I’ve spent a lot of time lurking and decided to post. I presently have ONE class left to finish my baccalaureate in psychology. My original plan was to enter an MA program to become a LMHC (licensed mental health counselor) and then on to doctoral work. However, I have gradually come to believe that I will be better equipped to serve by going back and doing my premed reqs and attempting to get in to med school and becoming a psychiatrist. I won’t make this excessively long by explaining all the reasons, but the seeds of the decision were planted when I took my physiological psychology class and my recognition of psychologist’s inability to address the somatic aspects of problems.
However, there are some complications. I originally entered a four-year college at 18, in 1993. I had little motivation or direction and never decided on a major, so I took all core courses and eventually transferred to a CC and finished an A.A. in 1997 (in “general studies”) in order to avoid losing my credits. My GPA from that time was ~2.8. I married in '97 and have two little ones and the most incredible marriage. I have a high-paying management job, but it is not where my heart is. Two years ago I finally returned to University and have maintained a 4.0 GPA with full-time classes and working full-time. My overall GPA will be somewhere around 3.2 - 3.3 in December. Dismal I know.
If I transfer to University of North Florida (UNF), I will lose much, but my GPA will be pulled up a little more because I’ll have to take a lot more classes. The other option is that UNF has a post-bac premed program for people like me who have a non-science bachelor’s degree but want to go back and do the premed reqs to try to get into med school (and the tuition rates are undergrad). Should I go ahead and finish my BA and then try to get into the post-bac program, or should I transfer without my BA? I hate to stop
this close, but I want to maximize my chances.
This isn’t a light decision and I’ve spent days here and on other sites researching the options and counting the cost. I’ve discussed the pros and cons in detail with my wife and have her full, informed support, 110% in spite of the sacrifices.
Sorry for the long post!
Personally, I would finish the degree for a multitude of reasons.
1 - How would you perceive an applicant to a phenomenally challenging academic program who quit something else so near to completion?
2 - Yes, your grades are sub-par, but are definitely NOT dismal. Once you have a BS/BA, then all of your coursework will then placed under the separate and, I believe, distinct heading of “post bacc” work. That makes it much easier to demarcate two distinct categories of grades & how much improved the 2nd set are.
3 - If the med school gig does not work, you have still cleared a substantial hurdle on the way to your prior professional aspiration. That is a much more attractive ‘Plan B’ than flippin burgers at Wendy’s.
Thanks very much for the reply. I originally found you on another forum in posts from '05 and I read your diary on this site. You and others on here are an amazing inspiration.
You’re right about my post of course. I used the word “dropout” but really should have said “transfer.” It would still look like quitting though. The only reason I considered it was because I know I could get in as an undergrad at UNF to major in pre-med, but a trifle less sure about the post-bac program. To be honest it would take a lot of convincing for me to stop this close, but I wanted other opinions. My original classwork from '93 - '97 was 2.8 GPA. My last two years (60 credit-hours) is 4.0 GPA. So the average is 3.2.
I was foolish and irresponsible. When I started, I was in my teens, and had just moved 500 miles from home, to live right on the edge of a huge national forest. I was camping, hunting, and fishing all the time instead of studying.
You mentioned having a clear delineation between lower GPA and higher. There is already over a decade gap between my 2.8 GPA and my two last years worth of 4.0 GPA. I am fairly confident that I can maintain a 4.0 GPA, or close to it, through the pre-med reqs. (I don’t say that lightly.) Do you think that combining that with my last 2 yrs 4.0 will give me a chance to be competitive for med school? (assuming a competitive MCAT) Or are they more likely to simply look no further at my apps when they see an undergrad GPA of 3.2?
Although I’m 33, I plan to follow advice on here and avoid rushing through my premed reqs and tap into my resources (a lot of my family is in medicine) to find med volunteer work, etc. to strengthen my apps.
Thanks in advance for any replies.
I definitely agree with OldManDave!
Finish your degree and then enroll into the post-back program.
I actually don’t see any reason why you should drop out and how it could be advantageous to you in any way!
I think that your current 4.0 while juggling FT work, FT school and kids/family will weigh a lot more heavily with AdComms than your original 2.3 from 11 years ago. To me that shows just how important this is to you, and what you are capable of doing.
However, this is just my opinion, fwiw.
As for transfer or finish? I agree with everyone else… FINISH!!! Transferring out when you are almost done doesn’t make sense no matter how you look at it. Finish it up, and you have a lot to discuss in an interview about how the lessons you learned in that program really moved you towards your ultimate goal of psychiatry over psychology.