misahwang

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Basically it goes like this; I hated applying to med school and I am still bitter about the lack of help/ overt disencouragment that my undergrad college offered me.

As such, to make myself feel better and displace my anger I am helping out undergrads by publishing a realistic guide on what it is like to apply to med school, free from all the crap that academic advisors tell you.
I just don't understand the reason for telling students that they are useless and can never get into medical school.

If you have any ideas on med school or non-pc advice/thoughts that you want to share please do, or vent any frustrations! Don't feel limited to discussing applications though, for example...

1. I started off thinking that medicine was mildly scientific and that people actually knew what they were doing... I now know that it's just a big cluster-eff.
2. Med schools are full of it....
3. etc...
 
Dec 21, 2008
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Basically it goes like this; I hated applying to med school and I am still bitter about the lack of help/ overt disencouragment that my undergrad college offered me.

As such, to make myself feel better and displace my anger I am helping out undergrads by publishing a realistic guide on what it is like to apply to med school, free from all the crap that academic advisors tell you.
I just don't understand the reason for telling students that they are useless and can never get into medical school.

If you have any ideas on med school or non-pc advice/thoughts that you want to share please do, or vent any frustrations! Don't feel limited to discussing applications though, for example...

1. I started off thinking that medicine was mildly scientific and that people actually knew what they were doing... I now know that it's just a big cluster-eff.
2. Med schools are full of it....
3. etc...
Uh, based on your initial list, methinks that you need to re-examine what the real reason behind creating such a guide is.
 

OveractiveBrain

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(1) There is no possible way that anyone not in medical school could convey the difficulty, the commitment, nor the knowledge gained to some one not in medical school. Telling some one they will study or work 12 hrs a day, 6 days a week, sacrifice everything they ever loved for the potential at joining the ranks of the most highly elite just wont get it. "yeah yeah yeah," "med schools hard, so was undergrad." "Oh 80 hours a week, I already do that at my job." Are likely responses.

(2) I take it you must be somewhere in the beginning of your medical education. What is really the problem is that people INSIDE medical school cannot see the light at the end of a very long tunnel. I have a number of posts attempting to alleviate some of that anxiety. I am glad that you are transferring negative energy into something positive. Being at the end of the process, I can assure you, it is totally worth it. Even if you do not realize how far you go, or how much you learned, or how much you've even forgotten, there is no one better trained than the physician.

(3) As far as you list for undergrads:
a. Safely applying to medical school requires a 35 on the MCAT and a 3.5 GPA. It doesn't matter what school you come from (unfortunately) because most medical schools run the numbers, and dont have adjustments from coming from Yale or ASU. 30 MCAT and 3.0 GPA is required to make it into some US medical school, though your chances are weak. Below that, you're looking at scraping in off the wait list at your podunk state school OR going to a Caribe School OR going to DO. Caribe and DO schools limit your potential for residency.
b. Science majors comprise the majority of medical school
c. Many, i would say even 50%, take "nontraditional educational approaches" i.e. they do something else between college and medical school. Whether thats EMS, MPH, or Program designer, meh. That number goes down for the high-end name-brands, goes up for the middle-of-the-road
d. If you want a name-brand fellowship, you will need a name-brand residency, you will need a name-brand med school, or score ridiculous on your Step
e. P=MD at every medical school. P != Residency, generally anywhere
f. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again. Whether you do a post-bacc program, a master's degree, or research, so long as you demonstrate desire and capability, you can get in
g. be ready to dedicate your life. There will be seven years (minimum) of intense, grueling, training, that will likely challenge you as to whether or not it is all worth it. It is worth it.

(4) why do advisors say no to students who want to persue medicine?
Because people who can't cut it on an MCAT or in undergrad are unlikely to cut it in medical school. It also sets people up for the inevitable rejection. Only about 20% of the people who apply to medical school are accepted. If you aren't one of the people who is likely to make it (below the 50% mark) you need realistic advice that maybe a different career path (PA, Nursing, DO) is more right for you. You can still do a whole lot with some other degrees, even if you aren't the top of the top MD.
 
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( Caribe and DO schools limit your potential for residency.
Simply not true. DO graduates are more likely to place into a residency than their MD counterparts. DO graduates can match into both the allo and the osteo match, and thus the numbers show that as a DO, you are more likely to match into a residency then an MD student.
 

KeyzerSoze

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Simply not true. DO graduates are more likely to place into a residency than their MD counterparts. DO graduates can match into both the allo and the osteo match, and thus the numbers show that as a DO, you are more likely to match into a residency then an MD student.
Since I'm far too lazy to google that, can you please provide a source? Thanks.
 

CityLights

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(4) why do advisors say no to students who want to persue medicine?
Because people who can't cut it on an MCAT or in undergrad are unlikely to cut it in medical school. It also sets people up for the inevitable rejection. Only about 20% of the people who apply to medical school are accepted. If you aren't one of the people who is likely to make it (below the 50% mark) you need realistic advice that maybe a different career path (PA, Nursing, DO) is more right for you. You can still do a whole lot with some other degrees, even if you aren't the top of the top MD.
That's not true. It's more like 40%.
 

OveractiveBrain

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Simply not true. DO graduates are more likely to place into a residency than their MD counterparts. DO graduates can match into both the allo and the osteo match, and thus the numbers show that as a DO, you are more likely to match into a residency then an MD student.
Ortho? Optho? Plastics? You have to look for DO-friendly or IMG-friendly residencies just to match into medicine. Some residencies boast, as an attractant for highly skilled applicants, the ABSENCE of FMGs as a monitor for academic success. Its not that you cant get a spot as an IMG or a DO, but your options in Allopathic residencies are significantly limited.

