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Does it really matter?

Calculate Your Odds of Getting into Medical School
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bringinit247

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I am an incoming college senior majoring in business. I am torn between the following two options: (1) Finishing up all my classes for my major, and graduating in May, and then doing a year of post-bacc. (2) Finishing up all my classes for my major except one, and simply staying a fifth year of undergrad. In both cases I would obviously be completing my core sciences, plus genetics, systems physiology, microbiology, etc, in the next two years. My question to everyone is this: Does it really matter if I do a post-bacc or a fifth year of undergrad? Do the medical schools/pharmacy schools really care? If they don't, would it be better for me since a fifth year of undergrad would be cheaper?
 

BiOGoly

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Definately DO NOT graduate if you intend to directly pursue further undergrad classes, it would serve no purpose. I have no idea what your finacial situation is, but by graduating you can open up a can of worms as far as student loans are concerned. Plus, you will no longer qualify for some forms of financial aid.

I was in a situation similar to you two years ago. I had taken relatively few pre-med requirements and could have just graduated and went post-bac, but instead decided to keep on truckin'. I turned 23 and found out that being newly divested from my parents I qualified for full federal finacial aid! Pell grants and all...I haven't paid for tuition in two years. However, in my case I transfered to a new school and began work on a seperate degree...your original school might not let you get away with taking too many more classes if you have already met the req's for your current program of study.

When it comes to adcoms, i would say they are going to be much more interested in how well you did in your undergrad classes than in how long you were a student. Quantity isn't a bad thing, as long as it's Quality.
 

AlphaKi

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My only opinion on that matter is why would a school want a student who got good grades but needed 5 years to complete when another got the same grades and needed 4? They're trying to get doctors who can handle their curriculum and maybe taking extra time in an undergrad could show you can't handle the load.

I would suggest doing a postbac, you're part of a 'community' get help in all shapes and colors and historically they have much higher acceptance rates that 5th years.

Just my .02

GOOD LUCK! i'M IN A SIMILAR BOAT! :thumbup:
 

HollyJ

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I really disagree with you, Alpha. Med schools don't care about how long you are in school. If they are worried about how you will handle the course load, they will look at the course load you took each semester, not the total number of years you were in school.
 

AlphaKi

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Holly,

See I dsiagree. If that were the case, then 5th years would be on equal footing as postbac students. The simple truth is that unless they have a reason, double major etc, medical school admissions will probably look down at taking 5 years to complete a single major.

I know that with light loads early I'm in trouble but I will have heavier loads these last two years ( Senior and Postbac ) so I feel okay there.

Just my .02

Again, i'm in the same situation myself, really only beginning around my senior year so I know it's not easy.
 

TTSD

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Alpha,

I REALLY have to disagree with you in your reasoning. You do realize that some people have problems outside of school that pose and more imminent and graver danger than grades if you don't take care of them?

I am taking 5 years not to complete my major (I am going over my unit maximum), but to bring up my grades. My lower-division grades have TRASHED my GPA due to what I was talking about in the above paragraph.

As for courseloads? Don't make me laugh. I've been running under full loads of classes that will not pass up to 40% of upperdivision science majors and doing respectably well in them and I plan to continue for the next year under those courseloads.

So what does that tell admissions committees? That I can't handle the courseload of a medical school? Outside of clinical knowledge, my courses are at the very least paralleling what a med student has to learn.

Ad comms are looking at the overall picture. They're not stupid. They know some people went under different pressures at certain points.. that's why TRENDS are very important. They also look at your LORs, personal statement and EXTRACURRICULARS.
 

Sophie

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I would recommend you stay for a 5th year of undergrad, as long as your school will allow it. A lot of schools have a maximum number of units you can take before graduating, and to go over that amount you have to file a request and jump through some hoops. So before you make any plans be sure to check what your school's maximum number is.
 

pitman

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I spent several extra years as an undergrad, I've known a few med admissions directors + personnel over the years, and all else being equal, I've consistently been told that spending more than your school's normal number of years as an undergrad is generally looked at unfavorably. I'd think the reason would be that the committees want assurance you can commit to finish degree requirements (not necessarily just a full course load) in the allotted time.

