Aug MCAT- To Apply or Not to Apply

Hi folks,

I’ve been a lurker for a long time. I am writing for advice, I am in a unique(?) situation, I greatly appreciate your input.

I recently completed PostBacc and took the August MCAT. Just as my prep classes began, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was pregnant. My husband and I were truly happy. It wasn’t very pleasant when they said that I also had a torn ligament and should be on crutches for a few months. I couldn’t attend classes, with some studying on my own, my tests scores were in the upper 20s and I decided to take the MCAT anyway. I was praying hard for a miracle and a 30! I didn’t so well in the MCAT. I am in a dilemma whether to apply or not before I see the scores. I have a strong GPA, If my score is below 28, Its not going to do me any good applying this late in the game.

Here are some suggestions I received -

- Some of my friends say, just take the year off, write MCAT again in April if you have to, this will give you a year with the baby and more time for the application process. Med school is not easy with a new born.

- Some say, Apply, talk to the adcoms to see if they’d let you take the MCAT in April and still consider you for admission for '05. (can’t imagine this is possible given how competetive the process is)

I am confused. I know its ultimately my decision, but I’d like to hear your thoughts. Thank you sooo much! My application is almost complete and I don’t know what to do!




I am in a dilemma whether to apply or not before I see the scores. I have a strong GPA, If my score is below 28, Its not going to do me any good applying this late in the game.

If your hesitance stems from concern over applying before knowing your MCAT score, then decide whether or not you are willing to lose the money and time it will take to get through the process unsuccessfully (unsuccessful in that your app this year doesn’t get you an acceptance). If you decide that it’s worth the money and effort, ask yourself why it is so important for you to begin in 2005 rather than in 2006? If you like your answer to that question, then go for it.
I read your post several times and didn’t “hear” any sense of worry from you about having a new baby while going to med school, so I don’t guess you are worried about it. You do mention your friends’ advice, which does seem to include caution about the difficulty of medical school without a new baby, let alone with a new family member. If you haven’t already read them, you might want to read some of Drd’s (Danielle’s) posts about her med school schedule to be sure you have a clear sense of the hours you will be in classes, etc. Danielle recently started med school at UNC-Chapel Hill and from what she and other med students/new MDs have said, it’s a grueling schedule.
You already know that while you are maintaining that type of schedule in med school, you and your husband will need to ensure that your baby is cared for. Again, you might not be worried about that … you might have good child care options, back-up/emergency child care options, etc. so you feel comfortable with starting school in 2005. I don’t know.
Your post doesn’t indicate whether or not this is your first child. If it’s not your first, then you know what to expect and how you recover from childbirth (though each pregnancy and birth can be different). Maybe this isn’t your first child and that is why you give no indication of being concerned about how things will go in med school with a new baby. So: if your concern is about the possiblity that your August MCAT score will prevent a 2005 matriculation then decide if you want to invest time and money into something that might not pan out.
However, if your concern is not about the MCAT score but about starting med school with a new baby, then follow your gut. If you are the least bit uncomfortable about not being with the baby or not being able to perform successfully with a new baby at home, then go ahead and postpone your application and make no apologies for deciding to stay home with the baby for a year (I’m saying ‘make no apologies’ because people who take on pre-med/med career goals tend to be very ambitious and might not forgive themselves for taking a break from their rigorous pursuit…I know this is a stereotype ).
If you are concerned about the test score AND the new baby, postpone your application.
All that I’ve said is just my opinion. Good luck to you, whatever you decide.

Thanks, Anita, I appreciate your advise. Yes, this is my first child. Orginally, my concern was that my score would not be good enough to apply this late in the game. Regarding the baby, I am fortunate that my family is willing to move closer and help. Although that’s very reassuring, having never been a mother nor having gone through med school like academic schedule, I do have concerns about having a 6 month old at home and me spending 15 hr in school. I have a lot of thinking to do! Yes, you are right, finally I should go with my gut.

I took August MCAT, and did wait until I recieved my scores before starting the application process in ernest. Partly this is because I needed the assurance of good MCAT scores to convince myself that Med school was the right thing to do. I was a little late to the game, but as I was not applying to a lot of places, I made all the deadlines. Now deadlines are only part of the story, in that many schools fill their ranks as qualified candidates apply rather than waiting until the deadline and processing all at once. The bottom line? I did prelim applications to 6 schools, final applications to 2, was rejected by 1, wait-listed by the other, and am about to start 4th year clinical rotations!
as to pregnancy - thats a challenge in itself, but I know it can be handled as we have a couple of students at UNECOM who did it. Good luck to you!
Steve Youngs - MS IV - UNECOM