Run of the Mill Med Students get residencies. Only stellar FMG and DOs get residencies in programs people want to go in to. Most people who come from undergrad dont say "i really want to make 60K a year working with metabolic syndrome in the deserts of wyoming." Even if they say "Primary Care and Health Care for Everyone" most don't actually mean it in the pragmatic real-life approach experienced by those who really do it. Even with the enhanced physical exam skills of the DO schools that make them better clinicians wont land some of the more sought-after specialties.

So you do have "more residency spots" but "far less residency spots youd like to go to"
 
Last edited:
Dec 12, 2010
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Since some of you on this thread have already applied and hopefully been accepted to medical school I want to ask a few questions.

I am a non traditional student. I have an undergrad degree in Poly sci... I competed in a varsity sport in college so now I am finishing up the science requirements at an affordable state school. My undergrad gpa was 3.3... I have taken Chem II/A, Statistics A, Biology B, Bio Lab A, Physics I A, Organic I A. I'm not exactly sure what my science gpa is, but it should be descent.

I feel like a gap in my application may be a lack of research/volunteering. Are there any suggestions on people to contact in my area to get some sort of physician shadowing/research experience? Also do medical schools look down upon retaking science classes? I had to retake two courses during my undergrad... I got a 4.0 and 3.5 when I retook them.

Also I am planning to take orgo II, physics II, biochem, and physiology next semester, then taking the MCAT in MAY.

Any suggestions about research, volunteering, and the general application process would be great. PM me if you would like.

Thanks a ton!!! And good luck with your studies :)
 

OveractiveBrain

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Since some of you on this thread have already applied and hopefully been accepted to medical school I want to ask a few questions.
Any suggestions about research, volunteering, and the general application process would be great. PM me if you would like.
I answered that already.


That's not true. It's more like 40%.
I meant to allopathic US medical schools. Maybe its as high as 40, I havent applied in a long while. There were fewer spots when I applied.
 

KeyzerSoze

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I answered that already.



I meant to allopathic US medical schools. Maybe its as high as 40, I havent applied in a long while. There were fewer spots when I applied.
Your status says you're a medical student. If that's correct, the percentage of applicants accepted to US medical schools was over 40% when you applied. It's been around the mid 40's for the past ten years.

Your suggestion that you need an MCAT score of 35 to "safely apply to medical school" is laughable. Conversely, your lower limit for "weak chances" of 30/3.0 has GPA well below the actual lower limit and and MCAT well above it. See this table; for white matriculants an MCAT of 30 is less than half a standard deviation below the mean, while a GPA of 3.0 is three full standard deviations below the mean. Basically, your numbers are pretty screwed up, and I'm curious how you came up with them.

Also, what's the relevance of point 3b, "Science majors comprise the majority of medical students"? Heck, right-handed people comprise the majority of medical students, but I wouldn't discourage lefties from applying.

Edit: I just noticed in another thread that you applied in '05 and presumably again in '06, during which years about 45.5% and 44.4% of applicants matriculated at an allopathic school.
 
Last edited:

Mean Muggin

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Your suggestion that you need an MCAT score of 35 to "safely apply to medical school" is laughable. Conversely, your lower limit for "weak chances" of 30/3.0 has GPA well below the actual lower limit and and MCAT well above it. See this table; for white matriculants an MCAT of 30 is less than half a standard deviation below the mean, while a GPA of 3.0 is three full standard deviations below the mean. Basically, your numbers are pretty screwed up, and I'm curious how you came up with them.
He/she obviously pulled them out of his/her ass.
 

BigRedBeta

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d. If you want a name-brand fellowship, you will need a name-brand residency, you will need a name-brand med school, or score ridiculous on your Step
Highly, highly specialty specific. I will agree that in most of your surgical subspecialties in your name fellowships need "name" residencies. Getting to those, however, your ENT/Ortho/NSGY/etc residents are already pretty well clustered at the top of the Step I scores - there's not much room left to set yourself apart. Who you know, who knows you, and who they know using the "old boy network" unfortunately matter quite a bit more than one would like. And what qualifies as "name brand" is very specialty specific - to the extent that a pre-med thinking they want to do ENT is going to have no clue what medical school has the best ENT department. Further, what the lay public think is "name brand" often isn't. For example, I'd take pediatric subspecialists in nearly any field who did their fellowship at the University of Cincinnati or the University of Utah any day of the week over those trained at Duke or Yale...but I didn't know that until I decided on pediatrics for residency and did some research. And even though that's the case, what do the patients know?

It also ignores the fact that most pre-meds only get into one med school - the one in their home state.

Totally agree with the info on DO's and IMG's. Even though DO's are at a disadvantage for Allo residencies compared to MD's, they're well ahead of the game compared to the IMG's. No one should go to an International medical school unless they're willing to accept the possibility that they may end up $300k in debt with no medical job in the United States. I suppose if you're independently wealthy, no big deal, but for everyone else, it's a very real possibility.

As for other advice for this "guide":
Med school sucks...hard. I can't even begin to describe just how awful it is. The idea of quitting is a routine thought for most people (especially those that went straight through from undergrad to med school with no break), but they keep on because either a) they realize that there are 1000's of people who would kill to go through this hell, or b) they realize that after they get their loan checks at the start of 2nd year they're in so much debt that they can't be anything other than a doctor and have any hope of paying it all off.

