Chemical Engineering student seeking advice on Pre-Med

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mrbayoubengal

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I am a freshman chemical engineering student who is interested in attending medical school and becoming a doctor. I am very dedicated to my studies and I am very strong in the sciences/math. I don't complain about course loads and I have a love of learning everything (I just dislike English ) I hate English, but I make A's on all my essays. I am also good at explaining and expressing my ideas. My biology, chemistry, and other classes all come easy to me. I'm making all A's. I'm making A's in math too, I just don't see it as meaning as helping out my fellow man. I really do enjoy every bit of information I can put in my head. Just thinking or talking about any type of science gets my blood going. I really don't like doing anything else but learning. When I have time off I don't know what to do with myself but read and study different things. I also realize that helping and serving people is where I want to be. Engineering is fun, but I guess it is my backup plan. If I was to major in pure science like chemistry or biology it wouldn't be that much of a challenge for me. I just about have a photographic memory when it comes to terms, concepts, and diagrams. I usually just have to read or look over something once and it is committed to memory. I have really good study habits. I rather have the science background and an engineer’s thought process. There is so much more to life than just working with numbers. I want to be a lifelong learner. I already know what it is to work long hours. I've pulled 80 to 90 hours a week working at a manufacturing plant for the past two summers. Working is nothing new to me. I would probably like to do something cardiovascular or cancer related. The reason for that is I’ve seen both of my grandpa’s pass away from strokes and heart disease. I’ve also seen the battle my uncle fought with cancer and how it took his life. I know what it is for family to go through something like that. I want to do anything I can to help people in the future and increase the knowledge we have on these issues. I would like to know what anyone would recommend me doing to prepare for the MCAT and being completive for medical school. I would like to know which classes to take that would benefit me the most and help me out in preparing for the MCAT. Should I volunteer my time at a hospital or should I seek internships for chemical engineering related industries. I would like to know if the volunteer work is required and how many hours I should look to obtain. The chemical engineering degree will already cover all of the chemistry and physics. I think I will have to take an extra physics lab though. Also, the degree requires biology, but I would like to know how many biology and biology lab classes I would have to take to meet the requirements for med school. What are the basic requirements for med schools across the country or does it differ from place to place. Any advice you can offer on this subject will be appreciated. Thank You.
 

TehDoc

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Those are alot of questions, here is your one stop shop: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/search.php

1 year bio w/ lab
1 year general chem w/ lab
1 year organic chem w/lab
1 year physics w/lab
math.. calculus/calculus 2/statistics (depends on school)

Some require English or other subjects completely school dependent.
 

vbdoc77

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as a chemical engineer that will be attend med school next year, i can at least answer your questions with what i did...

Extra classes I took to prepare for the MCAT were physio and genetics. I've also taken Biochem and an elective in biomedical engineering which both cover a small portion of what is learned in med school (and obviously along the lines of your interests).

I did the typical emergency room volunteering, but I did do co-ops and internships in chemical engineering (mostly because they paid so well and this application process is quite expensive). Most of the research I did was chemistry and engineering related...but it was still good to get that experience.

I think what you'll find over the next years is that a lot of what you learn and the skills you acquire through your cme curriculum are really going to help once in med school and as a practicing physician. I'd be happy to answer any other questions for you!
 
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mrbayoubengal

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I appreciate everyone for their replies. Mydodger, due to the state of the LSU football team and the stupidity of our quarterback, I really have nothing to come back with.
I will use paragraphs and bullets now.
· What type of GPA should I be looking to maintain with a degree in chemical engineering?
· What is the typical score on the MCAT
· How many hours should I obtain in clinical work to be competitive?
· Should I be worried about the medical field since we really don’t know what kind of medical reform will be taking place with the new president in office? Will it be good or bad for medical professionals if patients are given free government healthcare. I just figure I get some opinions on this issue. I don’t know if anyone knows. I really don’t know what is planned because what you hear and what actually takes place are two separate things. I hope all goes well.
· Any other advice that you can think of is welcome.
 

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boo tigers go gators! I'd say boo hogs but they're pathetic enough as it is to not need any more slander ;).

As a cheme you're going to get all the basic science classes with the exception of the bios, and you should be able to take any classes you don't take as electives.

ChemE is a fine degree as someone mentioned previously, and it will be looked upon favorably IF AND ONLY IF you keep your GPA up. Some consideration may be given to an engineer with a low GPA but it is likely very negligible so just know that you will be working harder to obtain a (probably) inferior GPA as a ChemE. That being said, you will also learn a lot more and will be incredibly well prepared for the MCAT and life in general, but don't expect to blow it out of the water simply because you've been through a difficult engineering curriculum. No one can give you typical scores because everyone still needs to work for the test and it largely comes down to how much work you do. To give you an idea, of my fellow cheme's that are pre-med 2 got high 20's, myself and a friend of mine got mid 30's, and a few other friends got low 30's. So basically, it depends how much work you put into it and how intelligent you are (just like any other exam).

As for volunteering, find something you enjoy and do it for a few hours a week over a long period of time. This will show dedication, you will likely receive more responsibility, and you will have plenty of experiences to talk about.
 

mrbayoubengal

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Yet again I have nothing to say about the gators either. I still have bad memories from that last game. Just sad, very sad.
  • Are there any programs or books that ya'll would know to be useful in preparing for the MCAT?
 

mrbayoubengal

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Mydodger, did you have to take the physics labs or did your engineering labs meet the requirement for it. Reason being, the chemical engineering curriculum at LSU doesn't require us taking the 2 physics labs for the degree. If a few of my engineering labs meet the requirements then I only have to do is meet the biology requirements.

I appreciate all of the replies. Thank you all, but don’t remind me about LSU’s loss against Ole Miss. The loss has caused enough pain, lol.
 

