Nontraditional International student

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by FairfaxNOVA80, May 8, 2008.

  1. FairfaxNOVA80

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    If there is any international nontraditional med school applicant, who's got a degree in a different country, can you tell me what you had to do to prepare for an admission? Thanks very much in advance.
     
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  3. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    PM ScottishChap. He should be able to help you.
     
  4. anavistas

    anavistas Junior Member

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    I'm a non_trad international student,I'd love to know about others in the same boat.:)
     
  5. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus

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    I am one such student. It's a broad subject. Do you have a list of specific questions?
     
  6. rockmed

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    Do you want to know info about doing the pre req's for med school or preparing for MCAT?

    For prereq's, you need to get your international degree evaluated by a US agency. You may want to find out from the 4 year univ that you want to go to first because some colleges do the evaluation themselves so dont waste the $150 - $200 bucks for evaluation service. Call the Univ admissions office and set up an appointment with an advisor (mostly advisor services are walk-in's) and pick up an application or you can fill one online.
     
  7. vikingvallhalla

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    I'm not an international student but I took all of my science prereqs overseas and I can tell you what I've had to do so far to get them recognized. I believe that if you have done all of your studies overseas so far, most institutions will require that you complete at least one year of studies in an accredited US or Canadian school in order to be considered.
    Anyway, all of the schools I'm applying to want a ''bona fide credentials evaluation'' from a recognized organisation like World Education Services. Google them and you'll find their website. Its 160$ for the initial evaluation and 20$ per copy you want sent out. AMCAS doesn't want a copy and your foreign grades aren't considered on your AMCAS GPA but you'll have to include them as part of your secondaries. Some schools don't accept foreign credentials as a matter of policy, like Brown for instance, but many others do.
    Cheers
     
  8. RC79

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    I am a graduate student about to complete my PhD. I am planning to apply to medical school next year. I had a question regarding the prerequisites. I had done my undergrad/masters in sciences foreign school (India). I have taken all the prerequisites required by medical school in India. Do I qualify for applying to medical school since I have PhD in molecular biology from US school. I tried contacting 2-3 school, but most of them told me that they aren’t sure if I can. All responses will be appreciated.
     
  9. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus

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    You'll basically find the following types of medical school:
    1. Those that want 60-90 credits completed in the U.S. with those credits to include chemistry, biology, physics, organic chemistry, and sometimes English. These schools are most common. Sometimes completion of the prerequisite courses alone with satisfy the Admissions Committee and they'll let you slide if you have a M.S. or a Ph.D. (with a decent GPA) from the U.S.
    2. Those that want an entire U.S. undergraduate degree earned from scratch (Mayo Clinic springs to mind). These schools are uncommon.
    3. Those that want 60-90 credits completed in the U.S., and the credits can be a mix of graduate school credits and one or two scattered prerequisites. If you look hard enough, you'll find a handful of these schools. This is the route that I took, but keep in mind that no two applicants look the same and so conditions will vary.
    4. Those that want 60-90 credits completed in the U.S. and they won't make you do the prerequisites over. These medical schools are VERY hard to find, and usually a political connection at the school makes this possible.

    If you want to bypass studying for a U.S. undergraduate degree, some colleges will allow you to roll several years of foreign undergraduate credits on a 'pass' basis into a an accelerated U.S. undergraduate degree, and you may only get away with taking the prerequisites over 18 months. Find BlueMirage on SDN. This is what he did, and he successfully gained admission, too.

    In all of the above cases, a professional evaluated transcript of the foreign credits will generally be expected. AMCAS will not verify those grades, but several medical schools will add them to your file.

    All of the above information also assumes that the applicant has a green card or U.S. citizenship; without that, the level of difficulty in securing admission for each of the above cases should be multiplied several fold.

    A U.S. Ph.D. - even with a nice GPA - does not carry a whole lot of clout with U.S. medical schools. This is from first-hand experience. Neither do prerequisite courses earned overseas - even if it's from a 'prestigious' school. This is also from first-hand experience. Publications do help for some of the private, research-oriented medical schools but, again, you really have to look as close to a U.S. applicant as possible. PM me if you have any other worries. I've posted a lot on this subject and I don't want to start sounding like a broken record. Good luck!
     
