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Help me become a doctor [Update Page 5]

2

Posts

  • FonjoFonjo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    A great thing about your med-school debt is that you can get it payed off by a hospital. Many hospitals(mostly rural) need doctors and are willing to pay your loans off if you sign a contract to work for them for a set number of years(usually around four).

    If living rural for a while sounds OK to you, that is an option. Also, this contract can be sold to other hospitals if you decide you would like to leave. Keep in mind, these hospitals will usually be understaffed and you will probably have a less flexible schedule.

    As for residency, you usually choose what you would like around the end of third year and during fourth year. So you don't have to worry about getting stuck in a field you hate. However, some fields only have a limited amount of residency spots open up every year so the high demand fields might be hard to get into on the first try. The good news is that you said you are OK with family medicine and that is usually wide open due to the amount of family medicine residencies available.

    Step 1: Take the classes you need to get into med school. Shadow doctors and volunteer consistently. This will help decide if you REALLY want this. Volunteer with things that show that you care about helping people and society.

    Step 2: Get your grades up and study your ass off. Prepare to take the MCAT, this sucker is brutal. It is long and you really want to know your stuff. This can be done when you are getting close to finishing your pre-med classes. (You don't need the major, just the classes necessary.)

    Step 3: Apply to schools after taking MCAT. You want a decent GPA, 3.4+ is OK. A good score on the MCAT is important but it does not have to be the very best. Have a portfolio with a well written, non-cliche personal statement and all of your shadowing/volunteer work. Volunteer work is fairly critical because if you have a lot of experience it helps you in the next part...

    Step 4: Interview! (maybe) This is it, you got your interview into med-school. The past experiences are what count here. Don't be a robot, don't be nervous and just talk about your experiences and answer their questions. Your grades and your MCAT score are basically what got your application looked at. Your personal statement is most likely what made them decide whether to call you in. The key here is to make any flaw look like it was an area that you worked on improving and that you actually like helping people and are willing to dedicate yourself to the study of medicine.

    Step 5: Didn't get accepted eh? Apply again. During the downtime you can bolster your portfolio and show them that you are driven. If you did manage to get in, quit your job and live off of loans. When it is over you can sign a contract with a rural hospital or something.

    Good luck.

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  • FonjoFonjo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    pardzh wrote: »
    What was your BA like? I'm unsure of what a "focus in Biology" really means.

    I'm just wondering because as a Biology/Chem major myself I see Pre-Med hopefuls dropping like flies once they come up on Organic II / Biochem. I mean, be sure you got the chops for the Pre-Med stuff first, right?

    Again, I dunno how you feel about the undergrad stuff, but that's just my personal observation.

    This is true. Be ready for some hard classes. Organic II is extremely difficult for most people.

    Also, when applying to med-school, your actual degree is not important, you just need the classes.

    In fact, many schools are looking for diverse degrees and something other than biology or chemistry degrees actually can give you a slight edge. Again you still have to take all the basics. I believe it is something like ...

    Bio 1/Bio 2, Chem 1/Chem 2, Organic 1/Organic 2, Physics 1/Physics 2 and either microbiology or biochem. Been a while since I looked at the list but that gives you a rough idea. Fun times!

    camo_sig2.png
  • pardzhpardzh Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I'd put down Microbiology, Genetics, Biochemistry(which at any decent school has Organic II as a pre-req), and Anatomy&Physiology I&II as absolute requirements in any self-respecting Pre-Med program. Probably throw Cell Biology on the list too.

    Basically, you better either be very motivated to become a doctor, or at least somewhat interested in all the classwork leading up to doctorhood. If you've got both qualities, shit, you should fly through the undergraduate part of your quest.

    gt: fructofuranose | Lou Diamonds aka The Chef aka Spitta Andretti

    No business but war. No family but death. No mercy but the grave!
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I was pretty good at microbiology and genetics, passed AP-biology too, when I took the advanced placement classes in high school. I only have an associates from ITT and it won't help me at all in this case. I am absolutely okay with going back for refresher courses or even going back for a bachelors.

    I'm going to get in touch with the people at SUNY med and ask what I need to do to get accepted to their program.

    And my only concern with not having a job in the meantime is being able to afford gas, rent, heat, food, and my car. If I can slap those under a medical school loan while I'm attending that's fine by me (blargh to that though, it's probably for the better so I can actually make it through med school rather than get halfway through it, flunk out, then have 100,000 in debt).

