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Undergrad, Med School - How Do I Help Her Get There?


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And YES, I'm trying to get an early start on this. But, DD will be 10 in Sept. and has wanted to be something medical-related since she was four. At that time, Mystery Diagnosis was her favorite tv show, and she totally understood what was going on. Sure beat the heck out of watching endless Barney re-runs with her.

 

Six years down the road and she still loves all things medical. She's the only kid I know who is *over the moon* at the idea of going for her well child check-up, and is first on the scene if anyone in the house gets so much as a stubbed toe. It's kinda gross, but she always wants a close look at any and all injuries. She definitely isn't put off by a little blood.

 

Anyway, lately, she's focused on "when I get to med school..." I want her to have the opportunity to pursue that IF that's what she wants down the road. So I'm doing some long term planning / goal-setting to make sure she's prepared and competitive when the time comes. I want her to have as many options open to her as possible.

 

So, my questions:

 

When applying to med school, how much does it matter where the applicant went to undergrad? Will 2 years of community college and transferring to a pretty good school (e.g. something in the University of California system, like UC Davis) make an applicant less competitive than just starting at the pretty good school? Or should the applicant limit herself to only Tier 1 schools or forget about being competitive? Also, how do I determine which schools have the best reputation with med school admissions?

 

Thanks :)

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I had to research Med School admissions for a class a couple of quarters ago. There are a variety of interesting things "required" - and I strongly suggest bouncing around on the pages. Harvard has recently revised what their guidelines - and they were in stark comparison to University of Florida and University of Central Florida. I then met a gal that had the grades - but did not have the "experience" they are looking for to get into UCF, she said it was hard - she thought she had been doing well concentrating on her grades.

 

It was really an interesting assignment.... LOL!!

 

http://hms.harvard.edu/departments/admissions/applying/selection-factors

 

Basically, I concluded that Harvard had the best, most flexible requirements - and it would not have been a place that I would have applied. BUT, after reading thru all their pages - it would have been the place I would have stood the best chance of getting in.

 

There are charts out there (the MCAT website?) that give you all sorts of stats on applications and such too.

 

Others can help you with the details - but I would study the various entrance requirements and see what types of activities and such she will need outside of school. Harvard has been a trendsetter in the Med SChool area for awhile (another assignment), and I would expect their new stuff to trickle down into other schools over time.

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It’s been a long time (too long to say how long) since I went through this and I know it’s changed a lot. It’s definitely more competitive now. People who have had their kids apply to med schools recently or those who have undergrads who are pre-med can probably give you a better idea of some of the nitty-gritty of what is needed.

 

Some general thoughts...

*I knew I wanted to be a doctor at about age 3. It’s all I ever wanted to do. Except for being a mother. And a ballerina. But I like to say now that 2 out of 3 is pretty good. :) I think if she loves medicine and wants to do it, she has a great chance of meeting that goal. Med school really want to see that people WANT to be there. It’s tough and they want people who know what they are getting into and who want to be there because they love medicine and not because they think it’s lucrative or it’s a safe career or their parents want them to be there. Outside activities that show that interest in science and medicine will help her application. Volunteering, shadowing doctors, working in a hospital, being an EMT, etc. are all good things to think about doing. And if she really loves it that will come out in her essays and interviews and will help her. I’ve served on med school admissions committees and those for residency and you can see the candidates who really want to be there and have that passion. It’s a definite plus.

 

*I don’t know about the community college route. I think the general thought is that medical schools are going to want to see the science requirements done elsewhere. They want to see that the student can really handle the higher level science. It may not be true that community college classes aren’t as rigorous but that is the perception (or at least it used to be) and so I think the student would have to have a really strong application to make up for that. For example, around here you can go to the community college for 2 years and then have guaranteed admission to University of Virginia (with a high enough GPA at the community college). I think a student who went that route and took rigorous science courses at UVA would probably be ok applying to medical school. A student who took most of their requirements for medical school at a community college and then transferred and took electives and less difficult classes at a less regarded college would likely have a problem.

