The best course of action would be to schedule an appointment w/ both the pre-med advisor & an admissions counselor. What ever you do, be honest & above-the-table…not that you would get caught, but I would have serious misgivings about someone who was willing to sacrifice their integrity - not to insinuate that you would. More than likely, you will be far from the first person to do something like this & one or both of those people can assist you in orchestrating things
Dave, I agree with the talking to both pre-med advisors and admissions counselors and being honest about what you are wanting to do. However, I don’t think that declaring a second undergrad degree with no intentions of finishing it in order to do the pre-reqs is indicative of a person who has no integrity at all. At some schools, this is the only way to do enroll for undergrad courses when you already have a degree. There are scheduling and financial aid issues for deciding which way to apply. (Financial aid issues below).In all honesty, I don’t think universities really care which way you apply. They get the same amount of money from tuition either way.
One of my good friends from post-bacc land and I have two different stories - she wanted to go to pharmacy school, I wanted to go to medical school. When I asked about how to enroll and take the undergrad classes, I was told I would need to apply as a continuing ed student. My friend was told to apply (and sent an application for) regular undergraduate admission as a degree seeking student. My advantage - my application fee was $30 and a very simple form (I didn’t even have to submit a transcript). My friend’s application fee was $100 and she had to get transcripts, track down old test results (ACT/SAT), and fill out an extensive application with essays. As mentioned below, she probably came out ahead in financial aid land.
Yes, I think you should be honest with the admissions counselors. If they say the undergrad and continuing ed student routes are both a possibility at the school you are applying to, then you need to weigh the pros and cons. I discussed the financial aid aspects pretty thorougly in a post that I quoted again below. Another consideration is scheduling - at some schools continuing ed students are given a high scheduling priority (at mine it was behind graduating seniors and honors students). At other schools, non-degree students are the last to register. If you are needing to take the lower level pre-reqs, this is a HUGE deal because you may get closed out of classes you need. Generally, as a “degree-seeking” student, you will have advanced standing because of your previous hours and will be near the top of the totem pole in scheduling land. So - ask those questions.
If the school you want to attend does not offer a non-degree student option, then I see no problem with enrolling as a degree-seeking undergrad. Medical schools primarily care that you 1) have the pre-reqs and 2) have a degree. They don’t really care what kind of hoops you had to jump through in order to go back after your original degree and take the pre-reqs.
There are three different ways of getting financial aid for the pre-reqs.
1. You are allowed financial aid for 12 CONSECUTIVE months to take courses that are pre-requisites for admission into a professional program. You can enroll as a continuing ed/non-degree student (saving $$ and headaches in applying). My school had a form that had to be filled out by an academic counselor verifying that the courses I was taking were required for admission into medical school.
The downside - 12 consecutive months. If you don’t take classes one quarter, you don’t gain another quarter of FA eligibility at the end. Also - it is difficult, almost impossible to take all of the pre-reqs in 12 months unless you are in a structured post-bacc program. This is due to the requirement for two years of chemistry. It can be done, but it makes for a hellishly brutal load (imagine taking biology, physics and chemistry together all year, with labs and then taking organic chemistry in the summer.)
This is how I did my pre-reqs. The fact that I already had a master’s degree didn’t matter.
2. You can apply as a degree-seeking undergrad for a second degree. This makes you eligible for regular undergrad financial aid. There’s nothing that says you have to finish this degree. I know a couple of people who have done it this way. This eliminates the 12 consecutive month constraint. However, there are some limits about how many undergrad credit hours you can receive financial aid for. They also tend to not give you much notice that you have capped out your undergraduate financial aid, and I know people who have found themselves in a pinch because they found out with rather short notice that they weren’t going to get any financial aid for their last semester/quarter because they had taken their limit of undergrad hours.
I also don’t know how this applies to people who have started Master’s programs. The people that I know who chose this route only had undergrad degrees.
3. If you have good credit, you can borrow from private sources. There are a lot less restrictions, but the interest rates are generally higher.
I suggest that you talk to a financial aid counselor (or two or three) about your eligibility for federal loans. If they don’t mention the 12 months thing, ask about it, because it exists. If you are leaning toward the claiming another undergrad degree option, ask if your master’s work affects that and how many hours you are eligible to take. I suggest asking multiple counselors because sometimes they are misinformed or inexperienced. Although many do an excellent job, I suggest that you double or triple check any information given to you regarding your financial aid eligibility. It’s a big setback to enroll for classes, have your course laid out, and then find out that you won’t be receiving any aid. This especially true of pre-reqs because these classes are often only offered specific quarters/semesters.
Good luck with your decision.