  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    pardzh wrote: »
    I'd put down Microbiology, Genetics, Biochemistry(which at any decent school has Organic II as a pre-req), and Anatomy&Physiology I&II as absolute requirements in any self-respecting Pre-Med program. Probably throw Cell Biology on the list too.

    Basically, you better either be very motivated to become a doctor, or at least somewhat interested in all the classwork leading up to doctorhood. If you've got both qualities, shit, you should fly through the undergraduate part of your quest.

    I don't know about your school, but mine assumes that people remember nothing from undergrad. It really isn't necessary to take more classes than the bare requirements to get in. I generally skipped the first week of each class because it was all really basic stuff I had done more than once in college as a biology major.

    Oddly enough, Ochem 2 was a pre-req for biochem at my school.

    But yeah, you will need 2 semesters of general chem, 2 semesters of O chem, 2 semesters biology and 2 semester of physics. I had friends that were spanish majors in undergrad and took the bare minimum and still honored our cell biology/biochemistry portion. Taking more will make your first year easier but it really isn't necessary.

    I thought you also had a BA at somewhere other than ITT?

    Animal Crossing: City Folk Lissa in Filmore 3179-9580-0076
  • valiancevaliance Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    LeCaustic wrote: »
    Let's not forget that medicine is currently going through a rehauling of sorts. It's not going to be the same as it used to.

    I recommend www.studentdoctor.net/ and starting there. You'll hear it from everyone; premeds, med students, residents, attendings, physicians, etc etc. It's not easy and it certainly is NOT pretty. Also, your current choice in specialty may change completely when you actually do clinical rotations. I've heard stories of people doing complete 180s and changing their specialty choice while doing clinical rotations. Heard about people in 5th year of residency in neurology and completely breaking down and going into pediatrics.

    Also, who in their right mind would want to work while in Medical School? I'm in a masters program working full time and I regret the decision and I cannot even begin to imagine people doing it in Med School (Mind you, I'm not in a ho-dunk masters either).

    yeah go to SDN, more specifically their forum on postbaccs: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forumdisplay.php?f=71
    You may just want to do one of the postbaccs for career changers instead of getting another BA or BS. (see category 3 in this thread: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=640302 )

    Best of Luck!

  • TheOtherHorsemanTheOtherHorseman Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Generally, med schools really only require the courses you need to succeed on the MCAT. As already mentioned, this works out to a year of gen bio, gen chem, physics, and orgo with their associated labs. Since you already have a degree, contrive to just take those classes somehow. Then, take the MCAT. Then, apply to medical schools. There are plenty of non-traditional med students everywhere. You won't even stick out.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Kistra wrote: »

    I thought you also had a BA at somewhere other than ITT?

    Completed a semester of it.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    So my plan of action is probably:
    • Attend a smattering of college courses to prepare for MCAT
    • take and, hopefully, pass the MCAT
    • apply and get accepted to SUNY Med
    • quit my job, and live off of medical loans (urg)
    • Complete the almost decade long schooling and become a doctor
    • Be in a job I want to be doing, finally

  • Evil_ReaverEvil_Reaver Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    That sounds like a pretty good plan.

    Now go out and do it.

    XBL: Agitated Wombat | 3DS: 2363-7048-2527
  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    Kistra wrote: »

    I thought you also had a BA at somewhere other than ITT?

    Completed a semester of it.

    Oh, I misunderstood. Yeah, you are going to need a bachelors to get into medical school.

    Animal Crossing: City Folk Lissa in Filmore 3179-9580-0076
  • MugaazMugaaz Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    From reading this thread I've become curious about something. Is the primary source of life satisfaction for most people what their job is?

  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited February 2010
    Considering a full time job takes up 40+ hours of your week, being unsatisfied with that means a large portion of your life has that unsatisfied feeling.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Well, you spend a good portion of your week working for a living. If you don't enjoy it, you'll absolutely hate yourself and begin hating your job. I like what I do, but I don't have the motivation to be doing it in 10 more years. I want my current job skill-set to be a hobby skill-set. In my case I've always liked science. Biology and chemistry more than physics and earth science and shit like that because I could care less about cleavage of shale or the laden airspeed velocity of a European swallow.

    This career change kind of fits what I want to do myself. And practically being a doctor/nurse to my girlfriend is a huge motivation and I really like doing what little of "doctoring" I do now for my girlfriend.

    But to be more direct in your question, doing something you absolutely hate will kill your potential and make you a very bitter person.

