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how much of a difference does a year make?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by MedChic, May 12, 2007.

  1. MedChic

    MedChic Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Dec 19, 2005
    So I was all set to apply to medical school this summer with a so-so GPA but with an amazing MCAT. However, the MCAT did not go as planned. As of now I have a 3.3 GPA and a 28 MCAT. Of course I'm going to retake the MCAT and I was initially shooting for the summer but that would delay my application and decrease my chances.

    Here's what I need an opinion on...is it better to wait another year, take classes, get some more volunteer experience, increase the GPA and apply early? Or can I shoot for a high MCAT and a later application with a 3.3 GPA?

    I have clinical job experience and a couple of publications, but not too much volunteer experience.

    I am concerned because I am already 23 and would be starting med school at 24, but delaying one year would have me start med school at 25. I would then be in my first year of residency at 30 (as I would turn 26 during the first school year) and most trads are finished with residencies by then.

    I don't know....how much of a difference does one year make? Is it really crazy to worry about it? I don't want to waste money on applications and not get in but I don't want to be the kid who got held back for way too many years either.
     
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  3. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection Physician Faculty SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Inside the tesseract
    If you plan to go D.O. your application might be fine, but if you intend to try for an M.D., your application needs some buffing, and it's clear you are aware that it would be a waste of money to apply at this time. Recall that 24 is the average age of matriculation to medical school. Considering the number of applicants posting here who are in their 30s , 40s, and beyond, the delay of a year (or two) to get your application in the best possible shape, is warranted.

    Consider upper-level science classes and get As in them to boost your science GPA and show a sustained ability to perform well academically. Definitely do a lot of volunteerism, as the absence of this can kill your application all by itself. Do shadowing if you haven't already and your 'clinical' job doesn't entail a lot of physician contact to demonstrate that you know what you're getting into. Take the MCAT again when you're really ready and can spend some dedicated time studying for it. Next year apply early to give yourself the best possible shot at getting an admission.

    Good Luck.
     
  4. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Yes, it's "crazy" for you to worry about it. Even if you wait two years, you will be starting your residency before you reach the age when I became an M1. (I started med school at 31.) Most med school classes have a few students who are 30+, and there are even a few 40+ folks floating around. So if you start med school at age 24 or 25, you will still be very young and have plenty of time.

    As you already know, your GPA is below the average for matriculants to allo schools, and your MCAT is also a little below average. The obvious solution is to take some classes, get As in them, and retake the MCAT. And sure, if you have some time to do more ECs, that can only help you. But take the time to get your stats in order before you apply, even if it takes another year or two. Med school isn't going anywhere, and it will be waiting for you in a year or two when you're ready. You really don't want to go through this god-awful process more than once if you can avoid it. :luck: to you. :)
     
  5. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    IMO, a whole year of experiences (classes, EC's, or whatever else) could make a difference. That can go in either direction too. A whole year of bad grades can be very bad...haha. Of course a whole year of 4.0 coursework is great! In the grand scheme of things, a whole year in your life isn't that big of a deal in terms of med school. Even traditional students who started med school at age 22-23 could finish med school at 31. There are such things as MD/PhD students too. So starting residency at 31 is not a big deal. Of course there are career changers, and various other kinds of applicants who apply at ages 30-50. UCSF had someone at age 40 starting med school.

    There are far worse things to worry about than "when to apply". Personally the MCAT's verbal reasoning section scares the hell out of me more than being one of the older med students when I start med school...lol.
     
  6. gotmeds?

    gotmeds? 5+ Year Member

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    Oct 9, 2006
    :rolleyes:

    Your application needs some work. Even with an MCAT score in the mid-30's, you'd still hae some trouble because of your GPA, and having no significant volunteer experience is a big red flag for someone who is basically a traditional med student. I'd say work on improving your application over the next year and apply when you're a stronger applicant.
     
  7. Snake

    Snake Just climbin' the staff 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 24, 2007
    Why don't you take what you have now and make a pre-application interview appointment with the dean of admissions at the med school (or schools) where you would like to go. He/she will look at what you have as far as the total package and give you honest advice about what to do. Also, this will give you a chance to make a great first impression, you can put real person to the name on the application and transmit your seriousness and desire to accomplish this goal, doing whatever it takes. Then, and most importantly, follow the advice. If the dean believes you are serious and would make a good applicant later, he/she will likely start a file on you and make notes about the conversation. If you apply without following their advice you will not look so good.
    Do this now or as soon as you can because most deans will see people for pre-application interviews only during the early summer. Once the application review process starts they stop seeing people.

    Best of luck
     
  8. MJB

    MJB Senior Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Just my honest opinion, but unless you plan to take the time to get that GPA up over a 3.5 and get the MCAT well into the 30's, you might want to start researching DO schools, apply, and save yourself the wasted money and time of waiting at least 1, if not 2 or 3 application cycles.
     
  9. MedChic

    MedChic Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Dec 19, 2005
    Thank you all for your advice.
    As always I find it quite helpful to learn of your take on things and help in clarifying them.

    I do have some volunteer experience, just very much expired (about 4 years old) so I agree that I probably need to take a look at some new volunteer opportunities.

    And I really did not know deans of med schools really actually gave anyone the opporunity for a pre-app interview. Thank you for that info! I'm going to look into this.

    I think that the best thing to do is buff up that application for next year and apply to both allo and osteo. I've only taken basic science pre-reqs so it might serve me well to take upper level classes.

    LOVE SDN! :love:
     

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