fute

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Sep 9, 2007
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Hi,
Nice to sign up.
I have been working to overcome a first bachelor's degree GPA for five years now in order to get into an MD program in the US, and I prefer either the University of Alabama SOM or the University of South Alabama medical school. Here's my saga.
I have a degree in Chemistry with the American Chemical Society's certification from the University of North Alabama. In other words an acreditied BS, it has 175 hours with only a 2.26 GPA. I changed my major late and was a senior for three years. After 12 years in the environmental lab testing business, I needed to move on. To overcome my past I have done the following:
I went back to UNA and received a 2nd bachelor's degree majoring in biology. I took very heavy loads in science and completed 95 hours in 2.5 years with a 3.526 GPA! Next I went to a junior college and received an EMT-Basic certification, passed the nation registry exam and have a current AL license (i.e. I could work as an EMT-Basic if I wanted to). Next I got into a program at Boston University, an MA in Medical Sciences. This is simply a graduate level post baccalaureate degree. I got sick with the flu, twice; and missed so much class that I had to take a medical leave of absence. That means I had to stay gone for a year which ends in Nov. I have been studying for the MCAT, and took it recently. I was not able to be 100% ready for it and feel I made all 8's in each section. I feel I need to make at least 10s in each section along with a good writing score to be competitive for any MD program.
My situation is since this score counts for at least three years, and I'm positive its bad, should I pursue a PhD in a biomedical sciences program (like biomedical neuroscience at BU or basic medical science at Purdue)and then attain a good MCAT score, and lastly apply to medical school? I understand that the research opportunity a PhD gives, would help someone like me gain an edge up on the tradition med students when it comes time to compete for a residency program after medical school? Finishing high in your graduating class from an MD program, having a good score on the step 1 of the USMLE, I think is what one need to get the residency they want. I have discovered that the last thing to have an edge-up on the traditional meds is research, which a PhD would provide.
What do you all think? What should I do? I feel a DO would limit my residency choices. I am trying to think this whole thing through, thats why it may seem I have extrapolated from: how to get in to medical school all the way to how to get the residency I want after medical school. Also, I spent allot of money for nothing when I took my medical leave from BU. I got all W's in my classes and would like to go back there and show what I can do academically. A PhD program would not cost me anything if I can get it paid for by the school. Any program I would consider would give me a stipend to live on as well, and hopefully the research opportunity a PhD provides should pay off in the long run. What I am talking about is doing a PhD/MD basically by finishing the PhD first. Most PhD programs in the biomedical sciences, neurosciences, anatomy, physiology, and biophysics are offered at medical schools which would allow me to take medical school classes with the current students. If I get into say BUMC, I would not have to repeat any completed courses as a medical school student if I have already completed them as a PhD student. I may have to become a full time state resident in whatever state I'm in and forget about the Al schools, however. The biggest draw back is the time to get a PhD. I'm 41 years old. I am also wondering if when you get a PhD, how many post-docs do you have to do before you can get an academic teaching job realistically? This is in case I decide to teach rather than go to medical school.
Thanks for reading all of this and let me know.
 

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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No, I don't think you should get a PhD. You're not looking to do research, so you don't need one. You're already 41 years old, and a PhD could take you another 5-7 years! Go make an appointment with UAB and/or USA admissions and get some counseling on what to do to make your app as strong as possible. And if I were you, I'd apply to DO schools as well. Even your second GPA is a little below the mean for matriculants (which is a 3.6), and your overall GPA is still going to be very low when the first GPA is averaged in with that.

If you're wanting to teach at the college level, you don't necessarily even need a PhD to do that. I was already teaching just with an MS. Post docs would probably not be required if the position was teaching-only.
 

Meatwad

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Honestly, the PhD is a waste of your time unless you are in love with research. Your very low GPA won't be overlooked because you have a PhD. The BU Master's in Medical Sciences, or a similar program, is/was your best shot. If BU will let you back into the program, and you can get a 4.0, and a high MCAT score, you migh be able to get in somewhere. Still, with such a low GPA, the cards are really stacked against you. Your best MD shot may be the Caribbean.

As far as the DO thing: it will only limit you if you yourself are limited. Meaning, look at DO match lists every year. Students match into dermatology, ophthalmology, radiology, otolaryngology, etc. Many students match into family medicine and internal medicine, as well. Look at MD school match lists. Every year, students match into dermatology, opthalmology, etc. etc. etc. Students also match into family medicine and internal medicine.

