CHSPE and community college


I just finished my freshman year in high school in California. My dream was always becoming a doctor, and still, it is. I am a straight-A student in high school and enjoying my high school life, but I was always thinking about early graduation in high school since I have to spend eight years in undergrad and medical school to be a doctor. Because of this, my aunt told me about CHSPE. For people who do not know what it is: it is California High School Proficiency Exam that lets students stop attending high school legally. I will be eligible to take this exam when I become 16; I believe it is an excellent way of reducing the amount of time that I will spend in high school.

My current plan is to take the exam in March in my sophomore year, leave the high school, attend my local community college for a year or two, transfer to a four-year university as a junior with an English major, and go to medical school. I know it will be hard, but I don’t think it would be harder than taking the traditional route to being a doctor in the US.

I am still planning about many things that I will need to do to be successful with this route. My parents are totally okay with this and will always support my decision.

Do you guys think it is a great choice to do? I just want to hear your opinions about this.

Thank you all for reading this question; I really appreciate this!


Actually you have longer than that. Graduating from medical school only gives you the title of doctor. You’re still another 3-10 years away from actually working as an independent physician. All med grads must first complete a residency in order to get a medical license. Medical school is “book knowledge;” residency is where you actually learn to be a physician.

The path to become a physician is a very long, and there really aren’t any shortcuts. And the path is extremely competitive. More than 60% of those who apply to med school each don’t get accepted. And about 60-75% of those who start out as pre-meds in college end up never applying to med school in the first place.

Attending community college is a sub-optimal path if you want to go to medical school. Especially for a CA resident. California is one of the most competitive states for med school applicants. CA produces way too many highly qualified applicants for a very limited number of med school seats in the state.

While CCs may be viewed as a reasonable choice in CA, elsewhere CCs have less benign reputations. CC grades are generally viewed as artificially inflated and non-competitive by med school adcomms–which means those adcomms want some verification of your academic competitiveness from coursework done a 4 year college.

Most medical schools specifically say in their FAQs about admission that any CC science & math credits need to be supplemented with additional upper level science & math electives done at a 4 year college. If you were planning on a science major – biology/neuroscience/chemistry/biochemistry— your 2 years at a university would allow you to supplement your CC science coursework with upper level electives. You won’t be able to do that as an English major. Your final 2 years will be taking coursework primarily in your major.

Also it’s unlikely you’ll be able to garner the necessary ECs & LORs you’ll need for a strong med school application in just 2 years at 4 year university. A successful med school application requires strong academics, an excellent MCAT and completion of the expected pre-med ECs. (Clinical volunteering, community service with the disadvantaged, physician shadowing, leadership positions in your activities, and clinical or laboratory research.) You also need 2-4 strong LORs from science professors at your 4 year college as part of your med school application.

Under 18 year olds generally will not be able to work/volunteer in clinical positions or shadow physicians due HIPAA and insurance liability concerns.

Also you need to know that younger-than-typical applicants have an additional burden in med school admission. They must prove to adcomms that they have the necessary emotional maturity to handle the intensely personal interactions that come with being a physician. The trend toward accepting older, more mature applicants has accelerated in the past 2 decades and the median age of incoming med students is now 25. Fewer than 1% of all med school matriculants are 20 or younger.

If you want to skip graduating from high school, that is certainly your choice, but going the route you’re proposing { CHSPE–>CC–> 2 years of college } is not one that will help your chances for getting a med school acceptance.