Sep 14, 2015
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Pre-Medical
I apologize if this thread has been posted, but I couldn't find anything that was similar to my position. I currently started my Junior year of my undergraduate and these are some of my concerns I am struggling with. I was a late bloomer and originally wanted to study law, hence why my Major is history with a minor in Real Estate. My concerns are that I will not be able to finish all my pre reqs at my University and will be forced to finish a few classes at a CC. Will this be frowned upon, or as long as I have a good SGPA it will counter balance that decision? Another hurtle is I won't have any research under my belt when I apply as Im a BA vs BS

As my journey to law, I was involved with medicine to make my application stand out. But the more I worked in medicine I realized I wanted to be a Physician. I currently have a CNA Certification but have not utilized it yet. I worked as a Non Emergency Medical Transporter so that's really the only ''clinical'' experience I have at this point. Ive been a wrestling coach at a middle school for 2 years and by the time I apply it will be 4. I plan on volunteering at a hospice until I graduate so I will have at least two years of that by the time I apply.

1)So I guess the questions I have are, in terms of Volunteering, what is a reasonable amount of locations as well as hours to be considered competive both clinical and non-clinical. 2) Hours and MD'S to shadow to prove I'm serious about medicine. 3) Amount of paid clinical hours 4) Will not having research and pre reqs at a CC be looked down upon? I should add that I shadowed a perfutionist so I was able to be exposed to the OR for Cardiac procedures. Around 40 hrs. My current gpa is a 3.5 and I don't see it being more than a 3.6 by the time I graduate

Thanks in advance
 
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mimelim

Vascular Surgery
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Sep 19, 2011
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I apologize if this thread has been posted, but I couldn't find anything that was similar to my position. I currently started my Junior year of my undergraduate and these are some of my concerns I am struggling with. I was a late bloomer and originally wanted to study law, hence why my Major is history with a minor in Real Estate. My concerns are that I will not be able to finish all my pre reqs at my University and will be forced to finish a few classes at a CC. Will this be frowned upon, or as long as I have a good SGPA it will counter balance that decision? Another hurtle is I won't have any research under my belt when I apply as Im a BA vs BS

As my journey to law, I was involved with medicine to make my application stand out. But the more I worked in medicine I realized I wanted to be a Physician. I currently have a CNA Certification but have not utilized it yet. I worked as a Non Emergency Medical Transporter so that's really the only ''clinical'' experience I have at this point. Ive been a wrestling coach at a middle school for 2 years and by the time I apply it will be 4. I plan on volunteering at a hospice until I graduate so I will have at least two years of that by the time I apply.

1)So I guess the questions I have are, in terms of Volunteering, what is a reasonable amount of locations as well as hours to be considered competive both clinical and non-clinical. 2) Hours and MD'S to shadow to prove I'm serious about medicine. 3) Amount of paid clinical hours 4) Will not having research and pre reqs at a CC be looked down upon? I should add that I shadowed a perfutionist so I was able to be exposed to the OR for Cardiac procedures. Around 40 hrs. My current gpa is a 3.5 and I don't see it being more than a 3.6 by the time I graduate

Thanks in advance
#1 You are not a non-traditional. Non-traditional refers to your pathway to medicine. Typically this means if you take time between HS --> Undergrad --> Medical school. To many adcoms, this does not include gap years <3 years.
#2 Do not focus on trying to make your application "stand out". Focus on being the best version of yourself and avoiding the common pitfalls associated with applying to medical school.
#3 Nobody on admissions cares about BA vs. BS.
#4 Nobody cares about your major or minors.
#5 Community college is perfectly fine for some of your credits. Some schools will favor applicants who take their core pre-reqs at a university, but this is a relatively minor consideration, especially if it is counter balanced by upper division credits at a university.

Your questions:

1) There are no hard numbers for locations or hours. The reality is that admissions committees don't particularly care about the number of hours. There are two reasons for volunteering being an important criteria for medical school #1: Service to the community (ie. making people's lives better) and #2: Personal development (ie. you become a better person by doing it). Demonstrating both of those is important, but certainly you will hear people chime in about not having much volunteering. Personally, for volunteering, I don't particularly care about any commitment less than 100 hours. #1 and #2 take time and while spending a night or two working in a soup kitchen is great for some essay anecdotes, it isn't particularly substantive. You should list everything that you do, but to have a real impact on admissions, most people are looking for 150+ hours per experience. But, realize that there will be tremendous variability among people reading your application. It would be unusual for someone to have more than 4 distinct experiences, but almost everyone would agree that dedication to a single experience is better than more hours in a diluted experience at multiple places.

