Should I Delay My Application Another Year?

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Session 111

When you decide to go to med school a little later, you may not have the shadowing and clinical experience you want, should you delay your application?

Please check out all our other weekly podcasts on the MedEd Media Network. The MCAT Podcast is in collaboration with Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep). The Premed Years Podcast shares general premed advice. Specialty Stories features physicians and why they chose their specialty, what they like, don’t like, their typical days, etc.

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[01:45] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“I decided to delay med school for a bit because I didn’t really know if it’s truly what I wanted. Through some hard thought and introspection, I’ve decided to pursue medical school. My situation as it stands: I graduated in 2016 with a BS in Molecular Biology, 3.55 GPA, with a C in OChem, with a focus on Microbiology, minors in Bioengineering, Chemistry, and full prereqs.

I’ve been working full time for the past year in a clinical diagnostic lab as a tech of rare genetic disorders. I signed up to take the MCAT in May of this year However, I’m not sure if I can garner the clinical experience necessary to be a competitive applicant this cycle. Applying in 2018 to start in 2019. As it stands, I have about 35 hours of volunteering in an ER and 8 hours of shadowing and some medically related extracurriculars. I really believe in the next year or so, I can get more clinical experience through my shadowing at community outreach programs, clinics, and maybe volunteering at a hospice center while also working full time.

I have four solid months to study for the MCAT and get some more shadowing and volunteer experience. But I’m really confused on whether or not this next year can make me even more competitive of an applicant.

I just don’t know if waiting another year will hurt or help me. The physician I shadowed mentioned that waiting to apply never helps and that clinical exposure is absolutely a key for a strong application, alongside a great MCAT. I’m really at a crossroads, and heavily considering delaying my MCAT day so I can study more.”

[03:40] Not Prepared for the MCAT

First of all, everybody likes to think that a C in OChem or Biochem or Chemistry or whatever is the death. Know that this is not going to hurt you. You have a great GPA at 3.55.

So the whole questions is whether to wait another year because you don’t have enough shadowing and volunteering experience.

Where this fear is coming from is not being prepared for the MCAT. And guess what. Nobody actually feels prepared for the MCAT. A solid four months is plenty for most people studying for the MCAT as long as you’re efficient with your time. So you should be able to do it.

[Tweet “”Nobody feels prepared for the MCAT.””]

[05:25] Clinical Experience and Shadowing

Do you have enough clinical experience and shadowing? If you were to apply right this minute, with the hours you have, the answer is no. You don’t have enough time.

[Tweet “”Lack of clinical experience can be a big killer in applications.””]

Additionally, when shadowing or volunteering in an ER, is it truly clinical experience? Make sure you’re spending your time wisely there.

So before you submit your applications, you actually have a lot of time where you can get 4-5 hours every week or two to start adding hours into your application, and into your bottom line hours.

[06:22] Don’t Wait to Apply

There’s a lot that needs to be done in this period of time – personal statements, ECs, letters of recommendation, studying for the MCAT, working full time, and spending some hours every week or two to get that clinical experience and shadowing. You need to have those hours.

Now, if you were to apply right now, RIGHT NOW is not enough. But by the time you apply early June 2018, you will have enough hours. So don’t delay your application. Study for the MCAT. Take it. Do well on it. Apply early. Get those hours and move forward.

Don’t delay because your not ready for the MCAT. If you’re not planning to take the MCAT until May or whenever  and it’s four months before that date, of course you don’t feel ready. You’re scared to take the MCAT.

[Tweet “”You’ll never be 100% ready. But through a solid plan, you can become prepared.””]

Figure out a road map to doing well on the MCAT. Plan out clinical experience and shadowing that you can go do right now. Build up those hours. And apply and be successful.


MedEd Media

Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)

The Premed Years Podcast

Specialty Stories

Nontrad Premed Forum