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Cemetra

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I’ve just recently started my undergrad at Arizona State University for Biological Sciences. The only concern is it’s an online degree, but the prerequisite classes that require a lab are on campus. I live in Georgia, so as an example: Organic Chemistry’s lecture portion is taught online. I’ll then fly out to ASU to finish the lab portion. So my labs are still done in person.

From the ASU site: “The same faculty and instructors that teach on the ASU campuses teach ASU Online courses. This means that the rigor and quality of the content, as well as the course load is the same as the on-campus classes.”

They record the lectures from the actual teachers and insist their education is the exact same as in person. I know people who even live in Arizona next to the campus and prefer to do them online since it’s the same, so they do that for convenience versus necessity.
I should also mention some of my prerequisites will be done at a community college close to me. So, if I end up taking a couple prereqs at a CC and don’t get into good med schools because of the online prerequisites being an issue, I’ll just retake them at the CC. I understand this is not a race and I’m willing to do whatever it takes. A year or two of taking extra prereqs won’t deter me from the ultimate goal.
With this being said, I’m 24 and started a little late, but I’m stuck between MD and being an anesthesiologist assistant. I can’t really quit my job and go to school full time. Technically speaking, I could do that and live off loans, but it seems like a horrible idea. Also, AA programs accept online degrees and prerequisites. Med school - some do, some don’t.
Do you think me getting my bachelor’s online from ASU while working as a surgical technician will hurt my chances of getting into med school?
Note: I’m currently attending two colleges simultaneously - one for undergrad (ASU) and a tech school to become a surgical tech. I have a 4.0 at both colleges, plan on volunteering in medical duties as well as research (hopefully) in my free time, have recently started a one-for-one company, and currently work about 60 hours per week WITHOUT counting school. I drive 2 hours round trip to my job (completely unrelated to healthcare for now) and am in the process of switching careers. In total, I’m at about 80 hours per week between transportation, work, and school hours combined. I can’t emphasize enough my seriousness to doing what I strive to achieve and ultimately feel like all these details would make me a pretty strong applicant. At least... Hopefully.

Any advice is appreciated. Good or bad, I appreciate anyone’s insight.
 

RedPanda55

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Do you want to be a doctor or not? I think you've gotta figure that out first. Half assing it will only lead to failure.
 
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Cemetra

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Do you want to be a doctor or not? I think you've gotta figure that out first. Half assing it will only lead to failure.

I’d love to be a doctor, but I’m also trying to be realistic about me getting my degree and 80% of my prerequisites online. If this will prevent me from being a doctor, I want to be realistic and plan accordingly. Either way, I want to work in the medical field and specialize, which is why AA is such a viable choice as well. Choosing a path today, I would prefer doctor, but I have to be realistic about med school opinions on online education.
 

The Unburnt

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This is a loaded situation/post with a lot of components but I think the most important thing you need to do is figure out which route you want to go. I'm not in medical school yet but I'll tell you (and I'm sure others will chime in and say the same thing), if you're not 100% passionate and sure you want to be a doctor, don't do it. Between pre-med stress, application stress, medical school stress, residency stress, and then the stress of actually being a practicing physician, it is very easy to hate your life if you don't absolutely love medicine and the goal you are trying to achieve. If you end up doing all of this and going to medical school and hating it/quitting/flunking out, you not only will have wasted years of your life, but you will also be in a lot of debt without being able to practice. That being said, if I were in your shoes I would make the time to shadow a few physicians and a few AAs to see what you like best. I will also say that given your current work schedule, it's going to be very hard for you to complete all of the extracurricular things that you will need to in order to be accepted to medical school (shadowing, clinical/nonclinical volunteering, research, leadership, etc). I'm not 100% sure on how adcoms will view your situation but I know that online/CC courses are generally not looked at as favorably as in person courses at a 4 year university, maybe @Goro @LizzyM can expand on that bit.
 
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Cemetra

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This is a loaded situation/post with a lot of components but I think the most important thing you need to do is figure out which route you want to go. I'm not in medical school yet but I'll tell you (and I'm sure others will chime in and say the same thing), if you're not 100% passionate and sure you want to be a doctor, don't do it. Between pre-med stress, application stress, medical school stress, residency stress, and then the stress of actually being a practicing physician, it is very easy to hate your life if you don't absolutely love medicine and the goal you are trying to achieve. If you end up doing all of this and going to medical school and hating it/quitting/flunking out, you not only will have wasted years of your life, but you will also be in a lot of debt without being able to practice. That being said, if I were in your shoes I would make the time to shadow a few physicians and a few AAs to see what you like best. I will also say that given your current work schedule, it's going to be very hard for you to complete all of the extracurricular things that you will need to in order to be accepted to medical school (shadowing, clinical/nonclinical volunteering, research, leadership, etc). I'm not 100% sure on how adcoms will view your situation but I know that online/CC courses are generally not looked at as favorably as in person courses at a 4 year university, maybe @Goro @LizzyM can expand on that bit.