 

*I think where you go is less important than how you do there and what your MCATs are. Sometimes a smaller school can provide opportunities for research or other ways to stand out where a big-name university might make it easier for people to get lost. I also think that schools are looking for diversity. They want students from different backgrounds, with different interests, who have done interesting things. You also have to have the very good science grades and the good MCATs. My personal thought is going somewhere for undergraduate that is a good fit for you as a person is probably better than worrying about the name of the school as you will thrive and do better where it is a good fit. I went to a school without a pre-med program and I’ve always been grateful for that. We had a small Chemistry but very good department and a lot of support for research. I was able to do Biochemistry research for three years and two summers with the same professor. It was a fabulous experience and I think made my med school application strong. At a bigger more well-known school it might have been harder to have that experience.

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Been there, doing that with a son who decided on the medical field in 3rd grade (8 years old) and is now debating between med school or MSTP. (MSTP is a combo of gov't paid med school, then doing research for the gov't - sort of like ROTC). This post could get long if I were to post ALL my research on here. ;)

 

In short, here's a website telling you what one med school found in their successful applicants:

 

http://www.urmc.roch...ass-of-2015.cfm

 

Your goal right now is to do the best college prep you can while STAYING AWAY from community college for pre-req classes. Community college for other classes are fine, but be certain your student gets great grades in those classes.

 

You need to get her into an undergrad - so good classes/courses and nice extra curriculars (that she enjoys - medical are great, but so are non-medical things - diversity is good, but not so broad that one can't go deep - pick a couple of things and do them deeply).

 

Once she's in undergrad, NONE of the stuff you do beforehand will matter (except any college courses - even DE). Then she'll have to take over and do her part in undergrad to shine above the others.

 

Which undergrad? Usually it's recommended that one pick a 4 year school, and yes, some are better than others, but a successful applicant can come from any school. There are med schools that frown upon community college for applicants like yours (and mine) who know early that this is what they want to do. They are more lenient with folks who decide later that med school is what they want to do.

 

But really, don't worry about the undergrad school just yet - do the best she can do to prepare her for high school, then in high school preparing for college.

 

My guy settled on the University of Rochester and absolutely loves it. This summer he's doing research there, but still has his eye on med school. His research prof told him he generally doesn't recommend MSTP to students, but in his case, he's making an exception... but he has a couple of years left to decide what he wants to do.

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Oh, I can also add a page from WUSTL's med school (they are generally top 10) showing where their undergrads have come from. Hover over "Undergraduate Institutions Represented" and it will show you undergrad schools with at least three students who have gone there since 1995. You'll see there is a wide variety to choose from. Other schools aren't as open with their lists, but have told me they'd be similar (sometimes accounting for regional differences, of course).

 

http://medadmissions.wustl.edu/HowtoApply/selectionprocess/Pages/WhoChoosesWU.aspx

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I am not a doctor and was never pre med, but here is something that I did experience.

 

I took 1 1/2 years worth of school before going to the university that I graduated with in engineering. I took lots of english, history, etc. that were not real difficult classes and did very well in them. Those grades did not transfer over to be included in my GPA for my final university. I probably would have had a significantly higher GPA upon graduation had I had all 4 years there. The upper level classes can be very difficult in any STEM degree and to have a little cushion IMO is a very good thing.

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California is actually really good about making sure CC credits transfer into the UC's. The classes that are guaranteed to transfer will be specially labeled, and make sure she takes the ones that are designed for science majors (even if she winds up majoring in a social science or humanities field, the pre-med requirements are the science major classes).

 

As a girl, one thing she really ought to think about is whether she truly wants to go the full M.D. route, which requires 4 years of college, 4 years of med school, and then another 3-5+ years of further training with 80+ hour workweeks. Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants these days have a lot of autonomy and function pretty much like primary care physicians. Youngest DD was delivered by a N.P. midwife and her neurologist is also a N.P. I know several women who decided to become N.P.'s or P.A.'s rather than M.D.'s because the education & training is a lot shorter, and a lot more "family-friendly".

 

Other health fields to consider include Audiology, Podiatry, Genetic Counseling, Diagnostic Technician (ultrasound, x-ray, EKG, ECG, CAT scan, MRI, etc.), Paramedic, etc.

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Just for another thought: if she wants to dive straight into medicine, then she might like to consider studying in the UK where it is an undergraduate degree that you start at age 18. She would need excellent APs plus a lot of relevant volunteering experience, but it can be done. I used to volunteer at my local medical school (within St Andrews University) and met more than one American student pursuing medicine. I would contact some UK universities direct to get details.

 

Here's a page that lays out the UK training regime. Your daughter would also have to think about where she wanted to practise and investigate what the licensing requirements would be

 

The fees for overseas students are not cheap, but the accelerated education might offset that.

