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Question for Accepted Non-Trads from Science Background

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by BluePhoenix, May 2, 2007.

  1. BluePhoenix

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    Ok, I've heard one of the Adcoms answer to the following questions but it seems somewhat ridiculous.

    For non-traditional people who have applied to med school...my question is regarding the prereq's. Here's my situation...I've taken all the coursework that I need however, I'm missing bio lab and orgo lab (unless a neuroscience lab portion would count for bio lab). The adcom said that I would have to take bio and orgo lab regardless of experience in bio and chemistry labs. However, I've just spent the past 4.5 years working in an organic chemistry lab doing organic chemistry and taking orgo lab would essentially be a giant waste of money and time as I've already DONE everything that they teach in orgo lab. I have a PhD in Applied Physics from a project that was basically all biology and chemistry. Has anyone heard of work experience being used to count for lab courses?
     
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  3. spicedmanna

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    I'm sorry to be the one to tell you that medical school prerequisites are just that, prerequisites. Schools are rarely flexible about them. If they say you need lab for biology and organic chemistry, you'd do well to sign up for them at your undergraduate institution and take them just like everybody else, regardless of your real-world experiences. One reason they are adamant about it is that they, the medical schools, need a way to evaluate you and grades in laboratory classes qualify for concrete evaluation in comparison with everyone else that applies. If you are in doubt, contact the schools in which you intend to apply and ask them directly; they are, of course, the final authority on the issue, or any other.

    I held undergraduate fellowships and led studies at the NIH when I was in college, and yet, I also took the same introductory lab classes that every premed did. If I were you, I'd just suck it up and take the classes you are supposed to.

    Good luck.
     
  4. helpfuldoc2b

    helpfuldoc2b Banned
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    Sorry to the OP, you must of worked so hard for that PhD, but it doesnt count for as much as you think. You and the typical 21 year old pre-med student with zero life experience fall in the same boat given similar stats. Yes, its ok to brag with in PS and interviews, but bottom line its all MCAT and UGPA PERIOD, whoever says elsewise doesnt know much about Med School Admissions.
     
  5. Ersatzious

    Ersatzious Mayo MSTP MS1

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    Actually, it is you, "helpful"doc2b, who doesn't know much about medical school admissions. PhDs are very highly regarded and desirable and yes, BluePhoenix, certain prerequisites can be waived. I know this for a fact from a number of friends who have successfully transitioned from the PhD to MD. You will need to double-check with the schools to which you wish to apply, but most will be quite understanding.

    Sorry, spicedmanna, undergraduate fellowships (even NIH) do not equal PhD, in any way, shape or form.

    Good luck, BluePhoenix, as much as some might try and delude themselves, in no way are you on par with the average 21-year old applicant with just the prereqs and a couple summer research experiences under his/her belt.

    PM me if you have any other questions. The "non-traditional" forum is probably not the best place for your question as most here are struggling to transition from a completely unrelated career to medicine, not from hardcore basic science to clinical science. Try the MD/PhD forum.
     
  6. spicedmanna

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    I never said it did. In my reply, I discussed what I believed the attitude of most medical schools would be and what their requirements are. I never said that prerequisites couldn't be waived, but by-in-large, it is not the prevalent practice. I also recommended that if the OP was in doubt, he should contact the medical schools directly; they are the final authority on the issue. And that is exactly what the OP should do, for a definitive answer. Anecdotal evidence isn't reliable, one way or another. I did recommend that the OP take the lab classes, if I were he; perhaps it would have been better for me to have left that out, since it's essentially irrelevant what I would do.

    Excuse my audacity, but there are people who contribute to this particular forum who have doctorates in the basic sciences. One example that comes to mind is, QofQuimica. Another individual who contributes often is Relentless, who is also very knowledgeable, it seems, about these matters. Also, while it is inaccurate to equate a person with a PhD with someone who hasn't even earned their undergraduate degree, many people have cited, including real adcoms who contribute to these forums, that their value is limited, mainly because graduate degrees are intangibles when it comes to the admissions process; many, but not all, adcoms treat them like good extracurricular activities. Please note that I am repeating what I have often read on these forums, it may not be accurate and I'm not an adcom. If you are in question of this, you can contact known adcoms and mentors that frequent SDN for a more definite answer. However, it is my understanding that MCAT score and UGPA are often used in initial screening for medical school admissions, regardless of an individual's other experiences or degrees. Anyway, this is a sidetrack from the OP's post.

    Coming back to topic, if you look at the OP's original post, his first line is: "Ok, I've heard one of the Adcoms [sic] answer to the following questions but it seems somewhat ridiculous." The bold emphasis is mine.
     
  7. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS

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    I had a similar (albeit not as impressive) background. My strategy - I indicated on the application that I would take one of the classes (gen chem) in a future semester. I applied, interviewed, and once accepted, requested that this one pre-req be waived. It was waived, I matriculated, and the rest is history. I did leave time though in case it was not waived to just crank it out at a community college though.

