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Professional School Change

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by VC1, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. VC1

    VC1

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    Alright, this is another "Did I screw myself over" thread, but my situation seems to be different than the others I looked at. So here's my story.

    I already have a BA in Letters, and I'm currently attending law school as a 1L. After finals this semester, I don't plan on going back. It's just not right for me. However, I am interested in going with my original plan to attempt medical school. All I have left are a few pre-req's before I can take the MCAT.

    What I'm wondering is this: does anyone know whether or not medical schools will be very interested in law school records? There's nothing bad, and my grades have been fine. The only problem is that I'm going through a separation right now, and studying has been quite difficult. My grades may suffer this semester. So basically, if I were to not do very well this semester, "did I screw myself over"?

    I plan on contacting the schools I'm interested in, as well as where I plan on taking the pre-req's, just to see what they think. But I'm disinclined to let anyone tell me I can't do it. Thanks for any replies in advance!

    V
     
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  3. helpfuldoc2b

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    Then why did you go if its not for you, just finish it out. It be a good back up plan and you seem indecessive. 1L is not like the rest of law school I hear, something must of drove you to take the LSAT, but all that money on applying and attending, so just finish it up if you can mentally.
     
  4. Tired Pigeon

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    Disagree with above - if you know it's not for you, definitely don't spend 2 more years (and $$$$) on it.

    As to whether you've screwed yourself over, if your academic record is generally good but you have an isolated bad semester due to personal reasons, you can usually explain this in the application process. I recall that there's a spot on AMCAS where they ask if you have anything else to add - this would be appropriate there.

    A bigger obstacle for you will be explaining why you're making such a radical departure from your current path. Your PS is going to be super important in addressing this.

    Good luck to you.
     
  5. Law2Doc

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    Agree with this. Med schools will look at all your academics, including your law school transcript, but that will be weighted significantly less than your undergrad and postbac track record. However med schools like to accept people they think will actually finish, rather than deciding in a year that they made a mistake. So your departure from law school after a year will create a huge red flag for most places. Might be surmountable, but there better be a really good reason. And pretty extensive shadowing and other things to let the school know you really thought this through.

    There are people out there who like to dabble and med schools work hard to screen them out. There is a concern that you weren't well thought out when you went through the process of selecting law, and now may not be much clearer when selecting medicine. If someone starts med school and doesn't finish, the school fails in its basic mission. (It's different than law, where schools regularly crank out people who never practice). For this reason, someone who finishes law school and works for a while will have an easier time than someone who finishes law school and never practices, who in turn will have an easier time than someone who starts but never finishes. While I agree with Tired Pigeon that it's probably not worth it to spend money on two more years of law school if you dislike it, it does create a much harder road. Good luck.
     
  6. VC1

    VC1

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    I'm not interested in finishing law school even if I don't attempt med school. It's not a path I'm interested in whatsoever, and it's the only debt I have. I decided to try law school at the last minute. I took the LSAT late, applied late, but apparently got a high enough score that the school I wanted into let me in. With a 3 yr. program for a professional degree, I thought it might be the better road because I was married and my wife wasn't sure about medical school's time-length requirements.

    Now, without the marriage, and knowing that law school is not my interest, I'm headed towards my initial goal. Plus, with tiered pre-req.'s, I'm still looking at about two years of light school schedules to be MCAT ready. Put that all in after two more years of law school, $100k in debt... The debt's not so bad this semester, so I'm just cutting the losses (no actual loss, I've learned a lot; not to mention pre-req's should be a bit easier with my newly earned study-habits).

    Thanks for the comments. Any input is greatly appreciated!
     
  7. VC1

    VC1

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    After thinking through the advice I have received, I'd like to ask a follow-up question.

    If medical school is what I really want, then finishing law school, just because I started it, may be the best route to get there. And if that makes my application process easier, and medicine is something I really want, then it may be worth it.

    How much weight does anyone see law school having (finished or unfinished)? There is another question as well. I'm going through a separation at the moment (I think I posted this up top?). Will a medical school look at the situation differently if I leave because I don't do well this semester (due to the stress of the marriage situation), than if I left for personal preference?

    Any more comments are appreciated, and I appreciate what has been given to me so far.
     
