Reconsidering the Timeline

My intent has been to apply to medical school in June 2011, just over a year away from now. But, I’m starting to think that it might be wise to wait and apply the following year.

  • I have three more classes to take before the pre-reqs are completed. At the rate I’m able to take them, I should have them done by May 2011.
  • If I wanted to take the MCAT in May 2011, I would need to start my study regimen next spring while I’m taking the second semester of organic chemistry.
  • At the same time as I would be studying for the MCAT and taking organic chemistry, I’d also be working on my medical school application, selecting the schools I wanted to apply to, and working full-time.
  • In addition to all of that, I’d also like to be involved in some capacity in a hospital

Clearly, if I chose to apply next June, I’d have a lot irons in the fire that semester and it’s hard to see how the quality of my application wouldn’t be damaged in the process. Here are some reasons why waiting an extra year to apply to medical school might be a good idea:

  • If I study for the MCAT over the summer and take it in August, I’ll know what my score is long before I start figuring out which schools I want to apply to.
  • I’ll be in a better financial position with another year to save cash for the application process. It may or may not be possible, but I’d like to have enough cash set aside to pay my rent through four of years of medical school.
  • With the pre-med requirements satisfied, I’d be able to take biochemistry and maybe something like genetics which would expand the number of schools that I can apply to.
  • I’ll be able to continue getting more clinical experience, which I’m somewhat lacking right now. An extra year might give me an opportunity to be a part of a clinical study somewhere, too.
  • If I’m accepted, medicine is going to consume a large portion of my thirties. Another year before applying would let me enjoy some more of the freedom and independence I’m going to lose once I’m in medical school.

Inserting another year doesn’t feel as if I’m postponing my dream of becoming a physician. It feels more like I’m changing the plan so that it reflects the time which is required more accurately. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve felt like I’m going to have to rush through a lot of the application process, which probably isn’t a good sign. There’s definitely a little twinge of impatience, but I think that taking the time to prepare better will make me a stronger applicant and, ultimately, a finer physician.

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