 

Laura

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As a girl, one thing she really ought to think about is whether she truly wants to go the full M.D. route, which requires 4 years of college, 4 years of med school, and then another 3-5+ years of further training with 80+ hour workweeks. Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants these days have a lot of autonomy and function pretty much like primary care physicians. Youngest DD was delivered by a N.P. midwife and her neurologist is also a N.P. I know several women who decided to become N.P.'s or P.A.'s rather than M.D.'s because the education & training is a lot shorter, and a lot more "family-friendly".

 

Other health fields to consider include Audiology, Podiatry, Genetic Counseling, Diagnostic Technician (ultrasound, x-ray, EKG, ECG, CAT scan, MRI, etc.), Paramedic, etc.

 

I know this advice is meant well but I have to respond. I hear this often for girls, especially it seems in the homeschooling communities I travel in and I think it’s a real shame. I think being a NP or PA are great careers but they aren’t the equivalent of being an MD. I don’t mean that they are lesser but that they are different. There are valid reasons to consider non-MD alternatives but I don’t think gender alone is one. There are many many women doctors who are able to balance families and work part-time. I work very little in the office and it’s one of the few careers out there where you can do that and make enough for it to be worthwhile financially.

 

Just for another thought: if she wants to dive straight into medicine, then she might like to consider studying in the UK where it is an undergraduate degree that you start at age 18. She would need excellent APs plus a lot of relevant volunteering experience, but it can be done. I used to volunteer at my local medical school (within St Andrews University) and met more than one American student pursuing medicine. I would contact some UK universities direct to get details.

 

Here's a page that lays out the UK training regime. Your daughter would also have to think about where she wanted to practise and investigate what the licensing requirements would be

 

The fees for overseas students are not cheap, but the accelerated education might offset that.

 

Laura

 

Interesting option! You’d have to make sure you took the boards and were licensed in the US if she wanted to practice here. I think it would also probably be better to do residency here although I’m not sure of the exact requirements. I know the local residency program has students from foreign med. schools. It’s very difficult for foreign physicians to get US licenses though so you’d want to make sure the licensing was done here if the ultimate goal is to practice here.

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California is actually really good about making sure CC credits transfer into the UC's. The classes that are guaranteed to transfer will be specially labeled, and make sure she takes the ones that are designed for science majors (even if she winds up majoring in a social science or humanities field, the pre-med requirements are the science major classes).

 

It's not the 4 year school that has any problem with cc classes and transferring. It's the med schools afterward that tend to frown upon this path for students who know they plan on going to med school. The reason is because cc is perceived as "easier" by many of these med schools. There can be more leniency with state med schools (vs private), but CA is notoriously one of the most difficult states to get into med school, so I'd never advise that path personally.

 

There are also a couple of BA/MD and BS/MD programs in the US. They tend to be a 6 year program instead of the 8 years required for BS then med school,

 

http://www.med.umkc....ions/BAMD.shtml

 

There are more than a couple. They require extensive med experience in the EC's, but it sounds like the OP's daughter may very well be one of them and do well! Good suggestion...

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I agree with pretty much everything Creekland said. My dh is currently finishing (3 more weeks!) his 3rd year of medical school and he will be applying to residency programs in the Spring. I have been with him for the whole road. I am a researcher at heart, so that part of the process fell primarily to me. I'm happy to answer any questions you like.

 

I agree that you should make sure that she takes all her medical prerequisites at a university and not cc for the reason Creekland listed, which is that the medical schools themselves don't like them, not because they won't transfer. Even AP scores aren't accepted sometimes. I also agree that she can go to any respectable undergrad school and get into a respectable medical school. And I agree that maybe even more than grades and classes (which are very important still), extracurriculars are incredibly important and often overlooked. Medical Schools like to see people who are interesting in real life, not just on paper. My dh was a business major originally and then chose to go to medical school after about 2 years of undergrad. We discovered that medical schools don't really care what your undergrad degree is, so he kept the business major since he had already completed so many credits. His prestigious business internships were asked about at every interview, even though they had nothing to do with medicine. My dh founded a university Rock and Roll club and this was of great interest to them, too. He was head editor of a daily student publication that took 10-15 hours per week and a History of Jazz Teacher's Assistant. These experiences were the bulk of his interview questions. He had fantastic grades and MCAT scores, but so do most of the people applying. These are the things that set him apart.

