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Questions about undergrad, family situation etc

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by DrDreams, Aug 8, 2011.

?

What should i do?

Poll closed Aug 18, 2011.
  1. Go to UIUC, better school, more prestige

    2 vote(s)
    12.5%
  2. Stay at SIUC, well adjusted, just keep doing well.

    14 vote(s)
    87.5%
  1. DrDreams

    DrDreams Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise
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    hello,

    I have recently joined this pre-med forum, although I've been lurking here quite a while. Id like to give you some background about me.

    I am 23 years old, am a cancer survivor of a rare cancer here in the states, and have been married for 1.5 years and about to have my first child, (a daughter).

    I was employed with a well off fortune 500 company and had put my MD goal on the side for a few years, but have always wanted to be a doctor since the age of 9. Not because my parents wanted me to, but because i have always been fascinated with science and medicine.

    Anyway, today i am posting because i want to know what i should do, currently, i attend Southern Illinois University (i know, not the best school) for an undergrad in Chem. I chose SIU because i had to make a responsible choice when it comes to my family as well, we were getting the right amount of financial aid, found an apartment etc all within the right price range.

    The school is great when it comes to the academics, teachers are very accommodating, understanding, and they listen. I was able to discuss concepts with my chemistry professors all semester long, they were very nice and understanding in helping me clear any issues.

    Financially, last year i made a lot of money, to have an efc of about 5k, but this year, i have no job, SIUC was kind enough to listen to my appeal and bring me back to an EFC of 0. It made going to school a lot easier, so you can see there is a type of loyalty here to SIU.

    However, i am a Straight A student here at SIU, but i was thinking about University of Illinois Urbana Champaign because 1) there ranked 47 in the country VS sit @ 183. Also, prestige. They have a massive medical school, and so i was thinking which school better than the one with the biggest medical school?

    However, i am afraid, what if i go there and my grades slip? i will have to do federal work study there VS at sit i don't. The cost difference between the 2 universities in 10k. I spoke to UIUC financial aid and they said my aid would be met, whether it'd be through loans or scholarships. Currently i have a 3.2 GPA, i did really bad spring semester because the professor had no office hours and there was no help available.

    I am really debating on whether i should transfer to UIUC or not? I was thinking possibly coming to SIU and taking my entire situation into account would show responsibility to Med School, or it could show underachievement?

    I am honestly quite lost, so i hope someone can help me out here.

    I also wanted to know, do married students have higher chances of getting in especially if they maintain a good GPA, have volunteer hours, and do pretty well on the MCATS?

    I know thats quite a bit of info, but your help is greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. nysw

    5+ Year Member

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    I think you should see what UIUC offers you in terms of aid. If you think you can manage to do work study and balance your personal life, ECs, studying for MCAT and everything, go ahead.
    If you're worried about prestige though, I don't think the ranking of your undergrad matters. If you like your campus and it's convenient, etc. then stay there. I don't think it shows underachievement at all - my school was unranked until last year or so, but a lot of our graduates have gone on to good medical schools.
     
  4. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking
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    Your institution won't hold you back. Some schools might have better opportunities than others, but you can get into medical school from virtually any undergrad if you put forth enough effort. I would go to the school that puts yourself and your family in the best financial and personal situations possible.
     
  5. ozzi22

    ozzi22 it's over 9000
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    Welcome to SDN,
    Regarding your situation, i think you should go to were ever you feel most comfortable at. med schools don't care what university you're coming from, all that matters are your grades. since you obviously enjoy it at SIU, i say you should stay and complete your degree there and then apply to med school. there is no need to transfer to another university because they are ranked higher than the current one you attend. just do well in your claases, understand them enough to do well on the mcat and build come Ec's under your belt. do all this and you'll be fine.:luck:
     
  6. MrBananaGrabber

    MrBananaGrabber No Touching!

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    I wouldnt worry so much about prestige, go wherever you think you have the best chance of succeeding.
     
  7. DrDreams

    DrDreams Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise
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    Thank you guys for the input.

    I deffinately think i am more comfortable at siu, just because of the fact that all the facilities are available to me, I've formed relationships with my professors, I've formed relationships in the hospital etc. Thats why it just feels so right here, because despite all that I've been through, it feels like SIU is still there to help me succeed.

    But please more input would be great. I really know my chemistry inside out, the only thing I'm worried about is not using a calculator, i forgot all about logs and natural logs.

    Also, my physics is calculus based, will i be OK on the mcat?
     
  8. TheMightySmiter

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    I would stay at SIU if you are more comfortable there. You're about to have a kid! I would keep everything else in your life as stable as possible. :D (Congratulations, btw!) It doesn't matter that it's "lower prestige" as long as you can keep your grades up. I don't think there's any real advantage for married students in the med school admissions process, but you can certainly put a positive angle on your life experience.

    For the MCAT, calc-based physics is fine. In my opinion it's more helpful than algebra-based physics. Don't worry about the lack of calculator, you will have to do very little basic math. The only logs you'll do in chemistry are pH and pKa conversions, and any decent prep book will give you good tips you can memorize on estimating those quickly.

