instigata

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Hi,

So I am applying a year early to med school because I am graduating one year early from undergrad (no rush). Yes yes call me a gunner....Anyways, I just wanted to know if this would severly impact my chances of getting in. I have a 3.9 bcpm and overall GPA with very strong EC's and I am a competitive applicant (haven't taken MCATs though). I haven't taken a lot of upper divs and I feel that the whole "maturity" thing might work against me. Should I address this in my PS? Will it hurt me? THANKS!
 

plainolerichie

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To be honest, I think it could hurt you, badly. I had a friend who had graduated a year early, he had great grades (3.8 and 37) and could only get into his state school! I'm not sure if his EC's were strong (I think they were weak), I think he did some research and shadowing, but still. I think one of the reasons he didn't get into a really goodl school is because he graduated early. It doesn't really make sense to me and it could be only him being unlucky and not at all representative of all people who graduate early, but that's a true story.
 

GraC_undr_PrsR

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instigata said:
Hi,

So I am applying a year early to med school because I am graduating one year early from undergrad (no rush). Yes yes call me a gunner....Anyways, I just wanted to know if this would severly impact my chances of getting in. I have a 3.9 bcpm and overall GPA with very strong EC's and I am a competitive applicant (haven't taken MCATs though). I haven't taken a lot of upper divs and I feel that the whole "maturity" thing might work against me. Should I address this in my PS? Will it hurt me? THANKS!

I know a 21 year-old who was accepted MD/PhD at a top 10 institution. Another entered medical school at 19. Strange but true. There are lots of brilliant advanced students out there, so I don't think graduating one year early will make much difference. That said, do make sure you volunteer at a hospital (rack up more clinical experience not only for your application but also to insure that this is really the right path for you). Don't feel as though you aren't as good as people who spent 4 years in college -- you can demonstrate maturity at interviews, etc so just focus on building other parts of your application.
 
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Law2Doc

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instigata said:
Hi,

So I am applying a year early to med school because I am graduating one year early from undergrad (no rush). Yes yes call me a gunner....Anyways, I just wanted to know if this would severly impact my chances of getting in. I have a 3.9 bcpm and overall GPA with very strong EC's and I am a competitive applicant (haven't taken MCATs though). I haven't taken a lot of upper divs and I feel that the whole "maturity" thing might work against me. Should I address this in my PS? Will it hurt me? THANKS!

Adcoms evaluate applicants on maturity and well roundedness and breadth of experiences, and someone a year younger is often at a disadvantage. Not necessarilly insurmountable, but schools don't like to see someone who rushes into medicine without having considered all their options. And while chronological age does not necessarilly equal maturity, schools will view someone atypically young, or who didn't do a full 4 years of undergrad as a concern. You will be dealing significantly with older patients, death, emotional issues, and someone who hasn't had a full 4 years in college, often the most formative years because they are the first ones away from home, may not have had enough exposure to life outside of their household. Numerical stats are only one part of the application process, and are ultimately not as important as developed interpersonal skills, in this patient driven service industry you are entering. Again, there are some applicants who break the mold and do get in very young, but they sometimes have higher hurdles. You may want to consider working a year or picking up a graduate degree -- they you don't face the youth/immaturity issues. Medicine will always be there -- what's the rush. This is not a race. Good luck.
 

plainolerichie

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I wonder if someone who looks young is at a disadvantage. I've been told I look like I'm 18! They even carded me in mexico for drinks!
 

GraC_undr_PrsR

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instigata said:
Hi,

So I am applying a year early to med school because I am graduating one year early from undergrad (no rush). Yes yes call me a gunner....Anyways, I just wanted to know if this would severly impact my chances of getting in. I have a 3.9 bcpm and overall GPA with very strong EC's and I am a competitive applicant (haven't taken MCATs though). I haven't taken a lot of upper divs and I feel that the whole "maturity" thing might work against me. Should I address this in my PS? Will it hurt me? THANKS!

