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What percent of medical students entire straight from college?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by chillinillinkillin007, 01.13.14.

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  1. chillinillinkillin007

    chillinillinkillin007

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    do most students go from college to medical school? it seems browsing sdn most applicants have complex backgrounds...masters, working, gap year, army, etc.

    do college applicants have a disadvantage because of their lack of experience?
     
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  3. QuinnTheEskimo

    QuinnTheEskimo

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    No, I don't think so. The more gap years you take, the more you are expected to accomplish.
     
  4. justAstudent

    justAstudent SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 5+ Year Member

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    The average age for first year medical students is about 24, so I'm inclined to say that the majority don't enter straight from college. In a sense, college applicants are at a slight disadvantage just because they won't be nearly as accomplished (not saying that it can't be done) as those who have taken gap years just because older applicants have had more years to work on their resume.
     
  5. AquiVoy13

    AquiVoy13

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    You're not inherently at a disadvantage if you start medical school right after college, but like mdhopeeful mentioned, people who take time off will tend to have more impressive resumes. Just taking one gap year (applying summer after senior year) allows you to include things from your senior year, which could be really useful if you publish a paper or present a poster, for example. It also allows other people to bring up their grades if they do well senior year.

    But I know plenty of people who applied after their junior year and still go into some awesome schools, so a gap year(s) is not required (unless you're seriously lacking in clinical experience, really need to bring up the GPA, etc.). That being said, I was surprised when I was interviewing because it seemed that almost half the applicants were taking one or more years off.
     
  6. gumdrops

    gumdrops 2+ Year Member

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    If you have strong numbers, you're in good shape regardless of when you apply. Those who are more experienced than me should weigh in but wouldn't they compare undergrads against other undergrads and non-trads against each other? It doesn't seem right otherwise...
     
  7. Boolean

    Boolean

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    It's an equal playing field, from what I have seen. You're all prospective medical students. Simple as that. Doesn't quite matter how "fair it is"
    If you're going to be a doctor, you aren't going to have the excuse of "Well I could have learned this in a gap year but I didn't"
     
  8. chillinillinkillin007

    chillinillinkillin007

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    yeah more opinion on this matter would be awesome. since anyone could spend an extra 3 years volunteering, working in healthcare, etc. but would that really make them more qualified for medical school and a better doctor? anyways who wants to start medical school in their late 20's when if they can start when they are 22.

    PS: i think the reason for older applicants is due to new interest in the field
     
  9. chillinillinkillin007

    chillinillinkillin007

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    Yeah I could spend several years getting a PhD to improve my applicant to med school but wont that be a little counterproductive?
     
  10. gumdrops

    gumdrops 2+ Year Member

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    It's a variety of reasons for the uptick in older applicants. People value career satisfaction more than they used to in previous generations. Thus people are taking longer to decide on a career and gaining the skill set needed before embarking on a career path. Varied experiences not only help you decide on a career but help you mature and grow more self-aware. Almost all of the non-traditional applicants I know do not regret their "delay" in education but almost all of the traditional applicants I know regret not taking time off to gain life experience. Could be my particular sample but non-traditionals generally know to stop and smell the roses. That's important in life for reasons that become apparent in your twenties and more so as you grow older.

    Life experience and experience in associated fields is correlated with better academic performance and reduced attrition. I believe this has been demonstrated to be the case in medical school as well. That alone is compelling evidence for accepting more non-trads.
     
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  11. Boolean

    Boolean

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    No? You should earn a PhD because of your love of the subject. If your sole reason for attaining a degree is to better yourself in an application rather than to better yourself holistically (Intelligence, understanding of others, etc.), you should perhaps re-evaluate your reasons for choosing medicine. As cliche as it may be, you should do medicine for your love of medicine, not any title or salary.

    Edit: Not trying to come off as condescending, my apologies if it seems that way. I just personally think you should pursue medicine or a PhD or anything of the sort because of your love for the subject, first and foremost.
     
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  12. darkjedi

    darkjedi how did this get here I am not good with computer 7+ Year Member

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    60% of my class has taken at least a year out, a trend that has been slowly increasing from year to year. As others have mentioned, it's just gives time to accomplish more. If you are capable of accomplishing a lot in undergrad, you are still in good shape.
     
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  13. darkjedi

    darkjedi how did this get here I am not good with computer 7+ Year Member

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    I would 100% agree with this statement. As someone who matriculated at 26, I would do it again the same way in a heartbeat even if I could go back in time. I've found that the non-trads at my school are significantly more well adjusted and stress free than the ones straight from undergrad.
     
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  14. gumdrops

    gumdrops 2+ Year Member

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    Boolean and darkjedi covered this well and I think we're all converging on the same idea and answering your real question. Take time off because you're passionate about something and want to follow it up and grow through the experience, not to look better for medical school applications. Just taking time off for the sake of taking time off to look better will likely make no difference to your app.
     
