The Nontraditional Path for the Traditional Premed

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OPM 243: The Nontraditional Path for the Traditional Premed

Session 243

You’re considering applying to out-of-state medical schools, so what are out-of-state medical schools really looking for? What constitutes “strong ties?”

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum over at Please go ahead and register for an account, ask your question, and have fun with the community.

Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey. Also, don’t forget to check out Mappd, now on its beta stage, and sign up for your two-week free trial.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[00:50] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I am approaching my junior year of college and I have decided that I want my career to be medicine. I do not have the strongest GPA but it is above a 3.0. I am taking a very hard major and I am managing to stay afloat. 

With me being in my last 4 semesters of school my mother is pressuring me to complete school because she is paying with her money but I know if I change majors this late I will be in school at least another 2 to 3 years possibly. 

What are my options for going into medicine and coming back to finish my prereqs after I graduate undergrad.”

[01:27] Delay Your Graduation Date

In a lot of other countries, students go to medical school straight out of high school. But it’s hard to understand, especially in this country, where you aren’t locked into a specific career. In this country, you are free to do whatever you want. And that has pluses and minuses including where you go to school. And then you realize there’s a whole path to this process.

So you have a couple of options in this case. You can just change majors and delay your graduation date.

'Oftentimes, a student struggles to stay afloat in the major they're in because they're really not motivated by that journey.'Click To Tweet

There are many times when students don’t feel passionate about the major they’re taking. Then as soon as they realize they need to be a physician, they start taking their prereqs. And that’s hard compared to most other prereqs of other majors.

Students struggle because they’re not passionate. And then as soon as they find that passion, all of a sudden, they flourish. 

For some medical schools, it’s necessary to go through this process. Other schools are working on alternative paths, however. But that kind of path gives students a sense of determination, resilience, and motivation to figure out this stuff.

[04:52] Graduate with an Upward Trend

With your mom pressuring you to get out of school, you may opt to get government loans to pay for medical school or pay for undergrad and then get into medical school. So you can graduate and continue down this path.

My biggest concern is, are you going to be able to continue to do well in your classes now that you’ve made this mental switch? 

'You need to do well in your classes, not just stay afloat.'Click To Tweet

You can change your majors not from the hard major that you’re in, but to an easier major. Do well in the classes that you need to just graduate, not necessarily with the specialized degree that your major was going to give you. The degree doesn’t matter anyway.

Graduate with some general bachelor’s degree or whatever it is that you can get out with and get good grades as close to a 4.0 as possible. Graduate and get that upward trend going.

[05:54] Go Back as a Non-Degree-Seeking Student

Then you can go back to the same school as a non-degree-seeking student if they’ll let you. Or just declare a second major if they’ll let you and just don’t finish that major and take the classes that you need for medical school.

Generally, it’s one year of chemistry, one year of biology, one year of English, one year of physics, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. And a lot of schools are peppering in some sociology and psychology for the MCAT.

So, you do that afterward at the same school at a community college. You can do it through a formal postbac if you needed that structure. But you don’t have to do that though. 

'There are lots of options to go and get your prereqs. Just know that there really is no right path and right journey. It's whatever works for you.'Click To Tweet

Do whatever works for you within the timeframe that you want and your budget constraints to figure out if this is the right path for you. So there are lots of options and it’s common for students to figure this out later in the game.


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