Advice Needed!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Catalyst, Feb 28, 2002.

  1. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    I'm a sophomore and am thinking about running for President of an organization that (from what I've heard from past Presidents) would take 35-40 hours a week if I'm elected. I'm in a bit of a bind because I really want to run for the position because I think I can make a huge difference but at the same time I know that I'm taking MCAT spring of junior year and I don't want to screw that up. My friend who's a senior said that he took physics I and II, a Kaplan review course, and the MCAT during the summer after his sophomore year and he did well (15 PS, 12 BS, 11 Verbal). He's recommending that I do the same assuming that I run and win the election.

    My GPA currently is at 3.7 (because of my lackluster first semester) and I have other good extracurriculars already (shadowing, research, founding member of 2 organizations, volunteer work). So now, I'm caught between deciding whether to run and take the MCAT in August or to not run and just stay on course and take the MCAT next April in my junior year. I'm thinking that I do not want to take the MCAT in August after my junior year and then get behind in the application cycle. Any suggestions?

    Sachin
     
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  3. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    I forgot to mention, the only pre-med requirement I have left is Physics (I and II with labs), which I was planning to take Junior year.

    Sachin
     
  4. UCMonkey

    UCMonkey Senior Member

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    Have you considered taking the MCAT in August after your junior year, waiting a year, and getting in EARLY in the next app cycle? That's what I did, and I'm glad. It will give you a year off of school to travel, work, make money, etc. This may be the only time you will get to do this.

    A side note - when I first heard this suggestion from my pre-med advisor I was quite disappointed, because it messed up my "master plan". But in the long run, I'm really happy I did it.

    Also, don't sell yourself short. It sounds like you will be immensely qualified to go to med school.- I'd LOVE to have a 3.7 GPA.

    All that said, I'll restate what's been said over and over again here. Do things because you WANT to do them - not simply because they will look good on an app.
     
  5. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    Well I was considering doing that with the idea that I would apply to study Music abroad for a year (I'm a Music/Biochemistry Major) or do something interesting before applying. Aren't applicants who wait a year at a slight disadvantage though to applicants who apply the summer after Junior year?
     
  6. UCMonkey

    UCMonkey Senior Member

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    I've found nothing that says that applicants who take a year off are at any disadvantage. In fact, if you talk to people around here, its a relatively common practice. I've even heard of people taking 2 or even 3 years off.

    What will put you at a disadvantage is not getting accepted and being forced to take a year off because of a weak app and having to reapply.

    Also, its a good idea not to take the MCAT too early, since the scores are only valid for 3 years. You don't want to take a year off, then (god-forbid) not get accepted, and have your MCAT scores expire.
     
  7. med student

    med student Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> Aren't applicants who wait a year at a slight disadvantage though to applicants who apply the summer after Junior year </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The majority of my class took some time off before applying (usually 1-2 years) and everyone I know is glad they did that.
     
  8. none

    none 1K Member

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    Most people do take some time off, but that may not be for you. I know I couldn't stand being out of school for a full year and would have an amazingly difficult time getting back into the whole studying thing.
     
  9. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    Yeah, unfortunately I'm not sure I'd be up for that..

    Sachin
     
  10. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    Any other suggestions? (sorry getting a bit antsy :( )
     
  11. EMDrMoe

    EMDrMoe Senior Member

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    I can see both points of view - I ended up in my "backup profession" and love it. Definitely NOT the master plan. However, I have been out of school (I got my master's straight from undergrad) for 6 years. I did well on the MCAT and got in on the first try. I am very happy I had the opportunity to practice as an allied health professional. I also got married and "lived" a little. Also, my undergrad GPA was NOT 3.7! (more like 3.2)

    If this organization is something you really want to do, then go for it. If it's something you're doing to look good, then I don't think it's worth it.

    Try to do some thinking and realize what you really want to do. Good luck!
     
  12. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    Thanks for the advice everyone..

    ATC2MD, I really am interested in running this organization, it's actually called Asian Student Union, an umbrella organization for around 30 ethnic, cultural groups around campus. I have a lot of ideas that I think will make a huge difference if implemented. So I'm not wanting to do this to boost my resume. If anything, I'm scared of its extreme time commitment hurting my chances at getting into a good medical school because I fear my GPA/MCAT dropping.

