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US citizen with foreign BS needs advice

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by budhia, Jul 31, 2006.

  1. budhia

    budhia Junior Member
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    I wanted to be a doctor all my life. Unfortunately I lacked the confidence to make the necessary scarifices to pursue my dream. I am now 35yrs old married with 2 kids. I am now ready to accept out loud that I want to be a doctor and it was all I ever wanted to be. I will do everything in my power to pursue this dream. I am willing to take the risk I may never realize this dream BUT I not want to fail simply because I did not try.

    A little about my background:
    I graduated with BS in 1992 from a foreign university (not Canada) with Biology major, Chemistry minor. I graduated with MS in Biology in 1996 from US university. (28 didactic credit hours). Did Cell, Molecular Immunology research in both academic and industry labs for 5 years. Completed General Physics I and II (lecture and lab) in 1997-1998. Completed the coursework for PhD Immunology in 2005 (32 didactic credit hours ).

    I know some schools require foreign grads to complete 90 credits from US schools (they didn't specify undergrad or grad). Does anyone whether schools would consider grad credits for some undergrad prerequisites. I think it would be a waste of time and money for me to take the first two general undergrad Biology prerequisites.

    I would like to spend the next two years taking some UG classes. Apart from Eng, Math, Chem, OChem. What should I take? Do I need 90 UG credits? Also right now I am a stay at home mom but I can have a research position starting next month. Should I work and take classes or should I just take full time classes and try to get as many classes done in the next two years. I would really like to take MCAT Apr 08 and be accepted for Fall 09.

    Any other advice that will help me get on the right path will be highly appreciated.
     
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  3. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    I really think it's not going to be a problem. Canadian undergraduate degrees do not present an issue for 95% of U.S. medical schools; degrees from other countries - it's definitely a problem! The only medical school that may insist on a U.S. degree is the Mayo Clinic. Most schools state that credits earned in Canada are acceptable, though be sure to probe deeply at schools you want to apply to so there are no nasty surprises later on. Only take more classes if you think your GPA will be uncompetitive or if you need a 'fresh perspective' before the MCAT. Good luck!
     
  4. budhia

    budhia Junior Member
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    Thanks for your reply. My BS is actually non US non Canada. So more class I think is a must. How many classes is the real question? Which classes? Are graduate ones considered?
     
  5. redsky

    redsky at night
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    90 credits for most medical schools. A few will request only 60.
    I've read here that many accept graduate credits, but some don't.
    I would call each one of the schools you want to apply and ask.
     
  6. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    Sorry - I read too quickly. Medical schools will ask for 60-90 credits including the prereq's. Most ask for around 60 credits. Some schools will allow a mix of U.S. graduate classes and prereq's. Very few schools (Washington University in St. Louis when I applied) will accept a U.S. Ph.D. and a fine showing on the MCAT. This often means bypassing the 'front-line' person who can often only provide information for regular applicants. Doing this politely is of course critical. I was able to use the U.S. Ph.D. and 8 credits of a prereq. that I never took in my home country (so in itself, it did not have a huge impact). In short, you have a non-standard application and so two things are critical: 1. Probe deeply at schools you wish to apply to. 2. Study for the MCAT like your life depended on it. Lastly, apply widely.
     
  7. dr.z

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I think your graduate ones from U.S. will be considered.
     
  8. budhia

    budhia Junior Member
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    Thanks guys! I will be sure to call the schools. I currently have 60 grad credits and 12 undergrad credits. I want to dedicate the next 2 academic years to getting into med school Fall 2009. What should I do?

    1) work fulltime and take parttime prereqs. This would put me about 100 total credits (60 grad + 40 undergrad)

    2) work parttime and take parttime prereqs + extra electives just to try to get as many undergrad credits possible

    3) don't work just fulltime school getting prereq + extra classes to make up 90 undergrad credits

    Note about work:
    Right now I am a stay at mom but I have a job offer to work on HIV Vaccine research. Apart from the money which I can use this job will NOT add anything to CV neither will it make my application any nicer. However, I can contribute alot to the projects and since it is HIV ...I almost feel it is a moral obligation. I do feel that being a physician is my calling and I do not what to squander the time I have to get ready but at the same time I think if I have a unique set of experience/skill that can be benefit humankind I should use it too...

    Any comments/advice welcome.

    Also, if you know any school that take 90 credits regardless undergrad or grad please let me know...you can PM me any details

    Thanks
     
  9. Tribeca

    Tribeca Senior Member
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    I'm on the same boat as you. I'm a US Permanent Resident applying for naturalization this year. I have a foreign BS (non-Canadian) and a US grad degree (36 credits). I'm currently taking undergrad prereqs and some upper-level bio classes, including 6 credits of English (since it's a req. for most schools). That puts me up to 56 undergrad credits + 36 grad = 95 credits by the time I apply next year. I've emailed some schools who have said that they will consider that I have a US degree and that I have taken the prereqs here at the US. Some schools (esp. those who are very open to foreign graduates) were willing to take into consideration my BS as long as I have my transcripts evaluated by WES (World Education Services?) and have 90 credits from the US. I'm not sure if they'll accept a combination of grad+undergrad credits, though... i'll check on that as app time nears. good luck!
     
