Applying to medical school at 19?

My age might impact me negatively as I am only 19 years old.
However, I finished my bachelor’s degree with a double major ( biology and psychology) and I will be applying to medical school for cycle 2022.
I have 250 shadowing hours, over 2000 volunteering hours, have about 500 research hours along with a strong personal statement.
one thing I heard is that medical schools don’t like to take students at an early age?
How can I make this in my favor? any ideas?

Please guys help

Chancing is really a game of odds, and a student who has finished university at 19 is not in the middle of the bell curve. You clearly know the metrics, and have ticked the boxes. The first cut is MCAT & GPA and we don’t anything about those for you. The next cut is things like LoRs and interviews. and posters here obviously can’t have any idea how those will stack up for you.

Your LoRs will come from some combination of your college advisor and the people with whom you have logged all of those shadowing, volunteering and research hours - have you talked to them? are they strongly encouraging? did you give them room to suggest or imply that it would be a good idea for you to take some more time? There are smart, mature 19 year olds who are clearly ready for med school- they will know if you are one of them.

Obviously, the reason for looking closely at a 19 year old candidate is to see if s/he has the maturity to handle the entirety of the med school experience. If the rest of your application is strong, LoRs that speak to your maturity and readiness for med school- esp from a doctor with whom you have worked- will carry weight.

Overall, the combination of your academic record, ECs, essays and LoRs should demonstrate the 15 competencies that med schools say they want to see (The 15 skills medical schools expect from students on day one)

Ha! as a college graduate you should already know better than to put much (any?!) weight on what you have ‘heard’- you should know how to do the research to find out the facts :slight_smile:

My GPA is 3.87, MCAT to be taken on July 26, 2021.
My letter of recommendation are very strong. I have 3 physicians, 1 professor, 1 temple leader, 1 pharmacist, 1 from research as well as 1 coming from medical assistant job director.

Neelp- we have no idea if your MCAT scores make you competitive- so why not wait for that, put your time and energy against preparing instead of speculating? There is no level of enthusiasm from your recommendations that will compensate for a week MCAT score as you know-- and whether 19 or 29, maturity and emotional intelligence is going to be that “special sauce” in addition to your stats.

What is your plan B if you don’t get in the first time around???

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You won’t be able to use 8 letters of reference. You likely will be able to use only 3, maybe 4.

The average age of medical school students is mid 20’s.

@WayOutWestMom what are the obstacles for a 19 year old applying to medical school?

Are you planning to start medical school fall 2022? Or are you planning to apply in the 2022 cycle starting in 2023?

If you are planning to apply now to start in Fall 2022, I think you are cutting it close to the wire with your MCAT testing date…I don’t know when applications open this year, but in the past it has been about now…or before.

How old are you right now?

Apply again next year while continuing the job as medical assistant, doing more shadowing hours and more community involvement along with studying for mcat if needed to be retaken.

I am applying to start medical school in 2022. I am currently 19 years old and I talked with AMCAS and they said I can submit my application without the mCAT score and just attach the mcat score to the application as it comes.
the application been open for that cycle since may 27.

Where are you planning to apply? Do you live in a state that gives huge preference to instate applicants…like maybe Texas?

I live in ga and I am applying to ga schools along with sc schools. my end goal being to serve the underserved communities.

This is not to try and influence you as much as to just let you know a different perspective. I am a physician who personally knows a fellow physician who began med school at age 18. This was many years back, & I know things have changed - if anything today they are looking much more at maturity and personality than they did back then. Back then getting into med school was purely a numbers game (GPA & MCAT) . Interviews just weeded out obvious cuts.

My advice based upon my experience in med school and as a physician, as well as through the person I know who began at such a young age would be to --wait. Right now you are eager, you are a “prodigy” academically speaking. However, you are still very young. Going to med school and becoming a physician will change you in ways you are likely not yet aware of. It does require maturity, -even when I started med school at 22, there was a harsh learning curve. None of this is based on the academics, it is everything else.

As a doctor in training - you will find that you need to slowly become more detached, or every sad thing you encounter will eat you up inside. You will find that gradually you start to notice things you hadn’t noticed before in family member and strangers. You will not want to - but inside your mind you will begin to have a good estimate of who is secretly an alcoholic, has diabetes, high risk of skin cancer, Marfan’s, Parkinson’s etc etc etc etc. You will notice classmates/ other medical professionals who are drinking way too much/ suffering with burnout/stress /poor eating habits and NOT DOING WELL at all. You will see their and likely your own personality change in ways you don’t necessarily desire. You will very quickly say goodby to your youth/last years of your life to be “young” and have any level of flexibility/freedom.

