Monday, July 12, 2010

Financial Aid Resources Non-Trad PreMed

Loans from the obvious sources are generally UNavailable for post bacc work. Here are the caviats to that statement:

1) You apply for degree seeking status at your target, best of breed in area 4 - year, preferably land granting university (that means it grants PhDs in research areas like biochem, physics, math, etc). HOWEVER, you must apply to the specific college that is outside the college that you got your first degree from. This does not mean if you went to the University of Michigan you must not apply for degree seeking status at U - Mich, it means you apply at U-Mich to a different college within.

For instance, my first degree is from the College of Liberal Arts, which means that as long as I am degree seeking in the same College of Liberal Arts, or the synonomous name at another university, I CANNOT get federal loans/grants.

How do you get around this hurdle?

Apply for degree seeking status in College of Biological Sciences, or College of Math and Engineering, then apply for federal loans.

Are you specifically going to get a 2nd bachelor's degree? Probably not, as the goal is M.D., not Pre Med, BA, BS, BAc, BE (you get the picture).

2) Sign up for FASTWEB.com. The link is here:

http://www.fastweb.com/

Do not underestimate the amount of loans, feature grants, scholarships they are able to dredge up. Some that have been sent to me were obviously not worthy of my time (I'm not a bi-racial purple squirrel with parents who have immigrated from Norway in the last 10 years while having been birthed on a boat from Ghana and speak 12 languages including the extinct Coptic).

However, I was able to glean some other scholarships worthy of attention and date setting within Microsoft Calendar. ALL of your scholarships will require some form of essay. Make sure the date for submission is properly calendarized, then program a warning date 1 week in advance. WHY? Because I'm anal about making sure my project dates are hit, I put notices in my calendar to make sure I stay on track. Did I hit this target on that date.

For instance, my AMCAS submittal date is July 1, 2011 (sigh). However, a few weeks ago my beacon warning went off regarding my personal statement which was written about a year ago. I submitted it. I also had a beacon warning about my letters of recommendation. Those beacons also do a indirect support function: they remind me what the goal is when mired in the drudgery of financial aid scrounging. Nice seque, eh!?

Fastweb sends me updates according to my profile. My parents are high school educated, my dad is a veteran of the Korean War, etc... which gave more areas for the search tool within Fastweb to send me data.

3) Research ALL companies that seem like they might offer a scholarship:

Eli Lilly
Talecris
Bayer
Mayo
Cleveland
J&J
Tylenol

Get the idea? Yes, it is hard work but SCHOOL is easier when there's money to pay for the pre-med classes, right? School, the basis for what you are reading here for, is easier when the stress of school is just that. School.

4) Private loans suck. This country's large dependence on horrible financing in the mid '00s has led to reforms in the banking industry as well as student financial aid that no longer make this a viable option for 99.9% of the non-traditional pre-med students.

Simply said: don't plan on them, don't incur them.

Why do they suck? Well, if you can get one, your interest rate will be higher, inflationary adjustments made repeatedly, shorter term to repay, harsher payment plans, and requirement of credit worthy co-signer.

For most of you, option 1 should work just fine.

Make it a great day! Pursue your dream :)

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