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What are some creative things to do to put on that will look nice on the applications/resumes? Some of the ideas I already have are to do medical missionary work and publish a book...what else? thanks!
 
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Oh ya... Another good idea somebody gave me is to start a business.. But that's a little too extreme, isn't it?
 

Dr.Sticks

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I got a creative idea OP...

Try to get a reality T.V show like Honey Boo Boo or something. You'll be a hit! Plus have med school paid for
 
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gyngyn

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Do they actually hurt applicants? I've seen people talk about them being no big plus but skin crawling sounds pretty bad
Since I realize that they are often duped into them, I use my unconscious bias training to attempt to neutralize my visceral response.
 
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Do they actually hurt applicants? I've seen people talk about them being no big plus but skin crawling sounds pretty bad
I thought they make the application look good. Do medical schools dislike missionary trips ?
 

efle

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Since I realize that they are often duped into them, I use my unconscious bias training to attempt to neutralize my visceral response.
Oh gotcha, so you're sickened by the programs themselves more than the participants


I thought they make the application look good. Do medical schools dislike missionary trips ?
From what I've heard, the trips are really more tourism than making any meaningful difference to the populace. They are also often expensive

I should add that legit stuff like peace corps work is a HUGE plus to an app
 
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Lannister

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This girl I know posted pictures of herself doing sutures or something on a patient in an OR in some rural town in Central America, and it definitely creeped me out. Like, would she be comfortable having some untrained 20 year old participating in her operation? Probably not. So why is it okay for her to do that to someone else? I feel like it's really taking advantage of people. It's too bad, she's a really smart girl and I have no doubt she'll be an amazing doctor one day. I just hope Adcoms never look her up on Facebook.
 
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mimelim

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Do they actually hurt applicants? I've seen people talk about them being no big plus but skin crawling sounds pretty bad
If people try to up sell well known medical tourism trips, it can absolutely hurt. Not because they did it, but because pre-meds often over value what they actually did by going somewhere for a month. Give me the soup kitchen pre-med over mission trip nice times out of ten.
 

gyngyn

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Oh gotcha, so you're sickened by the programs themselves more than the participants



From what I've heard, the trips are really more tourism than making any meaningful difference to the populace. They are also often expensive

I should add that legit stuff like peace corps work is a HUGE plus to an app
Legit stuff is legit.
These medical tourist junkets actually hurt the people they purport to serve when they displace local workers.
 

GrapesofRath

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The other factor with these medical mission trips you pay thousands of dollars for is they have the potential to make an applicant reek of privilege. Obviously this alone won't do it but if you are dealing with a pre-med that comes from a very rich family, lives a lavish life style and through their app has other things be it in their essays or what not that make them come across as privileged these mission trips can play right into that. What mimelim said is also on point; when an ADCOM knows all about a certain event and they see a pre-med try to spin it excessively into some life changing event that reflects rather poorly.
 

theonlytycrane

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I gained clinical volunteer experience abroad with a church group, but for the reasons mentioned above I am wary to even include it on my app.

Is the takeaway here to not overplay the significance of such an experience, if mentioned at all?
 
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I got a creative idea OP...

Try to get a reality T.V show like Honey Boo Boo or something. You'll be a hit! Plus have med school paid for
A pre-med friend of mine was on Survivor. He didn't win but he made a splash. He's super sexy though so he's doing modeling and acting now instead of med school...smart man.
 

Lucca

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Lol at this thread. At least OP isn't beating around the bush. "Literally tell me what to do in order to be seen as a unique, creative self-starter"
 

gonnif

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Frankly, I really dont give a damn about what a person did, how "impressive" it may seem, how worthwhile the cause is; I care about what it it says about the applicant and what they got from it. Reading about someone who went on a two-week medical mission by itself doesnt impress me. In fact, it does turn me off to an applicant because they thought it was impressive. On the other hand, someone who has been very active with their church for sometime beyond just going to services, particularly charitable and community work, and includes a sponsored medical mission, that would have much more impact.
 

Holmwood

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Oh ya... Another good idea somebody gave me is to start a business.. But that's a little too extreme, isn't it?
If you can do it, why limit yourself. If you can maintain a small business while being able to prioritize your studies, why not?
 
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If people try to up sell well known medical tourism trips, it can absolutely hurt. Not because they did it, but because pre-meds often over value what they actually did by going somewhere for a month. Give me the soup kitchen pre-med over mission trip nice times out of ten.

Is this only in regards to medical based trips? I did three trips in undergrad building houses in Mexico. Each one was about 10 days from start to finish of construction. It wasn't for activity padding as I wasn't interested in medical school at the time, so if these are considered "taboo" I figured I would just not mention it.
 

gyngyn

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Is this only in regards to medical based trips? I did three trips in undergrad building houses in Mexico. Each one was about 10 days from start to finish of construction. It wasn't for activity padding as I wasn't interested in medical school at the time, so if these are considered "taboo" I figured I would just not mention it.
Were you taking jobs from locals?
Were you undercutting their ability to charge for work by working for free?
 

