To wait or not to wait...

Hi all - I’m new to this forum. I’m 30 and married with a baby on the way. Just this past year I was in a post-bac pre-med program & managed to finish with a 4.0. Also, I took the April MCAT & scored a 39 overall. Now, through my post-bac program I was accepted to a link program with Drexel U. College of Medicine in Philadelphia & I’m scheduled to start classes there in August. However, because of my grades & MCAT scores, friends, family, and advisors have been urging me to take a year off and apply to a bunch of schools - in other words, they think I should “shop around.” Would I be crazy at this point to even consider turning Drexel down and taking my chances in the normal applicant pool? Has anyone had a similar experience? I’d appreciate any feedback…Now that this seed has been planted in my brain, I’m finding it hard to make a decision & it’s starting to drive me crazy.
Thanks in advance,

Hey Mike,
I don't have any experience that is similar to yours but I don't think that you would be crazy to consider turning down Drexel. I don't know what your undergrad grades are but your post bac is great and seems to indicate that you could handle the work of med school. That combined with an outstanding MCAT score would seem to me to guarantee at least a few interviews to some med schools. Once you have the interview it seems like it's up to you to get them interested in you or not. So that being said, is there any particular reason why you would give up a guaranteed path to be done with med school in 4-5 years? Do you not like Drexel for any particular reason? Is there a certain school or part of the country that you really want to be in? If the answer to one or both questions is yes then I would probably take my chances if I was in your shoes. If not, I would probably go to Drexel. There is my $0.02. Good luck!

Personally I think that you would be nuts to turn down a for sure spot in medical school. There is NEVER any guarantees in this process, yes you have outstanding MCAT and post-bacc grades/scores but you just never know. If you apply next year maybe there are thousands of folks with your same stats applying that year to the same schools you would apply, and maybe you would get into a “better school” (whatever that means) than Drexel, but maybe then you would not, and you could end up at a “lesser school” or God forbid w/o any acceptances. The application process is so expensive and time consuming that if I had a spot from a school such as Drexel (which i am applying to right now) I would not even consider applying to other schools just to see what happens.

I agree with Damon. If there is a place you’d really like to be for some reason - and it’s not Drexel - then you’ve got the credentials to make a case to another med school. If you will just be glad to be in med school and moving toward your goal of working as a physician, then go now, enjoy it.
If you have your heart set on an ultra-competitive residency then it might help to attend a “name” school, but it’s not the most important thing by far. Obviously you’ll be able to work at a high level wherever you go and you’ll make the most of your opportunities. In med school, you’ll get a chance to MAKE opportunities too - for an example, read OldManDave’s stories about his visiting rotations to anesthesia programs where he was able to make a good impression at a ‘name’ program.
A cautionary note: the application process really sucks. In a linkage program, I don’t think you really get a sense of just how grueling it is to do all those applications and interviews. (and of course you would need to get going on those apps NOW) And it costs $$$ as you know.
Finally, don’t be seduced by snob appeal - OK, so Drexel’s not a top-25 school, so what? If you want to be in Philadelphia and you want to get going on your medical education NOW, it’s the #1 school because you’ve got a place in it. OTOH, if you really, really, really want to be at a particular school for some particular reason, then applying to that school (or a select handful of schools) would be worth doing, I guess. (but I do not think it’s worth doing simply 'cause you could get into a “better” school.]
Do you have any idea how Drexel would react to a request for a deferral? It is sobering to consider giving up a guaranteed seat, for sure.

Another point that has not been brought up is that turning down a guaranteed slot might crop up as an issue on the interview trail next year. It may not be a factor, BUT - with so much riding on this, I would make damned certain that I had a rational, objective reason & be able to articulate & defend it well.
As Efex & Mary pointed out, the application process is grueling, expensive & highly capricious. Unless you have some very solid reasoning behind not going to Drexel & jumping into the app pool - I would not do it. Now, if you simply do not feel that you will provided with the opportunities for a quality education at Drexel, you certainly have solid numbers to attempt to navigate the deep end of the pool. Again, bear in mind that there are no stats that guarantee an appointment…sounds like a huge gamble with a lot to loose if you ask me.

I was under the impression that once you applied to a linkage program and accepted you were committed there. Is this not the case? I know when I was accepted to the Bryn Mawr post bacc program this was my understanding. Of course, there are many advantages to the linkage programs… preference for certain post bacc students, no lag year, etc. For some the advantage of the linkage outweighs the disadvantages, for others not.

Thanks for all the advice…I've decided to go ahead and get started at Drexel this year (bird in the hand). Best of luck to everyone.

Congratulations! I'm jealous.