Thriller

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examkrackers has awesome mcat prep books. Pretty much everything you'll need to know for the mcat is learned in the prerequisite classes so one of the most important things you can do is take plenty of practice tests. The best practice tests are probably the ones you can buy off of the aamc website since they are real tests from previous years.

another big thing is to stay humble. You sound like you have awesome grades and will do very well on the mcat. Be careful about making any statements about wanting to be the one to cure cancer, AIDS, etc...Many people you interview with will be physicians or research scientists who have dedicated their lives to that pursuit and may very well feel defensive if you come in claiming that you'll be able to succeed where they have failed.

Good luck, you sound like you have excellent motives.

p.s. GO UTES!
 

mrbayoubengal

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examkrackers has awesome mcat prep books. Pretty much everything you'll need to know for the mcat is learned in the prerequisite classes so one of the most important things you can do is take plenty of practice tests. The best practice tests are probably the ones you can buy off of the aamc website since they are real tests from previous years.

another big thing is to stay humble. You sound like you have awesome grades and will do very well on the mcat. Be careful about making any statements about wanting to be the one to cure cancer, AIDS, etc...Many people you interview with will be physicians or research scientists who have dedicated their lives to that pursuit and may very well feel defensive if you come in claiming that you'll be able to succeed where they have failed.

Good luck, you sound like you have excellent motives.

p.s. GO UTES!

Oh no, I'm not making any claims like that, lol. You don't have to worry about that. I'll just feel everything out and see how it goes. I have a lot of time to think my plans through and if it is truly the right for me. I would just like to go into a field that I feel has affected my life. One of my best friends, his sister just started med school for endocrinology and because she has diabetes. She wants to help other people who suffer with the disease. I could also see myself doing ENT or something respiratory related. My brother and I have always suffered from severe allergies and it would be nice to do something like that.

Question: Does anyone know what specialities are in high demand or what areas are there shortages of doctors in? I know there is a need for Family doctors, but are there any specialities a great need for physicians?
 

mrbayoubengal

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The reason I ask which specialties have a great need or demand is because I would like fill an area that has needed positions. Also, paying off med school would not be an issue because LSU Med offers tuition exemption for anyone that wants to work in the rural areas of Louisiana. My friends sister is doing endocrinology and she qualified for tuition exemption. I am originally from a rural area of Louisiana and it wouldn't be hard to do the program. I wouldn't have to worry about paying off any outrageous debt and it would be a natural fit. So, it is not like I would have to go into a high paying specialty just to pay off loans or anything of that nature. Any advice on this will be appreciated.
 

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you should look into doing a PhD instead of an MD.

Being a PhD you will be constantly learning (reading new papers and ideas) and discovering new knowledge that can be used to help masses of people.

Being an MD is more about applying the knowledge to individuals. There is less analytical thinking and more people skills.
 
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you should look into doing a PhD instead of an MD.

Being a PhD you will be constantly learning (reading new papers and ideas) and discovering new knowledge that can be used to help masses of people.

Being an MD is more about applying the knowledge to individuals. There is less analytical thinking and more people skills.

Looking at a Ph.D really isn't a bad idea, as it seems like it would suit you interests really well. I'm sure that there are many applications of chem eng to medicine, or you could even go into a field like medical physics, which is a very interesting area where you can actually do some rad onc clinical stuff, as well as research. And if you think about it, as a Ph.D, you have the potential of improving a lot more lives if you discover some sort of novel therapy.

ps: have fun watching the Gators win it all again this year :D
 

ChemEngMD

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I'm a ChemE pre-med too (hence my name on here) and I just want to say big-ups to all of you trying to do the same path! It'll be annoying when your friends who are pre-med/liberal arts majors are out partying and having a good time, but it'll be worth it in the end! :cool:
 
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I'm a ChemE pre-med too (hence my name on here) and I just want to say big-ups to all of you trying to do the same path! It'll be annoying when your friends who are pre-med/liberal arts majors are out partying and having a good time, but it'll be worth it in the end! :cool:

Its the business majors that get to me.

I'm a chemE too. Good luck!
 

ChemEngMD

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Its the business majors that get to me.

I'm a chemE too. Good luck!


haha yeah the business majors will make you angry now, but when they're managing a Best Buy and hating their lives you'll realize it was all worth it lol
 

Emmet2301

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I'm a ChemE pre-med too (hence my name on here) and I just want to say big-ups to all of you trying to do the same path! It'll be annoying when your friends who are pre-med/liberal arts majors are out partying and having a good time, but it'll be worth it in the end! :cool:

I'm in the situation of choosing what major I want to do. I'm thinking of maybe doing engineering. However, I don't see why it will be worth it in the end as you say. It's more work and eventually(hopefully) both the liberal arts guy and the chem e person will be in med school. Lol ya I feel bad that my bio and chem friends have it SOOOO much easier.
 

thesauce

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you should look into doing a PhD instead of an MD.

Being a PhD you will be constantly learning (reading new papers and ideas) and discovering new knowledge that can be used to help masses of people.

Being an MD is more about applying the knowledge to individuals. There is less analytical thinking and more people skills.

I was also a ChE and am now a 4th year med student. I would agree that you should look into a Ph.D. as an option, but definitely don't rule out an MD even if you want to do pure research. You may incur a little more debt with your MD, but you'll likely be paid substantially more than your Ph.D. counterparts doing the same thing. Besides that, MDs are traditionally very successful in obtaining grant funding. The one-dimensional view that Wylde gives is common dogma, but is actually not very true.

There are so many specialties and career paths that MDs can go into that it's hard to go wrong regardless of your interests. Besides that, a medical student puts in 4 years and then is gauranteed an MD (provided they pass). A Ph.D. could be there for twice as long and never get their degree depending on their advisory committee. What Wylde described is a private practice physician in certain settings which is 1 of dozens of possible options for an MD.

I believe an academic medicine track might be perfect for you, and I'd be willing to bet that ChE are disproportionally over-represented in that setting because we love to constantly challenge ourselves with new things. I'm on that track myself and would be happy to talk to you about it if you want to PM me.

