Six years until military retirement


First, I want to say that this forum is a fantastic resource! In addition to the knowledge and inspirational stories, I truly appreciate the civility and professionalism displayed.

If possible, I would like to hear some opinions on what course of action I should pursue. I am currently active duty military, and will be eligible to retire in January of 2019 (at the age of 38). My undergraduate degree is a BA in Political Science, so I have very few of the prerequisites met, and would like to retake them anyhow. With deployments, it is very difficult to take classes, but I am hoping to squeeze in two or three prior to retirement. My dilemma is which courses to pursue. Several factors I am considering are how long it will be until I can start really knocking out prereqs as well as the new MCAT.

From others’ experiences, would it be beneficial to begin chemistry or biology courses now, or would it make more sense to take a psychology course and focus on volunteering/shadowing until I am closer to retirement. My fear is that if I take the more complicated courses this far out, and with significant time in-between, that I may be shooting myself in the foot when it comes time for a) the more difficult subjects & b) the MCAT.

Thank you in advance for your advice, and again thank you to everyone for contributing to this board!


Prepare for a bit of culture shock, but you’ll get used to it. I spent 8 years on AD before hanging it up- and I was Poly Sci too.

Pre-mobilization/deployme nt training would likely kill your science grades. Most of the sciences courses are lab intensive, thus require a fixed campus. Stay away from online courses (UMUC, CTC, UP…) Every professor I’ve met speaks poorly of them. Most schools only require 2x General Chemistry, 2x O. Chemistry, 2x General Biology and 2x Physics. All of these classes should be taken in residence, and I’d recommend taking them back to back by discipline. And your thoughts on the MCAT are right; you’ll need those courses to be relatively fresh in your mind.

I’d focus on gaining experience now, and knocking out the more involved courses later. You’ll also have to have a background in social sciences and biochemistry when you take the new MCAT (starts 2015 Admis…

BTW- keep your GI bill if you still have it. They uncapped all public resident tuition, so if you can get into your state’s medical school, you have a nearly free ride.

You have time to see how the new MCAT will play out and then you can decide whether or not to take those courses. I would opt that you not take any of the sciences so you can then go straight into a formal postbacc. Take math courses in the interim to get your juices flowing. I would also take as much as the classes “informally” as possible as in self-study. Physics for dummies, Biology for dummies, Khan Academy…that sort of thing. So when you get to your postbacc you thrive rather than merely survive.

I agree it’s wise to use your deployment time to ramp up with online self-study, and then pursue post-bacc and MCAT right before you plan to apply to medical school. The knowledge base builds on itself all the way from Bio I through MS4, and it’s better to keep it relatively fresh with as few gaps as possible.

For what it’s worth, there was a retired B52 navigator (interestingly flew with my cousin in first Gulf War) a year ahead of me in med school. He’s now a surgeon.

Thanks for your service and best of luck!

Thank you all for your responses! They all confirm what I’ve been thinking. Right now, I’m going to focus on my current job, work on volunteering, and look into purchasing some self-study material. Thanks again!

Jmdmd, that’s awesome to hear (in regards to the B-52 navigator). Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps!