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  1. #1
    hex099 is offline Minor Noble
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    Default Need advice for pre-med!

    Here's my situation:

    I've been working on a BA in Communications, as right now I'm in the Army as a journalist. I have the majority of my LL courses done, minus a few electives. Right now I'm sitting on 70ish credits.

    I'm not planning on staying in this career once I leave the Army, though the BACOM was just the most logical degree since I would receive credit for some of my training. I really would like to go to med school once I get out, since all my college is free now and the Army will pay for it once I leave.

    My problem is I can't decide on the best course of action for doing pre-med. I'm currently enrolled with TESC. The only natural science course I have now is the DSST Astronomy, since I didn't need much as a non-science major.

    I'm thinking a degree in Biology would be best. If I were to take CLEP Bio and Chemistry, or some of the ECEs like Anatomy & Physiology or Microbiology, would those include lab credit? If not, what would be the best way of doing labs? I would really like to test out of as much as possible, since all exams are free for me for the next two years.

    I know taking classes at a local university would be best, but working full-time, I don't have much of an opportunity to do this.

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    -Tony

  2. #2
    cookderosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hex099
    Here's my situation:

    I've been working on a BA in Communications, as right now I'm in the Army as a journalist. I have the majority of my LL courses done, minus a few electives. Right now I'm sitting on 70ish credits.

    I'm not planning on staying in this career once I leave the Army, though the BACOM was just the most logical degree since I would receive credit for some of my training. I really would like to go to med school once I get out, since all my college is free now and the Army will pay for it once I leave.

    My problem is I can't decide on the best course of action for doing pre-med. I'm currently enrolled with TESC. The only natural science course I have now is the DSST Astronomy, since I didn't need much as a non-science major.

    I'm thinking a degree in Biology would be best. If I were to take CLEP Bio and Chemistry, or some of the ECEs like Anatomy & Physiology or Microbiology, would those include lab credit? If not, what would be the best way of doing labs? I would really like to test out of as much as possible, since all exams are free for me for the next two years.

    I know taking classes at a local university would be best, but working full-time, I don't have much of an opportunity to do this.

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    -Tony
    >>

    CLEP/DSST/TECEP/ECEs do not give you lab credit. In fact, you'll end up needing all of those credits repeated if you do go into a program requiring sciences. For medicine, you'll need labs for for biology and chemistry. You'll have to take them somewhere else and then you could transfer them into TESC- but TESC doesn't offer anything that would count.

    I'd caution you against getting a non-lab based science degree for this purpose, because you won't meet the pre-reqs for med school, and after you graduate there may be limitations on your free classes.

    The sciences you see are used to meet gen ed requirements for non-science majors. Note: a way to tell is the number- sciences that have lab are in multiples of 4 credits, non-lab science is in multiples of 3. Even the A&P you see offered is only a 6- so that's no good. They won't give you 4 and ask for 2 more- it won't count in-major, it would end up being an elective.

    Lastly, I only know a tiny tiny bit about med school applications, but they are competitive WITH a pool of applicants who exceed entrance requirements. I'd suggest doing major homework before going through with the degree- which isn't to say you can't accumulate credit! Maybe you can use this time and money to work on electives, humanities, math, etc. Also, you can take online lab sciences, there are many many schools that have this option- I'll be taking some through Clovis Community College myself- so lab sciences need to be classes- but they CAN be online!
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  3. #3
    perrik's Avatar
    perrik is offline Baronet / Baronetess
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    As cookderosa points out, a science degree with no lab credits would be a bad idea if you're trying to get into medical school.

    I'd suggest completing your current TESC degree and then taking a second BS in biology or chemistry at a B&M college. Most B&M schools will allow you to transfer a huge chunk of credits from the first undergrad degree (standard is 90 credits out of 120 required), so you'd only need to concentrate on the hardcore science classes.

    I would also, like cookderosa, advise against taking the bio and chem CLEP. They'd be duplicate credit and worse, they'd be entirely inadequate for the major.

    The University of Maryland's pre-health advising department considers the following courses necessary for those desiring to attend med school:

    Biology I
    Cell Biology
    Chemistry I & II
    Organic Chemistry I & II
    Physics I & II
    Calculus I & II

    All but calculus would require lab sections. They also strongly advise microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, and physiology. You'd be taking those courses during med school, so they recommend taking the undergrad versions to give you a strong head start as well as give you a big edge on the MCATs.

    Check out the forums at Studentdoctor.net. There are message boards for pre-med students, including one for what they call non-traditional applicants. There are also message area for residents and practicing physicians - read through all the angst surrounding the match process (med school seniors apply for residencies, get invited to interviews, rank the residencies by preference, and then wait to see if any residency wants them - there is NO guarantee that you will land a residency after med school).

    Not to scare you off the idea, but there's a long road ahead if you want to be a physician!

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  4. #4
    NAP
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    Quote Originally Posted by hex099

    I'm thinking a degree in Biology would be best.
    I think Excelsior offers a Biology major which can be accomplished through the Biology GRE + 2 labs.

