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niccc

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Hey everyone, I'm looking for some advice. A little bit of background on me first...
- I'm a two-time Olympic athlete (2014, 2018 games)
- I went to college full time in between those games - graduated in 3.5 years
- I now hold a degree in global finance and a minor in math
Here's my dilemma. I have always loved science and math, but decided to study business/finance as I thought it would be a practical and useful degree, as well as a useful application of math. The structure of my school's business program was very rigid, so the only classed I got to take outside of the required core were those for my minor an one health & disease course (which was essentially organic chem and pharmacology, and was my favorite class that I have ever taken by FAR). I honestly disliked my business courses because I thought they were boring, but once I was able to take these courses it was already too late to switch out and try other majors. I was a junior by this point and I didn't want to be in college for longer than I needed to be since I was also focusing on my athletic career.
I'm here because of this: for the past few years, I have had it in the bottom of my heart that I wanted to become a doctor. I've always loved helping people, loved science, and had a natural knack for helping fellow athletes and training-mates deal with their injuries. I recently got a job in finance, and it has only reassured my deep dislike for the area.

If I were to pursue my dreams of going to med school, would I be able to take the required courses for med school as a non-matriculated student, or would I need to enroll in a post-bacc program? Is there any way I can get my hands dirty with research or work of some sort with no prior science experience? Any advice you can possibly think of and give me would be greatly appreciated!!!!!
 
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esob

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If you have a degree, you can't take classes as a non-matriculated student. You don't have to do a formal post-bac or seek a second degree, but your financial aid eligibility will be that of a student who already has a degree. The real kicker is going to be your GPA. If it is decent atm (3.5+) and you do well in your prereqs, your background should help you land an acceptance somewhere quite easily, as long as you get a decent MCAT score along the way.

The downside is to be prepared for the long haul because it's not like you just need XX hrs of prereqs; you need specific prereqs and they must be taken sequentially. So for example, you need generally 2 semesters of Ochem, but in order to do that, you first need two semesters of gen chem. Plan on at least two years of classes before applying. If you are working full time and/or have other commitments, likely that will stretch into 3 years.
 
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precisiongraphic

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If you have a degree, you can't take classes as a non-matriculated student. You don't have to do a formal post-bac or seek a second degree, but your financial aid eligibility will be that of a student who already has a degree.

I'm not sure if this is a typo but yes, most schools will allow students to take classes as a non-matriculant. In some cases, you may declare yourself as a second-degree student majoring in bio or chem or whatever and then you might possibly be eligible for financial aid (and have a higher priority when registering for classes). Or you may have to pay out of pocket for the whole thing. And you don't have to finish the second degree - med schools won't hold it against you. Go to a four-year university if you can. Community college courses may be ok but some schools still look down on them.
 
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esob

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I'm not sure if this is a typo but yes, most schools will allow students to take classes as a non-matriculant. In some cases, you may declare yourself as a second-degree student majoring in bio or chem or whatever and then you might possibly be eligible for financial aid (and have a higher priority when registering for classes). Or you may have to pay out of pocket for the whole thing. And you don't have to finish the second degree - med schools won't hold it against you. Go to a four-year university if you can. Community college courses may be ok but some schools still look down on them.

I guess I was under the impression that OP meant as a non-prior-degree student, thus making them ineligible for typical financial aid. From my other non-trad friends who hold degrees already, this is at least my understanding that you have limited financial aid available. Of course, you can take courses as a transient student just about anywhere, no one is going to turn your money away as long as you have it in the first place.
 
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niccc

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If you have a degree, you can't take classes as a non-matriculated student. You don't have to do a formal post-bac or seek a second degree, but your financial aid eligibility will be that of a student who already has a degree. The real kicker al schools is going to be your GPA. If it is decent atm (3.5+) and you do well in your prereqs, your background should help you land an acceptance somewhere quite easily, as long as you get a decent MCAT score along the way.

The downside is to be prepared for the long haul because it's not like you just need XX hrs of prereqs; you need specific prereqs and they must be taken sequentially. So for example, you need generally 2 semesters of Ochem, but in order to do that, you first need two semesters of gen chem. Plan on at least two years of classes before applying. If you are working full time and/or have other commitments, likely that will stretch into 3 years.

Okay, that makes sense. Just to clarify, medical schools won't hold it against me if I just take the required classes as a non-matriculated student on my own time (and at a 4 year college)?
 

etp123

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Okay, that makes sense. Just to clarify, medical schools won't hold it against me if I just take the required classes as a non-matriculated student on my own time (and at a 4 year college)?

Certainly not.
 

DarklingThrush

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Okay, that makes sense. Just to clarify, medical schools won't hold it against me if I just take the required classes as a non-matriculated student on my own time (and at a 4 year college)?

