New to OPM, and need help.

Hi, my name is Nick.

How I got here is complicated, and unconventional to say the least.

I am 24 yrs. old, and have always wanted to become a dr. The most major obstacle however is that I was raised Ultra- Orthodox (jewish), where it is strictly forbidden to attend any normal college setting ‘in the secular world.’ When I was first out of High School, I was not permitted to attend regular university, and was studied religious stuff in a ‘yeshiva’ to become a rabbi.

A lot of stuff has happened since then until now, but I am still ‘behind the 8 ball’ academicly, in a very sore way.

I was ‘permitted’ to get an online degree (in Humanities/ Religious Ethics) when I was in my 2nd yr. yeshiva b/c It wasn’t considered being part of a secular setting. Even though it is an accredited college,the problem is that it’s a next to toilet paper, online degree.

In my fourth yr. of yeshiva, I ‘broke out’, but due to finances, could only take one course per semester. I have thus far taken BIO1&2, CHEM1&2, PHYSICS 1&2 w/ labs at a Community College, and got my English Comp. and Math requirements done in the online degree. This summer I am currently taking ORGO1&2. After the summer I hope to study for my MCAT’s, to apply in May/June of '13.

The anxiety and constant worry: Bad degree, CC science pre-req’s, and the extended amt. of time it took me b/c I could only afford 1 course/semester. Additionally, the CC where I took my sciences doesn’t offer pre-health advising, b/c it’s really meant to just be a 2yr. program, after which students usually transfer. So everything I know is from talking to friends, people in the know, and reading online.

My situation isn’t catastrophic either:

  1. I am moderately intelligent and have a 3.75 gpa degree w/ a 4.0 gpa in sciences (bear in mind online degree + CC isn’t too impressive).

    2)I do also have a rabbinical degree, only recognized by SOME schools (No MD/DO schools), but is still something. (Friends I know have even gotten into NYU, Hofstra, Loyola ect… Masters programs with it.)

  2. I already have been “officially ordained” with the title Rabbi, which might mean next to nothing.

  3. I did a summer observership some w/ a prestigious Transplant Surgeon in a major NYC hospital. I also shadowed several weeks in nueroradiology in Pittsburgh, at UPMC. As well as a Family Medicine Osteopathic Doctor.

    However I feel stuck. I just don’t think I have what what is needed to even get an interview at a MD or DO school. I wish I could have gone to a 4 year regular college, like Rutgers or Queens College, majored in some science (probably physics b/c I loved physics), had a pre-health advisor guiding me in getting research positions, and helping me w/ all the little tricks to appllying.

    That’s why I was so delighted when I found this site. I know I have to do well on the MCAT’s, (which is difficult b/c currently I can’t afford to take a Kaplan/ Prep MCAT course),BUT aside from that I really would love to get some advice, and help.

Online degree - You failed to mention where from. If it was from a real university, and doesn’t differ from the degrees they give to students who attend on campus, you’re fine. However, from your references I assume it is not from a properly accredited school. Find out the answer to this question, if you don’t know, because your path depends on it. Most medical schools require you have a bachelor’s degree (and none of them care what it’s in) from an accredited college or university. Seriously, schools don’t care what your degree is in, and having something other than Bio is refreshing to adcoms.

Your CC pre-reqs are a constant argument here & at SDN. If you are in a location where the CC is the only reasonable option, you’re fine. However, if you are in the middle of a huge city with a university, the choice to attend CC may work against you. If the latter is the case, you MAY need to start taking the remaining pre-reqs at the uni to stay competitive. See the forums about CCs on here, to get perspective.

The only school I can think of that may give you props for the rabbi degree is the DO schools run by Touro (NY, Nevada and San Francisco). Both the West Coast schools are nice, and the campus in SF is amazing.

Nick… you’re going to see the term FUD on this board a lot. That’s fear, uncertainty and doubt. You are full of FUD right now. Take a deep breath, step back, and take stock. Your GPA and a great MCAT score won’t help you if you’re too freaked out to move forward - nobody has won a marathon by standing at the staring line, worrying about everything that could go wrong.

Welcome, Nick! I’d add to what Pixie said and suggest that you also consider applying to Albert Einstein School of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York. It’s a great school with an emphasis on GLobal and community medicine and very non-trad friendly. And the Rabbi couldn’t hurt there


kate thanx for the welcome…

Pixie is spot on, im in FUD…and angry for being in such a crappy situation when I could have just got a normal undergrad from a real college.( though at that age it woulve been near impossible to break away from the religious community)

Also the degree is from Excelsior college which is NOT a degree mill, and is considered distance learning… But hardly competitive.


The bottom line is everyone does what they can. Get in touch with a handful of schools; ask the admissions offices. Definitely the ones mentioned: AE, Hofstra, Loyola, NYMC (owned by Touro). Your story is relatively unique. Making the decision you did takes an enormous amount of courage, and I think it will speak to your character and drive to be a physician.

And one thing I’ve learned here…a strong MCAT in your back pocket can’t hurt…a score >31 will turn some heads.