Do you see what I'm getting at here? The only limiting factor is you. If you go to an MD school and don't do so great, your choices are limited. If you go to a DO school and don't do so hot, your choices are limited as well. However, If you are top of the class and smoke the boards at a DO school, you have a great chance of getting a good specialty. Same goes for MD schools. I think a lot of people assume that being a DO bars them from competitive specialties, just because DO schools' match lists typically have less specialties. Does that mean YOU won't get a specialty? Of course not. If anything, it may speak more about the students than the school itself.

For example, if you have a school that takes in students with lower average stats, I wouldn't expect to see a match list with 10 plastics, 15 derm, 12 rads, 20 ENT, etc. For Yale or UCSF, however, I would expect this; they take the best and brightest, as well as the most motivated. These type of students are going to try their best to do as well as possible. Also realize not everyone is interested in specializing in these things. DO schools traditionally focus on primary care. That DOES NOT MEAN you have to be in primary care. Any US medical school will suffice to get you where you want to go.

I kind of went off on a rant here, but it's just naive when people claim a DO will limit them. It's as if people assume going to an MD school will warrant an easier time specializing. Look at some MD schools' matchlists, and then look at DMUCOM or PCOM's match list (2 very strong DO schools); DMU and PCOM actually have more specializing students than MD schools. I believe only like 50% of DMU students go into primary care. Your school will not limit you, only your abilities will. The only thing the DO may hurt is your ego, which is something I think you should check at the door if you are trying to get into the medicine gam to being with.
 
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Meatwad

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No, I don't think you should get a PhD. You're not looking to do research, so you don't need one. You're already 41 years old, and a PhD could take you another 5-7 years! Go make an appointment with UAB and/or USA admissions and get some counseling on what to do to make your app as strong as possible. And if I were you, I'd apply to DO schools as well. Even your second GPA is a little below the mean for matriculants (which is a 3.6), and your overall GPA is still going to be very low when the first GPA is averaged in with that.

If you're wanting to teach at the college level, you don't necessarily even need a PhD to do that. I was already teaching just with an MS. Post docs would probably not be required if the position was teaching-only.
Ahh, you beat me to it Q!:laugh:
 

Scottish Chap

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A Ph.D. program is WAY too long and difficult if your primary aim to to get into medical school. Don't do it; it will bury you unless it's your final destination. Obtaining a Ph.D. is an endeavor for its own sake if it's to be a success. It will be little more than an interesting activity on a medical school application, too. That usually surprises people. GPA and MCAT are far more important.

You've done some serious damage control on your undergraduate GPA, but keep in mind that AMCAS (for M.D. programs) will average every class ever taken, and you're still going to be at a massive disadvantage unless you blow the MCAT out of the water. Osteopathic schools will also get you into any residency in any U.S. state and the good thing about their application service (AACOMAS) is that they replace old, lower grades with new ones. Keep that in mind. You just have to ask yourself if you really want to be a physician more than anything. If the answer is yes, get on it full-speed and care little about the letters after your name when you're done.

Good luck!
 

fute

10+ Year Member
Sep 9, 2007
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Pre-Medical
Thanks,
Sorry about my ignorance with the DO programs. They are just so expensive. I have the option to return, no questions asked and no re-application, to the BU postbac program I was in this Jan. for the spring '08 semester. I could return and complete the program. If I attain good grades, along with an MCAT re-take at some point (maybe this JAN before school starts), and keep my AL residency; I should have a shot at either AL school or a DO program somewhere hopefully. It may be necessary to have the MA in Medical Sciences in hand before my application is reveiwed by any admissions committee as well. That simply means I may apply for the fall 2010 class during the June '09 beginning cycle. If I follow the schedule I have already worked out with my advisor, I will graduate in May of 2009 with the master's. I thought that the heavy course load that the graduate level post bacc makes you take would count heavier than a Phd. Its just my money is running out and a Phd can be paid for by the school and you get a stipend. However, if its going to just be a curiousity on the application, it is probably not worth it.
Thanks for your advice along with the others.
 

fute

10+ Year Member
Sep 9, 2007
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Just so you know, I was told when I started all this back in 2003 to get a Masters by the South Alabama advisor. UAB did not return my emails and when I called would not let me talk to anyone? They only communicate by email and most likely in the spring semester's only. The graduate level post baccs listed on the AAMC website seemed the right thing to do. I got into BU, Barry University, and the American University. I liked BU, its just so expensive! I read on a thread, I thought somewhere on this site the information I repeated in my post. That is, about the research helping with the residency, and I thought a PhD would cancel my grades from the 1st degree I have. I guess not, thanks for setting me straight. I will speak to my advisor when I get my MCAT score and go from there. Thanks again for your advice, its just what I needed!
 

princekc

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Mar 12, 2006
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pretty extensive write-up! I agree, PhD (Player hating Degree:)) is absolutely a waste of time.
 
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