10+ Year Member
Sep 23, 2006
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hi everyone!

i am attempting to get my **** together to apply to a few postbac programs. i really want to try to get into goucher but if it doesnt work i will aim for something a little closer to home, like loyola. anyway, my grades are decent (3.46) and my GRE is average-ish (1290/5 but i am taking it again this monday and expect to improve that, at least a little bit.) what i am sorely lacking in is clinical experience and i am trying to figure out a way to get some under my belt with enough time to still apply to schools reasonably early (late jan, early feb.) i've signed up for volunteering at my local hospital and been assigned to ER, but i havent actually started yet, the person in charge of the program is impossible to get ahold of. even when i do start, (which i hope is soon) they only want me twice a month. pretty minimal.

i thought about shadowing, but i just moved to my current town from a couple hundred miles away, so i dont have a family physician or anything. i have seen a couple docs since coming here and like one of them, but i still have only met her once. is it way out of line to ask to shadow? i also like my new orthodontist, if i shadow him is that a relevant enough experience? is lack of said clinical experience enough to screw my app even if i have good test scores, essay, and letters?

what sort of prior experience did you have, and what sort of difference did it make? this is quite a tough problem especially since i work a full time job. surely that comes into consideration by admissions people?

thanks, everyone!!!


Senior Member
15+ Year Member
May 6, 2004
Next door to Nibbles Woodaway
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  1. Attending Physician
It's all going to depend on a lot of factors. If you're right out of college, they're probably going to want to see a lot of volunteer experience. If you've been out a few years and have a good career history, that's going to matter a bit less. Two months of volunteering might be cutting it a bit close, but if you really want to get started next year, you may as well go ahead and apply; it can't hurt.

As for the doc you know, I don't think it would be out of line to ask at all. Just be humble about it, and explain to them that you're thinking of switching to a career in medicine, and would it be possible to shadow them sometime to help you get a sense of whether or not this is a good move for you. A lot of docs will be very responsive to a request like that. Or she may so no; but no harm done.

As I've posted recently on another thread that will remain nameless, I only had a few months of experience and a few shadowing experiences when I applied to the programs you mentioned above, and I got into both. But I did have a fairly long career behind me at that point, and my grades were quite a bit higher than what you've posted here. Also, I had my applications in fairly early in the process. Those factors all probably served to reduce the importance of my limited volunteer experience.

Anyway, hope the above helps. Good luck to you.


Higgs chaser
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 28, 2005
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
A Fixsen Classic:

"You can never have too many clinical hours."

Just do as many as you can and don't worry about if they'll be enough - if they aren't, what else could you have done?

As for shadowing, if you have time, definitely couldn't hurt (although if you can I'd pick an MD).

For work, they understand - to a point. If you're working 40 hours a week, they know you can't possibly volunteer 40 hours a week. IMO, the key with working is just showing them that you do very well at whatever you do (school, work, volunteering, etc.).
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