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To finish or not to finish M.S.

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by S. Ahmed, Jan 5, 2002.

  1. S. Ahmed

    S. Ahmed Junior Member

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    Hello dear future docs!

    I have asked for advice from several people individually. But I wanted to put this question on this forum to get more response.

    I have completed 6 out of 10 required courses to finish my M.S in Elect. Engineering. In 2001, for family reasons, I was unable to take any courses. So, right now, I am real confused.

    I am a part-time student.

    Honestly, I am very interested to start taking post-bac courses. Here is the scenario:

    If I start taking pre-med courses this semester, I might be able to take MCAT in April 2003. That would mean, I can apply for class of 2004.

    If, on the other hand, I try to finish up my M.S, I will have to take MCAT in April 2004, and I will apply for class of 2005. One good thing about this plan would be..I can start preparing for MCAT from now on. Gives me more time to read essays, and other things to improve verbal part.

    So, I would truly appreciate your kind remarks on this. If you were in my situation, what would you do?

    Thank you very much!

    S.
     
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  3. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid
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    I don't fully understand your situation. You need to take 4 classes. What does this have to do with you taking the MCAT? The MCAT will come and go, it's just 1 day. It doesn't require you to be completely free in order to take it. As far as studying for it, that is something that you will need to work out. Possibly taking the August test if you really need more time. I don't understand why you would need to apply for 2004 if you finish your MS?

    In any case, it all depends on what your undergraduate GPA is and what your MCAT turns out to be. Do what you think is best for you. Basically you need to decide whether or not waiting a year and finishing an MS is worth it for you. Good luck.
     
  4. from what he said, i think i can gather..and i might be wrong, that:

    1) he needs to do a postbac because he needs to take those classes, so he can't apply until AFter he's done that, which, if he started now, would take until 2003..at which point he would apply.

    2) that's why he can't apply after finishing his MS, which will take one year since he's going to school part time and it's 4 classes (one year seems a bit long, but maybe he didn't mention a couple of other classes).

    3) it's probably a smart move to take the mcat After taking the classes, thus whenever that is..probably 2004, since finishing that MS would really make you look good. I mean, you started that damn thing, you can't leave it off now. how will you explain that, and more importantly, what about the money you've already invested in the degree? i would finish it and wear it proudly, damnit. :)

    4) i'm not sure there's any need for a number four, but i wanted to finish all the fingers, since i'm counting them off physically.
     
  5. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member
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    My advice is to finish what you start. A medical school will look and see that you started a Master's program, then dropped out. In my opinion (and profs and such that I spoke to since I had the same consideration several years ago) is that this is not a good idea.

    Andrew
     
  6. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member

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    My instinct tells me it's probably better to finish what you started--but this is a hard question. Have you spoken to a premed advisor at the institution you are enrolled at or possibly at your alma mater undergrad institution? I'm sure they would know better.

    Good luck!!
     
  7. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member

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    as i was reading through the responses i was thinking the same thing kuthastha posted: if you don't finish the MS, you're going to have to address the reasons why at every interview you may get. med schools WANT to see you finish out the degree because it shows you have the dedication to finish what you start.

    good luck to you.
     
  8. EpiII

    EpiII Senior Member

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    I also concur about the "Finish what you start" idea. I know someone who was applying to Med School with a 39-41 MCAT score, but did not get in (or got into one small school they did not want to go to). Part of the reason was because this person was not planning on finishing a Ph.D. program they had started a couple of years earlier.

    Clearly, the MCAT does not tell you everything, but I think dropping out is harder to explain than discussing why you are moving from Elect. Engineering to Medicine.
     
  9. UCLA2000

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    Finish you M.A. degree. It will help you to stand out from the rest of the bunch when applying to medical school.

    Look into a one year post bac program. These programs basically put you through all the pre med courses in a year.
     
  10. Triangulation

    Triangulation 1K Member

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  11. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member

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  12. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    I did not finish my Ph.D. degree and I think that is what may be hurting my attempt at applying to medical school. My stats are good and I have yet to receive any rejections, but I have only received one interview thus far. I have to think that not finishing my graduate degree has had some factor in that. I did not mention any reasons for leaving in my essays but rather thought I should wait for interviews to give explanations. Alas, the interviews are not exactly pouring in so I have yet to be asked about it. So I suppose my advice would be to complete the graduate degree.

    However, it seems kind of foolish to put effort into something for which you don't have a passion (the main reason I left my graduate program). Without the passion, the effort becomes much greater. I was working toward a graduate degree in physics. Although I loved physics, I think it was the science I liked -- meaning, I had no passion for becoming a physicist. I didn't know why I was doing it. I felt I could not be rewarded (that is self-satisfied) with a career in physics (whether it be academic or in industry). It made the academic part of the degree very difficult for me. I was not motivated to do the work required and without the motivation, graduate-level physics is nearly impossible. I spent most of my time teaching and doing research because that is what I liked most about graduate school. So perhaps not completing the degree is also worth thinking about (as you obviously are).