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  15. Narmerguy

    Narmerguy SDN Senior Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    Amen. This "gap" thing is amazing, I don't know how more people don't do it.
     
    Last edited: 01.13.14
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  16. darklabel

    darklabel MS3 2+ Year Member

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    Most of my interviews (about 7 including DO) had mostly non-trads who were at least a year out. Also met a great older non-trad at 46 and he was better to talk to than most of the younger students.

    I think it is a trend towards a little older. As said, you can include a lot from your senior year as opposed to just your junior year and I know many that voluntarily took time off. I don't regret taking a year off and I know if I didn't, I wouldn't get in anywhere.
     
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  17. Elevencents

    Elevencents 5+ Year Member

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    I'm going to be 33 and wouldn't do it any differently. Being in school straight through is insane if you ask me, but more power to those who can do it. I had a lot of fun and interesting experiences that I would have never had the opportunity to do if I had entered straight after college.

    I notice a lot more neuroticism in younger applicants compared to non-trads as well and I think this is reflective of not having enough life experience and too much time spent obsessing over that B+. Once your my age you realize how silly it is to obsess over grades and to simply learn from any shortcomings.
     
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  18. Boolean

    Boolean

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    Neurotic? We aren't neurotic *twitch*
    You're certainly right though. When all we (I speak of we, I mean all undergraduate students who plan on entering directly after at this current point in time) "know" is school, we're a bit disillusioned from the outside world. While there are some positive aspects of this, namely we're a bit younger, we do lack some of the experience non-trads can present.
     
  19. chillinillinkillin007

    chillinillinkillin007

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    neurotic premeds make other neurotic premeds even more neurotic. its a viscous cycle
     
  20. cookiemonsters

    cookiemonsters 2+ Year Member

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    I took off 4 yours, (3 intended + 1 reapplication year) which was probably a little much, but it made me appreciate being back in school that much more when I finally did matriculate. I would say 50% of my class is straight from UG to medical school.
     
  21. runnergirl6

    runnergirl6 2+ Year Member

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    I'm taking this year off, and it has been great. I think it made my application much stronger -- I had a lot of clinical/leadership experience my senior year, and I've been able to do some cool research during my gap year. It has also given me an opportunity to travel, relax, and earn some money before medical school. Even though I may have been able to get accepted without the gap year, I wouldn't do it any other way.
     
  22. J Senpai

    J Senpai Grab my arm. Other arm. MY other arm. 5+ Year Member

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    I decided on putting off my MCAT until 2015 and on applying the summer after my graduation. I know that the extra grades will maximize my GPA and my research will have been completed and I will have an entire year of extra experience. The biggest thing, however, was my self assessment of my maturity. I know I couldn't handle taking the MCAT this year and applying the next. I simply wouldn't be ready. I have yet to accomplish what I can and want to do and having an extra year will afford me the confidence of a completed degree and a rich resume. The gap year will also provide me with time to interview and work, so I can pay down my loans and save up money to furnish my place when I go back to school. It seems only right to apply after the completion of one stage and then going on to the next after a short hiatus.
     
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  23. AquiVoy13

    AquiVoy13

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    I totally feel everything you just said.
     
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  24. bear2roo

    bear2roo Dr. Kenzō Tenma 2+ Year Member

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    wow...well i took a gap year b/c my senior year was like near 4.0 and because I felt I wanted a break and experience new things. So far so good...but in terms of app stuff...I've only been doing research and some light volunteering. Hope they don't prod why i didn't do more (most clinical experience opportunities around where i live is filled :( )
     
  25. AquiVoy13

    AquiVoy13

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    you'll be ok! As long as you stay busy doing something productive and are not just volunteering 3 hours/week and then chillin on the couch for the rest of the time. I'm currently taking a gap year and working and volunteering and trying a few new things, but I'm definitely not as busy as I was the last two years of college. It's nice to actually have some time to relax!
     
  26. bear2roo

    bear2roo Dr. Kenzō Tenma 2+ Year Member

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    It is indeed haha. Actually...when I'm not at work I sit on my butt and read....both productive and non-productive things.
     
  27. Ace-Co-A

    Ace-Co-A taking up the mantle cell lymphoma 2+ Year Member

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    College applicants face at least a parcel disadvantage...

    :phantom::cow:
     
  28. J Senpai

    J Senpai Grab my arm. Other arm. MY other arm. 5+ Year Member

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    I gather y'all are both only taking only one gap year (applied already)? If that is the case, what you do during that year should have no bearing on your applications so I'm sure y'all are just trying to keep busy and not just fart around the whole year. Whatever. It's like 1 am.
     