[I appreciate everyone for their replies. Mydodger, due to the state of the LSU football team and the stupidity of our quarterback, I really have nothing to come back with.
I will use paragraphs and bullets now.
· What type of GPA should I be looking to maintain with a degree in chemical engineering?
· What is the typical score on the MCAT
· How many hours should I obtain in clinical work to be competitive?
· Should I be worried about the medical field since we really don’t know what kind of medical reform will be taking place with the new president in office? Will it be good or bad for medical professionals if patients are given free government healthcare. I just figure I get some opinions on this issue. I don’t know if anyone knows. I really don’t know what is planned because what you hear and what actually takes place are two separate things. I hope all goes well.
· Any other advice that you can think of is welcome.]

Keep making A's. They open doors in engineering more than in other majors. You seem to be in stride right now and I encourage you to keep it up.

For the MCAT, you should be getting no less than 10s across the board. I'll be honest, I didn't take it very seriously and only got a 30 (8-8-14PS). I had a 4.0 and wanted to keep it up even if that meant a lower MCAT because once you enter med school, the MCAT is meaningless, but your GPA will always be dispayed on your CV (if only Summa Cum Laude). To each his own I guess, but I still managed to get an interview to every program I applied to except one.

Starting 2nd year, I recommend shadowing a doctor once a week for 3hrs or so when it fits into your schedule. I recommend geriatrics.

I wouldn't worry about changing your political views. They are your own and it's unlikely that they will make any kind of difference in your application.
 

OncoCaP

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Another ChemE here (BS/MS/PhD/PE). I worked & ran a business that employed some ChemE's (but mostly EE's) for many years before going back. I'm a second year medical student now. Medicine is an awesome field; you are picking a winner. ChemE's bring a lot of great ideas to medicine and tend to do pretty well because they are smart, think logically & practically, have an excellent background, and work hard. Good luck. Make sure you don't take too many killer classes at once and crush your GPA, which would hurt your options in terms of where to go for med school. Some of my classmates were BioMed majors (that's usually through mechanical engineering) and they are doing extremely well ... you may want to look at that route as well. Spread out the plant design and other classes as much as you need in order to keep your GPA up (within the guidelines allowed by your program). Take the bio classes you need as your electives and stay in touch with both the pre-med counselor and your ChemE adviser so you meet all the requirements. As long as the ChemE adviser knows that you are taking those extra bio classes because you want to go to medical school (not because you are a slacker and want to avoid the ChemE or other difficult classes) they can usually give you some flexibility to get all the requirements in. You are picking an awesome career and a great way to get there in my opinion.
 

mrbayoubengal

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Thank You everyone for all of your replies. I appreciate everyone's input.
Now, you have all made me think of some more questions, lol.

· So, about the whole PhD, if I were to go that route shouldn't I just major in a pure science like chemistry or whatever. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't it be more beneficial if I wanted to do research in an area if I went just in the life sciences. Or maybe it depends on college teaching the chemical engineering program. I just feel if I was to go with the Ph.D in chemical as opposed to a pure science then I wouldn't be doing the medicine/pharmaceutical research. I really don't think LSU focuses on that really in their curriculum. I think it is more of the usual refining/material/alternative fuel sources type of stuff. Like for example, at LSU you select a formal concentration in: Bioengineering, Environmental, or Materials.

· Now speaking of strictly chemistry they offer concentrations in: Biological Chemistry, Chemical physics, Chemistry (lol, no joke), environmental chemistry, materials, and polymers.

· I think my biggest problem is the fact that I like just about everything. I like all the sciences the biology, chemistry, physics, geology, everything. I like math(well, I'm good at math, but sometimes when I'm doing it, I'm like yeah, I can do this, I can spit out the answer, but what the hell is this used for?). I like knowing the why, what, when, where.

· Here is the deal, I've always been fascinated by the science of everything, why that works, or why is that the way it is, or let me take that apart and analyze it. I was planning on majoring in engineering for those reasons, but I fear I might be more interested in the science than the engineering itself, if that makes any sense. I wanted to do engineering because I want to befit the world, help mankind, explore and if that fits engineering or science I really have no clue. If someone could explain the differences to me that would be great.

· The simple fact is I would like to develop/research/study things, but it seems to me that the way chemical engineering is geared here it is more of a management of a plant or supervisory type of position thing. For example, I know a guy who graduated just last year from LSU and he's doing chemical engineering work and he is supervising projects and stuff like that at a plant. I really don't find that interesting at all. One guy I talked to said that the way they teach chemical engineering here at LSU it is like your are a "Glorified Plummer." Which correlates with the Oil Field refining aspect since this is Louisiana.

· The fact is, I couldn't see myself in a management position just managing processes. My mind is stimulated by learning things about the universe, organisms, life itself, all the good stuff. To support my case, sometimes, when I have time, after class, I'll spend a good 30 -45 mins discussing random science topics with one of my professors, the subjects include anything from medical ailments, the makeup of living creatures, the universe's origin, theoretical physics, I mean you name it. I can do that all day long no joke, seriously. I'll keep asking questions and he'll keep answering.

· So here is the deal, am I thinking engineering is something is not? Am I better suited going into pure science curriculum? You know, I could see myself doing a academic type of setting researching or teaching a class, or something of that nature.

· The bottom line is, if my mind is not receiving all of this interesting information. I am not a happy camper. Pure math doesn't interest me, or even come close to the way I feel when I am in a biology, chemistry class, or something of that nature. I respect math, I'm good at solving equations, and it feels good when I solve a problem, it's just sometimes I don't see the point. All though physics I can see the point, just like the other sciences. I guess when something has an application then I like it. Like I know for my biology 2 class in high school, I haven't taken a biology in college yet, but I'm sure its no different, just way more in depth. I passed that with a 4.0 every quarter, made A+'s on every test, and I could listen to my teacher talk like there was no tomorrow. There was not a point in time where I was bored, I was constantly fascinated. Same with physics and chemistry. Physics kept me interested not because of the problems or math in them, but what you could study or do with them, same with chemistry.

· Now in a math class I can drift off into the abyssal plane, I understand what is coming out of the teachers mouth, but do I care all that much, I would have to say NO. It just doesn't catch my attention like everything else does.

