Dec 27, 2016
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Pre-Medical
Hello,

I know this is long but I created this thread years before the application process so to continuously gain feedback on my pre-med profile. I am an undergraduate (semester 2) attending The Pennsylvania State University. During High School I did not care much for extracurricular activities. However, now I do. This is my current (and still in production) pre-med profile.

School: The Pennsylvania State University, '20. Biochemistry and Molecular biology. HONORS PROGRAM.
Clubs: Student Government Association Representative for Berks Chemical Society - A chapter of the American Chemical Society (Is this a leadership role? Without me representing the club at meetings the club's status would become "Inactive")
Research: 2 Projects. Both starting this semester. Papers and presentations already promised.
1st: Deals with the SP10 Virus and Hay Bacillus. I think we're examining sporulation in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis.
2nd: Me and my professor in collaboration with a Florida University's (private) research team, will work on providing theoretical values for a substance that can retrieve phosphorus from other compounds as it is not a renewable resource (not at the rate we are using it). Ive heard this professor is so generous that if the Florida University was to publish their paper on this new substance, obviously my professor would be credited, but she would ask that my name be on the paper as well. I am already expected to go present a poster in San Francisco at an ACS meeting. Im thinking this could be really good since it is not only working with another university, but it is also private research and seems like a quite important substance. Not really relevant to anything medical though. Any thoughts on this?​
Volunteering: ED Department (4hrs/Sunday - starting Jan 12th, 2017).
Work Experience: I just got a job as a pharmacy technician (12/28/16 - don't start working till next month because of training). Also, starting this semester I will be an undergraduate teaching assistant (UTA) for General Chemistry 110.
PAST: Subway (1.2 years, fast pace environment - very customer service orientated), Defense Commissary Agency as a bagger (2 years, VERY fast pace, team orientated, customer service, etc).​
Languages: English (fluent), German (Elementary, worth improving??)
OTHER: Basic Life Support (BLS) certification to be presented to me on Jan 14, 2017. Will be enrolling in an EMT class thats mostly online starting Jan 2017).
What I want to do: Shadowing (!!!), non-clinical volunteering (!!), tutoring (!!), mission trip (!), improve German (worth it?).

Its not a lot, but I think its decent. Is this is a good enough start to a profile for the first year of college only? For medical schools I know that you need to do a lot over your four years, so I want to make sure every one of my college years is well-thoughtout and productive. I know... "GPA and MCAT grades come first", as I will be dropping something (work, EMT class, a college class, UTA, or a research project) if my GPA starts to drop. Suggest anything though.

Thank you for your time!

EDIT: GPA 3.06. Calc I was a C, really affected GPA. Not too worried though because I will definitely work hard to improve it over all. 7 semesters left.
 
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Dr.Sticks

2+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2014
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So what is your current GPA??
I mean that looks great, but GPA info is needed before anyone can tell you anything.
 
Dec 27, 2016
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
So what is your current GPA??
I mean that looks great, but GPA info is needed before anyone can tell you anything.
I edited it into the bottom of my first post. I know the GPA currently will probably hinder me from getting NIH summer research opportunities but I'm hoping my current profile will improve my chances a bit. Thoughts?
 
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Dr.Sticks

2+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2014
1,118
621
Status
Pre-Medical
I edited it into the bottom of my first post. I know the GPA currently will probably hinder me from getting NIH summer research opportunities but I'm hoping my current profile will improve my chances a bit. Thoughts?
I would focus on your GPA before anything
It is getting more and more competitive
Anyways assuming you take 15 credits you could get it up to a 3.53 if you keep a 4.0 next semester and take 15 credits.

You still have the potential to graduate with a 3.8-3.9

So here is my suggestion keep up with the ECs but if you need to spend less time on them to study do it
Your GPA and MCAT is what will get you to the door, everything else comes 2nd but is still important.
 
Dec 27, 2016
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I would focus on your GPA before anything
It is getting more and more competitive
Anyways assuming you take 15 credits you could get it up to a 3.53 if you keep a 4.0 next semester and take 15 credits.

You still have the potential to graduate with a 3.8-3.9
Really hoping I can. Taking 21 credits this semester. Ultimately my goal is a 3.9. Biggest issue will be seeing how I'm going to fit everything in my schedule. If anything ill have to drop something not as important as research. Cant drop the EMT class cause thats nonrefundable and out of my own pocket. Dropping research is a bad move on reputation (to get LORs). If it comes to it teaching assistant is droppable (will save me total of ~5 - 6 hrs per week), pharmacy tech is droppable but I'm really interested in working there. I guess if I need more time: Drop UTA (brings total semester credits to 17) -> drop/reduce pharm tech time -> drop volunteering ->worst case: drop 1 research project.

