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  1. #1
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Default Searching for... College Veterans' Wisdom.

    After much back and forth, I've made the scary scary decision of my career path. I'd been leaning toward medical, but I also was clinging onto some long-ago ambition to have a job in something I really REALLY like. I'm settling for something I like enough.

    I've decided medical field, and specifically anesthesiology. I'm scared of failure as a result.. but I think it's less scary than drifting through college aimlessly like I've been doing my entire first year. 8 years of school and 4 years of residency look absolutely daunting.. but.. if it's anything like the military, the time goes faster than you think it does.

    My grades are good (1st semester 3.5, 2nd 4.0), but I've hardly taken any classes! I currently go to a community college in Texas, and if I could avoid attending a huge university I totally would. I don't think my career path will allow that, but a kid can hope.

    I'm totally oblivious to the way college works overall.. I don't know anything about scholarships. Will my degree in applied sciences help with my bachelor degree? Do I need a degree in anesthesiology, or do I need a degree in general medicine of sorts before narrowing it down in medical school itself? How many of you had problems with courses transferring from community college to university? (My friend totally got screwed and had at least 4 classes she had to re-take so I'm so nervous about that.)

    How expensive is college when you live on campus or in campus-owned apartments? I know I have to call around to my local colleges and narrow it all down.. but.. I plan on making this an on-going 'mini-blog' on my college experience.. so I suppose I'll start with my current stats.

    - Currently going for a general Associates of Applied Science - Changing over this up-coming semester from Associates in Arts
    - I've completed 1 year exactly (2 semesters) of comm. college
    - GPA - around 3.75 currently
    - Accepted into and working in the Honors Program of Lone Star Comm. College

    I guess that's all for now. Any information you want to give me and tips would really help. My dad doesn't approve of my medical aspirations, so I have to do all of this on my own basically. Any help is appreciated help.
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
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  2. #2
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    1. You do need a medical degree to become an anesthesiologist. You won't even get to consider your specialty until very late in your medical education or residency.

    2. Go here to apply for funding FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

    3. The cost of housing and tuition varies from state to state, start looking at the websites for the universities in your area you might be interested in attending.

    4. Speak to an advisor at your CC about transfer credits. Many states have agreements between CCs and universities.

    5. An A.S. should help set up the foundation for your bachelors degree, but again check with your current school.

    6. The time does go incredibly fast...until your final term. :P

  3. #3
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Oy. So, after all day of talking to VA reps that know nothing about the VA systems, etc. I've sorta figured out that Baylor School of Medicine is the college you go to after your take your MCAT.

    .... and I still have no straight answers on what constitutes "pre-medical school college" stuff. All that I THOUGHT was good is totally out the window. I thought college worked like this: Assoc. Degree in arts or science depending on which career you want, then 2 more years of school for you BA in whatever field you want in, and then you go from there for specialty schools, Masters, etc.

    This doesn't seem to always be the case though.. what's required for an associates degree at my community college isn't at all required at the university, and visa versa.

    So far, the hardest thing about college is finding out the actual information you need to do what you want. Everything is based on where you want to go, which is retarded because if you don't know which schools offer what you need, you don't know where you want to go!

    University of Houston and University of Houston Clearlake are two ENTIRELY different places.. I guess I get that, but you'd think to have the title of UofH they'd HAVE to have some sort of similar classes offered. It seems like Clear Lake has nothing to offer pre-med students.. and I don't know one way or the other for UofH main campus yet since the line is always busy.

    I wish there was a "Wanna be a doctor of ANY sort? Here's information for you." pamphlet.
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  4. #4
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    I have a dear friend who just got accepted at the University of Washington School of Medicine. I'm certain she has the information you're looking for, I'll check with her Monday and get back to you.

    In the meantime, you should look at biochemistry programs for your undergrad. Anesthesiology is a, chemically, risky field so this would probably be your best bet for an undergrad major.

  5. #5
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    ^ That would be wonderful! Please, sap any questions you can out of her!!

