Dear Newly Found Friends,
I am in need of advice on several issues regarding pre-med. Any advice is appreciated from any and all levels.
- I have been told by 2 academic advisors that if I don’t take full time classes 14 to 18 credits a semmester, that no medical school will consider me. Has anyone encountered this response? If so how did you do it? I am a father of one child and work full time to support my wife and newborn, any tips on how to make it work?
- How many people have had doubts about persuing the premed route? How did you deal with the doubt?
- How did you find the abililty or time for work, school, family and do volunteer as well as research?
- How hard is it to get into a med school as a nontraditional student?
- Anyone attending LECOM in Bradenton, FL, what are your opinions of the school?
- DO vs MD? Does it really matter? Can a
DO work outside the US?
While I am only slightly ‘ahead’ of you, I can say I have scoured the information on these boards, and may be able to shed some light in the darkened corners of your newfound direction.
Check, verify, and take my advice for what it is; my noobie opinion.
- Admission committees like to see potential students who have drive and ambition, who can synthesize overwhelming amounts of information in short periods of time. That being said, a class that gets you back in the swing of things before you jump off the deep end of full time is probably a good idea, depending on how long its been since you were last a student. Family obligations are a high priority to any decent person, and no one else can decide what’s best for you and them. There is a certain amount of sacrifice necessary for the initial study of medicine.
- We all have doubts. Fears, Uncertainties, and Doubts. So much so that we have a handy abbreviation for it: FUD. When I get FUD, I hit the diaries of the OPMs that came before me. Instant inspiration all!
- I haven’t, yet. But as a teacher, husband, father, grandfather and tattoo artist, I can tell you that there are only so many hours in a day, so schedule wisely!
- Medical School Is Hard To Get Into! Period! Non traditional Students are diverse, just as traditional students are. Some are perfect candidates, some not so perfect. I, for one, want to believe that the chances are just as good, all else being equal. Alot of veteran OPM’s can vouch for that.
- Pass! (Phone a friend?)
- Allopathic (MD) or Osteopathic (DO): the burning question. A ton of information is available, just look around. Basically, MD and DO schools have different methodologies and theories about the way medicine is practiced. AN ‘MD’ is more prestigious, and a ‘DO’ is more holistic. I imagine that there are places in the world that don’t really care what the letters on your piece of paper say, only that you came to help. You probably need to check with the country of your destination.
ANyway, hope that helped a little. Good Luck!
1.) You hear things like that from advisers who are good at memorizing what the typical candidate should be like and then recite that to everyone who enters their office. The 18 year old kid with nothing else to do should take 14-18 credits. It’s common sense that a full time job, full time baby, full time spouse, and part time school is harder than 14-18 credits of things like Bio1, Chem1, Greek and Roman Studies, and Statistics. If you work out, treat it like that: start slow and add a little at a time until you reach your cusp. Explaining this to schools and admission boards who should probably consist of what most say they are looking for (empathetic and humble people), should go fine.
2.) 99% of traditional and non-traditional students.
3.) When you have no choice you make it work. Make a sample weekly schedule. Start with things that aren’t optional. For you: Class from . Work from . Baby/wife from [__]. Then you find openings, if they are there, and fill them with extracurriculars. If the openings aren’t there, spring break, Thanksgiving break, winter break, gap time between semesters.
4.) Just as hard as it is as a traditional student. On my current spreadsheet of data from the schools I plan to apply to, the range of non-trads in the classes (all allopathic) goes: 5%(Duke)-68%(UPenn). The average is 39% and the median is 43%. More traditional people apply (otherwise we would be traditional!). Median MCAT did not decrease with increasing %non-traditional (there is actually no mcat-%nontrad trend in the 24 schools I have).
Obviously you can break down the data and what it means differently but the bottom line is being a good candidate. Not a good traditional candidate (or any other adjective you choose).
6.) It only matters if it matters to you. The old stereotypes have been shattered in recent years. The moderators have plenty of quantitative data to prove that. Someone can probably answer the foreign practice part better and more comprehensively but from what I know, D.O. isn’t uniformly the same in other countries the way M.D. tends to be. So the answer is “yes and no.” Click the wikipedia link and scroll to “International Variation.” This has some interesting insights.
1.) This seems absurd to me, I was told not to go full time at my school for post bacc because it would end up costing me 6000 dollars more. Are you by chance starting from the bottom up? Even so, I would have a hard time believing that you would be discounted for doing this and not going full time. I would hope, even though adcoms look for the best, they would understand that a life for a post-23 year old is going to be a bit more complex and demanding. They too have dealt with adversity and life too.
2.) Doubt? Why I think we are all friends with him. Do I doubt that I’m making the right decisions, taking the right classes, doing enough volunteering, ect? Yes I do at times. But I don’t let it take over. It’s normal in small amounts, but if this is what you truly want to do, then don’t let it affect you. There isn’t anything wrong with confidence.
3.) Find things that work for you, I have the ability to sit on the L train and utilize that time to do things that may only take a few minutes. Organize your life as much as you can so that efficiency is maximized. Little actions add up. Find ways of saving time and using that time to study or to volunteer. It’s all about structuring your life to make it work. It really isn’t impossible, I promise, there are many people on here who can attest to that.
4.) I tell myself this all the time: “Worry about this when you’re done with your postbacc.” Why? Because I need to be focused on one thing, and that’s making sure I get the grades that I need to even get into med school. Remember one step at a time. I will worry about being accepted when I start applying! On a positive note, from everyone that I have talked to, being a non traditional is a favorable attribute.
6. I too have conflicting views on this subject, I am not informed enough to make an argument for either or. I don’t like the for profit aspect of some D.O. Schools, but from what I have heard from the majority of people I’ve talked to is that there isn’t really a difference between the two these days.
