Deciding to pursue medicine or pre-medicine does not happen on a whim. It is a calculated decision that takes time, sacrifice, and dedication. For traditional premedical students, coming to such a decision during your undergraduate years equally requires a lot of responsibility. You are ultimately deciding the focus for next 12 years of your life. This being said, it is highly recommended that students who are considering pursuing medicine learn as much about the field prior to committing. Make sure that ultimately it is a personal goal, not one driven by family or others’ expectations.
A major decision point is cost. Higher education as a whole is much more expensive now than it ever has been. Undergraduate education can cost over $33,480/year. That's a total of $133,920 by the time you get your degree. However, all good things require investment. If you work hard and build the seeds for success during undergraduate studies, this can help you place directly into medical school. If you change your mind to pursue medicine later in undergrad, or even post-grad, you may have to go back to school to take post-bac pre-medical sciences. Out of state medical school tuition averages $58,668/year. That is a total of $234,672 by the end of MS-4. Combine that with student loans, and you will have amassed $368,592. Taking cost into consideration, the decision to pursue medicine is a serious one and requires utmost dedication to the process.
Many students decide to take a few gap years in between undergrad and medical school, in order to spice up their resume and gain more real-life experiences in a non-academic environment. This is a wise decision because it also gives students more perspective and time to thoughtfully craft their story for pursuing medicine, and in doing so, create a wonderfully sculpted personal statement. Some students may be hesitant to take the gap year because the buffer time could mean that as a result, the student will be in their mid-thirties before actually practicing medicine. In their mid-thirties with roughly $365,000 in debt, just entering the workforce.
Taking these things into consideration already, if you are not 100% committed to pursuing medicine, it may be hard to balance the long nights of study, brain headaches from absorbing so much knowledge, and sacrifices you must make to succeed in your studies. If you are on the fence about it, it’s probably not worth it to commit up front.
What is really important is that you commit to medical studies from the get-go. This will help you excel in your undergraduate studies. These undergraduate sciences set the foundation for your medical knowledge and for taking the MCAT. Focusing in undergraduate and truly mastering the fundamental scientific concepts will only help you once it’s time to study for the MCAT. And of course, it will help you during medical school! Many students decide to work with an
MCAT tutor since it is such a beast of an exam. The MCAT covers an extensive range of sciences, and oftentimes, students may be a little rusty in one of the sciences. Pretty much 95% of pre-meds struggle with CARS as well. Working with a tutor one on one, students can focus in on those areas to supplement their existing knowledge and learn unique strategy to enable them to perform better on the MCAT.