An update

Hi, guys. After considering finances, I have decided that I am going to pursue my 2nd undergraduate degree on a part time basis and work fulltime It might take me three years instead of two to complete my bachelor’s.

The more I think about it, the more it seemed right to me. I can have a little more time to focus on studying for the MCAT, and also, I get to keep my health insurance (yay!) if I remain working fulltime at the hospital.

Still I am debating whether or not I should take summer classes this year. If I do take summer classes, I will take either Calculus or the two Organic chem classes (but not both).

The Organic chem classes would be great to finish since that would be two classes out of the way. On the other hand, if I finish the Calculus this summer, I can take the physics in the fall since it is a calculus based physics. What do you guys think?

I was reading a thread at SDN today…and I felt a little down when I read that the ADCOMS might look down on someone who do not go to school fulltime…which is a little ridiculous. I mean…some of us have to work to eat and have a place to stay. Maybe some of us can work fulltime and go to school fulltime…but I don’t think I can do that. I can maybe take three classes (but that will be pushing it). I guess I’m a little concerned that it will hurt my chances since they might think I can’t hack it. And if I do get asked why I didn’t pursue my undergrad degree part time, can I just be honest and say that I wanted to get rid of my bills because med school is expensive and didn’t want to be deeper in debt?

Would that help me or hurt me? Your thoughts?

Opal -

I strongly recommend the calculus instead of the organic over the summer. Summer organic is brutal. (Trust me, I did it.) Had I not taken the MCAT immediately after finishing organic, I think I would have been in a world of hurt, because I retained virtually nothing from the class. There just wasn’t time to truly assimilate it. Plus, organic is a class that adcoms look closely at (as discussed in another thread).

Yes, a full time load is important, but you can compensate some for that with good grades and a strong MCAT. I think you will be better off in the long run for having paid down some debt. I don’t see anything wrong with telling med schools that you felt you needed to get your finances in order before med school, if asked. To me, that shows that you have thought a lot about the whole process and shows maturity. Also, that way you also don’t have to worry about not being able to go to a school you like because you can’t get private loans to help cover the cost.

I worked full time and never went over two science classes and one lab per semester and no one said a word to me about it. Of course, I only applied to one school, so I’m an odd duck.


The crux of what everyone is telling you that you must decide how best to skin this cat & that there are as many ways to skin it as there are folks trying to skin it. Essentially, you know your own capacity to balance work & academics; so only you can decide how best to mix them. However, the cornerstone of your process should be maximizing your performance and NOT expedience. As awful as “one more year” may sound to an onlder applicant, it really amounts to nothing - period. And, being older will automatically trigger some modicum of additional scrutiny for your app…do not give the AdComs any reason not to like what they see…as in suboptimal academic performance in the interest of hurrying up.

The entire process (pre-med courses, applying, interviewing, med school & residency) is far far too expensive [emotionally, financially & physically] to take a chance on short cuts. They are simply ways to undermine your chances for success.

So, stop focusing upon time & focus upon enjoying the journey. This is supposed to be fun - very very challenging, but fun. If you are not enjoying the ride, either you have pressured yourself into a lack of pleasure or you have chosen incorrectly. Do yourself a huge favor & do some serious introspection. If medicine is the path that you choose to follow, then know it is a life-long, intense commitment & there is no way to circumvent this. One of the most critical initial steps is solidifying your commitment.

I wish you the best of luck & success!

Oh…WARNING: shameless plug imminent…please consider attending our conference in Chicago this year. You will find that there are lots of folks who have the same dream & challenges before them & there is nothing so wonderful as the comeraderie. More to the point, these conferences provide to all of the attendees an immense quantity of valuable information, real-life experiences, wisdom & council - precious commodities to say the least! Furthermore, it is a superb networking opportunity. Finally, you get to meet the people behind the screenames.

Please consider attending. You have my word it will be more than worth the expenditure of your resources.

Thanks, guys. I appreciate everyone’s response and advice.

OMD, you’re right. A year is just a year. Being financially stable is important to me. So what if I’ll be 33 instead of 32 if I get into med school? I’m sure I’ll be a much happier 33 year old by trying to make my dream come true.

Honestly, maybe I need to stop lurking at other sites. (Did I hear someone say SDN?) Sometimes reading other people’s posts can be discouraging. I know it’s just their opinion and they are entitled to it, but IT is just an opinion. I could let it get to me or just simply ignore it.

OMD, I would love to go to Chicago and meet everyone! However, school would be starting in that same week, and I wouldn’t be able to attend.

Are there any chances of having next year’s conference perhaps…in the Southeast?

  • opal1976 Said:

Are there any chances of having next year's conference the Southeast?

I second that!!!