Jul 12, 2009
19
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I am a non-traditional student returning to school at 37. I took my first Intro to Chem course last semester and got an A. It was my tester class to see how well I'd do in the sciences. I have already graduated from college with a BA in Psych and my Master's in Social Work both with distinction. I am a few hundred hours from obtaining all my hours for my LCSW. (I was off-track because my son was born with Autism so I was a stay at home mom for about 5 years. But he's doing very well now because I did so.) My GPA for all my coursework is a 3.9. I haven't taken the MCAT yet, which I am a little scared of. And my science pre-req's I have a 1 semester intro to Bio w/ lab and the Intro to Chem 1 semester w/ lab. I have been working at the hospital performing Psych Evals along side all the MD's and nurses, and have established wonderful relationships with them. They have encouraged me and said they would provide letters of reference.
Well, that was when I wasn't getting a divorce. So divorce is imminent, and I'll be the primary custodial for the two children (16 and 6). I have a great support system where I am moving to so that is not an issue. There are a few things that I'm worried about that I would appreciate some help on...

1) I'm worried about the Calculus requirement only because it will put me into my pre-req's for an additional year. I already have 2 yrs of pre-req's if I go full-time, and let's face it, I'm not getting any younger. I'm looking at schools that do not require Calculus. UCSF which I am shooting for as my #1 pick, is the exception in CA med schools. I see a lot that do not require it but do they look at it anyway? I have Stats and Algebra 2 completed.
2) Is it realistic that essentially a single parent will be able to accomplish med school? My daughter is 16, so that will help but she is also heading towards Trauma Surgery as a career and will be impacted with her own schooling. She'll be moving on to college by the time I'm applying so during med school I will be going through it with an 8 year old.
3) And could you please give me some feedback on any tips or advice on moving forward with my pre-req's? I'd like to get in the first time, again time is of the essence. And how I could bolster my application?

Thank you! I would appreciate any feedback I could get. What a scary and exciting process!
 
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nontrdgsbuiucmd

10+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2008
998
3
my own little world
Status
Medical Student
welcome. 37s not old. At least if you're around that age which I am too..

most schools don't require calc. I actually don't recall any that did -- my physics classes were algebra based. I did prerequ's pretty fast, around 1 1/2 yrs total. Found that they didn't have to be in order, really. In my case, I'd skimmed an intro Chem class in order to go into chem 2 & then ochem more quickly. One person in my general chem class had already completed ochem prior to taking gen chem. Taking things out of sequence may not be the easiest, but it is possible.

realistic to do this as a single parent? Can't relate exactly to that. One thing that surprised me is that many students don't go to all classes. Or most classes. This may provide you with a bit more flexibility. First 2 yrs are supposed to be far more foregiving, year 3 will be tough from what I've heard, yr 4 less so due to clinical electives, and then residency will be an absolute bear.

tips for getting in the first time? Don't assume that just because you did fine on all prerequ's you have the full knowledge base to sit for the MCAT. My bio classes in particular were more oriented toward plant bio, which was not covered in my MCAT at all, versus physiology/human bio, which was heavily covered. Sugget you buy the ExamKrackers books to fill out what you didn't learn in classes.

Also, the amcas primary is very important -- I learned that if something is not on here, such as an extracurricular, it won't (often) be considered by the school, regardless of your including an activity on the school's secondary application essays. When you write primary application Extracurricular activities (up to 15 are allowed), you may want to make, say, 10 of them medically related, and the others volunteer related, versus separately listing jobs you've done in your professional career. An example would be to separately list volunteer clinical experience at each place you've done this (or will do this), then separately list "leadership skills" as an activity, listing all relevant leadership skills regardless of where they were gained.
 

2010houston

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2009
317
102
Status
Attending Physician
Hi PsychNStein,
Have you looked at the school selection spreadsheet on this forum? http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=527971

I think it's really helpful. If you scroll to the right for each school, the calculus reqs are listed for all the schools. Looks like most are recommended but not required....I wouldn't let that keep you from applying. The spreadsheet can also give you an idea of what you need to have on your MCAT to be competitive. Take it all with a big grain of salt of course, but it's a starting point!
 

Krisss17

10+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2007
721
0
In btwn here and there!
Status
Other Health Professions Student
I am a non-traditional student returning to school at 37. I took my first Intro to Chem course last semester and got an A. It was my tester class to see how well I'd do in the sciences. I have already graduated from college with a BA in Psych and my Master's in Social Work both with distinction. I am a few hundred hours from obtaining all my hours for my LCSW. (I was off-track because my son was born with Autism so I was a stay at home mom for about 5 years. But he's doing very well now because I did so.) My GPA for all my coursework is a 3.9. I haven't taken the MCAT yet, which I am a little scared of. And my science pre-req's I have a 1 semester intro to Bio w/ lab and the Intro to Chem 1 semester w/ lab. I have been working at the hospital performing Psych Evals along side all the MD's and nurses, and have established wonderful relationships with them. They have encouraged me and said they would provide letters of reference.
Well, that was when I wasn't getting a divorce. So divorce is imminent, and I'll be the primary custodial for the two children (16 and 6). I have a great support system where I am moving to so that is not an issue. There are a few things that I'm worried about that I would appreciate some help on...