    There are always exceptions to every rule.
     
  8. helpfuldoc2b

    helpfuldoc2b Banned
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    Chill, I never said it doesnt help, it just not worth the years spent in it and doesnt mean an automatic admissions, plenty of PhDs that got rejected over undergrad student applications, dont believe me, ask the Admissions committee at whatever school you are applying to. And NO VERY VERY IF ANY school will waive pre-reqs, since Ersatzious knows it all with his/her 55 posts and less than a year experience on this forum, let him/her give exact stats, exact info which schools WAIVED pre-reqs, and such. I love that know it alls that just give general info with NO SPECIFIC info to back it up!
     
  9. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion

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    If during the admissions process, you make a point of how you shouldn't have to jump through the traditional o-chem and bio lab hoops, the point you actually make is that you're trouble. (See the ten million posts elsewhere about how shocked people are when they don't do well in interviews even though they just KNEW they'd get admitted. Starts with an A, 8 letters, rhymes with schmerrogant.) Alternatively, find schools that don't have the lab requirement (there are some, find an MSAR). Or, apply and interview without the labs, and if you get admitted, then raise the issue.

    If I've learned anything from being a nontrad postbac premed, it's that nobody in the faculty or administration wants to hear anything about how special I am. If and when somebody wants to know if I'm special, they'll ask for info on the particular way they need me to be special for them to think I'm special.

    My impressive-elsewhere engineering background and 20+ years in the real world hasn't meant squat.

    The way I understand this med school application process is that I need to demonstrate my ability to jump through traditional hoops, and jump through them very, very well. Nobody cares how well I can jump through imaginary hoops, hoops on fire, microscopic hoops, Bolyai-Lobachevskian hoops, or any other hoops, until and unless I've demonstrated traditional hoop-jumping prowess.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  10. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing

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    Ok Dr. Ersatzious. We get it. Science phd's are all [email protected] mf's. The thing is being a physician and being a phd are in most cases quite different unless your goal is research oriented.

    There's no doubt that an a rigorous science phd is an amazing accomplishment. Of course, i don't think anyone meant to indicate the contrary. I'm not so sure that it vaults you ahead of the competition however. The most immediate hard and fast ways to evaluate all applicants from all backgrounds still applies. From there as the committees move out to look at the rest of the individual applications I'm sure the op's and any other science phd's experiences would be a valuable asset.

    I don't see the issue though because as some have indicated the op should just apply as normal and negotiate from there. Once you have the acceptance the school will indicate whether you will need to take a lab course over the summer to matriculate or what have you. At that point the redundant coursework will likely not bother him/her too much.
     
  11. Tired Pigeon

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    Some of your statements may be correct, but it's hard to listen to anyone who comes off so arrogant, rude, and condescending. What's your problem?
     
  12. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing

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    Indeed. These individuals are not understanding the point of prereqs. They are not to teach specifically the material for all time. Most docs have long since forgotten the specifics of these courses. The point is to have a standardized means to measure all of us as one group--premeds.

    The fact that you could do organic chemistry in your sleep is great, but its not the best tool for measuring you against someone else who maybe was a concert violinist--also an amazing accomplishment.

    That aside I'd bet nobody would even mention the missing labs looking at this individual's application. But what do I know?
     
  13. Ersatzious

    Ersatzious Mayo MSTP MS1

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    Also known as the MCAT.
     
  14. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing

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    And the Undergrad gpa. Face the facts. Both are more or less equal. What's not equal and also highly variable is all the other measures that they must use to compare us all. Like the nature of graduate course work for example--highly variable and difficult to measure. That's why in that world the reputation of your lab and your PI and your program are more important than for a medical grad--which qualifies one to practice sight unseen anywhere in the states after transfer of license.

    Are you a phd from Berkely who studied with a nobel laureate or something like that? That's what your attitude would seem to portray. And of course big academic ding dong carries weight. But at the level of my school--working class state school--they just check to see if you have a strong pulse before admitting you to grad school. So that's why it not the equivalent of having stellar undergrad/MCAT credentials.
     
  15. helpfuldoc2b

    helpfuldoc2b Banned
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    Ersatzious, give it up, your just making yourself look like an arrogant fool wth no sense of reality, more than enough people posted from there experience what adcoms consider as strong points, just like the previous poster listed, he has an engineering degree, with 20 years of experience and it meant jack to the adcoms, get over your complex and get into the game before you get shut off by the game and learn the consequences to your arragance the long hard way, with rejections all through your applications...
     
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  17. Ersatzious

    Ersatzious Mayo MSTP MS1

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    I had nothing but success throughout my applications, nice try :laugh:

    Funny that someone who has not even come close to applying considers himself such an expert at medical school admissions.
     
  18. BluePhoenix

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    Woah! Didn't mean to start a war here, I was just looking for a little information.