· Medical School and becoming a doctor I think for me at least would be very satisfying. Always learning something new, especially since it's everything that interests me in science. Especially since I want to help people. Also, more specifically help in the areas that have affected my family greatly. I would like to do cardiology, Ophthalmology/Cancer research, or immunology/allergies/ENT type of stuff, Neurology also interests me. I have no problem with blood. I'm not squeamish or anything. I do have one weakness though, and it is smell. If something smells horrible, like terribly sour, I have to stop myself from gagging, lol. I don't know if you encounter any horrendous smells in med school, but I know that wouldn't be good for me, lol. It would have to be very, very bad though for it to affect me.

So, due to the details I have presented, what would you that are going into med school, and others that are chemical engineers say to me, am I justifying myself in doing engineering or am I cheating myself out of something. The thing is, since I haven't gotten into the upper level chemical engineering courses I have no idea what I would be studying. I know my interest will be sustained in science, but I really don't know enough about engineering. I mean I'm only a freshman, I think I am now more confused than ever, lol.
I will tell you this, every engineer I've talked to does management, which if I wanted to do management, or just fixes problems with machines or things in a plant, which god forbid if I wanted to manage things I would major in business, which I rather pull my nose hairs out with my bare hands. Tell me straight up how it is, and what you think I should do.
 
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engineeredout

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· The bottom line is, if my mind is not receiving all of this interesting information. I am not a happy camper. Pure math doesn't interest me, or even come close to the way I feel when I am in a biology, chemistry class, or something of that nature. I respect math, I'm good at solving equations, and it feels good when I solve a problem, it's just sometimes I don't see the point. All though physics I can see the point, just like the other sciences. I guess when something has an application then I like it. Like I know for my biology 2 class in high school, I haven't taken a biology in college yet, but I'm sure its no different, just way more in depth. I passed that with a 4.0 every quarter, made A+'s on every test, and I could listen to my teacher talk like there was no tomorrow. There was not a point in time where I was bored, I was constantly fascinated. Same with physics and chemistry. Physics kept me interested not because of the problems or math in them, but what you could study or do with them, same with chemistry.

I'm doing a double major in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, which I find 100X more interesting than pure mathematics. Stats is awesome, and a lot of the applied math courses like graph theory and game theory are really interesting. Its not like pure math where you're sitting with a chalkboard deriving formulas all day. You still take the same basic math courses (Calc I - IV, linear algebra etc) but the upper electives are a lot more interesting.

Just a thought if your school has something similar. It was an easy double major to do with ChemE since we have to take Calc I-IV, programming, and a couple of the other required courses for the applied math major anyway
 

mrbayoubengal

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I'm doing a double major in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, which I find 100X more interesting than pure mathematics. Stats is awesome, and a lot of the applied math courses like graph theory and game theory are really interesting. Its not like pure math where you're sitting with a chalkboard deriving formulas all day. You still take the same basic math courses (Calc I - IV, linear algebra etc) but the upper electives are a lot more interesting.

Just a thought if your school has something similar. It was an easy double major to do with ChemE since we have to take Calc I-IV, programming, and a couple of the other required courses for the applied math major anyway

Yeah they do have an applied/discrete math concentration and a Mathematical statistics concentration. So, you also studied chemical engineering while doing all of that, impressive. Where will you be attending med school?
 

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Im new to the forum and made a post asking a related (but Im in quite a different situation that original poster) question w/o noticing this one and someone posted a link in my thread to here so i figured he was suggesting I post in here. Here is copy and pasted:

(I know all the academics pre-reqs as I picked up an advising packet)
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Hey everyone, Im considering med school right now and forums have served me well in the past so i searched online and found this one, let me know if i posted this in the wrong section.

Some Background:
Im currently a Sophmore Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major at a large, private, top-10 Engineering school.

Recently Ive become really interested in medicine because engineering seems a little to impersonal to me and I dont think I would find refining oil too fulfilling and I constantly find myself reading health related wiki articles when i should be studying quantum mechanics.

I would definately stick with my chemical engineering major in case I decided against med school or couldnt get in.

Now for a couple questions:

GPA- I downloaded the excel spreadsheet that matches you up with schools and it seems my GPA is going to really hurt me. I will probaly graduate with a 3.2-3.4 which is quite good in chemical engineering here, but seems to be significantly lower than the GPA's im seeing in the spreadsheet.

Will my GPA be too much to overcome? ( I dont plan on having any too amazing extra-curriculurs - I worked for a chemical company this summer and in coming summers I plan to volunteer at hospital or in a lab at local med school.)

Bio- To complete my bio requirement and still graduate in 4 years I will probaly take it at home over the summer from a big state school. I've heard this is extremely discouraged b/c admissions commitees think your trying to take the easy way out instead of competing against your peers in bio courses.

Will this be a big issue for me or will the fact that Im taking massive amounts of hard science classes for my major balance this out? (we take organic chem, quantum mechanics, fluid dynamics, physical chem, thermodynamics, etc.)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
 
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The biggest issue, regardless of everything else, will be your GPA. Unless you rock the MCAT and apply to a good selection of schools, you're going to have a tough time with a 3.2.

You're a sophomore, I don't understand how you can "not plan to have too amazing extracurriculars." You have 2+ years of school left! Why don't you go out there and do some amazing extracurriculars?! Chemical Engineering is your backup. It's not a bad backup to have, but the problem with it is that your backup plan is something that interferes with your primary plan. If you REALLY want to get into med school, why don't you do everything you can do to get into med school instead of saying that over the next 2 years you're going to have a bad GPA, bad extracurriculars, etc? I'm sorry, but if you can't put in the effort now to get into med school, what makes you think you'll be able to put in the effort once you actually get accepted?
 

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The biggest issue, regardless of everything else, will be your GPA. Unless you rock the MCAT and apply to a good selection of schools, you're going to have a tough time with a 3.2.