Patients are the most ungrateful set of people on the planet. Anyone who believes they can rely on patients to thank them and somehow that will be all the fulfillment they (the future physician) will need is going to be sorely disappointed. You have to find internal sources of fulfillment and reveling in the details that no one else notices or that outsiders would find disturbing, otherwise there are going to be a lot of dark days in between the very infrequent "thank you's". People come to you, often when they're feeling like absolute sh!t, and demand you fix them. Manners, etiquette and even the minimal rules of civility are thrown out the window far before they get to your exam room. And heaven forbid if you ask them to take some responsibility for there own care...

Parents, significant others, friends, and even other non-medical acquaintances will never be able to fully understand - whether you take care of the frankly psychotic, the 600 gram 24 week preemies, do emergent brain surgery after being awake for 29 1/2 hours, or manage the blood pressures for 500 non-compliant diabetics, non-physicians just won't get it. They won't be able to understand how you manage to do what you do...and it will be nearly impossible for you to explain it, because it's just what you do.

All that said, it's so totally worth it. I wouldn't trade what I do with anyone in the world.
 

Danlee07

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Yeah, to refer to the post above me, I heard that to get into med school is all up to you. But for residencies and beyond is all about the people you know. My buddy's dad is a top surgeon in FL and told me about some of the stuff.
 

SuperHiro

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How about adding this: There are definitely medical students out there who LOVE medical school. Who can honestly say they enjoyed all 4 years and would absolutely do it all over again if given the chance. Some schools are very supportive of their students. Some hospitals aim to hire residents with personality which in turn tends to make those third year clerkships much more enjoyable. Some students have never even thought about quitting, not even once.

There is no doubt that medical school is hard but whether one loves it or hates it is quite variable. Be prepared to be worked because you wouldn't want some bumblef**k in charge of your health. Be prepared to be criticized because sometimes it is the only way to prevent a passive attitude on learning. Be prepared for nurses, techs, residents, fellows and attendings to yell at you because you truly are a visitor to the wards. They've been their longer and they need to protect that territory. Be prepared to be given very general directions with very high expectations because if you're smart enough to get into medical school, you should be smart enough to figure it out! Be prepared to learn, and forget, and relearn, and forget and relearn... Be prepared to be around people who will never be satisfied and will always find something to gripe about.
 

SuperHiro

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Yeah, to refer to the post above me, I heard that to get into med school is all up to you. But for residencies and beyond is all about the people you know. My buddy's dad is a top surgeon in FL and told me about some of the stuff.
Knowing someone great to write you a letter or give you a courtesy call _might_ be helpful but unless you have what it takes for the program, it won't be that much of a boost. So no, it is absolutely not all about "who you know" and whoever told you that is misinformed.
 

Danlee07

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Yea, but I thought that for your residency, you just get lined up and if you end up matching pretty stat for stat with someone else... wouldn't that connect just bump you up
 

SuperHiro

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Yea, but I thought that for your residency, you just get lined up and if you end up matching pretty stat for stat with someone else... wouldn't that connect just bump you up
Perhaps, but to match stat for stat (Scores, grades, awards, extracurriculars, INTERVIEW) is a rare situation. I think in ANY job market, there is an aspect of who you know. But you put it to an extreme and it is simply not the case in applying for residency. Again, yes, it can probably help but if the main focus is just getting to know someone who can help you without pulling your weight for everything else in the application, you'd be screwed.
 

mmmcdowe

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It doesn't matter what school you come from (unfortunately) because most medical schools run the numbers, and dont have adjustments from coming from Yale or ASU.
Not unfortunate for me :D. Go sundevils.
 

Forthegood

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Be prepared to be around people who will never be satisfied and will always find something to gripe about.
THIS.

Let's see, things I have learned...
1. Toughen up. You will be berated in front of your colleagues, faculty, and even sometimes patients. Learn to deal with criticism and lose your ego. At one point in life, you were a special snowflake. Now you are in med school with all the other snowflakes. Not so shiny now...

2. Like mentioned above...the good thing about medicine is the patients. They bring you interesting illnesses and challenge the hell out of you. Some of them will even thank you for your work. But from the moment you start, their thank you is not meaningful enough to really give you the satisfaction you are used to.

3. Learn to enjoy studying. It can actually be relaxing and interesting if you get over the pathetic need to complain and act like you wish you'd chosen another field. By the way, no you don't. None of us do. The people who really wish they chose another field drop out. And that leaves just the people who like it and say it, straight up, and those that complain and try to draw sympathy.

4. Money matters.

5. The MCAT selects for a certain type of individual. And that certain type is also a type likely to be have some qualities that are desireable in medical students. But really, it is hoop. Just like all the others. One after another, don't kid yourself, you will be jumping through hoops until you die or get caught on one. This is how medicine works. Welcome.
 

MCAT guy

...
May 24, 2010
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(1) There is no possible way that anyone not in medical school could convey the difficulty, the commitment, nor the knowledge gained to some one not in medical school. Telling some one they will study or work 12 hrs a day, 6 days a week, sacrifice everything they ever loved for the potential at joining the ranks of the most highly elite just wont get it. "yeah yeah yeah," "med schools hard, so was undergrad." "Oh 80 hours a week, I already do that at my job." Are likely responses.

(2) I take it you must be somewhere in the beginning of your medical education. What is really the problem is that people INSIDE medical school cannot see the light at the end of a very long tunnel. I have a number of posts attempting to alleviate some of that anxiety. I am glad that you are transferring negative energy into something positive. Being at the end of the process, I can assure you, it is totally worth it. Even if you do not realize how far you go, or how much you learned, or how much you've even forgotten, there is no one better trained than the physician.

