LAW STUDENT applying to medschool. Please help!

I am I currently in my second year of law school and I will graduate next year, at the age of 24. I am in the top 5% of my class. However, I do not want to practice law, because I genuinely hate reading/writing and I derive no satisfaction from the work. (I was young/dumb when I applied and entered law school).

I was a biology major in undergrad, and graduated with a 3.95 gpa. If I take my MCAT right after law school (study for like 4-5 months) and do really well (515+) (I am a good test taker, and I understand science), what are my chances of getting accepted into a medical school without any clinical experience? Also, what are my chances of receiving a merit based scholarship if I do get accepted? Any advice would help, I am currently enduring a lot of stress since I am considering this career change while still in law school.

You would have a very difficult uphill battle trying to get into med school next year.

Most med students have been building their community medicine resumes throughout their undergrad, via volunteering in clinical, low SES settings.

Many med students take a year off to study for the MCAT’s while saving monies from their jobs and volunteering in their communities.

Since many, if not all, of the people applying to med school have exceptional grades and EC’s, they would all qualify for any merit-based scholarships. The schools cannot afford to fund every med student.

If they aren’t funded by the Bank of Mom and Dad, many med students take out massive loans.

@WayOutWestMom has two daughters who are physicians. She could give you further information on your chances.

With no practical exposure to patients, medical issues, etc. other than what you’ve learned in a bio textbook, what assurances are you giving a Med school admissions committee that you understand what you are getting into AND that you are committed to becoming a physician?

Law school admissions is a different beast from Med school. The law school adcoms look at GPA and LSAT’s to determine if you can keep up with the rest of your class and the expectations of their faculty. You wanna pass the bar? That’s on you- it takes place after graduation. You want to practice or not? That’s on you. You want to become an immigration attorney without ever having taken a class on immigration law? Nobody cares- go for it, you’ll figure it out. You can graduate last in your class in law school, pass the bar, and make a million dollars a few years later as a personal injury lawyer with no questions asked.

Med school? They want to know that you have what it takes to become a physician. Period, full stop. Nobody is worried that you aren’t smart enough to keep up with your classes, assuming you do well enough on the MCAT’s. They are worried that you have no clue what it’s like practicing medicine and working with real live people- some of whom are really sick, others are just vulnerable and poor or disabled.

You think your current situation is stressful? Wait until you are a first year resident, haven’t slept in two days, and a bus overturns on the interstate at 2 am— and a bunch of nurses, orderlies, etc are waiting for you to tell them which patients go to the ER, which ones get the paddles, which ones can wait an hour while additional resources show up, and which ones are either already dead or beyond help. That’s stressful.

What appeals to you about medicine, besides kicking the can on “getting a job” for another bunch of years??? Maybe we can help you strategize around finding a career that won’t take quite so long or isn’t quite as expensive…

Do you have law school loans coming due? THAT’s stressful!

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Applying without any clinical experience? I would put your chances very near zero, if not actually zero.

Adcomms want to know why you want to be a doctor. In fact, you need to write a personal statement explaining this as part of your med school application. What are you going to say? I just know? What evidence can you offer than that you understand the kind of life you’re signing up for? How can you show that your most sincere desire is to spend the rest of their life ministering to the chronically ill, the elderly and demented, the physically disabled, the mentally ill, the acutely sick and dying and their families without actually having "walked the walk " through prior service?

In a 2017 AAMC survey of med school admission officers, adcomms ranked an applicant having clinical experience as “very important” when making decision about who to invite to interview and who to admit.

As it stands, without clinical experience (and physician shadowing and community service with the disadvantaged) it looks like you’re running AWAY from the law, not running TOWARDS medicine. Adcomms will be extremely skeptical of your new career goal.

BTW, if you hate reading & writing, you're wrong to believe that medicine will get you away from this. Physicians read constantly. Medicine and medical research is happening constantly. Physicians are always reading to keep current on new knowledge in their field.  And doctors are always writing--they write detailed treatment plans, they write justification for those treatment plans for insurers, they write patient notes, they write handoff notes....Documenting everything is a way of life for physicians.

RE: merit scholarship?

Merit for med school is rare and except for a handful ultra competitive schools, the amounts tend to be low. The median debt at med school graduation is around $220K. (And that’s skewed low since 18% of all newly graduated physicians report having no debt thanks to the Bank of Mom and Dad.)

Most med school are moving toward need based grant aid instead of merit (which tend to reward those coming from an upper and upper middle class professional background) as part of their programs to diversify their class make ups.

Now if you are a rock star applicant with multiple acceptances to top ranked med schools, then merit starts to become a possibility.

However, 60% of med school applicants don’t get any acceptances period, and 70% of those who do get accepted get a single acceptance.

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My daughter is a pharmacology student and is constantly frustrated at not having enough time to read and write up drug counter-indications. Her med/professional school liked that she did a pharmacology “internship” in Spain.