    Thank you Flopotomist, your post was very helpful and more what I was looking for.

    I think the rest of you lot need to ease up off Ersatzious back a bit. It was you that first came off as very combative and rude. As no one here really knows who anyone else is, I'd be wary of attacking anyone on these boards or questioning their information if it's regarding something that you personally haven't had any experience with.

    I imagine that med schools probably don't advertise allowing people to waive a prereq, but that it does happen. Yes, prereq have a purpose, though I'd imagine that it's more for background information that they feel is neccessary to fully understand things to come and to get a feel for being in a lab than as a standard to compare people to each other...otherwise the BCPM wouldn't include all your other science classes as well.

    I also believe that a PhD in science has a bit more weight that you believe. No, I'm not saying it's a guarentee that you'll be admitted but it does prove that you can handle the material and that you have a strong background in science. You seem very bitter about it for some reason and downright vicious in your attacks of Ersaztious who was just trying to point out things she thought were different from what you'd stated. Rather than just saying no, you felt the need to basically say it was worthless, I'm going to assume that you've never done one in basic science. You'll notice I asked for people who had graduate work and then were accepted into med school, I wanted to know how THEY dealt with it...not what someone who had a completely unrelated background and has never dealt with the situation believes should be true.

    I've come to agree with Ersatzious though, the nontraditional forum appears to be filled with jilted, bitter premeds who are more interested in attacking people and shooting people down than actually discussing things. I'll seek a different forum in the future.
     
  19. spicedmanna

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    I'm sorry you feel that way, and your point of view about us is certainly one way to see things, but it is not the way I see it. I think that we don't sugar-coat things here, but we are actually a very heartful bunch, the lot of us; our intention is good. Many of us have overcome great obstacles to get to where we are now. My experience is that we rarely attack people and shoot them down for the sake of doing so, as you suggest. If you want to see what that really looks like, I suggest taking a peak at the pre-allo forum. People actually gravitate toward the non-trad forum for clear, direct feedback and for a reality check, without the crap. Oh well, I won't continue on this track, because what you think is what you think. My only suggestion is that it would be beneficial to keep an open mind and not develop generalizations so quickly.

    FWIW, Ersatzious' post seemed a tad abrasive and defensive to me. I'm sure my response reflected my anger about that. I could have handled that better. For instance, I believe the most optimal response would have been to realize that I was angry and then just deal with that on my own, instead of allowing it leak out into the forum. I apologize for that and commit to owning my anger.

    BTW, there was some confusion, at least to me, on who you were asking for feedback from. Your title seems to invite "accepted non-trads from a science background," which is a category that I fall into, and the body of your post invites "non-traditional people who have applied to med school," also a category I belong in. I didn't realize until later you were specifically wanting feedback from PhD's in the basic sciences. Mea Culpa. I sometimes get ahead of myself.

    Anyway, I wish you every luck in your process.
     
  20. lilnoelle

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    I'd say the opposite. Very rarely is the non-trad forum abrasive. The only time I've seen it as such was when a certain 36 year old father of 11 children was wanting to go to med school and work 20 hours a week while doing it.

    But we don't like to be attacked either and this topic has come up more than once - we give the knowledge that we have (which is likely incomplete) and thats all we can do.

    As has been said, the best you can do is contact the schools you are applying to and see if they will wave the pre-reqs. I like Flopotomists idea as well.
     
  21. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing

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    Great. The science weanie lounge is down the hall on your left. Don't let the nontrad door hit you sanctimonious behinds on the way out.

    Oh dear...I'm sorry. Was I being abrasive?


    :laugh:
     
  22. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Let's stay on topic here folks. We can be professional and offer advice/opinions and disagree with said advice/opinions without being disagreeable. The OP had a question and folks attempted to offer answers. Other than that, that's the best we can do. Let's stay cordial and professional.
     
  23. dingorock

    dingorock New Member

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    No, but you're coming off as a bit of an a**. Honestly, if you don't have anything useful to contribute to a thread, why keep posting just to have an argument with people on the thread about who's being a jerk? The OP wanted advice, you don't know the answer, why post? Some of the attitudes presented towards people in the sciences in this forum are rather disturbing coming from supposed premeds.
     
  24. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing

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    Fair enough. Nothing against scientists here. Just arrogance.
     
  25. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    You should check with each individual school where you want to apply before you apply there. It *is* possible to get waivers to requirements sometimes, but some schools will refuse to budge. In my case, I got several schools to waive their requirement that the pre-reqs be taken within the past seven years or to be taken for grades. (I took all of my pre-reqs P/F.) Several were also willing to let me subsitute an employee LOR for a nonscience prof LOR. But if you call any school and they say they won't waive the pre-reqs, don't waste your time and money applying there. One school told me flat out that I'd probably be rejected, and I thanked them and crossed them off my list.
     

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