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Questions from a Chem-Eng looking into pre-med...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ToledoPike, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. ToledoPike

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    Hey everyone,

    First off, I must say that over the past week or so I have been looking at these forums and they have provided a great amount of insight for me on pre-med and just a career in medicine in general and have helped clear my mind of a lot of different thoughts. With that said, I will get started with my question with a little background on me:

    I am a 4th year Chemical Engineering major at the University of Toledo with a minor in chemistry and a 3.96 GPA. I also have work experience in this field with co-operative experiences at a large chemical engineering company over the summers that treats me very well. Aside from this, I am extremely involved on campus being President of the largest fraternity on campus for the 2nd time, being a director of the largest philanthropy on campus (dance marathon), and also being involved in many other great organizations and taking leadership roles.

    Now, although that may have seemed like bragging please do not take it in that way. My life is great, but over the past year I have had my doubts about my future career. After starting at my company I quickly realized that chemical engineering is not the career path for myself and not something that I could envision doing for my entire life. There has always been a thought in my mind though about medicine and a career in this area, so here is my question.

    After a great deal of thought I have decided to take the MCAT and apply to med. school. There are numerous reasons why, but the main question I have is in regards to advice you all may have in the steps I should take. I have taken my prereqs (thus far I have taken 1 year bio+lab, 3 years chem + labs, 2 years calc based physics, 2 years calc, and a lot more..) and am hoping to take the MCAT in August.

    In preparing for the MCAT, I would like to hear what has worked best for you all and what review courses you would suggest. I have looked into TPR and it fits perfectly with my summer schedule, but I know that may not be enough. What is the best way to get started now when I have a busy schedule until mid april and what has worked best in those months of review that many of you have taken?

    Also, just in looking to apply for med. school, what suggestions can you make for me to add onto what I do now? I have no research or shadowing of any sort and I know that is a weakness and I still have time to work on that (I graduate in Fall '08), but what would be an overall suggestion for someone like myself?

    Any advice is appreciated and sorry if this was a drug on post :D

    Thanks a ton!
     
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  3. ToledoPike

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    Just thought I'd give this post a bump just in case. May just have to search around more :D
     
  4. NickRiviera

    NickRiviera MS-Never

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    Go to the MCAT forums for hints on studying
     
  5. green453

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    If you are an engineer (a good one), the MCAT should be absolutely no problem for you. Although you will hear tons of people bemoan how much you need to know to take the MCAT, you don't really need to know all that much. You just need to be good at extracting information from what you are given, applying the few concepts you know to it, and coming answering the question in that way. This should be something you are good at as an engineer. You do need to make sure you know all your basics, but the passages in the MCAT give you enough info that if you really think like an engineer, it should be no problem. Among my BME friends who's scores I know, I saw: 34, 34, 34, 36, and 38. All five of us think a lot like engineers and just applying your problem solving skills to the MCAT is an awesome way to advance.

    Since you have taken bio, you should be fine in the areas where engineers normally tend to fall down. So long as you make sure that you think stuff through just like you would any other problem, the MCAT should be easy.

    As far as studying for it goes, I don't recommend that you take a class, but everybody learns in their own way. I borrowed a friends Kaplan books and that worked quite well. Among my 4 other BME friends I mentioned earlier, only 2 of them took a review course.


    You definitely need to do some shadowing/volunteer/etc. If you have an engineer's mindset, it can be difficult to transition from the well defined problems you are used to dealing with to the variablity inherent in the human body and human nature. As an engineer, I think that people are the most interesting problem that can be studied/worked on, and there is the added benefit of actually being able to work with people.

    When applying to medical school, stress your ability to bridge gaps between people of a technical and non-technical background. As a ChemE major going into medicine, you have the opportunity to make an impact by facilitating the practice of good scientific and engineering princples in medicine. At the same time, you have the opportunity to bring some of the problems of medicine to the engineering community in a way that will help engineers pose the problems in a way that they can solve them and benefit the field of medicine.

    Finally, if you are lucky enough to have a similar course at your school, I have to recommend taking a course I took my junior year. It was called clinical preceptorship in bioengineering and it partnered me (an a bunch of other engineers) with physicians from our medical school who had technical backgrounds. We had the opportunity to work on engineering projects with the physicians and we got to have a lot of exposure to their clinical work. All the different preceptors for the class gave lectures, so we got exposed to the fields we weren't paired with. The class gave me an awesome appreciation for the possibilities for engineers in medicine and helped me to understand just how naive I was about what medicine really is. No matter what you do, make sure that medicine is right for you. It is not engineering because it is people, but it is engineering because of the awesome problems you get to solve.

    This is my real final bit of advice. Don't apply late. I took a year off so I could apply early and still didn't get my primary in until 9/15. I also waited until the deadlines to turn in all my secondaries (two weeks? Please...). I am a reasonably well qualified candidate, but thus far am: 7 secondaries with 4 rejections, 1 haven't heard anything pre-interview, one haven't heard anything post-interview and one acceptance. If I had applied earlier, I feel that I would have a lot less rejections and a few more acceptances.

    Best of Luck!
     
  6. docmode

    docmode Member

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    Don't put too much time into the organic or physics sections, they are quite basic compared to your background. I would concentrate on the bio and english. I think you will be in great shape. AND i agree that shadowing or hospital work is a must. Do you have Hospice for cancer care. That's a great way to gain a lot of experience and admissions seems to love that. I say, go for it! Engineering is much harder than the MCATs. The tough part for you will be the large load of memorizing that you'll have to get used to. Quite different from the problem sets you are used to. However, I think you are the kind that will achieve in any situation. Good luck!
     
  7. soonereng

    soonereng Double Trouble
    Physician

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    Definitely do some shadowing. It's the easiest way to see if you really would like being a physician, regardless of how it looks on the app.

    Also, you say you're going to graduate in Fall '08. Does that mean December or August?

    If it's December, I would take the MCAT early in the Spring '08 sometime because graduating in Dec. will put you off-cycle for '08 admission (a lot of (all?) schools want a completed undergrad degree). This would also give you lots of time to get more clinical exposure, etc. You may want to work for the company you mentioned during the off time (make some money with the engineering degree, you paid for it).
     
  8. ToledoPike

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    I am graduating in Fall '08 but have an opportune time to take the MCAT this summer. I will be working over the summer but my hours will fit perfectly with taking TPR classes and studying and I will be able to take the MCAT right before my summer term ends so that it will be out of the way for the next year when I will have time to hopefully do some shadowing.
     
  9. docmode

    docmode Member

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    If you can it's best I think to take the MCATs this summer. That way if your not happy with the result you could repeat. When you take the practice tests you'll get a good idea of your scores. I would definitely start with clinical experience since that's the flaw they will be looking for.
     

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