  8. helpfuldoc2b

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  9. helpfuldoc2b

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    I am not sure how much you want to do medical school, like many will advise you here, DONT do it unless you're close to 100% sure as you can get that it is what you want to do. Med school requires 100% commitment both time and financial. It seems like you're confused and easily swayed. I mean you did med school because of your wife, now your not married anymore and you decided on med school once again, as if it is your rebound wife. Make sure it is what you really want to do, even if you have to go to career services and take one of those pychological exams, eventhough it shouldnt be that hard if you really want it, but again, you seem confused about life at this stage, i say volunteer, get some medical experience and input, then make your decision. You dont want to spend all that lost income, money to pay to med school, money and time to get into med school, just to decide after finals it isnt what you thought and dont feel it is right for you!
    PS
    What about law do you know now that you did not know before made you feel it wasnt for you. You only had one semester of it, and really did not get any life experience, plus law school is relatively easy compared to med school, so i hope if you drop out you do it gracefully on top, i say finish the year off, take a year leave of absence, during which you volunteer, take pre-requs, get clinical exposure, etc... That way if you're indecessive again and feel like med school isnt for you, you have something else to drop on.
     
  10. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    You know, one of my bigger regrets in life is that I didn't drop out of law school after my first year. Luckily, it didn't cost my much extra money, but those next two years were a complete waste of time. Law school is for training lawyers -- if you don't want to be a lawyer, you're not going to gain much from being there. Now if you only had a year left, it'd be different, but completing 2 extra years of law school just to not look like a quitter isn't worth it.

    As for what med schools will think, I don't think it's going to be a complete obstacle. There was actually a poster here a while ago who had dropped out of law school in the first year and then gained admission to a US allopathic school. The main thing you need to focus on is your story and assuring schools that you're not just jumping from one endeavor to the next. Consequently, I'd suggest taking some time between leaving law school and applying to medical school. Maybe work and volunteer for a year before starting to take postbacc classes.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!

    Editing to answer your question about the value of a law degree. IMO, a law degree by itself won't look much better than one year of law school. To get the maximum advantage of the degree, you have to pass the bar and work as a lawyer for a few years. One year of law school or a law degree with no legal work both make you look flighty. So I'd say cut your losses now and work on convincing adcoms of your dedication in other ways.
     
  11. Law2Doc

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    While I agree with you that having worked helps most, it certainly bodes better for demonstrating your ability to make it through med school if you have already made it through another professional school, and throws up red flags if you start things and don't finish them. May not be a big enough issue that it's worth OP pushing on, but it is an issue worth considering, I think.

    At any rate, the OP is going to need to come up with a better back story than "I went to law school because of my wife, and now that I'm separated I want to go to med school". A lengthy period of time shadowing and volunteering so that OP can demonstrate having really thought this through would be a good idea.
     
  12. Tired Pigeon

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    Finishing law school is not worth a lot if you're not going to take the bar & actually practice. Agree with the above posters who recommend taking at least a year to do heavy volunteering & shadowing; this will enable you to have a better answer to "why medicine"? All applicants face this question, of course, but for you I think it could really be the make or break element to your application.
     
  13. PizzaButt

    PizzaButt New Member
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    I'd like to add some thoughts to this thread.

    I have a JD and highly regret going to law school. My law degree has slammed so many doors shut for me. My JD was a huge issue in the application process. I was told by my pre-med advisors, etc. that med schools would not like seeing that I had the JD but never practiced law. They told me I would seem flighty, and like a professional student, and like I didn't know what I want. Perhaps this was part of what kept me from getting any interviews when I applied, though I imagine my low MCAT score had a lot to do with it. I did a post-bacc after law school, took the MCAT and applied. I did not get any interviews anywhere, and I only applied to schools with the lowest entrance standards.

    Anyhow, the point is that I don't think med schools like seeing someone with a law degree who never practiced law. It's a different story if you practiced law for a few years and then wanted to change careers. But I would imagine that they would probably see one year of law school as nearly the same as my situation (having finished law school but never practicing). I wouldn't imagine they would penalize you for realizing that medicine is what you really want and dropping out after or during your first year.

    Like you, I had no interest in the law when I went to law school. For me, I went because of parental pressure and because as a 22 year-old-college senior I had no direction otherwise. But I realized my first year that I had no interest in it, but decided to finish up the degree anyway.

