Nov 27, 2013
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I just recently starting searching the MSAR online database and looking at some of the selection factors for a multitude of schools. The most concerning stat was the "percent of applicants accepted with relevant research/lab experience." Almost every school I looked into had percentages in the high 80s and low 90s. For some schools, this value is higher than the other two categories of "non-medical community service" and "medical community service."
Does this really mean what I think it means for means for potential applicants with absolutely no research experience?
 

CyberMaxx

Doing math in pen
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Dec 6, 2008
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Yes, research experience is an increasingly important part of successful medical school application. This is particularly true at top academic programs. While I don't believe that you should force yourself to do something you're not interested in, I would encourage any premed to spend at least some time in a research laboratory. Doing so will, if nothing else, allow you to check of a box. However, you may find that you are really interested in doing research - there is just no way to know without trying.

Also, the numbers in the MSAR are self reported by students so "lab experience" for many students may mean two semesters of washing glassware and injecting mice.
 
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I do agree that research is important and something you should at least give a try. However, keep in mind research doesn't have to be confined to a lab. I have not done a single hour of lab research, but have done quite a bit of public health research. Lab just wasn't for me. Look around for something that interests you and you think you'd genuinely like to get involved in.

Also, while I think research is important, I think those numbers say more about what students are inclined to do (maybe because of major requirements, personal interest, desire to get into medical school) than how a school ranks research in comparison to volunteering.
 
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