How Nontraditional Students Benefit Traditional Students

surgical specialties

In both high school and college, we get used to our peers being our age. Everyone turns the same age in the same range year after year. This makes it easy for friendships to form based on common interests and just being in the same stage of life. After college, however, most of our paths can diverge in a variety of different ways. Many of my non-preprofessional school friends got jobs and are even buying houses now. Others went straight into medical school, and still others waited a few years and lived out their lives before going back to school to study medicine. I think that is actually one of the most interesting and beautiful parts of medical school: the diversity in age and experience.

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The Joy of the Perfect Candidate: A Conversation with Susan Mulroney, PhD

Sometimes, Susan Mulroney, PhD, professor and director of the special master’s program at Georgetown Medical Center, wonders how she got so lucky.
“I wonder- how did people let me get this job? How did I get this career? I was going to be a medical researcher. That was wonderful, and I loved that, but as soon as I started teaching medical students, it was like, oh my God, I love this. This is amazing.”

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Q&A with Jonny Kim, MD, NASA Astronaut Candidate

When the 12 members of NASA’s 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class report to Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX for their two years of training, two of them—Dr. Jonny Kim and Dr. Frank Rubio—will leave behind medical careers for the chance to explore the final frontier. SDN recently spoke with Dr. Kim about his nontraditional path to medical school and his transition from emergency medicine resident to astronaut candidate.
Dr. Jonny Kim started his career in the US Navy, where he trained as a Navy SEAL and completed more than 100 combat missions, earning a Silver Star and a Bronze Star with Combat “V”. He earned a degree in mathematics at the University of San Diego and his MD at Harvard Medical School. He is currently finishing the intern year of his residency in emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. At the end of the two years of astronaut training, Dr. Kim and the other astronaut candidates could be assigned to any of a variety of posts furthering NASA’s mission.

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Time Away From Formal Academics Can Enhance Application

take gap year

Whether or not a student should take a “gap year” (or two) often comes up during our conversations with applicants to medical school. Based on MedEdits’ experience working with students, we find that gap years are becoming increasingly common and that this extra time away from formal academics can enhance a student’s candidacy.

The Association of American Medical College’s (AAMC) 2016 Matriculating Student Questionnaire (MSQ) reports that the age of matriculants continues to rise, with 60.6% reporting that more than a year had passed since graduating from college, up from 57.9% in the 2014 MSQ. Matriculation data from colleges of osteopathic medicine show that the average age at matriculation in both 2015 and 2016 was 24.

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What Students Should Know About Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Programs—Part Two: SMP Students

In Part One of this series, we discussed post-baccalaureate pre-medical programs for career-changers (i.e. those who have not yet taken any of their medical school prerequisites). In this article, we will address a different kind of post-baccalaureate program—the Special Master’s Program, or SMP—that is designed for pre-medical students who need to show academic preparedness via additional coursework before applying to medical school. 
Let’s face it—one of the most important components of your medical school application is your numerical data. Is your MCAT score competitive? Is your BCPM GPA strong? For many medical school hopefuls, falling short on one or more of these aspects is a frightening reality. And while studying for and retaking the MCAT is a relatively simple way to address weaknesses in your test results, remedying a low GPA can be trickier.

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How Nontraditional Students Can Best Position Themselves When Applying to Med School

A friend of mine studied film in college and subsequently found himself working as a cameraman for a documentary television program about the lives of EMTs and ER physicians. He experienced some very tense situations, and from his work decided that he wanted to do more than document how people received medical care—his desire was to participate in the action of helping others as a doctor.
Unfortunately, his film education was the furthest possible undergrad experience he could have from pre-med. He had no applicable science credits, no anatomy or physiology, and the only shadowing he had done of physicians had been with a camera in hand. In short, his path would be an arduous one, and he was soon going to turn 31.

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What Students Should Know About Post-Bac Programs for Career Changers

This two-part series will discuss two types of post-baccalaureate pre-medical programs. This piece will address programs for career-changers, while next month’s post will cover programs designed to enhance one’s GPA and range of science coursework. 
With the number of nontraditional medical school applicants on the rise, many future doctors graduate from college without most or all of the medical school prerequisites under their belt. They embark on a career outside of medicine, and they eventually decide that becoming a physician is the right decision for them. If you are one such prospective medical school applicant, you may be considering a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program, or “post-bac,” in order to complete your prerequisites and to streamline the admissions process. Understanding the details of such programs can be challenging, so why not begin here with these commonly asked questions—and answers—about post-bac programs for career-changers?

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Tips to Get the Most from the Medical School Admissions Requirements® (MSAR®)

Medical School Admissions Requirements

Chances are after deciding to become a doctor, you’ve likely heard a lot of opinions about where you should apply to medical school. There is a lot of information out there, which can create the perception that you should look for the “best” school only based on average GPAs and MCAT scores of its applicants. But we know that your success is not measured by scores and academic data alone.
Just as you want a medical school to evaluate you as a whole applicant—considering your experiences, attributes, and interests—you shouldn’t evaluate medical schools based just on the numbers and statistics that represent them. The most important thing to consider is whether the medical school is a good fit for you. But how do you figure that out with so many schools and programs?

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