New here, interested in med school, have some questions

mg2006

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Hi! Going to medical school is something I've wanted to do for a long time, but I always seem to talk myself out of it (I'm too old, what if I don't get in, etc...). Well, I've finally decided I want to go for it! Being a doctor is the only thing I want to do, and I don't want to settle for another career and end up harboring regrets.

First- a little background. I would love some advice on what my chances of getting in are, based on this info.

I am 27. I began college at age 24, and will graduate in a few months with a B.S. in Health Studies, with an option in Community Health Education (kind of like a social, cultural, economic perspective on health). My first two years were at a community college, with my final year being at a state college. My state college GPA is 4.00, my overall is 3.7. My science GPA is 4.00, but that really just includes a year of general chemistry, a couple of intro biology courses, and microbiology.

If I do, indeed, decide to follow the med school path, I will need to take 3 more quarters of sciences, meaning I would graduate with a second degree in Health Studies with the option in Health Sciences. As I said, I have already taken a year of gen. Chem, but I would need to take a year of Biology, O Chem ( :eek: ) and Physics.

I am sorely lacking in extracurricular experiences, I think. All I have to speak of is some volunteering for the former Governor in a campaign to provide universal health insurance, and I intern for a nonprofit company that seeks to improve health care quality.

I'm not out of school yet, though, so I plan to add to this by including some more volunteer experience. My options include volunteering at a hospice, or volunteering at Oregon Health Sciences University, which also happens to be my first choice for med school.

Here are my questions:

1. Does it hurt me that I went to a community college?

2. What are the best ways to increase my volunteering / extracurricular activities profile?

3. Regarding the MCAT- if I plan to finish all my sciences by August 07, should I plan to take the April 08 MCAT, or do you think I could manage the 07? I'm hoping to try for both, but I don't know if the August one would be too soon.

4. Also, I know at OHSU, you have to take the MCAT, then wait a year, THEN apply. Is this the case everywhere else? It seems, from what I've read, that other schools let you apply the same year you take the MCAT?

Thanks a lot to anyone who read through all this. I appreciate any advice anyone can give me! :)
 

calliMD

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mg2006 said:
1. Does it hurt me that I went to a community college?

2. What are the best ways to increase my volunteering / extracurricular activities profile?

3. Regarding the MCAT- if I plan to finish all my sciences by August 07, should I plan to take the April 08 MCAT, or do you think I could manage the 07? I'm hoping to try for both, but I don't know if the August one would be too soon.

4. Also, I know at OHSU, you have to take the MCAT, then wait a year, THEN apply. Is this the case everywhere else? It seems, from what I've read, that other schools let you apply the same year you take the MCAT?
1. Some medical schools do not accept prerequisites taken at a community college. You would need to call/email to make sure that the ones you apply to do accept them, or retake them at your state school.

2. Get involved in something that interests you.. whether it be hospice or ER volunteering, etc. You don't necessarily need 10 different volunteer activities. Just find a couple that you enjoy doing and stick with it on a long-term basis. Showing commitment/dedication to something is preferable to having a million different activities.

3. If you're still going to be taking prereqs while simultaneously preparing for the MCAT, I would just wait to take the MCAT at a later date. It doesn't necessarily have to be August 08. There are other testing dates besides August. ;) (like in April).

4. Not completely clear on what you're asking.. but let's say you take the August 08 MCAT, you would then be applying for matriculation in 2009.

Hope that helps.
 

ekydrd

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mg2006 said:
Here are my questions:

1. Does it hurt me that I went to a community college?

2. What are the best ways to increase my volunteering / extracurricular activities profile?

3. Regarding the MCAT- if I plan to finish all my sciences by August 07, should I plan to take the April 08 MCAT, or do you think I could manage the 07? I'm hoping to try for both, but I don't know if the August one would be too soon.

4. Also, I know at OHSU, you have to take the MCAT, then wait a year, THEN apply. Is this the case everywhere else? It seems, from what I've read, that other schools let you apply the same year you take the MCAT?

Thanks a lot to anyone who read through all this. I appreciate any advice anyone can give me! :)
Here are a few answers from a person who graduated from med school at 41...
1) no it won't hurt you. I attended a community college for an associates degree.

2)volunteer at a local hospital when ever you can. I volunteered in the ER as an undergraduate. Be a Big Sister/Big Brother or work at the local Y.

3)take the MCAT when you feel ready. I took a prep course and took the test before I had even finished all of my science classes and did very well.

4)I was able to apply the same year I took the MCAT. I think OHSU must be an exception to the general rule that you can apply the fall of the year you take the MCAT - including the August test.
 
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Sporky

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If community college hurts you, then I am sunk. But, my vast amounts of highly unscientific research indicates that it doesn't matter. It isn't the school as much as it is the professor in my opinion. Also, many, many persons have taken their pre-reqs at community college.

Since like medicine, applying to medical school seems to be entirely subjective, Ieach individual school seems to be setting its own timeline for applications. I'm not aware of schools that require you to wait one year before even applying - that seems odd........

BTW, if you are old, then I am ancient. Only in the west do we have this idea of 30-60 being "old". I know 80 year old men and women in other parts of the world who are engaged in active careers making a difference in the lives of others. If John Glenn can utilize millions of my tax dollars to send his wrinkly old butt into space at 77, then at 20 something, the word "old" should not be in your vocabulary unless you are speaking about some leftovers which have begun to sprout small, whitish hairs. :)

Wilkommen!!!
 

njbmd

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Sporky said:
If community college hurts you, then I am sunk. But, my vast amounts of highly unscientific research indicates that it doesn't matter. It isn't the school as much as it is the professor in my opinion. Also, many, many persons have taken their pre-reqs at community college.

Since like medicine, applying to medical school seems to be entirely subjective, Ieach individual school seems to be setting its own timeline for applications. I'm not aware of schools that require you to wait one year before even applying - that seems odd........

BTW, if you are old, then I am ancient. Only in the west do we have this idea of 30-60 being "old". I know 80 year old men and women in other parts of the world who are engaged in active careers making a difference in the lives of others. If John Glenn can utilize millions of my tax dollars to send his wrinkly old butt into space at 77, then at 20 something, the word "old" should not be in your vocabulary unless you are speaking about some leftovers which have begun to sprout small, whitish hairs. :)

Wilkommen!!!
Hi there,
Some medical schools will not accept pre-reqs that have been taken at a community college. You need to inquire about this before you apply to medical school. I took some classes at a community college (not pre-reqs though) and got into six out of the six medical schools that I applied to.

After August 2006, the MCAT will be on computer and offered more times during the year so some schools may have to change some policies about MCAT and application since the MCAT dates will change. You should go to the MCAT site and figure out which one will work the best for you and be ready for that exam.

Again, the best source of information on application to specifice medical schools is the school itself. Make some phone calls and find out what you need.

njbmd :)
 
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mg2006

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Thank you all for your advice. :)

BTW, I was wrong about OHSU's timing! :oops: They accept MCAT scores and applications the same way the other schools do.

That's good to hear about the community college. If prerequisites refer only to science courses, then I'm okay. I did not take any of those at a community college.

calliMD: Thank you for the advice. :)

njbmd: Congratulations on getting in to all your schools. :) Thanks for letting me know about the new MCAT schedule. I found out the new dates already- there are so many more, it's a relief!

ekydrd: I'm glad to know you were able to take it and do well before even having your sciences done. I hope I can do the same.

sporky: I guess I feel so old because I have siblings/friends around my age who already have kids, houses, etc...and I'm making a decision that will keep me in school until I'm 34! :D But I know it's the right one for me, so...
 

relentless11

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Sporky said:
If community college hurts you, then I am sunk. But, my vast amounts of highly unscientific research indicates that it doesn't matter. It isn't the school as much as it is the professor in my opinion. Also, many, many persons have taken their pre-reqs at community college.
As far as I know there are a few schools on the east coast do not accept CC credit. As njbmd said, you will have to call and find out. On the west coast, the schools are a lot nicer, however some actually take will accept pre-req coursework taken at a CC on a case-by-case basis, like at Univ. of Washington. Their FAQ states that they will evaluate your CC pre-reqs via your transcripts, etc.

UC San Diego also states that they usually have preference for those that do their pre-reqs at a 4-year university, however acknowledge that it may not be possible to do that for some people. Again it will be case-by-case, but that is the extent of what the west coast schools say about CC coursework.

For the most part, if you do well at your 4-year university and on the MCAT, you should be fine apply to most schools in the nation. However, it is up to the adcom to determine if your coursework was rigorous compared to another student regardless if the school actually says they accept CC coursework or not.
 

MedSchoolFool

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Everyone else has given you the right answers for your questions. I just want to add that from what information you give about yourself, you would be a terrific candidate for med school. Don't downplay your health related experience thus far...it's really impressive. You have a POV on medicine that most applicants do not..(the whole social, economic, etc. comment you made). I think that the more time you spend on SDN, the more you will see that your background is unique and beneficial. Do well in your pre-reqs, and on your MCAT and you should find success. Good luck.
 