    I guess I really can't expect anyone to have a clear-cut answer to my problem, I'm just going to think about it for a few more days and then decide. I'm leaning right now towards not running and I just feel so disappointed in myself because I think it would be a fun and worthwhile experience. Ah well, guess some things have to be sacrificed for medical school.
     
  13. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by SachinG:
    <strong>Well I was considering doing that with the idea that I would apply to study Music abroad for a year (I'm a Music/Biochemistry Major) </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That sounds FANTASTIC!!! Run for the office! You sound REALLY interested in doing it, and think of how much you'll learn! Think of the difference you could make! Then, take a year off and do the music thing (good lord, your app will be sooo well rounded), then happily apply to med school, and you'll be a shoe-in.

    Seriously, I hope you run for this office and slow the whole med-app thing down a little. You'll be an incredibly strong applicant in the end, and a much happier and wiser person to boot. GOOD LUCK!
     
  14. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    Thanks for the positive input racergirl :) , I am definitely in the "I want to do everything that I love to do before I graduate because I'll never get to do it later" sort of mentality. It always ends up backfiring on me though because I find myself trying to do TOO much haha.

    My main fear about taking time off is that taking a year off will cause me to form an application that is weaker than if I was still in school. I fear that my brain will be functioning at a lower level (not that everyone who takes a year off has a lower-functioning brain, that's just what I think would happen to me, as stupid as that may sound). Maybe I'm just being impossible and inflexible with my medical school plans. Or maybe it's that I just spent 9 hours studying for a biology test tomorrow and I'm not thinking straight because I have a splitting headache :D .

    Either way, I'm going to sleep, if anyone else has advice, please share :)

    Has anyone here taking Physics, an MCAT review course, and the MCAT all in one summer? What has been your experience?

    Sachin
     
  15. waiting123

    waiting123 Senior Member

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    Here is what I think you should do since you do not want to take a year off, which I totally understand. I don't think taking a year off is for everyone, especially those who don't really have anything planned that they would like to do for that year! You should run for president take physics and the rest of your classes that you want to in your junior year. Then sign up for the August MCAT and take it and do well by spending all your summer studying and taking a Kaplan (or other review) class. I would not recommend getting a job during these summer months. Also, in the summer complete your AMCAS application (by August) and send it in, even w/o your scores. Trust me, when your scores come in october you will get your secondaries (if you did well) within two weeks to a month's time (esp, if AMCAS is working correctly). Just send the secondaries in quickly (w/in three weeks) and you will be fine. You will not be that late in the cycle. I did this but unfortunately I waited forever to turn in my secondaries but it still did not hurt me THAT much, as I still did get several interviews, though they were in late january and feb. If you do them on time you should have interviews before dec. Also, I forgot to mention this but in the summer have your teachers write your letters and then have the letters sent around october or even before then. I think the only thing that would make you late in the cycle if you took the august mcat is if you waited to turn in your secondaries in dec. One thing about doing this that might be difficult is choosing the schools you want to apply to without your scores. You may end up applying to a broader range of schools without knowledge of your scores. However, you can add schools to your AMCAS until their deadlines, which for a lot schools is not until Nov. 1 or later and you will have your mcat scores by then so you can add them. Granted, it helps to be early in the cycle (completed by oct. or nov. ) but if your app is good it will not matter that much! Anyways, hope this helps. :)
     
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  17. EMDrMoe

    EMDrMoe Senior Member

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    Your motives are so heartfelt - GO FOR IT!!! I don't think you should "give up" something like that for medical school! If you must wait a year, it isn't giving up on med school, either. Also, you may NOT have to wait a year to go....you just don't know that for sure.
     
  18. Mutterkuchen

    Mutterkuchen Senior Member

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    Take a year off and study abroad. Not only will it make your application stronger, but you will never regret it. No one that I know that has studied abroad wishes that they didn't do it.

    You will not have time to do this later due to loan repayments/wife/kids/other obligations. Do it now when you are carefree.
     
  19. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life

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    God willing, I will be going to Ecuador this summer to do research, has anyone been there? how is it? I'd be primarily in the Sierra Region..
     

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