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Secondary question: alternative career plans

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by mintendo, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. mintendo

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    What do you do if a school asks you "if you are not accepted to medical school, what are your alternative career plans?"

    Basically I have no idea, so I want to put something that will (ironically) increase my chances of getting in.

    Maybe dentistry or research (edit, thanx :))

    What would you put? :confused:
     
  2. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Redneck Woman
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    A stripper. :laugh:








    In reality? Genetic counseling or something that would use my medical skills I have incurred by shadowing as well as my desire to be near people and help them through medical advances and technological research. By the way, becoming a DO still requires getting accepted to medical school, so you can rule that out as an option.
     
  3. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member
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    I think the question is asking to see if you're well-rounded and not a one-trick pony. DO is technically med school, anyway. If anything, I would put something completely unrelated to medicine. There's really no other occupation that you would consider?
     
  4. whatdapho

    whatdapho MS-I
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    I think that question is determining how passionate/committed to becoming a physician. I think the worst answer an applicant can possibly give is "If i dont' get into medical I will become a Dentist, pharmacist, etc." First off that bags on those professions and whose to say you would get into those professional programs. I think most adcoms want to hear something along the lines of "if I don't get into med school, I will do what it takes to strengthen my application, such as more shadowing, volunteering, etc, etc. My PI put it this way, if you're passionate about going into medicine, don't have "back-ups" if you don't get in the first time. Keep on trying until you've exhausted all routes. Most applicants are in their early 20's so it's not the end of the world if you don't get in the first time around. Good luck to everyone
     
  5. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member
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    I disagree. The question is asking for an "alternative career" i.e. a career that isn't a doctor. A dentist or pharmacist is certainly an alternative career. You use the other parts of the application to describe your interest in medicine. They want to gauge your interests outside of medicine, IMO.
     
  6. spospo

    spospo Going to extremes
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    i think it is important that you put something other than just "volunteer and shadow some more." U of Colorado has a similar question, but their's is "if there were no careers in the health care field available, what would you do?" you can't just say "sit around and volunteer and see what happens." i don't think adcoms want to see that all you think about is medicine. i think they want to see that you have considered other things in your life, that you aren't one of those "med school or nothing" kind of people. just my opinion. whether you put medically related things or not, i have no clue about that.
     
  7. Robizzle

    Robizzle 1K Member
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    Athletic trainer for a professional sports team.. :D
     
  8. silkworm

    silkworm Senior Member
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    I agree with the other poster. I don't think this is a elaborate trick question designed to expose anyone who is not "committed" to medicine. They want to see what kind of interest you have outside of medicine.
     
  9. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member
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    Agreed. If you hear hoof beats, it's probably a horse, not a zebra.
     
  10. nibrocli

    nibrocli Senior Member
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    this is the right answer, 100%. they want to hear that you'll re-apply, for all the reasons whatdapho stated.
     
  11. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member
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    But the question asked for ALTERNATIVE career plans! Am I wrong in wanting to answer the question that is posed?
     
  12. Robizzle

    Robizzle 1K Member
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    no way man. alternative careers means alternative careers..

    there's a difference in asking "What will you do if you don't get in?"

    and "What other careers have you considered?" (such as on the Rush application)

    It'll show your other interests outside of medicine and I really don't see anything wrong with answering with the truth unless you've always wanted to hustle on the street corner all your life.
     
  13. spospo

    spospo Going to extremes
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    exactly, they aren't asking what you will do if you don't get in this time around. they are asking about another career that interests you. i would think that everyone has at least some kind of answer.
     
  14. kypdurron5

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    Lol, how could this guy say that? Pay attention to the other posts...it says alternative career and means JUST THAT. If you answer “I’ll keep applying to medical school” when you’ve been asked about an alternative career you’ll look like you’re suffering from attention deficit disorder. It is important to seem committed throughout the application process, but when you’re specifically asked about what you could do instead…you better have something. Doctors are supposed to be intelligent, well-rounded people. Saying that the only thing you could do is medicine makes you look like a high school dropout with a trade skill; instead, you want to look like a dynamic person with unlimited potential.
     