 

I second looking into 6 year programs instead of 8 year ones if she knows for sure that's what she wants to do. There aren't many of them, but the fact that the exist is really neat. There is so much fluff in medical school education (and pre-med) that I think these programs are brilliant.

 

Medicine is a long, hard road and I remember people telling us that if you don't love it, don't do it. At the time I thought, "sure, of course they would say that," but it is so true. If dh didn't enjoy this, we wouldn't be in it for the money. It sounds like your dd actually loves it, so you don't need to worry about that.

 

Good luck to your dd. She sounds like a really neat girl.

 

ETA: Oh, and if she is interested in medicine, but doesn't necessarily want to be a doctor, she there are lots of interesting alternatives: nursing, Physician's Assistant, nurse-midwife, scrub tech, EMTs. Even within nursing there are lots of interesting paths, so don't necessarily rule them out. Medical school takes so much time and money and energy, that if there is another path that she would enjoy just as much, it is worth looking into.

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You might also be interested in reading some of the requirements for guaranteed admission programs where select freshman are guaranteed admission into the medical school as long as a list of criteria are fulfilled. (we went to a talk about this a few yrs ago. They recommended having lots of shadowing hrs prior to applying (finding a dr that let's the student observe). Also, note that in the list it specifically states something similar to what Creekland was suggesting.......any required course that is not completed at that institution must be approved prior to taking it.

https://www.pubapps.vcu.edu/honors/forms/ga/instructions.aspx#profile

https://www.pubapps.vcu.edu/honors/guaranteed/medicine/index.aspx

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I know this advice is meant well but I have to respond. I hear this often for girls, especially it seems in the homeschooling communities I travel in and I think it’s a real shame. I think being a NP or PA are great careers but they aren’t the equivalent of being an MD. I don’t mean that they are lesser but that they are different. There are valid reasons to consider non-MD alternatives but I don’t think gender alone is one. There are many many women doctors who are able to balance families and work part-time. I work very little in the office and it’s one of the few careers out there where you can do that and make enough for it to be worthwhile financially.

 

I'm speaking from my own personal experience. I went to college as a pre-med but dropped it halfway through when I got serious with my now-DH. I realized that being in med school & training until I was 30 was not very compatible with my familial goals. A woman's fertility starts to decline at 27, and several of my aunts experienced primary or secondary infertility in their early 30's. I knew that the best chance I had for having several kids was to start in my 20's rather than rolling the dice and possibly wind up with fewer kids than I wanted or none at all.

 

The ironic thing is that I had actually gotten accepted to BC's nursing program and waitlisted at Georgetown's when I was a senior in high school, but I let my family talk me out of attending. "You'd be selling yourself short!" blah, blah, blah. So now here it is almost 20 years later, and I'm looking into the requirements for direct-entry M.S.N. programs. I could've been done with my M.S.N. by age 24 and still have had my kids at 25, 28, and 31.

 

Now had I attended BC or Georgetown, I presumably wouldn't have met my DH. But I probably would've met some other nice guy who would've made a good husband and father. I love my DH dearly and am happy to be married to him, but I don't believe he was the one and only decent guy whom I could've possibly fallen in love with.

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I'd highly recommend taking mainly English, humanities and social sciences at a cc. Until you are sure of the bio sequence at the 4 year, I'd steer away from bio courses. Be super certain the maths and sciences transfer to the 4 year. You could easily sub the physics for bio when you are sure the sequences match up, but take the chem first.

 

Sem 1

English 1

Psychology

Chem 1

Pre calc

 

Sem 2

English 2

History

Chem 2

Calc 1

 

Sem 3

Fine art

Health/PE

Calc 2

Physics 1 (calculus based)

 

Sem 4

Sociology

Literature

Statistics

Physics 2 (calculus based)

 

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It's not the 4 year school that has any problem with cc classes and transferring. It's the med schools afterward that tend to frown upon this path for students who know they plan on going to med school. The reason is because cc is perceived as "easier" by many of these med schools. There can be more leniency with state med schools (vs private), but CA is notoriously one of the most difficult states to get into med school, so I'd never advise that path personally.

 

 

 

There are more than a couple. They require extensive med experience in the EC's, but it sounds like the OP's daughter may very well be one of them and do well! Good suggestion...