(3) As far as you list for undergrads:
a. Safely applying to medical school requires a 35 on the MCAT and a 3.5 GPA. It doesn't matter what school you come from (unfortunately) because most medical schools run the numbers, and dont have adjustments from coming from Yale or ASU. 30 MCAT and 3.0 GPA is required to make it into some US medical school, though your chances are weak. Below that, you're looking at scraping in off the wait list at your podunk state school OR going to a Caribe School OR going to DO. Caribe and DO schools limit your potential for residency.
b. Science majors comprise the majority of medical school
c. Many, i would say even 50%, take "nontraditional educational approaches" i.e. they do something else between college and medical school. Whether thats EMS, MPH, or Program designer, meh. That number goes down for the high-end name-brands, goes up for the middle-of-the-road
d. If you want a name-brand fellowship, you will need a name-brand residency, you will need a name-brand med school, or score ridiculous on your Step
e. P=MD at every medical school. P != Residency, generally anywhere
f. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again. Whether you do a post-bacc program, a master's degree, or research, so long as you demonstrate desire and capability, you can get in
g. be ready to dedicate your life. There will be seven years (minimum) of intense, grueling, training, that will likely challenge you as to whether or not it is all worth it. It is worth it.

(4) why do advisors say no to students who want to persue medicine?
Because people who can't cut it on an MCAT or in undergrad are unlikely to cut it in medical school. It also sets people up for the inevitable rejection. Only about 20% of the people who apply to medical school are accepted. If you aren't one of the people who is likely to make it (below the 50% mark) you need realistic advice that maybe a different career path (PA, Nursing, DO) is more right for you. You can still do a whole lot with some other degrees, even if you aren't the top of the top MD.
Are you hinting ASU is one of the crappiest schools in the nation?
 

MCAT guy

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Quick thoughts:

Shouldn't this guide be called, "The Complainer's Guide to Getting into Med School?"

Aren't there plenty of difficult careers other than medicine?

Aren't doctors compensated pretty well, despite the debt?

Aren't we living in the wealthiest, richest, most resourceful nations ever known to mankind?
 

MCAT guy

...
May 24, 2010
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THIS.

Let's see, things I have learned...
1. Toughen up. You will be berated in front of your colleagues, faculty, and even sometimes patients. Learn to deal with criticism and lose your ego. At one point in life, you were a special snowflake. Now you are in med school with all the other snowflakes. Not so shiny now...

2. Like mentioned above...the good thing about medicine is the patients. They bring you interesting illnesses and challenge the hell out of you. Some of them will even thank you for your work. But from the moment you start, their thank you is not meaningful enough to really give you the satisfaction you are used to.

3. Learn to enjoy studying. It can actually be relaxing and interesting if you get over the pathetic need to complain and act like you wish you'd chosen another field. By the way, no you don't. None of us do. The people who really wish they chose another field drop out. And that leaves just the people who like it and say it, straight up, and those that complain and try to draw sympathy.

4. Money matters.

5. The MCAT selects for a certain type of individual. And that certain type is also a type likely to be have some qualities that are desireable in medical students. But really, it is hoop. Just like all the others. One after another, don't kid yourself, you will be jumping through hoops until you die or get caught on one. This is how medicine works. Welcome.
:thumbup:
 

Dr Oops

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Quick thoughts:

Shouldn't this guide be called, "The Complainer's Guide to Getting into Med School?"

Aren't there plenty of difficult careers other than medicine?

Aren't doctors compensated pretty well, despite the debt?

Aren't we living in the wealthiest, richest, most resourceful nations ever known to mankind?
Why don't you start school, then decide what you wanna name it
 
OP
M

misahwang

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Jun 30, 2008
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Quick thoughts:

Shouldn't this guide be called, "The Complainer's Guide to Getting into Med School?"

Aren't there plenty of difficult careers other than medicine?

Aren't doctors compensated pretty well, despite the debt?

Aren't we living in the wealthiest, richest, most resourceful nations ever known to mankind?
sardonically...

1. that does seem like a good title name actually, i think it would grab peoples attention, but the spirit of you comment is immature and annoying as I am only looking for medical students unfiltered ideas free from the ideological banter that you seem to enjoy ever so much (as evidence by your useless, overly discussed and somewhat political questions)
2. yes, is there a point to your question?
3. ehh, not that well, any reason for asking other than to stir up ****?
4. definite no, but im sure that you will write a beautiful application essay about how you are gonna save the poor when u become a doctor
 

MrBeauregard

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(1) There is no possible way that anyone not in medical school could convey the difficulty, the commitment, nor the knowledge gained to some one not in medical school. Telling some one they will study or work 12 hrs a day, 6 days a week, sacrifice everything they ever loved for the potential at joining the ranks of the most highly elite just wont get it. "yeah yeah yeah," "med schools hard, so was undergrad." "Oh 80 hours a week, I already do that at my job." Are likely responses.

(2) I take it you must be somewhere in the beginning of your medical education. What is really the problem is that people INSIDE medical school cannot see the light at the end of a very long tunnel. I have a number of posts attempting to alleviate some of that anxiety. I am glad that you are transferring negative energy into something positive. Being at the end of the process, I can assure you, it is totally worth it. Even if you do not realize how far you go, or how much you learned, or how much you've even forgotten, there is no one better trained than the physician.

