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Interviewing at 19 years old

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by glux, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. glux

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    I did dual enrollment while in high school at my state university and completed around 50 credit hours. I'm officially graduating from high school and entering college next year, even though I'm only enrolled in college courses currently. I can graduate at 19 if I take summer courses for two summers. Will adcoms look at this negatively?

    Additional Details:
    I have research experience, clinical experience in a hospital, a 3.9 overall gpa (3.8 BCPM), I haven't taken the MCAT yet, and besides that, I don't have any other standouts (although a publication is likely before I apply). I'm very sure of my ability to enter, so please assume that I know what's right for me and don't lecture me on how I need to take some time off.

    My main concern is that it will look like I don't have a life I take summer courses. This is far from the truth and I'm sure that I could explain it to adcoms, if I got an interview. However, it will rightfully so look like I rushed undergrad, although I don't see that as being too negative if I excelled in it.

    PS. I did dual enrollment at a satellite campus of my state university, and plan on transferring to the flagship campus next year (which is ranked in the top 100 national universities).
     
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  3. chemnerd89

    chemnerd89 In it for the lulz
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    Take your time.
     
  4. ar2388

    ar2388 rads resident
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    take an extra year.. do something else during those summers and graduate at 20.. how about that? lol
    but seriously.. you want those summers.. especially when you have applications to do during the summer and potentially an MCAT to study for.
     
  5. glux

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    I have taken my time. I need real advice, seeing as how I need to make some decisions about what courses I will take soon. I only attended college during my senior year of high school, so it's as if I'm graduating in three years. Please, I don't need to be told to wait. I need to know what adcoms think of summer courses and young applicants.
     
  6. TehDoc

    TehDoc What a pain...
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    It's been said Adcoms would rather have applicants with experience in life rather than some young gunner. No one can tell you what Adcoms specifically look for.

    edit: So, wait.
     
  7. zogoto

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    I think the young applicant thing will be a minor detriment to your application. A bigger problem is that you will have lost your summers. Summer is when you can do big volunteer projects, hold jobs, and get experiences you might not be able to get at other times of the year. Adcoms like this sort of thing, especially at top schools. You seem smart, so I'd say it's better to apply one year later and get into better places.
     
  8. fizzle

    fizzle New Member
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    From my experience, med schools do place a great deal of emphasis on personal maturity and life experiences. Personal maturity is largely judged through your essays and, most significantly, your interview, and they'll be especially concerned about this in younger applicants like you. It's not impossible to overcome, of course, but I would think that being only 19 would make it more difficult to prove that you were mature enough to handle being in a class whose age average is usually around 24 years old. As for life experiences, I don't know how much you can get if you rush through school like that; med schools do value diversity, so make sure you follow your own passions aside from medicine.

    Short version: If your application is stellar and nets you interviews, be prepared to answer some persistent questions about your readiness for medical school during the interviews.
     
  9. shemarty

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    I agree with the above posters. Having good numbers, clinical experience, research, and volunteering won't distinguish you. On top of that, being extremely young may hurt you.

    If you're shooting for the *top* schools, they're going to look for something special that makes you stand out. Leadership experience, dedication/passion to a cause, etc. You haven't had very much time to dedicate to anything like this, since you've spent a lot of your time on coursework.

    With good numbers, clinical experience, research, volunteering, and APPLYING EARLY, I'm sure you'll be accepted somewhere.

    But you may get into *better* schools if you have a broader range of experiences.
     
  10. airplanes

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    I was gonna type up something like this but fizzle stole my thunda!
     
  11. funkymunkytoes

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    Did anyone else here know this much about the application process when they were as young as the OP? Man oh man. Take some time off, there's no rush to get to med school.
     
  12. silverlining1

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    I think I can understand some of what you're feeling - I wanted to get everything done, and I always felt like I was intelligent and mature enough to do things the quick way. I didn't take college courses while I was in high school, but I had no desire to study abroad or take time off - I just wanted to get through college, through med school, and onto my "real" life.

    That being said, I want you to know that, if I could go back even a few years, I would do things differently. Meeting people with such varied backgrounds has made me long for some new experiences. It's really hard to put this into words, but living life and talking to others about how they have lived theirs has made me see the value of NOT rushing.

