Plan B?

Although I’m an optimist at heart, I’m also practical and have learned from experience to have at least one back-up plan in place. When Plan A doesn’t work, I can pull in Plan B and save myself and my family a lot of mental anguish.

What happens to those who do not get accepted to medical school, yet have all of that pre-med curriculum bouncing around in their brains?

I’ve been making a decent living in the communications field for the past 20 years and could always fall back on that if I had to. But I’d rather have that as my Plan C.

Any thoughts?

hak / john


(today is my day to answer all your postings!) Your question is a good one, but only you can answer it. Your plan B should be something you really could see yourself doing, but then again if you would really enjoy doing it, you need to ask yourself–why medicine and not this? It’s kind of a balancing act.

When asked what they’ll do if they don’t get in to medical school, some people will say, “I’ll reapply”. I know a surgeon who applied 3 times in a row starting from age 30. He could have given up after the first time, or surely the second, but he just really wanted it.

For my family’s peace of mind, I did have a plan B but it was really never going to be my ultimate career. Probably I would have done it for a while and then gotten bored and moved back into high tech at least on a part time basis, all the while wondering whether I might have made it into medicine if only I had tried a little harder, stretched a little more, applied one more time.

Anyway, probably most of us go through the thought process you’re going through so don’t feel alone. Best of luck,

I kind of have a back up plan, but it’s part of my path towards med school. Since I have to get my bachelors degree, I thought that instead of going for biology degree (i.e. which seems to be the typical major of traditional students going towards medical school), I’m hoping to get into the respiratory care program at SUNY Stony Brook. I’ve forfilled all of the prereqs but Physics which I will be taking this year anyway along with Ochem.

The curriculum for the program seems really extensive and I definitely feel that it will be a major asset when I do get into medical school.

In the meantime, if I am not able to get right into medical school, I’ll have an opportunity to support myself and build up a reserve for I iam in med school.


It depends on a number of variables. Mainly on what you want. The people I know before they were physicians or med students have all applied more than 3 years. One has been pursuing medicine for 7 years and finally got in to the caribbean. She didn’t get in after undergrad and began to work as a lab tech. While doing that she earned a Masters from Johns Hopkins in biomed. She continued to apply. Finally she applied to the carib and Ross said “yes”. She’s there now.

So it all depends on what you want and how long you are willing to strive to get it. In my friend’s case, she is single without kids. So her path might be different than your own.

You just have to decide how long you will pursue this crazy thing and what you are willing to do to attain it. Count the cost and all that.

I used to say I had a plan “B” but when I think about it, my plan “B” would be to strengthen my application for admission to med school. Of course I’d continue to do research, enjoy my life and family, ect ect, but I’d never give up until I got admitted. I’m a strong believer that anyone who gives up wasn’t meant to be a doc in the first place.

Honestly, only death or serious disability would stop me.

I was asking this question when I woke up this morning. By having a plan B, what you are telling yourself is your plan A is not the career that will make you happy for the rest of your life. If your plan B is a stepping stone for plan A, then you should in the middle of plan B.

The last time I applied to medical school in 2000, I thought my days in the medical field were over. I had worked in the ER as a tech and I took upper division classes. No acceptances.

I thought I needed to let medicine go! Hence, I entered an alternative certification program for teaching. To make a long story short, I saw signs in my teaching career that has drawn me back to medicine.

You will be asked about plan B at medical school interviews…so come up with a good plan B that will enhance your application for the next “round” if the need arises.

I realize the mental gamesmanship that comes into play when you start giving yourself an out, as some of you inferred from my Plan B concept.

I once had the “failure is not an option” mindset at the beginning of my military career…until I failed. Big time. Very humbling part of my life.

Failure is always an option. That does not mean you focus on it or use it as an escape route. It does mean that you prepare for it so you can take the next step necessary to keep moving forward. You just hope you never have to use it.


After giving this question more thought and looking at the responses, I feel that I’m already doing my plan “B”. I’m hoping to get another opportunity to do my plan “A”.