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Clinical Psychology OR Medical School for Psychiatry???


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Hi guys:) ,

 

I am at a crossroads and unable to make a decision of whether to apply to clinical psychology or medical school.

Currently I am in my 4th and last year of a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree and am planning to apply to graduate school in fall 2014.

So far I have:

-completed Biology(B+), Chemistry(B), Organic Chemistry(B), Calculus(A+), Biochemistry(A+), and an intro to Physics(B+)

-volunteered in a mental health unit of a hospital for 2 years

-have done 6 months of volunteering at a research lab at CAMH

-have volunteered in a cognitive psychology lab and am completing a thesis research project in a pediatric pain lab (clinical psychology)

-volunteered tutoring children, volunteered at a psychology club at university, etc

-have received As in all of my psychology courses, and a mix of As and Bs in all other classes throughout my undergrad

 

Overall both psychology and psychiatry are fields I am passionate about. I have planned to be a psychiatrist since a young age, but I am becoming more and more discouraged about medical school because I feel that my GPA is not the greatest since I don't have straight As in sciences, and I feel that I have not taken a distinct 'leadership' role or have exceptional extra-curricular activities. Also, I have not taken the MCAT, so I would have to dedicate this upcoming summer to that if I decide to take that route. I am also uncertain whether I want to study medicine and sacrifice so much time and energy for it (especially for psychiatry which involves an extra 3-4 years of residency). In regards to psychiatry, I am not so fond of the fact that psychiatrists spend little time interacting with their patients through psychotherapy, but instead deal mostly with pharmacology, and with more difficult cases.

 

On the other hand clinical psychology is a great option, and although it is a competitive program, I feel more confident about it. However, it is the immense research component and job instability that are forcing me to rethink clinical psychology (PhD). Therapy, working in a hospital setting, or teaching appeal to me more than running a research lab.

 

Some helpful feedback and advice would be:

 

-What are my chances of being considered or accepted to medical school with my background?

 

-I believe that it might be hard for me to get into medical school in Canada next to better candidates (and probably in the US because I have not completed a 1-year physics course), so what about applying to the Caribbean, or perhaps European medical schools like those in Ireland?

 

-Overall, do you think clinical psychology could be a better choice for me since I already have more experience and success in this field? Or should I try to pursue medicine because it has been a long-time dream?

 

-What are your opinions on either profession?? And does anyone have any suggestions on how I can make this decision-making process a bit easier?

 

Thank you!! I greatly appreciate any sort of feedback!;)

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Hi guys:) ,

 

I am at a crossroads and unable to make a decision of whether to apply to clinical psychology or medical school.

Currently I am in my 4th and last year of a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree and am planning to apply to graduate school in fall 2014.

So far I have:

-completed Biology(B+), Chemistry(B), Organic Chemistry(B), Calculus(A+), Biochemistry(A+), and an intro to Physics(B+)

-volunteered in a mental health unit of a hospital for 2 years

-have done 6 months of volunteering at a research lab at CAMH

-have volunteered in a cognitive psychology lab and am completing a thesis research project in a pediatric pain lab (clinical psychology)

-volunteered tutoring children, volunteered at a psychology club at university, etc

-have received As in all of my psychology courses, and a mix of As and Bs in all other classes throughout my undergrad

 

Overall both psychology and psychiatry are fields I am passionate about. I have planned to be a psychiatrist since a young age, but I am becoming more and more discouraged about medical school because I feel that my GPA is not the greatest since I don't have straight As in sciences, and I feel that I have not taken a distinct 'leadership' role or have exceptional extra-curricular activities. Also, I have not taken the MCAT, so I would have to dedicate this upcoming summer to that if I decide to take that route. I am also uncertain whether I want to study medicine and sacrifice so much time and energy for it (especially for psychiatry which involves an extra 3-4 years of residency). In regards to psychiatry, I am not so fond of the fact that psychiatrists spend little time interacting with their patients through psychotherapy, but instead deal mostly with pharmacology, and with more difficult cases.

 

On the other hand clinical psychology is a great option, and although it is a competitive program, I feel more confident about it. However, it is the immense research component and job instability that are forcing me to rethink clinical psychology (PhD). Therapy, working in a hospital setting, or teaching appeal to me more than running a research lab.

 

Some helpful feedback and advice would be:

 

-What are my chances of being considered or accepted to medical school with my background?

 

-I believe that it might be hard for me to get into medical school in Canada next to better candidates (and probably in the US because I have not completed a 1-year physics course), so what about applying to the Caribbean, or perhaps European medical schools like those in Ireland?

 

-Overall, do you think clinical psychology could be a better choice for me since I already have more experience and success in this field? Or should I try to pursue medicine because it has been a long-time dream?

 

-What are your opinions on either profession?? And does anyone have any suggestions on how I can make this decision-making process a bit easier?