 

Be sure to ask about dropout rate as well. The 6 year programs can be pretty intense! DS had a great opportunity to do this but decided to go the traditional route after examining the stats and talking to folks that are in/had been in such programs. He took a lot of non-STEM CC hours with him and by going the 4 year undergraduate route, his schedule is a bit more open to pursue research opportunities (which he has already started on, not always easy to do as a freshman).

 

Creekland, thanks for linking the Rochester article. I sent it on to ds for his reading pleasure!

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I think that everyone going into medicine (or really any career) should think about their values and goals and how they want to balance work/family/life. I personally think the speciality you choose is more important than MD vs. NP/PA. I would guess that my life as a part-time general pediatrician allows for a lot more family time and flexibility than that of the NP on the Pediatric Cardiothoracic surgery team at the hospital I work at. I think it’s good to have those conversations with our girls and our boys but I don’t agree that being a physician automatically means a bad quality of life or a lack of family time. Or even delaying a family all that long. I was married at 28 and had my oldest at 31. Many of my fellow residents had children during residency (tough to do but not an uncommon choice).

 

Being a nurse and being a physician are different. They obviously overlap but I think there really are different personalities suited to each job. I’m not sure I’d make a good nurse but I think I make a good doctor. I think that’s why I get prickly hearing girls who are interested in medicine automatically encouraged to consider nursing or other healthcare careers. I think other factors like personality are just as important as gender in thinking about what suits you best. I also wasn’t just replying to your post which was just another suggestion to the OP for something to think about but to a number of conversations I’ve had recently IRL.

 

Finally, somewhat off-topic...this thread reminded me a little of the thread about extracurricular activities and when a lot is too much. One poster (Jenny?) pointed out that when people say “kids need time for “fun" for her son doing his extracurricular’s was fun. For me, medical school and residency were the same. And college. Yes, the courses were tough and it’s not a road I would recommend for someone who doesn’t love it. But if you do love it, it’s really fun. I loved Organic Chemisty. I loved medical school. I had never really appreciated the beauty of the human body until medical school. My lukewarm religious faith was strengthened during my basic science classes from the wonder of what I was learning. Anatomy class was fascinating, and yes, in a weird way, fun. Residency was a lot of hours. I was before the new regulations limiting you to supposedly 80 hours a week and one week during intern year I counted hours only to stop at 100 on Friday with the weekend still to go. Still, the friendships I made were fantastic and the experience was intense, intellectually stimulating, tough and at times very fun.

 

I say all that just to say that the pre-med, medical school, residency road is tough but if it’s the right road for you it’s not always one of just drudgery. It’s not just something to feel like you are getting through but something you can enjoy while you are there.

 

I'm speaking from my own personal experience. I went to college as a pre-med but dropped it halfway through when I got serious with my now-DH. I realized that being in med school & training until I was 30 was not very compatible with my familial goals. A woman's fertility starts to decline at 27, and several of my aunts experienced primary or secondary infertility in their early 30's. I knew that the best chance I had for having several kids was to start in my 20's rather than rolling the dice and possibly wind up with fewer kids than I wanted or none at all.

 

The ironic thing is that I had actually gotten accepted to BC's nursing program and waitlisted at Georgetown's when I was a senior in high school, but I let my family talk me out of attending. "You'd be selling yourself short!" blah, blah, blah. So now here it is almost 20 years later, and I'm looking into the requirements for direct-entry M.S.N. programs. I could've been done with my M.S.N. by age 24 and still have had my kids at 25, 28, and 31.

 

Now had I attended BC or Georgetown, I presumably wouldn't have met my DH. But I probably would've met some other nice guy who would've made a good husband and father. I love my DH dearly and am happy to be married to him, but I don't believe he was the one and only decent guy whom I could've possibly fallen in love with.

 

I think that everyone going into medicine (or really any career) should think about their values and goals and how they want to balance work/family/life. I personally think the speciality you choose is more important than MD vs. NP/PA. I would guess that my life as a part-time general pediatrician allows for a lot more family time and flexibility than that of the NP on the Pediatric Cardiothoracic surgery team at the hospital I work at. I think it’s good to have those conversations with our girls and our boys but I don’t agree that being a physician automatically means a bad quality of life or a lack of family time. Or even delaying a family all that long. I was married at 28 and had my oldest at 31. Many of my fellow residents had children during residency (tough to do but not an uncommon choice).