  15. Kuba

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    You should say you'll be reapplying as many times as it takes IMO. I have no backups and don't plan on making any up.
     
  16. Kuba

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I don't think I agree, but you may be right. If you are right, then research may be the best option.
     
  17. spospo

    spospo Going to extremes
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    it isn't as if i have backups set in stone, but i have thought of over things i would like to do. in high school i wasn't 100% set on becoming a doctor. i played around with other ideas. i kind of read the question as "If you had decided not to pursue medicine, what would you have pursued?"
     
  18. Johnny_one_eye

    Johnny_one_eye Phleboptimist
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    Well first of all, as has been mentioned, it's important to answer the question. When I saw this post, I immediately thought of the Rush application from last year, which told you to list (in order of your choice) careers that you would choose besides medicine. You can't answer this as "I would reapply and improve myself" because it was literally 5 boxes to enter alternative careers.

    Second of all, I think listing alternative careers you've considered is a good thing. If you've been going on and on about being a doctor and never looked at anything else, you seem overly focused. By showing that you've considered other professions and still know you want to be a doctor, you're a better applicant I think. If you've shut out every other possible career, it seems like you're only becoming a doctor because you've told yourself over and over again that it's what you're going to do without considering it fully. You HAVE to have alternatives, but they don't have to be ideal or nearly as good as being a doctor.
     
  19. Law2Doc

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    I always felt that is a damned if you do, damned if you don't question. You want to show that you are mature enough to have considered other options. But you don't want to sound like you are not committed to medicine, or just want to be a professional and don't really care what. That being said, bounty hunter sounds like a pretty cool job.
     
  20. Kuba

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    now that i have thought about it some more, I would def. put research as one and teacher as another. I think those two are great answers and they are honest answers from me. but if you want to steal them, go ahead.
     
  21. DropkickMurphy

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    -Law school (malpractice defense)
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    -"Intelligence officer" for a despotic third world regime :smuggrin:
     
  22. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Even on the defense side this is going to sound like a bad answer -- too much like you just want into a profession.
     
  23. DropkickMurphy

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    Well, I wouldn't mention the specialty.... ;)
     
  24. whatdapho

    whatdapho MS-I
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    I guess when I initially read the original post, I immediately thought the question was asking about what you would do if you don't get in to their school. If this was the case, then i think my opinion would sound more logical. but after reading what you guys wrote and going back to the original question, i totally agree with you guys. Having "alternate career options" other than medicine is a good way to approach things. Yes, if i don't get in this year i'm going to reapply again next cycle. however, if it doesn't work out the second time around or even third, i WILL start thinking about other career choices such as public health or social services. I sure learned my mistake and i will make sure i read the post carefully before i get slammed by SDNers. Sheesh. Good luck again to all
     
  25. nibrocli

    nibrocli Senior Member
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    if they really push you on the "alternative career" issue, then yes, you gotta come up with something.

    but if they just ask what you'd do if you didn't get in, the right answer is to re-apply. i've been told this by more than one adcom, including one who now works as a consultant on getting people in to med school.

    if that's not enough, when i answered this question in an interview, the interviewer smiled and said, "right answer."
     
  26. Law2Doc

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    It probably depends on the interviewer. I've heard that someone who "knew" they wanted to be a doctor since grade school and never considered other things often is going to lose points on the maturity category. A well thought out decision always involves considering alternatives. This is particularly important when your decision involves 7+ years of school and training and about up to about $200k in costs.
    So again I assert there are no right answers, only less wrong ones.
     
  27. xylem29

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    What happens if you say, "Well, I actually had never really given that a serious thought to be quite honest...hmm...I guess I might go teach english abroad and expand my horizons a bit...figure things out slowly you know?"
     

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