    You will have to do better than a 3.2 to have a decent shot at med school. It sucks that your professor didn't have office hours, but you can't use that as an excuse for low grades. Especially once your baby is born, you're going to have to work really hard to keep your grades up--you're going to be busy!

    Best of luck to you. :)
     
  9. how are you a straight A student with a 3.2 gpa?

    I'd say stick with your school and continue those good relationships since letters of recommendation are relatively important. Calc-based physics is too advanced for the MCAT, you don't even need to solve things out directly, it's much more time efficient to estimate the answer. Like everyone has been saying, your school doesn't bear much attention, it's who you are and what you've done that will get you the acceptances.
     
  10. metallica81788

    metallica81788 Keeper of the Llamaworm
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    Stay at your school - your life seems kind of transitional right now (or at least lately) and you are probably better off staying put. You sound like you really enjoy it. SDN makes way too big a deal of "prestige" so you should stay where you're happy instead of turning your life upside down at such an important time.
     
  11. ponyo

    ponyo 人魚姫
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    I agree on the GPA... It sounds like staying where you are will allow you to focus on academics, which should be your #1 priority with respect to being pre-med.

    Also did no one else notice that OP is a cancer survivor..? :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

    Oh and I personally think calc-based physics is better for the MCAT, not because it directly prepares you for memorising equations, but because it'll give you a more in-depth grasp of the concepts for the more advanced problems.
     
  12. liveoak

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    what is wrong with you? you really think the school you attend isn't the best school? :rolleyes: have some pride in the school you attend.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. 410322

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    Institutional pride is dumb.
     
  14. DrDreams

    DrDreams Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise
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    I was a straight A student, then the semester i was diagnosed, things went quick, grades slipped etc, and then i thought i would be able to pull through during chemo and radiation, and that didn't work out well.

    Last semester, for Chem 2, i had a HORRIBLE teacher, i read the book many times, attended tutoring sessions etc but my teacher didn't have time to answer my questions and even spoke to the department chair how my teacher would blow off my appointments for Chem. Anyway, retook it this semester, and it was like a brand new course, did amazingly well, was ranked in top 5% of the class. earned a 97%. Also had issues with chemo brain, i finally worked up the courage to go see a psychiatrist because of constant inabilities to focus and this HUGE sensation of helplessness and anxiety. After meeting with her for a few weeks, and really talking about the steps taken since i started noticing cognitive decline i started medication, hesitant, but confident.

    I felt like i was in good hands since the psychiatrist took into account that i was radiated sinuses down, she said, i don't know what effect radiation has had on your brain, so i want to take it slow, and only give you something that has had long term research. So because of that, I'm like 70% at cognitive ability of where i used to be, that day that i realized that i was me again was probably one of the best days of my life. It is really hard to go on with impaired cognitive function, especially if you were super smart before that.

    I really do enjoy it here at SIU, i feel really good because i feel like my professors have helped me tremendously by openly discussing thoughts and ideas with me. In fact, the professor actually had to change a couple questions on 2 exams because i caught logical mistakes in his questions and he changed them on the exams. I really liked that my professors were that open with me.

    Thanks for the thumbs up :)

    I am glad, whatever i can do to prep myself for medschool, its no joke getting in.

    One of my good friends friend, who i know, has a 37 on the MCAT and 4.0 GPA from University of Chicago, and he got rejected, since I've heard that, it has made me much more nervous.

    I have a lot of pride in SIU, the only reason i said that was based on a comparison between UIC UIUC and SIUC. But my pride isn't baseless, I'm just grateful that SIU was there to meet my needs, they changed my EFC from 5kish to 0, because i lost my job etc and support a family. Northern didn't do the same for me, i had applied to both.

    I mean, you tell me? SIU VS University of Chicago, University of illinois, and university of illinois at chicago as well as northwestern university?

    I would have gone to UIC but their family housing was absolutely ludacris, 1495 for a 1 bedroom.
    But so far, I'm really happy at SIUC, i don't think any other school would have been able to give me this opportunity whilst being under such little financial stress. Other schools expected me to come up with something, but not SIU.


    Thank you all, man you guys are amazingly helpful. I am glad i reached out and talked to you guys about this before i jumped the gun and transferred to U of I.

    What do you guys think about reading? I have a fellow classmate who is in the MedPrep post bacc program here at SIUC, and she was telling me its important to read books and stuff, any books you guys recommend? Also

    I know I'm a bit ashamed of this, but i actually officially haven't started volunteering, just started to get to know staff at the hospital. I still have 3 years at siu, (i am sophomore, but transferred in as a junior and took classes that didn't transfer, thus reduced to sophomore) its not going to look bad that i didn't volunteer is it?

    Also, what do you guys do when you need help for your coursework and theres no resources available at school?
     
  15. DrDreams

    DrDreams Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise
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    Thanks for the advice and luck. I know i can't use bad professors as a bad grade, and i know it will be tough, but thank God my wife and mom have a plan to help me out when the baby is going to cry all night. Also, thanks for the congrats. :) I will be looking at getting some books soon. I will deff keep all you guys posted.
     

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