When to apply to Med School?

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by gshocked, Apr 30, 2012.

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  1. gshocked

    gshocked 5+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2012
    (I realize this is in the "Resident Forums" section, but I can't find another Military Medicine heading. Please direct me towards a more appropriate forum if I'm lost.)

    I'm about to graduate from undergrad and commission from ROTC into active Med Service Corps.

    I have my med school application set and am relatively competitive, but I'm unsure if I should apply right now.

    I did not opt for an ed-delay because I am set on doing some time in as a line officer.

    I would ideally like to maximize the time in service before med school but not run past the stale dates for MCAT scores, coursework, etc. That means I would apply in 2013.

    I requested and received a later BOLC date (Oct) to allow me time to apply and at least get a few interviews in before my time starts.

    How readily (and with what timeline) would the MSC release me to go to med school knowing I was coming back as a doc?

    If I don't apply now, how feasible is applying to medical school while on active duty?

    Should I:

    1) Apply now and defer matriculation 1 year
    2) Apply in 1 year
    3) Apply later out than 1 year (retake MCAT, potentially have to take a post-bac course)

    Thanks for any answers or advice. I cannot get solid answers from my cadre or the prehealth advising offices at my undergrad or medical schools I'm looking at.

    Additionally, my PMS has told me that I cannot contact my branch manager as a cadet, even as an accessed cadet who will pin on his bars in 2 weeks. I don't want to step on any toes now, but I also don't want to go into BOLC having already have stepped on toes by not clearing things with the branch. Any advice?
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  3. colbgw02

    colbgw02 Delightfully Tacky 10+ Year Member

    If you leave from the MSC before completing your ADO, the Army will almost certainly obligate you to take the HPSP scholarship as a condition of letting you go. If your intention is to stay in the Army until retirement, then that's not a huge deal. However, if you plan on separating from the Army before retirement, then those extra years are a big deal.

    My advice is to finish your ROTC obligation and go to medical school essentially free of any military commitment (save maybe a few years in the IRR). Your time on active duty will probably allow you to use the GI Bill, which should prevent you from going into the type of debt that most medical students take on. If you still have an itch to serve after you've completed your medical training, the Army will still likely take you. What's more likely is that your priorities will change from now until then, and you'll be thankful that you can address those priorities free of the Army. I realize that the prospect of retaking the MCAT, etc., is unpalatable, but the weeks or months you'll need to reapply from medical school after time as a MSC officer is negligible as compared to the years you'll add in uniform if you take HPSP.

    One last thing: make sure you figure out your exact ETS date before applying to medical school. I know one person who was scheduled to separate in late September, but his medical school started in late July. The school told him either to show up on time or to defer a year, and the Army wouldn't let him leave early without taking HPSP. Unwilling to defer, he took HPSP, effectively adding nine years in uniform (including residency) just so he could get out of the MSC a couple of months early.
  4. Cooperd0g

    Cooperd0g Something witty goes here. 5+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2011
    An ROTC cadet who fulfills his minimum service obligation only (4 year payback for 4 year scholarship) would NOT get the Post 9/11 GI Bill. ROTC and service academy graduates basically got four years of college already. If you serve more than the initial requirement only then does it count towards the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

    So OP, I can't answer your specific questions and everything else that colbgw02 said sounds good to me, but don't plan on the GI Bill part if you leave active duty after the minimum obligation.

    I would say you spend a couple of years determining if you like the Army enough to want to do a career. If so, then try for med school at USUHS or HPSP. If not, then finish your commitment and go civilian, but start saving now and establish residency in a state with inexpensive tuition at several medical schools that also happens to be military friendly (I'm looking at you Florida and Texas). That is my advice.
  5. colbgw02

    colbgw02 Delightfully Tacky 10+ Year Member

    Can you please explain this? I always thought that post-9/11 GI Bill benefits kicked in after 90 days of service. Also, it's not like the GI Bill has to be used for an undergraduate degree. In fact, it can be used for non-degree programs (like the fellowship I hope to complete after separating).

    From the relevant VA website:
    The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
  6. gshocked

    gshocked 5+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2012
    colbgw02 - My understanding is that the Post 9/11 GI Bill can be used for virtually any level of education.

    However, the point made was that for ROTC/Academy grads, the clock for earning the GI Bill doesn't begin until after the ROTC/Academy active commitment.

    Essentially, the day after I've served my initial active undergrad commitment, I will begin to accrue GI Bill eligibility.

    source: http://www.ausn.org/Portals/0/Legislative/FAQGIBill082008.pdf
  7. DocRGR

    DocRGR 7+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2009
    Above is true. Only post-commitment time counts towards GI-Bill. So, if you took a 4 year HPSP contract then it would be the time after you pay off that commitment that counts toward GI Bill.
  8. Cooperd0g

    Cooperd0g Something witty goes here. 5+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2011
    From the horses' mouth:

    The new GI bill will allow officers who graduated from service academies or received ROTC scholarships to qualify for the new GI Bill benefit. However, time spent satisfying the ROTC/Service Academy active duty obligation does not count toward the active duty service necessary to qualify for the benefits.

  9. colbgw02

    colbgw02 Delightfully Tacky 10+ Year Member

    Good to know. I wasn't really planning on researching this until it came time to actually apply, but it sounds like maybe I shouldn't even bother. What about my situation, which is relatively rare? (I can't find anything online about it)

    4-year ROTC scholarship --> 4-years IRR (non-HPSP medical school) --> 5-years active duty (residency) --> 4-years active duty (out of training)
  10. Cooperd0g

    Cooperd0g Something witty goes here. 5+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2011
    You will get full Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Because your 4 year ROTC commitment was paid off during your residency you then have 5 years (1 in residency and 4 of residency payback) of qualifying GI Bill time. You only need 3 years to get full benefits so you have it. Commitments relating to flight school, residency, department head, bonuses, etc do not count against the GI Bill clock, only the ROTC and service academy initial commitments are excluded from your time.

    You don't need to apply for the benefits right away. You will have 15 years to use them. However, if you want to transfer them to a dependent currently that must be done while on active duty. Once you separate you cannot transfer it to a kid, a spouse maybe, but not a kid. I don't have dependents so I'm not an expert on the transfers. I'm going off of what friends have done.
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  11. colbgw02

    colbgw02 Delightfully Tacky 10+ Year Member

    Thank you.

    I think this is a good example of one of those rare times it's important to understand that you simultaneously incur and payback obligation during residency (after FYGME, that is).

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