 

Being a nurse and being a physician are different. They obviously overlap but I think there really are different personalities suited to each job. I’m not sure I’d make a good nurse but I think I make a good doctor. I think that’s why I get prickly hearing girls who are interested in medicine automatically encouraged to consider nursing or other healthcare careers. I think other factors like personality are just as important as gender in thinking about what suits you best. I also wasn’t just replying to your post which was just another suggestion to the OP for something to think about but to a number of conversations I’ve had recently IRL.

 

Finally, somewhat off-topic...this thread reminded me a little of the thread about extracurricular activities and when a lot is too much. One poster (Jenny?) pointed out that when people say “kids need time for “fun" for her son doing his extracurriculars was fun. For me, medical school and residency were the same. And college. Yes, the courses were tough and it’s not a road I would recommend for someone who doesn’t love it. But if you do love it, it’s really fun. I loved Organic Chemisty. I loved medical school. I had never really appreciated the beauty of the human body until medical school. My lukewarm religious faith was strengthened during my basic science classes from the wonder of what I was learning. Anatomy class was fascinating, and yes, in a weird way, fun. Residency was a lot of hours. I was before the new regulations limiting you to supposedly 80 hours a week and one week during intern year I counted hours only to stop at 100 on Friday with the weekend still to go. Still, the friendships I made were fantastic and the experience was intense, intellectually stimulating, tough and at times very fun.

 

I say all that just to say that the pre-med, medical school, residency road is tough but if it’s the right road for you it’s not always one of just drudgery. It’s not just something to feel like you are getting through but something you can enjoy while you are there.

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I know this advice is meant well but I have to respond. I hear this often for girls, especially it seems in the homeschooling communities I travel in and I think it’s a real shame.

 

FWIW, dh is an MD and the NP route is what he suggested for our son, who did decide that was the best plan for him. Dh loves his vocation (for which I am so thankful), but our kids have seen over the years what a career as a physician demands and not one of them wants it. I see a lot of doctors who after several years of practice don't really love medicine. I think dh is the exception. For those who might not want their whole life to be medicine but still want a health care career, NP and PA are options worth considering.

 

I've met a lot of female physicians who have confided that after becoming a mother, they realized they had not fully considered the cost and demands of a career as a physician. I have met female physicians who love their career, too. I'm just saying, count the cost ahead of time and know all your alternatives.

 

(Alice, I appreciate your valuable advice and input in this thread. I think you've made great points, and my comments here were not meant to be in opposition to what you are saying, just to explain what I've seen. ETA: It took a long time for me to write this post as I was called from the computer several times, as usual. I just wanted to add that I love your post that's just above mine and agree with what you say there. Dh is board certified FP in a private rural practice on call 24/7/365. He loves it. Most people would not and fortunately not all physicians have to live this way.)

 

I tell all my kids to go into dentistry. Great hours, no call, good pay, and you get to do all the talking. :-) Only one of them has taken me up on it so far.

 

To the OP, one thing to think about is to find ways to develop communication and interview skills. When dh was applying to med school (and more recently as ds was applying to dental school), for every one student who got in there were 10 with equally impressive academic scores and experience who didn't. (I don't know the exact statistics, and they change from year to year, but it's like that.) So how do the admissions departments choose between all these highly qualified applicants? Often a lot ends up riding on the interview.

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The moment when I knew I wasn't cut out for pre-med was the first Friday back after Winter Break before classes had even started up again. It was 10 P.M. and I was headed with some of my sorority sisters over to Fraternity Row to attend a party at DH's frat. To get from my dorm to his frat house, we had to pass the 24 hour study room at the library. Inside, I saw a bunch of my fellow pre-meds studying ahead in the textbooks. I knew right then and there that I had different priorities in my life. I wasn't willing to sacrifice having any sort of normal social life just for the chance of getting into med school. And I wasn't willing to put off (and potentially sacrifice altogether) having a family in order to become a doctor. If I had to choose between career and family, there was no question that family would win out.

 

I wish that somebody had encouraged me to explore other health careers when I was in high school rather than just pushing becoming a M.D. It's kind of like my parents' generation overreacted to what had happened to girls when they were young (discouraging med school and pushing nursing or allied health instead). I think there needs to be a happy medium, KWIM?

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Your DD sounds a lot like me; I knewI wanted to be a nurse upon leaving the womb! I used to make my mom play nurse with me and she would make us nurse hats out of newspaper. I kept that goal all through school. Nursing school was easy to me, because I always read body related stuff on my own. Worked full time as a nurse aide through RN school too. This year I celebrate 22years in the Nursing Profession and I have enjoyed nearly every minute. So best of luck to her in whatever career path she chooses.