    You're clearly a motivated, hard-working person, and I am sure you will do well in medical school. However, I think people are right about what adcoms are going to wonder - there are people as old as 30 and 40 (and beyond) entering med school, some who have worked on Wall Street, worked in a country with a different culture, had children with severe health problems, etc. A big part of being a doctor, I am learning, is being able to empathize with people, who have had a CRAZY variety of experiences. Thus, gaining more experience in your life is only going to help you.

    Even though you seem mature and like a person who really thinks things through, you're young and have a lot of time left in your life. It's REALLY hard to take time for yourself later in life - why not take even just one year to pursue something different that interests you? For example, I know many people who have lived abroad or even in remote villages, working in clinics or just absorbing the culture. Again, this is not something tangible, but that kind of thing can give you a new perspective - and just try to trust me on this - it can be very valuable.
     
  13. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    Why in the hell would you want your life to end that early?
     
  14. meliora27

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Medical schools want to know what you have to offer to their class. There are a lot of very bright and academically capable applicants out there. Do something to stand out. Also, think about socially. Do you think at 20 you'll be able to fit in with your peers and have common and meaningful experiences in common, other than the courses you both took in undergrad?
     
  15. fizzle

    fizzle New Member
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    I wasn't even planning to apply to med school when I was 19! :p
     
  16. glux

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    I've run into people saying I have no social life because I'm driven since elementary school. I'm not saying it's completely false, just that I DO have time for both family, hobbies, and school. True, many of my peers have more fun than I do, but that's not what I'm about. I want to have a social life in medical school, but that's a far cry from the reason I'm going. I guess that I'm more inclined to graduate college at 20 so that I won't have to pack as many courses in, but I feel like a lot of people would kill to enter medical school at 20.
     
  17. silverlining1

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    Again, now that I'm in med school and have no idea when I can take time for myself anymore, I strongly suggest taking time to explore the world more - particularly because you're not "behind schedule" for certain.

    As I've gotten older, I've realized that my parents and other people gave me advice were right, even though at the time I thought "whatever, they don't know what's best for me". I feel like this is one of those situations, where from your perspective there is no clear reason to slow down when you can get things done faster, but from a (slightly) older person's perspective it would really be valuable to not rush. I hope you'll take my word for it and give it a try. I'm not saying to slack and party all the time - I can see that that's not what you want - but take your classes at a more comfortable pace, take other classes and do ECs that interest you and allow you to learn something new, and consider taking time to explore after graduation.
     
  18. dmbjeff41jmu

    dmbjeff41jmu New Member
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    Not true. Just look at the increase in the number of "non-traditional" applicants. These students want to wait a year or more after graduation to take the plunge. Life experience is important. If you get in when you are 19 or 20, why not defer for a year to do something fun?
     
  19. Lynkeus

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    So, as a 19 year old applicant myself this season to medical school (well, primarily MD/PhD programs), I feel qualified in first re-affirming what everyone else is saying: take your time. My four years of college were among the best of my life and I wouldn't think for a moment of trading those years for even an acceptance to my dream school.

    Having said that, the entire process has been relatively kind to me so far. I have so far detected no prejudice against me due to my age, at least at the interviews I've been to so far. There's of course the possibility that some of my post-secondary rejections were due to that factor, but among the schools I've interviewed (and been accepted at), my age has at most been brought up as a conversation piece. It's never seemed to matter one way or another.

    However, I should stress that I made certain not only to claim maturity, but demonstrated it through a variety of leadership roles, studying abroad, etc. That is something I would be concerned about in your position. Are you going to have the opportunity to thrive, not only academically, but in extracurriculars, research, volunteering, and the like, on your accelerated track? I would suggest that with your background, given an extra year or two, you probably could truly excel. Besides, college isn't just a stepping stone to graduate/professional school; it's also a time for you to grow as a person. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that one of the things I realized in the past four years is that life isn't about constantly rushing onwards towards that final degree. Though I'm interviewing this season, I've already chosen to defer for two years to study abroad two years before entering medical school. Take your time, and enjoy the way.

