working vs. summer program

My first topic in the medical students forum. Very nice.

I have a situation I would like to share with you all (and if you have the time, I would like your input since this is time sensitive).

Today I received a letter in the mail about the summer program at the school I will be attending in August. Its basically a program that allows students to get acclimated to the medical school lifestyle right before medical school. The program runs from June 2nd - July 3rd, and you get a biweekly stipend of $200 (so $1600 total). It sounds great and am really interested in doing it.

Here is the issue. I was planning to leave my job in July. If I leave my job May 31, 2008, I would lose out on approximately $4200 of net salary versus if I left my job July 15, 2008 (I guess the overall net would be $2600 if I subtracted the stipend).*

Its not just the loss of income that concerns me. It is also the 45 day gap between the end of the program and the start of classes. I won’t have a job and I do not think loans would kick in for me until August 1, 2008, at the earliest. What would you guys do here? I think this program could really help me especially since I graduated college with a non-sciences degree and of course I really want to succeed at the next level. At the same time, I don’t want to be homeless and want to pay my bills on time…or just simply pay them, which will be difficult for the months of June and July.

BTW - I had prior interest in this program but was hoping/expecting it to end right before the beginning of the new school year. A two week gap, I can handle. A six week gap gets expensive fast.

*I thought about it and its actually a bit more because leaving after the new fiscal year would mean I would get all my vacation days for 2008-2009, which I could just cash out.

The Dude, I fully understand your confusion here. There seems to be a constant supply in life of situations where we have a choice between knowledge and money I have thought about your questions quite a bit and here’s my suggestion. If there is a way that you could budget your money to last until your loans kick in August 1, then I think this summer program will be more than worth any sacrifices you have to make to say your entertainment budget, and perhaps you could cut down expenses another way as well. I have to say that I would absolutely take this summer program, especially if I had a non-sciences degree. The feeling of confidence it will give you going into your MS-1 year will be priceless. There is nothing like knowing what to expect. Another thought I had is perhaps you could speak with a temp-agency to see about a six week assignment to make a few bucks during the lag period. I know it might seem beneath some people, but I have a feeling if you’ve gotten this far, that you know when to hold on and grit your teeth till the ride is over! This is just my 2 cents, I hope it helps a little bit and please keep us all posted on your decision.

Good luck!!



I was in a similar situation. I couldn’t afford to quit working two months early in order to attend the summer program. Several people I talked to who did do the summer intro program didn’t feel that it helped them out THAT much, but it may be different at your school. Call your school and see if they will give you the contact info for a couple of students who participated in the summer program, then contact those students for their opinions.

What precisely does the summer program offer? Intensive intro to anatomy, histology, and biochemistry? I would say that any preparation that helps you get through your first couple of exams is worth it. A few thousand bucks is a bargain if it gets you off to a better start and helps you avoid academic difficulties.

Dude, can you talk to people who have done it and have skipped it at your school? That may give you a better idea of whether it would be worth it FOR YOU.

Thank you everyone for your responses. I have done what some of you have suggested and have been in touch with a student who took the program (and am still waiting for a response from several other students). The program is actually mini-classes of what you will be taking your first semester of medical school. From what I have been told, they go into enough depth that you will have an advantage over the other students at least for the first four-six weeks, especially in anatomy. Also, people said it really gives you a chance to meet the faculty and staff before classes start plus you can learn what studying techniques work best for you now rather than screwing up later and learning from that.

I am still not sure what I am going to do but right now my plan is to look at my budget again this weekend but with more analysiz (i.e. can I take out my retirement/pension now…I have only worked for four years but a couple of thousand could really help out). Also, I am also going to try and reach out to some of those who did not take the program and see how they have adjusted to school. Maybe I should look up Gabe and ask him that.

Thanks guys.

Hey dude,

I was invited to a similar program through my school as well. If I left work, I’d be losing lots of $$$. Since we are also trying to eliminate extraneous debt before med school starts, I’m going to forgo the program and just work.

Biochem is the only subject that makes me nervous so I’ll probably just review some of it over the summer. Nothing intense, just to get an idea of what I’m in for.

Thats my concern too Meg. I haven’t been sleeping well(at all) because I keep thinking about that.

I am going to a social function next week and the Deans of the school will be there. I guess I will ask them if they think I should take it. I really don’t want to. Its like I am starting off on the wrong foot by giving excuses why I am unsure about attending the program.


If only a small percentage of your school takes this class, you’ll probably be fine. Just commit to keeping a close eye on your performance and getting help/making changes EARLY AND OFTEN if things are not going well at first. Also try to find people who DID take the summer class and form study groups with them.

my Advice to you would be this:

Since you did not take a major that had a very heavy science load while in UG and your science is purely from the post bacc program, it may be to your benefit to forgo the extra income and take the pre-matric program. The last thing you want to do is to kick yourself during the semester that you did not do the program. The money can be made up another way.

Either re-budget and do without for a little while or do work study in the library. Either way, you can make up the money. You cannot make up the time.

Thanks Gabe. I am going to rebudget this weekend, see what I have in retirement funds, see if I can borrow from those, and make my decision next week. I also see the Deans of the various UMDNJ medical schools next week…I might consider asking their opinion as well.

Dude, definitely ask their opinion! That’s what they’re there for. They want you to be successful.

Just a quick update for anyone who cares. I did not do the summer program because of finances. I then got offered an opportunity to do research at the medical school which paid 2/3 of what I make now so I took it. Financially, I am definitely feeling it but it has really forced me to learn how to live like a grad student (i.e. today I ate a can of fruit for lunch and probably will have a peanut butter sandwich for dinner). I spoke with Gabe (again, thanks man) about it and after speaking with him, I felt in the long run it would benefit me more to immerse myself in the medical school environment sooner than later.

I have also learned that I am going to hate commuting 90 minutes each way for the first month of classes. This has taught me not to sign a lease too early!

Best of luck dude - I start my anatomy intensive in a week. Hopefully I will do well enough to be a TA in the fall anatomy class and get one class out of the way.

Do all schools offer this program? I am starting at the U of U in August and haven’t ever heard of this. Just curious.

I haven’t ever heard of the U of U but even if I did I am pretty sure its dependent on the school. Do a search of your school’s website for summer programs and you may find one.

  • lenagirlski Said:
Do all schools offer this program? I am starting at the U of U in August and haven't ever heard of this. Just curious.

Mine does not. So you do need to check.

I started the Intensive Summer Anatomy course at Western just this week and I am really glad I did. It is great to concentrate just on anatomy and I won’t have this class in the fall. I might be a TA in the fall - we shall see.

Craig - I just went to the info session at Western in Pomona, CA this past Saturday! I absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to hear about your experiences there. The school personnel was extremely friendly. The session began with an intro to the D.O. profession and an OMM demo. Then there was lunch and a guided tour of the campus presented by OMS-2 students and even a question and answer session with the Director of Admissions. Hopefully by your last year of rotations… I’ll be an official OMS-1

Thanks for giving this 'cu teacher/doctor-to-be some hope!!!