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Newbie questions....

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by kevweth, Jun 1, 2002.

  1. kevweth

    kevweth Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    May 29, 2002
    Cincinnati, OH
    Hello everyone.

    I would be your typical non-traditional premed. I've been checking out oldpremed.net forum for a few days and it's been very helpful but thought I would post some ??s here also. I have some specific questions that I've not gotten answers to yet, so here goes...

    1. Residency: Can someone point me to an explanation of the Match process? Are their docs who are disappointed with what they get as a specialty? Is it basically a performance-based thing? I've read where derm is rewarded usually to best med students and those who have really been active with derm dept. during med school (politics). Is this true? To me, I would be very disappointed to get anything other than 2 or 3 of the specialties that interest me. (derm and radiology are my top 2 interests, with heavy weight towards derm). Am I being too selective? Should I just be happy to be a doctor at that point? Got any stories? good and bad?

    2. Financial: I read and hear lots about doctor pay not being what it used to be. Maybe it was just a gold mine before but based on some research I've done, many of the specialties can make upwards of 300k after 3 years or so in practice. That makes up for a lot of good years in other industries, don't you think? Not to mention the opps in medicine like being on different boards, opps to speak/teach, etc., etc. Am I on track here? Doesn't seem like a bad financial decision long term even for someone in their late 20s just starting.

    3. Pre-reqs: I know of one school (according to the website) that doesn't *require* the science classes. You obviously need to know a lot of the material to pass the MCAT. (Chem, Organic, Physics, etc.) Do you know if most schools require these courses or just the equiv. knowledge? Do you think someone could pass the MCAT based on self study of these subjects? I've had bio, 1st yr chem, but not organic or physics (at a college level at least.)

    4. Post-resident: Let's say I match derm and finish my residency. What are options after that? What % start own practice vs. partner up with existing? Know where I can get this info for each specialty? I would think it would be wide open, especially with the competitive specialties but want to make sure before I go down this long road.....

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    1,903
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    Jul 27, 2001
    You MUST take a year of ochem, chem, physics, and bio at an accreditied college or university regardless of what U.S. med school you apply to. I don't know what school you're talking about, but whether or not you could do well on the MCAT has nothing to do with fulfilling the pre-med requirements. Many schools even require more college coursework than what I mentioned and statistically, you just don't get into a U.S. med school if you don't have a bachelor's. I know you're new at this...but you do seem to have a seriously skewed view of how difficult it is to gain a medical school acceptance, not to mention the similiar impossibility of entering competitive residencies like dermatology.
     
  4. kevweth

    kevweth Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    May 29, 2002
    Cincinnati, OH
    None:

    I do have a bachelor's degree (Information Technology, Univ. of Cincinnati). The med. school I'm referring to is University of Cincinnati. According to their med school website, one of the requirements is to "Have at least the knowledge usually obtained in one-year courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and mathematics." Most other school's I've checked out actually require these courses on one's resume. Maybe UC does also but the way they say it above seems like they require the knowledge but not necessarily the actual courses. In other words, if you score well on the MCAT, then they are confident you know enough to get in and make it in med school. I've seen many posts where non-science majors can actually have an edge sometimes as far as getting in. The schools like the diversity.

    I think I will likely take these courses to prepare for the MCAT, I was just *wondering* if anyone knew *for sure* whether all (most) schools absolutely required the courses.
     
  5. pocwana

    pocwana MD/MBA candidate c/o 2008 7+ Year Member

    1,128
    3
    May 11, 2002
    L.A.
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by none:
    <strong>You MUST take a year of ochem, chem, physics, and bio at an accreditied college or university regardless of what U.S. med school you apply to.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">a NWern rep came and talked at my school. they RECOMMEND these courses but DO NOT REQUIRE them. the rep said there's only one other school that has this policy. :)
     
  6. kevweth

    kevweth Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    18
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    May 29, 2002
    Cincinnati, OH
    thanks pocwana

    like I said, i'll probably take the courses. i can't imagine preparing properly for the MCAT without someone making me learn the stuff!

    thanks again,
    kevweth
     
  7. efex101

    efex101 attending Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    2,714
    74
    Apr 19, 2002
    MN
    "Pre-reqs: I know of one school (according to the website) that doesn't *require* the science classes. You obviously need to know a lot of the material to pass the MCAT. (Chem, Organic, Physics, etc.) Do you know if most schools require these courses or just the equiv. knowledge? Do you think someone could pass the MCAT based on self study of these subjects? I've had bio, 1st yr chem, but not organic or physics (at a college level at least.)"

    I am sure that there are individuals that could possibly do well on the MCAT without taking these courses, that said although a couple of schools may not require you taking those courses almost everyone that applies has taken them. This obviously may put you at a disadvantage when application time comes, as a non-trad most schools will want to see *recent* science coursework on your AMCAS application.
     