To add to my earlier comments, I still don't think one year makes a difference. It's seems silly to me that someone 24 years old will interact better with patients compared to someone who is only 23. I agree with another poster, however that life experience can be important, however let's get real. Not everyone enrolled in medical school has that sort of experience -- it would be nice, but that's not realistic. Some people just go into medical school without an idea of what their options are. Others decide on medicine over law school or business school, etc. Don't place undue pressure on yourself about age.

The first step in becoming an adult is making decisions based on what is really important to you. In the end, your reasoning for leaving college after 3 years is what really matters.

I would be surprised if you were at a disadvantage. Some med schools (Hopkins for example) have a minimum requirement of 3 years of college. Others don't stipulate that you need a bachelor's (!).

Why don't you contact the schools you're interested in and ask these questions? I think you're hearing from people who are non-trad (much older) or others with no experience in your particular situation.

Good Luck,

GraC
 

kdwuma

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ok, as one who did undergrad in three years i think i can speak on this one. NOBODY CARES!! at least from my experience. My numbers were decent but managed to get interviews all over the place and multiple acceptances. If you come accross as mature then there is no disadvantage, unless you are under 19. I don't think your age should be a problem. Just do your best and you will be fine.
 

instigata

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Thanks for your feedback! I really hope it doesn't hurt me that much and kdwuma reassured me :) Thanks again!
 

instigata

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Should I address why I am graduating in 3 years in my personal statement?
 

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plainolerichie said:
I wonder if someone who looks young is at a disadvantage. I've been told I look like I'm 18! They even carded me in mexico for drinks!

i look young and im applying way early *crosses fingers*
 

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instigata said:
Should I address why I am graduating in 3 years in my personal statement?

Is your pre-med advisor drafting a committee letter for you? I think it would be much better to address this issue in a committee letter than in a PS.

If you haven't done so already, try talking over the issue with him/her.
 

instigata

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nekrogg said:
i look young and im applying way early *crosses fingers*

How early are you applying?

argonana said:
Is your pre-med advisor drafting a committee letter for you? I think it would be much better to address this issue in a committee letter than in a PS.

If you haven't done so already, try talking over the issue with him/her.

Do you mean the letter of recommendation? If you are, i am not getting a committee letter rather a LOR from individual professors.
 
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kdwuma

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when i was applying my adviser told me not to mention it becuase it draws attention to it. There is so much to you than graduating in 3 years and you should rather highlight your strenghts, if you bring it up then it will be discussed, if you don't, chances are it will never even come up. Remember adcoms have limited time just like everybody else, bring up things that are only in your favor.
 

argonana

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instigata said:
Do you mean the letter of recommendation? If you are, i am not getting a committee letter rather a LOR from individual professors.

Yep, I meant the letter of recommendation. Is there a way that you can get an LOR from your advisor as well as your professors? If not, do you think any of your professors would feel comfortable briefly addressing the issue in their letters?

I agree that bringing too much attention to this issue could hurt you, so I would steer clear of addressing it in the PS, secondaries, and even interviews. However, I think that showing some words of support from your advisors or faculty on this issue could actually help strengthen your application.

Just my $0.02.
 

instigata

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argonana said:
Yep, I meant the letter of recommendation. Is there a way that you can get an LOR from your advisor as well as your professors? If not, do you think any of your professors would feel comfortable briefly addressing the issue in their letters?

I agree that bringing too much attention to this issue could hurt you, so I would steer clear of addressing it in the PS, secondaries, and even interviews. However, I think that showing some words of support from your advisors or faculty on this issue could actually help strengthen your application.

Just my $0.02.

Thanks! I'll try to briefly touch on it.
 

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First off, let me say that I think it is possible to get in straight out, graduating one year early from college. That being said, I do not think it is the wisest course of action.

There is something to be said about experience and how it informs our decisions with respect to patient care. Even though you indicated that you have a number of ECs, personally, I think you are doing yourself a disservice by not experiencing a little more life before you embark on the med route. However, I do believe that by just giving this issue thought, you are probably more mature than a lot of your contempories.

