Clinical and Volunteering

skillmatic

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  1. MD/PhD Student
    For all of those money MSTPers,
    How much clinical and volunteering experience is necessary to be admitted into a program, given that everything else on the application is pretty good? I have a little bit of volunteering experience (2 hours a week, 7 months total), but it has been hard to be as committed to these activites as research takes up all of my time. However, I'm willing to cut back on research if I get the impression that this is not enough. Thanks.
     

    cycologist

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      You have to be admitted by the PhD and the MD sides. In my experience, the PhD side cares mostly about the strength of your research experience and not a bit about volunteering. Straight PhD types don't understand medicine well and will no doubt be impressed with whatever volunteer work you can come up with. As noted in another recent thread, you don't need a publication. The nice thing is that if your research is very strong, the PhD side can lean on the MD admissions side to your favor. Conversely, the MD side is not going to come up to the PhD side and say "Wow, this guy had an extra three months of trivial volunteer work -- we need more of his type here."

      The M.D. side will want to know why you want to be an MD and you'd better have a good answer. They also want to know if you play well with others and will try to root out whether you're some sort of flake. Apart from that, MD admissions is a completely random crapshoot that has little to do with anything substantive -- put 100 people with solid applications in a room, and (having been on an admissions committee and seeing who gets admitted for the past 7 years of my MSTP) I couldn't beat a Magic Admissions 8 Ball in predicting success. I have no idea what they want, if anything.
       

      chirurgino

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        The amount of volunteering you've done is plenty. I did far less and did fine in terms of getting into places. You'll be applying for MSTP and won't need a typical "junior messiah" med school application--the amount of research and quality of letter from your PI will be about a million times more important. Unless things have changed, in fact, I can't think of many places where the med school truly had leverage, where they had to accept you before the MSTP people could even make a decision on you (Harvard is one example). So at most places, I think the MSTP folks can lean on the MD committee a fair amount, in spite of what they may say publicly.
         
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        solitude

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          For all of those money MSTPers,
          How much clinical and volunteering experience is necessary to be admitted into a program, given that everything else on the application is pretty good? I have a little bit of volunteering experience (2 hours a week, 7 months total), but it has been hard to be as committed to these activites as research takes up all of my time. However, I'm willing to cut back on research if I get the impression that this is not enough. Thanks.

          I think you'll be fine. As long as you can articulate why you want to be a physician in addition to a scientist - using 1 or 2 clinical/volunteering anecdotes - it will be enough to satisfy the MD committee, given your credentials.

          Just FYI, this exact question has been posed a number of times on this forum and there are some quite lengthy threads, so searching and then reading them could yield a quicker, more thorough answer for you.
           

          Neuronix

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            You have to be admitted by the PhD and the MD sides.

            That depends on the school actually. The MD/PhD pretty much has all the say here for who they admit.

            In my experience, the PhD side cares mostly about the strength of your research experience and not a bit about volunteering.

            That's probably why many of my classmates had 0 volunteering or shadowing. In other words, the amount of it that you need depends on the school. You don't "need" it, but it will help your app at some schools. Who knows how much is really "enough"? It's just a matter of importance and how you want to divide up your time I guess.
             
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