Non-traditional Pre-Med. Need advice.

Hi, how are you? my name is Jae in Philadelphia and I’m preparing the MCAT for this spring. I need some advice for the medical school application because my situation is non-traditional. I would really appreciate any comment from you.

I’ve been a scientist (with Ph.D. in molecular biology) for quite some time and it has become quite clear to me that a career as a basic scientist will be something less than fulfilling. I am drawn more and more to the clinical aspects of my work and science in general. Through much introspection, I’ve realized that medicine is my real calling and that it’s time for a career change.

My major concern is being an applicant with foreign degrees. I got my college, master, and PhD from South Korea. However, I am a green card holder and plan to stay in the US long-term. It would be ideal for me to attend a US medical school. As I’m sure you know, many medical schools require only US or Canadian college degrees. Some schools accept students with foreign degrees but ask for at least one full year of science courses in US accredited universities. so now I have enrolled in the PENN Liberal & Professional Studies (LPS) program and am taking several science courses to cover the prerequisites asked for by most programs. But still I am not sure how much possibility I have for getting in a medical school.

I am hoping to get your insights on the strengths and weaknesses of my candidacy based upon my current situations.

Thank you.

What you’ve heard is correct, and I believe you are on the right path. You will need at a minimum one year of academic coursework in a US or Canadian institute. That one year should also at a minimum cover the basic pre-reqs (Chem, Bio, Phy, Org all with labs.) The reality is that unless you’re taking courses full time, it will likely take two or more years to cover these courses. Besides, you will want to add other upper div courses and bring up the tally as close to 60-90 units as you can. As for your chances - if you complete all the requirements (coursework, good MCAT score, volunteering, and shadowing,) you will probably be competitive. Just be sure to plan on all of this taking 2-3 years until application. There are some on this forum in a similar situation who have already made it to med school, and some including myself are in the pre-med process. Good luck and keep us posted. You could also head over to SDN and read posts by Scottish Chap - there’s good stuff on there. And if you want more, read some of the other threads where I’ve posted in the past - this topic has come up a few times.

Hello Jae, welcome to OPM!

Your case is similar to other forum members such as myself.

As you already might know, some schools do not accept anything but a US Bachelor’s degree, others accept 90 US credits, some others accept only 60 US credits, and yet others state nothing at all on their websites.

From my point of view, these are the best practices I have picked up from reading and asking in the forum: fulfill the requirements up to 90 US credits, rock the MCAT, wrap up an excellent narrative for your statement of purpose. You are done with the research, try finding opportunities for community volunteering and get some shadowing experience. I am sure you can secure some great LORs too.

With your PhD and research experience I am sure you will be able to stand up among the crowd.

Best of lucks and please make sure to inform us back as you move forward.

Come to the Admissions Workshop in March. It is a quick drive from Philadelphia in Stratford, NJ

  • gabelerman Said:
Come to the Admissions Workshop in March. It is a quick drive from Philadelphia in Stratford, NJ

I wish we could the same about Dallas...

come to the admissions workshop it is a quick FLIGHT from Dallas…

I thought about flying. Not sure if I can do it. I am certainly looking at the option.

We’ll see. It would be great to meet the OPM community.