This nontrad premed needs help getting started. What path should they take?
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[01:05] The MCAT Minute
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[01:55] OldPreMeds Question of the Week
“I am a 40 year old foreign national, and currently don’t even live in the U.S. However, I am married to a U.S. citizen and in the process of, hopefully, becoming a permanent resident. While waiting for that to happen, I want to have all my ducks in a row and maybe even start some of the work needed before getting to the U.S.
Here’s my background: I have a bachelor’s degree in MLS/CLS and a Master of Science degree. I have been told are not going to be accepted by med school admissions committees. I have looked around and found out that there are a few options available to solve this problem:
- Start from scratch and do a 4-year premed program.
- Do a postbac.
- Do a postgrad degree.
Right now, I am leaning towards doing a Master’s/Ph.D. degree. In most cases, they’d pay for the tuition plus some stipend which would help, as I have to worry about supporting my family also.
My question is, is there another option that I don’t know of? For instance, can I take the prereqs without enrolling in a specific program and in a shorter amount of time or for cheaper while working full-time? Is it even allowed/legal to work full-time and study?”
[03:35] Do Your Research First
This is a student with multiple international degrees and now wants to come to the States. She’s married to a U.S. citizen and wants to come and be a doctor here in the States. And that typically will include doing medical training here and getting some undergrad coursework. The student has done some homework, which is great.
[04:44] The 90-Hour Credit Rule
Most medical schools have what’s known as a 90-hour rule, where they want you to take 90 credit hours here in the States. When you do the math, it’s about 120 hours to get a degree over four years.
90 hours is like getting another degree and going to college for four more years, or cramming it into two or three years if you’re fast.“Most medical schools want you to take 90 credit hours here in the States.”Click To Tweet
[05:29] Why Medical Schools Want U.S. Coursework
Especially, if you’re a U.S. citizen, who would go overseas to go do your undergrad, you’re at a huge disadvantage because medical schools want U.S. coursework.
The main reason they do this is to have consistency when looking at grades. Even though there are some differences between different schools, they have this thought that it’s their education system. There are some flaws and differences between states between schools, but for the most part, it’s the same.
But when you go to other countries, it’s just very different. U.S. and Canada are lumped together. If you are a U.S. citizen, and you go to college in Canada, that’s okay. This discussion pertains to non-U.S. and non-Canada undergrads.'Medical schools are going to want to typically see coursework from a U.S. institution.'Click To Tweet
[06:51] Reach Out to Schools
Now, this is a unique situation where the student is saying they need to support their family. Ultimately, when you have these nuanced questions, the best thing you can do is to go directly to the schools. Tell them your situation and they’ll probably want you to have it evaluated through one of the foreign transcript evaluation services. Then ask whether doing a Ph.D. program is enough to overcome the fact you don’t have a U.S. undergrad.
I recently got an email from a student, who is a U.S. citizen, but went to a foreign university. They got their degree, came to the States, and realized this whole 90-credit rule. Then they found a couple of schools that had a 30-credit rule. Ultimately, they applied and got accepted, in fact, being one of the first people to be accepted without the criteria being met. And that’s because they looked at him on a case-by-case basis. He had reached out and had done his homework. He had built those relationships.
At the end of the day, you can get into a U.S. medical school with a foreign undergrad. There’s likely a lot of work that you’re going to have to do to get in. And that may mean more classes and more of everything, unfortunately.'If this is what you want, figure out a way to make it work because that is better than regret.'Click To Tweet
Again, reach out to the schools. Find out directly from them, what they will accept and what they won’t accept.
Be a little bit nimble there because the administration may change by the time you have that conversation and by the time you apply. So be sure to save all of your receipts and all of your emails. And so, if the new administration comes in and they say it’s not their rule, hopefully, they will listen to you.