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Clinical Experience

Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by Rooni, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. Rooni

    Rooni Ph.D in Horribleness
    2+ Year Member

    Oct 8, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Right. So, I know that having some sort of clinical experience under your belt is highly recommended for most formal post-bacc programs. However, due to a combination of factors (the biggest of which being that I only decided I wanted to do this a couple of months ago, while I was in the middle of my very hectic final semester of my undergrad years), I haven't got any. Now, I'm starting what will hopefully be a long-term volunteer position at a children's hospital in about a month, and I'm taking a CNA course which begins in March, so I have plenty lined up; I just don't have it yet.

    How difficult is it going to be for me to get into a formal post-bacc program without any clinical experience? I have a more than adequate GPA (about 3.7), and I have a feeling that my academic record will look fairly impressive (I went to an arts school, but took an average of about ten classes a semester), so that should be my only weak point. How big of a problem do you think that will be? Should I wait, get some clinical, and apply to begin next spring/summer, or should I apply now?

    Thanks in advance for any advice. I really appreciate it!
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  3. betterlate

    7+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Medical Student
    Part of the point of clinical experience is whether or not you are able to make a convincing argument for why you want to go into medicine and you believe you have the skills/personality/whatnot to do so. Can you make that argument without clinical experience? (Is there a non-clinical experience that led you to pursue medicine, for example?) If you honestly cannot make the case, then you're better off waiting until you have clinical experience under your belt, particularly since that experience might convince you that this *isn't* the field for you. It's better to know that now than to figure it out later.

    You may also want to find out if there are penalties for reapplying to a formal postbacc. If there are penalties then it makes sense to wait until you have the strongest possible application.

    That said, if you can make a convincing arguement for this career path and there are no known penalties to reapplying in the event you don't make it in, why NOT apply this cycle? Even if you send your application slightly later, say in a month and a half once your volunteer position has started, you can still get it in for consideration this time around.
  4. NewmansOwn

    10+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're sure about this career path. To be honest, most pre-medical volunteer positions don't give you the best look at what a career in medicine is really like, anyway.

    I would agree with betterlate's elusion that you lose nothing by applying this cycle. You will indeed have a challenge "proving" your interest in and commitment to medicine without any clinical experience, especially at the most selective formal programs. However, if you don't get in this cycle, re-applicants are generally looked upon favorably for their perseverance and determination -- both qualities highly valued in medicine.

    My advice to you would be to apply and simply be as honest as possible. Don't dance around your lack of clinical experience. You clearly have a reason for wanting to become a doctor -- what is it? If you're applying to these top programs and have signed on for two volunteer positions, you must be driven by something pretty strong. Just show them what it is in your essay and during your interview and you'll have a shot.

    Good luck.

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