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Apply this year or wait?

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spf15

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Interested in MD schools. I am fairly confident that my application is adequate / strong for admissions either this cycle or next cycle (I am not thinking of delaying my application for the purposes of further strengthening my application).

If I waited a year, pros and cons:

+ Possibly more relaxed application process
+ Possibly getting real world experience (although I'm not sure what I'd do in particular with the extra year off)
+ The publication I would be listed on would probably be in print by then (If I applied this cycle it would be at best accepted with revisions)

- Would need to start paying back student loan debt from undergrad
- Would not be able to pursue the arts as extensively as I hoped (for I would otherwise write an honors thesis in the sciences)
- GPA would probably decrease a bit due to difficult upper level physics classes I need to take for my major


Pros and cons of applying this cycle:

+ I hear that senior year becomes less important/less scrutinized for traditional applicants. I saved a few classes that I'm more likely to get Bs in for senior year, so I could take those hard classes and learn a lot without worrying about how it would affect my science GPA.
+ In line with that reasoning, I would also be able to pursue art classes instead of writing an honors thesis in the sciences.

- slightly more rushed MCAT (upcoming June test date, so it's late.)
- not sure if the aforementioned publication is reason enough to delay my application... I have solid research experience (5 years).


Any suggestions? I need to make the decision pretty soon. Thank you for your help.
 
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theseeker4

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Interested in MD schools. I am fairly confident that my application is adequate / strong for admissions either this cycle or next cycle (I am not thinking of delaying my application for the purposes of further strengthening my application).

If I waited a year, pros and cons:

+ Possibly more relaxed application process
+ Possibly getting real world experience (although I'm not sure what I'd do in particular with the extra year off)
+ The publication I would be listed on would probably be in print by then (If I applied this cycle it would be at best accepted with revisions)

- Would need to start paying back student loan debt from undergrad
- Would not be able to pursue the arts as extensively as I hoped (for I would otherwise write an honors thesis in the sciences)
- GPA would probably decrease a bit due to difficult upper level physics classes I need to take for my major


Pros and cons of applying this cycle:

+ I hear that senior year becomes less important/less scrutinized for traditional applicants. I saved a few classes that I'm more likely to get Bs in for senior year, so I could take those hard classes and learn a lot without worrying about how it would affect my science GPA.
+ In line with that reasoning, I would also be able to pursue art classes instead of writing an honors thesis in the sciences.

- slightly more rushed MCAT (upcoming June test date, so it's late.)
- not sure if the aforementioned publication is reason enough to delay my application... I have solid research experience (5 years).


If I applied this cycle, there's a small chance I would end up deferring anyway because I have a research position offer in a lab abroad that I've worked in previously. There, I worked on a project that I enjoyed and if I put in just a bit more time, I could complete the entire project (which would be really worthwhile to me personally, especially because I have never spent so much time on one project and seeing a project from start to end appeals to me).

Any suggestions? I need to make the decision pretty soon. Thank you for your help.
First, if you don't expect to start school in 2013, don't apply this coming cycle. Med schools don't like someone who applies expecting to defer, as deferrals are intended for those with unforeseen sudden problems preventing them from matriculating when they expected to. If you are planning to work in a lab over the 2013-2014 academic year, wait to apply.

If you have things you strongly want to do, remember that med school, followed by residency, then fellowships/attending positions will use up most of your time, preventing you from pursuing those interests fully. Take the time now to pursue your interests so you don't have the "I wish I had taken the time to do ____" regrets hindering your studying for block exams, Step 1/2/3, shelf exams, etc.

If you don't have any strong desires to fill a gap year with activities you always wanted to do and won't soon have the chance to do again, apply right away. Especially if you expect to have a lower GPA your senior year, your strongest application will be this cycle, so don't wait.
 

Alejandro

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First, if you don't expect to start school in 2013, don't apply this coming cycle. Med schools don't like someone who applies expecting to defer, as deferrals are intended for those with unforeseen sudden problems preventing them from matriculating when they expected to. If you are planning to work in a lab over the 2013-2014 academic year, wait to apply.

If you have things you strongly want to do, remember that med school, followed by residency, then fellowships/attending positions will use up most of your time, preventing you from pursuing those interests fully. Take the time now to pursue your interests so you don't have the "I wish I had taken the time to do ____" regrets hindering your studying for block exams, Step 1/2/3, shelf exams, etc.

If you don't have any strong desires to fill a gap year with activities you always wanted to do and won't soon have the chance to do again, apply right away. Especially if you expect to have a lower GPA your senior year, your strongest application will be this cycle, so don't wait.

All agreed. Just make sure you do well on the MCAT. (Focus!) But, if you don't feel ready for it by June, I'd bite the bullet and take your time to really master the MCAT and then take it when ready while applying next year.
 
K

kpcrew

i would apply now, you can always send update letters to schools during the application cycle to tell about what other extracurriculars you've done and tell them about your publication after everything has been finalized. but you should attempt to keep your academic record strong since schools can ask you for your grades while they're making a decision on your candidacy. if you don't feel ready, don't jump into it unprepared but if you aren't sure what you want to do in a gap year, i wouldn't recommend taking one since it seems that the job market is tight although you probably wouldn't have much trouble obtaining some sort of position.
 

spf15

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To follow up on this question, how exactly does applying senior year work out? It sounds insanely stressful, to be working in a lab + taking upper division classes + leadership positions + interviews.

I could potentially not work in the lab during my senior year, just a thought. Could anybody share their experience and recommendations here? Thank you.
 

huskydock

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If I were you, I'd wait for the next cycle. You will experience much better outcomes if you have a more relaxed application cycle and really take the time you need to prepare for and take the MCAT and beef up your extracurriculars. Don't blow your money and be forced to become a re-applicant if it comes down to that.

Plus, one big regret I feel like most medical students who went straight to med school after undergrad share is not taking that year off. Get out there, enjoy yourself, travel, read, take time to relax before you dive headfirst into med school hell.

Just my .02.
 

spf15

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