Leaving the Military to get started!

Good Morning Everyone~

I am 29 years old and have spent 7 years in the Army. I graduated with a BA in Political Science (2003) with the intention of going to Law School. My years in the Army and a couple of wars have changed my perspective, and now I want to go to Medical School. I’ll finish the Army this fall and will start prereq classes at CC in the Spring.

I need all of the science prereqs. Aside from that, I’m not too sure where to begin. Does anyone have any advice on how to approach this?



You’re going to get better advice from smarter people than me. But I will share what I read for inspiration from time to time:


Hi Jay,

Welcome to OPM! I’m about the same age – 29 in late September. I’m also in a similar boat – starting my science pre-reqs in the fall (rather than the spring).

My first comment, based on what you have said: Taking your pre-reqs at a community college is not ideal. ADCOMS often view CC courses as less rigorous than those taken at a 4-year university. That said, I’m not saying to change your course, necessarily. If you plan to take some of your pre-req courses at a CC, make sure you do some upper-division coursework at a 4-year university. (Biochem, Microbio, etc.) I think you’ll find many OPM’ers will say this.

Beyond that … yes, there is plenty more to be done! Here are some suggestions:

  • Volunteer. Med school admissions committees want to see that you care about people.

  • Get clinical experience. (You can kill two birds with one stone and get clinical volunteer experience, of course.)

  • Get to know your professors. You will need stellar LORs (letters of recommendation) for your med school application.

  • Shadowing. Try to find some physicians whom you can follow around for a day, or for a few days. Learn as much as you can, try to find what interests you.

    FYI: For all clinical experience, volunteer work, and shadowing, keep detailed records (hours, dates, contact information, etc.) because you will need this info for your med school application as well. I know, it’s a pain … but better to keep it as you go than to have to backtrack.

    I’m just starting out myself, so I’m no expert … I’ve just spent a lot of time on the OPM board and absorbed a lot of useful and helpful information, so I’m passing it on. Hope at least some of it is of value. If you have any specific questions about anything that I’ve said, feel free to PM me.

    Best wishes, and best of luck! Keep us posted on your progress.

Welcome Jay!! I would recommend taking time and reading through many of the prior threads here on OPM as a start. You will find that there are many people that have been in or are in similar situations to yours and have discussed many of the various questions you have swirling around inside of you.

Good luck!!

Welcome to the OPM world, Jay! You will learn a lot from the folks on here. The presentations from each of the OPM conferences are on this site, and the diaries are also a great starting point. You can also use the search option to get a boatload of info on various topics.

Aim high! I mean, Be all you can be!


Richard Carmona is one of my Heros, thanks!

As for the rest, thanks for the advice. I have already met some Red Cross reps; they are desperate for volunteers. I also will serve in the National Guard as an Medical Service Officer; I’m working on other volunteer opportunities. Additionally, there is a 4 year University to knock out O.Chem and A&P; I’ll look to them after my 1st year. Thanks for the input!