Going for a biology major at any academy?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by robinhood17, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. robinhood17

    robinhood17 USMA Cadet

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    0
    My first choice for a college major would most likely be biology (to become a medical doctor) more specifically i would apply to the air force HSP program after obtaining an undergraduate degree and continue on to medical school.

    My second choice would be aviation,or aero engineering, as this has always interested me as well.

    My question is about medical slots at usafa,or any academy i guess, how do these slots work? do they exist?

    Thank you.
     
  2. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    0
  3. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    I'll touch on the biology major decision since I covered the med side in the other thread (ask for clarification if you need it).

    Despite biology majors being the rivals of the biochem majors (me!), I'll give some perspectives.

    From the USAFA view: biology is often the route where biochem majors who couldn't hack orgo ended up. Probably around 20-30% of biology majors were these people. Biology is one of the largest majors (by people). This has advantages and disadvantages - more people can be "top ten percent" bio majors.....but there's a lot more to compete against! It is considered one of the easier majors at USAFA, perhaps one of the easiest technical majors (though I consider all the basic sciences to be fuzzy techies!).

    Away from the negative sounding side, here's the more important part. Most bio majors loved their major, and for great reason. I loved taking bio classes as part of my major because the faculty was fantastic. They loved their teachers. They were a quirky, honest, light-hearted bunch! My scholarship adviser was the bio department head (Col Putnam) who was a blast to meet with (and incredibly intelligent). The bio dept shares the CTEF building with Chemistry. It is a nice facility with modern labs, ample practical experience, and a good environment. So, as a major, it is one to enjoy.

    From a med school perspective. Biology and biochem (but esp biology) are the "standard" majors for med school. Now-a-days, that's not such a great thing, med schools like academic diversity, so a biology major doesn't stand out from the major perspective (USAFA does though!)

    On the plus side: with the exception of calc 3 and organic chem, the biology major has all the med school requirements in it. Only requires 3 more classes (calc 3, replace "baby orgo" with chem dept orgo 1 and 2 along with orgo lab 1). It preps you well for the bio section of the MCAT. Of the USAFA grads in 2010 at med school, I believe 60% were bio majors.

    Now, I will say, the people who did the best on the MCATs were Biochem (2 highest scores of 37S and 32T were biochem majors), only 1 biochem went to a DO school (2 bios went to a DO school), no biochem majors did not go who tried to (slight exception, I dropped for a grad program, another person dropper herself out to spend more time prepping for MCATs).

    I think I covered most things there! Biology would be a good choice if you choose that at USAFA!
     
  4. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,580
    Likes Received:
    800
    Hornet, what's a DO school?
     
  5. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    DO is a doctor of osteopathic medicine vs. an MD which is medical doctor.

    Differing philosophies, but DOs have a more internal medicine and general practitioner flavor. Their MCAT/GPA requirements are lower than MD school requirements. Nova is a good example of a DO school.
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    I'll add a little extra to that. My son is interested in Medical but also flying. Based on advice from numerous doctors, he is actually going the "Pilot" route first. Medical school is something that can be an option later. Whereas going to medical school first and trying to become a pilot later is almost impossible. My son's major however is behavioral science. He did however, just in case he changed his mind or the perfect opportunity presented itself, loaded up his other classes with Orgo, Biology, and other classes looked at and required for medical school. So he's taking the academics he needs to apply to medical school, but he's probably going to go the pilot route first. He realized that this gave him the best options.

    Obviously, any major allows you to be a pilot. An aero-engineer type major does not give you any better chance on being a pilot. Although, such majors can open the door to becoming a test pilot, astronaut, etc... But that wasn't his goal. He isn't sure yet if he's going to take the MCAT or not. My understanding, and his from his counselors, is that unlike the SAT/ACT, they do look negatively on the MCAT if you took it a "LOT" of times. So, as long as he is pilot qualified and makes it as a pilot, he will hold off on the MCAT and medical school. He is applying for scholarships/fellowships to hopefully be accepted to grad school after the academy and before UPT. He will finish his masters in a behavioral science or similar science background. If he realizes the military is the "Career" he wants after the 10 year pilot commitment, he will re-evaluate the medical school option and possibly becoming a doctor.

    That is the difficulty with the academy. There are a lot of options. You just have to realize which option gives you the best opportunities to achieve your goals in life. For my son, he recognizes that even though he's been around/in the military his entire life, and the academy is exactly what he thought it would be, a 20+ year military career may not be. He believes it will be, and that's his goal. But just in case, he wants to maximize his choices and options. Best of luck to you. Mike.....
     
  7. Gasdoc

    Gasdoc Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    12
    I know two surgeons who were AFA grads, one a pilot before going to med school. There is also a West Point grad in my Dept who did post-bac at Rutgers after leaving the Army, then went on to med school. So it can be done.

    I have also recruited two physicians who have/are leaving the Army soon. My impression is that the past decade have been very challenging for those in military medicine - those in CONUS short-handed, and those deployed away from their specialties for a year at a time. It can take time to regain their stride once they come back. So unlike others deployed and performing the duties of their AFSC, a pediatric subspecialist can be deployed as a general medical officer, and not be totally comfortable, on the basis of background and experience, in that role.
     
  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,580
    Likes Received:
    800
    Thanks on the DO question gasdoc.

    I wonder if there will be any affects for medical staffs in the services with changes in the DADT and with regard to Obamacare. DADT change might be a sticky wicket when they try to figure out who's whose dependents, etc.
     
  9. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    113
    DADT won't really have any effect. Luckily it's not the doctor's or the medical dept's job to figure out who is a dependent/authorized care. That's up to Tricare/DEERS enrollment/Congress. This is one of the reasons that the repeal of DADT, although passed, has not been implemented. My guess is that the number of increased enrollments will be pretty small and not really a huge impact.

    "Obamacare" not really an impact to us either, the biggest one I have seen so far is the extension of TRICARE coverage to age 26 for certain categories. The impact this may have is actually keeping more doctors IN the military instead of getting out to deal with the other headaches. So far, from my perspective, the pay difference still doesn't justify staying in the military for most physicians.
     

Share This Page