Certainly there are explanations that will prevent or diminish this apparent disadvantage (extra degree, death in the family, financial problems, etc.), and certainly if you did poorly for four years but aced a fifth year, there will be a net benefit... thus the ceteris paribus clause above.

-pitman
 

AlphaKi

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Trust me fellas, if you just want to get into A medical school fine. But, if you want a legitimiate chance at a top one, staying 5 years without something special being a result will DEFINITELY hurt you and to think otherwise is very foolhardy.
 

r_salis

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Could you complete an additional minor during that extra year?
 

AlphaKi

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Can you? I don't see why not. I don't know if that is the same to admissions people as another major. I don't have all the answers but I do know somethings.
 

r_salis

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AlphaKi, I'm not sure from the sound of your post if you are taking issue with what I said in my post (?) -- I was just suggesting that getting a minor in something during that additional year might be a way to show that additional "something special" for the extra time spent as an undergrad.
 

AlphaKi

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No I got it ;)

What I said was I'm not sure if that's a 'special something' ( 2nd major, military, family/financial issues etc ) that falls in the same category. That's all.
 

r_salis

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Originally posted by AlphaKi
No I got it ;)

What I said was I'm not sure if that's a 'special something' ( 2nd major, military, family/financial issues etc ) that falls in the same category. That's all.
Gotcha. ;)
 

bringinit247

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My problem is that I need to take summer classes in Summer '04. But if I graduate I'm afraid my school might de-register me and I might not be able to make it back into school in time for summer session... I might as well just stay a fifth year by pushing back my graduation date ... that way I will be able to take summer classes with no problems, and I'll be eligible for financial aid instead...It may not look good to an ad-com, but this seems to be my only choice.
 

AlternateSome1

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Originally posted by AlphaKi
Can you? I don't see why not. I don't know if that is the same to admissions people as another major. I don't have all the answers but I do know somethings.

Well where did you learn this one? It doesn't add up. My school is starting to tell students (incoming freshmen) that they should expect to take 4.5 years to finish a degree due to budget cuts and scheduling conflicts. Are you trying to say that medical schools are going to look down on this? Do you have any source or is this just an idea that you came up with? If you look at Yale's medical school policy, they actually are very open to the idea of MED students taking five years. It seems to me it would be a conflict of ideals if they deemed it inappropriate to take five years during college. I am very skeptical of the certainty that you are presenting about this.

~AS1~
 

CaMD

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I think that 5 years would be frowned upon if what you were doing is spreading your pre-reqs over 5 years. That does make it look like you're doing it, to make life easy on yourself, and that doesn't look good.

HOWEVER, I think if you had a pre-med epiphany later in your career, and suddenly began taking pre-med courses your senior year (or junior and senior year) after not taking them earlier, then it's obvious that you're not spreading them out, you're just taking an extra year because you decided late.
(and dude, there is nothing wrong with that! How many people truly know what they want to do with their life at 18 or 19 when they declare their major!?!?!)
 

blankguy

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Originally posted by CaMD
I think that 5 years would be frowned upon if what you were doing is spreading your pre-reqs over 5 years. That does make it look like you're doing it, to make life easy on yourself, and that doesn't look good.

HOWEVER, I think if you had a pre-med epiphany later in your career, and suddenly began taking pre-med courses your senior year (or junior and senior year) after not taking them earlier, then it's obvious that you're not spreading them out, you're just taking an extra year because you decided late.
(and dude, there is nothing wrong with that! How many people truly know what they want to do with their life at 18 or 19 when they declare their major!?!?!)

I think if one were working while studying it may not look bad especially with fulltime work(40+hours).
 

beatla19

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Studenst at my school AVERAGE five years due to budget cuts and the non-availability of classes. I'm assuming if it's the norm for a school, med schools won't have a problem with it.
 

CaMD

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I agree the BlankGuy, if you're working full-time, I doubt any school would hold taking more than 4 years against you!


As for if the average graduate rate is 5 years due to school logistics, I dunno. It seems like a reasonable explanation to me, but what matters is if the adcom realizes that that's the norm, and that it's not you specifically taking it slow. I don't know how in tune adcoms are with stuff like that. There was a big article about how most UT students take 5 or 6 years now (I forget all the details) so after getting press, maybe everyone knows what's up.
 
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