Please do not underestimate all of the other things other than just if you can handle the academics. I feel it is wise to at least give it a year. I think maturity is vital, and even if you are the world’s most mature 19 year old - it is worth it to wait. The person I know who began at such a young age - in many ways is like a stunted child. They are a competent physician/but not a “superstar” . However, they have paid a price in their personal life and development. I liken it to a child star in Hollywood who had to behave as an adult too soon. Very similar. Just doesn’t always make wise adult decisions now that they are an adult & seems very immature. Most importantly - being a physician will change you as a person in ways it is difficult to put into words - and you won’t really know what I mean until you go through it. This is even more true if you are an empath/idealistic. You will at times lose a little faith in humanity. You will deal with anger/grief/sadness/dishonesty daily and the “buck will stop with you.” You would be wise to wait just a little longer.

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Here are some medical school profiles for one medical school:

There appears to be one 20 year old in one class with 21 being the minimum in the other two classes. 24/25 is the average age.

I’d see no advantage of pushing things early TBH. Academics can be learned early for some folks, but life lessons tend to come with laps around the sun. It’s helpful for doctors to have plenty of life lessons along with the academics.

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That is a great analogy

These are not the kind of letters you need to apply for medical school.

You need 2 letters from BCPM professors who have taught you in a class. And one letter from a non-science professor who has also taught you in a class.

(BTW, here are some guidelines for your recommenders who will be writing your LORs–https://www.aamc.org/system/files?file=2019-09/lettersguidelinesbrochure.pdf)

Letters from physicians and other community members are typically not needed (or wanted) by allopathic med schools since these are unable to assess your abilities as student. (Osteopathic med schools typically do require 1 LOR from a DO whom you’ve shadowed or worked with.) A letter from a PI is only needed if you intend to apply MD/PhD or are applying to research intensive medical schools.

You need to research specifically what each med school requires. For example, if you send 8 letters but a school only wants 3, then you’ll be rejected for not being able to follow instructions. If you don’t have the required number of LORs from professors, then your file will be marked as incomplete and it will never get reviewed.

You mention you have 2000 hours of volunteering. Can you break it down? How many hours are clinical volunteering? (And in what capacity was your volunteering done? Was it hands on and not observational?) How many hours do you have volunteering in a non-clinical capacity? How many hours were done with disparaged and underserved populations?

Do you have any leadership experience in your ECs? In what capacity?

Non-clinical volunteering/service with the disadvantaged and leadership are more highly valued in med school applicants than research exposure.
(see p. 14–https://www.aamc.org/media/18901/download)

BTW, while is it possible to get accepted to med school at 19 (one of my daughters had a just-turned-20 year old in her class), it is rare. (Only 0.1% of matriculants were age 20 or younger in 2020. That number has been pretty consistent over the past 5-8 years. See: https://www.aamc.org/media/50081/download)

Other people have already spoken about the burden of proof that is placed on younger-than-typical applicants who must demonstrate their maturity and ability to deal with sensitive topics with empathy and compassion with adults who are older than you and who have lifetimes of more real world experience than you.

Probably the best thing you can do to enhance your application is to work at a real world job–one that is customer facing and not based in academia. This will give some real world experience in dealing with bosses, co-workers and how to manage difficult customer/clients. (D1 said the best actual real life preparation she got for being a physician was working as waitstaff at busy restaurant.)

The “youngster” in D1’s class. She did fine academically, but she looked young (younger than her real age actually) and she had significant issues with patients and hospital personnel taking her seriously during clinical rotations.

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You need to choose one school to apply to to get your application in the queue for verification. Assuming there are no problems with your transcripts, verification takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks after AMCAS has received all your college transcripts. Your app will then be held until you have received your MCAT score. It takes about 4 weeks for a MCAT to be scored.

If you’re taking the MCAT on July 26, the absolute earliest your score will be available will be mid to late August. Once your file is forwarded to med schools, it takes anywhere from a couple of days to 2 or 3 weeks to receive a secondary. Even if your pre-write all your secondary essays, it will still take another week or three to refine your answers & submit your secondaries so your file is complete.

