more emphasis on recent coursework and the MCAT though. I finished my pre-reqs back in 2000, so its gettin there;).
 

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relentless11 said:
Heh, I kinda wish my pre-reqs expired...i can retake them and score a 4.0;). Anyway, yea as Sundarban1 stated, they do not expire. As more time goes by there will be more emphasis on recent coursework and the MCAT though. I finished my pre-reqs back in 2000, so its gettin there;).
There are definitely some schools that require pre-reqs to be taken recently. Duke is one that I can think of offhand. If you want to apply there without re-taking the pre-reqs, you'll need to ask them to make an exception for you. That's what I had to do.

I would recommend contacting the schools where you plan to apply and asking them. Every school has different rules, and since no one here has likely applied to the same combination of schools that you are, we won't be able to tell you about all of them. I called about thirty schools before I applied to any and explained my unique situation. It's a PITA to do it, but it saved me a lot of wasted time, money and heartache later. :)
 

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Duke and now UMASS are the only schools I've heard of that don't allow prereqs over a certain age. I guess some schools do it, but it's not normal, so most likely, it won't cause you problems.
 

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genes&tats said:
For now DH and DS are staying in Los Alamos while I work and study for next year's MCAT. No need to uproot them twice (or at all if I do not get into med school). Plus DH's job is incredibly flexible with insane benfits and even a pension.
Sounds like a great position to be in, if you are OK with the distance. (Right now my wife is pissed at me, so distance isn't always a bad thing in a marriage.) Just out of curiousity what is a "DH" and a "DS"?
 

Law2Doc

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exlawgrrl said:
Duke and now UMASS are the only schools I've heard of that don't allow prereqs over a certain age. I guess some schools do it, but it's not normal, so most likely, it won't cause you problems.
In addition, although not keyed to the prereqs specifically, a LOT of schools will want to see "recent success in the sciences". As such, even if one isn't required to retake the prereqs, per se, it often behooves someone more than 5-7 years out to take some upper levels. Most postbac directors and med school advisors will suggest that if you are many years removed from college sciences, you take some. Not a bad idea before the MCAT anyhow.
 
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genes&tats

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2Sexy4MedSchool said:
Sounds like a great position to be in, if you are OK with the distance. (Right now my wife is pissed at me, so distance isn't always a bad thing in a marriage.) Just out of curiousity what is a "DH" and a "DS"?

The distance sucks and after being a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) for 5.5 years it's been really difficult to not see my son every day (or even every month). Thank goodness it is only a 2 hour flight (followed by a 100 mile drive) from Houston to Los Alamos.

And DH stands for "dear husband" and DS for "dear son". I'm a long-time user of 'net forums and these are pretty common.
 
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genes&tats

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Law2Doc said:
In addition, although not keyed to the prereqs specifically, a LOT of schools will want to see "recent success in the sciences". As such, even if one isn't required to retake the prereqs, per se, it often behooves someone more than 5-7 years out to take some upper levels. Most postbac directors and med school advisors will suggest that if you are many years removed from college sciences, you take some. Not a bad idea before the MCAT anyhow.
Hmm... Working more than full-time in clinical genetics will hopefully count as "recent success in the sciences". lol I work late more often than not and the weekend university course offerrings around here are not geared towards the sciences at all.

As for the MCAT, I'm just going to relearn Organic and review everything else. I got A's the first time around in all my science courses so I'm not overly concerned. I learn well on my own and used to tutor Organic and Physics so I should be fine if I stay focused.

Thanks for all the replies. I'll definitely contact the schools individually about my outdated pre-req's. Wouldn't want to waste time and money applying anywhere that will exclude me automatically for that.
 

notdeadyet

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Law2Doc is right. I am a 34 year old nontrad and spoke to some med schools and a private premed advisor who I respect and was advised pretty much universally to have some recent science coursework on my application.

I don't know how many med schools will flat out not accept it, but I have been told that if you don't have anything recent showing academic success, it will make med schools uncomfortable ("She was a great student once, but how about now? Hmmmm....")

And work experience probably won't take the place of it, unless you're coming in with a Ph.D. and it's that level of work.
 

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genes&tats said:
Hmm... Working more than full-time in clinical genetics will hopefully count as "recent success in the sciences". l
Schools tend to distinguish employment and school. The fact that you worked in a health field is a fantastic EC, but doesn't give schools a good sense of how you will fare in the first two years when you are immersed into a course full of folks who have been taking science classes for the last few years. I suggest you ask around before assuming your career will adequately placate med school concerns. Good luck.
 
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genes&tats

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Law2Doc said:
Schools tend to distinguish employment and school. The fact that you worked in a health field is a fantastic EC, but doesn't give schools a good sense of how you will fare in the first two years when you are immersed into a course full of folks who have been taking science classes for the last few years. I suggest you ask around before assuming your career will adequately placate med school concerns. Good luck.
Well, if it isn't sufficient then so be it. It's just not feasible for me to go back to school _again_ so I'll have to hope for the best. While I would love nothing more than taking a bunch of grad level science courses for a year I have to be realistic. The financial burden of two separate households plus all the flying back and forth and day care costs are bad enough.

Thanks for the warnings though. It's good to know ahead of time what sort of issues/obstacles I'll be facing and may want to address in my PS.
 

Law2Doc

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genes&tats said:
Well, if it isn't sufficient then so be it. It's just not feasible for me to go back to school _again_ so I'll have to hope for the best. While I would love nothing more than taking a bunch of grad level science courses for a year I have to be realistic. The financial burden of two separate households plus all the flying back and forth and day care costs are bad enough.

Thanks for the warnings though. It's good to know ahead of time what sort of issues/obstacles I'll be facing and may want to address in my PS.
The courses would likely be undergrad, not grad level.
 
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genes&tats

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Law2Doc said:
The courses would likely be undergrad, not grad level.
I would be hard pressed to find undergrad courses in science/math that wouldn't be repeats. I took PChem, Quant and Biochem; Calc, Vector and DifEq; all the regular bio plus grad level Molec/Cell, Mol. Genetics, etc. as an undergrad. Not being able to take daytime classes is a definite obstacle.

It's a moot point since there is no way in hell I'm paying non-resident tuition to take a class that would require me to piss off my supervisors on whom I'm relying for stellar LORs. A big part of my job is the ability to hang around to finish late arriving STAT samples or whatever else the lab directors need done. Since I work for Baylor College of Medicine and my supervisors are on the faculty it is definitely in my best interest to keep them happy.
 

Law2Doc

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genes&tats said:
Since I work for Baylor College of Medicine and my supervisors are on the faculty it is definitely in my best interest to keep them happy.
You probably should have a sit down with the Dean or assistant Dean of admissions and see if they can tell you how important updated classes would be, rather than just assume they aren't. You can then assume lots of schools will view things likewise. No point having good LORs and no place to go.
 
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