Nov 10, 2013
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First off, thank you all for making SDN such an invaluable resource!

I was recently accepted to a mid-tier medical school through an early admission program. If I keep my grades up/continue with my extracurriculars/etc., I'll be a med student in less than two years (I can't wait!!). The best part is that I don't have to take the MCAT.

My question: Should I take the MCAT anyway?

Doing so won't affect my acceptance status. If I bomb the exam, no harm done. However if I do exceptionally well, I could apply to better schools, cheaper schools, and schools closer to home. Again, sitting for the MCAT won't affect my current status, but the SOM will rescind my acceptance if I send out applications elsewhere. I'll have two months of (potentially) dedicated study time this summer. I have been mulling over my options for a while, so any input would be greatly appreciated!
 

bunionberry

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Aug 8, 2012
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That depends on how much you want to go to this school and how committed you are to the acceptance you got. If you have the time and patience to prep for the MCAT, and honestly think you'll put in the effort to get acceptances to other schools, study away. If I were in your position though, I would say **** the MCAT and skip it. It's not something you want to take unless you have to. Doesn't sound like you do, but if you want to aim for more options, go for it.
 

487806

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Aug 9, 2012
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First off, thank you all for making SDN such an invaluable resource!

I was recently accepted to a mid-tier medical school through an early admission program. If I keep my grades up/continue with my extracurriculars/etc., I'll be a med student in less than two years (I can't wait!!). The best part is that I don't have to take the MCAT.

My question: Should I take the MCAT anyway?

Doing so won't affect my acceptance status. If I bomb the exam, no harm done. However if I do exceptionally well, I could apply to better schools, cheaper schools, and schools closer to home. Again, sitting for the MCAT won't affect my current status, but the SOM will rescind my acceptance if I send out applications elsewhere. I'll have two months of (potentially) dedicated study time this summer. I have been mulling over my options for a while, so any input would be greatly appreciated!
Why would you waste your time and money taking an exam when your med school won't care? You got into med school, so don't waste your time/money applying to other schools.
 

nemo123

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Jul 22, 2011
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I was accepted early as well to a program during the middle of my junior year, but decided against enrolling in the program. The program I got into is notorious for being very expensive while having poor financial aid, which was the major reason why I decided to apply this cycle (beyond other reasons like curriculum and interests). I probably would have graduated with over 200K in debt if I went to that school (probably closer to 250/275K).

It was a hard decision to say no to the school that accepted me because speculating about the unknown and "what ifs" is never fun, but in the end, I'm very happy with how my cycle is going and hopefully I'll end up with (possibly) better financial aid packages. Of course, cramming for the MCAT within a month's period wasn't fun at all (because we needed to respond to a strict deadline), so it's about weighing the pros and cons.

OP, if you have any questions regarding this, feel free to PM me.
 
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No Limits

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Nov 3, 2013
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Not trying to be rude so don't take this the wrong way but what is the point of applying to these early admission programs if you know you are not 100% committed to going there?

Assuming these early admission programs are competitive, it seems messed up to have a school hold a spot for you for a couple of years only for you to opt out at the last minute. Kind of sucks for the students who wanted that spot too..
 

nemo123

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Not trying to be rude so don't take this the wrong way but what is the point of applying to these early admission programs if you know you are not 100% committed to going there?

Assuming these early admission programs are competitive, it seems messed up to have a school hold a spot for you for a couple of years only for you to opt out at the last minute. Kind of sucks for the students who wanted that spot too..
That doesn't necessarily imply that if we didn't apply and weren't accepted that someone else would have taken our spot. If the school really wanted to accept an applicant for its early admissions program, it would have accepted him/her anyway regardless of whether I got in or not. The thing about early admissions programs is that they don't have to fill an exact number of seats because the med school will be doing that later on during the regular MD cycle.

I personally applied because I was interested at first, but then reality set in that the program I got into was really expensive and that it probably wasn't worth it to go there.
 

No Limits

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Nov 3, 2013
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That doesn't necessarily imply that if we didn't apply and weren't accepted that someone else would have taken our spot. If the school really wanted to accept an applicant for its early admissions program, it would have accepted him/her anyway regardless of whether I got in or not. The thing about early admissions programs is that they don't have to fill an exact number of seats because the med school will be doing that later on during the regular MD cycle.

I personally applied because I was interested at first, but then reality set in that the program I got into was really expensive and that it probably wasn't worth it to go there.
I wasn't necessarily talking about you. However, one would think others would consider all factors, cost included before applying to such a program. Cost of attendance is public knowledge and isn't hidden from applicants.

I'm not familiar with how other schools do early admission programs but from what I have seen they are pretty competitive. Though some schools do not have an exact number of seats to fill they do not fill many. In my opinion, if someone is applying to an early admissions program and knows they do not want to attend, it is a compete waste of time and a waste of a spot if they get selected.

This is not entirely directed at you Nemo123, I'm just saying...
 
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I wasn't necessarily talking about you. However, one would think others would consider all factors, cost included before applying to such a program. Cost of attendance is public knowledge and isn't hidden from applicants.

I'm not familiar with how other schools do early admission programs but from what I have seen they are pretty competitive. Though some schools do not have an exact number of seats to fill they do not fill many. In my opinion, if someone is applying to an early admissions program and knows they do not want to attend, it is a compete waste of time and a waste of a spot if they get selected.

This is not entirely directed at you Nemo123, I'm just saying...
I have a very dim view of early admissions programs, and a lot of that is based on my personal observation from people who went into them. When you're a kid (whether that means high school, or the early years of college) they seem like a great idea. Less time! Less effort! Sweet! A few years later reality sets in (cost being a big part of reality) and suddenly it seems like a bad idea.