    As stated before, you'll need to check your options carefully. You want to have as good of a foundation as possible to be in a medical program with tradtional students.

    Please keep us updated on your progress!

  5. #5
    hex099 is offline Minor Noble
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    Thanks a lot for the advice all! It looks like I have a bit of work ahead of me. I think I'll check out some of the online lab classes mentioned while seeing if I can spare the time to do some at the local university here in NC. One of my biggest concerns was not looking competitive due to testing out of too many classes (not sure if that actually makes sense.) I just thought that as long as the Army was footing the bill, I would take advantage of what I can. I'll be sure to keep you all up on the progress.

    -Tony

  6. #6
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    Going to have to agree with cookderosa, her advice was spot on! You MUST take science classes with labs... no getting around it; but like she said you can complete most of them online. Each school is different, and you'll need to check requirements for each school - which is super frustrating (I went through that process last year). But to give you an idea of what your path looks like... here is the list of prereqs I complied for the schools I was interested in... you'll need:

    BioChemistry
    General Chem I & II
    Organic Chem I & II
    General Bio I & II
    Microbiology
    Anatomy & Physiology I & II
    Nutrition
    Physics I & II
    Pathophysiology
    Genetics
    Calculus I (some schools precalc + Calc I was ok)
    Statistics
    Last edited by rileychica; 04-15-2009 at 01:27 PM.
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    A& I Literature (74) US History II (71) American Lit (68) English Lit (63) Intro to Business Law (57) Into to World Religions (451) Ethics in America (423) Information Systems CLEP (66) Social Sciences & History (71) Principles of Management (68) General Anthropology (59) Here's To Your Health (476)

  7. #7
    cookderosa's Avatar
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    Excellent list RileyChica!!!

    I just wanted to underscore that my suggestion is to take the classes online or exams (free) but I would strongly advise against getting a degree "just because"- even if you end up with over 120 credits. Your first bachelor's degree should come from the school you are using to get into med school.
    USE THEIR POLICY to pick if/which CLEP exams you take.
    Knocking on a college's door with an extra BA will be a major headache- you'll disqualify yourself from any financial aid grant money, you might have to pay transfer fees for incoming credit, and you certainly will have duplicate credit because some colleges consider credit to "expire" as it sits (business, lab science, etc have a shelf life of about 5 years) or won't count because of it being an exam. A BA in biology from TESC en route to a BS in biology/science will certainly be the most expensive route. (time has value as well) Online labs cost a mint, especially with text books. When you are taking online science, expect no less than $200 for the cheapest class. One online A&P Lab (Ocean County Community College, NJ) had a lab pac requirement that included a microscope and cow eyeball- it was $1000 for the pac and books. I don't know how military $ is used, but look deep at the big picture.
    Take the free classes/exam credit for humanities and math-those goodies are forever. I know you are excited, but hold tight until you get all the info you need.
    Last edited by cookderosa; 04-15-2009 at 02:03 PM.
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  8. #8
    Bambi is offline Minor Noble
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    I just started as a freshman at a four-year college last fall and sat through a handful of seminars on getting into med school.

    Everybody above is right, sciences have to be taken with a lab component. Taking some online will probably be okay, but watch out for two things. Sometimes colleges offer the lecture and the lab sections separately, but a lot of schools will not accept a science course as having been taken with the lab if you take the lecture one semester and the lab another.

    I'd also look into how the college you plan to graduate from lists online or hybrid (online lecture, on campus lab) courses on your transcript. Ideally, you want them to be listed the same as an on campus course would be; depending on which med schools you apply to, some might be wary of classes denoted as web-based due to the hands-on nature of science in medicine.

    The most important thing, though, is to make sure you'll be able to get strong recommendations from professors in your major. If you think face to face communication would help you build a better relationship with faculty than an online course, that's something to consider, maybe not for every course, but just enough to have options when it's recommendation time.

    Good luck! =]

  9. #9
    hex099 is offline Minor Noble
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    Great advice everyone! I spent yesterday checking online for some labs, and I was able to find several that sound promising. I think I'm going to try and take a few online from Darton College (close to my home in GA) as well as some classes at a local university. Then, when I leave the Army and go back home, transfer to a university I would want to enter med school from (like UGA). The only online labs I haven't been able to find yet were Organic Chem, Biochem and Microbiology, but then again, it's only been one day.

  10. #10
    cookderosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hex099
    Great advice everyone! I spent yesterday checking online for some labs, and I was able to find several that sound promising. I think I'm going to try and take a few online from Darton College (close to my home in GA) as well as some classes at a local university. Then, when I leave the Army and go back home, transfer to a university I would want to enter med school from (like UGA). The only online labs I haven't been able to find yet were Organic Chem, Biochem and Microbiology, but then again, it's only been one day.
    >>

    I found micro online at the 2 schools I mentioned in this thread- ocean county college in new jersey and clovis community college. For a really extensive list, you can look at the allnurses.com forum. Also a nursing requirement, you'll find lots of pre-nursing students taking micro online.

    Good luck to you!!!
    Jennifer
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