I came across this website as I was researching information about non-traditional med students. I believe it’s a great tool for information, interaction and support!
I have a few questions which I hope any of you guys can help me with. I’m 33, I’m not a US citizen nor I live in the US, I have a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing and an M.A. in Media Studies/Advertising Specialty, as well as around 10 years of practice as a strategic planner; so as I’m considering making a radical career change and going for the MD obviously I need a major preparation for med school due to my “humanities” background. What should I do to prepare myself for med school and eventually get into a decent institution? should I consider a B.S. in biology for instance, or would a B.S. in chemistry be better? actually do I have to go for another B.A. or B.S., can’t I just take the pre-med courses in another way that is more time effecient such as having intensive courses strictly concentrated on the pre-med requirements, if so where can I take those? what other factors would maximize my chances of passing the MCAT and eventually getting accepted in med school?
Any other piece of information would be appreciated guys!
Whether or not you need another degree probably depends on whether or not your original undergrad was from a US institution. If so, you probably don’t need to do a whole new undergrad. If your degree is from another country, you may want to seriously consider a whole degree as (I hear) it’s a pain to have foreign degrees evaluated, and they tend to not compare favorably because foreign institutions tend to grade harder than US institutions.
Is your goal to attend a US med school? If so, your immigration status may significantly affect your odds.
I can’t answer for the degree part. I, myself have a PhD from a foreign country. Luckily my top choice will look at it, but I have to still do most of the pre-reqs. Again, due to my past achievements, I am not sure my situation compare to yours. Likely, and unless you have a graduate or PhD degree from a foreign country, you may have to consider a full degree in the US.
Now about the immigration status, I would say this should be your number one priority. You will not enter (or hardly enter) a US medical school without being at least a green card holder and that in itself is a huge issue.
Are you sure it’s unlikely for a non-green card holder to get into med school or even post-bac premed program? I mean take my case, I’m not living in the US and all I have is a tourist visa to the US, would it be that difficult for me to get accepted?
By the way, as I’ve mentioned above, I already have a graduate degree (M.A.), which is making me even more confused about whether I should go for a new undergrad degree or just a post-bac premed program!
Not sure about the post-bacc premed programs, but yes, it will be very difficult to get into a US medical school without having a green card. Many med schools state on their websites that you must be a US citizen or hold permanent residency status.
As for the MA - even if it’s from a US institution, it’s not a science degree. You don’t say if your undergrad degree is from a US institution or not, but if not, med schools typically require 90 semester hours of coursework from an accredited US undergraduate institution. Since that’s more or less 3/4 of a complete degree, most people opt for a second degree. So, if your undergrad degree is NOT from a US institution, you would probably be better off doing a new undergrad degree.
- Emergency! Said:
As for the MA - even if it's from a US institution, it's not a science degree. You don't say if your undergrad degree is from a US institution or not, but if not, med schools typically require 90 semester hours of coursework from an accredited US undergraduate institution. Since that's more or less 3/4 of a complete degree, most people opt for a second degree. So, if your undergrad degree is NOT from a US institution, you would probably be better off doing a new undergrad degree.
I had a discussion at length with the director of Washington University Post-Bacc concerning international students in similar situations and was surprised that some schools have only a 30 credit hour requirement from a US school. So an overseas undergrad degree is technically acceptable. Combined with a US post-bacc, which will give you the 30 credit hours, make this possible. It is still extremely difficult to be accepted. Additionally you would have to have proper immigration status
Below is quoted from Albert Einstein College of Medicine on International Students
Link Albert Einstein International Students
- In reply to:
Canadian Grade 13 English will satisfy our one year college level English requirement.
All students, including international students, must take the MCATs by September of the year preceding matriculation.
Over the last few years, there have been a handful of international students enrolled in each class. This year, there are 6 international students. The academic and non-cognitive standards for acceptance for both international students and U.S. citizens or permanent residents are the same. The College has an International Students and Scholars Office to help answer all questions regarding immigration matters.
Individuals whose studies abroad did not lead to a baccalaureate degree are required to complete an undergraduate degree-granting course of study in the U.S. prior to application.
Although international students are ineligible for U.S. Federal student loans, they are eligible for the Einstein Scholarship and College Loan Funds.
Other schools, like NYU School of Medicine, actively discourage international students
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In view of the large number of applications to the School and the difficulties involved in the application procedure for students abroad, foreign candidates are not encouraged to apply if they are not permanent residents of the United States. However, Canadian citizens are eligible to apply to the MD program. They are not eligible for MD/PhD. Students who have failed in another medical school are not eligible to apply for admission. In recent years, the school has not accepted any transfer students.
Lastly, here is a link to a somewhat dated article from the NAAHP concerning international students. while the details may have changed, the immense challenges and high hurdles that the article discusses still remain
Link to HAAHP International Students
As I say to most people, this information is not to discourage, but to give you realistic understanding of what challenges may lie ahead. Ultimately, this is all possible
Excellent post, Rich. I had totally forgotten about the whole financial aid issue facing non-citizen students. I think I remember seeing somewhere that some schools require you to show proof that you can fully pay your tuition if you are not eligible for enough loans to pay the entire amount (I think this also goes for US citizens at some private schools).
Plus and to add to gonnif’s comments, know that the minimum required hours are usually necessary before you start. Typically, when 90 h are required, they are by the time your start, not by the time you apply (unless specified). So you can potentially apply after completing say 55 or 60h (to be reasonable). I don’t how many hours one can complete within a year. I have seen students getting 50h in a single year. I don’t know about their grades though.
Thank you all for the valuable info!