Teach For America before Medical School?

<p>Hey all,</p>

<p>Sorry if this has been posted before, but I was wondering the following things about Teach For America in relation to med school acceptances:</p>

<ul>
<li>Do most schools allow you to defer admission for two years to do Teach For America?</li>
<li>How does TFA experience match up against other post-undergraduate options (research, lab technician work, etc.) in terms of helping in admissions?</li>
</ul>

<p>I really appreciate anyone's input. Thanks!</p>

<p>Quite a few schools give deferments. I know at one point (when I was thinking about TFA - so 4 yrs ago) the TFA website had a list of all the grad schools that granted deferments for it. I'm sure the number is growing as TFA becomes more and more well known. That said, your safest bet is to call each school you're interested in, and ask them directly about their policy.</p>

<p>I think TFA is more favorable than most options. Certainly below the major scholarship awards (eg Rhodes), but about the same level as the Peace Corps - maybe slightly lower because it's not as well known. I think the experience and responsibility of TFA exceeds your generic research positions, and the nature of the program makes it stand out more than just getting a job. That said, I don't have any evidence for that, and it's <em>REALLY</em> hard to definitively quantify the impact of anything that is not MCAT or GPA. TFA would certainly be extremely easy to make into a great personal statement or aspect of an interview. There are a lot of ways the experience would make you a better physician (especially if you were to consider pediatrics). Considering how well my stories about coaching kinderg</p>

<p>Many med schools will grant a deferment for something like TFA, although you'll have to check with individual schools.</p>

<p>TFA is a fairly big deal. But, like Peace Corps, it can be TOUGH (physically and mentally). It is not worth it to do the 2-year program just for a boost in med school admissions so make sure to thoroughly research the program.</p>

<p>Bigredmed and norcalguy, thank you for your input! The reason I asked was because I am seriously considering participating in this program after graduation and I am actually meeting with a representative tomorrow. I definitely want a break between my undergrad and med school career, and I absolutely love teaching/tutoring/mentoring in the sciences (chemistry and bio especially!). I was thinking that this way would be a great option for me post-graduation.</p>

<p>More opinions are definitely appreciated! Thanks!</p>

<p>I am a 2009 TFA corps member in Phoenix, planning to attend medical school in Fall 2012. TFA is not an experience to be taken lightly. I too looked into TFA because I wanted to take a break from being a student, and after TAing organic chemistry for two years and loving it, thought it would be fun to teach for a bit.</p>

<p>I graduated from Duke, and have heard the Duke SOM dean of admissions, Brenda Armstrong, speak countless times about the importance of the maturity and humanitarianism of the applicants. Several top medical schools, including Duke, WashU, Stanford, Yale, and Hopkins are official partners with TFA and value TFA alumni, not because of the "TFA" label, but because of the life-changing outlook brought about by the TFA experience.</p>

<p>There is no quantitative value by which the TFA experience can be compared with other, more commonplace lab/work experience. Two things are for sure, however: (1) TFA alumni stand out, and (2) are more mature than those who apply for matriculation straight out of college - due not only to increased age and life experience, but also to their character growth through the challenges they face in the TFA experience.</p>

<p>[url=<a href="http://www.teachforamerica.org/alumni/alumni_medicine.htm%5DHere%5B/url"&gt;http://www.teachforamerica.org/alumni/alumni_medicine.htm]Here[/url&lt;/a&gt;] is a TFA page on alumni moving on to careers in medicine. It includes a list of medical schools that have official partnerships with TFA. I hope this helps - don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you have other questions.</p>

<p>By the way, the answer to you first question is 'yes.' I have not yet heard of anyone who was not offered a deferment to serve in TFA.</p>

<p>I'll be blunt, I pulled out of a TFA acceptance because of the fact that I feel like they push the "admissions edge" too hard. All they ever wanted to talk about was how great it was at helping you in that way and building valuable skills, I had to directly ask to even get anything from the presenters about their love of teaching and the reward of doing it for the sake of teaching and children. The fact that they have a website dedicated to that, while understandable from a practical view, only reinforces my personal view. It's a great and valuable program, but I would never give two years of my life up solely for the fact that TFA can help in medical school admissions. For passion, for growth, for social concern, for curiosity, sure. I would do something like that for these reasons, but I feel like anyone doing TFA solely out of the hope of climbing the admissions ladder is going to be sorely program.</p>

<p>Like I said, I think it's a great program that has a positive impact on both teachers and students, but sometimes I wonder if they've sold part of their spirit of charity in exchange for growth and quality. Regardless, this is an old post anyways.</p>

<p>Wow, I'm really surprised, mmmcdowe. That's not what the TFA staffers I talked to were like at all. I guess it just depends on who you talk to. It's unfortunate that some have started looking at TFA as a means of self-gain.</p>

<p>I really should have looked at the date of this thread before I bothered posting. Someone referred me to the thread, and I just replied without thinking twice! :)</p>