I also know people in those types of programs who went through and then realized waaaay too late they should never have gone to medical school. If they'd had to actually apply in the traditional way they would have gotten out. Also people who were just sick of the city they went to college in and wished they were spending their next four years somewhere else, even if it would still be in med school.

But both the schools and the students seem to think they get something out of it, so I guess these programs will continue for the forseeable future.
 
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nemo123

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I wasn't necessarily talking about you. However, one would think others would consider all factors, cost included before applying to such a program. Cost of attendance is public knowledge and isn't hidden from applicants.

I'm not familiar with how other schools do early admission programs but from what I have seen they are pretty competitive. Though some schools do not have an exact number of seats to fill they do not fill many. In my opinion, if someone is applying to an early admissions program and knows they do not want to attend, it is a compete waste of time and a waste of a spot if they get selected.

This is not entirely directed at you Nemo123, I'm just saying...
Yes, I know; no offense taken here. I was just addressing some of the questions you posed in your original post. As for my particular program, the quoted statistic is that about 50% of people who are accepted end up not attending. As for the reasons why, I'm not entirely sure, but I think they're probably all financially related.

Although I chose not to attend, I did gain some valuable experiences out of applying, so it wasn't necessarily any time wasted. I got to experience what a med school interview and what an interview day at a med school would be like. I also got my PS and activities descriptions done early because of the program, so I didn't have to worry too much about those when I was preparing my AMCAS (of course I still needed to tweak them a bit).
 

histidine

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Nemo, did you have to state on your applications that you were previously accepted to medical school but declined? Did it come up at interviews? Just curious.
 

MedWonk

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First off, thank you all for making SDN such an invaluable resource!

I was recently accepted to a mid-tier medical school through an early admission program. If I keep my grades up/continue with my extracurriculars/etc., I'll be a med student in less than two years (I can't wait!!). The best part is that I don't have to take the MCAT.

My question: Should I take the MCAT anyway?

Doing so won't affect my acceptance status. If I bomb the exam, no harm done. However if I do exceptionally well, I could apply to better schools, cheaper schools, and schools closer to home. Again, sitting for the MCAT won't affect my current status, but the SOM will rescind my acceptance if I send out applications elsewhere. I'll have two months of (potentially) dedicated study time this summer. I have been mulling over my options for a while, so any input would be greatly appreciated!
Really? If you get a 20 on the MCAT, that school will just be "Cool, no prob, brah"? Not that you would get such a low score, but I wouldn't put myself through the experience of studying for the MCAT and spending $270+ just for a possible chance of getting into another school when I already have an acceptance in hand. And are you really sure your MCAT absolutely will not affect their decision? I wouldn't risk getting what that school views as a subpar score. Nothing about taking the MCAT in your position seems worth it. I wouldn't be so trusting.
 

nemo123

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Nemo, did you have to state on your applications that you were previously accepted to medical school but declined? Did it come up at interviews? Just curious.
Thankfully, my pre-health advisor (who is very useful) told me that people who get into early admissions programs and decide not to attend aren't considered reapplicants because they've never filled out an official AMCAS form. So technically, none of the med schools I applied to know I was previously accepted into that program and chose to opt out (unless my committee letter said something about it lol).
 
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histidine

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Thankfully, my pre-health advisor (who is very useful) told me that people who get into early admissions programs and decide not to attend aren't considered reapplicants as they've never filled out an official AMCAS form. So technically, none of the med schools I applied to know I was previously accepted into that program and chose to opt out (unless my committee letter said something about it lol).

Ah very interesting. Yeah it seems like turning down an offer of admission and reapplying is looked upon unfavorably. It's nice that you were exempt from that!

To OP, you could take the MCAT, but unless you do extremely well (36+), I'd just take the acceptance and run with it. Even with a great MCAT and gpa, there's no guarantee you'll get into your state school, "better" schools, cheaper schools, or any school at all.
 
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You get a chance to flee the MCAT monster ...take it !!!!! :)

Seriously, though it is always good to keep your options open ...so it would be a good idea to take MCAT, but it is an exam that takes so much time to study for when you could be perhaps doing something clinically related to get yourself immersed in the field...or just something more fun. Also say you do get a great MCAT score, do you want to risk throwing away a sure acceptance to get into the game of uncertain med school admissions?

Is the school known for offering bad financial aid?...be aware that unless you get a scholarship (relatively rare) almost all med schools expect that you take on a significant amount of debt, and if the difference in fin aid isn't great between the current school and ones that you might apply to - I don't think its worth it (especially in light of the fact that applying will cost you application money, interview money etc).


It's never really bad to keep your options open though, so at the very least I guess taking MCAT wouldn't be a bad idea...i guess on that front the most you have to lose is the registration money, the book/test prep money and the time and effort it requires....forfeiting your spot for something unsure by applying to other med schools---eh that should only be done after careful consideration.
 

Hipocrates

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Jul 25, 2013
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First off, thank you all for making SDN such an invaluable resource!

Yours is the quintessential situation for application of the axiom, "a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush." Even if you score in the 37-38 range, there is no guarantee that you will be accepted to a better, cheaper, or closer med school. Each year it gets more and more difficult to gain acceptance and there are just too many other factors and variables that go into the process.
 

justAstudent

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Yours is the quintessential situation for application of the axiom, "a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush." Even if you score in the 37-38 range, there is no guarantee that you will be accepted to a better, cheaper, or closer med school. Each year it gets more and more difficult to gain acceptance and there are just too many other factors and variables that go into the process.
I would just stick with what you have unless 100% sure that you would be unhappy there. As someone who has taken the MCAT and going through the application process, I can tell you this thing is hell and very very unpredictable. Avoid it if you can.