Thanks for your input. I’ll definitely shadow more when the opportunity arises. I’m 100% commited to working in medicine, I’d just like to know which path is best. I’m about to reach out to higher-end med school’s and give them a detailed explanation and see what they say about it and hopefully find some answers. I just didn’t want to commit 100% to the doctor route if it’s impossible to do unless I quit my job and live off loans to finish at a university. If that makes sense.
 
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RedPanda55

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Sure, you can be realistic about your options but at the same time, you're saying things like "I'll just retake them at the CC" when referring to prereq classes. This screams ignorance about the entire application process and how difficult it is to get into medical school.

If you really want to go to med school, gather information and do it right the first time. You might need to quit your job, move back home, take classes full time, gain exposure, get EC's in; it's not a walk in the park my friend so make sure you know what you're getting yourself into if you're seriously considering medicine. If you fail to get in, you can still go back and do all that other stuff.
 
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Cemetra

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Sure, you can be realistic about your options but at the same time, you're saying things like "I'll just retake them at the CC" when referring to prereq classes. This screams ignorance about the entire application process and how difficult it is to get into medical school.

If you really want to go to med school, gather information and do it right the first time. You might need to quit your job, move back home, take classes full time, gain exposure, get EC's in; it's not a walk in the park my friend so make sure you know what you're getting yourself into if you're seriously considering medicine. If you fail to get in, you can still go back and do all that other stuff.

I understand the admissions process, just not about online prerequisites. What I meant was after getting my undergrad, if the prerequisites need to be done in person, I can take them again at my community college to satisfy their requests. I wasn’t trying to seem ignorant. I just meant that if i need to retake some, I can.

I can’t go back home as my situation doesn’t allow it, but I would totally do it if possible. I’m spending the next few years obtaining a surgical tech certification, my undergrad, volunteer hours, and hopefully research hours. I’m trying to save up enough money that when I do my prerequisites, whether having to do them over again or only the ones I’m missing, I can live off the savings and devote my full time to it. I already have a decent savings currently, so I’m just going to continue to add to that.
 

Cemetra

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OP what are you going to ask these “higher end med schools”?

I was going to tell them my specific situation as a non-traditional student, ask about obtaining credits at a community college, and also if they accept me doing some of my prerequisites in an online setting. ASU has some labs in person, meaning I’ll actually fly out to the campus to do the labs physically and I’m curious to know if those will satisfy their requirements.
 

Cemetra

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Sure, you can be realistic about your options but at the same time, you're saying things like "I'll just retake them at the CC" when referring to prereq classes. This screams ignorance about the entire application process and how difficult it is to get into medical school.

If you really want to go to med school, gather information and do it right the first time. You might need to quit your job, move back home, take classes full time, gain exposure, get EC's in; it's not a walk in the park my friend so make sure you know what you're getting yourself into if you're seriously considering medicine. If you fail to get in, you can still go back and do all that other stuff.

I should also mention about the living off the savings part that my girlfriend is the most supportive person I’ve ever been with and she’s okay with supporting us while I finish school - her mother did the same for her dad. Although, I want to keep this as a possibility. We’re extremely happy together and have been together a long time, but I want to go on the path as if the relationship could somehow end tomorrow.
 

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You don't seem to have a plan. And if your choices are AA vs MD, that makes no sense and speaks of ignorance regarding medicine.

Take some time to make an informed decision. You're not there yet.

And I may be old fashioned, but an online degree isn't the same as real college.
 
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Turkishking

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You don't seem to have a plan. And if your choices are AA vs MD, that makes no sense and speaks of ignorance regarding medicine.

Take some time to make an informed decision. You're not there yet.

And I may be old fashioned, but an online degree isn't the same as real college.
I was thinking the same thing, but I didn’t want to so blunt. I guess I may need to be.
 

Cemetra

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You don't seem to have a plan. And if your choices are AA vs MD, that makes no sense and speaks of ignorance regarding medicine.

Take some time to make an informed decision. You're not there yet.

And I may be old fashioned, but an online degree isn't the same as real college.

Online degrees aren’t looked down upon for a lot of institutions, but I understand people being weary of them. With my current situation, I don’t plan to drop my job and live off student debts while taking my undergrad. That’s technically possible, but it obviously doesn’t seem like a wise choice. Most programs like Physician Assistant, Anesthesiologist Assistant, etc. are fine with online degrees and even online prerequisites. Even the more prestigious universities like Duke.

I can understand why you’d say I seem ignorant, but I’m trying to decide which path to pursue. I love the idea of medicine, especially specializing. AA provides this without having to attend a physical university for my undergrad. I would prefer to become a doctor, but I can’t just do it the normal way, as I’m a non-traditional student.

I’ve shadowed two surgeries (an environment I’d like to operate in) and saw the role of both the Physician Anesthesiologist as well as the Anesthesiologist Assistant and thought it was awesome. Plus the surgeon’s role obviously peaks an interest - but I’m trying to be realistic.

I don’t see how looking at the two as viable options makes me ignorant, but I appreciate your insight nonetheless. I’ll continue to shadow both and see.