    Whatever you decide to do, I think it's very important to have real-world work experience in the medical field before you apply to med school.
     
  14. VC1

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    I typed a reply, it kicked me out, and erased it :) I see how you guys roll around here.

    I wanted to thank everyone for the helpful replies. I'm glad I asked my questions here.

    Being willing to finish law school in order to get a better chance at med. school doesn't strike me as "flighty", but you're entitled to an opinion. And being married at 19, working full-time hard labor jobs + side jobs, supporting both my wife and I as full-time students, and then taking a possible "easier" break (law school) as an option for more family-friendly goals doesn't strike me that way either.

    I gave up my hopes in order to support a family and provide, which is a pretty strong desire for most men. Now I'm separated with no children and no interest in taking the bar (never had one, I just hoped there were jobs out there that JD alone would get me before I finished my pre-req's for med). So it seems like my obstacles are out of my way, and I can proceed onward with my initial goals :)

    Of course I'll have to polish that story, but it doesn't sound flighty to me in its raw form.

    I'm looking at about two years to sort things out, which is plenty of time. I can do some reflection and get some work in the field.

    Once again, I appreciate the replies so far. Keep them coming if you have anything else to say, even the more probing and intention-assaulting ones :D
     
  15. VC1

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    Pizza, also would you mind elaborating on what has held you back? Was law school a really big problem or were the more factors? I saw you listed a low MCAT... do you know why your MCAT was low? Any other factors I could be aware of?

    Thanks!
     
  16. PizzaButt

    PizzaButt New Member
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    Do you mean what held me back from getting in anywhere--or why have I been held back in general from making any sort of decision since my med school rejections and moving forward? I'll address both.

    I completed a post-bacc, took the MCAT, and applied. I did not get any interviews. Thinking it was my MCAT, I re-took, but barely did better (25, then 26). I took Kaplan both times, but clearly there is something about the MCAT that I don't get. I think what it is is that although I did excellent in my post-bacc, I don't have that fundamental scientific problem-solving ability, and when faced with new situations on the MCAT, I don't know what to do. Personally, I think this means I do not have the right level of scientific acumen. I'm good at memorizing, but not good at problem-solving. Can I figure out how to be a better problem-solver in time to do great on a third MCAT? I really don't know.

    So after I got my round of med school rejections (3 years ago), I was crushed. But I decided to dust off the MCAT review books and try it again, studying even harder. After I got this MCAT score I was even more crushed. At that point I decided to look elsewhere career-wise because I did not have the motivation to study for the MCAT a third time, and since I applied only to the schools with the lowest scores/GPA averages, etc. I figured I didn't have a chance of getting in anywhere. So I did a variety of jobs/careers for awhile, and then for the past year have really been soul-searching. I got a job back in the hospital, and absolutey love it. But I've been looking into other careers in healthcare that are easier to get into. But my passion for medicine is still there. Thus I feel stuck. Also, I have not been able to get the jobs I want with my JD, because I keep being told I'm "overqualified" or in some cases "underqualified." As a result for awhile I was working in retail.
     
  17. lulubell

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    I'm just going to respond by saying that I don't think a law degree in and of itself would preclude you from gaining entrance to an allopathic medical school, even if you've never practiced law, as long as your other stats are in order. I know of several personal acquaintances as well as posters on SDN that jumped directly from another professional program (pharmacy, dentistry, etc.) straight to medical school without ever having practiced in their field of study. I'm attempting to go through that same process myself (pharmacy to medicine) and have spoken with people that have accomplished just that, and they've all mentioned that you must be able to thoroughly explain yourself thoroughly and convincingly in your personal statement. That combined with solid shadowing and clinical volunteer experiences, applying broadly, as well as a strong GPA/MCAT score should be more than enough to get your foot in the door with at least an interview.

    I think that it was more your low MCAT score and the fact that you didn't apply broadly enough that really held you back. You mentioned that you only applied to schools with the lowest entrance statistics -- but you forget that people use those same schools as backup schools.. you're going to be competing with the highest #'s that way. There's a thread in the pre-allo forum that lists the schools with the highest number of applicants -- schools like Drexel and GWU top the list and get over 10,000 applications a year.

