Hi, I'm new to MomMD, though I have been browsing around the site for at least six months now. I'm nineteen and about to finish my freshman year of college, and realized after my advising appointment two months ago that it would be possible for me to graduate with all my pre-med requirements in three years (because I tested out of so many of the gen ed courses for my university). The more I think about it, the more I realize I would really like to do this. One of my worries about med school has always been how long it takes, and getting a one-up as far as years go would make me really happy.
But since I didn't realize this was a possibility until now, I'm worried that I may be "behind" on some of the other things I'd need and don't want to set myself up to be rejected when I apply. My grades are very high and I will be shadowing throughout the summer when I go home, so really mainly I am worried about research and the MCAT. How many semesters of research do med schools typically expect? (For example, if I got involved with a research lab next semester and did that for three-four semesters, would that be good?)
If I wanted to get into med school for Fall 2017, I would need to take the MCAT by June of 2016, right? By then I will have finished general chemistry, o chem, general biology, cell biology, physics, and psychology. However, I won't have taken sociology or statistics. No matter what, I plan on getting a really good set of prep books and starting prep 6-9 months in advance, but am I setting myself up for a low score without those other classes? In the past I have always scored very high on standardized tests (because I take a lot of time to prep), but I feel like the MCAT is unlike anything I've ever dealt with and it definitely scares me to death.
Last question, how would most med schools look upon a student with a high GPA, solid MCAT and good extracurriculars (research, shadowing, volunteering, etc.) who graduated in three years. Do you think it would be either a disadvantage or advantage to admittance?
Hey, current med student here. No kids yet but planning to try for a 4th year baby. (I'm a 2nd year about to take Step1 right now, ack!)
Firstly, it's great that you are planning so far ahead. In order to finish in 3 years AND apply to med school at the same time, you will need to have your course schedule completely mapped out. It sounds like your grades are good so far, but be aware that advanced chem/ochem and physics will be more difficult. It wouldn't be worth finishing early if it forces you to take too many hard classes at once so your grades suffer as a result. Also, the MCAT is very difficult and it has gotten to be very, very important in admissions so allow yourself plenty of time, including at least a few weeks of dedicated study time where you aren't studying for other classes.
At my med school we have a linkage program with the undergrad campus for students to take 2 years of undergrad, 1 year of community service, and then 4 years of med school. Those kids seem to do very well, so it's definitely possible to complete everything in less time if you are an exceptional student. I don't think med schools would mind that you are a bit younger, but you need to express maturity in other areas of your application (maybe ask your recommendation writers to address this).
Finally, in my opinion, if you don't have kids and aren't asking a question directly about women/moms in medicine, this forum isn't necessarily the best place for application advice. You may want to try SDN (student doctor network) where you may get 1 or 2 throw-away rude responses but also a larger number of useful ones (there are admissions committee members who may see it, for example).
It's good to know that a med school wouldn't mind if I'm a bit younger than the typical applicant. My course work is completely planned for the next several years, and I think I should be able to manage the class load. I guess if I really started struggling one semester I'd have to make myself let go of the three-year goal and spread my classes out a bit more.
Thanks for the tip about SDN. I will definitely have to check that out. I guess I should have mentioned that I chose to post in the forum here because one of the main reasons I am thinking about pursuing a three-year undergraduate is so that I will be a little younger during and when I finish med school for the sake of being able to have kids before I'm 27/28 years old. Being able to raise a large family while being a doctor is unspeakably important to me.