Our poster today is a working professional but wants to go to medical school now. He’s caught in the dilemma of continuing to work or quit the job to be premed.
For more resources to help you on your path to medicine, check out Meded Media Network.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
[01:18] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:
As usual on the OldPreMeds Podcast, our question is taken from the Nontrad Premed Forum:
“I’m a 30-year-old male, who after years of working in journalism and media, has decided to pursue a lifelong passion for medicine, a field that merges my calling to care for others and my interest in science.
I come from a family of medical professionals. So to an extent, I feel that it is in my blood. But I always viewed myself as not smart enough to make it in medicine.'I always viewed myself as not smart enough to make it in medicine.'Click To Tweet
But now at age 30, with a better sense of self and courage, despite the potential for failure, I feel I have to go after my dream.
I’ve been researching and conferring with advisers, professionals, etc. on the viability of this big pivot. They tell me that it is doable, as has been affirmed by all the hardworking people in this community.
I’m trying to map out a path to do it and would love input from others on how best to work toward my goal.
I have a long way to go. I’ve just started taking prerequisite courses at community colleges as my earlier BS did not involve chemistry and biology as is commonly required by medical schools. Thus, even MCAT is a ways off.
I am currently working full-time at a healthcare organization but in administrative respects. It’s been a great opportunity to learn more about the industry of medicine.
However, it does take up a lot of my time, restricting when I can schedule classes and how much attention I can give to the curriculum. I would be learning a lot more, if I had more time to allocate to my studies.
I have wondered if this is the best approach – trying to juggle work and school at the same time. Or if I’m truly serious about medicine. I am.
Do I stop working full-time and focus on school? If I did this, I suspect I’ll be more prepared in a shorter amount of time to apply to medical schools. The trade-off is the loss of income and the pressure that comes with living in an area with a high cost of living.
If there are any other circumstances that I should share, please let me know. I would be immensely grateful for any shared experiences or advice.”
[03:30] Studying at a Community College: How the Admissions Committees View It
I actually had a recent experience with a nontraditional student who I’ve been working with. He was recently accepted to medical school but had a very similar story to yours.
He was working full-time, and he went to community colleges at night. And when he could fit it in, he volunteered and did all the other stuff.
His work was in a way, healthcare-related. But it wasn’t clinically related. He was a computer science engineer, writing codes and programming for electronic medical records. And he didn’t quit work to go to try and find a scribe job or something else.
He was on his interview trail, seven in total. And during his interviews, he said that all but one interviewer grilled him on why he was taking classes at community college.All but one interviewer grilled him on why he was taking classes at community college.Click To Tweet
[Related episode: How to Go From Community College to Medical School.]
Should You Quit Your Job to Be a Full-Time Premed Student?
Some schools didn’t invite this student for an interview. And our hunch was that was because he didn’t quit his job and he didn’t focus full-time on being a student. He didn’t go to a four-year university. He didn’t show his determination to be a physician by entering a clinical career.
So there are admissions committee members out there who are really going to question why you went to a community college and why you didn’t quit your job.
Now this student did get an acceptance. He also got multiple interviews. But he was grilled with “why” at those interviews. He did well enough apparently and had one or two acceptances.There are admissions committee members out there who are really going to question why you went to a community college and why you didn't quit your job.Click To Tweet
[Related post: Accepted to Medical School with Community College Classes.]
[05:52] My Best Advice on Whether to Be a Full-time Premed or Go to Community College
So this student said that if he had to do it all over again, he would go to a four-year university. He wouldn’t go to a community college knowing that the schools are looking at it that closely.
But for now, my best advice is to figure out what you need to do to take classes as full-time as possible at a four-year university. And keep a roof over your head and food on the table and bills paid.
And that means selling your car or moving in with your parents or a roommate, whatever that looks like.
It happens faster. You’ll get to the MCAT faster. You get to the application faster. But it also shows the schools that you’re dedicated to do this. It shows a different level of dedication to this path.
Links and Other Resources
- Check out my Premed Playbook series of books (available on Amazon), with installments on the personal statement, the medical school interview, and the MCAT.
- Related episode: Should You Quit Your Job to Study for the MCAT Full-time?
- Related episode: What Is the Best Paid Clinical Experience for Med School?
- Need MCAT Prep? Save $50 on Next Step’s MCAT tutoring or course with promo code “MSHQTOC”! Save 10% on their practice tests with promo code “MSHQ.” Check it out here!