Comment: Advice from a college grad and med student

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Advice from a college grad and med student

College - It is a stepping stone, do it only if it accomplishes a career goal you have in mind. If you do not need to go to college to accomplish your career goal then don't go. The idea of going to college to explore what you want to do is not a good one.

If you do have a career goal that requires college my advice to you is go to college as soon as you can and begin working towards that. A career takes a long time to build especially one which requires a grad degree.

Type of college - If you are planning on something that requires a graduate degree, no one will care what undergrad you went. If you can accomplish your career goals with undergrad only the college name could matter. If that is the case I recommend community college than transferring into the school with the name later just to get a degree from there. If you want to do something requiring a grad degree the grad school matters for business and lawyers mostly. For medicine no one cares where you went to medical school.

On the issue of financial aid. If you are unable to pay for college yourself and need financial assistance and need a load, you will not be able to avoid federal education loans. Most (if not all) private loan sources force you to max out the Stafford loan prior to loaning any money to you. The only way around that is to try to find a friend or family member to go to.

My own experiences, I went to college for four years right out of high school. I wanted to study pre-med and had interest in economics. I graduated with a dual degree in biochemistry and economics. I then attended grad school in which I received full scholarship and stipend for a PhD in chemistry (the scholarship/stipend is the norm for chem PhDs). I left my program after 3 years got a masters and started medical school last year. Note that I am in my 9th year of education since high school. I have 2 years left to graduate with an MD, then essentially I am stuck in residency for 3-5 years, followed by a fellowship for 1-2 years (you get paid for residency and fellowship about 50-60K year as resident and 70-100K a year for fellowship, but keep in mind that loan payments will eat up a large portion of your salary during these years). So I will have a total investment of 15-19 years of post high school education before I am a full professional and not to mention more debt than I wish to mention. This is why I say to you if you have a career goal in mind go for it now, it gets harder to do as you get older. I love what I do and would do it again in a heartbeat.