Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Dismiss Notice
Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.

Wasting my time (& money) applying?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by amyr, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. amyr

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Other Health Professions Student
    I am a 35-year-old single mother of a 16-year-old and have an undergraduate degree in Criminology (with a health minor). I didn't take a lot of science courses, but pretty close to what I need to get into my school of choice (U of Minnesota MD program). I had a 3.71 GPA, and a 3.97 GPA in science & health classes.

    I also have a law degree. I took biomedical ethics and medical malpractice in law school. I always wanted to go to vet or med school, but I went to law school, dropped out twice, and finally finished because it seemed easier. I don't want to be a lawyer. I don't think I ever really wanted to.

    I would need to take several science classes just to prepare for the MCAT. I'm realizing how I never did what I wanted, and I'm running out of time. I'm wondering if I'm too old, and with my lack of science background and fact that I am only considering one school, if there is much point applying. I could also much more easily go get a second bachelors degree in nursing and become a nurse practitioner eventually. Should I pursue that course instead?
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Messages:
    30,983
    Likes Received:
    9,858
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Age is not an issue. Some of the other things in your post might be.
    First, the fact that you dropped out of law school twice and got a law degree without ever actually wanting to be a lawyer will loom large in the application process. Med schools have a fixed number of seats and so are very careful to only admit folks who have a good track record for finishing their schooling and actually practicing. Having dropped out of a prior professional path multiple times may be hard for some schools to stomach. And you cannot say you went through law school but never really wanted to be a lawyer -- makes you seem flighty to adcoms, and will make them question whether you actually are going to want to be a practicing doctor once you get through. Schools want folks who are being attracted to medicine for positive reasons, not those who are leaving other fields for negative ones. So you are better off playing up how much you learned in law and the various skills you learned, rather than complaining how you never really wanted to go that route, but for whatever reason did so.
    Second, the path and role of physician and nurse are quite different. If you just want to be in health care but don't really care about the role, there are many other paths than physician you should look into. Folks who go to med school have a more specific role they want to get to which goes beyond merely being in healthcare. Do some shadowing and see what the various roles are before taking this notion any further.
    Finally, med school generally will require you to apply broadly and possibly relocate. This may be harder with a 16 year old than with a younger child.
    Good luck.
     
  4. nontrdgsbuiucmd

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    concur, lots more clinical experience would go a long way to helping you to decide if this works for you, and if it's worth the effort involved. I'll be 40ish when finishing med school, so I'd like to think age is not a big deal either.

    But as L2D mentions, you may have a bigger hill to climb regarding explaining your motivation, and lots more hours in a clinical setting can help answer this question when it comes up in your application. Think also about your motivation for entering med school and why you'd be a great physician, rather than not liking what you've done already/how little you like your former field. I was specifically told this by an admissions person; med schools look at their process as bringing one from ground zero up to becoming a doctor; prior professional experiences to some extent are considered a negative (outside of limited work experience to "explore different options", such as a year working in a research lab)

    Final thought to share my experience -- I've got an advanced degree that was way tough to get accepted into and complete and studied under world-class instructors. I found in going through the app process that in the med world, no one cares about non-medical academic experience; it seems to be somewhat of a negative, if anything. This is not what med schools are looking for, so although your law degree likely was tough to get through + pass the bar, med schools really won't care about that, unfortunately.
     
  5. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Messages:
    30,983
    Likes Received:
    9,858
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I would tend to disagree with this. Being a prior professional can be a huge benefit in the application process, and be the thing that sets you apart from the pack. However you need to leverage it the right way. You have to market the idea that you possess transferable skillsets, have experience working as a professional, working closely with clients (analogous to patients), and otherwise bring lots of value to the table thanks to your prior education. And many adcoms will then find it to be a solid EC, a positive. Not as much of a positive as high GPA/MCAT, but helpful nonetheless. By contrast, if you sell it poorly, and talk about it as something you hated, couldn't bring yourself to practice, dropped out multiple times, and are running to medicine because law was a poor choice for a variety of reasons, then adcoms are going to see it as the same negative you thought it was -- just another bad decision on your application. So it can be your hook or your albatross -- it's all about how you are able to sell it. But med school (like all of life) likes winners, not whiners.
     
  6. MSmentor018

    MSmentor018 Hooah!
    Physician Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    1,199
    Likes Received:
    238
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    don't worry about your age, just do well on your sciences and mcat and go from there. having a JD degree definitely won't hurt you. they may ask you on the interview the what's and why of your past. don't make excuses, take it on the chin, tell them a honest answer, and your desire for medicine. but don't worry about that until then.... for now just the books...good luck!
     
  7. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Messages:
    30,983
    Likes Received:
    9,858
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Well, there is honesty and there is honesty. You can always paint things in a better light, and you absolutely do need to start thinking about and addressing that earlier, not during the interview. Multiple drop outs of a professional school are absolutely the kind of thing you need to address early because you won't ever get to the interview stage otherwise. Bad idea to assume you will get the opportunity to explain this kind of thing away at an interview IMHO.
     
    Catread likes this.
  8. dragonfly99

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Messages:
    5,092
    Likes Received:
    46
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I see some major red flags here.

    #1 is you are only considering one school. If you aren't willing to relocate and aren't willing to consider multiple schools, then I wouldn't consider medical school because anyone's chance of getting into a particular med school is not high...even if the someone is a 22 year old college student with a 3.9 GPA. It just doesn't work that way.

    At 35 I would worry about whether you've thought long and hard about whether you are willing to do at least 2 years of classes, then 4 years med school, then minimum of 3 years of residency working up to 80 hours/week and potentially 30 hours at a time staying overnight in the hospital. At this point you'll be >40. There are some who have the stomach for it, and I'm not saying you don't, but think hard about it.

    PA/NP/RN is definitely an option if you want to enter health care sooner and with a less brutal educational route. That won't be easy either but you avoid the residency, which is honestly pretty brutal in many cases in terms of hours worked and sometimes the working conditions.

    The dropping out of law school would worry me if I was on the adcom.
     
  9. amyr

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Other Health Professions Student
    In my defense, the reason I dropped out of law school was because I got divorced and moved 1500 miles away the first time, and the second time I had to choose between going to school and working to support my child. I enjoyed the learning part of law, just not the practice of law.
    I appreciate the responses. I just needed a reality check. While I love learning, I don't think I want to go to school for the next 8 years or so. I think forensic nursing (working in a medical examiner's office) may be right for me. Thanks so much for the guidance.
     

Share This Page