  10. MrsNeuro

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    Hello everyone, this is my story. I was born in Argentina, did college there (biotechnology/molecular genetics) and then moved to the US to do a PhD in neuroscience. During my third year, same as mouseben, I realized that the school I wanted to be in was the medical and not the graduate one... Oh, well. I finished my PhD last year and, after some time off, I'm finally ready to make that change. I will have a green card by the time I apply to medical school, so that's not a problem. My main concern right now is whether I need to take prerequisite courses, and if so, which ones and how long would it take (assuming I do that full time). I've been reading loads of useful information here at SDN, and it all seems to depend on the school. Well, to lay out all my options I want to make a list of schools and then classify them into the four types Scottish Chap talked about earlier on this post. I'm not quite clear about the fourth kind, though. What do you mean they won't make you do the prerequisites over? If you've already taken those subjects in college (my case) then you can take other stuff to fulfill the 60-90 credit requirement? And then, could someone please tell me in a nutshell how does the credit system work in US colleges? How many classes would you have to take to get 60-90 credits? Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post! :)
     
  11. sharmi

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    I am foreign graduate with an MS in Organic Chemistry. Didn't do a PhD as I landed a great job in Engineering (software) - that seemed too good to give up at that time. I can only talk about my background and what I decided to do, based on the advice, I got from various sources (SDN is one of them)
    Anyway, now I am in the US, have a GC for the last 8 years and just applied for naturalization earlier this year and will be applying to medical school this summer.

    I know that I would be at a disadvantage without a US undergrad (its unfair, but its true), so I tried to do as much damage control as I could in the past 3 years while working a full time career in engineering. I will have 60+ credits when I apply on June 1. I will still need to take one of the last outstanding pre-reqs (Orgo II) in the fall, but I am thinking that will be Ok, as I have done a BS in Chem, an MS in Org Chem and have retaken, Chem I/II, Orgo I and Biochem here in the US. I know that the application year will be stressful and that I will have answer questions about my diverse background and why medicine and why now questions, but I want to put my best foot forward. Another thing probably going against me is that I am from Cali. I would have loved to have applied to Texas schools, but almost all of them are fixed about 90 US credits which I won't have.

    A typical course (lecture + lab) here is 4 credits, though my Orgo courses are 5 credits. Some of the lecture only science classes are 4 credits, some are 3 (especially, if you decide to skip the lab component). Like genetics and biochem were 4, while antomy, physiology, embryology and immunology were 3 credits each. The Math classes that I took (calculus and statistics) were 4, while English I and II were 3 credits each. I am in a semester system and this could vary if you are going to be in the quarter system or even vary for your specific school. I took several bio upper division courses, mostly because I did not have any bio since 10th grade and after all that physics and chemistry in undergrad/grad and years of engineering, I wanted to be sure that I would really like biology before I embarked on a career in medicine.

    But, to each his/her own. Look up more information from any credibale sources you can lay your hands on and compile a plan of action that will work for you.
     
    #10 sharmi, Mar 9, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  12. MrsNeuro

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    Thanks for sharing, sharmi. Did you get in touch with the pre-med/pre-health advisor at the school where you did your MS? There's a lot of info out there, but sometimes I feel like I need one main advisor to guide me through. Did you have anyone like that to help you figure out your best plan of action?
     
  13. sharmi

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    My MS is not from the US as well - so not much advicing went on there, unfortunately. But I did call up and even met with some of the pre-med advisors at medical schools in Cali. I have emailed several schools all over the country that I was interested in finding about US credits, where I stood as a potential applicant, whether they would consider a person with my background and what they would need - like whether they would need me to complete 90 credits on US soil (I believe I have a thread that has some of that info). Also, had advising sessions at the 2 universities where I took my classes as a post-bacc. And last, but not the least, got some good advice from some of the doctors I shadowed, especially, the younger ones. One was even a foreign graduate like me. I did a quite a bit of shadowing - and have built a decent rapport with some of the docs I shadowed.
     
  14. loik22

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    The credit hours you got for your PhD will count toward the 60-90 credits most school requires. However, most will also require you take the prereqs at a US institution even if you took much more advanced courses in grad school. Scottish Chap seem to have gotten away from some of these reqs.

    Assuming you have to take all the standard prereqs in the US, you will get 32 credits: Bio (8 credits), Chem (8 credits), Orgo (8 credits) and Physics (8 credits). Some schools have additional requirements so you have to do your homework.
     
  15. sharmi

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    A lot of schools mean undergrad credits only for the 60 - 90 credits. Texas schools, I know for sure need 90 Undergrad credits. There are some others. Only a handful of schools will consider grad / PhD credits.
     
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  17. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus

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    Yes, you have the right idea. This is how the majority of U.S. allopathic medical schools work.
     
