I need advise

Dear fellow students and MS,
I have an issue that has kept me awake for some nights now and I have prayed that God leads me in the right direction. However, I’m still a little confused in reaching a decision. Here is the situation.
I was accepted into a medical in another country (I will not go into details about the school). I have researched information on this school for months now. I have found no negative information on the school other than the fact that CA does not recognize the medical school because they have not applied for approval in CA. I have spoken with Pat Park, the Medical Liason for the Board in CA, and she informed me that the school I am interested in is a school that is not recognized but not banned. However, I could not get licensed in CA because the school is not listed on thier list of approved schools.
However, this is not what has me sleepless at night. I simply would go to another state if I really wanted to practice medicine. What has me a little sleepless is that I feel like I’m cheating to get into medical school. Here is why. I’m a Junior in college. My Major is Health Science. Because my major is a degree completion program, most of us have degrees from another college, I don’t have the time to do the typical pre-med studies. I’ve been stressing myself to delay my acceptance to this medical school because I feel like I need to do what all other pre-med do and suffer to get into medical school. So, I’ve been looking at doing a pre-med post-bac program and taking the MCAT. This is so that I don’t feel like I’m missing something when I’m working along side of the other medical students who did do pre-med’s and taken the MCAT.
Now here is another issues which has me worried. Do to my background when I was younger and getting into trouble with the law, I fear that I would not get a second chance at Medical School. This medical school that accepted me has accepted me based on my accomplishments since my younger days. I fear that no other medical school will do that for me. I’ve completely turned my life around and have since became a medical assistant, about to graduate from college with a BS in Health Science with a GPA of 3.5 and have stayed out of trouble with the law. But no matter what my accomplishments are, I’m still shunned for my past. So, I’m at a lost for what I should do. I don’t wont to turn down my only opportunity for becoming a Physician all because I feel like I’m not competative with others who don’t come from the same background as me.

Depending on how old you were when you got into trouble, would there even be a police record? You stated that you were young, and if that is the case, I thought those records did not follow you once you reached 18. Anyone with any real knowledge of the law care to comment?

My best suggestion would be to call some schools you might be interested in and see what they have to say. Personally I don’t think you’d be ruining your chances at med school somewhere if you waited to finish the “traditional” US premed stuff. If anything I’d think that would open u up to more opportunities - maybe not in the US due to your past law issues but at least a school that is approved by the CA board so you could practice there when you were done. My biggest question about your past issues is: if your past law issues are not something that US med schools would look past are they something that license boards will look past? I thought (and I may be totally off in this since I haven’t really looked into it at all) that license boards had the same guidelines as far as crimes? At the very least I would think you could go to Ross or St James or some place in the Caribbean if you waited but I honestly don’t see why you couldn’t also go to other good US affiliated schools such as St Christopher’s or some of the schools in Ireland or Israel or something.
Good luck Jasmine. I definitely admire your persistence
–Jessica, UCCS

Jasmine, I am a little unclear on what you mean when you say you won’t have done the “pre-med” stuff. I understand about the MCAT, but it’s hard for me to imagine that you’d be able to do med school coursework without having had to take general and o-chem, physics, and biology. Am I misunderstanding? Are these prereq courses going to be incorporated into your med school curriculum somehow?
I would also caution you to think about your preparation to date and whether you will be well-prepared to take the USMLE, which as you know will be necessary for you to practice. You need to assure yourself that the schooling you’ll receive really IS going to make it possible for you to practice medicine somewhere in the U.S. if that’s what you hope to do.
I understand your reticence at describing further your prior legal problems, but it does make it hard for any of us to offer much of an informed opinion. Perhaps one of the physicians on the board can just say generally what they had to attest to as far as their record, prior to starting practice… that might help you.
I agree that you have reason to be concerned about your path, but not for the reasons that seem to be bothering you the most. Don’t spend a minute fretting about taking the MCAT… while it is a rite of passage for U.S. med students, it’s no fun and you’ll find lots of other ways to torture yourself in med school. Don’t feel like you’re “cheating” or getting in without “paying your dues.” DO worry about whether you’ll be able to do it based on your preparation to date - you need to assure yourself of that, and you need some assurances that your new school will give you the opportunity to succeed.

Thanks for the replies. To answers some of the questions asked. I have contacted the Medical Boards of the states which I would like to practice medicine, all have told me that individual situations are taken into consideration and that a lot of factors are weighed such as time since the incident happened and the nature of the offense as well as steps taken to better oneself. However, my faith is in God and I believe that he opens doors that I can’t.
As far as when I say Pre-med requirements, I’m talking about Organic Chem, Physics and Biology. I’ve had Biology yet I have not had the rest. I’ve had Anatomy and Physiology and I’ll take stat in the fall. Now my school does offer a pre-med year where you take pre-med courses. Then if one does well, one enters into the basic science portion of the medical program. I want it to be known that my school is not one of those schools that skip courses. You do everything that a US med student does except you enter at a different stage than what US med student enter. If I could just get past the feeling of not being the traditional Pre-med student who goes through the tidious process of getting into med school I would feel better.
I hope that I explained this better without going into details of my past.

Hi Jasmine,
I’m not sure I totally understand your concern–so if I’m off base, forgive me. But it sounds like the med school you’re thinking about going to, the one that has accepted you, has a five or six year MD degree, where the “pre-med” topics are done in the first year? Knowing nothing about the school myself, there’s not much I can say about it that you don’t know already. But while a five or six year MD degree isn’t the typical route that American students go through, it’s common throughout the rest of the world. I think the US is somewhat unique in having medicine be a four year graduate program, and requiring students to complete pre-med studies before applying (in a lot of countries, gen chem, physics, math, etc are done in high school anyway). There are advantages and disadvantages to both ways of learning medicine, I’m sure. As long as your program requires you to get through the stuff that here in the US is “pre-med” material, then I don’t see why you’re worried. It sounds like you’ll still have to learn orgo and all the rest.
If you’re willing to go overseas to study medicine, then lots of things are going to be different–I wouldn’t sweat the small stuff! If you’re really more interested in staying in the US though, I think it’s good advice to try to talk to admissions people at some American med schools. See if you can make an in-person appointment with someone at your state university’s medical school, maybe–explain your situation in detail, and get their honest advice. I’m sure they will tell you the truth about how they’d view your situation.
Good luck!

I really think you might be well served by working with a professional pre-med advisor, someone with whom you’re more comfortable discussing the details of your situation. The fees are not trivial, but they’re vanishingly small when compared to moving overseas and paying for a medical education. I think you have some big decisions, and I don’t think any of us is able to really help you.
When it comes down to it, however supportive and caring we try to be, we’re still a bunch of strangers on the internet. It just really seems as if you need a sounding board, and preferably one who has worked with people with obstacles to medical schools, one with experience with people going to overseas schools, etc.
I wish you the best of fortune as you explore your options.

I’m really a firm believer in the old saying "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
A friend of mine who has been accepted into a couple of DO schools (MCAT: 22) is considering passing up those admissions and reapplying to a state MD school next year. My recommendation has been not to pass up the DO admissions. If she does, she will have burned a bridge that she can’t cross back over if the state MD school doesn’t accept her.
With the goal of being a doctor - and knowing what the statistics are - I don’t know that I’d pass up any admission for the possibility that something might show up later. I did that once in my former life and it turned out to be the worst career decision I ever made.