StudyLater

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Oh ya... Another good idea somebody gave me is to start a business.. But that's a little too extreme, isn't it?
It'd sure be unique, depending on what kind of business you start. All you need is an idea and a bit of money to fund it. A "business" could even just be a charity. If you've got even a little money, you've got the means to give away resources. Then you can bring more people in and sponsor events to bring in even more resources to distribute to lazy people that won't work (I am GOP, so please don't discriminate against me for my views).

I thought they make the application look good. Do medical schools dislike missionary trips ?
They make you look like a tryhard that is pretending like he is doing ****, but actually isn't doing ****.

Were you taking jobs from locals?
Were you undercutting their ability to charge for work by working for free?
I smell a conservative. Inb4 5 page political debate.
 
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Were you taking jobs from locals?
Were you undercutting their ability to charge for work by working for free?
No, because there was no existent market to undercut. Can't speak for all of the families in the area, but the three I worked with barely had money to cover costs of food, much less costs of construction.

Aside from that, this seems like an odd frame of reference to automatically jump to in situations concerning true poverty as opposed to low-income populations. Do food banks undercut local farms? Shelters undercut the real-estate market? You could just as easily take the inverse of your argument and say providing families with housing allows them to focus on other basic necessities and removes the likelihood of children dropping out of school early to work. Seen it happen in both my personal life as well as while volunteering. Individuals are both consumers and producers, improving their status as either helps the local economy.

Edit: Sentence should read "You could just as easily take the inverse of your argument and say providing families with housing allows them to focus on other basic necessities and redirect money into more productive/efficient areas of the local economy, and also removes the likelihood of children dropping out of school early to work.
 
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StudyLater

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No, because there was no existent market to undercut. Can't speak for all of the families in the area, but the three I worked with barely had money to cover costs of food, much less costs of construction.

Aside from that, this seems like an odd frame of reference to automatically jump to in situations concerning true poverty as opposed to low-income populations. Do food banks undercut local farms? Shelters undercut the real-estate market? You could just as easily take the inverse of your argument and say providing families with housing allows them to focus on other basic necessities and removes the likelihood of children dropping out of school early to work. Seen it happen in both my personal life as well as while volunteering. Individuals are both consumers and producers, improving their status as either helps the local economy.
Yeah I was thinking the same argument could be made against any sort of volunteerism. Myself and my fellow pre-meds are possibly responsible for the suffering and misery of 100s-1000s of families with the amount of work we have taken away, from this point of view. Maybe @gyngyn could qualify the response.
 
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Yeah I was thinking the same argument could be made against any sort of volunteerism. Myself and my fellow pre-meds are possibly responsible for the suffering and misery of 100s-1000s of families with the amount of work we have taken away, from this point of view. Maybe @gyngyn could qualify the response.

Don't know if it was @gyngyn intent since s/he framed it as a question, but I see this sentiment on pre-allo a lot. I'm well-aware of the potential for adverse effects with volunteer efforts, but the naivety required to be unaware of it is no worse than the naivety (and typical smugness) that underlies the overly simplistic narrative that every volunteer effort hamstrings local economies.
 

StudyLater

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Don't know if it was @gyngyn intent since s/he framed it as a question, but I see this sentiment on pre-allo a lot. I'm well-aware of the potential for adverse effects with volunteer efforts, but the naivety required to be unaware of it is no worse than the naivety (and typical smugness) that underlies the overly simplistic narrative that every volunteer effort hamstrings local economies.
Honestly though volunteer work (at least where I am) involves duties that otherwise would have been allocated to existing staff. We simply just ease the workload for them, is all. I really doubt new jobs would be created exclusively for our positions if we weren't there. When we can't make it, they do manage, but things can just be more difficult to manage without the extra helping hands.
 

gyngyn

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Don't know if it was @gyngyn intent since s/he framed it as a question, but I see this sentiment on pre-allo a lot. I'm well-aware of the potential for adverse effects with volunteer efforts, but the naivety required to be unaware of it is no worse than the naivety (and typical smugness) that underlies the overly simplistic narrative that every volunteer effort hamstrings local economies.
Volunteering to give training or aid in an emergency is laudable.
Being a participant in an ongoing enterprise whose existence displaces workers in the area is not.

My post was framed as a series of questions because I was hoping you had asked and obtained satisfactory answers for them.
 
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Honestly though volunteer work (at least where I am) involves duties that otherwise would have been allocated to existing staff. We simply just ease the workload for them, is all. I really doubt new jobs would be created exclusively for our positions if we weren't there. When we can't make it, they do manage, but things can just be more difficult to manage without the extra helping hands.