(3) As far as you list for undergrads:
a. Safely applying to medical school requires a 35 on the MCAT and a 3.5 GPA. It doesn't matter what school you come from (unfortunately) because most medical schools run the numbers, and dont have adjustments from coming from Yale or ASU. 30 MCAT and 3.0 GPA is required to make it into some US medical school, though your chances are weak. Below that, you're looking at scraping in off the wait list at your podunk state school OR going to a Caribe School OR going to DO. Caribe and DO schools limit your potential for residency.
b. Science majors comprise the majority of medical school
c. Many, i would say even 50%, take "nontraditional educational approaches" i.e. they do something else between college and medical school. Whether thats EMS, MPH, or Program designer, meh. That number goes down for the high-end name-brands, goes up for the middle-of-the-road
d. If you want a name-brand fellowship, you will need a name-brand residency, you will need a name-brand med school, or score ridiculous on your Step
e. P=MD at every medical school. P != Residency, generally anywhere
f. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again. Whether you do a post-bacc program, a master's degree, or research, so long as you demonstrate desire and capability, you can get in
g. be ready to dedicate your life. There will be seven years (minimum) of intense, grueling, training, that will likely challenge you as to whether or not it is all worth it. It is worth it.

(4) why do advisors say no to students who want to persue medicine?
Because people who can't cut it on an MCAT or in undergrad are unlikely to cut it in medical school. It also sets people up for the inevitable rejection. Only about 20% of the people who apply to medical school are accepted. If you aren't one of the people who is likely to make it (below the 50% mark) you need realistic advice that maybe a different career path (PA, Nursing, DO) is more right for you. You can still do a whole lot with some other degrees, even if you aren't the top of the top MD.
Ha, are you freaking kidding? Considering DO as a different career path? Your input into this "guide" is laughable and I hope that not a single person here takes you seriously.
 

Rollo

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Ha, are you freaking kidding? Considering DO as a different career path? Your input into this "guide" is laughable and I hope that not a single person here takes you seriously.
I thought that was pretty hilarious that he considers DO a different career path.

:laugh:
 

MCAT guy

...
May 24, 2010
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definite no, but im sure that you will write a beautiful application essay about how you are gonna save the poor when u become a doctor
I already wrote a beautiful application essay! But thanks for the encouragement bro.

Sorry to interject, let the Complainer's Guide continue...
 

MCAT guy

...
May 24, 2010
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Lol. Why would a DO be a different career path?

Haters gonna hate.
 

SuperHiro

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3. Learn to enjoy studying. It can actually be relaxing and interesting if you get over the pathetic need to complain and act like you wish you'd chosen another field. By the way, no you don't. None of us do. The people who really wish they chose another field drop out. And that leaves just the people who like it and say it, straight up, and those that complain and try to draw sympathy.
This is awesome. Something I've always wanted to say but couldn't really put it in words. THANK YOU!
 

cpants

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Med school is difficult, but it is interesting, challenging, rewarding, and offers great compensation and job security at the end of the tunnel. It is truly a privilege to study medicine. Despite what the cynical med student, resident, or attending tells you, you probably won't be able to make the same money or have a happier life in the corporate world. If you are able to find that great corporate job, it will be at the expense of working even harder than you would have in medicine and with the constant threat of instant firing hanging over your head for the duration of your career.
 

MCAT guy

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Med school is difficult, but it is interesting, challenging, rewarding, and offers great compensation and job security at the end of the tunnel. It is truly a privilege to study medicine. Despite what the cynical med student, resident, or attending tells you, you probably won't be able to make the same money or have a happier life in the corporate world. If you are able to find that great corporate job, it will be at the expense of working even harder than you would have in medicine and with the constant threat of instant firing hanging over your head for the duration of your career.
Mostly correct.:thumbup:

There are some sweet corporate/sales jobs. The rumors are real. Few and far between? Yes.

But every career has challenges.
 

Zoom-Zoom

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1. I started off thinking that medicine was mildly scientific and that people actually knew what they were doing... I now know that it's just a big cluster-eff.
2. Med schools are full of it....
3. etc...
That. Pretty much. I didn't really understand until second year how much of medicine for many docs is not about applying science to treat pt's...it's about memorizing patterns of presentations and the corresponding treatments. Most of my prof's don't really understand the mechanisms behind various diseases and treatments, or seem to understand them on a very superficial level...to the point that I've found I have to hold back asking certain questions because I've ended up pimping primary care doctors unintentionally.
 

coldweatherblue

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Most of my prof's don't really understand the mechanisms behind various diseases and treatments, or seem to understand them on a very superficial level...to the point that I've found I have to hold back asking certain questions because I've ended up pimping primary care doctors unintentionally.
omg u must be like so smart.

glad i'm not smart like you guys cause i'm always amazed by how much medicine my attendings know and it makes the work required to make it through training actually interesting cause i'm always learning. must be boring if you know everything already..
 

osumc2014

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Ha, are you freaking kidding? Considering DO as a different career path? Your input into this "guide" is laughable and I hope that not a single person here takes you seriously.
Probably meant OD
 

jwl7b

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Write a eulogy for your love of English and your grammar skills before you enter med school.
 

Double Bonded

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(1) There is no possible way that anyone not in medical school could convey the difficulty, the commitment, nor the knowledge gained to some one not in medical school. Telling some one they will study or work 12 hrs a day, 6 days a week, sacrifice everything they ever loved for the potential at joining the ranks of the most highly elite just wont get it. "yeah yeah yeah," "med schools hard, so was undergrad." "Oh 80 hours a week, I already do that at my job." Are likely responses.

