I’m so glad I found this forum! It’s great to see others in the same situation sharing their stories and encouragement.
I’m looking for some advice as I begin my journey to become a physician. Here’s a little background. I graduated in 2007 (at age 24) with a BS in Environmental and Occupational Health. I have been working in safety/occupational health for 3 years, and I have come to realize that this is not for me. After much serious thought, I’ve realized that practicing medicine is a much better fit. So, now I’m 27 and looking to get into medical school. My grades were not stellar(3.097 GPA), so I know I will be retaking some classes. I have a few questions, and I would appreciate any advice.
While I was in college, I worked as a certified pharmacy technician for 3 years. Does this count toward clinical experience required to be accepted into med school? If not, should become a CNA, CMA, or EMT and get that work experience while retaking pre-reqs? Or, is volunteering at a hospital sufficient?
I did take some school loans out during college, but I didn’t take anywhere near the maximum allowed. Am I still eligible for federal student loans even though I have a degree?
Hi Tisha, and welcome to OPM! I apologize that I cannot answer your specific questions … they fall out of my range of expertise so I will let other OPM’ers respond on those issues. I just wanted to extend a warm “hello.” And also to let you know that I have found this site SO helpful, and I hope you do as well.
P.S. If you search the forums, you may find answers to some of your questions. Just a suggestion. Take care, and best wishes to you on your journey!
Thanks for the warm welcome! I’m searching the forums and getting lots of good info.
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I don't think getting a CNA, CMA or EMT is necessary. You have your pharmacy background, and I think some hospital volunteering or doctor shadowing would be fine.
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Are you talking to take courses now or funding for med school? Yes, you are definitely eligible for federal loans for med school. You are likely eligible for federal loans to take courses to get in to med school. There is a provision that says you can get federal loans for taking the pre-reqs to get into a professional program (even if you have a degree). The caveat is that you can only get loans for 12 consecutive months. The other way to do it is to apply as a degree-seeking student (even if you have no intentions of getting another degree). If you haven't maxed out your previous loans, you are probably still eligible for more federal loan money. There are credit hour and dollar amount limits, so you may need to sit down with a FA person and ask them how much you are eligible for.
Yes, me too. I don’t feel so alone anymore!
Thanks for the advice, Emergency! Much appreciated!
Question for you: How do you like Ohio State College of Med?
I just graduated from MSU with a poly sci degree.
So I’m finishing up the science requirements now and taking the MCAT this spring. If you have any suggestions of things that helped you. I would really appreciate it.
I really loved Ohio State. I wasn’t sure I would . . . I mostly went there because it was the only school that would allow me to live with my husband, but I don’t regret going there at all. I love the flexibility offered with the Independent Study Pathway, and found the faculty and staff to be incredibly supportive. Since I had two children during medical school, I really needed the support of the Dean’s staff.
One of the great things about OSU is it’s diversity - because the medical center and college of medicine are so huge, you are bound to find someone you get along with and opportunities are all over the place to get involved. I was afraid that with such a big class, it would be difficult to get involved, but I think so many people are burnt out on being super-involved in undergrad, it’s pretty easy to be involved in activities. Likewise, it’s easy to fly under the radar, if that’s more your style.
They started “Learning Communities” a couple of years ago, which I think sounds really cool. They set up a group of 12 students with a faculty member (usually clinical faculty) who meet a certain number of times a year to discuss certain topics. There were several of the EM faculty that did learning communities - including the Chair!!
As far as advice on the MCAT - I’m afraid I don’t have much. I actually didn’t do any pure MCAT prep. I finished organic chemistry over the summer on a Monday and took the MCAT on a Saturday. I do know that OSU added anatomy as a pre-requisite this year, though, so if you haven’t taken it, that’s something you might want to consider.
Tish, Your situation sounds alot like mine, I went back 4 years after my b.s in advertising in 2004. At my state school they let me start my second b.s and take out stafford loans for it. Your max limit for all undergrad classes is 57,500 dollars for stafford loans. You cannot get a PELL grant for a second b/s though! Sucks! Wish they would change the policy! Let me know if you have any more questions. Good Luck, You can do it! best regards James.
Thanks for the info James! Thinking of paying out of pocket for 1 year and getting financial aid for another. Where are you in this journey?