  8. efex101

    efex101 attending Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    2,714
    74
    Apr 19, 2002
    MN
    " Residency: Can someone point me to an explanation of the Match process? Are their docs who are disappointed with what they get as a specialty? Is it basically a performance-based thing? I've read where derm is rewarded usually to best med students and those who have really been active with derm dept. during med school (politics). Is this true? To me, I would be very disappointed to get anything other than 2 or 3 of the specialties that interest me. (derm and radiology are my top 2 interests, with heavy weight towards derm). Am I being too selective? Should I just be happy to be a doctor at that point? Got any stories? good and bad?"

    For information about residency go to the AAMC website here is link <a href="http://www.nrmp.org/res_match/" target="_blank">AAMC</a>
     
  9. kevweth

    kevweth Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    18
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    May 29, 2002
    Cincinnati, OH
    efex101,

    Makes sense. Thank you.

    I'll check out that link.
     
  10. Raist

    Raist Member 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 28, 2002
    Kevweth-

    Almost all schools absolutely require you to take these courses and for good reason (so take them). Do not take at face value the fact that two schools out of 125 said you do not need them; you will be at a severe disadvantage if you don't. Since you graduated Information Technology, I would say you should take these courses before you even consider medical school; you will get a good idea of what you are getting yourself into. Medical school and information technology are too vastly different fields. While your unique background may give you an edge, you are still required to have a strong background and strong knowledge of the biological sciences and healthcare in general (this not only includes taking the mcats but taking the required classes, clinical experience, research, etc...)

    I think people are misconstruing your questions about your choice of residencies as arrogance; most poeple on this board are concerned enough with getting into medical school, which is a VERY difficult process and definitely not for everyone. Dermatology and radiology are the two hardest fields to get into, and if you are interested in only those two fields, I seriously think you should reconsider entering medical school. It is a very long process and there are no certainties, no matter how smart or brilliant you may be.

    That said, there have been numerous people in your position who have had a strong motivation to go to medical school despite being at a later stage in life (just run a search on this board) and have successfully gotten in. So it can be done.

    In terms of finance, doctor salaries will continue to remain high, despite being lower than previous generations. It is true that there is an overall decline especially in specialty fields, but doctors will continue to make a good amount. However, when you consider the opportunity cost of going into medical school, the fact that when you work, you can make tax-deferred contributions to your retirement fund that definitely add up in the end, the substantial debt you will be in (almost 200K in some cases), the years of 100 hour week residencies you are required to work (3-7 years depending on your specialty) at minimal pay, alot of poeple say that if your goal is to make the most money, there are better and definitely easier routes. Plus, doctors pay exorbitant taxes for making huge salaries (there have been numerous discussions on this in the past, so just run a search)

    If you truly are set on medical school, I would suggest taking either graduate level or postbaccelerate classes to get the required courses in and getting some clinical experience in the meantime. I would say performing well in these classes and getting clinical experience is just as important as taking and doing well on the mcats.

    Best of luck!
     
  11. kevweth

    kevweth Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    18
    0
    May 29, 2002
    Cincinnati, OH
    Raist,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I'm known for getting right to the point; I apologize to anyone if that comes across as arrogance.

    Also, I was a biology major out of high school and on premed track. I later changed to IT. It's funny, I was even called "doc" in high school cause that's what I wanted to do. I'm painfully aware of what it takes to get in medical school. That, of course, has no bearing on whether I'll actually get in, but I'm definitely not new to the process. By newbie, I meant to this forum and recently revived desire to possibly go into medicine. I also have, thankfully, some clinical experience. I volunteered during my biology undergrad years and am waiting right now for an offer from a Dermatology group to be their practice director. (Although I'm an IT guy, I also have operations experience). I would think that would really let me know if I want to be a doctor and give me a couple years to take the courses I need and make sure I really want to do it.

    As for the prereqs, I'm convinced I'll need to take them (I only need organic and physics - I have the others). I was just curious as to how many schools *required* them. I'm sure it will be very beneficial to me in the long run to have them. The only reason I even considered not taking them is because of the time it will take from an already late start and because I've read that the concepts are covered in medical school, although in much, much greater detail.

    As for my choice of specialty, perhaps that's the way it is, but I don't think it is out of turn for me to lean towards certain areas. Like I said, there's a huge difference between being a family practice and a nuerosurgeon, for example. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think many people approach a medical career with a specific specialty in mind. I'm sure some know they want to be family practice. I guess the competiveness comes in when too many docs want the same specialties. Money is definitely not the biggest issue for me. I have no complaints about my potential in IT. For me, it is wanting to feel like I'm doing what I should be doing and I'm really starting to feel like I should never have gotten off the premed track (da*n computers!) I want to love what I do. I can honestly say I'm not sure I would *love* being a family doctor. I can say that I think I would really enjoy certain specialties. I read a post recently about a med school guy who matched where and what he wanted but the girl next to him was in tears because she didn't get her specialty. I don't think she's a bad person or "should reconsider being in medicine" just because she wanted a specific specialty. Just my 2 cents though. Your point is well taken.

