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Pharmacy student going to medical school

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by pharmer, Jul 21, 2001.

  1. pharmer

    pharmer Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Hello everyone,

    I am new to the forum when it comes to posting (not reading) and would like some advice on my chances of getting into medical school. I am 22 y/o and am currently entering my third professional year in pharmacy school. This means that I have 1 more year after this one before I will graduate with my PharmD. I am wanting to attend medical school after I graduate from pharmacy school in May 2003. I have all the pre-med requirements completed except physics II which I will take on top of 18 hours in the school of pharmacy this fall semester. I have a 3.95/4.0 GPA and have worked as an intern in a pharmacy for the last 2 years (which means I can perform all the tasks a can except it must be under their supervision). My experience as an intern has allowed me to interact with many different healthcare professionals as well as provided me with ample patient contact. The latter part contributing to my decision to pursue medicine. I have yet to take the MCAT but scored in the 90 percentile on the PCAT. The path I am taking I don't think is very common so I was wondering if anyone else out there is or has done what I am attempting to do. In addition, do you guys think that getting a doctorate in pharmacy will help my chances of getting in or do you think the AdComm will frown on someone who has left one profession for another?

    Thank you for your thoughts!

    P.S. What are your opinions on Pres. Bush's prescription drug plan for seniors (i.e. presciption drug discount cards)?
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  3. Firebird

    Firebird 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    Just out of curiosity, if this person graduates with a doctorate in pharmacy, would he/she still have to take pharmacology in medical school? Or do you learn different stuff?

    As for Pres. Bush...whatever he says, I'll go for. Go Republicans!

  4. gower

    gower 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    New York
    You will have to and should earn the PharmD.
    You want to be able to earn a living should you change your mind or fail to be accepted to medical school.

    The probability of being accepted to medical school, based simply and only on past statistics, is lower than it might be had you applied to medical school as a college undergraduate.

    Lower is not zero. Your academic grades cannot be faulted, you may well have a high enough MCAT, you may well have good recommendations, your knowledge of medicine is likely better than premed undergraduates.

    So where is the problem? In my experience, it is most often one common to other applicants who want to change from another health profession. You are going to be asked "why the change?" If your answer doesn't satisfy any medical school that you apply to, that is enough to do it. I cannot tell you exactly what they want to hear, but if it is not phrased well and cogently presented, you MAY have a problem. A common reason is that you are seen as a person who had an opportunity for a professional education (one now leading to a doctoral degree, the PharmD). Why, if your were to be accepted, should a well-qualified candidate, without a medically-related professional degree, be deprived of that seat in the class? You can always earn a living with your professional degree.

    You might begin now drafting your personal statement anticipating the question. Do not be defensive; it should all be couched in positive language: apologize for nothing; explain briefly, without putting down your earlier decision for pharmacy, why medicine now; show how you grew in understanding YOURSELF, and how that understanding lead to your current decision. Self-confidence and self-knowledge is the key; don't waste the precious space in the personal statement on academics--they will see your numbers and MCAT scores.

    Revise, revise, revise...and revise again!
    Check spelling, punctuation, grammar.
    Make a PERSONALITY emerge from the quality of your writing, make them WANT to interview YOU irrespective of what the technical details are. That calls for good writing style, as if you were writing a short-story, not the deadly dull prose of a lab report or scientific paper. Of course, you use the autobiographical I, me, my. [Adcoms suspect something psychologically amiss when personal statements use third person pronouns s/he, him/her, her/his.]

    Another key to successful application is choosing which medical schools to apply to.
    The proper choices depend so much on where you did your undergraduate work, which pharmacy college you are attending, past history of a medical school accepting applicants like yourself, your state of residency, any geographic preferences you may have, and how you expect to pay for a medical education, especially if you will have debts owing from pharmacy school.
    Other than winging it--a shot in the dark--I suggest you consider speaking with the premedical advisor at your undergraduate college who may have known students like yourself applying to medical school and
    where they were successful and/or a Dean at your pharmacy school who must have past experience of graduates applying to medical school. Any medical school will ask, and always asked, for a letter from the Dean of any other professional school attended. [Should you plan not to let them know you are applying, and not tell the medical schools you have a PharmD, you are inviting trouble. Every medical school will ask for an accounting of the missing years from college graduation and the time of application. If your story is not internally consistent and plausible, you are in trouble. If you are proven a liar after acceptance, it is highly likely you will be dismissed; if not yet accepted, and you give no satisfactory explanation, your name appears on a list of miscreants circulated (by AMCAS) to all US medical schools].
  5. kris

    kris Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 24, 2001
    Gower, you're my hero! (swoon)

    I'm in a bubbly mood, so let me just bubble enthusiastically about you pursuing an MD.

    I think the pharm aspect of medicine is getting really difficult, and having a pharm degree could be such an asset to a physician. I'm actually kind of jealous.

    What Gower says about the essay is great advice.

    People really write personal statements in the third person?!? Huh.