 

Thank you!! I greatly appreciate any sort of feedback!;)

 

Hi! You sound like you are at York! :)

 

First of all, its hard to say whether you are competitive for med without knowing a yearly breakdown of your GPA. Competitive in Canada is about 3.9+ but of course you can get into med with >3.9 GPA given you have other things to boost your application (like solid ECs).

 

From your post, it looks like you know you'd rather do clinical psychology instead of the psychiatry route. There is a PsyD option too which is not as research-oriented as the PhD, but the job market for those are worse than clinical psych PhDs.

 

I would not recommend Caribbean at all. Don't go there for med. I'm not sure about the Ireland med schools, but the next best after Canada is the States, if you can afford it.

 

If I were you, I'd apply to both. Give the MCAT a shot this summer. Clinical psych is super competitive (so is med of course) so you should probably keep a backup in mind.

 

Also - not sure if you know, but family physicians can also do psychotherapy, if they choose to undergo the additional one year training for that (I think its one year - hopefully someone else can give you more info on that).

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Thank you for the reply.

I know that I cannot make a judgement of my chances as a candidate, because I have not completed my undergrad and I have no taken the MCAT to see my marks.

Although I have considered to apply for both clinical psychology programs and medical schools, I think that may be quite difficult to carry out because then I won't be able to put 100% of my effort and dedication in either process. I would also need to complete my GRE test and subject test, MCAT test, and complete both application procedures at the same time. Isn't that a bit too ambitious? I was considering to complete the verbal section of the MCAT and applying to McMaster for medicine, along with all the clinical psychology programs, because this seems more doable. :confused:

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Thank you for the reply.

I know that I cannot make a judgement of my chances as a candidate, because I have not completed my undergrad and I have no taken the MCAT to see my marks.

Although I have considered to apply for both clinical psychology programs and medical schools, I think that may be quite difficult to carry out because then I won't be able to put 100% of my effort and dedication in either process. I would also need to complete my GRE test and subject test, MCAT test, and complete both application procedures at the same time. Isn't that a bit too ambitious? I was considering to complete the verbal section of the MCAT and applying to McMaster for medicine, along with all the clinical psychology programs, because this seems more doable. :confused:

 

Actually we can help you determine if med is a reachable goal if you give us your yearly GPA breakdown. Also did you complete a full course load in each year? (full course load = 30 credits or 10 courses). If you didn't, that's going to be quite a hindrance.

 

Of course its doable to apply to both clinical psych/med. Lots of people apply to more than just med simultaneously, as well as study/write for more than one admissions test (ie DAT, OAT, even LSAT), I've done it. I believe the MCAT is way more time-consuming to prepare for than the GRE (I considered it). The application process is time-consuming and takes lots of effort (esp for clinical psych) but that shouldn't deter you from actually doing it if you really want it - what are you going to do once you are in med or the psych program? It's going to be way more demanding than the application processes were. I'm not trying to be negative here but it is something you should keep in mind.

 

If you start your applications early, it should be totally doable :)

 

As for writing MCAT just for VR, I wouldn't do it. McMaster is very competitive and putting all your eggs into one basket isn't recommended. I'd study for the whole thing, and apply to more than one medical school (if your GPA/MCAT scores allow it).

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1st year- 7.7 GPA ~3.65?? (30 credits)

2nd year- 7.43 GPA ~3.5?? (28 credits=22 credits during the year+6 in the summer)

3rd year- 8.5 GPA ~3.9?? (30 credits=27 during the year+3 in the summer)

4th year- in process (27 credits during the year+6 credits in the summer or next semester)

 

So I only took a full course load in my first year, and in the second year I had to drop a 6 credit course which set me back and resulted in me having less credits that academic year. My third year was packed with volunteer work one semester so I only have 27 credits, and this final year I am planning on completing 27 credits as well because next semester will require a lot of work due to my thesis project.

 

I have actually never considered applying to both schools in the same year. It might be the best option, but I feel like I should have my mind set and not continue to debate between the two. As well, I would like to get some more volunteering work completed next year and I need to complete the 1 or 2 courses I will need to graduate. My friends have studied for their GRE throughout the summer while working, and other friends have studied for the MCAT the whole summer vigorously. I have never heard of someone doing both... How was it for you or anyone you know?

 

One more question... If I were to apply to some American medical schools but I have not completed a full year of physics or English, would I be able to finish that the same year that I am applying or do I need to have it completed beforehand?

 

Thanks for your time :)!

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1st year- 7.7 GPA ~3.65?? (30 credits)

2nd year- 7.43 GPA ~3.5?? (28 credits=22 credits during the year+6 in the summer)

3rd year- 8.5 GPA ~3.9?? (30 credits=27 during the year+3 in the summer)

4th year- in process (27 credits during the year+6 credits in the summer or next semester)

 

So I only took a full course load in my first year, and in the second year I had to drop a 6 credit course which set me back and resulted in me having less credits that academic year. My third year was packed with volunteer work one semester so I only have 27 credits, and this final year I am planning on completing 27 credits as well because next semester will require a lot of work due to my thesis project.

