focus only on the MCAT or do more?

Hello everyone,

My name is Jacob and I am currently studying for the MCAT. I graduated two years ago in 2015 and after working the emergency room as a medical scribe this past year I realized becoming a physician was my calling. I stopped working as a scribe in August 2016 and returned back to school in September 2016, taking a few courses that I thought would help me with the MCAT. I also took an MCAT prep course which began in October and I had hopes of taking the MCAT in January, but unfortunately my scores are not where they need to be. As a result, I pushed my MCAT back to the end of March. With that being said I was planning on taking it in January and have other things lined up between now and March, such as a part time job and volunteer work. I am concerned about putting more things on my plate while approaching the MCAT and I am wondering what would be the best course of action? I could either continue studying for the MCAT for another two months with little else to show on my resume besides that (I.e. not doing any extracurricular activities for 6 months, just studying for the MCAT) or I could take on those other extracurriculars such as the volunteering and the part time job and try and balance it all out while studying for the MCAT. I feel like focusing on the MCAT is the best course of action and not getting bogged down by other activities, but I am worried med schools will look at this 6 month time period and wonder, “what else were you doing during this time?” As if studying for the MCAT was not enough and I should have been doing more extracurricular activities as well. Any advice would be great! Thank you.

Don’t worry too much about what the med schools will “think.” I think people tend to give that too much credence and that people reading your application aren’t nitpicking timelines all that much. They aren’t trying to dictate your life or judge whether they would have done the same thing as you… Regardless, what really matters is what you get on the MCAT if you have “checked all the other boxes.” If you need to just focus on the MCAT because doing too much other stuff will impact your score, then focus on the MCAT. The volunteer time you get during that period may help differentiate you from some other mid-range applicant but will not offset a below average score.

Great, thank you for the advice!