    In conclusion, interviewing as a 19 year old is not a hindrance so long as you have the credentials to demonstrate your maturity and preparation. However, in your position, I would choose rather to enjoy four years of college, really excel while at it, and then apply to a top-notch program. Whatever you decide, best of luck; just enjoy the journey as well :luck:
     
  20. Rutgers06

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    It's obvious that you're a very driven individual and will be successful at anything you do. However, I think doing coursework during the summers just to graduate early will be a little red flag for some adcomms. Another concern is that your application will lack "life experience", which seems to come into play quite often. There really isn't any reason to rush through things. Take time to enjoy college, expand your perspective and develop a passion outside of medicine/schoolwork. A question that pops up relatively frequently on interviews (especially student interviews) is "what do you do to relax?" or something similar, so make sure that you can expound on that.

    Like other people have said, the social adjustment will be very different for you. In the school I'm at, there's a group of students who are in a 6 yr BA/MD program, so they're 19/20 when they enter med school and it's harder for them to relate to any of the other students (doesn't help that they're not 21). I realize the pull is there to try to get through everything as soon as possible, but in the grand scheme of things, 1-2 years of growth in college far outweighs getting done with schooling faster.

    And just a question. Why you didn't apply to 6 or 7 yr BA/MD programs? Those seem to fit better with what you want to accomplish.
     
  21. silverlining1

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    Thank you for sharing your story, and congratulations on your successes! I think that your advice is excellent.
     
  22. MrBlonde

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    Yeah I can tell you from first-hand interviewing experiences that interviewing so young can be detrimental to your chances. I chose the doctor route relatively late in my college career when I was 21 (had an epiphanous moment when a family member was ill), I explain this in the interviews I've had as the reason for choosing medicine (the BIG question you get at interviews) and ultimately based my decision conscientious thought as a mature adult. The interviewer usually likes that I was a bit older and had some grime and scars to bare when I came around to medicine and invariably adds that as 18 year olds matriculating into UG we lack the mental wherewithal to really know what we want from life. Having said that, what would they say to 19 year old trying to matriculate into medical school? Ultimately, as the very well-informed for his age OP probably knows, the interview checks two major things in an applicant, maturity and motivation. I have no doubt that the OP will have the stats and probably even a well reasoned motivation, but maturity only comes from time and life experience.They will question you with a jaundiced eye if you rush it. As med school applicant you'll be better served to marinate in UG and toil away your summers in a job or volunteering as the previous posters have said. BTW you're a bada** mofo and mad luck when applying.:luck:
     
    #21 MrBlonde, Dec 17, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  23. Lacheln

    Lacheln Cavorting in the Hills
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    I'm sorry to put it so bluntly, but what you are lacking is perspective. Whether a lot of people would kill to start med school at 20 or not (which I don't think is true, at least for people who are older and have a bit more life experience), your choices should be based on a more long-term plan.

    When you are 35, I can absolutely guarantee that you will see that starting med school a year early is not worth missing out on the chance to explore and take advantage of the freedom you have right now. The ego bump from being a prodigy wears off pretty quickly once you are an adult, trust me. You'll be a better applicant, and a better person, in the long run if you can look up long enough to take in the view.
     
  24. cliffhuxtableDO

    cliffhuxtableDO Hand sanitizer on deck
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    take your time like it has been said. if i was that far ahead of the game i'd probably go abroad for a semester or two and see what i could find out about EVERYTHING before going to med school.
     
  25. SiR99

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    There are promising young people out there that are geniuses (I have a couple 17-18 year old friends that should be applying this year) and they just dont enjoy the same things the rest of us do.

    Maybe its best that these people do things at their own pace whether that means going to med school at a younger age.

    Its their lives, let them do what they want.

    Many of us would enjoy having time off, for these people its wasted time because they would not be doing what most of us would, they just need to constantly be in an academic setting.
     
