Advice for sophomore without clinical experience due to COVID but wants to apply to medical school next cycle (spring/summer 2022)?

Nov 24, 2019
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I’m a second year student at a competitive college that was aiming to apply to medical school in the next cycle of 2022 so I could matriculate to medical school right after graduation. Everything was going as planned in terms of grades, research, extracurriculars despite the pandemic. However, I do not have any clinical experience (volunteering in a clinical setting, etc). I’m currently shadowing one primary care physician for about 60 hours and I plan to shadow 2-3 more people in different fields this summer and beyond, so I’m not particularly stressed about that part. However, it’s been impossible to find remote volunteering opportunities that are considered “clinical” for obvious reasons. I’m a full student on campus so I can’t even leave the campus to go get some professional certificates (EMT, CNA, etc) and work in a hospital. What should/can I do? Yes, a gap year is an option even if I do not prefer it but wouldn’t a gap year only provide with a couple of extra months of clinical experience, so adcoms will see that I started late and did not commit too much time to it? I’m afraid it wouldn’t demonstrate a long term consistent activity, unless I took at least two gap years (which is very much not ideal). I’d appreciate any advice because I’ve been stuck in this rut for a while now.
 

KnightDoc

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I’m a second year student at a competitive college that was aiming to apply to medical school in the next cycle of 2022 so I could matriculate to medical school right after graduation. Everything was going as planned in terms of grades, research, extracurriculars despite the pandemic. However, I do not have any clinical experience (volunteering in a clinical setting, etc). I’m currently shadowing one primary care physician for about 60 hours and I plan to shadow 2-3 more people in different fields this summer and beyond, so I’m not particularly stressed about that part. However, it’s been impossible to find remote volunteering opportunities that are considered “clinical” for obvious reasons. I’m a full student on campus so I can’t even leave the campus to go get some professional certificates (EMT, CNA, etc) and work in a hospital. What should/can I do? Yes, a gap year is an option even if I do not prefer it but wouldn’t a gap year only provide with a couple of extra months of clinical experience, so adcoms will see that I started late and did not commit too much time to it? I’m afraid it wouldn’t demonstrate a long term consistent activity, unless I took at least two gap years (which is very much not ideal). I’d appreciate any advice because I’ve been stuck in this rut for a while now.
You are miscounting your years!!! :cool: THIS cycle is 2020-21; the next one will be 2021-22, when you will only be a rising junior. Unless you are expecting to graduate in 3 years, you will not be applying until 2022-23 (the summer between your junior and senior years). You therefore still have more than enough time to obtain clinical experience (volunteer or paid) before applying.
 
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Nov 24, 2019
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Haha yes thank you for the clarification! But yes I was referring to that 2022-2023 cycle. For that cycle though, I would submit my primary application in June, which means I can list my experiences until that time. Even if I get clinical experience this summer, I would only be able to list it as something i did for a couple of month or a year at best. I’m just worried that although I might get the necessary number of hours, it wouldn’t be seen as something I did over a long period of time so they might think it’s a last minute sort of activity. That’s why I wanted to start last summer to rack up about 2 years of experience but was unable to because of covid.
 
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candbgirl

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@KnightDoc is right. You have at least 18 months before you apply. Certainly by late summer -fall 2021 volunteer clinical experiences will open up. Clinical experiences can be volunteer or paid. Have you looked into scribing ? Medical assistant? Nurses Aid? At some point you are going to have to figure out how to get your stuff done and get off campus too. How is your nonclinical volunteering going? After you finish your shadowing with the primary care doc , you’ll have enough shadowing. So you can stop and focus on another activity(unless you really want to shadow another doctor.) But you only need around 50 hours of shadowing. Understand you are expected to have the expected activities despite the pandemic. Schools won’t give you a pass because they will have hundreds / thousands of applicants that figured out how to get things done. If you really can’t figure something out you’ll need to take a gap year or two and actually that wouldn’t be the worse thing to happen to you. When do you plan to take the MCAT? You have to allot enough time for that too. Good luck.
 
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candbgirl

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Haha yes thank you for the clarification! But yes I was referring to that 2022-2023 cycle. For that cycle though, I would submit my primary application in June, which means I can list my experiences until that time. Even if I get clinical experience this summer, I would only be able to list it as something i did for a couple of month or a year at best. I’m just worried that although I might get the necessary number of hours, it wouldn’t be seen as something I did over a long period of time so they might think it’s a last minute sort of activity. That’s why I wanted to start last summer to rack up about 2 years of experience but was unable to because of covid.
You won’t submit your application until June 2022 for matriculation Summer 2023. You are still not understanding that you have 18 months before you apply. So start looking for opportunities now. Don’t wait for the summer. But you are going to have to be aggressive and creative and you are going to have to get off campus and out of your comfort zone.
 
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Nov 24, 2019
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You won’t submit your application until June 2022 for matriculation Summer 2023. You are still not understanding that you have 18 months before you apply. So start looking for opportunities now. Don’t wait for the summer. But you are going to have to be aggressive and creative and you are going to have to get off campus and out of your comfort zone.
School does not allow students to get off campus because of covid. I was considering staying at home and studying remotely but one main pro of being on campus is the research I’ve been doing. Thoughts/advice?
 