Plenty of people take only the pre reqs at a 4 year institution. Be prepared for 2ish years of prerequisites. Why wouldn’t you just apply as a second degree seeking student so you can get financial aid? I applied as a biology major without any intentions of compelteing the degree. It gives me priority enrollment in classes that quickly fill and financial aid/a grant. Pre med classes are often difficult to get into because so many students are premed in the beginning. Are you planning on continuing to train and taking premed classes at various universities?
 
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Hey everyone, I'm looking for some advice. A little bit of background on me first...
- I'm a two-time Olympic athlete (2014, 2018 games)
- I went to college full time in between those games - graduated in 3.5 years
- I now hold a degree in global finance and a minor in math
Here's my dilemma. I have always loved science and math, but decided to study business/finance as I thought it would be a practical and useful degree, as well as a useful application of math. The structure of my school's business program was very rigid, so the only classed I got to take outside of the required core were those for my minor an one health & disease course (which was essentially organic chem and pharmacology, and was my favorite class that I have ever taken by FAR). I honestly disliked my business courses because I thought they were boring, but once I was able to take these courses it was already too late to switch out and try other majors. I was a junior by this point and I didn't want to be in college for longer than I needed to be since I was also focusing on my athletic career.
I'm here because of this: for the past few years, I have had it in the bottom of my heart that I wanted to become a doctor. I've always loved helping people, loved science, and had a natural knack for helping fellow athletes and training-mates deal with their injuries. I recently got a job in finance, and it has only reassured my deep dislike for the area.

If I were to pursue my dreams of going to med school, would I be able to take the required courses for med school as a non-matriculated student, or would I need to enroll in a post-bacc program? Is there any way I can get my hands dirty with research or work of some sort with no prior science experience? Any advice you can possibly think of and give me would be greatly appreciated!!!!!
Read this:
Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention
 

niccc

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Aug 25, 2018
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Plenty of people take only the pre reqs at a 4 year institution. Be prepared for 2ish years of prerequisites. Why wouldn’t you just apply as a second degree seeking student so you can get financial aid? I applied as a biology major without any intentions of compelteing the degree. It gives me priority enrollment in classes that quickly fill and financial aid/a grant. Pre med classes are often difficult to get into because so many students are premed in the beginning. Are you planning on continuing to train and taking premed classes at various universities?

Oh that's a great idea, I had no idea I could do that! Financing all of it is a huge factor for me, so knowing I could get financial aid by applying to school like that is wonderful to know.
Unfortunately, I'm not training at the moment. I just started working in finance, as it's what I could utilize my first degree for, but I really dislike it. Each and every day reinforces my desire to go back to school to pursue medicine. If I could take a few classes starting next year, I would consider getting back into training as well - but time has yet to tell!

Thank you all so much for your advice!!!
 

DarklingThrush

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Oh that's a great idea, I had no idea I could do that! Financing all of it is a huge factor for me, so knowing I could get financial aid by applying to school like that is wonderful to know.
Unfortunately, I'm not training at the moment. I just started working in finance, as it's what I could utilize my first degree for, but I really dislike it. Each and every day reinforces my desire to go back to school to pursue medicine. If I could take a few classes starting next year, I would consider getting back into training as well - but time has yet to tell!

Thank you all so much for your advice!!!

Hey! Best of luck! I get it. I was an elite athlete working towards the national team in my sport post college. I ended up coaching full time after getting a career ending injury and realized I wouldn’t be happy unless I became a doctor. I left my job and started school in 2016. Finished last spring. It’ll be rough, but lucky for you, you already have the discipline being an Olympic athlete. You got this! Ps, definitely apply as a degree seeking student. I was fortunate to have almost enough saved, but I did end up using $5,000 in loans. Too little too late, but I was given a grant this year that would’ve been a full ride... I just couldn’t use it with my new job. So bummed, but there is help out there even for post bacc students!
 

niccc

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Hey! Best of luck! I get it. I was an elite athlete working towards the national team in my sport post college. I ended up coaching full time after getting a career ending injury and realized I wouldn’t be happy unless I became a doctor. I left my job and started school in 2016. Finished last spring. It’ll be rough, but lucky for you, you already have the discipline being an Olympic athlete. You got this! Ps, definitely apply as a degree seeking student. I was fortunate to have almost enough saved, but I did end up using $5,000 in loans. Too little too late, but I was given a grant this year that would’ve been a full ride... I just couldn’t use it with my new job. So bummed, but there is help out there even for post bacc students!

That is so reassuring to hear. It's been difficult to pursue this because I haven't found anyone I could relate to or ask for guidance. Thank you so very much, and I hope to become a fellow doctor with you one day! :)
 

drbatsandwich

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Am I the only one that wants to know what kind of athlete OP is??? :)
 
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RNthenDoc

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Am I the only one that wants to know what kind of athlete OP is??? :)

Came to the thread for this!


