WHEN to apply as a non-trad?

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tuffguy13

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So it occurred to me that for most traditional students, application typically takes place a year before graduation so that they can graduate then go right into medical school the next year. The reason that works is because all their pre-requisite coursework was front-loaded into their schedules and they had all their required grades/coursework completed by the time they applied and whatnot.

So as a non-trad who is a non-biology major, I'm working on my pre-reqs at the end of my degree, in other words my science courses are back-loaded onto my degree.

Should I wait until I complete ALL the required coursework before I apply to the school or should I apply to the school with the intention of fulfilling my last bit of coursework right before I graduate?

[Please correct me if I am mistaken.]

If I wait to fulfill all my coursework, I graduate immediately afterwards and have an entire year of time to kill. (Also, if I have a year to kill, WHAT should I do during that time? Work my ass off with extracurriculars or take it easy?)

If I apply a year before I graduate, my GPA will be lower than if I waited and I risk rejection.

I know this is a long question and i truly appreciate anyone's input on this one!

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You should have all of your science prereqs finished before you take the MCAT, which will be a bit more than a year before you'd matriculate to med school. Will you have your science prereqs finished a year before you'd otherwise graduate? If that's the case, there's no reason for you to take a gap year in between graduating and matriculating unless you want some time off. That's something I always recommend to anyone planning to matriculate directly out of their first undergrad degree, but most nontrads usually like to start med school sooner rather than later. :) However, it's ill-advised to take the MCATs before all of your science prereqs are completed, and the latest you'd want to take the MCATs would be May or June of the year you plan to apply.

If you do want/need to take a gap year, you can do anything you want during that time. You should definitely keep up the extracurriculars, but no need to kill yourself with them. Keep volunteering and maybe get a medically-related job if you can, but you don't have to go overboard.
 
all my science prereqs (chem 1, 2, org 1, 2, phys 1, 2, bio 1,2) a year before graduation by spring semester, and my last year would then have a few bio electives like micro and cell or something like that.

Since these prereqs would be finished by Spring semester, when would be the best time to take the MCAT? (ie early summer?) What would be the best time if my goal is to apply early?

Since I'm a non-science major, would it be a concern to adcoms that since by the time I take the MCAT and apply I would pretty much have only pre-reqs with few other science courses, they would deem me "not ready" for the curriculum since I haven't proven my science ability beyond prereqs?

Once again, thanks a lot for any feedback :D
 
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My situation is a little different in that I already have a degree (non-science) and am completing prereq's this year. I just registered for the May 1, 2010 MCAT, with a score reporting approx. June1. June 1 is the first date AMCAS submission is allowed for the cycle, so you'll be among the first to be verified. For me, I'll be finishing with my spring prereq courses when the MCAT date arrives. I also have a light load spring semester, allowing time to adequately prepare for the MCAT.

Pros: Early application/submission, science classes are fresh in your mind, avoid a gap year(for you)
Cons: No time for a retake if necessary without being at a disadvantage at rolling admissions schools. Finals will be around the same time. A heavy courseload may not leave time for adequate test prep.

Unfortunately, I will have a gap year. I plan on continuing work, volunteering, shadowing and probably pick up a part time job in a clinical setting to stay connected to medicine and feel like I am still working toward this goal.

The additional science classes you'll take in your senior year would likely aid in the MCAT, but personally I would not delay med school a year for that reason. You will have completed the courses the AAMC recommends by the spring.
 
Since I'm a non-science major, would it be a concern to adcoms that since by the time I take the MCAT and apply I would pretty much have only pre-reqs with few other science courses, they would deem me "not ready" for the curriculum since I haven't proven my science ability beyond prereqs?


I think the science prereqs are intended to show your science ability. If you've done well in those courses there's no reason for concern. If you had old science coursework from 5-10 years ago, it would be different. By the time you interview, you'll be enrolled in some of those additional courses and can update them with grades as you earn them if it becomes an issue.
 
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