Yeah, there's a large difference between permanently/temporarily displacing a pre-existing subset of an economy and providing aid that simply would not exist otherwise. The whole issue of whether temporary positions could be rolled into true paid-positions is always an issue with volunteering and exists on a spectrum. For example, when I went we paid ~$500 to go. About half of that went to construction supplies purchased from local vendors, and the other half went to travel costs/food/campsite. To me, an ideal scenario would have been to raise $250 and use it to instead hire a local worker for a short time period, but that's extremely more easily said than done. First, we fundraised much of the money. I don't personally like it, but people are much more willing to donate money a) after hearing the stories of people who went on the trip b) if it involves sending their kid to go do real work and learn humility. Second, the company we worked with had no infrastructure to hire and manage a local group of 200 disparate workers. Third, we did a significant amount of training before arriving, which you'd need to produce more money for if this was now a paid position. Fourth, creating a temporary labor pool based off the fluctuations of international donations is horribly unsustainable. None of these have simple solutions.
 
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Volunteering to give training or aid in an emergency is laudable.
Being a participant in an ongoing enterprise whose existence displaces workers in the area is not.

My post was framed as a series of questions because I was hoping you had asked and obtained satisfactory answers for them.
My issue was whether this becomes an assumption or an inquiry, particularly because what you're asking generally requires hindsight. The last housing site I led was primarily made up of high school seniors. While I know now what we were doing didn't run into the issues you're mentioning, the drive and motivation to simply do something helpful could have just as easily taken these kids to another program that did have a substantial negative impact on the local economy. Introspection after an experience is laudable, but expecting 18-22 year old kids to prospectively recognize and evaluate these things BEFORE going is unrealistic. For most of them, the sustainability of the operation they join is more by random chance than by a deep understanding of the program's economic impact. Like I said, at least they're actually doing something and hopefully improving their understanding of these issues than just doing nothing.

If that was your intent though, I'm curious to know what your perspective is on the points I and @StudyLater already mentioned.
 

Goro

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We refer to them as "medical tourism ". It's not a compliment.

Wanna be creative? Get off campus and out of your comfort zone. Work in hospice. Work with people who are less fortunate than yourself.

Show off your altruism. ..that's creative! !!

I thought they make the application look good. Do medical schools dislike missionary trips ?
 

gyngyn

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Introspection after an experience is laudable, but expecting 18-22 year old kids to prospectively recognize and evaluate these things BEFORE going is unrealistic. For most of them, the sustainability of the operation they join is more by random chance than by a deep understanding of the program's economic impact. Like I said, at least they're actually doing something and hopefully improving their understanding of these issues than just doing nothing.
I actually do expect this in a medical school applicant.
 
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I actually do expect this in a medical school applicant.
You're both misunderstanding. My point was that evaluating this for specific programs, not concepts, is often impossible until you've actually worked in the program. I have no experience with medical-based trips so I can't speak to those. Two construction-based programs can have dramatically different economic footprints (which vendors do they use, how existent is the alternative market for the service provided, provision of needs vs wants, etc), and this often can't even be evaluated until you're actually on the ground.

Sure, if some kid pays $5000 to fly to another country and hand out eye drops and sweep floors for a couple hours I can understand that criticism. In my experience though, national/international aid is rarely as black and white as it gets made out to be in the pre-med universe. As far as sustainability, the same argument is equally applicable to every non-paid work effort. If no one volunteered to work as unpaid greeters at a hospital, maybe the Board would decide to make less lavish break rooms and redirect that money towards minimum wage positions instead.
 
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Worry less about being unique and more about doing what you're interested in, whether that be medicine, art, science, teaching, whatever. Being able to speak passionately about an activity is a definite plus. I also second what Goro said about stepping out of your comfort zone. I had an activity where I did just that, and not only did it really drive home for me my motivation to become a physician, but it's also really unique. Not too many other pre-meds have that particular experience and certainly none of them have gotten the unique perspective that I got from it. It's the basis of my personal statement and it's a huge talking point in all my interviews.
 
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Were you taking jobs from locals?
Were you undercutting their ability to charge for work by working for free?
Gyngyn, would a summer volunteer trip to another country look like medical tourism? Like working in an african orphanage by caretaking for small children in a rural area hit hard by HIV. How would that look to you if you saw that on an app
 

gyngyn

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Gyngyn, would a summer volunteer trip to another country look like medical tourism? Like working in an african orphanage by caretaking for small children in a rural area hit hard by HIV. How would that look to you if you saw that on an app
Children are especially susceptible to feelings of abandonment.
 

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Do most adcoms share your feelings about these trips? I'm glad I didn't do one now
In my (anecdotal) experience, a couple adcom members would be like :soexcited: "you helped orphans in Africa?!? You're a saint!"

But the majority would be like :lame: "Whoop-de-freakin-do."
 

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In my (anecdotal) experience, a couple adcom members would be like :soexcited: "you helped orphans in Africa?!? You're a saint!"

But the majority would be like :lame: "Whoop-de-freakin-do."
This girl from class posted on facebook recently that she had "treated" 4000 patients in the couple days she was in South America. I see your point @gyngyn
 
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