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Are some of the extracurriculars on a med school applicant's resume BS?

doctorrr-t

Full Member
Nov 24, 2019
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I remember in high school, students trying to apply to top universities would try to find some way to flourish up basic activities to make it seem as if they did some ground-breaking work in the eyes of college admissions officers. Does this same pattern exist in resumes of medical school applicants? I've seen a few resumes that include extremely long hours of volunteering or some very cool activities listed; I'm just wondering about the extent of the honesty vs extent of exaggeration/pretty language used. Are there ways medical school admissions officers can discover or notice false/stretched out information?
 
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Isoval

Year four and still haven't failed out yet, cool.
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Jul 5, 2017
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  1. Medical Student
Dude, my CV as a med student is packed full of BS.

List anything that you can actually talk about and that you had some level of involvement in that you think people would actually care about.

Nobody cares that you ran a lemonade stand in middle school.

But you were part of a lab for three months in college and contributed in some way? Sure.

As you get more (numerically and significantly) experiences, you start to drop things off your resume/CV that are "less important".
 
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Yhwach

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Apr 9, 2020
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Some of the stuff I put on my activities section for the med school applications were genuine like my hobbies and research experience.

Volunteering, in general, was ok but I did it mainly for med school.

Shadowing was okay but it was mainly for med school.

It's not black and white. Somethings I did at first were purely for CV padding purposes but later on I appreciate why medical schools want students that did it.
 
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penguinsfan71

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Jan 7, 2020
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A lot of applicants definitely exaggerate their volunteering and activities. While something like rounding up your volunteer hours or exaggerating your leadership role in a club most likely won't get you in trouble, outright lying could destroy your app. Rounding your 495 hours of volunteering to 500 is probably not going to be questioned, but if you said you did 1000 when you really did 100, that could be bad. Odds are the adcom doesn't find out, but there are horror stories of students being kicked out during their fourth year because they lied about something on their application. It's not worth the risk, especially when you have to provide a contact for each activity.

The activities section is where you want to talk about your interests and should be things you could talk about passionately during your interview. Sure you need to tick off the X hours of research, X hours of volunteering, etc., but past that it's important to talk about the activities that really define who you are. I talked about a volunteer volleyball coaching position I had, and my interviewer at my dream school picked that out of everything in my application to ask me about. We talked about it for half the interview, and I ended up getting accepted! Had I instead listed something a little "flashier" that I didn't care about, I wouldn't have been able to interview nearly as well about it. This is just my two cents as someone who just completed an admissions cycle, take everything I say with a grain of salt.
 
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datboi_58

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Jun 2, 2018
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A lot of applicants definitely exaggerate their volunteering and activities. While something like rounding up your volunteer hours or exaggerating your leadership role in a club most likely won't get you in trouble, outright lying could destroy your app. Rounding your 495 hours of volunteering to 500 is probably not going to be questioned, but if you said you did 1000 when you really did 100, that could be bad. Odds are the adcom doesn't find out, but there are horror stories of students being kicked out during their fourth year because they lied about something on their application. It's not worth the risk, especially when you have to provide a contact for each activity.

The activities section is where you want to talk about your interests and should be things you could talk about passionately during your interview. Sure you need to tick off the X hours of research, X hours of volunteering, etc., but past that it's important to talk about the activities that really define who you are. I talked about a volunteer volleyball coaching position I had, and my interviewer at my dream school picked that out of everything in my application to ask me about. We talked about it for half the interview, and I ended up getting accepted! Had I instead listed something a little "flashier" that I didn't care about, I wouldn't have been able to interview nearly as well about it. This is just my two cents as someone who just completed an admissions cycle, take everything I say with a grain of salt.
This^^^ once you’ve listed out typical premed activities that check the boxes, it’s probably more helpful to list “odd” ones or hobbies because they really want to know you’re a person and it’ll make your interviews much more engaging and fun.
 
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