  18. gonnif

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    While this will unlikely prove much of a boon to most holders of foreign degrees, I want clarify what several have posted before. Most US medical schools require a minimum of 90 undergraduate credits and seem to indicate that these must be from a accredited US or Canadian school. Yet, most have conflicting or confusing policies on this. I am giving you a sampling from research I did for a group of post-bacc advisors and directors I meet with last year. Bold and Italicized indicates quotes directly from medical school web page

    University of South Florida: "Does USF COM accept credit from undergraduate work in a foreign country? No. "

    perfectly clear -- absolutely not

    ************************************
    Albert Einstein: "Students who have earned baccalaureate degrees outside the U.S. or Canada are required to complete at least one year of formal coursework in the sciences (about 30 credit hours) in an accredited American college or university prior to making application to the College of Medicine. It is recommended that such students also take courses in English if it is not the student's first language."

    perfectly clear -- here is the mechanism in which to do so
    ************************************
    Stanford: "Applicants must have received an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university by the time of matriculation"


    perfectly open to interpretation. Do they mean only US/Canadian based schools? I was informed yes by admissions but also told they have accepted people with Oxford University England, Cambridge University England, Tokyo University Japan,

    ************************************
    John Hopkins: "Accredited Institution. All applicants must be or have previously been in attendance at an institution on the list entitled Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education, authorized and published by the American Council on Education, One DuPont Circle, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. ... Preparation in foreign universities, in most cases, must be supplemented by a year or more of work in an approved university in the United States."


    Perfectly contradictory: The ACE list above lists only US schools yet mechanism for foreign universities is noted
    ************************************

    SUNY Downstate: "You must have completed at least 90 semester credits of study from a Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) regional accreditation association (e.g., Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools) college or university. "

    (but in the following paragraph it says)

    If you were educated abroad, a minimum of two full time semesters (one academic year) of college study at a CHEA regionally accredited college/university in the United States prior to application is required. In addition, you must demonstrate English proficiency, both verbally and in writing, if your prior medium of instruction was in another language. If a substantial amount of your education has been completed abroad, or if you have completed science prerequisites abroad, you are required to submit a course by course educational credentials evaluation from a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) agency, such as World Educational Services to enable the Committee on Admissions to assess prior academic performance."

    Perfectly contradictory:

    (I should send off a slew of letters to office of general counsel of these schools for clarification)

    ******************************


    Lastly, in the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements), which has a summary in a standardized two-page format for each allopathic medical school, under "Acceptances & Matriculation Data" in the middle of the right-hand page, this question is asked and answered:

    Applications accepted from International Applicants: which is followed by a yes or no

    While this appears to be directed to residency status of international students currently studying at US institutions, it does raise the possibility that schools answering yes may accept foreign credits or degrees.
     
    #16 gonnif, Mar 13, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
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  19. sharmi

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    I agree the process is not very clear and very school specific. This is why I went though the web-sites of about 50 schools that interested me and extracted any relevant information, and where it was not clear (which was for several schools) I emailed (sometimes called) them with my questions and details of how my app will look like when I applied and what they thought of it. I did hear back from several schools which is when I put certain schools on my "to apply" list and certain schools on my "don't waste time applying" list.

    Most Cali schools said that 1 year of classes (30 credits) would be good enough for a foreign graduate, but I am sure that they would like to see more than the bare minumim based upon the scores of great applications they get. For schools that have a smaller applicant pool, 1 year might be sufficient (if they say so). But this is my interpretation. There were also some schools with some weird requirment - Hopkins needs 24 sems hours of humanities - didn't say from which school though it says that "Preparation in foreign universities, in most cases, must be supplemented by a year or more of course work at an approved university in the United States.". Similarly, Keck has 30 hours of humanities - which is something, I for sure don't have even if I count all post high school classes taken ever or classes that I want to take between now and if/when I matriculate - that school is out for me :( even though its in-state.

    You have to do your own reseach and cut out a plan for yourself based upon school requirments and where you can/want to relocate.
    But, in general, it is preferably 60-90 credits (some have 90, some have 30) in the US.
     
  20. ceng2doc

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    I've seen "high school" courses section at AMCAS application webpage. Do we have to fill that in?
     
  21. sharmi

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    I believe that is for AP credits.
     
  22. ceng2doc

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    Can you do a favor and list those "don't waste your time" schools?

    I have already gained 48 credits. If graduate level courses would be counted for these "60-90" credits, I've already been done. Otherwise, I'll easily top up by taking additional 4-5 courses during the gliding year until matriculation.
     
  23. sharmi

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  24. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus

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    Sharmi is smart, and investigates thoroughly. This is how you get accepted.
     
  25. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus

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    For me, it would be: SUNY Downstate, Temple, Mayo Clinic, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical University of South Carolina, McMaster University (Ontario), and University of Maryland.