  • MugaazMugaaz Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    robothero wrote: »
    Considering a full time job takes up 40+ hours of your week, being unsatisfied with that means a large portion of your life has that unsatisfied feeling.

    I don't think that's a fair argument. Having a terrible job is one thing. I'm talking about are people unsatisfied with their life if they have a boring job with decent benefits and pay working with people they don't hate but aren't best friends with?

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Mugaaz wrote: »
    robothero wrote: »
    Considering a full time job takes up 40+ hours of your week, being unsatisfied with that means a large portion of your life has that unsatisfied feeling.

    I don't think that's a fair argument. Having a terrible job is one thing. I'm talking about are people unsatisfied with their life if they have a boring job with decent benefits and pay working with people they don't hate but aren't best friends with?

    Different strokes. I make a fair amount of money and compensation and work is work, I'm not friends with anyone outside because the last thing I want to do after work is talk about or do more work. But in my case, I don't know if I can do this for the rest of my life. If that answers your question.

  • MugaazMugaaz Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    Mugaaz wrote: »
    robothero wrote: »
    Considering a full time job takes up 40+ hours of your week, being unsatisfied with that means a large portion of your life has that unsatisfied feeling.

    I don't think that's a fair argument. Having a terrible job is one thing. I'm talking about are people unsatisfied with their life if they have a boring job with decent benefits and pay working with people they don't hate but aren't best friends with?

    Different strokes. I make a fair amount of money and compensation and work is work, I'm not friends with anyone outside because the last thing I want to do after work is talk about or do more work. But in my case, I don't know if I can do this for the rest of my life. If that answers your question.

    Could this just happen again after you become a doctor?

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Mugaaz wrote: »
    Could this just happen again after you become a doctor?

    Yes.

  • TheOtherHorsemanTheOtherHorseman Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Eh, you've got one life. Try to maximize your chances of making it a decently satisfying one.

  • LeCausticLeCaustic Registered User
    edited February 2010
    Mugaaz wrote: »
    From reading this thread I've become curious about something. Is the primary source of life satisfaction for most people what their job is?

    Yes.

    Spoiler:
  • LeCausticLeCaustic Registered User
    edited February 2010
    pardzh wrote: »
    What was your BA like? I'm unsure of what a "focus in Biology" really means.

    I'm just wondering because as a Biology/Chem major myself I see Pre-Med hopefuls dropping like flies once they come up on Organic II / Biochem. I mean, be sure you got the chops for the Pre-Med stuff first, right?

    Again, I dunno how you feel about the undergrad stuff, but that's just my personal observation.


    BA was in molecular biology. Masters is in molecular biology as well. But the graduate coursework is more focused in medically related topics (Immunology, Regenerative Medicine, etc etc).

    I've done all the pre-med coursework. Organic Chem was a distasteful bore that didn't apply to what I wanted. Biochemistry, on the other hand, was loads more interesting as it pertained to how it connects to your body.

    This program I'm in is pretty much a test of concentrated courses meant to see if you're really up to the challenge medical school will bring you.


    I should also note - you don't "pass" the MCAT. There's just a score that you need to get that will normally get you accepted (30) with a 10-10-10 for all three subjects. The higher, the better, though at some point (35ish), the disparity between that score and, say, a 45 is minimal because it's 1 question worth one point, so most medical schools don't necessarily consider the difference that large. Aim for a 30.

    Spoiler:
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    So, would me not having a BA be prohibitive? Would I need a BA or would the courses that are tested in the MCAT be enough?

  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    So, would me not having a BA be prohibitive? Would I need a BA or would the courses that are tested in the MCAT be enough?

    I don't know anyone in medical school without a bachelors. This is what the SUNY website says:
    Applications are accepted from U.S. citizens, permanent residents and foreign citizens who have completed at least 90 semester hours of coursework in the United States or Canada at an accredited institution.

    Animal Crossing: City Folk Lissa in Filmore 3179-9580-0076
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Kistra wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    So, would me not having a BA be prohibitive? Would I need a BA or would the courses that are tested in the MCAT be enough?

    I don't know anyone in medical school without a bachelors. This is what the SUNY website says:
    Applications are accepted from U.S. citizens, permanent residents and foreign citizens who have completed at least 90 semester hours of coursework in the United States or Canada at an accredited institution.

    Thanks I couldn't find that anywhere. I'll probably need to stay full time employed while completing a bachelors, which is okay, I'd think.