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Wow, my head is spinning. I'm going to need some time to process this information.

 

I think the point about "counting the cost" is a good one. That will be an important conversation to have once she's older. For now, I will leave her to her dreams of being a doctor.

 

The 6 year programs sound really cool! I mentioned it to DD and she said that's the route she wants to take.. for now... and keeping in mind she's not quite ten years old, who knows what will actually happen. But it's always good to have a goal. As her mom/teacher it is VERY reassuring that a degree from any good school is enough. It doesn't have to be an Ivy or Stanford.

 

Anyway, lots to process. Thank you very, very much for your input. Please keep it coming. This is new territory for me, and I'm :bigear: .

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Hello, I was planning to attend medical school, but a chronic neurological illness made me change the course of my life.

 

First of all, in high school, she should study as much math and science as possible; trig, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, as much as she can. Also, Latin! Latin is the language of medicine, and she will have a great advantage already knowing the language. I worked for several years in a trauma center, and many of the best doctors were multi-lingual; I recommend Spanish first since she will see many Spanish-speaking people if she practices in the U.S.

 

When she is old enough, she should work in a doctor's office or hospital in some fashion. She could be a medical technician, a nurse's assistant (certain courses and licensure are needed for these positions), but medical schools favor someone who has worked in and knows the medical profession. It's hard, gritty, often frightening work, when mistakes are made, people die, therefore mistakes are dealt with harshly. Working in a hospital environment quickly helps a person know if she/he is suited for the medical profession, and there is no other substitute for that experience. When I worked in the er, the nurses and doctors knew I was working towards medical school and a surprising number would point out interesting medical conditions, symptoms, and presentations. It was a wonderful learning experience!

 

Good luck!

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So, my questions:

 

When applying to med school, how much does it matter where the applicant went to undergrad? Will 2 years of community college and transferring to a pretty good school (e.g. something in the University of California system, like UC Davis) make an applicant less competitive than just starting at the pretty good school? Or should the applicant limit herself to only Tier 1 schools or forget about being competitive? Also, how do I determine which schools have the best reputation with med school admissions?

 

Thanks :)

 

 

Dh is in medical school and I was pre-med but changed my course for the time being.

 

- I honestly don't believe the undergrad school makes a huge difference unless you are trying to go to an Ivy medical school or something at the very top tier. A good undergrad (like UC Davis) would be more than sufficient. My husband went to a state school in Florida and so did a lot of the physicians and med students he knows.

 

- I have never heard of anyone having a problem doing community college, transferring to a 4-year to finish their Bachelors', and applying that way. Again, my husband and most of his classmates went this route as well.

 

- I think looking at what schools are best for med school admissions depends primarily on what med school the child ideally wants to go to. A lot of people I know had success with doing their undergrad at the school they wanted to apply to for medical school since many schools seem to show preference for internal apps.

 

 

 

The big things for increasing competitiveness, in my opinion are:

- Having a unique major (ie preferably not bio/pre-med unless the child sincerely feels called to that particular course of study) that you can also maintain an excellent GPA in.

 

- Lots and lots of volunteer work, shadowing, and research (if possible). Volunteer abroad opportunities are a really great help as well.

 

- Mastering study/test skills needed for the MCAT and obtaining a high MCAT score.

 

- An excellent personal statement

 

 

I will add that in my personal opinion, if my child wanted to go the med school route, I would encourage them to go the traditional route and not the 6/7 year program route. My husband and I have many friends who have gone the route of the latter and have found that there are advantages to the longer way.

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Wow, my head is spinning. I'm going to need some time to process this information.

 

You do have plenty of time. ;)

 

One other thing to think about is don't count the experiences of older doctors and how they did it (in other words, don't ask your family doctor - esp if they have some years on them). The competition for med school is far more extreme now than it was before. The head of one med school told us (group session) that he doubted he'd be a janitor cleaning the hospital if he had had to get in with today's standards compared to what he had. It makes me think we're missing out on many good potential doctors... but there are only so many slots and oodles of people wanting them. (Other admissions folks told us similar things - this guy just said it in a way that stuck with me.) Back in "our day" things were, indeed, different and far more options worked.

