This nontrad is completing her nursing degree but has decided to pursue the premed path. Should she start taking prereqs now or wait until she finishes her ABSN?
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[01:01] The MCAT Minute
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[01:38] OldPreMeds Question of the Week
“Would it be better to wait to take these classes after my ABSN program or should I take them during the ABSN? I would take them one by one during the ABSN program, but take them two by two afterward. The classes are Calculus, Physics 1 and 2, and 3 Chemistry classes.
If you want more background on my situation then read down below, but it’s pretty long so I wanted to ask the question first.
I am a nontraditional student only now just realizing that I have a deep desire to become a doctor. I had no idea what I wanted to do in college so I got my English degree, low GPA of 3.2. I was a college athlete on a scholarship and my life was my sport.
Still Figuring Out What to Do in Life
After college, I married my high school sweetheart who had enlisted in the USAF. Two years after that I enlisted in the USAF because I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I got blessed that my job was in medical, Aerospace Physiology. I had always had a burning desire to become an officer because I loved leadership and the challenges and responsibilities that came with it.
My husband and I had our first daughter, I got out of the military, and was still trying to figure out what to do with my life. I worked through some Graduate classes in Theology thinking that I could be a Chaplain officer in the military.
A Desire to Learn and Lead
Through an even longer story, I became a die-hard all-in Catholic who LOVES the Church but could no longer pursue Chaplain officer due to the fact that Catholicism does not ordain females. I still had this drive and this desire to learn and lead and help others but had no idea where to start.
My husband suggested nursing. After some research and talking with some good friends who were nurses, I decided to apply to my school’s ABSN program. I was not really feeling the click of it but thought it would be a great career.
A Newfound Passion and Purpose
We had our second child, our son, and I got accepted into the nursing program for the Summer. After so many Doctor and ER visits for both my son and our daughter, something finally clicked. I started doing more research and asking questions about medical school.
Now I am for certain that being a doctor is my end goal. Something I never thought I would be smart enough to even pursue. However, I CANNOT drop out of the nursing program due to a number of factors I won’t go into. To apply to the one and only medical school, I would be able to attend, being the University of Uniformed Services, due to family responsibility (i.e., you get a salary as an active duty person as you go to school). I still need about six classes plus taking the MCAT.
Would it be better to wait to take these classes after my ABSN program or should I take them during the ABSN? I would take them one by one during the ABSN program, but take them two by two afterward. The classes are Calculus, Physics 1 and 2, and 3 Chemistry classes.”
[05:05] Nursing Classes ≠ Med Schools Prereqs
I have noticed that there are so few prereqs on that list. A lot of people don’t understand that most of the nursing classes do not count as medical school prereqs. For this particular student in her BSN program, biology and biochemistry are not on this list.'The nursing classes a lot of times don't count as med school prereqs.'Click To Tweet
If you took biology and biochemistry in the nursing program, you have to make sure that those courses will count as prereqs to whatever medical school you want to apply to.
[05:44] When You’re Limited to the Schools You’re Applying To
Shooting for only one medical school is very common for nontraditional students who have responsibilities. And maybe they have a spouse who may be working in a specific career. And so, they’re limited to where apply to medical school.'Getting into medical school is not very easy, no matter what. And so, when you limit yourself to just one school, for whatever reason, that makes things very hard.'Click To Tweet
It also makes things a little bit easier. In this case, this student can reach out to the school directly. Tell them all the courses you’ve taken in your ABSN program and your prior English program. Then ask about what other courses you need to do.
[06:46] Be a Strong Applicant!
A lot of students who have nursing degrees are confused thinking that the biology class they took counts as a prereq. And usually, those prereqs will not count as prereqs for medical school. It’s the same for all the other Allied Science classes. So you have to be very careful about that.
Knowing that you have one school you can only go to, the goal is to be as strong of an applicant as possible.
Get as perfect of the grades as possible. Meaning, you should probably wait until after your ABSN to get those prereqs. You’re going to have to do well in your ABSN and do going to have to do well in those prereqs.'You don't want to overcomplicate life by taking on too much, and making everything harder.'Click To Tweet
Do not overcomplicate your life by taking too much on your plate that your ABSN grades drop and your prereq grades drop. The goal is to do as well as possible, especially starting off with a 3.2 GPA from your prior undergrad experience.
[08:13] Other Parts of the App You Need to Consider
On top of those things you need to do, you also have to do well on the MCAT. You need to get clinical experience, some shadowing, and continue to do more and more here and there.
You’re applying to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) and you need to do some volunteer experience. It’s great that you have prior military experience which will definitely come in handy. But maybe they want some more volunteer experience or whatever else specific to that school.
[08:48] Final Thoughts
Ultimately, I would recommend waiting to do the prereqs so that you can focus on one thing at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself because you’re a parent, you’re a student, you’re a premed. And so, you have a lot of stuff going on. So just be careful with all of those requirements. Make sure that your priority is getting A’s.
Finally, to all the nurses out there who are thinking of applying to medical school, make sure that the classes you take are the prereqs for medical schools. If you’re planning on using your nursing prereqs, make sure that the school is going to accept them because a lot of them won’t.