Non-science major applying to special masters programs (big disadvantage??)

drbovemeister

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I am planning on applying to med school this upcoming cycle and therefore will have a year off. In that time, I'd really like to get into a great masters program; the problem is that I have a non-science major and mediocre test scores/EC's. With that in mind, would I be competitive for something like the Georgetown SMP or other similar special masters programs?

State School
Major: Psychology
Minor:Chemistry
GPA: 3.9
BCPM: 3.9

GRE
1260

550v 710q 4.0a

(taking the MCAT in april/may)

-Chemistry & Biology tutor
-Assistant math instructor
-Some physician shadowing
-(no volunteering!! :eek:)
-Research in cognitive psych department (no publications)
-Will be doing research on alcohol dependence this winter
-Psi Chi (psychology honors society), Dean's List, etc, etc...
 

DrMidlife

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No, an SMP is absolutely wrong for you. SMPs are for people who need to improve their credentials. Your credentials are fine. You could damage yourself if you don't do well in the SMP, plus it's expensive, plus no good SMP is going to give you the time of day until you have your MCAT score in hand.

I don't understand why you consider yourself a non-science student, with a chem minor, and with presumably completed premed prereqs.

Nobody cares about your SAT anymore. You don't have mediocre test scores, per se, what you have are irrelevant test scores.

No matter what you do, protect that GPA, and kill the MCAT. Get a 30+ and you're golden, pretty much anywhere, imho.

I don't understand why you think you have crappy EC's. I think you maybe spend too much time in pre-allo. You don't have to volunteer: it's not a crime to get paid for your experience.

My vote would be that you do something with your gap year that's going to set you up to KNOW YOURSELF and be ready to survive 7-10 years of extreme performance. Definitely get away from your parents, maybe travel, maybe work. Maybe volunteer. Take some risks.

Best of luck to you.
 

Isoprop

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I am planning on applying to med school this upcoming cycle and therefore will have a year off. In that time, I'd really like to get into a great masters program; the problem is that I have a non-science major and mediocre test scores/EC's. With that in mind, would I be competitive for something like the Georgetown SMP or other similar special masters programs?

State School
Major: Psychology
Minor:Chemistry
GPA: 3.9
BCPM: 3.9


GRE
1260

550v 710q 4.0a

(taking the MCAT in april/may)

-Chemistry & Biology tutor
-Assistant math instructor
-Some physician shadowing
-(no volunteering!! :eek:)
-Research in cognitive psych department (no publications)
-Will be doing research on alcohol dependence this winter
-Psi Chi (psychology honors society), Dean's List, etc, etc...

As mentioned before, SMPs are risky. Have you finished all your prereqs?

All you need is an MCAT and maybe a clinical volunteer experience to be able to apply next year.

But absolutely avoid SMPs.
 
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drbovemeister

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You guys are right, after doing some research I realized that an SMP wouldn't make any sense. But what about a traditional masters? I just would really like to do something with my year off...
 

ANF1986

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You guys are right, after doing some research I realized that an SMP wouldn't make any sense. But what about a traditional masters? I just would really like to do something with my year off...

Any science related masters is going to be a HUGE...HUGE waste of money$$$$... It will not benefit you one bit, you're going to have an MD, your MS will mean absolutely nothing. On the other hand, if you wanted to start your MBA, that would definately compliment your MD very well.
 

Perrotfish

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You guys are right, after doing some research I realized that an SMP wouldn't make any sense. But what about a traditional masters? I just would really like to do something with my year off...

As you found out, Special Masters Programs are for people who need to improve their stats for getting into medical school. You're basically in to medical school (assuming a good MCAT and you find time to volunteer a little) so that's not what you need.

What you want is a 1 year academic program that's going to improve your chances at a top RESIDENCY. Your options:

1) 1 year MPH. Hopkins and Tulane both have great programs, there are others I'm sure. Helps a lot with residencys, absolutely necessary for an ID fellowship, more and more common requirement for hospital admin jobs. This would be my top choice for you.

2) 1 year MBA: Difficult to get into a good program without work experience, but maybe worth looking into if you see administration in your future.

3) 1 year of research: At least one published paper with an MD is a big boost for top residencies. If you have a competitive field you think you might go into (radiology, ortho, whatever) maybe look into that. Can go along with the MPH. Has the advantage that you might get paid (though minimally) while working.

4) 1 year masters in pathology, pharm, or something. This would probably be my last choice, since I've never heard that this sort of thing particularly helps, but it can't hurt.

It's also alright to just work and save up money, or even just relax. I had 6 months off, I traveled. Learned a language. It was fun. I guess travel is sort of tough until you're done with interviews, though. Whatever you do, try not to burn out before medical school starts. Maybe arrange it so that you start this summer and have the summer before medical school free?
 

Isoprop

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Any science related masters is going to be a HUGE...HUGE waste of money$$$$... It will not benefit you one bit, you're going to have an MD, your MS will mean absolutely nothing. On the other hand, if you wanted to start your MBA, that would definately compliment your MD very well.

a lot of grad programs offer financial aid in the form of assistantships. tuition would essentially be free.
 

Isoprop

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As you found out, Special Masters Programs are for people who need to improve their stats for getting into medical school. You're basically in to medical school (assuming a good MCAT and you find time to volunteer a little) so that's not what you need.

What you want is a 1 year academic program that's going to improve your chances at a top RESIDENCY. Your options:

1) 1 year MPH. Hopkins and Tulane both have great programs, there are others I'm sure. Helps a lot with residencys, absolutely necessary for an ID fellowship, more and more common requirement for hospital admin jobs. This would be my top choice for you.

2) 1 year MBA: Difficult to get into a good program without work experience, but maybe worth looking into if you see administration in your future.

3) 1 year of research: At least one published paper with an MD is a big boost for top residencies. If you have a competitive field you think you might go into (radiology, ortho, whatever) maybe look into that. Can go along with the MPH. Has the advantage that you might get paid (though minimally) while working.

4) 1 year masters in pathology, pharm, or something. This would probably be my last choice, since I've never heard that this sort of thing particularly helps, but it can't hurt.

It's also alright to just work and save up money, or even just relax. I had 6 months off, I traveled. Learned a language. It was fun. I guess travel is sort of tough until you're done with interviews, though. Whatever you do, try not to burn out before medical school starts. Maybe arrange it so that you start this summer and have the summer before medical school free?

1 year mph degrees are rare without prior health experience. the same (i believe) applies to MBAs. so those would be 2 years for OP.
1 year master degrees are also pretty rare. there are certificate programs out there offered for 1 year. but students in these programs have more trouble getting financial aid.
doing a year of research without being in school would be difficult but do-able. i'm no real expert in the area, but where a graduate non-students find research positions that may lead to posters/presentations/publications?
 

Isoprop

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really? b/c i was under the impression that most 1-year mph's either require some sort of professional/advanced degree or some experience working in a public health setting. and i don't mean "require" as a listed prereq, but as a "preference" much like how clinical experience is "preferred" by med school adcoms.

also, it may depend on the emphasis on the program. biostats or epidemiology will be really difficult to complete in a year w/o prior exp.

but yes, there are programs:
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=136933
http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=161515
 

Isoprop

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also, if lack of volunteering is the biggest weakness (next to lack of MCAT), consider joining americorp for a year. try to find one with clinical applications. this looks good on your app and on your CV down the line. plus, it's an awesome experience.

the downside is that you'll be dirt poor for a year.
 
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