(2) I take it you must be somewhere in the beginning of your medical education. What is really the problem is that people INSIDE medical school cannot see the light at the end of a very long tunnel. I have a number of posts attempting to alleviate some of that anxiety. I am glad that you are transferring negative energy into something positive. Being at the end of the process, I can assure you, it is totally worth it. Even if you do not realize how far you go, or how much you learned, or how much you've even forgotten, there is no one better trained than the physician.

(3) As far as you list for undergrads:
a. Safely applying to medical school requires a 35 on the MCAT and a 3.5 GPA. It doesn't matter what school you come from (unfortunately) because most medical schools run the numbers, and dont have adjustments from coming from Yale or ASU. 30 MCAT and 3.0 GPA is required to make it into some US medical school, though your chances are weak. Below that, you're looking at scraping in off the wait list at your podunk state school OR going to a Caribe School OR going to DO. Caribe and DO schools limit your potential for residency.
b. Science majors comprise the majority of medical school
c. Many, i would say even 50%, take "nontraditional educational approaches" i.e. they do something else between college and medical school. Whether thats EMS, MPH, or Program designer, meh. That number goes down for the high-end name-brands, goes up for the middle-of-the-road
d. If you want a name-brand fellowship, you will need a name-brand residency, you will need a name-brand med school, or score ridiculous on your Step
e. P=MD at every medical school. P != Residency, generally anywhere
f. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again. Whether you do a post-bacc program, a master's degree, or research, so long as you demonstrate desire and capability, you can get in
g. be ready to dedicate your life. There will be seven years (minimum) of intense, grueling, training, that will likely challenge you as to whether or not it is all worth it. It is worth it.
Highly, highly specialty specific. I will agree that in most of your surgical subspecialties in your name fellowships need "name" residencies. Getting to those, however, your ENT/Ortho/NSGY/etc residents are already pretty well clustered at the top of the Step I scores - there's not much room left to set yourself apart. Who you know, who knows you, and who they know using the "old boy network" unfortunately matter quite a bit more than one would like. And what qualifies as "name brand" is very specialty specific - to the extent that a pre-med thinking they want to do ENT is going to have no clue what medical school has the best ENT department. Further, what the lay public think is "name brand" often isn't. For example, I'd take pediatric subspecialists in nearly any field who did their fellowship at the University of Cincinnati or the University of Utah any day of the week over those trained at Duke or Yale...but I didn't know that until I decided on pediatrics for residency and did some research. And even though that's the case, what do the patients know?

It also ignores the fact that most pre-meds only get into one med school - the one in their home state.

Totally agree with the info on DO's and IMG's. Even though DO's are at a disadvantage for Allo residencies compared to MD's, they're well ahead of the game compared to the IMG's. No one should go to an International medical school unless they're willing to accept the possibility that they may end up $300k in debt with no medical job in the United States. I suppose if you're independently wealthy, no big deal, but for everyone else, it's a very real possibility.

As for other advice for this "guide":
Med school sucks...hard. I can't even begin to describe just how awful it is. The idea of quitting is a routine thought for most people (especially those that went straight through from undergrad to med school with no break), but they keep on because either a) they realize that there are 1000's of people who would kill to go through this hell, or b) they realize that after they get their loan checks at the start of 2nd year they're in so much debt that they can't be anything other than a doctor and have any hope of paying it all off.

Patients are the most ungrateful set of people on the planet. Anyone who believes they can rely on patients to thank them and somehow that will be all the fulfillment they (the future physician) will need is going to be sorely disappointed. You have to find internal sources of fulfillment and reveling in the details that no one else notices or that outsiders would find disturbing, otherwise there are going to be a lot of dark days in between the very infrequent "thank you's". People come to you, often when they're feeling like absolute sh!t, and demand you fix them. Manners, etiquette and even the minimal rules of civility are thrown out the window far before they get to your exam room. And heaven forbid if you ask them to take some responsibility for there own care...

Parents, significant others, friends, and even other non-medical acquaintances will never be able to fully understand - whether you take care of the frankly psychotic, the 600 gram 24 week preemies, do emergent brain surgery after being awake for 29 1/2 hours, or manage the blood pressures for 500 non-compliant diabetics, non-physicians just won't get it. They won't be able to understand how you manage to do what you do...and it will be nearly impossible for you to explain it, because it's just what you do.

All that said, it's so totally worth it. I wouldn't trade what I do with anyone in the world.
I'm a little bit cautious when reading the parts in bold. I see you guys saying all of this negative stuff about your experience but then you say it's worth it....I don't really get what pros could outweigh such sh*tty cons.

I think I would really medicine and studying/learning is fulfilling, but I would much rather have my weekends and holidays than studying something that I find interesting. I'm coming to the end of my undergrad and I just can't decide between perusing medicine or dentistry. Medicine seems interesting but hard and dentistry seems easier but dull. I'm not sure that I want to voluntarily put myself through that kind of hell for so long. Any advice?
 

Forthegood

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Advice? Take a year and think about it more. I doubt dentistry is a walk in the park either... maybe not as bad as medicine, but either way you are going to be in for an awakening.
 
Dec 21, 2008
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I'm a little bit cautious when reading the parts in bold. I see you guys saying all of this negative stuff about your experience but then you say it's worth it....I don't really get what pros could outweigh such sh*tty cons.

