hey! i am taking advantage of the forum to get everyone else’s opinion…
i am currently a pharmacist (have been for 8 years) and never really intended to do this for a living - this was my “back up plan” in case i didn’t get into med school (i’d have a job that didn’t involve busing tables!). so, life got in the way and i’m still doing the pharmacy thing. i am now desparate to live my dream…and here’s my problem: i ended up graduating pharmacy school with a 3.0 - i started with a 3.5-ish, but my dad had some serious health problems while i was in pharm school that proved particularly distracting and i ended up with 4 (yikes!) "D"s on my transcript. i am trying to decide if i should go back and get another bs (ie: psychology) or if i should get a master’s (ie: mba) to boost my overall gpa… i completed all of my pre-med requirements before pharmacy school and don’t need to retake anything (got good grades in my pre-med, that’s how i got into pharmacy school!), so a post-bac program isn’t an option…
also, do you think i stand a real chance? i realize that the degree in pharmacy alone is quite an accomplishment (inspite of the blurb in the middle with my grades!) and that i may not be seeing myself in terms of the “big picture”, but i don’t want to delude myself, either. any opinions??? thanks for you input!
hey! i am taking advantage of the forum to get everyone else’s opinion…
Because your prerequisites are old, you actually may need to take them again… although your pharmacy school experience may help with that.
Yours is a bit of a special case and I’d advise talking to a couple of admissions officers about what you would need to do to/could do to become a competitive applicant. No problem is irreversible but I have no idea how big your current issues will be.
Good luck and keep in touch!
First, Joe is probably correct in his prediction that you may need to retake some of your pre-requisites - some programs set age-limit & others do not. The best way to find out the skinny on that? Call the programs…also a superb way to begin forming a relationship with the program & a grand time to work in a site visit &/or have an admissions officer review your file to make suggestions on how to be a most competitive applicant to their school. Networking in this process, done well, can be a massive advantage, esp for we older ones.
Regarding PharmDs in med school - my alma mater seems to have a penchant for admitting them. As a general rule, KCOM admits at least 1/year…commonly admits chiropracters too.
How advantageous will this be to you in med school? Depending upon what are of pharm you are experienced in (clinical vs retail), that time may help out in specific course - esp pharmacology & biochem. Probably the biggest trading chip it will provide is to use your knowledge in trade w/ others who differing areas of strength/expertise. For example, having many years of pt care, I bartered teaching clinical exam skills to classmates for their help in teaching me subjects that challenged me. A little old fashioned back-scratchin!
Old grades - simply put, they are overcome-able (is that actually a word ). Invest some time reading some posts here & you will see that there are a lot of people who battled much worse grades than you are reporting & got it. Myself included!
I dropped out of college in '87 w/ ~1.2 cumGPA w/ 90+ hours cause I was majoring in party & minoring in frat life…many great fuzzy/partial memories from those days! I became a Registered Respiratory Therapist instead - never figured I could ever get in. However, I finally went back - busted my @$$ - & did a BS in Neuroscience at UTDallas soup-to-nuts, graduated magna cum laude got into med school & now I am about to complete my 1st year of residency - I will turn 38 in late May & have a wife of almost 9 years & a 13.5 month-old little girl.
Can it be done? Yes. Will it be easy? No. Can everyone do manage to do it? No. But their are tons of folks who managed to do so in situations like yours or much much worse. If you have the academic acumen to survive pharm school, then you have what it takes to make it through med school. The questions become:
1 - Do you want it badly enough to make the sacrifice, do the work & put in the time to make it in & through?
2 - If there is a family involved, are they in on this & do they/will they support you on this journey? If you have a family involved, there is no possible way to insulate them from the effects of application, attendence & residency…they simply MUST be in on the ride & 200% supportive.
