Making the Transition From Military Back to Undergrad

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Session 182

This week, we have a question from Nick, a former corpsman, who is curious about some tips and tricks for finishing the remainder of his undergrad degree and applying to medical school.

Your questions are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum. If you haven’t yet, be sure to register for an account so you can also begin asking questions and join a community of collaborative premeds and nontrads.

[00:52] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“Hey everyone! My name is Nick, 28 years old and currently completing my undergraduate degree at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan. I recently separated from the Navy where I served as a Hospital Corpsman.

I had a unique time in service where I rotated through multiple emergency departments throughout Chicago, Illinois. Additionally, I served with the Marine Corps as a combat medic. Both of my roles were serving as an independent medical provider.

Now, I am back in school and finishing up my undergrad, roughly 1.5 years left. My plan is to apply to medical school in 2021/2022. I was a medical scribe for a brief period after transitioning out of the Navy, though now I work as a medical assistant/technician at an urgent care.

I was wondering if anyone has any tips/tricks for finishing the remaining of my degree, pre-med classes and subsequently applying to medical school. I know everyone is unique and different though I feel alone on campus because not many people have the same experiences and my age doesn’t help. Furthermore, I have a bit of a dicey school course load prior to the Navy.

[02:10] Some Tips and Tricks

Listen to The Premed Years Podcast. Second, do very well in your classes. Third, apply early to medical school.

Learn how to write a very good personal statement. Check out The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement.

At this point, you need to focus on your grades. Having a dicey school course load prior to the Navy tells me your grades aren’t the best. You may need to be prepared to do a postbac. You may need to take more classes to improve your GPA to be solid.

It looks like you have a year and a half left of school so hopefully, you have a really solid upward trend in GPA. So hopefully, you’re doing well in classes now.

If you’re not doing well in your classes, then seriously consider taking a break at school. Figure out why you’re not doing well. Then get back to it once you are sure that you will do well.

'That GPA can make or break you when it comes to applying.'Click To Tweet

Ultimately, there are lots of other things you need to be doing. Apply early. Apply to a broad range of schools. You need to interview well.

Your experiences as a hospital corpsman and as a combat medic are amazing experiences that are going to really help you define who you are and why you want to be a physician. This will help you tremendously.

Embrace your experiences and embrace your nontraditional role. Go out and see if you can find a community of other nontraditional students that can connect with you to help you through this journey.


Nontrad Premed Forum

The Premed Years Podcast

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Personal Statement