Keep your head up!
I would like to specifically address your concerns about balancing your professional commitments, your academic pursuits, and your family responsibilities. I am a married, mother of five. I am currently putting my husband through school. I work full time, I teach part time at a local university, I am a full time mother and wife, and I am an old pre-med. I have noticed that there are only 24 hours in a day and I have to sleep some of them. My advice to you is to put family first. You will never regret building those relationships. Your family is there, don’t ignore them or back burner them for your pre-med pursuits. But, that said, that doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t continue your personal development and pursuing your academic goals.
As far as the how to…I recommend that you pace yourself and incorporate your family whenever you can. Be sure to recognize your limits and not exceed them. The mantra that I keep reading about in these forums…marathon, not a sprint…is spot on! Some of the things I have done to “balance” my time are:
- I schedule my full time work hours for 6:00 am to 2:00 am. That gives me time most afternoons (I teach one day a week) to help with homework, soccer, scouts, etc.
- I bring my family, scout troop, etc. to my volunteering events, which means that I look for opportunities which I can bring children and/or spouses. It has been a really enriching experience to work side-by-side my children. One example of these volunteering experiences is spending a couple of hours each Saturday working with Alzheimer and dementia patients. They love the interaction with the children.
- My family has dedicated family events. We have dinner each night together, Monday nights are family nights, and every other Friday is family movie night. Scheduled time is critically important. They know they can count on you to be there then and you know you can count on not thinking about anything else during these times.
- Regular bedtimes for the kids (I know you have a newborn, so this may not apply yet) are important. I do my regular studying after the kids go to bed. I also study with them as they are doing homework. This helps me to keep an eye on them as well. Sometimes, I will have them test me with flashcards and I will test them on spelling words.
- THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE: Remember to thank your spouse for the wonderful job she is doing with the baby and the incredible level of love and sacrifice she shows you by supporting you in this pursuit. Going to med school is a BIG deal!!! Having her support will mean everything to you. Don’t let her forget how much you appreciate it. If you have any doubts, read the post about the pre-med who is trying to gain his wife’s support!
These are just some strategies that I have found helpful.
I don’t recommend taking a full load with the incredible level of responsibilities you already have. Don’t be afraid to ease into it. Don’t overload or you’ll never make it. Best of luck to you!
I schedule my full time work hours for 6:00 am to 2:00 am.
Don't overload or you'll never make it.
"Danger! Will Robinson, Danger! Burnout imminent!"
Lost in Space
Patch - wanted to address two of your questions.
Regarding finding time for everything, I did “triage” and decide not to include research experience. I had a wealth of clinical experience as a nurse and nurse-midwife, and chose to apply to DO schools and to MD schools without as strong of a research focus - ones with special rural or global health emphasis. That seemed to work for me as a strategy.
Regarding DO - that was the route I decided to go. Some countries you can have identical to MD privileges, and some not. The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) is continually working on this and increasing the recognition internationally. The reason for the uneven licensure is that in the European model, osteopaths are more similar to chiropracter -their training model covers manipulation and NOT full scope medicine and their osteopaths don’t prescribe medicine or do surgery. WHereas american osteopathic medical schools prepare one for full medical /surgical practice - the curriculum is equivalent to MD schools, with the addition of osteopathic diagnosis and treatment and a philosophical emphasis on the whole person. I recommend looking around the AOA web site. Here’s a link to their info on DO practice internationally. : http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/ab ou…
Many DO grads take USMLE as well as COMPLEX boards and participate in the “allopathic” match - do MD or dually accredited residencies. I’m planning on applying to dually accredited residencies as they have to meet the requirements of both systems and therefore may offer me superior experience.
Thanks for the helpful advice. I will be sure to keep “fud” under control in the future.
Thanks for the info, very helpful. The link on Wikipedia was great too, I hope one day to be able to practice medicine outside of US as well.
Thanks for your reply. I already have the bulk of humanity classes and undergrad recs completed, basically I have no science background. So I am starting with the fundamental science classes.
Your advice regarding time management is right on! Some how I need to steal back those lost minutes of the day.
Also I saw your profile that you have a BA in Photography (which is my other favorite study). What has made you switch from persuing career in photography to medicine?
Thanks again for the advice and encouragement. I wish you the best as well!
Thanks for your advice. I am fortunate enough to have a wife who is very supportive of my goal of becoming an MD. Unfortunately, I think many people view the persuit of medicine to be an individual goal, but when you are married and have children. Going premed and going into the medical profession affects the entire family, thus keeping them informed and continuing to support one another is essential. I make an effort to tell her how much I appreciate her and really try to make time for family. I just hope to be able to keep a good balance between needs of family, work and school. Thanks again, best wishes to your and your family!
Thank you for your reply to my post and the link for D.O. practicing outside US. Did you face any oposition or difficulty being previously RN now going to MD?
I came to the conclusion very shortly after I got into the work force that what I was doing was not for me. I would sit in front of a computer for 12 to 14 hours a day in attempts to make life work. When I was done, I had nothing to show except that I had spent 12 hours in front of a glowing screen.
I don’t really enjoy the art community, there are many things that I don’t agree with when it comes to fine art and the world that surrounds it. I found myself deviating from them in many ways. I don’t want to put too much of my personal beliefs in because the art world is extremely subjective(I really think art as a career is a wonderful thing for people who can find their niche, I did not).
I started to think about the things that I liked and went through a list of options that I had. I finally got in touch with a very important professor and had a talk with her about the possibility of medicine, she thought that it was a wonderful idea. So I started doing research, and the more involved I’ve become, the more I love it.
(this is a highly abridged version)