My biggest concern was the prerequisites online and with community college. If I’m unable to get into med school because of this, then that’s obviously an issue, which means I shouldn’t pursue the MD route. I don’t want to entertain a pipe dream if it’s impossible for my circumstance. If I’m able to attend undergrad online while working as a surgical technician, finish my prerequisites at a community college, and get accepted into a med school, that’s the ultimate goal. But I don’t know it that ultimate goal is one that feasible to begin with, which is why I’m inquiring.

Thanks for your reply!
 

LizzyM

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Start with the Association of American Medical Colleges website: AAMC for Students, Applicants, and Residents It has a ton of information and it an authoritative source; the Association represents all the MD schools in the country. Take a look at that website's section called "MSAR" and consider buying access as a subscriber ($28/yr) . Considering what it costs to apply to even one medical school, this is money well spent. You'll be able to see which schools will not take online credits or degrees, community college credits for pre-reqs, etc.
 
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Cemetra

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Start with the Association of American Medical Colleges. It has a ton of information and it an authoritative source; the Association represents all the MD schools in the country. Take a look at that website's section called "MSAR" and consider buying access as a subscriber ($28/yr) . Considering what it costs to apply to even one medical school, this is money well spent. You'll be able to see which schools will not take online credits or degrees, community college credits for pre-reqs, etc.

You are awesome. Thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for.
 
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Redpancreas

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I’ve just recently started my undergrad at Arizona State University for Biological Sciences. The only concern is it’s an online degree, but the prerequisite classes that require a lab are on campus. I live in Georgia, so as an example: Organic Chemistry’s lecture portion is taught online. I’ll then fly out to ASU to finish the lab portion. So my labs are still done in person.

From the ASU site: “The same faculty and instructors that teach on the ASU campuses teach ASU Online courses. This means that the rigor and quality of the content, as well as the course load is the same as the on-campus classes.”

They record the lectures from the actual teachers and insist their education is the exact same as in person. I know people who even live in Arizona next to the campus and prefer to do them online since it’s the same, so they do that for convenience versus necessity.
I should also mention some of my prerequisites will be done at a community college close to me. So, if I end up taking a couple prereqs at a CC and don’t get into good med schools because of the online prerequisites being an issue, I’ll just retake them at the CC. I understand this is not a race and I’m willing to do whatever it takes. A year or two of taking extra prereqs won’t deter me from the ultimate goal.
With this being said, I’m 24 and started a little late, but I’m stuck between MD and being an anesthesiologist assistant. I can’t really quit my job and go to school full time. Technically speaking, I could do that and live off loans, but it seems like a horrible idea. Also, AA programs accept online degrees and prerequisites. Med school - some do, some don’t.
Do you think me getting my bachelor’s online from ASU while working as a surgical technician will hurt my chances of getting into med school?
Note: I’m currently attending two colleges simultaneously - one for undergrad (ASU) and a tech school to become a surgical tech. I have a 4.0 at both colleges, plan on volunteering in medical duties as well as research (hopefully) in my free time, have recently started a one-for-one company, and currently work about 60 hours per week WITHOUT counting school. I drive 2 hours round trip to my job (completely unrelated to healthcare for now) and am in the process of switching careers. In total, I’m at about 80 hours per week between transportation, work, and school hours combined. I can’t emphasize enough my seriousness to doing what I strive to achieve and ultimately feel like all these details would make me a pretty strong applicant. At least... Hopefully.

Any advice is appreciated. Good or bad, I appreciate anyone’s insight.

You lost me when you switched gears to talking about tech school, but in terms of online classes/CC classes, you’re best off cold calling these places individually to see what they take. The MSAR is probably reliable enough, but you don’t want to risk something this important that you can easily avoid. Back when MSAR was newer and riddled with mistakes, my friend took an online course and thought it would work out (and it would for many places), but it turns it it wasn’t good for our local state school and MSAR didn’t have this documented. If anything it was probably the school’s fault for likely flip-flopping, but unfortunately they can make the rules, not MSAR.
 

Redpancreas

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Sure, you can be realistic about your options but at the same time, you're saying things like "I'll just retake them at the CC" when referring to prereq classes. This screams ignorance about the entire application process and how difficult it is to get into medical school.

If you really want to go to med school, gather information and do it right the first time. You might need to quit your job, move back home, take classes full time, gain exposure, get EC's in; it's not a walk in the park my friend so make sure you know what you're getting yourself into if you're seriously considering medicine. If you fail to get in, you can still go back and do all that other stuff.

One of the smartest posts I’ve seen on here. This OP.
 

Cemetra

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One of the smartest posts I’ve seen on here. This OP.
One of the smartest posts I’ve seen on here. This OP.

I agree, but I can’t move back home given my current situation. The good news is my house is almost paid off. When I mentioned tech school, that’s for me to get my certification to be a surgical technician. I’m going to two colleges simultaneously right now. I’ll definitely look into the MSAR right now since the cost is low, but I’ll make some calls as well. Ultimately, if I finish my degree in biology but the prerequisites don’t count because they were online and I have to wait another year to apply because I don’t get accepted into any med schools, I could just reapply the next year after retaking my prerequisites. My biggest concern was applying to med school with community college prerequisites in the first place.
 
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