After a significant life event with his daughter being born with a rare congenital disorder, our poster today wants to get out of the military and go to medical school. If you’re a career-changer, this is a must-listen episode!
The questions in this podcast are taken from the Nontrad Premed Forum. If you haven’t yet, just register for an account and ask away!
[01:10] OldPreMeds Question of the Week
“Due to a recent life circumstance, I have decided to pursue a career in medicine. My daughter was born with a rare congenital brain disorder, amongst many health issues that have accompanied her situation. The amount of time spent in the NICU and PICU, medical appointments and researching her condition have led me to a burning desire to be a physician. She’s almost 2 and somewhat stable enough for me to focus on school again. I’m graduating in Spring with a degree in Business Administration from University of Maryland. This is not ideal as it’s an online college and a business degree. It doesn’t do much for me in terms of prereqs for medical school.
My GPA is also below where I’d like it to be. I’ll be graduating with a 3.1. Overseas deployments and high ops tempo played a role in my lack of dedication during tough times. And my grades suffered because of it.
So my dilemma – I am ten years into an army career as an intel officer and I’m confused as to the best way to get into medical school. I read up on postbacs, Master’s in Biomed and just taking classes individually that will help me with the MCAT and for medical school.”
[03:40] Having a Business Degree
As a nontrad student, this is actually a very common scenario. You have an unique situation, but overall, it’s similar to so many other students. If you’re a career-changer, you must continue on and listen to this!
First off, you have a degree that doesn’t help you but that’s okay as it actually helps to have a business degree. As you take your science prereqs and assuming you do well, your science GPA will hopefully be great. So your prior 3.1 GPA will show up in your transcript and it will bring down your overall, cumulative GPA. But your BCPM (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and math) GPA will only be what you take now, for the most part. So you should go in with the expectation that you’re going to do well as you can.
[04:40] Undergrad Formal Postbac
So you have a couple of options here. You can do a formal postbac where all the classes you take are going to count as undergrad classes. So they will affect your 3.1 GPA. It may not move the needle very much but from an undergrad science GPA standpoint, you’re going to have a great science GPA, assuming you do well.
[05:25] Do It Yourself Postbac
Just go to the local college where you’re at and just take the science classes you need. You may need to register as a non degree seeking student or you may need to fake it and get a degree in Biology and just don’t finish. That way, you can register for the classes that you need.
There is no right or wrong way here. Students go this route considering that formal postbacs are expensive. And not every student needs them. Some students like them though. They want that formality and the built-in support structure. Not every student wants to get into debt for it.
[06:11] Special Master’s Program
A special master’s program is a master’s level course work so it’s not going to affect the undergrad GPA. It will only affect your Master’s, this is your graduate level course work so it’s a separate line item in the application. It will still show up as BCPM, hopefully, you get a great Master’s level GPA. Usually, if you’re coming from a non science related undergrad degree, most students don’t need to jump right to the Special Master’s Program.
So I would recommend you do either a formal postbac which is expensive, or a do-it-yourself postbac, which may not be as costly since you’re not paying for the formal “support” around you during that time.
[07:12] Don’t Forget the MCAT
The MCAT is another big thing you need to study for. But you’re in the right situation and you’re starting from a good spot coming from a non science major and classes. Hopefully, you’re not going to screw up your GPA moving forward. Your overall GPA is going to be a bit lower but you will be good.
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