Sporky

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relentless11 said:
As far as I know there are a few schools on the east coast do not accept CC credit. As njbmd said, you will have to call and find out. On the west coast, the schools are a lot nicer, however some actually take will accept pre-req coursework taken at a CC on a case-by-case basis, like at Univ. of Washington. Their FAQ states that they will evaluate your CC pre-reqs via your transcripts, etc.

UC San Diego also states that they usually have preference for those that do their pre-reqs at a 4-year university, however acknowledge that it may not be possible to do that for some people. Again it will be case-by-case, but that is the extent of what the west coast schools say about CC coursework.

For the most part, if you do well at your 4-year university and on the MCAT, you should be fine apply to most schools in the nation. However, it is up to the adcom to determine if your coursework was rigorous compared to another student regardless if the school actually says they accept CC coursework or not.

While this topic has been hashed and re-hashed and corn-beef hashed, I should have been more specific: Baylor, Yale, UTSA, UTD, UTMB Galveston, Medical College of Wisconsin all told me that cc coursework will not be a problem. Also, even though we are enrolled at a four year university for a second BS degree in the event we don't get in, two of my classmates at U of H are beginning med school this fall (UTHSCH and UTD) and like me, most of their pre-reqs were taken at Houston Community College. So, yes, one should check everything, but no, community college does not mean you cannot go to medical school. I know that's not what everyone was insinuating, but I thought I would antagonize a few people. :)
 

Sol Rosenberg

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Given a choice (and I was....about a year ago,) I would not take courses at a CC. While there is no "rule" that prohibits it for most schools, nearly all medical schools list "rigor of academic program," or something like that as a criteria used to evaluate applicants. If you have the choice between a CC and a 4-year, why not just go with the 4-year and eliminate the doubt?
 

relentless11

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Sporky said:
While this topic has been hashed and re-hashed and corn-beef hashed, I should have been more specific: Baylor, Yale, UTSA, UTD, UTMB Galveston, Medical College of Wisconsin all told me that cc coursework will not be a problem. Also, even though we are enrolled at a four year university for a second BS degree in the event we don't get in, two of my classmates at U of H are beginning med school this fall (UTHSCH and UTD) and like me, most of their pre-reqs were taken at Houston Community College. So, yes, one should check everything, but no, community college does not mean you cannot go to medical school. I know that's not what everyone was insinuating, but I thought I would antagonize a few people. :)

Haha, yea someone needs to make a list of schools that accept CC coursework. I've seen a few threads (as you put it, hashed and re-hashed...) going far as to say that most or all schools do not accept CC credit. Go figure :rolleyes:

However I do agree with Jota_jota above. If given a choice, everyone should strive to go directly to a 4-year rather than go to a CC. If someone had to go to a CC due to costs, and family (like me), then thats fine, but if you're going to a CC to spruce up your GPA, then thats somewhat transparent, and obviously not a good reason. Doesn't matter in the end though, like i said before, if you do well in your classes post-transfer, and on the MCAT, then people can't really say much;).
 
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mg2006

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MedSchoolFool: Thank you for the encouragement! :) I'm glad my experiences will help me. And really, it's the classes I have taken in my first degree that have really motivated me to want to become a doctor. We study so much about the health care system and its flaws, and public health problems and lack of preventive care...the list goes on. I feel like the most effective way to make a difference is to have the knowledge and capabilities that doctors have.

To everyone else talking about the community college issue: I did not have the option to begin at a 4-year college, and even if I did, it's too late to really do anything about it now. :rolleyes: But of course, if I had the option to do it over again, not only would I have gone to a good 4-year university, I would've done it much sooner than age 24!

And as I stated earlier, none of my sciences were taken at the c.c. My two years there were spent taking a broad range of liberal arts type classes. (At the time, I wasn't thinking about med school- I was just excited to finally be working towards a degree.)

I also feel like, even though I spent two years taking general ed. classes at a c.c., my courseload has never been an easy one. I enjoy challenging myself, and don't shy away from difficult subject areas. I think both degrees I will be graduating with will show this, and the fact that it has taken me only 3 years to earn my first degree helps too, I think, since it shows I can handle a heavy course load.

Sporky: That's good to know. Thanks again. :)

relentless11: Thanks. :) I agree that as long as I do well after transferring and on my MCAT, that will show what I am capable of. And since I have kept up a 4.00 GPA in my year after transferring, I don't have any doubts about my abilities to fare well on the pre-med route. (It's really just a matter of convincing the medical schools of that!)
 
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