However, experience is not just about maturity. Many doctors have troubling relating to their patients because they have never lived outside the school environment, had a "real" job, worried about paying the bills etc. There is real world experience in addition to the types of activities we all know about (volunteering, research etc) and which are essential for admission to med school.

You mentioned that you are not rushing by graduating in three years. Have you considered taking a year and traveling (or for those of us who cannot afford it-- maybe applying for a Marshall, Rhodes or other scholarship and spend a year in England-- they have degrees in genetics, in anatomy etc). I have had friends do this before medical school and law school and told me it made a world of difference in their perspectives. Your stats certainly place you in good stead for it.

Alternatively, you could take a year at the NIH for research (if you are at all inclined to go the MD/PhD route).

Also, consider if you will be comfortable in the med school class. The average age for each incoming class is getting older and older, with many now at 25. Will you feel comfortable being the youngest person in the class and surrounded by many people who are 5 years or more older than you?

Ultimately, the decision is up to you. I wish you the all the best!!!
 

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Explain what your "very strong ECs" are; those will be the real kicker that decides whether you've got a chance at a top school. I've got killer numbers, but I'm hesitant to even apply a year from now, because I've been focusing so much on my non-medical neuroscience research that I'm only now beginning more clinically relevant ECs. I could graduate in three years, but I'd completely destroy my chances of medical school by doing it.

Regardless, I think letting yourself go another year could only help your application... it comes down to what you'd be most comfortable with.
 

instigata

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_ian said:
Explain what your "very strong ECs" are; those will be the real kicker that decides whether you've got a chance at a top school. I've got killer numbers, but I'm hesitant to even apply a year from now, because I've been focusing so much on my non-medical neuroscience research that I'm only now beginning more clinically relevant ECs. I could graduate in three years, but I'd completely destroy my chances of medical school by doing it.

Regardless, I think letting yourself go another year could only help your application... it comes down to what you'd be most comfortable with.

My Ec's...

1) Volunteer Tutor
2) Volunteer Basketball Coach
3) Teacher's Assistant
4) Intern at a Allergy and Rheumatology Clinic
5) Founder and prez of pre-health org
6) Founder and prez of charitable org
7) Dean's list every quarter
8) Shadowing of cardiovas surgeon
9) Independent Research
10) Red Cross volunteer
11) VP of a non-health related org
12) Regent's Scholar (top 10% of entering class at a UC)
13) Volunteer for Flying Samaritans (volunteer at a free clinic in Mexico)
14) Instruct high school lab with a neat experiment made by this PhD dude. - kind of complicated to explain
15) Not sure if I should include this --- but I had minimal participation in a student org


THANKS FOR YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT :)
 

Law2Doc

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instigata said:
My Ec's...

1) Volunteer Tutor
2) Volunteer Basketball Coach
3) Teacher's Assistant
4) Intern at a Allergy and Rheumatology Clinic
5) Founder and prez of pre-health org
6) Founder and prez of charitable org
7) Dean's list every quarter
8) Shadowing of cardiovas surgeon
9) Independent Research
10) Red Cross volunteer
11) VP of a non-health related org
12) Regent's Scholar (top 10% of entering class at a UC)
13) Volunteer for Flying Samaritans (volunteer at a free clinic in Mexico)
14) Instruct high school lab with a neat experiment made by this PhD dude. - kind of complicated to explain
15) Not sure if I should include this --- but I had minimal participation in a student org


THANKS FOR YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT :)

While those are certainly adequate ECs for getting into med school, you are not necessarilly going to blow people away with them - quite a few folks out there have comparable stuff. Although you will want to list them, numbers 7 and 12 get subsumed into your academic numerical stats anyhow and don't give you much additional leverage as ECs. And definitely don't prioritize them in the order you listed.
 