 

As her mom/teacher it is VERY reassuring that a degree from any good school is enough. It doesn't have to be an Ivy or Stanford.

 

You definitely do not need an Ivy or equivalent. We didn't even consider those due to their lack of merit aid (YMMV). The usual advice is to attend the best school you can at the least cost. My personal advice is to make sure your student's stats are in the top 25% of stats at the school they choose. It not only helps with scholarships (if the school offers merit aid), it also means they have the capability to keep up with (and be ahead of) the other students. They'll still have to work for it as no pre-med set of classes is a cakewalk (or if so, they'll be unlikely to do well on the MCAT). Having seen oodles of kids from our ps head off to college with pre-med thoughts, those who do best were at or near the top in high school and went to colleges where they were also at or near the top. If they go to a school where they are in the bottom or middle set of stats, they dropped pre-med rather quickly. HOWEVER, you do want to make sure you head to a school that sufficiently prepares students for the MCAT. Some lower level schools really don't do this well... My advice for that is to see which med schools recent students have gotten into and what their stats were (GPA and MCAT). You're a long way from needing to look at those sorts of things.

 

Anyway, lots to process. Thank you very, very much for your input. Please keep it coming. This is new territory for me, and I'm :bigear: .

 

 

I was "new" once too. ;) You can do it. There's a lot of advice online (College Confidential has a pre-med section, Student Doctor Network, etc), plus, when she's older, go to colleges when they have med school admissions days and listen. They'll have med school admissions folks there giving advice. We went to 3 of these (one state, two private) and all were saying essentially the same thing. Once you start to answer the questions before they do, you'll know you have a handle on what they want to see.

 

Creekland, thanks for linking the Rochester article. I sent it on to ds for his reading pleasure!

 

 

Glad to share! I like that it deals with those "other" things and not just MCAT and GPA... though of course, those are important too.

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Shinyhappypeople,

 

Our dd's sound like twins! My dd almost 10 has been crazy for science/medicine since I don't know when. It's increased each year. This year alone she did a ton of self directed dissections and some at the science center. She LOVES chemistry and is constantly growing, experimenting, building something science related and on her microscope. She vacillates between research science and a medical degree. I could see her going the 6 yr plan or even the medical science degree. I've been compiling research and am trying to make available as much opportunities to explore this before high school when everything begins to count and she will need a plan.

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Shinyhappypeople,

 

Our dd's sound like twins! My dd almost 10 has been crazy for science/medicine since I don't know when. It's increased each year. This year alone she did a ton of self directed dissections and some at the science center. She LOVES chemistry and is constantly growing, experimenting, building something science related and on her microscope. She vacillates between research science and a medical degree. I could see her going the 6 yr plan or even the medical science degree. I've been compiling research and am trying to make available as much opportunities to explore this before high school when everything begins to count and she will need a plan.

 

 

The bolded is my goal with this thread. I truly have NO IDEA what she will ultimately choose to do with her life. She has a few other interests (botany, animal science) that might trump medicine at some point. BUT.... I want to set her up for success by giving her the type of education that will open the doors to a good science school (and ultimately med school) IF that's what she chooses.

 

In order for her to do high school level courses from a position of strength, I need to be laying a good foundation now. She's a poster child for "Better Late Than Early" with regard to formal academics. She's always been extremely bright, but simply wasn't ready formal studies before. In the past six months, something changed. Now she's Capital-R Ready to go on all cylinders. She's talking about college, about wanting better spelling skills, and she's tamed the math monster, picking up math skills like they're easy. It's quite amazing to watch.

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Your dd sounds pretty awesome. I haven't had time to read the other posts, but I wanted to deflect your question a bit. While you want to be cognizant of things like residency requirements for admissions (some med schools won't admit from out of state unless you walk on water), the more selective med schools are looking for diversity as well as a candidate who really shines. Diversity means your student doesn't necessarily need to travel the same path as all other applicants. She may not necessarily be dinged for taking cc classes. (I took prereq classes at a cc and got into a top 10 med school.) She can major in English or engineering if that's what floats her boat.

 

IMO, what she should do is focus on something she loves, and strive for excellence. Really try to stand out in some way, and make those admissions committees notice her. Attend a college where she feels comfortable and feels like she can really achieve something while she's enrolled. It doesn't matter if it's a small liberal arts school, state U, or technical school. Whatever path she takes, as long as she achieves excellence in some way, she should be fine. Read Cal Newport's books. And good luck!

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