    I sound a bit wishy-washy but I suppose that is because I still feel wishy-washy about how leaving a graduate program has affected my chances to do what I really would like to do -- medicine.

    Best of luck.
     
  13. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member
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    If you don't mind posting about it, what were your reasons for leaving the PhD?

    Andrew
     
  14. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    My reasons for leaving the Ph.D. program were as previously posted. I did not feel it was worth the sacrifice of my time and overwhelming effort for I goal that I did not truly desire -- physicist. I did not think I could be satisfied with a career in physics.

    It probably sounds kind of weird but I actually went to graduate school for physics because it was the easiset thing to do at the time. The program was at the same school where I completed my undergrad degree. Upon graduation and discussion with the physics department chair, I just filled out the application and they accepted me on the spot -- tuition paid for, living stipend, the standard "deal" for physics graduate school. After a couple of years I realized that this is not where I want to be, nor is it where I want to go, so I left the program. In reality I think I knew it right from the beginning but I though, I'll just get through it and then figure out what I really want to do. Unfortunately it quickly became evident to me that without a real driving passion to become a physicist, I couldn't complete the work required.

    I still work for the physics department as an instructor. I continued to assist my research advisor. I just wasn't enrolled in the Ph.D. program anymore. They are still holding my spot however and they have asked me to come back.

    Shortly after leaving the program I joined the Peace Corps and it was in Africa that I realized I wanted to go into a health-related field. At first I was thinking something that could get me "out there" faster like nursing, P.A., optometry, etc. But then I realized I am still young and don't want to have more regrets by choosing something I wasn't truly passionate about. Medicine seems like the ideal way to get the intellectual stimulation I want along with the day-to-day interaction with people, the constant learning of new things, and all wrapped up in the background of science.

    I better stop now as this is starting to sound like a response for a secondary application...
     
  15. S. Ahmed

    S. Ahmed Junior Member

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    Hi:

    First of all, I would like to say thank you very much for all the replies. It really helped me a lot.

    A. Caveman understood my situation completely. His summery is exactly true. I need to finish 4 more EE courses to finish my masters. One year might seem too long. But I didn't mention I have 10 month old kid, and a fulltime job. I don't know abt others, but I don't think I can manage two courses a semester. Actually, I did take two courses couple of semesters, and I had to compromise with my GPA.

    Imtiaz, sorry I didn't explain it properly. But you see, I need to finish post-bac courses before I can take MCAT since I have no bio/chem/org. chem background.

    I have kind of decided (thanks to all of you for your valuable input) that I should finish up my masters degree by the end of this year if I can. I will try my best. By the way, my employer pays 100% of my grad school cost.

    So, here is my plan:

    In summer and fall this year, I will try to finish one or two post-bac requirements. And in 2003, I will finish up all other post-bac courses.

    Then in Spring 2004, I can take couple of advance level courses (like genetics, microbiology etc) and take MCAT in April 2004.

    Thats the best plan I could come up with.

    Thanks and have a great week.

    Shahab
     
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  17. S. Ahmed

    S. Ahmed Junior Member

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    Hi all:

    I decided to finish my masters with a little bit different curriculum plan. I thought I would post it here for people who might be in similar situations.

    I have 12 credits to finish. This semester, I am taking one Electrical Engineering course. But I will be taking a biomedical course (System Physiology) and a Intro to Genetics course which will fulfill my masters in Electrical Engineering requirements. I will take a biology course in Summer to prepare myself for Genetics.

    I wonder if it will be tough though to take a genetics course. I looked at the genetics course website..it says pre-req is a biology course. any comment?

    Anyways..just wanted to let people know. It seems like everying considered .. my journey to try to get into medical school would be a very tough one compared to many other folks.

    Take care all.. and best wishes!

    Shahab
    North Carolina
     
  18. reesie0726

    reesie0726 Senior Member

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    If you have not taken biology, I do not think it would be a good idea to jump into genetics. So will you be able to finish your masters this year before fall of 2002?
     
  19. Mr. 4.0

    Mr. 4.0 Junior Member

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    You really have to take Bio before you take Genetics..

    & did you know Carolina had a online genetics class? its much easier and cheap and you only have to come to CH to take the finals...
     
  20. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member

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  21. Mr. 4.0

    Mr. 4.0 Junior Member

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    You don't have to be a regular UNC student to take the online classes and are very laid back when it comes to admission(permission) to take them. But for some classes, you might have to come to Chapel Hill to take the finals. There are a lot of good things w/ a genetics online class and this one is like dirt cheap for us NC residents and not that expensive for out-of-staters..

    well here is the website...
    <a href="http://www.fridaycenter.unc.edu/cco/index.html" target="_blank">www.fridaycenter.unc.edu/cco/index.html</a>
     
  22. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member

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