Medical School?

  • Desmondlug

    Posts: 92

    Oct 22, 2010 3:11 AM GMT
    OK currently I am a junior at my college and a declared computer science major. I am thinking of changing my major to biology or chemistry and going to medical school. I learned that I didn't think far about computer science, until being within it I learned I don't care for it, I am bad at math. The only problem is that if I switch majors, it will mean even more years of college until I graduate, then I can go to medical school. I wanna make sure I think this through, anyone in medical school how is it? What is the best degree to take before going to medical school? Is it tough to get accepted to? To limit years of school I would have to take more than a load of classes a semester so I don't stay in school forever!....
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    Oct 22, 2010 3:53 AM GMT
    In the medical profession (and many others) you will stay in school forever with recurrent training, seminars, meetings, lectures, etc.
    Just food for thought before you jump into something. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Oct 22, 2010 4:04 AM GMT
    Hey man. As someone who's made it through med school, I can definitely tell you it's something you should know a lot about before starting the long (long, long) road toward becoming a doctor. Also, you may want to consider starting your journey in your pre-med advising office at school rather than realjock.com.
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    Oct 22, 2010 4:04 AM GMT
    med school is very interesting and I love it, but you have no bloody life... and it takes forever before you make any mmoney.... and you rack up huge debt.... essentially speaking.. med school is only for people who are seriously insane.... and just really really really love the subject
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Oct 22, 2010 4:10 AM GMT
    It's also not actually necessary to take a degree in either biology or chemistry to get into medical school. Medical schools typically require 2 years each of Biology and Chemistry, 1 year of Physics, and the math required to get through the Physics. Most people planning medical school figure that at that point they might as well pick up a degree in Biology -- typically it's only about 4 more bio courses beyond the premed requirements -- but it's not required.

    Medical school is a huge commitment, though. A lot of time, a *lot* of money, and then further time afterwards to pay back the loans. I would definitely not recommend it unless you're sure you actually want to be a doctor.

    Perhaps you would benefit from spending some time volunteering at your university's hospital?

    Also, consider that many schools run a post bac program that takes college graduates outside fields of biology or chemistry and gets them the med school requirements in an accelerated time frame. Even if your university doesn't do that, you can quite possibly pick up the required classes at a community college -- even after you finish your BS or BA -- for a lot less money. I wouldn't necessarily jump to a career path that's such a huge commitment unless you've got a very good reason to suspect you'd find it worth it. In the mean time, it may make more sense to look at how far you are from any other particular degree -- given your statement of not wanting to take forever to graduate -- and use the classes that don't have to be devoted to that to explore your other options.
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    Oct 22, 2010 4:13 AM GMT
    Two things:

    1) You don't have to switch majors to get into medical school. You just have to take the prerequisite courses that the medical schools you want to apply to require. For most medical schools, these courses include a first year bio course, a first year chem, a first year physics, a first year english, a first year calculus, a second year organic chem. There are variations on this, but you don't need a dedicated pre-med or bio or biochem degree to get into medical school. And having one of those doesn't necessarily increase your chances.

    2) Getting on the road to medicine as a career is not one you should take lightly. You should try to get as much information as you can about what training actually entails, both for being IN medical school and then your residency. Talk to your doctor--that's not a bad start. Being a medical student is the easy part. Being a resident can be a soul-sucking experience (or, at least, has quite the number of soul-sucking days). Medicine is really a bit of a calling. It's not a job, it's a lifestyle commitment. Your patients will always come first--and many times above your spouse, above your kids, above your family. And if this statement makes you angry, confused or simply sounds incredulous, then you have some serious thinking to do.
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    Oct 22, 2010 4:16 AM GMT
    Dude, you aren't good at math? Well you need physics first of all, extensive knowledge about biology, and the chemistry lol that is just to get through the MCAT. That is what gets you into med school. That score is uber crucial. Your best bet is to thoroughly think it through.
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    Oct 22, 2010 4:23 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    Grimaldi01 saidDude, you aren't good at math? Well you need physics first of all, extensive knowledge about biology, and the chemistry lol that is just to get through the MCAT. That is what gets you into med school. That score is uber crucial. Your best bet is to thoroughly think it through.


    I was thinking about this too. I gave up the idea of becoming a nurse because I am not good at mathematical sciences either. I took one chemistry class last Spring and got an A but it really killed me. I gave up my whole life and spent four times more effort than the average student to get that grade. I could not fathom going through that again in order to pass calculus, organic chemistry, etc. And besides, I simply know it is not for me.