  26. squirrelking

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    I am in my first year now in medical school. It's hard. Very hard. Not the material, I do very well on the exams, but that it takes your life away from you as you know it. I love what we are learning now, but before I had a rich life where I loved going to museums, sitting in parks reading for pleasure, meeting girls, spending hours with friends without having to plan out my time. This part of my life is now gone. It will be for the foreseeable future. If you haven't had too much time as an adult to be lazy, to enjoy yourself, to be unsure about where you will go, to really challenge yourself in ways that have nothing to do with your career, you may well miss our on that chance forever (at least when you are young and have so many options to choose from). And that would really be a shame. In fact in many people it could lead to a breakdown or depression. My advice is to relax about your career. You will get into medical school some day. No doubt, you sound more than qualified. What's the hurry? Really try to honestly answer that question. I know I am a better person for having taken my time to be introspective and enjoy life. Just my two cents...
     
  27. bozz

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    It's your experiences that matter. I have a lower GPA than you by >0.2 pts, and I have a good MCAT. I don't even have the research experience that you have. I attended 11 medical school interviews at age 19 this fall. It's your experiences that count.. not your age. Being young definitely does not hurt you.

    Ofcourse the older applicants are going to say "You're too young.. blah blah." They don't want to think a 19 year old can do just as much/exceed what they've done ;).

    All kidding aside. People generally like to have no regrets. So the 28 year old telling you to take years off is doing so based on the path they've taken. They've had no regrets, and they'd like to encourage others to do the same.

    Now, I'm the young guy telling you that you're fine. If you're bright enough to take college courses while in high school, you're bright enough to do well the rest of your undergrad years.. and in medical school. Not one interviewer has asked me questions about my age.
     
    #26 bozz, Dec 17, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  28. silverlining1

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    Not true at all - several posts already have expressed no doubt in the OP's accomplishments or ability to excel. I think you're also missing the point - we're talking about life experience, which is different from the experiences you put on a resume. Again, this is something that is hard to understand until you go through it... so try to take our word for it.
     
  29. bozz

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    The guy's graduating in three years.. not one. So your advice might as well extend to every college student attempting to enter medical school after graduation. Not much life experience you get between years 3 and 4. (I'm a senior right now).

    I just don't get why everyone's treating the guy differently from a typical college student who applies during the summer before his senior year.

    EDIT: I see that you're 21. The tone in your post made it look like you were a 40 year old with loads of life experience :p
     
    #28 bozz, Dec 17, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  30. niranjan162

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    Your right, they would. But that would be a mistake. I can totally understand where ur coming from. I never wanted to travel etc. and I hated my undergrad by the end of it. But If I could go back to college and do the same things again I absolutely would.

    Being in medical school would be great, but ur really short changing urself in life. You are in the prime of ur life. You only get one. ONE. Everyones gonna tell you to wait. And you should listen to them.

    Think about how much wiser and smarter u are now, then just a couple years ago.

    Theres plenty of time to be a dr and its a marathon not a sprint so dont be in such a rush to get there.
     
  31. Lacheln

    Lacheln Cavorting in the Hills
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    But we know from experience that that's probably the one thing most difficult to do (for any kid who's really smart, really organized, very successful in some arenas). It's a perfect storm for being positive you are the exception to the rule. LOL, it took me until I was about 25 to realize that I wasn't so much the exception as the cliche. :p
     
  32. squirrelking

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    I think my advice apples to 21 year olds who graduate college at a normal pace too. Take your time. REALLY there is no going back.
     
  33. Lynkeus

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    Well, he's counting his senior year of high school as year 1. Like I stated earlier, the credentials he has will matter far more than his age. I'm sure he'll do great in interviews and get accepted whenever he applies, but at least I myself grew significantly in the past couple of years.

    In any case, the answer to the original question, IMHO, is that it's not the years that matter most to medical schools, but rather what's been done with those years. Everything else we've been discussing is just people expressing their opinions about whether or not this is a good idea in general. The latter question can obviously only be answered in the end by the OP himself.
     
  34. p30doc

    p30doc Ever true and unwavering
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    I doubt this kid is going to listen to anyone's advice here. They have their mindset on what they are going to do, and everyone else is wrong. Once aspect of immaturity is not being able to listen to objective advice. Often you need to make your own mistakes to "grow up". I know my past and many others is riddled with examples of this. Several years from now you will probably realize everyone had a point. Do what you want, it is your life, you have to live it with, and you will suffer the consequences for your actions.
     