1) I'm worried about the Calculus requirement only because it will put me into my pre-req's for an additional year. I already have 2 yrs of pre-req's if I go full-time, and let's face it, I'm not getting any younger. I'm looking at schools that do not require Calculus. UCSF which I am shooting for as my #1 pick, is the exception in CA med schools. I see a lot that do not require it but do they look at it anyway? I have Stats and Algebra 2 completed.
I'm sure that you are aware from reading thru SDN it is not easy to get into California med schools. So just be aware that as a Cali resident you will need to apply to lot of schools. Having a good GPA (as you do) and MCAT, will help but no guarantee.

While calculus isn't easy, I think you are making it even harder in your mind. I think that if you have done well in your other classes, you should be able to handle it. Considering that you have two years of prereqs before you an apply, and you shouldn't take the MCAT until you are finished (or close to being finished) with your science prereqs, you can work to take calculus during your glide year (i.e. interview year).

2) Is it realistic that essentially a single parent will be able to accomplish med school? My daughter is 16, so that will help but she is also heading towards Trauma Surgery as a career and will be impacted with her own schooling. She'll be moving on to college by the time I'm applying so during med school I will be going through it with an 8 year old.
It won't be easy, but it can be done. It is still 3 years before you would actually start in medical school, so who knows what will be instore by then.

3) And could you please give me some feedback on any tips or advice on moving forward with my pre-req's? I'd like to get in the first time, again time is of the essence. And how I could bolster my application? [/quote]

Well, I am assuming that you need to take the 4 prerequisite classes (bio I/II, chem I/II, physics I/II, and organic chem I/II). Also, while you won't need to take calculus based physics - algebra/trig based physics would be fine, you'll need to take trignometry, most likely, if you already haven't yet. If you are able to go full-time, taking Bio I/II, Chem I/II and Trig during your first year, and then Physics I/II and Organic chem I/II during your second year. During your glide year, take the calculus if you must and a couple of advanced science classes such as biohemistry, genetics and/or physiology.

Thank you! I would appreciate any feedback I could get. What a scary and exciting process!
Just wanted to wish you luck...I think you'll do fine!
 
OP
PsychNstein
Jul 12, 2009
19
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Lots of great suggestions. That's a good suggestion to take Calc during my interview year. Will it matter if I take the Calc class C/NC?

I'd love to hear from some single parents out there to see how they are holding up through this. There's got to be some out there. Maybe they are just too damn busy to reply! ;)
 
OP
PsychNstein
Jul 12, 2009
19
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi PsychNStein,
Have you looked at the school selection spreadsheet on this forum? http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=527971

I think it's really helpful. If you scroll to the right for each school, the calculus reqs are listed for all the schools. Looks like most are recommended but not required....I wouldn't let that keep you from applying. The spreadsheet can also give you an idea of what you need to have on your MCAT to be competitive. Take it all with a big grain of salt of course, but it's a starting point!

Wow, that is helpful. I've been looking through a book, MSAR, and drudging through each page marking them with sticky notes. Someone put a lot of work into that!
 

cabinbuilder

Urgent Care Physician
10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2005
4,531
2,356
Texas
Status
Attending Physician
I have a huge math fear and actually took calculus by correspondence with a tutor because the lecture course was way way too fast for me. Did well, got a B and moved on.

You can do med school as a single parent. I went through at 32, newly divorced, with toddlers an a boyfriend and as long as you have a good study schedule and don't kill yourself trying to keep up with the younger folks who can stay up all night studying, etc. you will do fine. Your kids will be in school when you are in school so it's not like have babies.

I did all the pre-req's in one year post bacc and worked full time. Did fine but I had a prior science background so unless your science is strong I wouldn't recommend that. I agree with the above posts that you should take the algebra based physics. You don't really do math in med school so whichever class you take doesn't really matter.

At age 37 I would suggest that you apply DO. That's the route I took. They tend to take olders students who have a well rounded life - like you. Don't worry about EC's, your life experience means a lot. Also, apply broadly, don't get your hopes up on any particular area or any one school. For the most of us medical schools pick us, we don't pick them. Bear in mind that many schools have 3rd and 4th year rotations in other places so be sure you pick the school that won't uproot you. Also, most of us don't get a choice where we end up in residency which makes another move. I have moved 3 times in the last 8 years. Alaska (undergrad) to Pennsylvannia (med school) to Texas (residency) to Montana ( real job). I did med school rotations in PA, AK, NV, and NM. I understand about the child with autism, my son as Aspberger's which has its own challenges and triumphs. I just finished residency and my kids are now 13 and 10. They have done well, are used to me bing on call, etc. and it doesn't really phase them. I have a great husband now who takes care of things at home. I always looked at the med school path as hard but necessary to give my kids what I didn't have and I was tired of living in poverty. They have enjoyed moving all over the country and we take trips as much as possible. It's been a fun journey without complaints from them. I have decided to stay in my current position at least until my son graduates HS in 5 years so he doesn't get uprooted again.

As far as the MCAT, do questions, questions, and more questions. Soon you will see the pattern of what they like to ask. It's the first test of many through the medical path. Don't fear it - tackle it.

Good luck. Feel free to PM me if you need.
 
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