They asked her a lot of questions in her interviews about her community experiences. She also worked every Saturday at a “free” Diabetes Clinic throughout her undergrad, serving low-income, very ill individuals while continually seeking/advocating funding for clinic medical supplies. She was also the driver for the other students who didn’t have transportation. During her undergrad, she worked in the university labs, for pay, sterilizing equipment. In high school, she took biotech courses and volunteered doing labs for a local vet. FWIW: there were ~1000 science graduates (bio, physiology, health) listed in her graduation program.

It wasn’t about just getting strong grades and strong test scores.

It’s the combination of everything that gets you into med school.


Med school application is a year long process. For you to start med school in say year after you graduate would require you to submit a competitive application (including, in part, ECs, MCAT) in summer after your second year. And if you plan to apply once you have MCAT after you graduate, you still need ECs. Without ECs, you would be quickly rejected. And it’s not just a matter of having “x” number of hours, but in your ECs, PS, and interviews, if offered, you’ll need to demonstrate you have traits they expect to see in a future MD (eg compassion, leadership, altruism, maturity, etc). In last reported cycle 61% of those that applied failed to get even one acceptance, including those with 4.00 GPAs and high MCAT scores.

So a career in medicine is not impossible, but assuming you can get into any med school, you’re probably looking at 2 or more gaps years once you finish law school, but then you’re looking at 4 years of med school, 3-5 years of residency depending on specialty, 2 or more years of fellowship training should you decide to subspecialize. And while in residency or fellowship, you will be paid but not enough to make any serious reduction of your student debt. And if you again change your mind about a career in med school or after, your med school will leave you with a nice parting gift (aka a huge pile of debt)

As to reading and writing: S and DIL are both MDs. Writing and reviewing notes are a big part of their day.

Good luck.

Are you graduating in 2021 or 2022 (law is 3 years)?

You have almost 20 months to get some clinical experience and complete MCAT.

Have you done any biology research as an undergrad?

What state are you a resident of?

Where would this law school student find the time to do significant medical shadowing or job experience or volunteer experience…while attending law school?

I agree with @blossom . What do you like? Could you use the skills you have for a career other than doctor?

ETA…merit scholarships for medical school are almost as rare as hens teeth. Most students fund medical school with loans, loans and more loans…not merit aid.

How much debt do you have from law school?

Top 5% of one’s law school class is a valuable accomplishment.

Any interest in defending medical professionals in malpractice actions ?

Out of curiosity, are you at a Tier One (top 50) law school ?

Top 14 ?

Any law school debt ?

I ask because you can save about $400,000 if you work for 4 years in biglaw at NYC / DC market rate. That should be enough for med school as this money should earn interest or capital gains.

(If you just received end of year bonuses & 4 years of base salary on the Cravath scale, your before tax earnings would be over $1 million during your first four years of biglaw. With the new summer & fall bonuses now being paid by many biglaw firms, your 4 year earnings would be about $1,250,000 before taxes. Therefore, if you can live on $100,000 per year after tax, then you can save a bit over $400,000 after tax over your first 4 years in biglaw. If you earn a reasonable rate of return on your savings, you should have about $500,000 in savings after 4 years in biglaw at NYC / DC market rates.)

I understand that I have not addressed your question in a direct manner; just trying to give you an alternative plan.

@Publisher That’s a crazy interest rate you’re using—$100,00k in 4 years. Where can I sign up? lol

Sure, because Cravath loves hiring new Associates who hate to read and write. Because the fact that for five years or so as a new Cravath Associate your life consists of 80+ hour weeks where ALL you do is read and write-- and Cravath partners are so dumb that when they interview, they won’t suss that out.

Law is definitely not a good fit for someone who hates reading and writing. Medicine doesn’t require the same type and quantity of reading and writing. But OP, you may want to think more about what you do enjoy doing before jumping to the next lucrative career option.

@blossom: FWIW Cravath pay scale has been adopted by many law firms.

OP’s goal to attend med school is less likely than landing a biglaw job.

Anyone who is top 5% in law school class has substantial abilities at “reading & writing”.

OP may be going through temporary disillusionment. Anyone who has gone through the law school testing & app process, plus earns a top 5% ranking after first year in law school should consider a career in law.

Top of the class at Texas Southern? Good luck landing a big law job. Top of the class at Penn? Different story. We have no idea where the OP is studying- and it is not a cake walk getting hired at one of these firms if you aren’t at an elite law school.

Which is why I asked whether OP is at a T-14 or a t-50 law school.

Anything is possible. My 90 year old neighbor was in sales until he was around 35 and he changed his heart after 10+ years in sales. He was successful got into a med school and become a physician.

Op, if you work hard at it, you will succeed as well.

We have an acquaintance who was a practicing lawyer. He was in his 40’s and decided he hated it so applied to medical school. I have no idea what he did for shadowing or medical related experience or volunteer.

He got accepted to our state flagship medical school university.

After one year, he dropped out of medical school and went back to law. He said the first year of medical school was very hard.

He had a very successful private law practice, and retired recently.

I suspect that OP may be experiencing a temporary “the grass is greener” episode.

OP should revisit reasons for applying to & attending law school after completing college as a biology major. There must have been some attraction.


Please get back to us if you have further questions.