tessellations

it's tutter's world and we're just living in it
2+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2015
822
1,447
Sassachusetts
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi all! I know it's quite some time away from now, but since I am a planner, I want to seek some advice about my plans for next summer. Next summer will be my last full summer before the summer I plan on applying to medical school. So far I've gotten 300 hours of clinical experience as a CNA at a nursing home, and by the end of this year, I'll have approximately 100 hours of volunteering experience at an emergency homeless shelter (and I'll likely be able to get 100 more during my junior year, plus a few more hours here and there). I currently have no research experience, though I'm hoping to change that and have applied to a few positions at my university. If that sticks (and potentially even if it doesn't), I've been thinking about applying to some summer undergraduate research programs. I really want a new experience and I want to broaden my experiences in terms of research. The problem with doing one of these programs is that it won't leave me as much time for other things during the summer. I might be able to get in a little bit of hospital volunteering and shadowing, but not as much as I would be able to if I were to get a regular job at home. I also currently only have 13 hours of shadowing with two ER docs - I've been having a hard time finding doctors to let me shadow them.

I guess I'm just wondering how my experiences look right now. Do I really need more clinical experience? As a CNA I learned so much about myself and about caring about other people (especially those who are vulnerable), and I know that I have plenty to talk about there. Shadowing I know is a weak spot, and I want to do more, but there's only so much that I feel I will get out of it. I want to be able to be competitive at top ranking research institutions, so I really do want to get more research experience in. What are your thoughts on all this? (Sorry for such a long post!)
 
Mar 25, 2015
212
208
You can knock out a lot of shadowing in just a week off. I shadowed a surgeon for 2 days and got 20 hours. I only have ~60 hours of shadowing it hasn't been a problem so far in either receiving interviews or having it brought up at them. If you want to do other things during the summer stay at school and do research no need for REU, most schools or your PI have some money to throw your way. I personally liked going to a different institution during the summer (not through a program, you'd be surprised how receptive PIs are if you just email/call them), but being in a new city you really cant just jump right into volunteering.

Honestly you're fine for clinical experience and volunteering (good job), but if you really want to be competive for the Penn's and Hopkin's you will need research ASAP. No you don't need 2000+ hours and papers, unless you want to make research a core theme of your app, but a long-term and significant research experience is key. Of course some people have gotten in without it.
 
OP
tessellations

tessellations

it's tutter's world and we're just living in it
2+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2015
822
1,447
Sassachusetts
Status
Pre-Medical
You can knock out a lot of shadowing in just a week off. I shadowed a surgeon for 2 days and got 20 hours. I only have ~60 hours of shadowing it hasn't been a problem so far in either receiving interviews or having it brought up at them. If you want to do other things during the summer stay at school and do research no need for REU, most schools or your PI have some money to throw your way. I personally liked going to a different institution during the summer (not through a program, you'd be surprised how receptive PIs are if you just email/call them), but being in a new city you really cant just jump right into volunteering.

Honestly you're fine for clinical experience and volunteering (good job), but if you really want to be competive for the Penn's and Hopkin's you will need research ASAP. No you don't need 2000+ hours and papers, unless you want to make research a core theme of your app, but a long-term and significant research experience is key. Of course some people have gotten in without it.
Thanks so much for your reply! Whether I do the summer program or not, I'm definitely going to find myself at least one full school year of research, though I'm really hoping to get in two years before I apply. I do like the idea of being in a new city for sure, and since I don't quite have to worry as much about getting volunteer experience, it seems like a great idea for me. Just wondering, did you just email PIs from other schools and manage to find summer research opportunities? Would you mind elaborating on this a little bit? I'm definitely keen on getting enough experience to be competitive at the top research medical schools, because I know that I can pull off the grades to be competitive in that sense if I can keep my current trend going.
 
Mar 25, 2015
212
208
Thanks so much for your reply! Whether I do the summer program or not, I'm definitely going to find myself at least one full school year of research, though I'm really hoping to get in two years before I apply. I do like the idea of being in a new city for sure, and since I don't quite have to worry as much about getting volunteer experience, it seems like a great idea for me. Just wondering, did you just email PIs from other schools and manage to find summer research opportunities? Would you mind elaborating on this a little bit? I'm definitely keen on getting enough experience to be competitive at the top research medical schools, because I know that I can pull off the grades to be competitive in that sense if I can keep my current trend going.
I just looked over the list of PI's at a few medical schools in the area where I am from, but do not go to school, emailed one of the PI's whose bio was interesting with exceptionally a cover letter (I am NoB, I go to School X, and I would like to work with you because X, Y, Z) nothing fancy. It was simple as that. I am sure I got lucky because I got a position from the first PI I emailed, but I assume after a few tries you will find someone just as receptive. I honestly do not believe you need to do a summer program, I have worked with him for the past 2 summers and he has been a great resource for medical school. You can PM me for more details.