    Since you end up picking your actual "what KIND of doctor are you gonna be" way later on in your education, I figured there were comprehensive programs.. Like a "BA in medicine" something that totally prepares you for medical school and the MCAT and stuff, and this doesn't at all seem to be the case! I thought you'd at least have a Bachelor's degree so your education up to the point of medical school wasn't at all useless. And then I didn't know the difference between Majors, Minors..

    All of this stuff is just really confusing, and what I assumed to be one thing isn't at all what I thought it was in my head. And no college is at all useful unless you make the trip up there.
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  6. #6
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    Well the friend I mentioned above did a double degree, with majors in biochemistry and anthropology and minors in public health and medical history & ethics. I know she did a third minor but I don't remember what it was in (...I want to say general biology). The most common majors for future physicians are biology (the easier route) and biochemistry or neurobiology (much harder and more competitive).

    Do me a favor and send me a message on Sunday sometime so I don't forget to get the info for you.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    Oy. So, after all day of talking to VA reps that know nothing about the VA systems, etc. I've sorta figured out that Baylor School of Medicine is the college you go to after your take your MCAT.

    .... and I still have no straight answers on what constitutes "pre-medical school college" stuff. All that I THOUGHT was good is totally out the window. I thought college worked like this: Assoc. Degree in arts or science depending on which career you want, then 2 more years of school for you BA in whatever field you want in, and then you go from there for specialty schools, Masters, etc.

    This doesn't seem to always be the case though.. what's required for an associates degree at my community college isn't at all required at the university, and visa versa.

    So far, the hardest thing about college is finding out the actual information you need to do what you want. Everything is based on where you want to go, which is retarded because if you don't know which schools offer what you need, you don't know where you want to go!

    University of Houston and University of Houston Clearlake are two ENTIRELY different places.. I guess I get that, but you'd think to have the title of UofH they'd HAVE to have some sort of similar classes offered. It seems like Clear Lake has nothing to offer pre-med students.. and I don't know one way or the other for UofH main campus yet since the line is always busy.

    I wish there was a "Wanna be a doctor of ANY sort? Here's information for you." pamphlet.
    Okay, I don't know what exactly 'pre-med' means in the States, but, my friends who are in Med school in the States, it just looked like an equivalent B.Sc. undergraduate program.

    You will need some basic pre-requisite courses for most medschool, and in this way, 'pre-med' helps you because they already have those as their required courses for the curiculuum. Example, you will need, an English course, 2 Calc, 1st year, bio, chemistry, physics, organic chemistry (usually 2 full courses), have a few social science/humanities courses (to show you are rounded). After that, be smart and take EASY COURSES to get your GPA UP!!

    So, no offense, but, juggernaut's suggestion:

    Quote Originally Posted by juggernaut View Post

    In the meantime, you should look at biochemistry programs for your undergrad. Anesthesiology is a, chemically, risky field so this would probably be your best bet for an undergrad major.

    Do not do, unless you are amazing at it. Biochem is not easy, and, if your main goal is med school, you are going to have to get real with yourself and abilities, and forget 'learning for learning's sake'....Preparing for med school is tactical. It's about GPA, mostly.

    Two students applying, doesn't matter what their undergrad was, as long as they have the pre-requisites, it will come down to the higher GPA. Don't screw yourself over by taking hard courses to "prepare" yourself for medschool except for courses that are requirements. Med school will prepare you for medicine. You don't need to do it before and break your back and kill your chances.

    Secondly, I would suggest really looking into how college courses transfer to universities. A lot of college courses are not, for whatever reason, considered equivalent.

    So, you're gonna have to make some decisions, i.e., narrow down a few possible likely universities you'll want to transfer over to. Make appointments with them and ask how your college courses transfer. Otherwise, mentally prepare yourself to start from scratch in Uni.

    Also, prep up your extra-curricular activities.

