Medschool now or later?

Hello all,

I want to become a doctor, I know this, but I also have many other passions. I am still an undergrad. I started in nutrition, but recently switched to Spanish and absolutley love it. I do well in school, I have taken most of the pre-reqs for medschool and done great. I am torn though between graduating from undergrad and applying to medschool right away vs. waiting a few years to pursue other interests. Any advice? I’m 23 and I have always lived by the philosophy “make the most of this one life we have.” Is is plausible to go in the direction of my other interests and then come back to medicine? I hope so! Any advice would be wonderful…I lose way too much sleep thinking about this.


Well, it is hard sometimes to know what is best. I think that looking into the different careers that result in pursuing certain degrees can help. Look and see what catches your attention. It might be good to figure out your priorities.

I must say that it might be difficult to get motivated to apply to medical school later in life. If you have the energy and the grades for it, I think that you should go for it now. You could always find a field within medicine that could utilize your Spanish and Nutrition interests later.

Good Luck!!

What if you take a year or two to do something else and then see? Then you can still be fresh enough to take the MCAT if you’d like and you won’t have to re-take your pre-reqs. It might be enough time to try something you’re interested in, but it’s no time at all from my perspective at age 44.

Here would be my advice Lisa, prepare and take the MCATs as soon as possible. The material is still fresh in your mind and you probably have a better chance of doing well on them now versus preparing for them in a year or two. If you do not want to jump right into medical school immediately, more power to you. You have a couple of options. You can apply now, and defer for a year (I think some schools even let you defer for two) or you can apply at a later date. I think most schools accept MCAT scores that are up to five years old. Whatever you do, if you have the pre-reqs done, take the MCATs now then a few years from now. Worst case scenario is you don’t use them. I would prefer to live with that then having to prepare for them while completing a Masters degree or working fulltime.

MCATs can’t be more than two or three years old - depends on the school but I don’t think I’ve ever heard more than three.


Even if its two years LJayy, I would still take it now then revisit it later. Just my opinion.

Something to remember…med schools will always be there. Your youth and opportunity are fleeting. Scratch those itches now and go to med school if, and when, you decide it’s really for you.

And, the “shelf life” for the MCAT is generally three years. Rarely is it more or less than that.



I can’t speak from the med-school side of experience because I’m not there, and there is some great advice here!

I always wanted to be a physician through childhood, however, I have worked 30+ hours a week since the time I was 14 years old as a requirement from my parents. In college, I worked full time throughout and I had similar questions and spoke with an advisor early on because I was doing very well at a business school that is considered ‘competitive’ but wasn’t completely fulfilled and knew my calling was to eventually be a physician.

She said that if it wasn’t an option to take the prereqs and do WELL, then it’d be best to do what I’m doing now…WELL… and then when circumstances change, take the prereqs when you know you can devote your best to it and try to apply later.

That might have been the best advice I’ve ever gotten. I decided to complete my Business degree and try out the business world (knowing that if I still felt the call, I would commit to the prereqs and apply as a ‘nontraditional’).

It’s been 2 years out of college, I am a very successful business school graduate AND have a very successful, high profile career in the financial industry. That said, the call is stronger than ever and I will be applying for med school shortly.

I am fully embracing the fact that I am not the typical med school applicant. It was this time, fully engaged in a non-science atmosphere, that strengthened my commitment to this profession.

I think that I am a stronger applicant and will add mountains of value with very diverse perspectives due to my variety of experiences in the business world. I’m 25, I am in banking and seen all of the wealth in the world, I’ve traveled globally, met CEO’s and politicians, created products and corporate initiatives but the void remains…even grows.

The point is, only YOU know what’s best for you. My path is not the most convenient and I have barely started. You definitely have a leg-up.

My advice is that if you are doing well, finish the pre reqs and take the MCAT. If you decide to do something else after school…GREAT! The fact that all you need to do is apply when the time is right is a great advantage for you and I think it will be respected by admissions committees because of your diversity.

Itshows that you are entering this path well-informed, because believe it or not, the amount of debt you take on pales in comparison to the investment of resources that the school is making in you to become a successful, competent healthcare professional.

In several informal interviews with current medical students and residents. There is a definate attitude difference (in my opinion) between those that went straight from undergrad and those that didn’t. The stark difference is that the ‘traditional’ occasionally have the ‘what-if’ syndrome where the value of the experience almost appears to be foreshadowed by time constraints and the competitive nature of their experience. They seem to have a more difficult time seeing the forest while working among the trees.

Take a look at yourself and decide what’s best for you because, in the end, only you will have to live with the decision. Good luck!

Well my feeling is this:

You have to be dedicated to medical school, it takes a lot of time and focus.

Regrets? Yes I wish I went sooner. Would have my life been different then? Sure it would have. I feel this “No regrets” is impossible in life, you always have to make choices and you give up something for something else.

FOr example there are around 4 billion humans on earth give or take and when you marry 1 you now give up all the others to date and go out with…

You choose to be an auto mechanic for a living you cannot spend your time on the beach as a Lifeguard or you are a Lifeguard so…

You went out at 8am to go to a park Sat and saw amazing wildlife or you slept in till 11am and got a lot of rest…

Choices life is full of them everyday.

I have seen some of Europe but after Med School I plan on traveling again and seeing the world is a passion of mine and my wife’s but thats on hold for now.

At 23 without a Family is the best time to go to medical school IMHO

Good Luck

  • DRFP Said:
At 23 without a Family is the best time to go to medical school IMHO

23 and with no obligations is the best time to do almost anything! I would travel first, do med school later. It's not going anywhere and your ability to travel could be influenced by all sorts of career and personal choices that you haven't confronted yet. If you've got the chance to do it now --> go for it.