For MD programs, completing your file after Labor Day is considered “late”. Unless you’re a superstar, applying late is a sure fire way to (severely) hurt your chances. Interview invitations start going out in mid August. Applying late means your app is read later and has fewer passes thru the review committee. Applying late means any interviews invitations will be for later in the cycle when fewer seats are available (since many all have already been offered to those who interviewed early on in the cycle).

The application cycle for DO programs runs later than it does for MD. For DO, you can apply up until about Thanksgiving without considered being late.

When it comes to applying to medical schools, you want to do it once and do it right.

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One thing to keep in mind is you get one “first” application to med school and then one “better have something really improved in it” chance if you don’t get accepted on your first try, but even then, odds tend to be lower.

Do you think it’s worth taking that first chance during a cycle where your application isn’t likely to be as good as it could be due to not having your MCAT score already as a minimum? Roughly 60% don’t get accepted in any given year.

If you were my student, I’d really recommend slowing down and putting in a solid first application next cycle if you still wanted to be one of the youngest in your class. Later would be fine too.

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This a really questionable strategy.

As a GA resident you will be given in-state admission preference at Medical College of Georgia, but not at Emory, Morehouse or Mercer. Morehouse and Mercer are HBCUs and are very mission oriented. Do you fit the mission for Mercer or Morehouse?

You will NOT be given in-state admission preference at South Carolina publics. MUSC interviews fewer than 1% of OOS applicants. U South Carolina (both Greenville and Charleston) interview fewer than 5% of OOS applicants. South Carolina has no other allopathic med schools you can apply to.

If you are going to apply to medical school, you really need to do your research first. Buy access to MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements) at AMCAS. A one year subscription is $29. It will help you shape your application list. There is data about GPAs, MCAT scores, required coursework, in-state vs OOS interview rates, in-state vs OOS acceptance rates and much, much more.

https://mec.aamc.org/msar-ui/#/landing

Most med school applicants need to apply to between 15 and 25 schools to have the best chance for an acceptance.

You seem pretty uninformed about the med school application process/timeline for someone who is applying this year. You need to talk with your college’s health profession advising office and you need to do your own research before you apply.

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Some really questionable advice above:

  1. Being told there is no in-state preference for GA resident at Mercer med school.
    From their website: to be eligible to even apply
    " * The applicant must have established residency in the state of Georgia for at least 12 months prior to matriculation."

  2. While HBCUs do have a specific mission, Mercer is not an HBCU.

In light of the above, please be very cautious regarding advice given here. You’d be well-advised to speak with your college’s health professions office, as well as several physicians in your community.

Here is the mission of Mercer:

“ The mission of Mercer University School of Medicine is to educate Georgia students who will become well-trained, compassionate healthcare professionals in Georgia and practice in rural or medically underserved areas of this state.”

This seems to align with the OPs stated career goal. And he or she is a resident of Georgia so that’s not an obstacle either.

The problem with this is not all college health professions offices give out good advice. Sometimes they’re downright wrong, esp when the office just uses previous graduates to staff it (and not even pre-med graduates). I tell students to check with their office and then double check things on the internet from reputable sources. It’s sad when things go wrong after someone thought they were following good advice.

Physicians can be really out of date if they haven’t gone through the process recently. Really, really out of date. Getting into med school wasn’t always so challenging.

Checking with current med school students or residents can be helpful, but the OP is looking to apply as an outlier age-wise. I’m not sure anyone knows for sure how their app will be taken TBH, thus the caution to consider their path wisely.

Well, it’s clear some of the advice given on this forum is “downright wrong” with some allegedly “reputable sources” being less than reliable. Frankly, very often the advice given on these forums is either purely anecdotal, or urban legend, or just wrong.

The information about Mercer-above-is a case in point.

So in addition to my advice above, I’ll add the following: go to the website of each and every medical school to which you plan to apply-and read it! There’s a wealth of information there, and if your questions aren’t answered(about residency status, for example), then contact the school directly.

Is that a lot of work? Yes-but it will supply information directly from the source. For example-Mercer is not an HBCU and an applicant must be a Georgia resident to apply(and provide proof of that residency). Both questions of these issues are self-evident with a brief review of its website.

So OP is an outlier, but any accurate information about how this will affect his/her applications will be obtained from the medical schools themselves.

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