Will admissions boards look down on me for waiting until senior year to decide to pursue med school?

willowyone

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I'm filling out secondary applications now and I'm working on Penn State's. They ask why I do not have a pre-health committee letter despite the fact that my undergraduate school does offer them......the honest reason is that I didn't decide to apply to med school until after the deadline for recommendation letter application had passed (February 3rd). I'm a nontrad (28 years old), thought I was too old for med school and was preparing for PA school instead for that reason. Now that I'm certain about med school despite the longer time commitment, I'm wondering if the lack of committee letter will totally screw me.....? Any advice on what to say in response to the secondary question?
 
Aug 1, 2016
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Not look down, but question commitment to medicine is fair. One year only to decide on a 6+ year academic program that plunges people ~200k in debt?
 
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willowyone

willowyone

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Not look down, but question commitment to medicine is fair. One year only to decide on a 6+ year academic program that plunges people ~200k in debt?
That makes sense and is totally fair. My commitment is real, and has been solidified over the past 2 years of clinical experiences I've had. I did my best to delineate that in my essays....Do you think I should say anything besides my late decision in the reasoning for not using the committee letter?
 
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Chelsea FC

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Heads up , change your pic to remain anonymous. Also alot of people on here who are successful decided on medicine late or had a career change. Just do the basics like everyone else, shadowing volunteering etc and you should be fine
 
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willowyone

willowyone

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Heads up , change your pic to remain anonymous. Also alot of people on here who are successful decided on medicine late or had a career change. Just do the basics like everyone else, shadowing volunteering etc and you should be fine
Thanks -- pic deleted! Also thanks for the encouragement, definitely appreciate it
 

DokterMom

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Your reason (late switch from PA to MD) is perfectly valid and stands alone. Assuming you've addressed your PA to MD shift, no reason to clutter your explanation up here. Surprised you don't need a committee letter for PA though --
 
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willowyone

willowyone

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Your reason (late switch from PA to MD) is perfectly valid and stands alone. Assuming you've addressed your PA to MD shift, no reason to clutter your explanation up here. Surprised you don't need a committee letter for PA though --
Thank you! I did address it, but pretty briefly because I wasn't thinking it needed to be explained more fully until I reached this secondary prompt. Hopefully they are understanding!!
 

Mclovin0351

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While I have a committee letter, I decided on medicine towards the end of undergraduate, and the reasons for the decision have actually been a great talking point in secondaries, in my first interview, and I anticipate in future interviews. Try to turn it into a strength.
 
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Law2Doc

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Adcoms won't care. In fact not being premed in college and doing all the prereqs in a postbac is, in my experience, a higher yield path for med school. Don't get suckered by the idea of some nonexistent schedule.
 

Lost In Transcription

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As someone else mentioned, turn it into a talking point and a strength- you know what you want at this point.

Dunno about the letter though. Others more knowledgable than myself have addressed that.
 
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redferrari

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Your situation is very similar to mine. I had some compelling reasons to make a sudden change. I was certainly asked about it quite a bit, and I had thoroughly prepared to answer that question. As you can see, it obviously didn't doom me.

As far as the committee letter, my undergrad didn't have them, so I can't give specific advice. But simply explaining yourself in a convincing manner should suffice. We all take different paths to medicine. After all, non-trad is the new trad.
 

JB50

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OP, just make sure you address why the switch. I did the exact same thing you did and addressed it full on in my application and my secondaries. Also, given that the PA route requires extensive clinical exposure before getting into it, I think it plays to our favor. I have defining experiences that shifted my desire from PA to physician and they are going to be great talking points in interviews. I think its a plus more than a negative.
 

DokterMom

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One of the great things about PA to MD shift is that interest in becoming a PA starts from a "nature of the work" and "taking care of people" perspective, and unquestionably not from the "money and status" perspective. The switch from PA to MD indicates that the student is willing to make a longer investment and take a more difficult path -- so a pretty easy spin to the positive.
 

JB50

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One of the great things about PA to MD shift is that interest in becoming a PA starts from a "nature of the work" and "taking care of people" perspective, and unquestionably not from the "money and status" perspective. The switch from PA to MD indicates that the student is willing to make a longer investment and take a more difficult path -- so a pretty easy spin to the positive.
Pretty neat insight
 
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willowyone

willowyone

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One of the great things about PA to MD shift is that interest in becoming a PA starts from a "nature of the work" and "taking care of people" perspective, and unquestionably not from the "money and status" perspective. The switch from PA to MD indicates that the student is willing to make a longer investment and take a more difficult path -- so a pretty easy spin to the positive.
Love this! Thanks!