  35. niranjan162

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    I dont think intelligence is the point people are trying to make. Im sure anybody who got into medschool couldve skipped college altogether and gone straight in. Ive been told many times the material is not hard its just the sheer volume. That makes it difficult. Im sure u and the OP can handle it. But listen to the people who are in med school. We are not saying dont do it cuz its too hard. You got at least 7 years of trainning ahead of u. Take your time getting there and experience life while you have the time. Do things you havent done before.
     
  36. niranjan162

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    haha this is so damn true. There were many times when I shouldve listened to what people told me, but couldnt learn my lesson until i made the mistakes.
     
  37. Lacheln

    Lacheln Cavorting in the Hills
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    You have a very good point that we're talking in generalities, and he's an individual, and in the end should be judged as such. However, he's not the one who should be answering the question. People who know him well and have a good bit of life experience under their belt can give objective guidance.

    Even so, there are a reason why some things are truisms.
     
  38. brittle

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    I just turned 19, and will be applying this year. Personally, I have had wonderful experiences through undergrad that have showed me very different aspects of life and have showed me a great deal about the world. The summer after my first year of school, I went home and worked as a waitress. That showed me the type of work people in that sector do, motivating me to continue to do well in school, but it also gave me a perspective I otherwise wouldn't have had - waking up at 4:30am just to please others, smiling and trying to be polite and kind when i felt like crap... Then the next summer, I worked on a research project, living on my own for the entire summer with no one I knew, and a 9-5 job. But my point is that you can get a lot of unique experiences during the summer that can be very meaningful. The one thing that I have learned from everything I have been through is that it's not worth it to rush through college. It's a once in a lifetime opprotunity, and the experiences you can have in the summer are absolutely amazing. Whether you go home, work, and have fun with your friends, do research, or go travel, personally, those are experiences you will never be able to have again, and I don't think it's worth rushing through them.
     
  39. Lynkeus

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    Well stated. I amend my previous statement: the final decision is the OP's own, but his close acquaintances are far better positioned to give advice than any of us. We've answered his question (more or less) regarding how medical schools see the issue, but I do not really see us being able to answer the larger question of whether he should matriculate early.
     
  40. Lynkeus

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    As one 19 year old to another, I heartily agree. Nice to find other young'uns like myself though :D
     
  41. Purell2

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    I heavily considered doing pretty much what you are talking about. I took Organic Chemistry in the summer, came into school with a decent amount of College credit, and could have done what you want to do by entering medical school after 3 years of college. No matter what anyone told me, I knew I was ready for it.

    Then as I studied for the MCAT one summer, realization began to set in..... I love college, I love my friends, but I also love medicine.

    In retrospect, I WAS NOT READY for medical school because I thought that that was the only thing that will make me happy, when in reality it will never satisfy you (I will avoid a rant about my personal beliefs here....).

    Anyway, I think ADCOMs like to see life experience and maturity.

    I am now going after my 4th year of school at age 23 and some people say this is young.

    I think you can do it, definitely, and I think it is purely subjective to each person, as said above. So I can't say your not ready, or that you will regret it, because you are not me, and you may not.

    However, in 10 years when your a physician your most likely won't have anytime off, haven't invested much into your closest relationships because you are so driven, and come to the realization that being a physician isn't going to make you completely happy because there is always something more to be "accomplished". You will probably wish you had invested more in relationships around you and traveled a bit more to learn more about others and yourself.

    Please DON'T think I am saying that you WILL be unhappy in 10 years, I am just saying that you will probably be a physician either way, so why not slow down a little bit and enjoy your life while you really really can. There is more to life than being a physician, trust me, just talk to any physician out there.

    I think you will have to come to this conclusion yourself, because I know that sometimes "proving to everyone (ADCOMS)" that you are mature just spurs people on more, trust me, I know. And trust me, I would regret it if I didn't have this year to invest in relationships and GROW PERSONALLY.

    hope this helps
     
  42. bryce

    10+ Year Member

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    A buddy of mine who is now an MS2 at wright state med school originally applied with a 4.0 undergrad gpa in biomedical engin. and a 32 mcat when he had just turned 19 [the kid grad. high school when he was 15]. He was waitlisted everywhere due to his age. The very next year, having taken some time and done things that schools found to be "good life experiences" he got in. It doesn't always depend on numbers and this guy, who will still become a doc at the age of 24, will tell you himself that now that he's killin' himself for boards he almost wishes that he'd have taken off an additional year.

