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Deciding on medical school late in college

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by Tbone07, May 6, 2010.

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  1. Tbone07

    Tbone07

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    I have a lot of research experience, but no medical/volunteer/leadership experience because I've only recently considered medical school. I have one year left in college, and I'm still trying to decide between grad school and med school. But, if I do end up choosing medical school (which would require that I take a year off after college), how much will having only 1 year of clinical/volunteer experience and no leadership experience hurt my application? I would still want to continue with research, so I'm hoping that will help a little, but I'm still worried about my lack of experience in all the other areas.
  2. tremulousNeedle

    tremulousNeedle

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    There really isn't an 'answer' to your post, evident by the 60+ viewings of your thread without a response. Acceptance offers are obviously multi-factorial. You should search SDN for average hours of different EC's and try to beef up your application for the next cycle.

    -admissions committee interviewer / senior medical student
  3. dancingDO14

    dancingDO14

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    I too decided late, after my second year of college. I think that a year is plenty of time to get in clinical/volunteer experience. It would all depend on where you get the experience, and how much of it you get. If you volunteer 2x a week for a year and vary the places where you go, that'd be fine I think! You could also do a variety of day long or week long shadowing experiences with physicians of different specialties to show the committees you've gotten some good exposure to the medical field. I'd also strongly recommend that you do some volunteer time in a hospital, just to see a variety of settings.

    If after all that, you're still worried, you could get a LOR from a volunteer coordinator. I was considering getting a LOR from the charge nurse at the Shock Trauma center where I volunteered, because she trained me and I worked with her for every shift. It would be good to get a LOR from a physician you've shadowed or volunteered with on a consistent basis. Finally, if you are considering applying to DO schools (as a nontrad/late applicant, I'd strongly recommend casting your net widely), keep in mind that many require LORs from a DO physician. I've heard on SDN that there are exceptions made sometimes and LORs from MDs are allowed, but personally I wouldn't take that chance. Anyway, I think if you make a good, year-long plan for volunteering, doing well on the MCAT, find some sort of leadership EC, and apply to a variety of schools, you can be competitive.
  4. dancingDO14

    dancingDO14

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    Probably the best response, actually. There is no recipe for being a competitive applicant, so you will have to consider the other aspects of your application.
  5. Transmogrifier

    Transmogrifier

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    You'll be fine! I decided with one semester left of college. I did end up working for a year afterwards but that only added to my application I think.

    One volunteer shift a week for the next year will net you a pretty good amount of volunteer hours. You can do plenty of shadowing in that time too.

    Leadership does not mean be president of the pre-med club. Non medical volunteer work is good (I was a volunteer science tutor for instance). Maybe you've had some leadership experience with all your research in running a portion of the lab. Maybe you've been a TA and taught other students.

    You've got plenty of time and you can be a competitive applicant.
  6. housefish26

    housefish26

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    Do both! Go get your master's degree in two years in biochemistry (or something else where they pay you to go) and while you're doing that, volunteer and work in a nursing home or something to get clinical experience. Then from there you can decide if you want to continue the research route and stay to get your PhD, or you can apply to med school and have a killer app. OR you can do both AGAIN and do MD/PhD program.
  7. Transmogrifier

    Transmogrifier

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    I've got some unsolicited advice for you on the med school vs grad school thing. I was set on a PhD for quite awhile. I like biology. I loved the details of molecular and cell bio. But I didn't really like bench research that much. And I was leaning away from medicine due to some incorrect biases I had against it. As I shadowed and did more clinical stuff, I realized I like applying the science to medicine more than the research. Plus, medicine allows you to do research if that's your thing plus teach plus administration plus patient care! Totally tailorable to what you want to do. So good luck with the decision.
  8. CityLights

    CityLights Gold Donor

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    Sorry to hijack the thread, but I'd be curious to hear what incorrect biases you had against medicine if you don't mind sharing.
  9. Transmogrifier

    Transmogrifier

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    My grandfather was a doctor who worked 10-14 hours every day and wasn't really home. I thought doctors were people who didn't care about their families and had no time to do anything except for medicine all the time. My mom is an RN and she'd tell me about stressed out doctors and how all the docs would tell people to not go into medicine. So growing up I had pretty much unconsciously taken medicine off my list of possible careers.

    Later, I found out there were lots and lots and lots of different options for practicing medicine and I got to know some doctors that were real, live happy people with souls and everything!
  10. CityLights

    CityLights Gold Donor

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    :laugh: Before I decided on medicine I actually pretty much had the same assumptions. It was basically... "do I want to have a life" or "do I want to become a physician?" Although the process certainly takes a lot of dedication, I too saw that they aren't mutually exclusive.

    Getting to know how doctors spend their time out of the hospital/clinic has been really interesting and valuable for me in this repsect.

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