High school in Africa, interested in medical school

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High school in Africa, interested in medical school

Postby willforrester » Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:40 am

Good morning,

I've got my high school diploma in Africa and i would like to go to med school.
I intend to go to a 2years community college to obtain an Associate of Science degree (with biology as major).
physics, maths, biology, chemistry are among the course list.Are those the required pre-med courses? if not what are they?

i would really like to know the exact path from obtaining a high school diploma to entering a university as medical student.
(exams and courses included).UMAT (Undergaduate Medical Admission Test) or MCAT?

Concerning my high school diploma i should mention that i was just above the average. Is college a necessary place to go (2 years)?
because my parents are saying that a direct entry can be possible.
(education system is slightly diferent here).

thank you .
i look forward to have an answer.
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Re: High school in Africa, interested in medical school

Postby DrDave » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:28 am

I am really not familiar with people who attended high schools in other countries, so my comments are mainly for someone who went to high school in the United States.

In order to go directly to medical school after high school in the United States, you'd have to get accepted into a combined BA/MD program. You can see more information about this programs in this thread on combined BA/MD programs. In order to get accepted into these 6-8 year combined programs, you'd have to be at the top of your high school class. I really don't know if these programs even consider graduates from non-US high schools.

The traditional route for someone graduating from high school in the US is to go to a 4 year college and get a bachelors degree, and then go to a 4 year medical school. You have to do very well in the 4 year college and do well on the MCAT exam to get accepted into a medical school. The classes that you take at a 2 year college can count towards your bachelors degree, but you should NOT take the required pre-med courses at a 2 year college. Medical schools generally won't consider the 2 year college science classes as adequate to get into medical school.

At a 4 year college, you'd have to take 1 year of general chemistry with lab, 1 year biology with lab, 1 year organic chemistry with lab, and 1 year of physics. These should all be at the appropriate level for someone majoring in each of those fields. You can not take these courses at a 2 year college.

You would take your MCAT typically around your 3rd year of college so that you would have time to apply and interview at medical schools during your 4th year.

As you attended high school in another country, I'm not sure how easy it is to get accepted into a good 4 year college. Your first step would be to get into a 4 year college.

While I don't want to sound like a pessimist, if your grades were just above average in high school, then there is a good chance that you will have a very difficult time getting the necessary grades in college to get into medical school.
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Re: High school in Africa, interested in medical school

Postby willforrester » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:44 am

Thank you very much indeed for the quick response.
But i would like to know if obtaining an Associate degree in Sciences in a community college would get my credits transfered in a 4 year college?
is it a good path to follow? since my grades in high school were just above average.
what i mean is is this path correct for a my situation and status(international student):

High school ==> 2 Year community college==>Obtain Associate Degree in Sciences. transfert ==> 4 year college.==>sit for MCAT==> med School.
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Re: High school in Africa, interested in medical school

Postby DrDave » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:53 am

It is very reasonable to take classes at a 2 year college and then transfer those credits to a 4 year college. You just need to be aware that any of your science courses at the 2 year college will not count towards your pre-med requirements.
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Re: High school in Africa, interested in medical school

Postby willforrester » Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:04 pm

ok i understand that.

Questions still pops though..1- can thoses credits make it easier to access a 4 year college?
Because entering undergarduates studies is the goal now.will they look at my scores in the 2 year college to
give me admission?(can the Associate degree replace or support my high school degree?)
or do i need another exam(outside of Associate Degree)to enter undergraduates studies.

2-Then once in college are the pre-med requiments included in my studies or are they different from what i will be learning?

3- what are the chances to get an internship in the US.Particularly in Texas? Because australia is facing that kind of problem
with over crowded students after graduation.
My father do not agree with the idea of going through 2 year community college.He thinks i should go directly to undergraduate studies.is there a
solution that you can propose?

Sorry for the multiple questions.
I just want to be sure of where i'm going how to go there and convince my father that it's right .
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Re: High school in Africa, interested in medical school

Postby DrDave » Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:13 am

1. Most 2 year colleges (also called community colleges in the US) will offer coursework which will count towards a 4 year degree when you transfer to a 4 year college. You will definitely want to check on this when looking at 2 year colleges as not all of them will offer coursework which transfers. When applying to a 4 year college, I would think that your 2 year college grades would be a factor in getting into a 4 year college but your high school grades would still be a factor. I'm personally not familiar with this route, but there are several threads on this forum about community colleges and going to medical school. I would definitely suggest you check with someone familiar with the process of transferring from community college to a 4 year college to make sure you know exactly what would be involved. Here is one thread on community colleges and going to medical school. At the end of that topic there should be links to several more topics on community colleges. You can get some information in those threads.

2. Once in a 4 year university, your pre-med requirements would be part of what you are studying. You will need to complete a "major" at the 4 year university and that major can be in any subject of your choosing. There will be certain requirements to complete the major and you would need to do those requirements in addition to your pre-med requirements. Many medical students majored in a science field because the pre-med requirements will count towards a major in those fields. For example, as a biology major you would need to take general biology. Your pre-med biology course would meet that requirement.

3. In the US, an internship for a doctor is the 1st year of residency after completing medical school. If you graduate from a US medical school, you would have no problem getting an internship/residency somewhere, but it may not be in your first choice field (depending on how competitive of a field you want to specialize). Medical school is extremely competitive and you would need to be at the top of your college class and do very well on the MCAT in order to get accepted into medical school. Getting into medical school is much more difficult for the typical college graduate than getting an intership/residency slot for the typical medical school graduate.

4. Your dad is correct that in almost all cases it is better to go directly to a 4 year college than going to a community college followed by graduating from a 4 year university. If you start out at a 4 year college, you can immediately begin taking your pre-med courses and you will not be rushing to try to complete all of them in your last 2 years of college. Also, 4 year colleges are typically viewed as having more challenging courses and it will look better if you do well at a 4 year college as opposed to 2 years of community college and 2 years of a university. The main reason I think people do community college first is if they don't want to take out the loans for a 4 year college and they may not be sure what career path they want to pursue.

Keep in mind that if your high school grades were just above average, there is a good chance that you will find the pre-med coursework extremely challenging and you may find out that your grades in college are not good enough to get into medical school. You'll want to make sure you have a back up plan for that situation.
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Re: High school in Africa, interested in medical school

Postby willforrester » Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:31 pm

thanks a lot! it really helped!i am almost relieved now.

i also heard that having a bachelor's degree in any field(health sciences/medical science) if i take pre-med courses and MCAT it will still be possible to go to med school.
i just wanted to be sure those statements are true.
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Re: High school in Africa, interested in medical school

Postby DrDave » Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:49 pm

You can major in any field (history, english, math, chemistry, etc) and still go to medical school. You just need to make sure you complete the required pre-med courses and the MCAT - as long as you get very good grades and test scores.
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