You're a sophomore, I don't understand how you can "not plan to have too amazing extracurriculars." You have 2+ years of school left! Why don't you go out there and do some amazing extracurriculars?! Chemical Engineering is your backup. It's not a bad backup to have, but the problem with it is that your backup plan is something that interferes with your primary plan. If you REALLY want to get into med school, why don't you do everything you can do to get into med school instead of saying that over the next 2 years you're going to have a bad GPA, bad extracurriculars, etc? I'm sorry, but if you can't put in the effort now to get into med school, what makes you think you'll be able to put in the effort once you actually get accepted?

Im not sure where you got the idea that I don't work hard.

By not too amazing extracurriculars- I mean Im not going to be published in medical journals like some other pre-meds at my school. Im clearly going to do this best I can and make the most of my situation but im just being realistic.

Also my GPA is not "bad" or due to a lack of effort, to graduate in Chemical Engineering from an Ivy League school with a 3.3 would mean I was above average in my classes, which I would be a big accomplishment for me considering I was in the lower %25 of those admitted SAT wise. The reason im not going to get a 3.6+ is b/c in order to do so I would have to be outperforming (everything is curve based) people who are going to be going to top-10 Md/PhD programs, top tier law schools, getting hired by investment banks, etc.

I was mostly posting in regard to see if taking BIO at a state school was going to hurt me and from the other responce I got it doesnt sound that way.

I don't need any lectures about motivation, i was just looking for advice about how to make the most of the intellectual abilities I have (because I definately am not as smart as most the people in my classes).
 
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Im not sure where you got the idea that I don't work hard.

By not too amazing extracurriculars- I mean Im not going to be published in medical journals like some other pre-meds at my school. Im clearly going to do this best I can and make the most of my situation but im just being realistic.

Also my GPA is not "bad" or due to a lack of effort, to graduate in Chemical Engineering from an Ivy League school with a 3.3 would mean I was above average in my classes, which I would be a big accomplishment for me considering I was in the lower %25 of those admitted SAT wise. The reason im not going to get a 3.6+ is b/c in order to do so I would have to be outperforming (everything is curve based) people who are going to be going to top-10 Md/PhD programs, top tier law schools, getting hired by investment banks, etc.

I was mostly posting in regard to see if taking BIO at a state school was going to hurt me and from the other responce I got it doesnt sound that way.

I don't need any lectures about motivation, i was just looking for advice about how to make the most of the intellectual abilities I have (because I definately am not as smart as most the people in my classes).


I find it interesting how everyone seems goes to a "top ten school that is really tough", and feels the need to use this as an excuse for mediocre grades. Don't sell yourself short, I mean you got into these schools, so I'm sure you're smart enough to compete with your peers.

Regarding bio, it should be no problem if you have to take it at a state school. But you still do have a few years left... are you're remaining semesters so packed that you won't be able to sqeeze in 2 bio courses? It's not like bio is hard anyway, so I would try to fit them in somehow, even if it does mean a couple of slightly more difficult semesters.

Best of luck
 

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I find it interesting how everyone seems goes to a "top ten school that is really tough", and feels the need to use this as an excuse for mediocre grades. Don't sell yourself short, I mean you got into these schools, so I'm sure you're smart enough to compete with your peers.

Regarding bio, it should be no problem if you have to take it at a state school. But you still do have a few years left... are you're remaining semesters so packed that you won't be able to sqeeze in 2 bio courses? It's not like bio is hard anyway, so I would try to fit them in somehow, even if it does mean a couple of slightly more difficult semesters.

Best of luck

Id like to take the BIO here but the ChemE curriculum is really like a 4.5 compressed to 4 year program so taking bio here would require me to to take 20+ hours two semesters based on how stuff is scheduled.

And yeah I agree with what your saying about about justifying mediocre grades but a 3.3 isnt mediocre, its above average. The people who are making the A's in my classes are the ones who are going to be going to Harvard/Stanford/Caltech etc. for JD/MD/PhD whatever. I guess I don't understand why I need to be making similar grades to them when I want to go instate med school back in South Carolina. I mean if I was smart enough to make the same grades as those people then I would be thinking about top-5 grad schools, but it seems like there should be schools for me to go to also right?

I just found some sort of acceptance chart from my school based on GPA and MCAT and %40 of people with a 3.2-3.4 and MCAT 30-34 got accepted and %25 of people with 3.0 to 3.2 got into atleast one med school. Seems like magic combo for us is 3.4-3.6 GPA and 30-34 on MCAT with %75 of people in that range getting accepted.
http://www.career.cornell.edu/downloads/AaChart2007ForWeb.pdf
 

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Im not sure where you got the idea that I don't work hard.

By not too amazing extracurriculars- I mean Im not going to be published in medical journals like some other pre-meds at my school. Im clearly going to do this best I can and make the most of my situation but im just being realistic.

Also my GPA is not "bad" or due to a lack of effort, to graduate in Chemical Engineering from an Ivy League school with a 3.3 would mean I was above average in my classes, which I would be a big accomplishment for me considering I was in the lower %25 of those admitted SAT wise. The reason im not going to get a 3.6+ is b/c in order to do so I would have to be outperforming (everything is curve based) people who are going to be going to top-10 Md/PhD programs, top tier law schools, getting hired by investment banks, etc.

I was mostly posting in regard to see if taking BIO at a state school was going to hurt me and from the other responce I got it doesnt sound that way.

I don't need any lectures about motivation, i was just looking for advice about how to make the most of the intellectual abilities I have (because I definately am not as smart as most the people in my classes).

If all you wanted to ask was whether it was ok to take bio at a state school you should have just said that. Believe what you want to believe, but if you think a 6/16 chance of getting into med school is good enough for you then by all means continue on your current path. I think most people would rather not flip a coin to decide if they got in or not, and technically your odds are less than a coin flip. You also seem to be ignoring the fact that maybe those 6 people with similar stats to you that did get in had excellent extracurriculars. Luckily your state school is very generous with admissions, but my original point still stands. Regardless of how low you set the bar, why not do everything you can to get into med school rather than being "a realist." There's no reason why you can't be involved in research, clubs, volunteering, etc. unless you're simply content with that 40% chance. Regardless of your circumstances, a 3.2 is not good. A 3.4 would make a world of difference for you, and that is the very least you should aim for if you're serious about getting in on your first try.
 

