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Admission preference for people who delay a year (or more)?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by DreamyKid, May 28, 2008.

  1. DreamyKid

    DreamyKid 10+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    This may seem really weird for some readers, but does anyone think med schools, especially the top ones (by whatever means you judge "top"), tends to have a preference for people who have waited a year or even more to apply?

    Basically I'm curious as to whether people who apply during their junior year have a lower shot of getting in? Especially if they choose to apply without Spring grades (regardless of sem or qtr system).

    Does anyone think this is true?
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  3. chad5871

    chad5871 Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2006
    Portland, OR
    I think that, in general, people who take time off after undergraduate graduation are able to do much more than those who went to college straight out of high school and then apply to medical school their junior year. Sure, they may have had a few summer internships or done some undergraduate research or volunteering, but those that waited to apply have more "life experience" which would probably make them a stronger applicant.

    Just my two cents.
  4. neuro1617

    neuro1617 2+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2007
    That's an interesting thought. I had thought that they would actually have less of a preference for them, since they had more time to fit in EC's and/or travel. Those that apply after 3 yrs could have fit in the same amt of activities (possibly) into a shorter amt of time, showing that they could handle a heavier schedule. Taking a year or doing an extra yr of school allows you to spread things out....Then again I've heard people say some adcoms may have a preference for applicants who are 23ish and more "mature" than a 21 yr old. But I don't know, it'll be interesting to hear what everyone thinks....
  5. Character

    Character 5+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2008
    i think so, and hope so
  6. Alexander99

    Alexander99 Ghetto Fabulous 7+ Year Member

    Sep 17, 2003
    San Diego
    I'm pretty sure it doesn't make a difference overall. If you have taken many years off (4+), then I think it can work against you. Applying straight out of undergrad is definitely not a disadvantage since a huge majority of med school matriculants fall under this category.
  7. nick_carraway

    nick_carraway 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    From a purely anecdotal perspective, older applicants have had amazing cycles with enough interviews in a row to keep them from home for an entire week. Matriculants for the UCs have had an increasing average age for several years now.

    That being said, younger applicants also do extremely well.

    I think it depends on the school, as well. Some tend to favor older, more experienced applicants. UC Davis is one such school. Others, like Stanford, tend to take younger applicants.
  8. fireflygirl

    fireflygirl The Ultimate Blindian 7+ Year Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    I agree with chad. But being a non-trad myself and watching my brother who only took a year off before matriculting into med school, I have noticed that med schools seem to be a lot harder on the younger applicants especially because they lack that life experience. They seem to be looking for candidates that have something beyond the ECs and typical grades and research to offer. I talked to a few schools where older applicants are welcomed because of the experience that they offer and the adcoms mentioned that they particularly like these candidates because most of them tend not to be as cut-throat as the younger applicants or have a much stronger sense of why they are pursuing medicine.
  9. scarletgirl777

    scarletgirl777 7+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    It depends on what you did with that year, I think. And I think it's about how much you've done with the time you've had, too. So, obviously they are not expecting people who applied straight out to be able to do all the things that someone who has taken a year or two off has done because they just don't have the time.

    Also, you have to define non-trad. Someone who is a legitimate career changer is one thing. But taking time off for the sake of taking time off, at least according to some admissions people I talked to, isn't automatically positive, especially beyond 3 years or so.
  10. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    I know on the PhD side, its actually very rare to be accepted straight out of undergrad, with time off basically becoming a requirement for some degrees. I hear med school has slid more in this direction than it used to be, but its still not nearly as common as in PhD programs.

    As for getting more done without taking time off, that's definitely true IF the two people have the same credentials. If someone is able to get the exact same amount done in 4 years when someone else took 6...its pretty clear who the more productive/stronger candidate is. The issues are that the people who took 6 may have substantially longer CVs, since they weren't spreading it out, they got the same things done as everyone and then moved on and got other things done as well.
  11. nontrdgsbuiucmd

    nontrdgsbuiucmd 2+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    my own little world
    I've heard secondhand (from a person interviewed there) that Colorado has a very strong preference for applicants with several years work experience. Preferably, some of this experience would be in paid health-related position according to the school.

    I'd bet things will go this way to some extent regarding schools' preference for more experienced applicants, but as an older applicant myself, I have heard that schools have an eye on the number of 'functional years' that an applicant would have as a future physician, according to one school, a 48 year old applicant who stated he or she wanted to specialize in neurosurgery would likely be rejected because the person would be in their early 60's before they were fully trained. (versus the 23 year old future neurosurgeon who would be mid 30's).

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