 

I have actually never considered applying to both schools in the same year. It might be the best option, but I feel like I should have my mind set and not continue to debate between the two. As well, I would like to get some more volunteering work completed next year and I need to complete the 1 or 2 courses I will need to graduate. My friends have studied for their GRE throughout the summer while working, and other friends have studied for the MCAT the whole summer vigorously. I have never heard of someone doing both... How was it for you or anyone you know?

 

One more question... If I were to apply to some American medical schools but I have not completed a full year of physics or English, would I be able to finish that the same year that I am applying or do I need to have it completed beforehand?

 

Thanks for your time :)!

 

Hey there,

 

It sounds like you are unsure of what your GPA actually is - use this OMSAS conversion table to calculate your GPA: http://www.ouac.on.ca/docs/omsas/c_omsas_b.pdf

 

Unfortunately, like someone mentioned, the fact that you did not keep a full course load for most years is going to be quite costly for your medical school applications. What province are you from?

 

In Ontario, McMaster and Queen's do not require a full course load (they consider a full course load to be 3 full year courses, or 18 credits). So you might be ok there, if your cGPA is ok (for McMaster, which takes into account every single undergraduate course you've ever taken). For Queens, they are more forgiving and take your 2 most recent years, but you should have a 2YR GPA of at least 3.7+ to have a shot. So if you do well this year and the next (keep in mind you'd have to keep it at 18 credits minimum for Queens), you stand a chance. See this link for more info: http://meds.queensu.ca/education/undergraduate/prospective_students/application_process/gpas/2ygpa

 

With that being said, Queen's is very competitive like all med schools in Canada, and putting all your eggs into either Queens/McMaster isn't the best plan. Unfortunately for UofT you are ineligible for the weighting formula, and they don't look too favorably on applicants with non-full course loads. Ottawa also requires five courses per semester to be considered for their wGPA formula (see this link: http://www.med.uottawa.ca//Students/MD/Admissions/eng/excellence_marks.html)

 

I'm not too familiar with the other province's requirements but the majority of them also require full course loads.

 

If you still want medicine your best course of action is to first get yourself on a full course load. By the way, clinical psych programs also look more favorably on applicants with full course loads than applicants with less.

 

My situation was different in that I was studying for the MCAT and OAT at the same time but they overlap so much in content that it didn't really make much difference to me (both test organic chem, gen chem, physics, and bio. The only extra things I had to study for was additional organic (the focus is very different for the two), math (which wasn't very heavy at all), and a different verbal sections for both tests. I am not sure how intensive the GRE is to be honest as I've never written it, but I'm sure its doable to study both. What does the GRE test?

 

Keep in mind that if you've taken intro physics/bio/chem/organic chemistry in university then it'll be easier to study for the MCAT (ie less time consuming). Keep a good study schedule, stick to it, and it;s not impossible to achieve.

 

With regards to your last question I believe you can complete the English/physics prereq during the application year but I'm not 100% certain on this (you should check the American forums here for more info). Also keep in mind that some American schools don't like or don't accept prereqs taken online (for some strange reason).

 

Hope that helps.

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One more question... If I were to apply to some American medical schools but I have not completed a full year of physics or English, would I be able to finish that the same year that I am applying or do I need to have it completed beforehand?

 

 

From experience I can tell you American schools require you to complete your pre-reqs before graduation. They are not required to be completed before applying. Secondly, you will need to finish your second semester of physics but you may be able to get away with one semester of english as some schools require none or just one english. Some other schools like two semesters of english but they will accept one english and a second non-english course with a large writing component. You would have to check the policies of each school individually, but here's list of some Canadian friendly schools:

George Washington U.

U. of Virginia

Penn State

Boston U

U of Kentucky

Thomas Jefferson U

U of Chicago

Case Western

Saint Louis

 

I am sure there are many other schools that I missed. With your EC's and gpa you should have a really good shot if you do well on your MCAT. Your York GPA will convert into a much higher score on the 4.0 scale that American med school application uses. IMO if you get over 30 on mcat with atleast 10 in each section, you have a really good chance at some good american schools.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I think the fact that you only took one full year course load hurts your chances of medical school or at least for some schools because they want full course load at least for your senior years.

 

Sorry for the late reply...and thanks for the feedback. If that is the case, I can take a full course load this year because I would just need to add an extra course next semester. And that way my last two years will be pretty much "full-course loaded"; it is just my second year that is bringing me down because I took less credits and did poorly.

