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7+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2015
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I am a high school junior concerned about how I am going to pay for college and possibly med school, my ultimate goal. I just don't want to be paying off student loan debt for the rest of my life. I thought about the Air National Guard for undergrad but I'm worried about being deployed during school and being a resident of one state and having to drill in another during school breaks. I looked into ROTC but realized most people were saying if you want to be a doctor, don't go that route. For a while I thought I would just pay for undergrad with scholarships, loans etc. go HPSP for med school until I realized that med school might not even work out. My grades might not be up to par or maybe it wont be what I want to do anymore. I do have backup plans most of which include grad school. But I feel like if that happens then I am going to feel dumb for not trying for a ROTC scholarship and getting undergrad payed for. And let it be clear, I do want to serve, its not just about the money. Right now I'm thinking the best course of action would be do ROTC for the first two years of college ( without scholarship) just to see if the military is really something I want to do and if by the the end of those two years if my grades are looking good for med school and its still something I want to pursue then not continue in ROTC and wait to apply to HPSP or join the guard in med school. And if by the end of those two years my grades aren't up to par with what they should be for med school and I've enjoyed ROTC thus far and am willing to serve active duty as a line officer, continue with ROTC with or without a scholarship and possibly attend grad school after active duty commitment if it was still something I wanted to do. I know this is a lot and most of it is up in the air but I want to have some sort of plan by senior year. Any inputs or thoughts on what the way to go would be for me would be greatly appreciated. And if it helps, I have a current 3.89 weighted GPA but expect a 4.0 by end of senior year.

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I'll point out that with the guard, when you move you change states of affiliation so that you don't have to be crossing state lines all the time to drill. It's a pretty standard deal. But if the primary goal is to be a doctor. I wouldn't recommend joining until you are AT LEAST as far as HPSP. And frankly, I'd recommend waiting until you hit residency and are eligible for FAP.

It's easy to say you aren't doing it for the money when you are staring down a bunch of loans you can't comprehend yet, it's another to have made it through med school and are really "free" enough to decide if it's what you want
1. Do well on your SAT
2. Get into a cheap college with as much scholarship as possible. (I know a physician that went to Penn's medical school from Cal State Fullerton)
3. Figure out what you want to do. Most pre-meds don't stay pre-meds for long. Keep an open mind.