    Now I gotta find a good bachelor program from the SUNY schools.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    New Question, which BA would suit the MD program best? Keep in mind I want to stay with SUNY if at all possible and am looking for something close to Syracuse I could commute to (if you know the specific school that offers the BA even better).

  • soshi367soshi367 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Hey i wanted to stop by and wish you good luck on your long academic journey. I would also recommend the Student Doctor Network and or Mdapplicants.com to give you an idea of what kind of gpa, volunteer experience etc that people apply with. To answer your above question it seems like your ready to commit yourself so why not go for the science degree(bio,biochem), that way you get a degree and you will have taken the prereqs for med school. Its really up to you though since any major is acceptable as long as you have the prereqs.

  • LeCausticLeCaustic Registered User
    edited February 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    New Question, which BA would suit the MD program best? Keep in mind I want to stay with SUNY if at all possible and am looking for something close to Syracuse I could commute to (if you know the specific school that offers the BA even better).

    It really doesn't matter. Statistical data showed that between 30-40% of applicants who matriculated (accepted/enrolled) in medical school recently were non-biology related majors. As long as you take the requisites, you can be whatever major you want (barring ridiculously easy, unhelpful majors such as Bobs Clowning)

    Spoiler:
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    My boss went to school in India and around here for his MD, I think I'm going to ask him for insight and post back here to see what you guys all think about that.

  • FonjoFonjo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Any major is good. I know someone who had a poetry major and got in. The people I have talked to in many admissions offices tell me that having a major other than biology gives you a very slight edge because many schools are looking for diversity in education. It should not really matter though, just make sure you get the stuff you need.

    Also, I know some MDs that were excepted into med-school in other countries and were able to apply for transfer after the first year and make it into a US school. I am assuming you are from the USA, I spose I could be wrong.

    camo_sig2.png
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Yeah I'm in the USA, NYS to be specific.

    I mean if they'll accept my focused Associates degree in programming with no liberal arts background and let me take the few courses for the MCAT (as long as I pass it) that's fine by me. I'm probably going to do this either way and I'll ask him what he thinks. I'm also going to ask if he'll offer tuition assistance (since I work for a nephrologist and that's what I think I want to do for my focus).

  • LeCausticLeCaustic Registered User
    edited February 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    Yeah I'm in the USA, NYS to be specific.

    I mean if they'll accept my focused Associates degree in programming with no liberal arts background and let me take the few courses for the MCAT (as long as I pass it) that's fine by me. I'm probably going to do this either way and I'll ask him what he thinks. I'm also going to ask if he'll offer tuition assistance (since I work for a nephrologist and that's what I think I want to do for my focus).

    Bare in mind; Physicians today may not know what's required from people wanting to become doctors. Ex; The MCAT 20 years ago was completely different than today's MCAT and the requirements were different to.

    Spoiler:
  • geckahngeckahn Registered User
    edited February 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    Now I gotta find a good bachelor program from the SUNY schools.

    SUNY Binghamton is a good school for pre-med.

  • pardzhpardzh Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Just about any SUNY with a Biology program will have a Pre-Med track that your advisor will put you on.

    Just a series of courses more conducive to a Biology degree for medical school than one for research or the biotech industry.

    e: I'm at Brockport myself, and we seem moreso slanted towards research in both Biology and Chemistry.

    gt: fructofuranose | Lou Diamonds aka The Chef aka Spitta Andretti

    No business but war. No family but death. No mercy but the grave!
  • Mace1370Mace1370 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    New Question, which BA would suit the MD program best? Keep in mind I want to stay with SUNY if at all possible and am looking for something close to Syracuse I could commute to (if you know the specific school that offers the BA even better).

    Medical schools do not care what your major is. The care about your GPA (science and non-science), your MCAT, and your extracurriculars.

    My advice is find an easy major that interests you (doesn't have to be your passion). Anything that makes keeping your GPA up easier is worth it, imo.

    Getting a degree in physiology/biochem/physics (and getting good grades at the same time) is a hell of a lot more work than some of the other majors out there. So keep that in mind.

  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Mace1370 wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    New Question, which BA would suit the MD program best? Keep in mind I want to stay with SUNY if at all possible and am looking for something close to Syracuse I could commute to (if you know the specific school that offers the BA even better).

    Medical schools do not care what your major is. The care about your GPA (science and non-science), your MCAT, and your extracurriculars.

    My advice is find an easy major that interests you (doesn't have to be your passion). Anything that makes keeping your GPA up easier is worth it, imo.

