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Studying Abroad during Application Year - what do schools think?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by rocketbooster, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. rocketbooster

    rocketbooster Membership Revoked
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    I already know if it's possible or not to study abroad during your application year. I am applying this year, but I am just assuming I'm going to have to reapply next year. I at least have to make plans now for what I'm going to do next year. I'm not going to get stuck not studying abroad like I did this year because I thought interviews would not allow for it.

    You can definitely study abroad during your application year. My question is...how do you think med schools perceive it? Do they see it as you being unfocused? Are they thinking "if you really are trying to go into medicine, why aren't you spending this year in something medically related?"

    I've done plenty to prove I want to do medicine. I want to study abroad to further a foreign language interest because once medical school starts it will be impossible to do that. Is that a legit reason when they ask in interviews?
     
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  3. I don't think they will care. To me, your answer seems bogus. Is that really why you are going abroad? You don't have to justify every little thing. More likely, they will ask you what you did, and if you had fun or not.

    That is my opinion though.

    I don't think I would have the guts to be abroad during my app year. I would be too afraid of being late on secondaries, and the whole interviewing thing too. More power to you though.
     
  4. flip26

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    Plenty of people do this, but if you read their stories, it is a costly and stressful thing when it comes time for interviews - very high risk.

    Is this a "junior year" abroad, or a senior year? I am confused, since very few colleges allow students to be off campus during their last 30 or so hours, and if this is your junior year - the traditional study abroad year, you would normally not apply until after that year, at the earliest...

    Most people are feverishly adding to their ECs in the year leading up to their app submission - so can we assume that you have all your bases covered in regard to volunteer activities, shadowing, research, etc?
     
  5. cpants

    cpants Member
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    I don't think it would effect your application negatively at all. The question is, how will you be available for interviews, mailings, and communications from the school? I think it could be possible if you went spring semester, but there is a good chance you could still have interviews after winter break.
     
  6. LossForWords

    LossForWords PGY-1
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    I doubt med schools will think of you as "unfocused" or anything because studying abroad isn't medically related. They don't necessarily want you to be a robot for medical related stuff or anything. The only thing I'd worry about is how they perceive your inability to adequately schedule interviews and the difficutly of getting in touch with you. Studying abroad is a great experience and one of the best things I ever did, but I'd be squeamish about doing it while applying.
     
  7. rocketbooster

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    I already graduated. School isn't holding me back from studying abroad.

    hmm, I need to retake my test if I don't get in this year. Depending on how I do, I may apply ED to my state school. If I get in that way, I'll have all year to do what I want and studying abroad will be perfect. I might still get into my state school this year but won't know for another few months. I should just start restudying for the MCAT now. That way I'll be ready come a few months from now irrespective if I get an acceptance or rejection.

    If you have high scores and expect to get many interviews, then studying abroad won't work. I would definitely do it in the spring over the fall. I know many ppl think there is still lots of time left for this year's application process, but you need to be realistic. This application year is pretty much over.
     
  8. flip26

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    Well, if you are no longer a student and this is not a traditional semester/year abroad program, how long do you intend to be abroad on walkabout? Anything over a month or so I assume you are independently wealthy, and thus flying back and forth will not be a big deal to you...

    And how would med schools even know you are abroad? And thus how would they then form some negative opinion about your dedication to medicine?

    Not sure why I bother to reply to these threads where the OP leaves out key info...sheesh.
     
    #7 flip26, Jan 2, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  9. A little off-topic, but have you weighed the pros and cons of applying ED. I mean, if you don't get in then your other applications will be later in the cycle, and you may not be in some of the rolling admission cycles.
     
  10. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    If you choose to be out of the country during the academic year during which you are an applicant to medical school, you will need to inform school's of your availability for interviews. I've seen some people do this on the supplemental where it asks for other information....

    You should figure on a two-three week period back in the US when you will be available for interviews. This could be the last 3 weeks of October (if you intend to apply early) or the first 3 weeks of January (if you aren't applying to schools like NYU which seem to cut off interviews by the end of the calendar year). Some schools don't do interviews during the week that the AAMC has its annual meeting (I think that's the 1st or 2nd week of November) so that may be low yield, Thanksgiving week is low yield as is anytime between Dec 15 and the first Monday in January.

    Basically, you'll be trying to schedule all your interviews for the period when you are back in the States and then leave again for the rest of the academic year.
     
  11. rocketbooster

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    True, true. The thing is I already know my current MCAT is good enough to get me ED at that school. ;) That's why I was thinking of doing ED. The thing is my MCAT is already good enough to get me in RD this year, but it would definitely improve my chances to get it higher. This school loves reapplicants and, of the few acceptances already given out, some of them are 27 MCATs from reapplicants. If I end up getting my score higher, it would improve both my chances at my state school (assuming I don't get in) and broaden my chances at applying elsewhere for next year. Thus, if it is higher, there is no reason to limit myself with ED, especially if I didn't get in and I got screwed for the rest of the application cycle.

    LizzyM, thanks for the info. That's a good idea about mentioning it in the secondary.

    As for being independently wealthy, no haha. I plan to stay abroad for a long time. My parents would help me with the costs of one roundtrip flight but definitely would not pay for me flying back and forth overseas for interviews haha. That's why I need to do what LizzyM said. Hopefully, I'll just get in this year so I don't have to worry about this. :laugh:
     
  12. boboca

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    It's definitely doable. A friend of mine was volunteering in China when she was applying. It was stressful and expensive. Plus, you have to take into consideration the availability of internet to finish your applications. And some schools require you to mail them in, and in some countries, the postal service is not that efficient. You just have to be on top of things. And as Lizzy M mentioned, she was back in the U.S. for about a month doing all of her interviews.

    Also call your state school and ask them what they think about ED. I wouldn't do it unless I was absolutely sure that I'd get in and that was where I wanted to go.
     

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