Hi all. Here’s my situation. I finally have the guts to give up my law practice and pursue my dream of becoming a D.O. Problem is I do not have any science classes (except for an astronomty class). Been out of undergrad for 10 years and I am going to take m prereqs. at a local state college this spring. My undergrad. was a 3.3 and law school grades were Bs and Cs I think. Any ideas on what classes I should take and the chances of getting into a DO program? Do adcoms look down upon career changers? Thanks.
I don’t think they look down on career changers, though they expect you to articulate why you are changing careers. You will have to take the pre-reqs, and just make sure you do well on them. I had a lawyer in my OChem class who was planning to leave law and become a dentist. He made an A in OChem!!
Hi formerlawyertobe, welcome to my world. I also am a recovering lawyer. I didn’t have any sciences either (other than some sciences for non-science majors - solar astronomy and human biology). I applied and enrolled to a formal post-bacc program which was very alluring because obviously it’s been tried, tested and true, and it is run by people whose success is ultimately linked to yours. There are many, many people who have done it on their own at their local university with wild success. I personally did not think that would be the best option for me because I attended local university for undergrad and it was my experience that the professors by and large were not the best and/or most engaging. It was a commuter school where there is not a lot of interaction or interest in actually going to class, and I think most of the professors match this sentiment in the students. I’m not saying it would have been impossible for me to do there, but it just would have been a lot more difficult in the day-to-day (probably easier in the sense that my sheer interest in the class set me above most other students) but I just felt that it would be difficult enough to learn the material and master it, and just didn’t want to add the obstacle of overcoming professor/student apathy to my to-do list. I really felt that because I was giving up so much in terms of my career and my salary and that I was going to go after this, I owed it to myself to set myself up for success as much as possible. Anyhow, for those reasons, I enrolled in a formal post-bacc program and intense where we take all the prerequisites in one full calendar year. It has been really difficult, but I have learned a tremendous amount and done well and I do think that the fact the program, professors and administrators have invested so much in making us succeed helps.
Well, I think adcoms are a bit wary of people who have had other career to the extent that they want to know that you won’t change your mind about medicine too. But I also think that in can have the opposite effect, in the sense, that if you have had a previous career and sacrificed all that to go into medicine, you personally have a lot more to lose than a 21 is following their parents dream and it could be assumed that you’ve tread more cautiously and with more deliberation into medicine. In some ways, having a previous career or a different background can set you apart in a good way…at least, that what my program believes…you must have good reaons though and it must make sense…it can’t just be like, "I hated law."
Also, in terms of your law school grades, to my surprise, my program director told me that most adcoms will not spend too much time looking at your law school or other graduate school grades, because in most cases they are not so relevant and not what what’s reported in their statistics. Obviously, they will look at them and if you had a bad spell in law school or other graduate school, I’d certainly look for ways to deflect that, but for the most part, it is my understanding that they look at your undergrad grades and will look even more closely at the science course you will take now to satisfy the prerequisites.
Well, this will be the longest post in the whole forum…too bad they don’t have an award for that…but feel free to pm me to ask me any questions about my decision and my path to medical school.
Don’t worry about being a career changer. The only big questions this brings up to admissions committees are, "Why medicine? Why now and not before? How thoroughly have you investigated this career choice so we know you’re sure this time?"
And those are all questions you have to answer for yourself, anyway. Be sure to spend some time working with patients in a hospice, clinic, hospital, or other environment, and spend some time shadowing doctors, to get a good picture of a day in a doctor’s life. Some DO schools specifically require a letter of recommendation from a DO, so keep that in mind as you’re looking for shadowing opportunities.
I’m a librarian career changer myself. I’m fortunate to work in a university library, so my classes are nearby, and my boss is very cooperative about my schedule, though she’s not happy about my classes for this semester.
For all medical schools, you’ll need 1 year of general chem, 1 year of organic chem (which generally has the general chem as a prerequisite), 1 year of biology, and 1 year of physics. All of these should be the courses for science majors (not, for example, the chemistry nursing majors take), though the physics can be the non-calculus physics for science majors. All must be courses WITH labs.
Make sure you have shaken the rust off your algebra before diving into chemistry or physics classes. You’ll use algebra every single day in general chemistry class, so you have to be in shape.
You’ll need to look at the requirements of the med schools that interest you for more requirements. Some common ones are: 1 semester of biochemistry, 1 semester or 1 year of calculus, 1 semester of advanced biology with lab.
Some courses people have said helped them out in med school (though you can get into and through med school without them): cell and molecular biology, human or animal physiology, genetics, immunology, histology.
My undergrad was 3.3something, and by the time I finish my prereqs, it will be more like 3.5 if I keep cranking out the A’s. Your undergraduate science GPA is also calculated separately, which is good news for you–if you take your destiny in your hands and rock out on the science, you’ll have a very nice science GPA. If you put together a good application package and get all your ducks in a row, you certainly have a chance.
Good luck, and welcome to the madhouse!
That is an excellent question. One thing I have found out about DO schools is that they do not count professional course grades when calculating ur GPA. So law school grades do not count. I have talked to a number of admissions people at DO schools about this topic
The reason professional courses are not calculated into your GPA is because many professional programs I.E. law schools base grades on criteria that is much differnt then most schools. For instance the law school I attended was based on a 16 pt. scale instead of a 4pt scale. Getting a C in law school is not the same as getting a C as an undergrad, DO schools recognize its much more rigirous and the subjective. Anyways that is my two cents. Just do well in your science classes, and rock the MCAT.
I am not sure if allopathic schools do the same thing as Osteopathic schools. But I do think that the Osteopathic schools are more understanding of people who are wanting to make a career change. Feel free to PM me, I love to speak to former attorneys and law students.