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Help me with my plan to transfer and then get into med school

devereauxdevereaux 16 replies11 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Currently in community college (the semester started a couple weeks ago) and other then striving for good grades, I am applying for volunteer programs in hospitals. I am also planning to join a math club to express my affinity for math. I was just wondering if I should participate in a research program in summer 2020 or summer 2021? Does volunteering and being in a math club good enough for transferring to a four-year and is volunteering, being in a math club, and participating in a research program good for getting into medical school? Also, when should I start getting letter of recommendation letters, and when should I start studying for the mcat?
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Replies to: Help me with my plan to transfer and then get into med school

  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41872 replies451 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    First, make a 4-year plan.
    This is a marathon, not a Sprint. Those who make it to the finish line don't rush. You have to be steady, methodical.
    First in that plan: keeping a 4.0 while in CC, taking as many non pre-med pre-reqs as possible while in CC, making sure you take the classes required by your flagship.
    What classes have you planned for your first year? Any summer class?
    What sort of part time job do you have - can you work as an EMT, CNA, anything where you're in contact with underserved populations?
    Plan to take the MCAT spring of senior year, and work in a research lab after senior year, called 'glide year'.
    Find a good backup major (biostatistics or bioinformatics would be right up your alley if you're into math).
    Stay in shape. Sleep enough. Avoid alcohol-fueled parties - find other ways to have fun. Becoming a doctor will require you to stay healthy. (Broomball, yoga, hoops, laps, Zumba, whatever you like).
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  • devereauxdevereaux 16 replies11 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I have winter intercession classes and summer classes. My major requires me to complete a lot of courses to transfer in two years. Can I be an EMT or CNA even though I am a full-time student? And is glide year necessary or required?
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41872 replies451 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    While a glide year is not necessary, it's what most successful med school applicants do. It gives you more time to add advanced science courses, good grades, and activities, as well as more time to prepare for the MCAT.

    What major are you pursuing?
    What's your 2-year plan?

    EMT/CNA is not necessary but can be a medically-related part-time job that pays more than minimum wage. It doesn't replace shadowing/volunteering but it's better for your CV (and probably, your wallet) than stacking shelves at a supermarket.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10203 replies203 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @devereaux
    Realistically, you will need a glide year because med school adcomms will want to see 2 years of grades from a 4 year college (which is presumed to be more a competitive environment than a CC) before tendering you an interview invitation.

    Med schools expect 2 different types of volunteering: clinical (working with patients) and non-clinical (community service). Med schools especially like to see that your community service helps those who are part of a disadvantaged population (poor, mentally ill, non-English speakers, isolated elderly, etc.).

    You don't need to join a math club just to express your affinity for math. It's nice, but not necessary. Only join a math club if you like math and want to be involved w/ math competitions. (Both my daughters were math majors. Neither ever belonged to a math club because they weren't interested in competitions. D2 did coach a high school math team, though.)

    Research is nice, but not a 100% necessity for people applying to med school. (Unless they are gunning for top research-oriented med schools.) But if you have an opportunity to get some lab research experience, I'd recommend you do it.

    The activities that med schools want to see in applicants are:
    1) clinical volunteering or employment
    2) community service with the disadvantaged
    3) physician shadowing, especially w/ physicians in primary care specialties
    4) leadership roles in their activities