    Math was always my drawback as well. Fortunately I chose a career that doesn't require going too in depth with math, and doesn't require a degree, so I dropped college once I had the certifications needed to start working...and went self-employed to avoid the bullshit of a "normal" job.
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    Oct 22, 2010 4:26 AM GMT
    Check what some medical schools require and take the basic classes. Honestly looking back on it I would have rather done a major in something other the bio. Given that I repeated all the basic sciences ( and then some) in med school. Also volunteer in a hospital or work in a doc's office for a bit- it'll give you a good sense of what you really want and the admissions boards are really receptive to it; not to mention its a good jumping off point for your personal statement for admissions. Also keep in mid your deadlines, and MCAT dates (and test prep). Med schools typically accept 10 or so percent but they are increasing their numbers. You may want to look at DO schools as well (as apposed to MD schools), as they typically accept at lower MCAT scores, and have slightly easier admissions-- but they are still are Doctors, and are accepted to many of the same residency programs. Let me know if you have anymore questions.
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    Oct 22, 2010 4:39 AM GMT
    Medicine can be really rewarding and interesting work and you can make a good living. It also can involve lots of night and weekend work, treating some patients who are not appreciative or who caused their own problems, and dealing with insurance companies and government bureaucracy. About half of doctors say they wouldn't do it again so you need to be sure which half you fall into. Work at a hospital and talk to lots of doctors before you get too far into the track.
  • charrismd

    Posts: 112

    Oct 22, 2010 5:39 AM GMT
    I agree with much that has been said above. Medicine requires significant devotion for much of life. Having been on the Admissions Committee of a medical school, it is very helpful to have shadowed a physician for, at least, a semester. Having done biomedical research is also highly valued on an application. Medical schools also like to see service to the community, demonstrating a concern for others. This is all on top of good grades and MCAT scores. Bottom line: decide that you want to do this for the right reasons. You want to help people in a very direct way.

    Here is a website for the American Association of Medical Colleges to check out. http://www.aamc.org/students/start.htm

    More information from the American Medical Student Assocation.

    http://www.amsa.org/AMSA/Homepage/MemberCenter/Premeds/PremedRx.aspx
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    Oct 22, 2010 6:48 AM GMT
    OK, I trained and worked in the UK. It is very hard work, long hours, tiring and demanding. I loved it and would do it ll again. Go for it!
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    Oct 22, 2010 9:03 AM GMT
    Desmondlug saidOK currently I am a junior at my college and a declared computer science major. I am thinking of changing my major to biology or chemistry and going to medical school. I learned that I didn't think far about computer science, until being within it I learned I don't care for it, I am bad at math. The only problem is that if I switch majors, it will mean even more years of college until I graduate, then I can go to medical school. I wanna make sure I think this through, anyone in medical school how is it? What is the best degree to take before going to medical school? Is it tough to get accepted to? To limit years of school I would have to take more than a load of classes a semester so I don't stay in school forever!....


    I am a MSII (2nd year medical student) right now and my life is HELL. At times my classmates and I feel like we are at the mercy of a never ending pile of shit we have to cram in our heads in an unreasonably short amount of time in order to pass our classes (we're on the Pass/Fail system...no grades thank God) while thoroughly preparing for Step 1 (huge exam we have to take at the end of the year). As a class, we stress and we struggle. Sometimes we even openly ponder "what the hell did we get ourselves into?" Nevertheless, at the end of the day we absolutely embrace the experience, the exposure, and the need to earn the privilege of being trusted with a human life.



    Many people have already given you great advice....But I feel obligated to emphasize that you absolutely should make sure you know exactly why you want to pursue medicine!

    Just a few other things:
    1. Seek the guidance of a pre-med advisor, but DO NOT assume everything he/she says is completely accurate.

    2. You DON'T have to be great at math. And besides, your concept of "great at math" may not be the same as others who have posted about having good math skills. The mathematics needed for comp sci and math tested on the MCAT and in most physics classes is NOT comparable.

    3. Don't even think about to which medical school (or type of medical school...DO vs. MD) you should apply just yet. You are a long ways off from that point. Worry about doing well in your classes right now and figuring out what about medicine interests you enough to want to actually pursue a career in it.


    best of luck
  • dewer

    Posts: 4

    Oct 22, 2010 9:12 AM GMT
    I am a BSN RN it was hard enough to just to get into the nursing program, and the nursing program itself is very hard. If you are wanting to think about going into the Med School, I would look at maybe after you finish your BS/BA then take classes at a community college and get your RN. I know alot of MD's that started off as Nurses and went to medical school. Frankly I think that MD's that were nurses are better Doctors. PLus you do not need to be pre-med to go to med school. You just need to pass the MCAT. WHICH IS KILLER
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    Oct 22, 2010 9:43 AM GMT
    Here are some of my thoughts on grad school in general.

    I think everyone who is considering going to grad school directly from undergraduate should consider taking some time off to work a bit and figure out what they want out of life by seeing what it takes to live a life outside of college.