    MCAT courses are offered to prepare for it once you're ready to sit (most write in the summer of 3rd year of undergrad)...there's no 'way' to prepare for MCAT through university courses, it's a test of 1st year bio, physics, math, and chemistry, essentially. Meaning, they assume that if you have those pre-requisites, you are ready for MCAT.

    Contrary as it may be, you don't even need to take anatomy courses, etc, to be set for med school.

    Best game plan: be prepared to start Uni from scratch. Get into an EASY undergrad program that offers a lot of electives, a good one is general life science. SPACE OUT the pre-requisite courses for med schools (one's mentioned above)....take what you find the hardest in summer school (summer school is easier...esp. for ORGO), and, learn of the 'easy' (bird) courses, and take those to fill your courses. Keep the GPA UP. Round up with a nice profile of extra-curricular interest (to make yourself look well-rounded)....volunteer here and there. Rock the MCAT. You've got good chances. Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    Okay, I don't know what exactly 'pre-med' means in the States, but, my friends who are in Med school in the States, it just looked like an equivalent B.Sc. undergraduate program.

    You will need some basic pre-requisite courses for most medschool, and in this way, 'pre-med' helps you because they already have those as their required courses for the curiculuum. Example, you will need, an English course, 2 Calc, 1st year, bio, chemistry, physics, organic chemistry (usually 2 full courses), have a few social science/humanities courses (to show you are rounded). After that, be smart and take EASY COURSES to get your GPA UP!!

    So, no offense, but, juggernaut's suggestion:




    Do not do, unless you are amazing at it. Biochem is not easy, and, if your main goal is med school, you are going to have to get real with yourself and abilities, and forget 'learning for learning's sake'....Preparing for med school is tactical. It's about GPA, mostly.

    Two students applying, doesn't matter what their undergrad was, as long as they have the pre-requisites, it will come down to the higher GPA. Don't screw yourself over by taking hard courses to "prepare" yourself for medschool except for courses that are requirements. Med school will prepare you for medicine. You don't need to do it before and break your back and kill your chances.

    Secondly, I would suggest really looking into how college courses transfer to universities. A lot of college courses are not, for whatever reason, considered equivalent.

    So, you're gonna have to make some decisions, i.e., narrow down a few possible likely universities you'll want to transfer over to. Make appointments with them and ask how your college courses transfer. Otherwise, mentally prepare yourself to start from scratch in Uni.

    Also, prep up your extra-curricular activities.

    MCAT courses are offered to prepare for it once you're ready to sit (most write in the summer of 3rd year of undergrad)...there's no 'way' to prepare for MCAT through university courses, it's a test of 1st year bio, physics, math, and chemistry, essentially. Meaning, they assume that if you have those pre-requisites, you are ready for MCAT.

    Contrary as it may be, you don't even need to take anatomy courses, etc, to be set for med school.