    You can be a CNA or EMT while going to school, but it easiest to work at these jobs during summers, and not during the school year. Once you have experience and recommendations from supervisors, it's easier to find part-time volunteer or paid positions as an EMT/CNA that you can fit around your class schedule. But always remember that getting good grades is your #1 job if you want to go to med school. It's easier to add ECs to a resumé than it is to fix a weak GPA.
    when should I start getting letter of recommendation letters
    Med schools very strongly prefer LORs from professors at a 4 year college. You will need LORs from both science (math, chemistry, bio or physics) professors and from non-science professors.
    Some colleges offer what's called a committee letter and med schools strongly prefer/require one of those if your college offers it. Each college will have its own specific requirements for getting a committee letter.
    when should I start studying for the mcat?
    Start studying only after you have finished all your pre-req classes and know that you will be applying to med school in the near future. A MCAT score is only valid for 3 years (2 years at some schools) from the date of the test. It takes a full year to apply to med school so taking the exam too soon can mean your score will expire before you can be accepted.
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  • devereauxdevereaux 16 replies11 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @WayOutWestMom
    So after reading your reply, I decided that I will to volunteer at a hospital this school year, and then summer or fall of next year I try out some clinical work like maybe becoming a hospital scribe.
    And then when I transfer (I'll be going into my junior year) I'll start focusing on the mcat and gathering letter or recommendations right? Let me know if I should revise any of this...
    And then within these four years I'll work on finding time to shadowing a doctor and a community service and MAYBE research experience.
    Is there anything else that I should work on adding to be a good candidate for medical school? Thanks
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  • devereauxdevereaux 16 replies11 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @MYOS1634
    Right now my major is biology and to transfer in two years as a biology major it consists of a lot of pre-reqs but I know that I can complete them with good grades.

    For my two year plan I am planning to volunteer at a hospital this school year (my freshman year) and then next school year (my sophomore year) I will start a clinical job. I might have to start a program in early 2020 depending on what I pursue. I was think about becoming a hospital scribe. Do you know if I can just apply to be one and they train me from them on?

    Also feel free to let me know if I need to add anything.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10203 replies203 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @devereaux
    Your plan sounds about right.

    Remember--grades always come first. Concentrate of earning the best grades you can. ECs can always be added later. Drop volunteering if it interferes with your grades.

    Because you will be taking many pre-reqs at a CC before transferring, med schools will want to see that you take higher level electives in bio & chemistry at your 4 year college. If your transfer programs allows it, take Ochem at the 4 year college.

    RE: scribing. Companies will train you, but they will also require you to take a skills test to get hired. (Most want you to be able to type at certain speed w/ high accuracy, have good spelling, and have some basic computer operating skills. Some may require a knowledge of basic medical terminology.)
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  • devereauxdevereaux 16 replies11 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My community college requires that I take a minimum of Single Variable Calculus I and II (one year in total), Cellular Biology, Life Sciences, Genetics, (three semesters), General chemistry (one year), general physics (one year), a year of calculus-based physics (strongly recommended before transfer) and at least one semester of organic chemistry. How does all of that sound? Would there still be enough higher-level sciences to take at a 4-year university?
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10203 replies203 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @devereaux

    That schedule leaves Ochem 2 and biochem plus a number of UL bio electives that you'll need to fulfill major requirements for graduation. (One of those electives needs to be genetics.) That should be enough rigor to satisfy adcomms.

    You don't need calc-based physics for a medical school application. Algebra-based physics (general physics?) satisfies admission requirements at most med schools. But you should follow the advice offered by your transfer program.

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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41872 replies451 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 10
    Can you major in chemistry, biochemistry, or biostatistics instead of Biology? (in terms of finding a job after college if medical school doesn't pan out, either one of these three works better than a biology major, of which there's an oversupply the job market can't absorb).
    You'll need to take Ochem2, Biochem, Cognitive science/Neuroscience, and advanced science electives at the 4-year - not for graduation but for med schools.
    (and, I see that WestMom mentioned genetics!)
    You should also take sociology, psychology, English Composition, and Speech/Communication in CC. I recommend taking Philosophy/Bioethics and any course that makes you read a variety of texts/articles.
    edited September 10
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78204 replies687 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    devereaux wrote: »
    My community college requires that I take a minimum of Single Variable Calculus I and II (one year in total), Cellular Biology, Life Sciences, Genetics, (three semesters), General chemistry (one year), general physics (one year), a year of calculus-based physics (strongly recommended before transfer) and at least one semester of organic chemistry. How does all of that sound? Would there still be enough higher-level sciences to take at a 4-year university?

    If you will be a biology major, then you will presumably take about 8 upper division biology courses (presumably including the pre-med-required/recommended ones like biochemistry, genetics, etc.) at the four year school you transfer to. Others here can comment on whether that will be sufficient for medical school purposes.
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