  10. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    How you gain your credits matters less than how well you do. That said, coming from a Ph.D. program, publication will be expected and so it makes sense that the work you do thereafter is a logical extension of your training. Some of the research-oriented medical schools will find publications very attractive and, in my case, it definitely helped to overcome the lack of a U.S undergaduate degree or GPA on my AMCAS form. Try to obtain meaningful clinical contact as well since research in itself (even if closely tied to medicine) is not convincing enough for most adcoms as a demonstrated commitment to medical training. Be sure to make your AMCAS essay as logical as possible, too - based on your previous training.
     
  11. Immuno-guy

    Immuno-guy Member
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    I'm happy you are starting to follow your dream. Good for you.

    I've a British BS and am finishing my PhD. here. I am applying to dental school and have been encouraged by the flexibility of the admins people despite the clear stipulation of a US undergrad degree. The lady was wonderful at UIC, she kept mentioning that they could fudge my biochem as a chem course, that my thesis will count as English, etc...

    Schools realize the maturity of older students and will be flexible. You may be closer than you think. Speak to them. Good luck.
     
  12. budhia

    budhia Junior Member
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    Thanks to all of you! Your advice and encouragement is making me quite confident about my decision to press forward. Thanks again.
     
  13. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    That's the spirit! Good luck to you!
     
  14. MaiPenRai

    MaiPenRai Member
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    I have a friend who got into med school without taking organic chemistry or biology. My friend wrote papers in biology/organic and got them published, did well on the MCAT to prove he knew the subjects, then called each school individually to see what they could do for him. Top schools seemed to bite a lot more than lower-tier schools, but he ended up with 4 interviews and 2 acceptances...at really good schools. I am no expert, but I think that you could call medical schools and see. PhD work is impressive, and if it is at a US institution then they know you speak English...kill the MCAT and call them to see if they can bend the rules. It never hurts to ask, especially if you are saving time with your family!
     
  15. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    I quite believe it. I was missing two prereq's and was told by the Dean of Harvard that it didn't matter for their medical school - I would be an eligible applicant (they like people with PhDs or serious research-minded medical students). Same thing for Washington University in St. Louis - very willing to accept a foreign degree and credits 'as is' with a U.S. Ph.D. In the end, I didn't apply to either school but my experience is quite consistent with your friend's experience. Still, applying with all of the prereq's leaves little doubt about eligibility.
     
  16. Probvs

    Probvs New Member

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    I have an equivalent of MS degree in biology, minor in chemistry. Foreign degree... MCAT doesn't look like a problem for me at all.. In fact, I was shocked by some questions, I'd say a normal 12- years old can answer them, including science questions. So what do I do to enter a med-school? :( I thought my degree and a good MCAT could do it..
    I dont really want to waste my time by studing something I already know to get " credits" and stuff. :scared:
     
  17. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    From your post, it's kind of hard to take you seriously but I'll assume you're serious for now. You must take the MCAT and do well if you want to enter a U.S. medical school; there are no exceptions for people who think it's 'beneath them'. The last paper administration is this Saturday, so you have three days to improve your verbal reasoning and writing before taking it. Good luck.
     
  18. Probvs

    Probvs New Member

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    Well I never said it is " beneath " me. I just saw these questions from sample tests:
    The prince abdicated the crown and returned to his castle.
    Abdicated means


    Gave up
    Sold
    Reinvested into
    Auctioned

    Which organic compound is classified as a primary alcohol?


    Ethylene glycol
    Ethanol
    Glycerol
    2-butanol

    What is the total number of hydrogen atoms required to form 1 molecule of C3H5(OH)3?


    1
    5
    3
    8
    :eek: :confused: we had questions waaay harder than that in junior high school. and there are plenty questions like this in these sample tests.
    Basically my question is , if I do really well on MCAT , will they accept me with a foreign degree?
     
  19. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    Be careful what you read on the internet: the website you posted in another thread is not representative of the MCAT. In fact, it's not reality. It appears to be a site that someone has set up rather than a genuine MCAT site. If you want to know what's on the MCAT, go to the AAMC website: http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/start.htm (they write the MCAT) or sign up for an older online version. http://www.e-mcat.com/ to gauge any weaknesses. You can also purchase old AAMC MCAT exams and self-administer those under timed conditions. While it’s true that the subject matter on this test is indeed basic, you need to be looking at getting most of the questions correct to gain a competitive score and it’s easy to be flippant about that on an anonymous forum if you have not taken the test under timed conditions. Realize that only around 10 questions on each science section are 'stand alone questions'; most lie within passages and there is a major time pressure on this test. I teach MCAT preparation for a professional agency and I see many bright students do poorly on this exam by not appreciating this simple point.

    To address your additional question: U.S. medical schools want an undergraduate degree that has been earned in the U.S. or Canada and they will definitely have a problem if you don't have that - even if you do well on the MCAT. Now, that's not to say that there aren’t one or two cumbersome ways around this (see my previous posts or read posts by QofQuimica who gives excellent advice). If you do not have a U.S. degree with an undergraduate GPA, 60-90 credits earned in the U.S. will suffice at some institutions and those should normally include the prerequisite courses (general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, biology, English) – even in you took the equivalent of those courses overseas. Good luck.
     
  20. DreamLover

    DreamLover Bored Certified
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    Is this person trying to make a joke?

    not that this post deserves much of a reply...but I took the MCAT...my questions were nothing of this sort as I am positive 99.9% of the people here who have taken the test can attest to the same...so be weary....be very weary of posts like these :cool:
     

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