    I know a lot of people who went directly to law school or medical school only to wind up questioning their decision down the road. For them it was living with a decision at 28 or 30 that a 18-22 yr old had made, since that is when you need to make the decisions to lay the groundwork for grad school (if you go directly).

    I know for me and some of my friends we found that there was still a good deal of personal growth that we went through in our 20s that was as signfiicant or more signifcant than our college years.

    I think it would be a good idea to complete your requirements so that you can eventually apply but my advice to all college age people is to get out and work for a bit before going back to school.

    One other piece of advice, think of what your life will be like after you have completed medical school and your residency. You don't need to be all that specific with specialty but try to capture what you think the day to day living will be like. After you have that written down go find a doctor who is willing to talk to you about their career and get their assessment of how accurate your description of day to day living is.

    I have a friend who is a partner in a good size law firm. He has worked hard and is successful. From time to time he has mentioned how he sometimes gets paralegals to work for him who are taking time off before going to law school. He is completely candid with them without necessarily setting out to destroy their dreams. He is a good guy and he wants to save them some future disappointment.

    He has two key observations.

    1) Lots of the potential law school students talk about some day arguing constitutional cases before the Supreme Court. The reality is that very few people ever take a case to the Supreme Court. Many lawyers never see the inside of an actual court room.

    2) Lots of the potential law school students fall in love with what they perceive the partnership lifestyle to be. The reality that they don't spend time reviewing is the years of the associate lifestyle that they will need to live before even being considered for partner and most law students never make partner at a firm. Many leave the profession or go in house at a company so it would be a good idea for those potential law school students to figure out what the non partner lifestyle could be.

    I don't want to bring you or anyone else down or make you think less of your chosen profession. The advice I want to give is to spend time focusing on the totality of the profession you are considering and try to find ways to figure out if you have an accurate understanding of what the day to day activities of your chosen profession could be.

    Good luck to you
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    Oct 22, 2010 10:35 AM GMT
    any major will get you into medical school as long as you satisfy the prerequisites and take the mcat; a science major is no longer de rigueur. i would recommend that you focus on what intrigues and enlivens you as medical training is a long, arduous, rich journey. counting college, it takes thirteen years to make a family physician. that's much too long of a haul to sacrifice your interests and focus only on the outcome; life is all about the journey. as for myself, i studied the classics and history in college. follow your passions, and the end will achieve itself. icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 22, 2010 10:46 AM GMT
    Huge commitment boy.... never thought I'll get there.... but I made it.... today I'm spesialising in ER medicine and palliative care..... social life.....? What's that..?
    If you want it.....just do it.....
    Good luck!
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    Oct 22, 2010 1:38 PM GMT
    You don't need calculus for med school, except a very general idea of what the summation sign and area under the curve mean.
    There will never be a lack of jobs for doctors, especially in developed countries. Demographics are in your favor. I could make the same argument for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, but their degree of autonomy in practice is more limited, and so is their earning potential.

    What I would do, if I were you, is finish your degree in computer science, squeeze in some med school prereqs in your 4th year, work a few years and take courses while you're working to finish up.
    Med school committees like to see people who finish things.
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    Oct 22, 2010 3:01 PM GMT
    Why do you want to go to medical school? Do you have any medical experience? Sounds like you might want to do a little self-exploration and career counseling before you make any rash decisions.

    Though, if you're really interested in it, you don't have to change majors. Just start adding pre-reqs in for your electives. Besides, I doubt there are many comp sci majors in medical school, so that could be an asset given the changing nature of technology in medicine.
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    Oct 22, 2010 3:41 PM GMT
    Biology, Chemistry, Biochem, Micro and molecular biology are all good degrees for med school. Though if your gonna go more of a Chem degree I would suggest Pharmacy or Pharmacology.

    If your bad at math though stay away for chemistry. You will have to go to at least Calculus 2 to get a degree in chemistry because you use calculus in allot of your upper level chem class like Physical Chemistry 1 and 2 plus the Physics courses you'd have to take.
  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Oct 22, 2010 3:46 PM GMT
    Not being a jerk, but:
    if you have to ask these really basic questions then you definitely shouldn't comit to a medical track.
    Going to medical school without thinking and becoming a doctor who really hates their job is super common. Medicine is boring as all get out for most people; very repetitious for the most part. Not saying it can't be awesome, but it's a calling like most jobs, but one that gets over glamorized.

    Regarding your questions:
    Yes, it's relatively hard to get in. You need very high grades and a good MCAT score in general. Though, it depends on where you want to matriculate of course. It's competitive in any case.

