Our student today is quite unsure about his path. Is there anyone out there who’s 100% sure? How can you be 100% sure?
Thanks to Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep) for sponsoring this episode. Check them out as they recently launched their Medical School Admissions Consulting. Aside from my independent consulting, I’m also helping them out as their Director of Curriculum for their Admissions Consulting. They’re going to help you craft your story and prepare for your interviews. They’re going to make sure your essays are on point. If this is something you’re interested in, sign up for a free consultation with one of their academic managers.
[02:39] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:
I’m so glad to have found this forum and to know that there are so many premeds out there. It’s inspiring to see people go out there and pursue their dreams in spite of setbacks and age.
A little bit about me… Going to medical school was always intriguing to me. However, I grew up in the Middle East and there weren’t opportunities to explore that avenue, at least at the time, so it became a forgotten dream. I moved to the U.S. when I was 17 and started CC right away. Being very young, without a clear end goal in mind and completely unaware of how the US education system worked, I started my undergrad as a student (wanting to make big money quickly). Over the summer, I took a biotechnology course that changed my entire outlook on science. Biotechnology was new, fascinating and exciting for me so I ended up changing majors and going to UC San Diego for molecular biology.
While I was in UCSD, I reconsidered med school but became disillusioned by the competitive nature of the application process. I graduated with a BS in molecular biology in 2007, with a 3.7 overall GPA and 4.0 molecular biology GPA. I had initially considered pursuing a PhD but changed my mind after I realized it wasn’t the path for me (the isolating nature, the constant submission for grants etc). Since then, I have been working at a transplant diagnostic company which makes kits for tissue typing, having worked my way up from a lab tech to a supervisor of a product line. During my 10 years of work in IVD, I got married and got used to the stability, the comfort and the consistency of life.
Very recently, due to some changes at work, I’ve begun to re-evaluate my life, my career choice and my future. Medical school is back on my mind. I want to have a direct impact on the lives of people. Every time I hear of someone getting in medical school, I think “that could be me”. I should mention that since this is a very recent epiphany, I have not taken any action on it. I have no volunteer experience or ECs.
Apologies for the long intro but I guess I’m wondering where I stand if I wanted to apply to med school.
[04:56] School Requirements for Prereqs and Expiration Dates
Question 1: I had a pretty good GPA but I realize that all my courses are 10+ years old. How do I find out the school requirements for prereqs and their expiration dates?
Answer: Ask the schools. Find out the schools you’re interested in applying to. Give them a little bit of your story. Mention that you’re grades are from 10 years plus ago and see what they have to say.
[05:10] How Can You Be 100% Sure
Question 2: After reading of the other nontraditional premeds here, I don’t feel like I have a good enough or convincing story to pursue med school except in my heart, it feels right. How can I be sure? Is anyone 100% sure?
Answer: This is probably the biggest hangup for this student. Students are 100% sure that this is what they want and the get there by volunteering. They work in a clinical setting. They put themselves around patients to make sure that this is what they want to do. You’re not sure right now because you’re not volunteering. You’re not getting direct patient contact so you’re unsure of how you’re going to react to it. Of course, you have a convincing story. If this is what you want to do, then you will figure out how to explain that. Seek help from Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)’s Admissions Consulting to help you craft your story. Find other advisors who can do this for their students.
[06:42] EC Hours
Question 3: How much ECs hours do I need to be a solid applicant?
Answer: There is no specific answer here. Just get as many as you can and figure out as you go.
[06:55] Go Out There!
Question 4: I don’t even know where to begin if this is my journey. I’m 34 years old and don’t want to spend years speculating on this decision. Any advice would be highly appreciated. Thank you!”
Answer: Again, you need to be sure if this is right for you. Go and get volunteer hours. Put yourself around patients. Shadow physicians. Get a taste of what life is like as a physician so that you know if this is right for you.
Lastly, stop thinking and start doing. Volunteer and shadow. Get some clinical experience. This may take some financial setbacks and sacrifices. But if this is something you want to test, go out there and do it. Prove it to yourself so that you are 100% sure that this is the journey for you.
[08:15] Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)
Again, thanks to Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep) for sponsoring this episode. Click on the admissions button and sign up for a free consultation. Figure out how they can help you craft your best story.