  29. LostinLift

    LostinLift 2+ Year Member

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    I was basically forced to take time off to strengthen my app as I realized late in undergrad that I wanted to really pursue medicine. I was able to move to one of the most amazing cities in the world, work several new jobs, take interesting extra classes, and support myself. I've learned more about life, appreciation, and kindness than I ever did in undergrad - not to mention a desire to do more and be more. I think time off after undergrad is a valuable experience, especially if you're working a difficult non-medically related job, really gives you some perspective on the world.
     
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  30. kittykattat

    kittykattat Meow 2+ Year Member

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    As a 21 year old there was one interview day where us interviewees got to talking about our age and discovered I was the youngest one... so I may have been the youngest at other interviews too, who knows, but it was clear that the trend is definitely 1-2 gap years or a masters/PhD or a career change after a few years in another field.
    I gotta tell you... I am absolutely exhausted right now working two part time jobs and going to school full time and I will only get a 3 month break from classes before starting med school... during which time i will still be working 2 jobs to save up a little bit of spending money. If it at all interests you, TAKE A GAP YEAR! I am comforted by the fact that I know if I had taken a year it would have just been a lot of sitting around on my butt plus a little work (since I dont have the money to travel around europe or anything exciting like that) but I still cant help but think how nice that year of butt sitting might have been, not worrying about filling out secondaries and doing hw in the same night, missing review sessions for interviewing, etc.
     
  31. bear2roo

    bear2roo Dr. Kenzō Tenma 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah I am in one gap year. The real reason was to raise grades and have fun. The official reason was to uh...do more research (lol). I considered being a scribe but at this point....I can't give a year commitment if there's a chance I might enroll in Fall'14. In terms of fun, I've done a lot of things I didn't do enough of in college :D And there's still at least another 8 months lol
     
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  32. MedPhys2MD

    MedPhys2MD 2+ Year Member

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    I'd like to point out another potential reason for the rise in nontrads... Medical technology as has treatment of ailments and people are living longer. Retirement ages are being pushed back and people are working longer. Then there's the social security unknown

    Starting a new career path at 30, you still have the potential to work for 30+ years after finishing education/training. Not a bad stent for a career especially considering the change in climate and how people move around much more than they did previously
     
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  33. NuttyEngDude

    NuttyEngDude Red-Flagville 5+ Year Member

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    If your goal is to get into medical school and you can do so without taking a gap year then it seems silly not to achieve your goal. If you do take a gap year (or gap decade as some non-traditionals) then it is best spent on growth, personal or professional. This growth will look good on your application whether it reflects medicine or not because it will ultimately reflect when you deal with your patients, coworkers or research.

    If your intent is to take a gap year or two to get into a "better" med school even though you can get into one now, then you may or may not be wasting time depending on what your goals are. But most likely, you would be wasting time taking "gap years" if you are older, like 35 or 40. If you're like 20 or 21, then you might benefit from it. It's hard to say because it depends on YOU at this point.
     
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  34. plumazul

    plumazul ☮, ♥, & ♫ 2+ Year Member

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    There appears to be no "rise in nontrads". AAMC data shows age of applicants and matriculants to be static over the past decade. When considering the AAMC age data, keep in mind that the distribution is ostensibly "one sided". The median age for matriculants is 23 while the "left side" of the curve "begins" at 20 (very few if any matriculants < 20). Also, included in these data is a not insignificant number of students who graduated UG in 5 years instead of 4 or that took a gap period before college.
     
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  35. onyisraw

    onyisraw 2+ Year Member

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    Where are the people who went straight from undergrad and, "wouldn't do it any differently"??
     
  36. CarlosDanger

    CarlosDanger 2+ Year Member

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    Never thought of that Plum, good point.

    Do we consider anyone who hasn't gone straight through to be a nontrad? So many people seem to take at least 1 gap year who were always planning on applying, but I guess that counts as nontrad. I always thought of a nontrad as a real career changer, or someone significantly older (at least 4 or 5 gap years)
     
  37. NuttyEngDude

    NuttyEngDude Red-Flagville 5+ Year Member

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    The ones I know, dont go on SDN, but I've heard people say to them statements like "wow you got in on your first try!"
     
  38. MedPhys2MD

    MedPhys2MD 2+ Year Member

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    Exactly what you said... Because this isn't a bell curve and the data is so greatly skewed to the left for the age distribution, for the reported average or median age to change there would need to be a really, really big increase in the number of older applicants. Smaller increases won't greatly affect these reportings in any statistically significant way

    I had recently read this page while browsing the internet: http://www.mommd.com/nontrad.shtml which states "the average age of the medical school applicant is creeping upward"... Don't know what data that statement was based on, but it's what prompted the thought and thus my comment
     
  39. mcloaf

    mcloaf 2+ Year Member

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    I'm not sure about the aggregate data across medical schools, but over half of my class took at least 1 year off.
     

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