    As for majors: the simple choice would be not to switch majors. If you had any knowledge of medicine and pre-med programs you'd probably be aware that there is no medical major. (When I was an undergraduate the major with highest acceptance rate to medical school was philosophy actually.) There are certain pre-med requirements for some institutions, but you don't need to switch majors for them. Probably something like 2 semesters of chem, semester of bio, and semester of physics (talk to your pre-med program people). Mostly you'll have to take courses that prepare you for the MCAT and that are designed to weed out pre-meds (honestly, that's what they're mostly about).

    However, if you're not doing well in your current major then more complex planning is probably needed - talk to the pre-med committee / organization at your school. Also, plan to start volunteering at a hospital or medical clinic starting about... now.

    Good luck finding the right path. (And don't let me dissuade you from medicine necessarily, I'm just saying don't jump from one wrong path to another.)
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    Oct 22, 2010 4:01 PM GMT
    Follow your dream now while you can, before it becomes more complicated. I'm in the middle of a career change and it is the best thing I could do right now. I have an awesome career coach who is an expert at revealing one’s gifts and passions and equating that to a career. If you have any doubt that medicine may not be your passion it would give you peace of mind to consult with a career coach. The one I am working with has been on 20/20, NPR, Wall Street Journal and many other national media.
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    Oct 22, 2010 6:12 PM GMT
    Desmondlug saidOK currently I am a junior at my college and a declared computer science major. I am thinking of changing my major to biology or chemistry and going to medical school. I learned that I didn't think far about computer science, until being within it I learned I don't care for it, I am bad at math. The only problem is that if I switch majors, it will mean even more years of college until I graduate, then I can go to medical school. I wanna make sure I think this through, anyone in medical school how is it? What is the best degree to take before going to medical school? Is it tough to get accepted to? To limit years of school I would have to take more than a load of classes a semester so I don't stay in school forever!....


    Back to the OP, this is my take on it.

    Currently I'm in my M1 (first year in medical school) year after graduating undergrad in 2009 and taking a year off of school to work. I can't stress enough, you need to FULLY think out your motivations for going to medical school and consider what you truly value. In life, there's more to it than work, studying, there's also everything outside of it. Spending time WORKING in a medical setting is invaluable, there is really no other way to put it, the closest feeling that you're going to get being a doctor is to work around doctors and other medical professionals, to ask questions, to observe cases, to see the good the bad, and the stomach turning. In my year off, I spent it working in a clinic, and to be honest, before that I wasn't so sure I was going to apply for medical school anymore. I'd shadowed in some departments at the hospital near my college, and felt completely depressed by it, people kind of ignored me, i didn't have a purpose being there except for watching and observing, and I didn't feel like I belonged there. However, once I was working in a clinic, with a set of responsibilities including patient care, I saw that I loved talking to patients and working with a medical team. You can never know how you're going to like something until you try it, and medicine is no different. You may have this idea of medicine being super glamorous, hot doctors hooking up with each other all the time (A la greys anatomy), and lots of drama and such, but the reality of medicine is so different, and before you commit yourself, and 200 grand of loans, to this type of education, you need to be as sure as you can that its going to be one you can stick with for the rest of your life.

    As far as my medical experience thus far has gone, medical school has surprised me in one way, we party A LOT more than I thought medical students would. I hear that this is mostly cause we're in the first year, and just like freshman year in college, partying is going to happen, a lot. think after every exam, after getting every exam grade, every weekend where there isn't a test the following week, you get the idea. Though this is NOT a reason to go to medical school, its just a nice perk. I also find that medical school, unlike college, is like high school. College to me was a beautiful time where I felt like I could hang out with anyone and it was cool. Not sure if its my school or what, but everyone is super cliquey, don't get me wrong though, they're nice people, but there's pretty set groups.

    In regards to years of education, if you are someone who is concerned about the number of years you're going to be in school, then an additional 4 years might not be a good idea. When considering if taking another year of undergrad is worth it for you, or a semester or whatever, think about what your goals are.

    The thing about majors is, they're overrated when it comes to medical school. All that really matters when you're applying is that you took the required classes for entry into the school you're applying for (make sure you do an excel sheet or something so you can keep track of the different requirements, believe it or not, different schools have significant differences in required prerequisite classes. Like someone else said, do something you love to do. For me it was music, for you it might be something else. There's so many bio and chem majors in medical school, admissions committees see it as a plus if you have a different major. On the topic of admissions, what you've heard about it is probably true. It is very hard to get into school these days, while each year approx 50% of applicants actually matriculate into a given allopathic school, the acceptance rates for each school are slim, anywhere from 1%-8%. The 1-8% numbers daunted me so much when I was applying but that's why most people will apply to anywhere from 12-35 schools. So in a nutshell, yes, it is hard to get into medical school, and yes, the admissions process is inconsistant, confusing, and nerve-wrecking.

    Hope this helps