    Ironically, the school that was most open to internationals for me was the University of Toronto. I had an interview there in 2004. U of T is LCME-accredited so you will not be an FMG if you graduate from there and, if you have a (U.S.) green card, you are eligible for federal loans from the U.S. Don't be put off by the fact that their GPA and MCAT average is higher than Harvard Medical School. They recruit a diverse pool.
     
  26. sharmi

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    Hmmm... I hadn't considered any Canadian schools. Maybe I should consider U of Toronto - need to do some more research - but it is not a bad place to live. I have to get my family to relocate with me if I end up moving there, so I do need a place with a fairly good IT/Tech sector job market.

    Thanks for that info.
     
  27. sunsfan

    sunsfan 7 seconds or less

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    Sharmi,
    Good luck applying this summer! Would you mind posting updates about your application progress this year? If you can post on this subforum or PM me towards the end of the app cycle, I will be very appreciative. I'll definitely follow your story because two of my premed mentees have backgrounds similar to yours - they too have foreign degrees and have taken prereqs within their foreign BAs. They're still a long way from applying, and it will really help us to hear your experience.
    I try to help them out though my experience was quite different. My foreign degree is not Science so I never took prereqs outside the US.
    Thanks!
     
  28. sharmi

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    Sure, I will try to. I don't visit this site too often, though. I did retake all of the pre-reqs + several more upper div courses here in the US.
     
  29. ceng2doc

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    How do you submit the transcript(s) of your international degree(s) to AMCAS?
    Do you list any of the BCPM courses you took during your international degree(s) under BCPM at your AMCAS application?

    Last, does anyone know the list of transcript evaluation companies which AMCAS recognizes?
     
  30. ceng2doc

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    I found this, please look into pages 46-49.
     
  31. MrsNeuro

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    Yep, this is what I've been learning. So now I'm making my own school list and going through the process of finding out the specific requirements for each one of them. Thanks everyone for their comments and good luck sharmi on your application! :thumbup:
     
  32. sharmi

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    AMCAS does not accept foreign transcripts.
    You may list the courses - but their grades won't be counted in the AMCAS GPA.

    WES - world education services is what I used.

    Thank you ! And good luck to you too!
     
  33. ceng2doc

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    Then, what's the point using WES (or others evaluator companies?)

    What if the courses were transferred to my American bachelors degree course-by-course basis as equivalents, and if they appear as normal courses?
     
  34. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus

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    When I applied, I did the following: sent an official undergraduate foreign transcript to AMCAS and an official WES evaluation to AMCAS. The AMCAS grades showed up on the AMCAS form, but they were not verified and not used in any GPA calculation. I also sent both to each medical school I applied to. It's hard to tell what helped, but I certainly did everything, and I was accepted quickly on my first application cycle.

    I've seen this work two ways. For American students doing a 'semester overseas', the grades given overseas often show up on the American transcript and so are verified by AMCAS (this can be scary as an A in the U.S. is not necessarily the same as an A in another country). I've also seen foreign graduates able to transfer all of their foreign credits as 'pass' (no grades) into a U.S. undergraduate degree, and then complete the U.S. undergraduate degree in 1.5-2 years. The latter is more common, but I'm sure there are various permutations out there.

    Bottom line: do what you can. If this is your situation, you have a very non-standard application that goes against the grain, but it's definitely possible to get accepted.
     
  35. sharmi

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    I know that we as foreign grads are at a disadvantage, but from your point of view, what is more important for us - the GPA for the 60-90 US credits we earned here or the MCAT score?
    My GPA in the US is/will be in the 3.9x range but my MCAT score is/will be in low 3x range (due to a low VR score - and English is not my first language). How would that be looked at by ADCOMs?
     
  36. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus

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    The honest answer is I don't know.

    What you're trying to do is so non-standard and I think this is reflected by the fact that different schools want different things. I targeted the schools I wanted, then tried to give them what they asked for.

    A good showing on the MCAT is critical--maybe more important for you since it's pretty much the only thing schools can use to compare you to other applicants. With a 3.9 GPA and an MCAT >29, you should be in good shape if you apply to lots of schools. As I'm sue you're aware, the job itself is not that intellectually demanding, but the numbers have to be very high for them to consider you for the job.
     
  37. cardiologyfan85

    cardiologyfan85 To be Physician

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    Thank you for the very informative thread but I don't think that my Bachelor's will be accredited anywhere in the western world let alone the US .
    By the way : how long does it take to get like 90+ US credits ? One year ? Two years ?
     
  38. y123

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    The craziest course load will be around
    18*2 (spring and fall) +14 (summer) +7 (winter) = 57 credits per year
    So two years.
     
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  39. cardiologyfan85

    cardiologyfan85 To be Physician

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    Very doable for me , I would be lucky if I can save 2 years
     

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