OP, I got FA as a non-degree seeker, just tell them that you are working on a biology degree or something. They don’t need to know that when you are accepted to Med school you are dropping! Do your best to get all A’s.
 

drbatsandwich

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I am a figure skater :)

AWESOME!!! I figure skated from ages 4-13. Stopped when we realized it wasn't gonna take me to the Olympics ;) Been wanting to take it back up as a hobby/adult learner but its expensive and hard to find the time now. With regard to the rest of your post, don't bother with a formal post-bac or masters program. Just take your prerequisite classes at a 4 year university as a (insert science here) major, to make sure you're able to get into the pre-med classes which will fill up quickly. It will likely take you around 2 years, depending on whether or not you continue to work while attending classes (if you can swing it I'd suggest dedicating yourself full-time to school).

If you haven't started doing volunteering or shadowing yet, get on that. Not sure how many hours of community service/volunteering/shadowing you'll need, what with being an Olympic athlete (that's boss), but you'll definitely need some to help show that you understand what is involved in the day to lives of physicians and how the healthcare system works.

If you want to do some undergrad research, identify the teachers that do research, and when you take their classes, get in good with them. Ask questions after class, go to office hours. Befriend TA's. Research teams are usually secured for the following school year in the spring, so make sure you contact them early about your desire to help with research.
 
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niccc

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AWESOME!!! I figure skated from ages 4-13. Stopped when we realized it wasn't gonna take me to the Olympics ;) Been wanting to take it back up as a hobby/adult learner but its expensive and hard to find the time now. With regard to the rest of your post, don't bother with a formal post-bac or masters program. Just take your prerequisite classes at a 4 year university as a (insert science here) major, to make sure you're able to get into the pre-med classes which will fill up quickly. It will likely take you around 2 years, depending on whether or not you continue to work while attending classes (if you can swing it I'd suggest dedicating yourself full-time to school).

If you haven't started doing volunteering or shadowing yet, get on that. Not sure how many hours of community service/volunteering/shadowing you'll need, what with being an Olympic athlete (that's boss), but you'll definitely need some to help show that you understand what is involved in the day to lives of physicians and how the healthcare system works.

If you want to do some undergrad research, identify the teachers that do research, and when you take their classes, get in good with them. Ask questions after class, go to office hours. Befriend TA's. Research teams are usually secured for the following school year in the spring, so make sure you contact them early about your desire to help with research.

That is so helpful, thank you so much!! I am going to try to continue working, at least for the first year, so I can afford at least the additional classes I'll need to take. I applied to some programs for the spring semester, so we'll see where it goes from there. Thank you once again for your advice!
 

GenSurgONLY

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Plenty of people take only the pre reqs at a 4 year institution. Be prepared for 2ish years of prerequisites. Why wouldn’t you just apply as a second degree seeking student so you can get financial aid? I applied as a biology major without any intentions of compelteing the degree. It gives me priority enrollment in classes that quickly fill and financial aid/a grant. Pre med classes are often difficult to get into because so many students are premed in the beginning. Are you planning on continuing to train and taking premed classes at various universities?

Great poin! I was just talking about this with my husband last night because I was thinking 3 years in a post bacc plus glide year OR might as well get a second degree in Bio or Chem, since a post bacc isn’t a “formal” degree. That way I could have 2 degrees instead of 1 degree and some concoction science classes. Lol
 

DarklingThrush

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Great poin! I was just talking about this with my husband last night because I was thinking 3 years in a post bacc plus glide year OR might as well get a second degree in Bio or Chem, since a post bacc isn’t a “formal” degree. That way I could have 2 degrees instead of 1 degree and some concoction science classes. Lol

That isn’t what I meant. You apply as a second degree seeking student without the intent of finishing the degree. A second degree is not necessary and would take way too many extra classes. It also doesn’t improve your changes of getting in
 

GenSurgONLY

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That isn’t what I meant. You apply as a second degree seeking student without the intent of finishing the degree. A second degree is not necessary and would take way too many extra classes. It also doesn’t improve your changes of getting in
Aha! See what you’re suggesting here. I suggested a second degree because my prospective school would take 3 years plus a glide year. That’s a bit long(and this is mainly because they only offer classes depending on demand and then almost all upper divisions are in the Spring ONLY).
 

QofQuimica

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I fear that medicine will be a pretty dull career for you after what you've done thus far. :p

In all seriousness, as others have said, it is not necessary to be enrolled in a formal post bac program for your prereqs. You do need to make sure you get shadowing and clinical volunteering experience. I would start that ASAP. 2-4 hours per week over 1-2 years while you do your post bac should be sufficient to show interest and gain some experience with medical practice along with hopefully providing you with a clinical LOR. Since money is a factor, maybe also consider a clinical job, such as scribing in an ER.

Best of luck to you.
 
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