    Getting a degree in physiology/biochem/physics (and getting good grades at the same time) is a hell of a lot more work than some of the other majors out there. So keep that in mind.

    As a bit of an additional point, maybe 10% of the people who start out premed actually go to medical school. Get a degree in something you wouldn't mind going into for a living or that gives you additional branching out options.

    If you're getting a degree in say physiology and don't actually have any interest in becoming potentially becoming a PHD in it you're wasting your time and you're just going to end up having to spend extra time on your real major later.


    Also, before you do anything else, go talk to someone at your local hospital about shadowing. Take one week, and shadow 72 hours. I'm not kidding about the hours part, don't cop out and do like 2 days for 4hours each, go there for 12 hours a day, 6 days in a row and be watching a doctor. They'll have someone there at all times if it's nothing but being in the ER. If you can still stand to be in the hospital at that point, then continue on with the doctor thing. If not, then at least you know now and not at your internship after you've spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get to that point.


    Edit: And I say this because I've literally known people who have gotten to 3rd year of med school or even graduated and gotten into an internship and then decided that the whole thing just wasn't for them... While medical schools are worthy causes and all there are probably better things you could do with your money than making a 200,000 dollar donation to one for no reason.

  • FonjoFonjo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I agree with Deva. Get in some hours. You want to have lots of experience shadowing many different areas of medicine. In some cases it will decide whether or not they look into your application. Also, you really want to be sure this is something you want. Like, really sure.

    A good example is a friend of mine who works at a children's hospital on the oncology floor. He puts in as many hours as they allow him to schedule and then volunteers some time to keep the children company or make them more comfortable. Something like this shows the school that you care and that you enjoy it/are driven.

    Yes, schools look at GPA but the most important part they look at are the upper level classes that are related to medicine. Getting an average score when starting out is OK but you either want to do really well to start or show improvement as you go.

    camo_sig2.png
  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Fonjo, they don't really look at the GPA all that much from what I've pried out of med school selection committees, they basically use the GPAs as a general cutoff, then they assign you point values based on your GPA and MCAT scores. Showing improvement is all well and nice, but they're only going to look at your mark trends if you're a marginal applicant.

    The volunteer experience, the GPA and the MCAT scores are all to get you into that interview spot, where the majority of your points are won or lost.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I think I want to, at least, go back for a bachelors. As for volunteering at a hospital I don't have the time at the moment though my life experiences would lend me to believe that rounding with a doctor isn't going to significantly change much (being I experience first hand all the lab results and taking care of someone with a disability/transplant -- which I'd probably make more sense of than following a doctor around).

    Though I'm sure my boss would let me round with him at the hospital too.

  • WalterWalter Registered User
    edited February 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    I think I want to, at least, go back for a bachelors. As for volunteering at a hospital I don't have the time at the moment though my life experiences would lend me to believe that rounding with a doctor isn't going to significantly change much (being I experience first hand all the lab results and taking care of someone with a disability/transplant -- which I'd probably make more sense of than following a doctor around).

    Though I'm sure my boss would let me round with him at the hospital too.

    It doesn't matter if you think it would change your mind or not, its a hoop you need to jump through. See if he can't connect you with doctors in other fields to shadow too so you can show some diversity in your experience. You also need to at least have some kind of community service experience and research. You don't want them to be able to look at your application and see 0 research, 0 shadowing, or 0 volunteering. You will probably get asked about each of these at your interviews. Don't get overwhelmed though, you can spread this all out over the years.

    You don't have to be published, something like a semester internship in a research lab, which is an easy boost to your science GPA if you get credits for it, is perfect. Maybe one day a month volunteer somewhere. The length of time you work at a place is more significant than the amount (better to have 1 day a week for 1-2 years than 20 hours a week for 3 months).

    Like people have said, sign up for an SDN account and ask questions there. They are VERY knowledgeable. Be aware that the majority of the people on the site are super motivated to attend medical school, so don't get discouraged when thirty people in a thread say you'll never make it in without a first author, 40MCAT, 3.9 GPA. Its a great source of information but its filled with super competitive dickheads.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    The volunteering or shadowing probably won't be too big of an issue. I'll probably be able to handle the academic grades as well. My only concern is getting enough of the time in for consideration. I sat down this weekend and realized I'm really busy, but 35% of that is me hanging out or playing games that I could cut and probably give me enough time that I could do this stuff.

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