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Taking a year off - ideas?


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Hi,

 

I am a non-trad (kinda) in that I am 25 and just finishing undergrad.

 

I will be applying to Medical School this september (taking the MCAT in July).

 

For the upcoming year, I have two options:

 

1) Do an accelerated Masters at my university.

-The supervisor believes that it will be possible to finish the masters in the 14 months that I have and I believe him (and in me), but it will be very busy and stressful for the entire time (including when I have to be studying for the MCAT) and applying to med school. Plus, I guess there is the chance that I will not finish in time.

 

2) Work at a large pharmaceutical doing research for 1 year.

-This would have the added bonus of allowing me to take the summer off to apply, but will not get me any extra scholastic cred. That said, it is almost certain that we will publish and the paper should be well received.

 

Any good thoughts given (a) I get into med school on attempt 1 or (B) I do not get into med school on attempt 1.

 

Thanks

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Well my MSc ended up sidetracking me for 10 years - one thing led to another, MSc. was hell, got married, got a job, started a business. After my hellish MSc which I barely finished, I thought there was no way I'd get into med school and didn't bother applying. My situation changed, I realized I was going down the wrong path, and finally applied. Now, at 35, I'm just waiting to hear from UBC or Calgary. I don't think having an MSc confers any advantage and 14 months is the best case scenario; when does everything ever work out perfectly:eek: Don't trust your supervisor, supervisors are notorius for screwing students over; mine sure as hell did. I'd take the job and make some coin.

 

I was going to apply during my MSc, but I was just swamped. However, I'd say it also really depends on your supervisor and your project. My roomate finished his MSc in 18 months and his final thesis was based on a number of experiments that he completed in just a 3 month span. GRRRR. I picked the wrong project.

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Man, I'm getting really tired of all the strategizing people are doing, leaving their education to other people's random ideas of what may or may not be better for getting into med school. It's been said a million times before:

 

Don't do a masters unless you want to do one, not just to boost your application!

 

Do what you want, follow your interests, and you'll get more out of it, and have more to talk about in your interview.

 

If you go into your interview with some impressive thing to mention that you're not that interested in, you won't present it enthusiastically, and it probably won't impress that much.

 

Don't let a bunch of strangers on a forum tell you whether or not to get a graduate degree! Just do what you want.

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I didn't ask anything about which would help to get me in. I don't think either option confers any advantage and I am interested in both.

 

I want anecdotes from people who were/are in a similar situation. Especially the studying for MCAT/applying part.

 

But, thanks for your help.

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Man, I'm getting really tired of all the strategizing people are doing, leaving their education to other people's random ideas of what may or may not be better for getting into med school. It's been said a million times before:

 

Don't do a masters unless you want to do one, not just to boost your application!

 

Do what you want, follow your interests, and you'll get more out of it, and have more to talk about in your interview.

 

If you go into your interview with some impressive thing to mention that you're not that interested in, you won't present it enthusiastically, and it probably won't impress that much.

 

Don't let a bunch of strangers on a forum tell you whether or not to get a graduate degree! Just do what you want.

 

Well said!

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Man, I'm getting really tired of all the strategizing people are doing, leaving their education to other people's random ideas of what may or may not be better for getting into med school. It's been said a million times before:

 

Don't do a masters unless you want to do one, not just to boost your application!

 

Do what you want, follow your interests, and you'll get more out of it, and have more to talk about in your interview.

 

If you go into your interview with some impressive thing to mention that you're not that interested in, you won't present it enthusiastically, and it probably won't impress that much.

 

Don't let a bunch of strangers on a forum tell you whether or not to get a graduate degree! Just do what you want.

 

The original poster in no way indicated that whatever info/opinions he/she garners on here will be the one and only deciding factor in making his/her decision! The purpose of this forum is to provide advice, personal experiences and information to people who are interested in medicine so they can make more educated and informed decisions. No need to bite people's head off when they ask reasonable questions about reasonable paths to take on the way to medicine.

 

To the OP...while I have not done a masters, I did do the MCAT and apply while in school and doing research. It is doable, but given your description of how packed your year will be if you do pursue the accelerated masters, I would carefully think about how tough it might be to balance your coursework, research, MCAT and applications all at the same time....you don't want to be burned out before you even start! On the other hand, Masters degrees definitely can be a boost on a med school application, as well as opening doors to further research while in medical training and beyond!

 

Good luck :)

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People, be nice! the OP wants to hear from people who faced the same situation. If you're bored with the topic, then don't reply. I am VERY bored with the topic "OMG, I got a B+ in X course, I'm in my first year of undergrad, is my life over?" so I ignore those posts.

 

I'd suggest that you focus on getting the best possible mark for your MCAT. You're not very non-trad to me, since you're 25, so really, there's plenty of time to do something cool with your life if you don't get in next cycle. Your main concern should not be to get plan B going already, it should be to make plan A a reality, i.e. get the best possible mark on your MCAT. If you don't get in next cycle, there will be plenty of time for you to do a master's or whatever. Sometimes, it looks like the opportunity is now. But in my experience, if you're good at what you do, opportunities come and go, and new ones come along all the time. Sometimes much better ones.

 

I did a Master's and despite my best efforts, it took longer and more efforts and juice on my part than I expected. I was very drained afterwards. Let's say you get in next year... well, medicine will be full on, I'm assuming. You don't want to start med school being already exhausted.

 

Give this cycle your best by focusing on your mcat, and worry about plan B afterwards. That is my two cents.

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Hey I'd do option 2 (big pharma). It'd be a little bit more relaxing, which is a good thing because you'll have more time/energy to work on your applications and prep for your interviews. And you'll be glad that you took some time off for yourself so you're ready to study once you get into meds. And finally, you make a little bit more money, so you'll be in less debt once you make meds, cuz tuition costs a lot!

 

The only major reasons I can think of for doing a Masters are if you did poorly in undergrad (ie. poor grades) and want your Masters in order to be considered as a grad applicant. Or else you have an interest in academic research.

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I would like to add that it is very difficult to complete a master's in under 2 years especially when applying to med school/writing MCATs, etc. I wrote my MCATs, applied to many schools, and prepared for interviews while doing my master's. I prob spent the majority of my master's focused on med school stuff. And now I am at crunch time with a month left to complete (so can potentially attend med school in the fall) and am totally stressed!!

 

(also add procrastinating on this forum to the time not spent writing my thesis :o )

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Hey there!

 

I've never taken the MCAT but I'm currently finishing a masters & so are most of my close friends, so I thought I'd add my 2 cents... I agree with previous posters, if you think both would be just as interesting, go with option 2.

 

One thing that my masters has tought me is that the amount of work you put in isn't that related to how much time it takes to complete it. Your thesis could be published by someone else while you're writing it, your experiences could go totally wrong... or everything could go great and you could finish in 14 months. I know one person who did it. She worked long hours for 14 months and everything preaty much went well with her thesis. She said she doesn't recommend it to anyone and would never do this again. However, our masters is a long one, so it may not be that bad in other programs. One thing that's sure though : things (totally out of your control) could go wrong that prevent you from finishing on time. I would guess the odds of this happening would be around 50%.

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