Are You Waiting on a Maybe? Part 1: The Best Time to Succeed at Trinity School of Medicine

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Trinity School of Medicine operates on a typical US four-year medical school schedule with a key difference. Our students learn in 15-week trimesters (referred to as terms) with three “term 1” start opportunities: September, January, and May. Today, we’re going to briefly dive into the advantages of that three-term schedule and help incoming applicants understand what their best option really is.

A Digression on Admissions Timeline

Timeline is a considerable factor for students applying to medical school. The time commitment of any post-graduate education is large, this is particularly true for future physicians. Four years of medical school, and anywhere from three to eight years of residency, as well as any subsequent fellowships, means that medical students are under unique pressure to matriculate as soon as they can. This not only allows them to start their careers as soon as possible, but it also allows students to maintain their personal momentum from their previous undergraduate, graduate, post-baccalaureate, or prior career on into medical school. At the same time, the application cycle for medical students in the US and Canada is very long. And with 60% of medical applicants in the United States and 80% in Canada facing rejection, each attempt represents another year of waiting on a maybe.

Want to see how the application game works and how to win it? Read Part II now.

At Trinity, we address this by making medical school admissions as smooth as possible for our students. The first level of this is offering rolling admissions on a year-round basis. We don’t have a specific application cycle, not in the traditional sense. Our process, though incredibly thorough with our interview-first approach, is very efficient, rendering admission decisions in weeks, not months. This allows our applicants to step outside of the years-long trap of multiple admission cycles and pin their hopes on that “maybe” of graduate school or work improving their chances (we’re going to discuss this more heavily in part 2 ). We evaluate each applicant individually, on their merits and potential, and offer tools like our admissions predictor, our pre-app evaluation, and our past experience based on our own data (as well as data from the AAMC and the NRMP).

This is one of the key reasons for our small class size. We’re not about producing the most doctors we can, it’s about finding the students that have been overlooked for whatever reason but nonetheless have great potential to make a difference, training them, and sending them off into the world to do their own good.

January, May, September: Which is Best?
Trinity School of Medicine’s 4 year timeline. Tap the image to see an overview of our curriculum.

The real question is not “Which is best?” So much as it’s, “which is best for me?”

Our January class is our smallest, historically weighing in at around 25 students, and thus creates the most intimate environment possible for our students. While all of our classes are small (our largest class in September has traditionally still only been 75 students), the limited size of January takes Trinity’s small-class benefits- instructor relationships, social interactions, individual attention, etc.- to another level. January is also good for students wishing to maintain that same academic momentum we discussed earlier, while also building in some time on the back end for students to use as they see fit, taking more time to prepare for Step exams or the match with additional electives or research opportunities. At the same time, very driven, high achieving students that start in January and maintain an aggressive timeline could apply for The Match with their colleagues who started in the prior September class, effectively shortening their timeline. Finally, January is an optimal starting position for students on our ILP track. By starting in January, they’re effectively pre-scheduling themselves to finish and match with their May colleagues who are starting four months later, and as we’ll see, May has its own benefits. In this sense, ILP students that start in January enjoy most of January’s benefits as well as most of May’s.
Above: the Trinity ILP timeline. Note the additional term at the start. Just tap the image to learn more.

May offers many of the same benefits to January, (the class is similarly sized, for example), but it’s also a great starting point for students looking to finish and match precisely four years later while also providing themselves with any additional time for Step exam preparation, elective rotations, research, and (hopefully) a heavy residency interview schedule. Finally, depending on their university graduation date, students starting in May could very well head directly to Trinity from undergrad, forgoing that last summer off.

Finally, there’s September. September is for those looking to start a typical academic year. They’ll still enjoy Trinity’s small class size and supportive learning environment, but they are otherwise seeking to start and finish on a more typical US and Canadian med school timeline and are confident in their ability to do so. A common choice, it’s our largest class each year, in the past have been at around 75 students. The choice for September can be anything from personal preference to seeking an opportunity after the intense competition of the US and Canadian admissions cycle left them as a part of the large majority of medical applicants who are not invited to attend US schools.

Whatever your preference may be, for whatever reason, rest assured that Trinity has an option that means you don’t have to wait anymore. And that option will suit your timeline, your approach to your studies, and your needs to invest in a future that gets you where you want to be: a physician.

It was intimated earlier, but in part two, we’re going to dig into the numbers of applying, when to hold fast, when to consider your options, and how to move forward a better-prepared applicant.

Click here for Part II.

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