    To the OP, I made the personal decision to finish what I started and get my Pharm.D. degree before matriculating into medical school. I don't see anything wrong with having a back-up and pharmacy in and of itself isn't a bad profession. I just want to do medicine a lot more. Whether you decide to finish law school or not is up to you, but I don't think that you would be seriously held back either way - whether you finish or not - as long as every other part of your application is as strong as you can make it. Remember that schools look at numbers first and foremost -- your GPA and your MCAT -- get those scores as high as you can get them, get good clinical experiences, etc. and I think you've got a shot.
     
  18. PizzaButt

    PizzaButt New Member
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    Just curious, how did you and others who jumped from one program to medicine (like I did) explain your motivations in your personal statement? My pre-med advisors told me I did a good job of this, but I feel that if I re-apply now I may need to take a different approach. For me, I realized that healthcare is my passion in law school--and not law.
     
  19. spicedmanna

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    I really think you should get a new advisor; after all, he/she didn't try to stop you from applying twice when your MCAT score wasn't really up to par for allopathic medical schools. That's akin to setting you up for failure. Based on that, your outcome isn't really all that surprising. Even though it's not impossible, it's highly improbable that you'd get an interview and get in with a 25/26 MCAT, especially with a 7 in PS. The average MCAT for an allopathic matriculant, as I'm sure you know, is about 30. The reason, I suspect, that you didn't receive any interviews is mainly because of your MCAT score. In allopathic admissions, the two most important factors are your MCAT score and your UGPA.

    Anyway, as I mentioned in the other thread, I'd recommend retaking your MCAT, but not until you are comfortably averaging 30+ on practice tests. I think it probably wouldn't be worth your time and effort otherwise. I used Kaplan, too, and while I think they are good for motivation, which I definitely benefitted from, I don't think they really helped me a whole lot for the actual MCAT, particularly with the PS and VR sections. I was actually shocked when I took the actual test, since it ended up being a lot less knowledge-based and more about analysis. The actual format was somewhat different than what I had expected. Kaplan's VR isn't anything like the real MCAT VR section and it's PS section is a lot more calculation-based than the real test, which seemed more concept and analysis-based. I highly recommend buying and taking all of the AAMC practice tests under real conditions, doing all of Kaplan's Qbank questions, and going into Kaplan's test center and doing all of the AAMC additional problems. Basically, you can't do enough problems and can't be exposed to the AAMC testing style enough. Talk to some of the folks in the SDN MCAT forum; there are some real crack-shots there. Fortunately, as others might have already alluded to, the PS section is the easiest to improve.

    I alluded to this in the other thread, too, but have you considered applying to osteopathic medical schools? Your current MCAT score is actually competitive for some DO schools. While, it's best to score as well as you can, even for application to DO schools, I think if you can get your MCAT to about 28+ and applied early and broadly enough, you'd actually get quite a few knocks at your door from osteopathic medical schools; heck, you'd probably get your pick of school to attend. If you simply stayed at 26, you'd still have a good shot at DO schools, you just might not have as many options. Just something to keep in mind.

    Good luck, no matter what you choose.
     
  20. Doctor Bagel

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    I don't know how good of a job I did of it, but I was just honest. My story is a little different in that I didn't decide on medical school while in law school -- all I knew in law school was that I was miserable and that I didn't want to be a lawyer. I think as long as you're honest, positive and provide a thorough explanation, you'll do what you need to do in your PS.
     
  21. helpfuldoc2b

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    Sorry for being over-frank, but i dont think your JD had anything to do with your rejections as the 25 MCAT did, if you would of had 30+ given a 3.5 GPA i am sure you would of been accepted regardless of your JD. There are always DO schools to consider with your GPA. And just out of curiousity, why retail? You have a JD, couldnt you use it to teach? To work in academics, administration whether healthcare policy or other types of similar work, there are many ways of using your JD, i think you slammed the doors yourself, many will dream of having the "tools" for success, it is up to the individual to use the tools they have. Having a JD doesnt mean everyone is going to come knocking on your door begging you to work for them, it is about hustling your own life, obviously doesnt seem like you hustled enough. Life is not easy and things dont come to you, you have to seek them 100%
     
  22. helpfuldoc2b

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    You also applied to a DO school which I am sure if the OP of this specific sub-topic did they would of gained admissions as well.
     

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