A 4 year vs. 5 year Academic Plan for College Premed Students

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When you make an academic plan to complete your college degree and apply to medical school, you are likely going to have to choose between a four or five year plan.

4 year plan

Freshman

Sophomore:

  • Complete all courses pertinent to MCAT by the end of sophomore year
  • Take MCAT summer after Sophomore year

Junior

Senior:

5 year plan

Freshman

Sophomore

Junior:

  • Complete all courses pertinent to MCAT by the end of junior year
  • Take MCAT summer after Junior year

Senior:

While there used to be a stigma associated with taking a year off after college, it is now becoming more commonplace. The 5 year plan allows you to take less science classes per quarter/semester thus allowing you to perform better in those classes. This plan will also allow you to have more time to prepare for the MCAT and retake it if necessary.  Additionally, you won’t have to worry about traveling to interviews while taking courses concurrently. Once the interview season is over, you will have about 6 months to travel or relax before starting medical school. For all of these reasons, we recommend the five year plan. However, if your goal is to save time, the four year plan may be a better choice for you. Just remember, a medical education requires 11-15 years after high school, so what's another year going to do :). If you decide to take a year off after college and you have taken out student loans to finance your undergraduate education, be mindful of when you will need to begin repayment on those loans.

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