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Passionate, yet horrible at math/sci. Go for law sch hc policy or postbac prgm?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by simpsonsrule, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. simpsonsrule


    Jun 4, 2008
    Passionate, yet horrible at math/sci. Go for law sch hc policy or postbac prgm?

    I was born several months premature (among other medical conditions), and have a very passionate, extremely compelling story on why I want to practice medicine.

    I'm very, very interested in medicine (as well as health care policy) and am in my mid 20's. I was recently accepted to a fairly well regarded (yet regional) law school which has a health law policy program and an attached medical school. I attended a very well regarded college, and have a high GPA. My extended family also includes full professors/chief surgerons at two of the most well regarded medical schools in the country whose names are considered "magic" in the medical community. Due to the level of competition, I most likely wouldn't have been accepted no matter what my grades or MCAT were. There's been some very bad blood within my family unfortunately, and none of us has had contact in well over a decade.

    The caveat is that I am absolutely horrible, horrible at math and science. I did fairly well in biology, advanced algebra and statistics however nearly blew everything else math and science related despite graduating with honors and a 3.8+ GPA. I'm a great writer, I just can't seem to get the hang of calculus and chemistry no matter how hard I try. For my brother, this comes easier than breathing.....

    Should I give up on my dreams of med school and try to make an impact through legislative and/or nonprofit policy or attempt to get into a post bac program and slug my way through? I'll miss the medical pay scale (I have sizable debt), however I grew up in hospitals, and I'll miss the frenziness of the hospital atmosphere the most. I know I would be a kind, generous, compassionate doctor, however I can't seem to cut it with the math and science.

    Short of becoming a doctor, what other options do I realistically have within the medical field itself that excludes the math and science? Thanks.
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  3. chad5871

    chad5871 Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2006
    Portland, OR
    Definitely do not give up on your dreams before you try. If you are competent in Biology and you can get through Biochemistry, you can probably make it. Did you take Biochemistry in undergraduate? How did you do in organic chemistry? What's your science GPA? Have you taken the MCAT?

    Sorry for all the questions, but we really need more information before we can properly advise.
  4. simpsonsrule


    Jun 4, 2008
    Questions are fine. Thanks so much for the advice.

    I would be starting out from scratch. My UG degree is in political science and history, although I earned a A in Algebra/Advanced Algebra, a B in statistics and a B in Biology. My C was in computer science. I way always the type of person who would do well in quizzes, labs, etc... however horrible on the finals (at least in math and science related courses.) I think my big problem was the calculations...and chemistry. Standarized tests has also been a large bane of mine.

    I haven't taken the MCAT and would need to go through the all the pre-reqs which is where I thought a post bac program would be helpful. My science GPA (if you could it a science GPA :) would be the B in bio, B in stats and C in CS. Mind you, these were the most basic of introductory courses. I was always better at the stats/algebra than the geometry/chemistry/calc if that helps.

    What's my first step in applying to a post-bac? Again, I have all the extraneous background, I just need the hard academic sciences.
  5. chad5871

    chad5871 Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2006
    Portland, OR
    It looks like you don't have much science background, and I definitely think you're on the right track by considering a post-bacc program. I don't know much about post-bacc programs myself, but we do have a forum dedicated to the subject that you should check out. I think the best plan would be to try a post-bacc program and see how you do in the pre-med courses. If you do well, take the MCAT and see how it goes.

    And by the way, that C in computer science doesn't count toward your science GPA - only classes in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math (BCPM) would count. So the A in Algebra would be added in there too.

    Good luck! :luck:
  6. sunny1

    sunny1 2+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    Unless there's more information you're not telling us, you seem to be overly harsh on yourself. How do you know that you're absolutely horrible at math and science if so far you've managed to get A in algebra, Bs in bio and statistics (I'm disregarding computer science altogether). Did you sign up for a calc or gen chem class and have to drop it once? Or do you merely recall struggling with chemistry in high school?

    On the MCAT, calculations are fairly basic (i.e., no calculator allowed). If you do well on labs and quizzes but struggle with finals, perhaps it's a matter of studying well enough in advance so as to be able to remember everything come the final.

    I feel like I'm similar to you in many ways. My major in college was public policy. I actually became interested in medicine but didn't know what to do or if I could handle the prereqs/science. My only formal science and math classes in college were a B+ in Bio, A in Calculus, and C in Statistics (I never studied for that class). In high school, I was never interested in biology and I struggled with chemistry.

    Still, I became interested in the field while in college. I decided to work in the medical and public health field for a while to see if I actually liked what doctors did to begin with. Once I got to know the doctors personally, I decided that - while yes there are of course some brilliant people in the field as with any profession - in general, I felt like they were just intelligent people who stuck with it and persevered. This gave me the self confidence to start taking some of the prereqs piecemeal. A class here, a class there. Devote yourself to them, study, and do well. You are not yourself 8 or even 4 years ago.

    Since you seem to be so unsure of your abilities, I'd recommend against pursuing a formal postbacc program at the moment. This would be something where you drop everything (job, etc.) and take the prereq classes full-time through a formal program that you have to apply for.

    Instead, I think you should start out with one, maybe two, classes. Say Bio II or Gen Chem I. If you're struggling, go to the tutor center. Make friends and get assistance. Go to the professor's office hours, etc. Honestly, I think you can do it. Your overall GPA is already very good. Try some classes to see if you can get As in the prereqs.

    Ultimately, the health law policy program sounds interesting too. Of course, that option will still be around in a year or two if you decide to reapply to law schools, right? There's probably no harm in taking 1-2 years off to try your hand at the prereqs for med school since it sounds like you're "settling" for the health law policy program for the time being. This way you'll know whether or not you have a real chance of pursuing med school. If you struggle and don't want to continue, you can always go back to original plan and then feel less wistful about what might have been.
  7. soparu

    soparu 2+ Year Member

    May 8, 2008
    Health Care Administration
  8. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    You applied to law school. Did you have a reason or did you just run out of college and now feel you need to continue to do something scholastic. And if so, would med school be the same kind of gambit? I'm sorry but it's sort of hard to buy into your longstanding "dreams of med school", given your claimed extensive connection to medicine, doctors and hospitals, when the first thing you do out of college is apply to law school, and then apparently change your mind. This will come off as flighty to some. It will seem like you want a professional degree but haven't really thought through which yet. I could accept if you went to law school and decided you didn't like it, or if you became a lawyer and years later had some internal nagging that you ought to be on another path. But to come out of college, apply to law school, you presumably had a reason. And being afraid you wouldn't get into med school is not only not a good reason to go to law school, but it won't be a legit reason for explaining what you are doing now if you subsequently apply to med school. I suggest taking some time to figure out what you want to do with your life, rather than flail around with professional schools and postbacs. You don't pick a career based on what you think you can get.
  9. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    If you have admission to law school and like the atmosphere of hospitals, consider a job as a hospital lawyer.:idea:

    There are medical ethics issues, business contracts, debt collection issues, government regulations of all kinds, employment law, HIPAA (privacy) law issues, and much more.

    There are internship opportunities in your summers during law school to give you a feel for the work.
  10. unsung

    unsung 10+ Year Member

    Mar 12, 2007
    If you have the reasoning skills to get through the LSAT, I see no reason you can't get through calculus or o-chem or physics or anything else for that matter. Seriously. People who *think* they're "bad at math/science" but yet do super well on things like the LSAT.. it just makes me think they're maybe approaching the course wrong or don't know how to study for it. There's nothing super hard in the physics/chem science pre-req courses that you'll take... I mean, these aren't upper division courses that require differential equations or whatever. If you want it, go for it. Don't let fear get in the way.

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