Thanks for your immediate reply.
 

Dr.Sticks

2+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2014
1,118
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Status
Pre-Medical
Really hoping I can. Taking 21 credits this semester. Ultimately my goal is a 3.9. Biggest issue will be seeing how I'm going to fit everything in my schedule. If anything ill have to drop something not as important as research. Cant drop the EMT class cause thats nonrefundable and out of my own pocket. Dropping research is a bad move on reputation (to get LORs). If it comes to it teaching assistant is droppable (will save me total of ~5 - 6 hrs per week), pharmacy tech is droppable but I'm really interested in working there. I guess if I need more time: Drop UTA (brings total semester credits to 17) -> drop/reduce pharm tech time -> drop volunteering ->worst case: drop 1 research project.

Thanks for your immediate reply.
Why so many credits???
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Jan 11, 2016
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Taking that many credits is unnecessary and will hurt your GPA more likely than help it, especially while trying to do all those ECs. Trust me. I took 23 credits one semester, and I was not able to get a 4.0 because I was stretched too thin between all those classes and research plus working. Take ~15 credits and you'll have more time for what you want to do (research and EMT--which honestly is not going to be as high yield as you think probably) and what you have to do (get that GPA up).

Also, you should be at least as interested in non-clinical volunteering as you are shadowing. Shadowing is important to have, but you only need like 50 hours. Non-clinical volunteering is essential, and you should ideally be shooting for several hundred hours of that.
 

aprilfools

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Mar 25, 2016
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Don't just take the EMT class to have the certification, as the cert by itself is worthless. If you intend to work/volunteer as an EMT, however, I think it is a great clinical experience.

You had mentioned a mission trip. Really be careful with this. Do some research into appropriate programs and make sure your time and money is being spent to actually benefit the people you are going to serve. The growing trend of "voluntourism" is exploitative to these underprivileged communities and I see all too often people taking service trips not to benefit the people they are supposedly going to serve, but only to benefit themselves (make themselves feel good about "helping people", looking good on a resume, etc.). Often times, the money that is wasted sending unskilled laborers and college kids to far-away, under-served places could be far better spent if the end goal is to actually help the people in these communities, and adcoms know this. So as I said, if it is something you really want to do and you can find a program that is genuinely helpful, by all means go for it, but please be careful in finding such a program, and know that longitudinal work with the under-served is almost universally seen as "better" (in terms of a resume-builder) than a week long trip to Central America.
 
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Jun 30, 2015
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Really hoping I can. Taking 21 credits this semester. Ultimately my goal is a 3.9. Biggest issue will be seeing how I'm going to fit everything in my schedule. If anything ill have to drop something not as important as research. Cant drop the EMT class cause thats nonrefundable and out of my own pocket. Dropping research is a bad move on reputation (to get LORs). If it comes to it teaching assistant is droppable (will save me total of ~5 - 6 hrs per week), pharmacy tech is droppable but I'm really interested in working there. I guess if I need more time: Drop UTA (brings total semester credits to 17) -> drop/reduce pharm tech time -> drop volunteering ->worst case: drop 1 research project.

Thanks for your immediate reply.
I'd take less credits if I were you.
 
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Doctor-S

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Jun 9, 2016
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Agree with @Dr.Sticks, @Matthew9Thirtyfive, @aprilfools.

As a first-year student, it is advisable to focus on your classes at this time (and not become overly involved in multiple ECs).

In addition, it's probably not advisable to assume that your classes will become easier as you progress through a biochemistry/molecular biology major. Instead, it is likely that certain classes will become more challenging/time-consuming and will likely require more of your time and attention.

In your first semester at PennState, which letter grades did you receive in each of your classes thus far (and what was the title of each class)?
 
Dec 27, 2016
6
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Agree with @Dr.Sticks, @Matthew9Thirtyfive, @aprilfools.

As a first-year student, it is advisable to focus on your classes at this time (and not become overly involved in multiple ECs).

In addition, it's probably not advisable to assume that your classes will become easier as you progress through a biochemistry/molecular biology major. Instead, it is likely that certain classes will become more challenging/time-consuming and will likely require more of your time and attention.

In your first semester at PennState, which letter grades did you receive in each of your classes thus far (and what was the title of each class)?
 

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