I hope this reply helps. I do not intend to paint a bleak picture, just one of reality. It is do-able, but it is hard…and it damned well should be. Before I started it all, I probably would not have been so emphatic about that statement. But, having been in this profession at multiple levels of responsibility for many years - I can unequivocally state, not everyone who desires to become a physician necessarily should become one…they are simply not all cut out for it & that has nothing to do with whether or not they have the ability to become a physician. It is a challenging, rewarding & wonderfully fulfilling profession - but medicine is a tough mistress. If you let her, she will suck you dry - you can never satisfy her needs…no matter how much you give of yourself, the more she will demand. However, in my humble opinion, this is where we, the non-traditional people, have the advantage over our younger colleagues. By living “life” & learning to balance our personal, public & professional lives - we have already begun to evolve the skill-set needed to prevent medicine from sucking the life out of you.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a physician. But, I can love it & yet balance it with my other roles: Dad, husband & fisherman/hunter. Doctor is what I do for living - not the core of my existence.
Now…it is obvious I am post-call, cause I have prattled on, gotten off topic & only hope that even though all of my long-winded answer applies to your question, that you still consider reading it a couple of times & gleaning the value from it.
I look forward to questions in reply…promise to try & answer them after I’ve had more sleep so I can remain on topic!
I would not take the "second bachelor’s option since you already have a workable bachelor’s degree. I would recommend that you retake your pre-med courses since it has been years since you have taken those courses.
How about doing an MPH? Medical schools love students with MPH degrees. Several of my classmates had MPH degrees and several picked them up in one year while in medical school. This may be a great option for you and will upgrade your skills as a fallback in case you need it. I always recommend that students not go backward or even parallel. You just can’t afford to do that.
I know that Dave has related his story about getting a totally new degree but you have less damage control to do at this point so you don’t need a total bachelors.
Look into the MPH option or a post bacc at the masters level such as the non-thesis masters in physiology at Georgetown. There may even be others that are similiar.
Good luck and welcome to OPM.
Told ya I was sleepy! Thanks Nat for clarifying my intent…it needed it. I included ‘my story’ not to encourage or advise you to repeat another BS - but to drive home the point that old grades, bad grades & so on are surmountable. With your already advanced degree, I would certainly endorse Nat’s suggestion that you not go back or parallel, but in the process of updating the pre-reqisites that you also consider obtaining an MPH. Not only are they becoming increasingly popular w/ admissions committees & a growing number of med school offering dual degree routes w/ an MPH; but also a number of residencies are doing so as well. In fact, I am actually doing a dual residency: primary - anesthesiology & secondary - medical leadership & preventive medicine. A couple of months into my PGY-3 year, I will effectively cease clinical duties for one academic year in Dartmoouth grad school doing the coursework for an MPH. Then, after the clinical portion of my residency is completed, after Boards, I will have 1 additional year to construct a project & write a masters thesis. End result being dual boarding in anesthesiology & preventive medicine AND an MPH. Should definitely improve my marketability
actually, when i finally made the big decision that i should go for it, the first thing i did was contact the admissions offices of both of the med schools in my state and asked about the expiration date of my pre-reqs. they both told me that i wouldn’t have to retake any of them - unless i just wanted to for fun (?!?!) - i actually took my trascripts to the admission folks at my first choice school and she didn’t think i should bother to retake anything. perhaps i got her when she was too bored to offer real advice?
i had actually thought about an MPH. that’s some good advice, really. i may do further research on that…
i’m sure i’ll have more questions for you and i do appreciate your help, keep the advice coming! and thanks for not thinking i’m hopeless!!
You did exactly the right thing. When I was researching schools several years ago, those schools setting a time limit on prereqs seemed to be the exception; I do think it’s getting more common for them to specifically state that you must have taken courses within the past X years. (does this mean they’re seeing more applications from us? ) But I don’t think it’s universal by any means - so you should be able to take what you were told at face value.
If you spoke to the admissions counselor at the schools you are interested in attending, then I’m not sure why you would need to get another degree. I am in a similar boat. I have an academic Ph.D. and my prereqs are 15 years old. I would think that if your undergrad grades were not stellar, your subsequent graduate work will overcome them. I was told the only stumbling blocks I will come up against are the MCAT and clinical experience, and in one case clinical experience won’t even be a stumbling block because my research is medically relevant. So, if you study for the MCAT and do well, you should be fine. I spoke to a dean of admissions at one school and counselors at two others. They were only concerned about two things, MCAT and experience. Take some time to nail the MCAT and you will be in somewhere, the only question will be where.