    Good luck pharmer! And what are your opinions about the prescription drug plan for seniors?
  6. ewagner

    ewagner Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 22, 1998

    Of course he/she would have to take pharmacology! NO one gets out of it!
  7. pharmer

    pharmer Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    I just wanted to say thank you for the replies I have been getting (especially Gower), and hope that there will be more. As far as my opinion of Bush's Rx drug plan...I think it sucks. It is basically the same thing as the pharmacy discount cards that are out there right now. They are worthless. The beneficiary usually pays more in monthly premiums then they actually save on their prescriptions that month. There is also no guarantee that the medication prescribed will be on the insured's formulary so if this is the case the patient is SOL. On the other side of the counter, for pharmacists and pharmacies, this will lead to lower margins and headaches. I can see patients coming in w/ 3 different cards in there hands asking which one is cheaper. Since the software out there is not capable of handling more than 1 adjucation at a time this will lead to a messy log jam. In the end, when 3rd party qoutes back a price, the patient will feel cheated since card 1 only saves them a nickle, card 2 saves a quarter, card 3 saves the same as card 1, and the pharmacy's Senior Discount (which they recieve free just for being 65+) saves them more than all 3 cards combined. Hopefully this is just a temporary stopgap plan leading to a full Medicare Rx drug benefit.
  8. Firebird

    Firebird 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    Do med students and pharmacy students not take the same pharmacology classes? I would think that a pharmacist would have a greater knowledge of drugs anyway.
  9. cchoukal

    cchoukal Senior Member Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 10, 2001
    SF, CA
    As a student who left one profession for another, maybe I can help. I left a doctoral program in counseling psych to apply to medical school. Most adcomms wanted to hear why, of course, but they seemed pretty excited to be sitting with someone who had done some other thing with their lives. Certainly the bulk of med students come right out of college, but that's quickly changing. I think there's something to be said for the decision to go into medicine being made after trying some other things, rather than just going straight in after college. Like maybe one's resolve is stronger, I don't know. Like I did, though, you should really take a long hard look at why you want to make such a change. For me, it was that I knew the job I wanted (talking to people about how their brains were screwed up and trying to find an answer) couldn't be had with the degree I was earning. What is that reason for you?
  10. Methuselah

    Methuselah Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 24, 2000
    Denver, CO, USA
    I've heard the same rumor that some adcoms frown upon applicants from other health careers. Oh well. For what it's worth, you sound like a good applicant to me. And your assessment of the bush plan was right on's a steaming pile, and you don't want to step in it.
  11. SuperflyMD

    SuperflyMD Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 21, 2000
    I don't know if this helps or not, but we have three pharmicists in my class. Two of them are ParmD's and they are both taking pharmacology. They may have been offered a chance to test out, but probably wanted to boost the all-important GPA.

    Good luck in your applications.

  12. gower

    gower 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    New York
    I would not use the term "frown upon." Adcoms always ask career changers why and why medicine. They look for reasoned, adult answers beyond the common "I like to help people."

    They may, perhaps, be a little more demanding of those changing from one health professions career to another at least in part because of the reason I gave in my earlier response to the question. After all, a pharmacist is a health care professional already, and even if it is not the same as "hands on", the pharmacist performs a valuable specialist service.

    Of course pharmacists may be admitted to medical school, as one poster attests. I did not deny that, and I believe no one thought I did. But why the relatively low acceptance statistics? For the reason I give, a French Literature PhD, other things being roughly equal, may have less difficulty being admitted to a medical school.

    The acceptance statistics for RNs is also low. In this instance, I believe it likely that, on the whole, fewer RN applicants have as competitive grades in the major's level basic sciences and scores on the MCAT than other postbacs. (I also suspect a lingering bias from the old days when men were doctors and women were helpers). But when nurses are admitted they do as well as anyone and many of them become as first-rate a practioner as anyone and maybe better because of their greater patient care experience. Adcoms do not "frown on" nurses either. In the dark ages they did, especially when medicine was mostly a male profession and nursing female. Even in nursing the sex ratio is changing with more males entering the profession.

    Veterinary medicine has become a mostly female profession! Nearly 75% of new admits to vet schools are women.

    "The World Turned Upside Down" was a marching tune for the British during the American Revolution. Maybe it should become the anthem of veterinarians. And in ten years it also can be adopted by physicians, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, and chiropractors.

    Vive la difference?
  13. dieter

    dieter Junior Member

    Jun 27, 2001
    As a Pharmacist I can only say yes, pursue your MD degree. Pharmacy as we know it, is a dying profession. Drugs have become a political tool which no one has an answer for. The only problem I see with your situation is can you afford to go. I would not hesitate to go for it. Complete your Pharm D and you should have no problem. I see patients all day long and there is a huge void for compassionate family practitioners. Pharmacists are consulted all day long about drug usage insurance etc. It is tiring and we give the information for free. MD's have many more avenues to pursue and easily earn a much more decent living. A Pharmacists quality of life is downright ridiculous for what they do. I know there are some Pharmacists in clinical settings who justify not working in a chain or retail setting. The reality is that MD's get the final say and dictate the treatment.
    My final word, GO FOR IT, you are young and will be happier being an MD in the long run.
    As for President Bush's plan, it is ridiculous and punishing retail pharmacists for the ridiculous drug prices. Prescription drugs should be incorporated into medicare on a formulary. It is obvious drug companies will not want this, as their bottom line will erode. This is a subject for discussion on TV prime time. :p
  14. lord999

    lord999 Pharmacist Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2002
    I'm actually in the same dilemma. Although I don't have as good a GPA (3.83) pharmacy, my basic was 4.0 and I did get a 34 MCAT. I've already been asked by my pharamcy dean the sorts of questions gower proposed. You'd better ask them yourself before you apply.
  15. gasrx

    gasrx Member 7+ Year Member

    My advise is go for it. Get your medical degree. I graduated from pharmacy school and then went to medical school. During my med school interviews they did ask why I wanted to change into medicine, but they did not frown upon it. Also pharm in pharm school is so much more difficult that medical school. Medical school pharm only scratches the surface, almost a joke. Although I did take pharm in med school, barely had to study.
  16. The Pill Counter

    The Pill Counter Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 2001
    hey pharmer, i'm a pharmacist and first year med student. i worked a couple of years, and found it unsatisfying. being a pharmacist, will not be an asset when you apply. it might even hinder you, ie. abandoning one profession for another... but just try and hope for the best.

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