I think I would really medicine and studying/learning is fulfilling, but I would much rather have my weekends and holidays than studying something that I find interesting. I'm coming to the end of my undergrad and I just can't decide between perusing medicine or dentistry. Medicine seems interesting but hard and dentistry seems easier but dull. I'm not sure that I want to voluntarily put myself through that kind of hell for so long. Any advice?
Easy; when people feel good about something, the thought process doesn't immediately go to "hey, I should post how good I feel online for everybody to read about," especially when the usual result is an influx of Debbie-Downer posters who feel the need to bring the OP down to their level of misery.

However, when the bad comes raining down, it's therapeutic to put your feelings out there for reassurance that a) one is not alone in feeling that way, and b) to see if anyone else has "horror stories" equal in comparison. The latter may not be the actual intent of the initial posting, but like telling any bar story, eventually someone will chime in with the "you think that's bad? Lemme tell you about how bad I have it..." post, and so on.

My point is that if you really pay attention to what it is that people are complaining about, they all tend to fall in the same vein of universal gripes that everyone has with medicine/medical school/"the system," whereas what makes the career rewarding tends to be more individualized, making it more difficult to communicate how you feel with others. I'm not telling you that the gripers don't have a point; there are definitely low points in medical school, but if it's what you really want to do, you grind on knowing that in the end, "it" is all worth it.

What "it" is is up to you to figure out, and when you do figure "it" out, don't let anyone bring you down for it. After all, you wouldn't be looking into this career path if you didn't find at least one aspect of it interesting.

PS You can basically take anything OveractiveBrain has to say with a hefty grain of salt; his/her posts of late have been pretty trollish/hypocritical.
 
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jwl7b

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I'm a little bit cautious when reading the parts in bold. I see you guys saying all of this negative stuff about your experience but then you say it's worth it....I don't really get what pros could outweigh such sh*tty cons.

I think I would really medicine and studying/learning is fulfilling, but I would much rather have my weekends and holidays than studying something that I find interesting. I'm coming to the end of my undergrad and I just can't decide between perusing medicine or dentistry. Medicine seems interesting but hard and dentistry seems easier but dull. I'm not sure that I want to voluntarily put myself through that kind of hell for so long. Any advice?
I think it has a lot to do with cognitive dissonance.

There is no point in putting yourself through a harrowing experience without some reward, so, psychologically, you will make it rewarding.

The exceptions are probably the people at both extremes-- those who love medicine and those who absolutely despise it. Either there's very little dissonance or it's so great that it's insurmountable. People in the latter category probably end up quitting.

Personally, that's why I think all the griping people do is usually pretty telling. Probably means there's some definite dysfunction going on. (Otherwise, we'd be leaning toward the other extreme, which in sports terms is called "homerism".) Not saying "medicine" is terrible, but the system's definitely flawed. I'll hash what others have said though, and say that I don't really know of any profession where # of positive comments > # of negative. In this sense, medicine's probably not inherently a better profession than anything else, but it's not worse either.

The difference will probably be in how much weight each of your values hold-- i.e., do you value your weekends/holidays enough over academic interest/prestige/etc. so you'll end up regretting choosing dentistry over medicine? Or vice versa?

Either way, I'd bet chances are you'll fall into that middle category that ends up clearing your dissonance about your choice, and you'll be fine. Life goes on. It's still worth thinking about though, in case you fall into that group that ends up really regretting doing one over the other.

Also, there are some psychological studies that suggest that people have a baseline level of happiness, and this isn't very dependent on circumstances. From what I remember, an example might be if someone was like, "I would be so much happier if I got that promotion at work," or "if I started dating that person, I'd be so much happier." Based on self-reports, it turns out that those things really don't have much bearing on overall feelings of "happiness" over time.

And by that, I mean to say this: If you're a happy person, you'll probably be happy whether you go into medicine or dentistry. If you're not, then neither will make you happy.

At the end of the day, I feel like it's important not to take yourself too seriously. Or your profession too seriously. Life's pretty short, and it'd be sad to spend most of it feeling dissatisfied with what you have or don't have. In terms of medicine vs. dentistry, try figuring out your values, then make as much of an informed decision (shadow?) as you can. Beyond that, there's a lot that's out of your control anyway. And what more can you do?

Dunno if any of that helps, but feels nice to get those thoughts off my chest. Now back to shelf studying...

/soapbox

Edit: Just to clarify with another thought I just had too-- Medicine probably doesn't have a disproportionate unhappy-to-happy people ratio, so that's why I think the number of gripes is pretty telling. Although sometimes I do feel like there really are a lot of people in med school who are really vocal about their displeasure with everything, which kind of makes the experience suck more than it needs to. I'm probably a baseline-positive person, but I really feed off others. Happy people make me happy. Angry people make me angry. This has not brought me great comfort in med school.
 
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Either way, I'd bet chances are you'll fall into that middle category that ends up clearing your dissonance about your choice, and you'll be fine. Life goes on. It's still worth thinking about though, in case you fall into that group that ends up really regretting doing one over the other.
To add to this, it's worth emphasizing how important it is to have realistic expectations about what it is you're about to get yourself into. I find that a lot of people who are genuinely unhappy about the path they've chosen had unrealistic expectations going in, only to become disillusioned later when reality throws a bucket of paint on the pretty mental picture they've painted for themselves.
 
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I find that a lot of people who are genuinely unhappy about the path they've chosen had unrealistic expectations going in, only to become disillusioned later when reality throws a bucket of paint on the pretty mental picture they've painted for themselves.
I am interested in this -- what specific unrealistic expectations have you seen when it comes to medicine?