    Best game plan: be prepared to start Uni from scratch. Get into an EASY undergrad program that offers a lot of electives, a good one is general life science. SPACE OUT the pre-requisite courses for med schools (one's mentioned above)....take what you find the hardest in summer school (summer school is easier...esp. for ORGO), and, learn of the 'easy' (bird) courses, and take those to fill your courses. Keep the GPA UP. Round up with a nice profile of extra-curricular interest (to make yourself look well-rounded)....volunteer here and there. Rock the MCAT. You've got good chances. Good luck!
    Granted, if you're simply looking to get into any school that might take you the above suggestions are probably adequate. If, however, you care at all about getting into a reputable program I would be very hesitant to take some of these suggestions. Decent programs look at a great deal more than GPA, though that is important. Admissions committees know a flaky transcript when they get one. The gal I've been talking about here is Phi Beta Kappa at a "public ivy" with extensive work experience (in a hospital). Nevertheless, even with her 3.75 GPA and a 36 on the MCAT she got offers from only 3 of the 17 schools she applied to. It's not an easy thing to do. There are lots of kids with excellent GPAs from crappy schools with easy majors. Applications from those individuals get precisely the attention they deserve...very little. I, personally, would not risk taking the approach suggested above in this economy. Your competition is not what it was ten years ago. You will not last once you get to medical school even if you do get accepted if you don't prepare properly.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggernaut View Post
    Granted, if you're simply looking to get into any school that might take you the above suggestions are probably adequate. If, however, you care at all about getting into a reputable program I would be very hesitant to take some of these suggestions. Decent programs look at a great deal more than GPA, though that is important. Admissions committees know a flaky transcript when they get one. The gal I've been talking about here is Phi Beta Kappa at a "public ivy" with extensive work experience (in a hospital). Nevertheless, even with her 3.75 GPA and a 36 on the MCAT she got offers from only 3 of the 17 schools she applied to. It's not an easy thing to do. There are lots of kids with excellent GPAs from crappy schools with easy majors. Applications from those individuals get precisely the attention they deserve...very little. I, personally, would not risk taking the approach suggested above in this economy. Your competition is not what it was ten years ago. You will not last once you get to medical school even if you do get accepted if you don't prepare properly.
    The bolded, I also advised in that post that the person has to soup up their 'profile' through extra-curricular acitivities, experience, volunteering, etc. I didn't say it was just about the GPA, but it's foolhardy to think that GPA isn't one of the biggest, and main, cut-off. Btw, in USA, if you go to an out-of-state school, GPA gets increasingly more competitive, anything below a 3.8 isn't even gonna be glanced at. Most schools get thousands of applications. The first and easiest weeding out is by GPA and MCAT scores. They will NOT sort through the thousands of applicants looking for nuances in merit of a degree versus another, crappy school versus not, etc, etc. It's strictly: GPA minimum met, MCAT scores, acceptable range, check, all pre-requisite courses, check, in or out. Then, AND ONLY THEN, if you make it through that cut, comes looking at the other stuff, once you're in the narrow selected basket.

    Hence, Juggernaut's advice is not realistic for most students...unless your aptitude is that great. It's quite idealistic to do it the 'right way', and only pays of for the minority percentage of the thousands that try this method (because they believe they can). I am not making any commentary on kyuuei's aptitudes, but, if she wants to play the competitive game, she has to evaluate *best option* with *feasible option*. Evaluate her potential realistically. And, not realize it too late when she's in fourth year from a biochemistry program with a so-so average versus still a B.S.c, but, Life Sciences with a stellar GPA. The rose-coloured glasses will slip fast.

    But, one thing worthy of mention is crappy schools. That is true.

    Otherwise, from what I've seen in my personal experience (I have about 7 friends in med school, and three are in the States - Columbia U, U of Florida, and, Pritzker, U of Chicago). Our friends and I have had many conversations about the bullshit factor of many med school applications.

    Btw, these are all fairly recent, not 15 or so years ago, Columbia is gonna start her residency next year, U of F, 2nd year, and Pritzker is 2nd year as well.

    Preparing yourself with biochemistry, etc, is not gonna do you an iota of good in medschool. It might help for the MCAT section for organic chemisty, but beyond that...nope. The only time I would advise anyone to prepare with a 'suitable' major in the hopes of medschool is because of two options:

    (1) have an applicable/competitive degree if medschool does not work out, meaning having an undergrad in biochem will be greatly more advantageous than general life sciences as a degree if you don't get into med school, and ask, 'now what?'

    (2) if you're aiming for a MD/PhD program, i.e., research.

    Otherwise....it's idealism over practicality.

    PS - I have a friend who's now doing her Psychiatry residency (but this is in Canada) who got into medschool with an undergraduate degree in English. Yup. It's a myth that you need to major in biology or chemistry in undergrad to get into medschool...only that you have the pre-requisites and show a well-rounded image through the other courses you choose, and that, it shows a convinction in a field of interest (whatever field that may be).
    Last edited by Qre:us; 05-15-2009 at 08:59 AM. Reason: took a personal anecdote out...for privacy's sake

  10. #10
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    k, Kyuuei, forget everything I said.

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