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If all you wanted to ask was whether it was ok to take bio at a state school you should have just said that. Believe what you want to believe, but if you think a 6/16 chance of getting into med school is good enough for you then by all means continue on your current path. I think most people would rather not flip a coin to decide if they got in or not, and technically your odds are less than a coin flip. You also seem to be ignoring the fact that maybe those 6 people with similar stats to you that did get in had excellent extracurriculars. Luckily your state school is very generous with admissions, but my original point still stands. Regardless of how low you set the bar, why not do everything you can to get into med school rather than being "a realist." There's no reason why you can't be involved in research, clubs, volunteering, etc. unless you're simply content with that 40% chance. Regardless of your circumstances, a 3.2 is not good. A 3.4 would make a world of difference for you, and that is the very least you should aim for if you're serious about getting in on your first try.

Thanks for the advice, sounds very solid.

3.4 seems to be a good target GPA for me seeing as I have a 3.45 at the moment (curves shift from B+ down to B in alot of my classes, so i would need to be on average a "+" better than I have been so far to maintain GPA). As far as being ok with a 6/16 shot at med school- I try not to think that way in general. I just do what interests me and if thats going to get me into med school then great and if not then ill go on with my life and if engineering doesn't cut it for me then Ill try again later. I didn't really work towards anything specific in highschool, just did what I enjoyed and followed where it took me.

Also its tough for me to think about stuff like this because I really don't think many 20 yearolds can know what they want to do for the rest of their life, so i've been talking to as many adults as posible to get their thoughts.

Im going to eat dinner with my freshman chem professor who turned down a bunch of med school acceptances after undergrad b/c he decided he wanted to be an actuary (obviously he ended up doing PhD in chem later).

Also I know several professors at the med school in my hometown so Im going to meet up with them over christmas break to help me figure out what I want to do with my life (one of them was an engineer first so will help give me some perspective).
 

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Well just know that you keep your options open by doing the best/most you can, and you often limit them by just hoping things will work out. The MCAT can be retaken, you could spend an extra year taking on EC's, but once that GPA falls you're facing an uphill battle to bring it back up. I go to a large public school, and it's incredible how many people wake up junior year from all the partying and realize they're actually going to need to start working to reach their goals and things really might not just work out for them.

Even if you're only half serious about being pre-med, you should take the steps necessary so that should you become fully serious you're ready to go. This means keeping your GPA up, doing some clinical volunteering, maybe research if it interests you, etc. etc. Best of luck.
 

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Well just know that you keep your options open by doing the best/most you can, and you often limit them by just hoping things will work out. The MCAT can be retaken, you could spend an extra year taking on EC's, but once that GPA falls you're facing an uphill battle to bring it back up. I go to a large public school, and it's incredible how many people wake up junior year from all the partying and realize they're actually going to need to start working to reach their goals and things really might not just work out for them.

Even if you're only half serious about being pre-med, you should take the steps necessary so that should you become fully serious you're ready to go. This means keeping your GPA up, doing some clinical volunteering, maybe research if it interests you, etc. etc. Best of luck.

Thanks, just one thing to clarify my last post. When I said "do what I enjoy"- I didnt mean partying or whatever (In fact I have never been drunk-it just doesn't appeal to me). I meant im not going to choose an extra-curricular for the sole reason of trying to get myself into med school.

As far as clinical volunteering goes, is volunteering at a hospital the best bet? Also is there any difference between volunteering at a private hospital or a public hospital? (Like does one have more privacy laws/regulations that would limit what you can do/see as a volunteer?).
 

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Thanks, just one thing to clarify my last post. When I said "do what I enjoy"- I didnt mean partying or whatever (In fact I have never been drunk-it just doesn't appeal to me). I meant im not going to choose an extra-curricular for the sole reason of trying to get myself into med school.

As far as clinical volunteering goes, is volunteering at a hospital the best bet? Also is there any difference between volunteering at a private hospital or a public hospital? (Like does one have more privacy laws/regulations that would limit what you can do/see as a volunteer?).

Hospital, hospice, nursing home, etc. Whatever it takes to get exposure to healthcare/the treatment of patients. It doesn't matter which hospital you volunteer at, but I think hospitals not somehow associated with an academic institution are a bit more difficult (possibly impossible) to get volunteer opportunities at. As for EC's, get involved in activities that DO interest you. You're in college, you should be putting yourself out there and pursuing things that interest regardless of your resume. It'll help for both getting a job and getting into med school, and for anything else post undergrad for that matter.
 

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I'm so happy that there are so many chemEs here! I'm the only engineer in my first year class.

I just wanted to share what worked for me as a chemical engineering student applying to medical schools. I do not claim that this is the best way to get into medical school. This is just my experience to provide some of you with a frame of reference.

I became interested in medical school my sophomore year. I became more serious by the end of my junior year, and I really started doing something about it my senior year. Then, my last super-senior semester was spent taking some requirements to get into med school and interviewing.

Here's what I did over the summers:

First two summers: 14 year old baseball team coach (paid)
Third summer: manufacturing industry internship (paid) / humanities class
Fourth summer: process engineering internship (paid) / study a little for MCAT

As you will notice, I had paid jobs. You can't beat the money. I let the admissions people know that I needed the cash and I have a degree program that lets me earn that cash. They should be understanding.

In school:
Freshman: laboratory aide at the health center (paid)
Sophomore-Super-Senior: research project (paid) (Advice: get in early on a research project, earn your faculties respect, and they will give you responsibility)
Also try to find a leadership experience: I was in charge of the chem-e-car team for our school for a year.

I volunteered in a hospital ER on Saturday mornings for about a year from my senior to super-senior semester.

My studies for the MCAT included me paging through an gen chem book, looking at functional groups from O-chem, which didn't help much on the MCAT, and i tried to learn some basic anatomy of the kidney after taking a couple of practice exams. You should find that your ChemE prep will suit you well for the MCAT. ChemE is about being able to solve a wide variety of problems based on information on hand. That is exactly what the MCAT is. Beyond basic science, nearly all of the problems have the information necessary to answer the questions.