2) Clinical experience is not intrinsically tied with volunteering. Clinical experience is about having the background to say, "I know that I would do well in medicine." and not look like a complete idiot. How much is enough depends on who you are. But, would you take someone seriously if they spent 20 hours with someone and that was the basis for making a 200k and 7-11 year investment? 50 hours is the generally agreed bottom level for shadowing. More typical would be 150-300 hours. But, again, the raw number is actually completely meaningless. Someone that has 400 hours is not intrinsically a better candidate than someone with 75 hours. At the end of the day, the impressions and experiences themselves are far more important and someone might get more out of a good 75 hours than a bad 400. The number of hours doesn't prove that you are serious about medicine. You shouldn't be shadowing for others. You should be shadowing because YOU need to figure out whether medicine is the correct pathway. If you have that figured out already, why would you need to shadow? Seems like an inefficient use of time. By the same token, if I ask you, "So, you say you know that medicine is the right path for you, how do you know?" And you have never seen what physicians do day in day out and have no idea what residency entails, I'm going to smile, nod at whatever bs you spew and then not give you a second thought.

3) Nobody cares about number of clinical paid hours.

4) At some schools, after your GPA and MCAT, research experience is the most important thing. It will be a large negative at some schools, small at others, but overall not prohibitive anywhere. In general at the 'top' schools if you don't have research, you better have something else that makes you quite interesting. As previously stated, CC credits are perfectly fine. Shadowing a perfusionist is nice, but it misses the purpose of shadowing physicians. The objective is to know what physicians do and what they go through, not just see them walking around.

Your GPA is on the weaker side. Look at this: https://www.aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/157998/mcat-gpa-grid-by-selected-race-ethnicity.html

Pick out your race/ethnicity and find where a 3.5 puts you depending on your MCAT.
 
OP
N
Sep 14, 2015
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
#1 You are not a non-traditional. Non-traditional refers to your pathway to medicine. Typically this means if you take time between HS --> Undergrad --> Medical school. To many adcoms, this does not include gap years <3 years.
#2 Do not focus on trying to make your application "stand out". Focus on being the best version of yourself and avoiding the common pitfalls associated with applying to medical school.
#3 Nobody on admissions cares about BA vs. BS.
#4 Nobody cares about your major or minors.
#5 Community college is perfectly fine for some of your credits. Some schools will favor applicants who take their core pre-reqs at a university, but this is a relatively minor consideration, especially if it is counter balanced by upper division credits at a university.

Your questions:

1) There are no hard numbers for locations or hours. The reality is that admissions committees don't particularly care about the number of hours. There are two reasons for volunteering being an important criteria for medical school #1: Service to the community (ie. making people's lives better) and #2: Personal development (ie. you become a better person by doing it). Demonstrating both of those is important, but certainly you will hear people chime in about not having much volunteering. Personally, for volunteering, I don't particularly care about any commitment less than 100 hours. #1 and #2 take time and while spending a night or two working in a soup kitchen is great for some essay anecdotes, it isn't particularly substantive. You should list everything that you do, but to have a real impact on admissions, most people are looking for 150+ hours per experience. But, realize that there will be tremendous variability among people reading your application. It would be unusual for someone to have more than 4 distinct experiences, but almost everyone would agree that dedication to a single experience is better than more hours in a diluted experience at multiple places.

2) Clinical experience is not intrinsically tied with volunteering. Clinical experience is about having the background to say, "I know that I would do well in medicine." and not look like a complete idiot. How much is enough depends on who you are. But, would you take someone seriously if they spent 20 hours with someone and that was the basis for making a 200k and 7-11 year investment? 50 hours is the generally agreed bottom level for shadowing. More typical would be 150-300 hours. But, again, the raw number is actually completely meaningless. Someone that has 400 hours is not intrinsically a better candidate than someone with 75 hours. At the end of the day, the impressions and experiences themselves are far more important and someone might get more out of a good 75 hours than a bad 400. The number of hours doesn't prove that you are serious about medicine. You shouldn't be shadowing for others. You should be shadowing because YOU need to figure out whether medicine is the correct pathway. If you have that figured out already, why would you need to shadow? Seems like an inefficient use of time. By the same token, if I ask you, "So, you say you know that medicine is the right path for you, how do you know?" And you have never seen what physicians do day in day out and have no idea what residency entails, I'm going to smile, nod at whatever bs you spew and then not give you a second thought.