A couple of obvious ones come to mind (earning 'mega bucks', having shorter working hours), but do you have other examples?
 
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I am interested in this -- what specific unrealistic expectations have you seen when it comes to medicine?

A couple of obvious ones come to mind (earning 'mega bucks', having shorter working hours), but do you have other examples?
I should have specified that I wasn't limiting that commentary to just medicine; you can apply it to any serious life choice. I suppose what makes medicine unique in this sense is that it requires a pretty expensive investment from the beginning to only find yourself disillusioned and hating your career choice later.

But, if I had to think of a few things that might lead to disappointment later on if you don't come to grips with it early on (including some things I probably thought), they would be:

1. Just because you're nice to your patients does not mean they will love you back; be prepared to be treated with disrespect.

2. Your class will be composed of the best and brightest individuals in the country; being average in a class of high-achievers does not equal failure on your part.

3. For the most part, you can't control what your patients do outside your office, as much as you want them to quit smoking, lose weight, etc. You can't live and die on whether your patients do what you say; all you can do is educate them as well as you can and hope for the best.

4. Patients lie; get used to it. They also make flimsy excuses/rationalizations as to why they continue their unhealthy lifestyles/didn't follow your orders, and then act as if you're the one with the problem when you call them on it.

5. Based on my limited experience, medicine is more complicated than the neat little clinical vignettes you're asked to solve on your exams.

6. Terrible things happen to good people...a lot.

7. "Bad" people get sick/hurt, too; you still have to treat them as if they were any other patient.

8. You will not always sympathize with your patients' problems; this does not make you a bad person. That being said, personal feelings of that nature need to be left at the door; you can always vent later.

9. Patients will make uninformed decisions based on spurious anecdotal "evidence"/limited understanding, despite all evidence to the contrary that you make available to them.

10. As counterintuitive as it sounds, saving a patient's life will not always be seen as doing them a favor; DNRs are to be expected and respected.

Again, I'm not trying to sit here and lecture by the fireside like I have medicine all figured out; I'm just a lowly MS-II trying to grind my way through school one exam at a time. However, I found that when you at least expect that not everything will be good all the time, you're better prepared for when something bad/unpleasant does happen; it comes with the territory. Not only that, the good things are that much more enjoyable when they do happen. This is opposed to the person who comes in with a glamorized idea of what they thought medicine would be like, only to continually battle with the "this can't be what medicine is really like" thoughts as fantasy gets shattered by reality.
 
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MCAT guy

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I should have specified that I wasn't limiting that commentary to just medicine; you can apply it to any serious life choice. I suppose what makes medicine unique in this sense is that it requires a pretty expensive investment from the beginning to only find yourself disillusioned and hating your career choice later.

But, if I had to think of a few things that might lead to disappointment later on if you don't come to grips with it early on (including some things I probably thought), they would be:

1. Just because you're nice to your patients does not mean they will love you back; be prepared to be treated with disrespect.

2. Your class will be composed of the best and brightest individuals in the country; being average in a class of high-achievers does not equal failure on your part.

3. For the most part, you can't control what your patients do outside your office, as much as you want them to quit smoking, lose weight, etc. You can't live and die on whether your patients do what you say; all you can do is educate them as well as you can and hope for the best.

4. Patients lie; get used to it. They also make flimsy excuses/rationalizations as to why they continue their unhealthy lifestyles/didn't follow your orders, and then act as if you're the one with the problem when you call them on it.

5. Based on my limited experience, medicine is more complicated than the neat little clinical vignettes you're asked to solve on your exams.

6. Terrible things happen to good people...a lot.

7. "Bad" people get sick/hurt, too; you still have to treat them as if they were any other patient.

8. You will not always sympathize with your patients' problems; this does not make you a bad person. That being said, personal feelings of that nature need to be left at the door; you can always vent later.

9. Patients will make uninformed decisions based on spurious anecdotal "evidence"/limited understanding, despite all evidence to the contrary that you make available to them.

10. As counterintuitive as it sounds, saving a patient's life will not always be seen as doing them a favor; DNRs are to be expected and respected.

Again, I'm not trying to sit here and lecture by the fireside like I have medicine all figured out; I'm just a lowly MS-II trying to grind my way through school one exam at a time. However, I found that when you at least expect that not everything will be good all the time, you're better prepared for when something bad/unpleasant does happen; it comes with the territory. Not only that, the good things are that much more enjoyable when they do happen. This is opposed to the person who comes in with a glamorized idea of what they thought medicine would be like, only to continually battle with the "this can't be what medicine is really like" thoughts as fantasy gets shattered by reality.
:thumbup:

The reason why this is wise is it hits the key ideas. Understanding that people are going to sometimes be a pain in the butt, regardless if you've saved their life or been a saint. People are going to be difficult. Also, there's also a lot of work. Lastly, there are egos to deal with in the field. It's a political game.

@greatnt249, Good thorough post.

I always find it funny when people complain about how awful patients are. I don't think they've ever work in an industry with people. There are always difficult individuals to deal with in all fields involving serving individuals.
 

hrandani

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:thumbup:

The reason why this is wise is it hits the key ideas. Understanding that people are going to sometimes be a pain in the butt, regardless if you've saved their life or been a saint. People are going to be difficult. Also, there's also a lot of work. Lastly, there are egos to deal with in the field. It's a political game.

@greatnt249, Good thorough post.

I always find it funny when people complain about how awful patients are. I don't think they've ever work in an industry with people. There are always difficult individuals to deal with in all fields involving serving individuals.
Posts by premeds never get old. Jesus.