Fyi... GPA was 3.8 and mcat in mid 30s with an N in the writing section, if you couldn't tell by my writing.

I applied to 5 schools, was interviewed by three, was waitlisted by one, and was accepted by one. I am very happy with the school that accepted me.

Looking back, what probably held me back from getting more interviews/acceptances was the little clinical experience that I had volunteering. The interview that I didn't get accepted/waitlisted from really questioned by commitment to medicine. All I could tell him was that I really was interested, I came to this decision later in my schooling, and it is hard to fit classes/research + lots of clinical experience into such a structured chemE program. Get as much clinical experience as you can without impinging too much on your studies. (P.S. I feel that volunteer clinical experience is pretty bogus because all most volunteers do is fold gowns and stock supplies. The only thing that the volunteering experience helped me with was finding a doc to shadow. I really enjoyed the shadowing in the ER)

It is challenging getting into med school, even with good stats. Lots of very smart people get rejected every year.

As for life in med school so far, I'm finished with Biochem, Anat, and Embryology. It has taken me about the same amount of effort as my undergrad ChemE program including activities. The studying is much different, though. There is much more to just flat out know and you have to rely less on your problem solving skills and more on your recall skills.

Hope this wasn't too long, and I hope it may help provide you with a point of reference.
 

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I'm so happy that there are so many chemEs here! I'm the only engineer in my first year class.

I just wanted to share what worked for me as a chemical engineering student applying to medical schools. I do not claim that this is the best way to get into medical school. This is just my experience to provide some of you with a frame of reference.

I became interested in medical school my sophomore year. I became more serious by the end of my junior year, and I really started doing something about it my senior year. Then, my last super-senior semester was spent taking some requirements to get into med school and interviewing.

Here's what I did over the summers:

First two summers: 14 year old baseball team coach (paid)
Third summer: manufacturing industry internship (paid) / humanities class
Fourth summer: process engineering internship (paid) / study a little for MCAT

As you will notice, I had paid jobs. You can't beat the money. I let the admissions people know that I needed the cash and I have a degree program that lets me earn that cash. They should be understanding.

In school:
Freshman: laboratory aide at the health center (paid)
Sophomore-Super-Senior: research project (paid) (Advice: get in early on a research project, earn your faculties respect, and they will give you responsibility)
Also try to find a leadership experience: I was in charge of the chem-e-car team for our school for a year.

I volunteered in a hospital ER on Saturday mornings for about a year from my senior to super-senior semester.

My studies for the MCAT included me paging through an gen chem book, looking at functional groups from O-chem, which didn't help much on the MCAT, and i tried to learn some basic anatomy of the kidney after taking a couple of practice exams. You should find that your ChemE prep will suit you well for the MCAT. ChemE is about being able to solve a wide variety of problems based on information on hand. That is exactly what the MCAT is. Beyond basic science, nearly all of the problems have the information necessary to answer the questions.

Fyi... GPA was 3.8 and mcat in mid 30s with an N in the writing section, if you couldn't tell by my writing.

I applied to 5 schools, was interviewed by three, was waitlisted by one, and was accepted by one. I am very happy with the school that accepted me.

Looking back, what probably held me back from getting more interviews/acceptances was the little clinical experience that I had volunteering. The interview that I didn't get accepted/waitlisted from really questioned by commitment to medicine. All I could tell him was that I really was interested, I came to this decision later in my schooling, and it is hard to fit classes/research + lots of clinical experience into such a structured chemE program. Get as much clinical experience as you can without impinging too much on your studies. (P.S. I feel that volunteer clinical experience is pretty bogus because all most volunteers do is fold gowns and stock supplies. The only thing that the volunteering experience helped me with was finding a doc to shadow. I really enjoyed the shadowing in the ER)

It is challenging getting into med school, even with good stats. Lots of very smart people get rejected every year.

As for life in med school so far, I'm finished with Biochem, Anat, and Embryology. It has taken me about the same amount of effort as my undergrad ChemE program including activities. The studying is much different, though. There is much more to just flat out know and you have to rely less on your problem solving skills and more on your recall skills.

Hope this wasn't too long, and I hope it may help provide you with a point of reference.


Was your ChemE research in a Bio related ChemE field? Several ChemE prof's here do cancer research so I was wondering if doing academic research in health related field could help overcome less clinical experience?
 

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Was your ChemE research in a Bio related ChemE field? Several ChemE prof's here do cancer research so I was wondering if doing academic research in health related field could help overcome less clinical experience?

My research was in a "biochemical engineering" lab. It had to do with enzymatic degradation of a unwanted coproduct of a production process. The project had mostly environmental impacts, so it had very little to do with medicine. To me, the process of doing research was the important experience (literature review etc). If you can get into a lab that is doing cancer research and you are interested in it, go for it. I would check with other undergrads in the lab to see what kind of experience they have had and with Juniors/Seniors who know which professors would be good to work with at your school. Also, see if there are any possibilities for being published.

I don't know if they would use research in a health-related field as a substitute for clinical experience. When you eventually fill out your AMCAS, in your activities you will designate whether each activity is health-related or research-related or volunteeer, etc. I think that AMCAS and admission committees are interested in whether or not you have clinical experiences to determine if you really know what it is like to work in clinic/hospital with sick people all the time. You are still a sophomore, I think, so if you spend an hour or two or three at a hospital volunteering starting now until you fill out your AMCAS, the admissions committee would be able to see that you have seriously thought about medicine and that you didin't decide to apply to med school just because you didn't know what else to do.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask any more questions or get clarifications.
 

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Medically/Biologically relevant research isn't a substitute for clinical experience (volunteering), but if you are interested in medical research it is something that can help answer why medicine.

I am a 5th year chem-e senior currently applying to med school. I had slightly higher than a 3.8 GPA and a 35S MCAT, applied early to 14 schools, went on 6 out of the 7 interviews I received (so far at least), and have 1 acceptance, 2 "holds", and 3 I won't hear back from till next year.