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As Law2Doc mentioned already, many students have a similar list so it is not as outstanding as you think esp. with your age but it is a good start. I would organize it with clinical in a grouping, research in a group and teaching in a grouping with misc (basketball coach and non-health last).

See comments below

1) Volunteer Tutor
2) Volunteer Basketball Coach
3) Teacher's Assistant
4) Intern at a Allergy and Rheumatology Clinic-- how long?
5) Founder and prez of pre-health org
6) Founder and prez of charitable org
7) Dean's list every quarter
8) Shadowing of cardiovas surgeon-- how long?
9) Independent Research- -was this a class or something in a lab/clinic-- any papers?
10) Red Cross volunteer (most students have this)
11) VP of a non-health related org
12) Regent's Scholar (top 10% of entering class at a UC)
13) Volunteer for Flying Samaritans (volunteer at a free clinic in Mexico)
14) Instruct high school lab with a neat experiment made by this PhD dude. - kind of complicated to explain
15) Not sure if I should include this --- but I had minimal participation in a student org- if it is minimal, no-- anything better?

Honors should be collapsed into one category-- it does not need to take up more than 1 slot. Most students have dean's lists, honor societies or scholarships on their resumes. I had about 5 of these.

Tutoring and teaching you can collapse into one heading.
 

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instigata said:
Hi,

So I am applying a year early to med school because I am graduating one year early from undergrad (no rush). Yes yes call me a gunner....Anyways, I just wanted to know if this would severly impact my chances of getting in. I have a 3.9 bcpm and overall GPA with very strong EC's and I am a competitive applicant (haven't taken MCATs though). I haven't taken a lot of upper divs and I feel that the whole "maturity" thing might work against me. Should I address this in my PS? Will it hurt me? THANKS!


I'd personally want to enjoy life before the real dedication begins. I will say, however, that there were a few people from my graduating class at Rice who came in with alot of credit hours, graduated early, and started medical school early.

You will, of course, probably get a mixed reception from adcom's...but that's life.

But then again if you are extremely mature for your age then you may not have a problem at all...Best of luck to you Daniel-son!
 

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vtucci said:
I think you are doing yourself a disservice by not experiencing a little more life before you embark on the med route.

Have you considered taking a year and traveling (or for those of us who cannot afford it-- maybe applying for a Marshall, Rhodes or other scholarship and spend a year in England-- they have degrees in genetics, in anatomy etc).

I completely agree with this poster as someone who's taken an even longer route (by no means lengthy though given the experiences of some on this board) by finishing up premed requirements in a postbac. You have your entire life to "do medicine", but, as your career becomes more developed, as you potentially meet your life partner, etcetera, traveling abroad for a year, doing something adventurous, or even just being a bum (figuratively, not literally) becomes that much harder. With this in mind, if you're dead set on graduating early (which it sounds like you are - personally I think it's a poor choice since college only happens once and goes by too fast as it is), why not explore yourself and your interests outside of the fast paced clinical career that you'll spend a good 40+ years in? While your options to explore the world and your outside interests certainly don't die once you enter medical school, you may never have this much freedom to do whatever you want in your life - Seize it!
 

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instigata said:
anybody else? bump

I wouldn't say graduating a year early necessarily hurts you, but numerical age for some odd reason did factor in at one of my interviews, namely Yale.

Both interviewers started off with something to the tune of "wow, you're 20, aren't you a little young to be applying to med school?" Initially I thought the first interviewer had asked just to rattle me up, but it was weird that I got asked this at one of my other interviews (though in a much less negative way) as well.

I think it can hurt a little, but you just have to be mature and firm in your decision to take up medicine and for the schools it does hurt you at, there's pretty much nothing you can do but take a year off to do something and reapply. We all age, right? :p
 

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instigata said:
Do you mean the letter of recommendation? If you are, i am not getting a committee letter rather a LOR from individual professors.


FYI, if you do not have a committee letter and you school has a pre-med committee, not having a letter from them will raise a number of red flags and can significantly hurt your application. I would strongly urge you to re-consider not using a committee letter.
 
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