Hello All! (Questions Inside!)

I am new to OPM and first off I am very excited to see such a support group of like minded people who desire to go into medicine even though we are older than some.

I am 28 years old and I have worked as an X-ray Technologist for 5 years at a cancer center in central Florida.

I have an AS degree in Radiology, but I still need to finish a class or two to have my AA from a community college so I can transfer to USF. My AS degree is from a private school so I doubt I could enter USF with just that degree but I do not know as of yet.

I am currently married with 3 children. I am the primary income maker in my house at this time. To make it on just my wife’s income would require a drastic reduction in our expenses (primarily coming from our place of residence which we are renting). On just her income alone we would pretty much be down to poverty level but I am not afraid to do this if it needs be. My only worry is the type of environment my family would need to live around along with the difficulty of maintaining a reliable vehicle.

So here come the questions…

1: Do student loans that are available to all students (not loans that require a credit check) offer any wiggle room for living expenses?

2: Does a premed/medical student need to have decent credit to get loans necessary for graduation? My credit is terrible and I am actually on the point of bankruptcy to get my credit cleaned up. I worry how this might impact my future in trying to get into med school but my fear might not be grounded in reality.

3: I am working full time but I need to retake all of my premed classes that I have taken (only have taken both A&P’s both Bio’s and both Chem’s. No Organics but two withdrawal’s from physics) as they are all 7 years old and only carried at that time a 2.8 GPA.

Is it possible to perhaps do a full time course load while still working full time? Have any of you attempted to do that? I realize that might be difficult but at the same time, if I am not completely focused and driven to getting this going now, I imagine its only going to get more difficult. Your thoughts and suggestions here would be great.

4: From what I understand, the premed path is getting a Bachelors Degree while excelling in all med school prerequisites and carrying over the highest GPA possible along with MCAT preparation. Am I missing anything here? I have years of hospital experience which I am hopeful will help give me the volunteer/shadowing experience necessary. I have walked with and worked closely with some very prominent doctors (of which I am very honored to even be around) which I am hopeful will help give me better perspective of where I am and where I am going. Any thoughts on this?

5: Any advice for someone like myself who is the primary bread winner in my household who is attempting to prepare for med school?

I am very fortunate to work closely with several doctors who love me dearly. I already have one Attending Urologist who has promised me a letter of recommendation, and I have at least two neurosurgeons who I am confident would be happy to recommend me as well. I am going to try as much as I can to work up until I go to med school to continue to bring in income and insurance for my family while learning as much as possible in the operating room working with these fine doctors who I respect dearly.

I thank you kindly for any support and advice possible. It is a tremendous honor to talk with and be around people who are attempting to advance themselves personally and educationally even though it may not be the most easiest route.



First of all, welcome to OPM! We’re glad to have you here.

Now, about your questions … your financial questions are very difficult to answer, because I am not a financial aid counselor, nor do I know your specific situation. Plus, your situation is very different from mine in that you qualify for undergraduate loans because you do not yet have a bachelor’s degree. This is a huge plus for you! That means you qualify for much more government money – money that does NOT require a credit check. (I, on the other hand, had to take out a lot in private loans because I already have my bachelor’s and didn’t qualify for hardly any government money.) So what you need to do, I think, is fill out the FAFSA. Then once you are accepted to a school, you will receive a “financial aid award” which will have a loan package, scholarships (if applicable), and then what you are responsible for in terms of money. Having those numbers would show you whether indeed you have some “wiggle room” for living expenses. Because it’s totally dependent on your situation, and how the government calculates things (which I don’t understand!).

As I said, I had to borrow money from private lenders, but because you don’t yet have a bachelor’s, you might be able to get away with just government money. But that also depends on how much government loan money you have borrowed in the past. You should probably talk to the financial aid counselor at the school where you hope to go, as I said earlier. They are MUCH more equipped to help you with these questions.

In terms of working full time and going to school, I do NOT recommend this. I know you are dedicated and passionate, but passion won’t make up for hours of lost sleep, and it won’t create additional time for you to study for your exams or do your homework. There simply isn’t enough time to take a full load and go to work full time, IMHO. There was a guy in my post-bac program who attempted it, and he ended up taking W’s in two of his three classes. Not an ideal outcome, clearly. Especially because you have a pretty low GPA from your previous pre-med attempts, you REALLY need to do well to bring that up. Which means putting all your effort into your schoolwork.

Yes, it’s important to get a high GPA, and do well on the MCAT. And your hospital experience is helpful. But it would also be a good idea for you to get separate volunteer experience (unless you have also been volunteering at the hospital in addition to working there). Med schools want to see you doing volunteer work of some kind – and it does not have to be medicallly related – on a regular basis.

Anyway, I hope this helps a little … best wishes to you on your journey! And keep posting.