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WayOutWestMom Senior Member

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  • Re: Medical School Advice.

    I think you need to keep an open mind about your career goals. It appears some of the pre-conceptions you hold really aren't entirely true.

    Clinical psychologists (PsyD and PhD) can prescribe psychoactive drugs in 7 states. (Including the one I live in.) There is an active movement underway to extend this privilege to other states

    Psychiatric nurse practitioners can prescribe drugs and independently manage their own caseloads of mental health patients with only nominal oversight by a physician.

    How prescription drugs interact w/the brain is neuro-psycho-pharmacology and is just a small part of what a psychiatry does. Brain-drug interactions are something that is more typically studied by neuroscientists and pharmacologists.


    Now onto your plan--

    You're in for a long haul. It sounds like you will need remedial math & science classes just to get to the point where you will be able to take college level science classes. This means your path to med school and a career in psychiatry will be even longer than most people's.

    1 year remediation (minimum)
    4 years undergrad (this assumes you will attend college full time, attending part-time will increase the time it takes to earn your BA/BS)
    4 years medical school
    4 years psychiatry residency
    1-2 years psychiatry fellowship (optional)

    So, the question becomes are you willing to give up the next 13-15 years of life to pursue this?

    Think long & hard about this because pre-med, med school, residency & fellowship will require many long hours of work that will take you away from your child and fiancé.

    You will be required to relocate several times during your training and you will have very little say over where you end up. (The great computer program in the sky/in Philadelphia decides where you go for residency and again a computer program will assign you to a fellowship site. And there is never any guarantee that a local medical school will accept you. You have to go where you get in--which may be on the other side of the country.) You may need to spend weeks, months, or even years living apart from your family & your support system--unless they are willing to move with you.

    Medical school requires long hours of studying. (70-90 hours/week is not unreasonable) Besides studying you will be expected to be engaged in volunteering and research activities related to your future specialty. The clinical training portion of medical school may send you out to work in hospitals & clinics that are distant (possibly even several states away) from the med school campus for 6 weeks at a time. You will also be working the same or nearly the same hours as the medical residents--which means nights, holidays and weekends.

    During residency, you will be working an average of 90 hours per week. You will be working randomly assigned nights, weekends and holidays. You will never be able to promise to attend your child's/spouse's/family's special events--because you may be working or on-call.

    (Here are 2 hard truths--my daughter had to reschedule her wedding 4 months before the date because she couldn't get the time off. Her new husband has a profession that is not portable--he can't relocate when she does. They are married but will not be able to live together for another 3 years because they have jobs in different cities far apart.)

    Medicine as a career is a tough gig for everyone. It's even harder for women (or anyone who is the primary caregiver for a child) because you won't always be able to be there for them. You don't get to stay home because your child is sick. If you have patient in crisis, you will not be able to leave at the end of your shift to go get your child from school/daycare; you have to stay there until the crisis is resolved.

    If you answered yes, kudos to you. I wish you success!


    Things you need to know:

    1) any college grades you have from UD will be used by AMCAS and AACOMAS when computing your GPA for med school applications. (Old grades are like herpes--they never go away.) So will your grades in your remedial science/math classes you'll be taking at the CC

    2) some medical schools will not accept community college credits for science pre-reqs. As much as possible you should try to take your science pre-reqs at a 4 year college. If you do take bio, chem, physics, etc at the CC you must take additional upper level coursework in bio, chem, physics, etc at your 4 year college to reinforce your (hopefully) good CC science grades.

    3) med school admission is more than just grades. There is a strong expectation that all applicants will have the typical pre-med ECs. Less will not be expected of you simply because you have a young child at home. Expected ECs include: community service (long term involvement); physician shadowing; clinical/medical volunteering that involves direct patient contact; leadership positions; teaching/tutoring/coaching/TAing. Additionally some medical schools expect students to have hands-on lab research experience.
  • Re: Double Major/Minor for Pre-Medical

    The OP isa rising high school freshman (aka still in 8th grade) and has no concept how college works. They seem to believe you can take classes ala carte at different schools just like you can do for some high schools.
  • Re: Poor GPA/ Moderately High ACT... how can I get some $$$ for college?

    A lot of the courses I need for admission to medical school fall under what I need for my Physics major,

    Not exactly. (My older D has a BS in physics. She went to med school and is now a doctor.)

    A physics major will only include 3 of the 15 required courses for med school admission--

    1 semester of college level math (Calc 1)
    2 semesters of intro physics w/labs

    NOT included in a physics degree:

    2 semesters gen chem w/labs
    2 semesters ochem w/labs
    1 semester biochem (some medical schools require biochem lab)
    1 semester math-based statistics or biostatistics
    2 semesters english composition or 2 semesters of writing intensive classes (like literature, history, philosophy,etc)
    2 semesters intro biology w/labs
    1 semester psychology
    1 semester sociology

    In addition, some medical schools have additional requirements for additional classes like medical ethics, genetics, human physiology, upper level social sciences or other specific courses.

    And I think you're confused about what medical schools mean by lab experience--they don't mean a lab class. They mean an independent research experience--which is not a routine part of a physics degree. And while physics research won't hurt you when it comes to applying to med school (D1 did medium energy particle physics research for 3 years); it won't help you either. It's a neutral factor.

  • Re: HOW HARD is it to get into med school as foreign student

    Some factors that limit the number of international student in US medical schools--

    1) money

    Public medical schools receive substantial funding from state governments with the mission of providing future physicians for that state. Training international students is counter to their mission since there is little or no likelihood those graduates will stay and serve as physicians to the state. State policies and regulations often prohibit or limit the acceptance of international students.

    2) money

    Both private and public medical schools receive a substantial funding from the US federal government. This funding is earmarked for training US citizens/PRs.

    3) money

    International students are ineligible for US federal student loans and often have difficulty paying for their education. Internationals are much, much more likely to drop out due to financial reasons than domestic students. (Student drop out rates are a factor examined by the LCME for school accreditation and a too high drop out rate can cause a med school to lose its accreditation.)

    4) money

    Nearly all residency positions are funded by federal medicare funds.

    5) residency placement

    Most residency programs do not sponsor visas for international students. The number of programs that do sponsor visas for medical residencts has been declining sharply. Since international students are difficult to place into residency positions, med schools are very reluctant to accept them since the failure to place grads into residency negatively affects both a med school's accreditation and its national reputation.
  • Re: Non-US college and Med School

    There are smart kids at just about every college. D1 went to the state U (ranked around #200). Why? Because it was free. (All instate high school grads who had 2.5 GPA got a full tuition for 8 semesters. Those with a 31 ACT and 3.9 GPA got full tuition, full R&B plus an annual stipend of $1000. Hard to pass that up. And alot of very bright students don't. )

    She had a classmate in her major (physics) who was co-authoring papers in astrophysics with Kip Thorne as college sophomore. Another classmate she knew & was friends with (biochem major) was publishing first author papers in Nature by her junior year. There are kids she knew who went on to MD/PhDs at places like WashU and UCSF/Berkeley.

    So don't think that just because a college isn't labelled as elite that there aren't smart kids attending. There are.

    BTW, imagine having that physics guy in every single one of your major and required co-req classes (math, chemistry) for 4 years--which D1 did. Nice guy, but he was total curve buster...