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May 2, 2016
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I am an international premed student studying at University of Ottawa and I plan on applying to medical schools in the next cycle. Right now I am about to begin my fourth semester at university. I started with a few advanced credits so I have 5 (15 credit) semesters left till my graduation but I am planning on taking 21 credits per semester instead so I can graduate in 2 years. I definitely want to apply to medical schools next year but I am worried because I do not have any volunteering or clinical experience and I haven't even begun studying for the MCAT at all. I was planning on doing volunteering this year but with a 21 credit course load per semester I am worried if I'll even have the time to do it. I have a high cGPA and getting good grades (while taking 21 credits per semester) is not a problem for me. Whether or not I will have time to volunteer while studying is what's stressing me out. I can easily squeeze in some hours per week for research so that's okay. Right now, I am choosing my courses for the fall semester so I'd like your advice. I have two options. If you could please tell me which one is better, I would be really grateful.

1) I could either take 21 credits per semester this year and not volunteer much. This way I can save the tuition fee for one semester. Then during the summer of 2017, I will spent my time volunteering, taking part in research, and I would do the MCAT in June 2017. If I do this, I will have completed 81 credits and can possibly apply to medical schools by July.

2) I could take 15 credits per semester this year and spend time volunteering a few hours per week and I can complete the MCAT by January 2017. If I do this, I will have to study full time during the summer. Again, I will squeeze in a few hours of volunteering during the summer. By doing this, I will be able to earn 90 credits by the end of September. I have noticed that a lot of medical schools require 90 credits during the time of application. So if I take summer courses, I would probably be applying to medical schools in mid-September. Will applying in September ruin my chances of getting in, especially since I am an international student? Also, if I take summer courses and apply early in June with 75 credits, will I be considered for admission if I let the medical schools know that I would have completed 90 credits by September?

Please let me know which option is better for me. I am only asking this right now because I have to decide whether I should take 15 or 21 credits this semester. Also,this is my first post on StudentDoctor so please excuse me if I made some mistake while posting this.


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Jul 14, 2005
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I don't think either is a good plan. What's your rush? You only want to apply once with the best possible application so slow down and get all of your stuff done well not haphazardly. You need good grades, good MCAT and the ECs. And since you are an international applicant everything has to be a step above a US applicant !

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