Finishing undergrad - now considering medical school

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Finishing undergrad - now considering medical school

Postby scampbell70 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:12 pm

I am doing my undergrad now. I am in my final year of a double major in psychology and social work. My goal was to apply to a masters or PhD program next year in social work or psychology but I am thinking I may want to go to med school. I do not want to go and get another 4 year degree so I am wondering what classes I HAVE to have to apply to med school? My college does have a pre med program but like I said I cant afford to take another complete four year degree.

In addition to a list of the classes I have to have can I take any of them at my community college or should I take them at my four year school? I am 42 and have a 3.81 GPA overall and a 4.0 in the social work major/ 3.4 or something like that in the psychology major. I also have done other things like served on student governemnet and done volunteer work.
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Re: Finishing undergrad - now considering medical school

Postby scampbell70 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:15 am

I forgot to add that I have not taken any of the sciences such as bio, chem, etc.. Is it possible to take a year of biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics in less then four years?
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Re: Finishing undergrad - now considering medical school

Postby DrDave » Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:26 am

The classes you need for medical school are 1 year general chemistry, 1 year biology, 1 year organic chemistry and 1 year physics. The science courses need to be at the same level someone who is majoring in that field would take - for example, the first year of general chemistry that a chemistry major would need to take.

It is highly recommended that you do not take these classes at a junior college. Most people I know who graduated and later decided to go to medical school wound up taking evening classes for 2-3 years to finish their pre-med coursework. There are also programs referred to as post-bac programs which are typically 2 years and are designed specifically to prepare people to apply to medical school. I don't know a lot about those programs but it looks like they are targetted towards two main groups of people - those that decide after graduating from college they want to go to medical school and those that did not do well as an undergrad and need to improve their grades and demonstrate they are capable of doing well enough to succeed in medical school. My impression is the post-bacc route is more expensive than just taking the required courses at a 4 year college.

You definitely can take the required courses in less than 4 years. I would think 2-3 years is what most people would need. You would probably not want to take more than 2 of the required courses at any one time as they are very challenging courses.
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Re: Finishing undergrad - now considering medical school

Postby scampbell70 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:59 am

Thank you for your reply DrDave, let me tell you a little more about myself. I have Asperger's syndrome and my IQ has been tested at about 140 but they are not sure that is right, they think it is much higher. I quit school in the 6th grade because I was bored and unchallenged and they didn't diagnose people with AS in the 70's and 80's. I taught myself computers and ran a 2 million dollar a year IT company for many years. I went and got my GED at 24 without studying for it. I decided to go to college at 35 and get out of the IT field. I enrolled in a small private four year college that is ranked in the top ten for Midwest schools for several of their programs including nursing.

As I said I have a 3.81 GPA overall and I take 6-8 classes a semester and never fewer then 4, plus work part-time. My wife is also in the BSN program at the same school, I have a special needs daughter who is 21 and lives at home, I have two teen sons with dyslexia that are now on the honor roll in their high schools, and just became eagle scouts. I also started a club on campus and served as president of another club and sat on student government. I have also been published in journals. I have to admit I have horrible study skills and I have never opened a text book in 4 years, and last semester took a total of 6 classes spread across two different colleges and didn't even bother to buy text books since I don't open them anyway and I ended the semester at both schools with all A's.

I am doing a double in social work and psychology because my goal was a PhD in clinical psychology or a Masters in social work. My plan was to be a therapist and do talk therapy. I have been seriously considering going into medicine for the past year and I may look at becoming a psychiatrist but I may want to do internal medicine or some other field. I am really curious about what is out there and would like to be able to shadow the various fields to see what I like most if any of them. I am not afraid of hard work or pushing myself. Although, Math is not my strongest subject since I quit school in the 6th grade but I am trying to master it. I have a few W's on my transcripts because I withdrew from class to avoid a bad grade then retook the classes and got A's or B's. I can handle stress pretty easy and I think I would like to become a doctor but I am not sure I have any financial aid left since I am doing double bachelors degrees and I am at about 110-120 credit hours now. My only worries are running out of money and my age. I worry that if I do not finish undergrad until next spring then do two or three more years to get the pre-med stuff that I will be 44 or 45 before I can even start med school which means I will be close to 50 before I am able to practice medicine.

I would love to hear your thoughts DrDave and those of the people on the forums.
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Re: Finishing undergrad - now considering medical school

Postby DrDave » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:28 am

scampbell70,

You definitely have a unique story and your experiences would add something to any medical school. I think your grades in pre-med courses will help you see if your study habits are going to be a barrier to succeeding in medical school. The required pre-med courses are very challenging and most people will need to study in order to do well. If you have a phenomonal memory and you have very good instincts with the sciences, you may be able to get by without looking in text books that much.

Medical school is very challenging beyond just the academic challenges. The amount of material you have to learn is immense, but I think most people find that physical and emotional demands at least as challenging. Age only makes it that much tougher.

I would suggest you check out forums for "non traditional students" which seems to be the phrase used most commonly for older medical students. A google search should give you a few of the forums that focus on the topic and you can likely get a lot of your questions answered there from people more familiar with the challenges you would be facing.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you can't really practice medicine right after the 4 years of medical school. You'd still need to do a residency. Internal medicine and family practice are each 3 year residencies. Fields like surgery can be 5 or more years of residency AFTER medical school.
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