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clinical psych with a post doc in neuro psych and a masters in psycopharmacology, really just takes you to another level, best of all you can work at clinical salary while you do each plus do medicolegals on the side

 

wow! thanks for that... I was actually considering of going into neuropsych along with clinical psychology, because I know someone who is doing that. I will definitely look into that.

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Hey there,

 

It sounds like you are unsure of what your GPA actually is - use this OMSAS conversion table to calculate your GPA: http://www.ouac.on.ca/docs/omsas/c_omsas_b.pdf

 

Unfortunately, like someone mentioned, the fact that you did not keep a full course load for most years is going to be quite costly for your medical school applications. What province are you from?

 

In Ontario, McMaster and Queen's do not require a full course load (they consider a full course load to be 3 full year courses, or 18 credits). So you might be ok there, if your cGPA is ok (for McMaster, which takes into account every single undergraduate course you've ever taken). For Queens, they are more forgiving and take your 2 most recent years, but you should have a 2YR GPA of at least 3.7+ to have a shot. So if you do well this year and the next (keep in mind you'd have to keep it at 18 credits minimum for Queens), you stand a chance. See this link for more info: http://meds.queensu.ca/education/undergraduate/prospective_students/application_process/gpas/2ygpa

 

With that being said, Queen's is very competitive like all med schools in Canada, and putting all your eggs into either Queens/McMaster isn't the best plan. Unfortunately for UofT you are ineligible for the weighting formula, and they don't look too favorably on applicants with non-full course loads. Ottawa also requires five courses per semester to be considered for their wGPA formula (see this link: http://www.med.uottawa.ca//Students/MD/Admissions/eng/excellence_marks.html)

 

I'm not too familiar with the other province's requirements but the majority of them also require full course loads.

 

If you still want medicine your best course of action is to first get yourself on a full course load. By the way, clinical psych programs also look more favorably on applicants with full course loads than applicants with less.

 

My situation was different in that I was studying for the MCAT and OAT at the same time but they overlap so much in content that it didn't really make much difference to me (both test organic chem, gen chem, physics, and bio. The only extra things I had to study for was additional organic (the focus is very different for the two), math (which wasn't very heavy at all), and a different verbal sections for both tests. I am not sure how intensive the GRE is to be honest as I've never written it, but I'm sure its doable to study both. What does the GRE test?

 

Keep in mind that if you've taken intro physics/bio/chem/organic chemistry in university then it'll be easier to study for the MCAT (ie less time consuming). Keep a good study schedule, stick to it, and it;s not impossible to achieve.

 

With regards to your last question I believe you can complete the English/physics prereq during the application year but I'm not 100% certain on this (you should check the American forums here for more info). Also keep in mind that some American schools don't like or don't accept prereqs taken online (for some strange reason).

 

Hope that helps.

 

Hey, I am sorry for the late reply, I was never notified via email that messages were left. Thanks for your help again.

 

Looking at the GPA conversion table, I think my estimates were about right. And as for the course load, I can definitely add a course next semester which will make my 4th year a full-course load one. It is my 2nd year that is giving me a problem.

 

I am from Ontario, so I will look more closely into the schools that you have mentioned. Do you know anything about Western/Windsor medical school? I will do some research nonetheless.

 

My biggest worry at the moment is preparing to study for both the MCAT and GRE. The GRE involves math and a verbal/writing section (but from what I know it is not as intensive as the verbal reasoning for the MCAT). I have a pretty solid background in math, so I think the English part would be more-time consuming in regards to studying for the GRE. And also, I would be required to take a subjects test on all the fields in psychology, which would involve a lot of reviewing.

Overall, the good thing is that the MCAT can be done in August, the GRE and subjects test can be written in October or November, so that gives me some time in between. But then there is the whole application process :/

 

One more thing, when studying for the MCAT did you dedicate all your time to it for however many months it took to prepare, or were you able to lets say work or volunteer once/twice a week on the side???

 

THANKS!!

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From experience I can tell you American schools require you to complete your pre-reqs before graduation. They are not required to be completed before applying. Secondly, you will need to finish your second semester of physics but you may be able to get away with one semester of english as some schools require none or just one english. Some other schools like two semesters of english but they will accept one english and a second non-english course with a large writing component. You would have to check the policies of each school individually, but here's list of some Canadian friendly schools:

George Washington U.

U. of Virginia

Penn State

Boston U

U of Kentucky

Thomas Jefferson U

U of Chicago

Case Western

Saint Louis

 

I am sure there are many other schools that I missed. With your EC's and gpa you should have a really good shot if you do well on your MCAT. Your York GPA will convert into a much higher score on the 4.0 scale that American med school application uses. IMO if you get over 30 on mcat with atleast 10 in each section, you have a really good chance at some good american schools.

 

Thanks for the message, and encouragement!

It was very helpful of you to include the list of schools. I will look into it, and most likely take physics and English next year when I am applying.

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