    I realize my questions may be sort of "the cart before the horse" but I need to feel confident that my decisions now will positively affect my future. Obviously, none of my questions matter if I don't get in or decide not to try, but all the premeds are in that boat. And again, I'm aware of most of the process for getting in, I just had some specific questions about after that...

    Positive thinking and preparedness, I guess.

    Thanks again for your comments.
     
  12. Bikini Princess

    Bikini Princess 7+ Year Member

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    May 26, 2002
    You need actual experience in medicine before you'll know you want to apply to med school.

    You'll need med school before you'll know you want to do derm/radiology.

    You'll need to graduate in the top %5-10 of your med class to avoid being the chuckle of the day for a dermatology match committee.
     
  13. Raist

    Raist Member 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 28, 2002
    sent ya a private message kevwith :)
     
  14. kevweth

    kevweth Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    May 29, 2002
    Cincinnati, OH
    Bikini Princess,

    And I thought I was to the point...

    I don't believe it's that much of a cookie cutter process.

    I'll agree that's the way it works for most.

    Personally, I volunteered on the night shift at a a rehab hospital and I've worked with several specialty physicians. I know which specialties appeal to my interests.

    My wife is a derm research RN and works for 6 dermatologists in research and practice. I know derm is highly competitive but hey, gotta have goals.
     
  15. Mango

    Mango Very Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 30, 2000
    Wow. This thread is amazing. It's shocks me to see people giving advice on things they have no idea about. I'll probably get flamed for saying that, but it had to be said.

    Anyhow, I'm about to start my third year of med school, coincidentally at U. of Cincinnati. I think the question you initially asked was about course requirements. All I can say is that it varies from school to school. But it is by no means set in stone at most schools. For instance, if you never took chem or physics, yet scored a 12 on the MCAT physical sciences, most schools will take that as adequate knowledge of the subjects.

    Myself, I never took college math. But three of the med schools that accepted me REQUIRED college math. Did that prevent me from getting in? Apparently not. I spoke to one of the Deans, and he told me that MCAT scores could always make up for missing courses.

    Having said that, I would recommend that you take the courses you?re missing. It can only help you in the end. And if you've forgotten the courses taken years ago, take a Kaplan review course. They're a huge help.

    Ok, now about the Derm thing - there is NOTHING wrong with someone having a specialty in mind before med school starts! I would say 40-50% of the students in my class knew what they wanted to do from day one. That doesn't mean many of them won't change their minds before it's time to sign up for the match. And it certainly doesn't mean that they are being closed minded or arrogant, as some of the replies on this thread have insinuated.

    The fact that you're interested in a competitive field should not preclude you from going to medical school. To put it another way, those of you who are premeds knew when you started college that getting into med school was going to be a hard thing to do. But your response wasn't to say - "Well, I guess that means I shouldn't even bother going to college." You went anyway, knowing that you would do what it took to get in, or find something else that you could enjoy doing instead. This is the same situation.

    One last story, then I'm done. My roommate came to med school wanting to be nothing but an Orthopedic surgeon. She had every intention of doing it, and her grades are good enough that she could make it. But now she knows, after two years of school, that she wants nothing to do with ortho. The great thing is that you are free to change your mind at any time, and most of us will. So I guess the point is, just get here, and then decide. Don't let the fear of not getting derm/rads stop you from going to med school.
     
  16. Raist

    Raist Member 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 28, 2002
    Mango-

    I stand corrected on the course requirements. However, I do strongly feel that you should take them anyway.

    I have to say I disagree with your point on dermatology. I did not say that it was wrong to have an idea of what specialties you would like to work in. The OP had insinuated that he would be unhappy if he could not match in those two fields (in other words, I assumed that he was limiting himself to these two fields) - which would be hard to do (is this not true? maybe I am wrong on this as well). I think there is an inherent flaw in your analogy, I think it is more like: "I want to go to business school but I will only be happy if I can become the CEO of microsoft, do you still suggest I go to business school?" (i know, it's a bit extreme) It is true that medical school have a wide range of fields that cater to alot of different interests and lifestyles, and in a private message to kevwyth, I indicated that it is better to keep an open mind rather than to LIMIT your fields to just dermatology and radiology. There are tons of great, well-paying fields out there.

    Mango- You make valid points, but I think you miscronstrue my comments.
     
  17. kevweth

    kevweth Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    May 29, 2002
    Cincinnati, OH
    Mango,

    Thanks for stopping in and making your comments. How often are you on this forum? I'd love to use you as a resource since you're at UC.

    Your points were all well made.

    Raist - I understand what you're saying. I agree that I probably shouldn't limit myself to a specialty so soon. I do know quite abit about the specialties, but medical school could change all that.
     
  18. kevweth

    kevweth Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    May 29, 2002
    Cincinnati, OH
    Mango - sent you private message. Thanks.
     

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