    Good luck and I'm sure that you'll make the correct decision.:thumbup:
     
  43. bozz

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    I just find it interesting that nobody, not even the medical school, students are supporting their "experience life" with hard, concrete examples. I don't think you can.. simply because "Experiencing life" differs from person to person. To me, living in 4 different continents = life experience.. despite my age. I doubt many 25 year olds in the U.S have experienced what I've experienced.. they've had their own awesome experiences, which I deeply respect and trust to have been rewarding.

    We don't even know much about the OP's background.. it may be a bit premature to judge...
     
  44. URHere

    Physician PhD 10+ Year Member

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    OP, my concerns for you are more logistical ones than anything else. First of all, if you haven't technically graduated yet, are you sure that your college credits up to this point even transfer to the four-year university you want to attend (sometimes there are issues, even between satellite campuses)? If not, it will probably take you a good deal longer to graduate than you have planned (most schools require approximately 120 credit hours, even if you have completed the requirements of your major).

    Also, there is the issue that when you apply for medical school or any other positions for your post-college life, what you have done in college really doesn't matter anymore (and isn't even often mentioned on a resume). It's great that you have research and clinical experience, but the experience you have now isn't going to be enough for you to get away with when you apply. That means that if you want medical schools to see research and clinical experience on your application, you need to do more of it during your actual undergraduate career, and it doesn't sound like you have budgeted time for that.

    As others have said, college is a great time to gain personal perspective. For you, if you are certain medicine is what you want to strive for, it is also when you need to build up the pieces of your application. My advice to you would be to go to college, enjoy it, and apply when you (and your application) are ready. It doesn't make sense to put an age cap on your progress - if you are as well prepared when you are 19 as you could possibly be, then it will show. If you are rushing and stretching just to get to med school early, that will show through too. Just go to college, and make these plans later. You'll know when you're ready.
     
  45. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality
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    :laugh:

    lol, I'm sorry but I think "I need to do well in school because I don't want to get a crappy job as a waitress" isn't exactly the best motivation for going to medical school. The end result of the motivation might be similar, but your motivation for doing well in school should be "I want to do medicine because I would have chosen it even if it was the worst job in the world." But hey, that's just my opinion.

    Also you are assuming people who work as waitresses don't do well in school. While it may have a very high correlation, still, nothing I'd want to put on my med school application ;)
     
  46. bozz

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    Completely agree. You may put an age cap now... but only you'll know when you're ready... and I'm sure you'll make the right choice. If you're not ready, you'll feel a knot in your stomach, and you won't apply.
     
  47. 229141

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    Um...all I know is here with the program here you're seen as far too young if you're not at least like 24-25...they seem to LOVE applicants who are in their 30's with families/kids etc..I had a 24 yr old friend get denied with a 3.9 and 34 mcat...yet they took a much older applicant with worse stats. This kind of thing discourages me. In short- many schools will look down on your for being 19 BUT you will get in somewhere.
     
  48. 229141

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    They will say "you need to wait"...and pick a 30 yr old over you (serious). Why don't you live your life...get some hobbies that show you are more than a child prodigy who goes to school 24/7. Get a girlfriend even, I don't know. If you come in there seeming like some machine who does school 24/7 that won't be seen as a good thing...theres enough of a bad stereotype with doctors having inadequate social skills. Besides...there are TONS of applicants with 3.9+ gpa's, 34+ MCATs, in addition to being normal people who have tons of other hobbies besides going to school, volunteering, etc. Think of how good you could be if you took an extra year or two man
     
  49. kernel

    kernel OSU c/o 2017
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    Don't you want enjoy your last moments as a teenager?!?!?!?!?!
     
  50. 229141

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    Shoot I sure did...I could have graduated a year early but instead I went slower, got way more EC's, and had fun enjoying my life and staying a normal person!!
     
  51. kernel

    kernel OSU c/o 2017
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    there ya go! and i think normal people make the *best* doctors. if you haven't been able to tell yet, i'm against the robots. booooo robots!
     

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