I didn't become interested in medicine till my junior year, but as soon as I did I began doing clinical volunteering (volunteered at the hospital). I did this for 3 hours a week for a year, and then due to a very busy senior year I stopped. I did no shadowing, and in retrospect as busy as I thought I was there was no reason I shouldn't have continued the volunteering (I can be a bit lazy). I think if I were to do it over, I would have continued volunteering at least another semester or 2 and done some shadowing.

As for the other things I've done, I did research from my sophomore year through my 4th year of school, spent a semester abroad in Japan doing Alzheimer's research, a semester abroad in South Korea just hanging out, backpacked through europe for 2 months this past year, was an RA for a semester, involved in our student chapter of AICHE (events coordinator for a year).

I would say that I had no INCREDIBLE extracurriculars aside from a lot of travel (something I'm passionate about). I didn't publish a paper, didn't start/become president of a club, didn't volunteer thousands of hours or raise substantial amounts of money for a disease, only had decent letters of rec, etc. etc. What I did do was things that interested me, and things that I had to do (the volunteering). I think the biggest strike against me was not having enough clinical experience, but still I was able to receive interviews at half the schools that I applied to (all in the top 50). Granted I did have good stats from a tough degree program, which can't be underestimated, but my point is that med schools are interested smart people, and they are interested in interesting people. You don't need to do things that don't interest you, but you do need to show that you have interests. Find something you like and get heavily involved in it, whether it's research, volunteering, AICHE, etc. It gives you something to talk about past the "I worked x hours as week doing this." I've spoken about my experiences traveling in every one of my interviews, and you want to have some experience yourself that you can talk about as well. Good luck, hope this helped a bit =).
 

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Medically/Biologically relevant research isn't a substitute for clinical experience (volunteering), but if you are interested in medical research it is something that can help answer why medicine.

I am a 5th year chem-e senior currently applying to med school. I had slightly higher than a 3.8 GPA and a 35S MCAT, applied early to 14 schools, went on 6 out of the 7 interviews I received (so far at least), and have 1 acceptance, 2 "holds", and 3 I won't hear back from till next year.

I didn't become interested in medicine till my junior year, but as soon as I did I began doing clinical volunteering (volunteered at the hospital). I did this for 3 hours a week for a year, and then due to a very busy senior year I stopped. I did no shadowing, and in retrospect as busy as I thought I was there was no reason I shouldn't have continued the volunteering (I can be a bit lazy). I think if I were to do it over, I would have continued volunteering at least another semester or 2 and done some shadowing.

As for the other things I've done, I did research from my sophomore year through my 4th year of school, spent a semester abroad in Japan doing Alzheimer's research, a semester abroad in South Korea just hanging out, backpacked through europe for 2 months this past year, was an RA for a semester, involved in our student chapter of AICHE (events coordinator for a year).

I would say that I had no INCREDIBLE extracurriculars aside from a lot of travel (something I'm passionate about). I didn't publish a paper, didn't start/become president of a club, didn't volunteer thousands of hours or raise substantial amounts of money for a disease, only had decent letters of rec, etc. etc. What I did do was things that interested me, and things that I had to do (the volunteering). I think the biggest strike against me was not having enough clinical experience, but still I was able to receive interviews at half the schools that I applied to (all in the top 50). Granted I did have good stats from a tough degree program, which can't be underestimated, but my point is that med schools are interested smart people, and they are interested in interesting people. You don't need to do things that don't interest you, but you do need to show that you have interests. Find something you like and get heavily involved in it, whether it's research, volunteering, AICHE, etc. It gives you something to talk about past the "I worked x hours as week doing this." I've spoken about my experiences traveling in every one of my interviews, and you want to have some experience yourself that you can talk about as well. Good luck, hope this helped a bit =).

Thanks that was really helpful.

Quick question that might be really dumb, My highschool extra-curriculars (particulary service related stuff) were way better than my college ones so far (do mostly to fact highschool was so easy so I wasnt spending every waking hour on problem sets). Would it be ok to mention them on applications? I did like 250+ hours of running day camps for habitat for humanity communities, spent a week building a church in the bahamas and spent two weeks doing service projects for people living in state housing and Kurdish refugees in England. I know these things can't replace EC's in college but I just had SOOOO much more time in highschool to devote to things other than studying that I feel like they might be worth mentioning.

As far as what Im doing now:
Twice a week I have navigators (a campus christian group) but Im not sure if that will really "count" as an EC seeing as we (ironically) dont do much service stuff (something I would like to see change though).

As an analog to your travelling: Ive done alot of outdoors stuff since being at cornell. (Mostly rock climbing, some ice climbing) so I will definately mention that in interviews if i ever make it that far (I can say Im used to having someone's life in my hands :p). But in all seriousness its probaly a relevant EC b/c if you get lazy/careless for a couple seconds people can die.

What I plan to do in future/am taking steps to do.
Volunteer in Hospital during summer, maybe nursing home during school (nearest hospital isnt very near).
Do bio-related ChemE research.

its not like im sitting in my dorm room all day but i obviously dont have amazing EC's either. It would help me alot if i could mention highschool stuff though.
 

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anyone have an experience mentioning highschool community service/research on med school applications? Ive never even seen one so for all i know it might specificaly say it has to be from college
 

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anyone have an experience mentioning highschool community service/research on med school applications? Ive never even seen one so for all i know it might specificaly say it has to be from college


I volunteered for Special Olympics for a few years in high school. I included it on my application. I talked about it in two of my interviews. Neither of the interviewers brought up that the experience was during high school. I wouldn't worry about it as long as it was a significant experience.
 

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anyone have an experience mentioning highschool community service/research on med school applications? Ive never even seen one so for all i know it might specificaly say it has to be from college

It's not really relevant, unless its the exact same activity you carried over into college. Med schools don't just care about the fact that you did these activities, they want to know if you can handle them in addition to college level coursework. Most people could do a bunch of extracurriculars if they didn't have to study all the time.
 
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