Nov 24, 2019
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You won’t submit your application until June 2022 for matriculation Summer 2023. You are still not understanding that you have 18 months before you apply. So start looking for opportunities now. Don’t wait for the summer. But you are going to have to be aggressive and creative and you are going to have to get off campus and out of your comfort zone.
School does not allow students to get off campus because of covid. I was considering staying at home and studying remotely but one main pro of being on campus is the research I’ve been doing. Thoughts/advice?
 

candbgirl

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1. Start lining up jobs/volunteer activities now so when you finish the semester you can start immediately.
2. Plan for two gap years. You have to have these experiences. Are you being paid for the research? Maybe finish out the semester with the research and quit. This will give you extra time for your clinical and nonclinical expectations.
 
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KnightDoc

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School does not allow students to get off campus because of covid. I was considering staying at home and studying remotely but one main pro of being on campus is the research I’ve been doing. Thoughts/advice?
The short answer is that you will be absolutely fine. Doing something for a year before applying, plus projecting hours into the application year (assuming you plan to continue) will be fine. You don't need more time than that in a single activity. That said, realize that 2/3 of all matriculants have at least one gap year, so your application will have to be pretty strong in general to be in the 1/3 of the class to have been admitted without one.

Personally, I'd stay on campus (I assume this allows you to have a least a few classes in person?). If so, this is irreplaceable, and is more important than having access to in person ECs, which can always be obtained later.
 
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A few things:
Disregard the previous comment: DO NOT LIE!!!! True, ADCOMS might not verify hours, but it is not worth the risk of having your entire application discounted should you be discovered. Plus, you will need to speak about clinical experiences at interviews and they can always tell when your stories are true or made up. You absolutely DO NOT want to lie. It will catch up with you.
Second--it seems like you really want to start medical school right after you graduate college. However, it might be worth to think about a gap year(s). I graduated in 2019, took my MCAT 2020 and applied the current cycle, and am beginning this summer. I took two years off and have been working in research. I'm not sure how easy/difficult it is to get jobs in research at the current moment, but assuming you will graduate in 2023, the landscape will most likely be different then. Since you're a sophomore, the best advice I can give you is to focus on your prereqs and GPA and clinical experience. Don't worry about the MCAT just yet, but the more time you give yourself to apply the more clinical experience you will get and the quality of your application (which your clinical experience will affect) is much more important than rushing to start med school ASAP.
Message me if you want to speak more about a gap year(s)--it's something I suggest to everyone
 
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KnightDoc

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A few things:
Disregard the previous comment: DO NOT LIE!!!! True, ADCOMS might not verify hours, but it is not worth the risk of having your entire application discounted should you be discovered. Plus, you will need to speak about clinical experiences at interviews and they can always tell when your stories are true or made up. You absolutely DO NOT want to lie. It will catch up with you.
Second--it seems like you really want to start medical school right after you graduate college. However, it might be worth to think about a gap year(s). I graduated in 2019, took my MCAT 2020 and applied the current cycle, and am beginning this summer. I took two years off and have been working in research. I'm not sure how easy/difficult it is to get jobs in research at the current moment, but assuming you will graduate in 2023, the landscape will most likely be different then. Since you're a sophomore, the best advice I can give you is to focus on your prereqs and GPA and clinical experience. Don't worry about the MCAT just yet, but the more time you give yourself to apply the more clinical experience you will get and the quality of your application (which your clinical experience will affect) is much more important than rushing to start med school ASAP.
Message me if you want to speak more about a gap year(s)--it's something I suggest to everyone
This^^^^^. I fully realize that @Dave1980 is an attending and I am a mere premed, but I know for a fact that items in applications ARE verified prior to or after matriculation (the volunteer coordinator at one of my ECs confirmed that they DO receive calls from med schools verifying participation and hours), even if every hour claimed in every activity is not scrutinized. It would be insane to have an A rescinded, or be kicked out of school after starting due to being so neurotic as to feel it is necessary to fudge ECs, and to feel safe in so doing by relying on terrible advice provided anonymously on the internet.
 
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Goro

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This might be an unpopular opinion but you could always lie about your experience.

I don't think anyone fact checks this stuff.

The number of hoops pre-meds have to jump through is crazy IMO.
Jeeze! I never expected Dave to go full blown loose cannon.

As a public service announcement, Medicine is a profession that prides itself on professionalism and honesty. So kudos to the mods for the desrebed Banhammer smack.

And we Adcoms also have some decent BS detectors.

OP, here's a harsh truth: your safety, as well as that of your family and society, is more important than your med school plans.

In the mean time, you can work on your nonclinical volunteering. Venues include scribing, food banks, COVID screening or contact tracing, Meals on Wheels, election poll working (normally done by seniors) and whatever your local houses of worship can suggest. Med schools aren't going anywhere.
 
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