3) Nobody cares about number of clinical paid hours.

4) At some schools, after your GPA and MCAT, research experience is the most important thing. It will be a large negative at some schools, small at others, but overall not prohibitive anywhere. In general at the 'top' schools if you don't have research, you better have something else that makes you quite interesting. As previously stated, CC credits are perfectly fine. Shadowing a perfusionist is nice, but it misses the purpose of shadowing physicians. The objective is to know what physicians do and what they go through, not just see them walking around.

Your GPA is on the weaker side. Look at this: https://www.aamc.org/data/facts/applicantmatriculant/157998/mcat-gpa-grid-by-selected-race-ethnicity.html

Pick out your race/ethnicity and find where a 3.5 puts you depending on your MCAT.

I appreciate the time and the effort for your answer. I defiantly agree with your points and the insight, all these things are fixable and workable, the only thing that I feel will negatively impact me will be the lack of research, that is what I am mostly concerned about
 

Goro

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This might be one of those few times I'll disagree with my very wise colleague. I have two SDN "advisees" who are not Texans, but getting interviews to two UTx schools and both have large numbers of clinical hours. Yeah, I know, n=2....but it's the only thing in their apps that stand out.

3) Nobody cares about number of clinical paid hours.
 

frosted_flake

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Oct 27, 2012
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This might be one of those few times I'll disagree with my very wise colleague. I have two SDN "advisees" who are not Texans, but getting interviews to two UTx schools and both have large numbers of clinical hours. Yeah, I know, n=2....but it's the only thing in their apps that stand out.

3) Nobody cares about number of clinical paid hours.
Hello wise @Goro, would you mind sharing the type of clinical experience? Was it something that required a good amount of training? (i.e. Medic, RN, RT) or an entry level such as CNA or EMT-B?
Thanks!
 

Goro

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I believe that it was nursing or related.

Many Adcom members treat EMTB as a glorified taxi experience. Paramedics? That's different!


Hello wise @Goro, would you mind sharing the type of clinical experience? Was it something that required a good amount of training? (i.e. Medic, RN, RT) or an entry level such as CNA or EMT-B?
Thanks!
 

Ad2b

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I'll only chime into say that not all shadowing of a physician is with patients; sometimes, it's sitting there while they dictate, or sign mounds of insurance forms and then mutter about something or other ;) and then back to patients and exam.

Dictation and signing crap is also part of being a physician. In my case, it also prompted me to ask a bunch of questions re: ICD-9 to ICD-10 and the impact on their practice. Thankfully, I was invited back :)
 
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Slago1205

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Feb 20, 2010
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@Goro, how would you view 6 years as a medic in the Army, with a tour to Afghanistan? I assume I should be good on clinical experience. Also, while in the Army, I worked in a large ER for 2 years. I spent a lot of time with the physicians there and i feel that i yave a good feel for what they do on a daily basis. How much more shadowing should I consider doing? Enough for a letter of recommendation?
 

Ad2b

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@Slago1205 - I might suggest you make your own thread so this one can remain for the OP and so your question doesn't get lost.

LOR, from my understanding, doesn't come from shadowing but from professors, etc.
 

Goro

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We tend to fall down to our knees and beg veterans to come to our schools. Adcoms LIKE veterans!

So, you're fine for clinical experience (if you have > 100 hrs, all the better, but ideally, you should have been around sick people, and not just patients with service injuries) , and your service satisfies the non-clinical service as far as I'm concerned.

DO schools are the ones that are big on LORs from clinicians. Only a handful require them to be from DOs, BTW. MD schools tend to view them as fluff because idoctors always have nice things to say about the people who shadow them. But in your case, it's worthwhile because it's more of testimony that you're experience what a doctor's day is like, albeit a more specialized doctor.

@Goro, how would you view 6 years as a medic in the Army, with a tour to Afghanistan? I assume I should be good on clinical experience. Also, while in the Army, I worked in a large ER for 2 years. I spent a lot of time with the physicians there and i feel that i yave a good feel for what they do on a daily basis. How much more shadowing should I consider doing? Enough for a letter of recommendation?
 
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