Does doing research at a med school you want to go to help at all?

rockaction

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May 3, 2009
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Hey all,

I'm currently doing research at the med school that I want to end up at. I'm applying right now. It's a top 20 school and my MCAT and GPA are competitive there (I've got a 35 and practically a 4.0). Does doing research there, along with a LOR from my PI (who is an assistant professor), help? I'm expecting a publication but probably not in time for it make much of a difference.

What do you all think?
 

BerlinDude

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Yes it does help, particularly if your superviser is well-known or connected at the school. It also indicates that you are more likely to join the school if accepted than someone else.

I know one guy with below-average MCAT and GPA, terrible social skills, and no reason to go into medicine other than he sucked at research (8 years and just one co-authorship!). Anyway, he got into a top 10 med school b/c his boss had pull.
 

URHere

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Does doing research there, along with a LOR from my PI (who is an assistant professor), help?

What do you all think?
Honestly, it depends on the school and on the rest of your application. I had extensive research experience at 2 of the schools I applied to - I was rejected at one and waitlisted at the other. If the school is highly ranked, there is no guarantee that you will get in, even with great stats and a publication.
 

MedYEP

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I did research at my state school and was rejected (with a 3.99 and 35) so it may help some people but did nothing for me.
 

SuperOrchestra

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Depends
1.) Did you do a good job?
2.) Does he have any pull? Just by virtute of being an assistant professor does not necessitate that he is heavily involved in admissions or that he is influential
3.) Does he know your applying to medical school now? Having the LOR and a little blurb on your AMCAS that you have done research at the institution doesn't help you more than any other LOR or research activity. But by informing him that you are currently applying and where you are in the cycle (have you gotten an interview, were you wait listed...) puts him in a position to help you if he wants and maybe then he could put in a good word for you to the adcom. But if he is oblivious to this, he cannot.
 

Shawnpremed

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Is it appropriate/ethical to literally ask your PI to pull strings for u?

I.e. Asking "Can you put in a good word for me at __ Med school since you're part of their faculty"?
 

sunset823

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while it's more likely to help with your stats, in general, no. I've done research at two top-ranked med schools which I had no shot in hell at with my stats, but it's allowed me to develop a network that will be useful in residency, where some of this touchy-feely stuff seems to matter more (i.e., over pure numbers)
 

Narmerguy

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Is it appropriate/ethical to literally ask your PI to pull strings for u?

I.e. Asking "Can you put in a good word for me at __ Med school since you're part of their faculty"?
If you have to ask them to do it, you probably shouldn't.
 
OP
rockaction

rockaction

casemed'14
May 3, 2009
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Thanks for all the replies! My PI has tried to help me as much as possible with the application process - let me shadow, etc. - and knows I'm applying right now. I won't be like "put in a good word for me!". I'm hoping the repute of my lab (which is fairly high I imagine) will do the talking for me, as well as a good LOR.
 

orrghead16

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I'm hoping the repute of my lab (which is fairly high I imagine) will do the talking for me, as well as a good LOR.
IMO, science and medicine is just as much about the people you know as how good you are. It sucks, it isn't fair, but it is true. This is probably true to a lesser extent when applying to medical school than later in life, but it can be a factor

I sat down with a very prominent scientist at dinner about a year ago at a meeting. Hadn't met him before. Somehow we got onto the politics in science. I was talking about something when he interrupted me: "You know what, I stopped apologizing for the people I know quite a while ago, and haven't looked back." There was an awkward silence for a while. Indeed, it was one of those life changing moments; where, when you are young and naive, you still think everything that goes on in science and medicine is perfect and unflawed, that science still holds all the truth, hides nothing, and contains none of the burdens and corruption of real life. And it suddenly crashes down on you.

The more he can push buttons, the more it will help. The more people you know and ties you can get to help you out and throw you a bone, the better. Name and affiliation won't do it alone. At this point very few pre-meds have mad contacts and strings to pull. IMO, if you can get BA hook ups, you can get an advantage.
 

Wheee

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IMO, science and medicine is just as much about the people you know as how good you are. It sucks, it isn't fair, but it is true. This is probably true to a lesser extent when applying to medical school than later in life, but it can be a factor

I sat down with a very prominent scientist at dinner about a year ago at a meeting. Hadn't met him before. Somehow we got onto the politics in science. I was talking about something when he interrupted me: "You know what, I stopped apologizing for the people I know quite a while ago, and haven't looked back." There was an awkward silence for a while. Indeed, it was one of those life changing moments; where, when you are young and naive, you still think everything that goes on in science and medicine is perfect and unflawed, that science still holds all the truth, hides nothing, and contains none of the burdens and corruption of real life. And it suddenly crashes down on you.

The more he can push buttons, the more it will help. The more people you know and ties you can get to help you out and throw you a bone, the better. Name and affiliation won't do it alone. At this point very few pre-meds have mad contacts and strings to pull. IMO, if you can get BA hook ups, you can get an advantage.
:thumbup:good post. karma to that guy for being so honest.

I don't know if it'll make a huge difference--it very well could--but it also can't hurt. tbh, I'm hoping my summer research at my top choice will give me a tiny advantage. My PI is technically a professor, because all faculty are although they don't all teach in the med-school side, but having a letter on the school's letterhead when they go through my apps will maybe subconsciously push them towards a "we should interview/accept her!"
 

Mattabet

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Is it appropriate/ethical to literally ask your PI to pull strings for u?

I.e. Asking "Can you put in a good word for me at __ Med school since you're part of their faculty"?
This is exactly what you're doing from anyone you ask to write a letter for you. Provided your PI is known and respected at the medical school, a letter from him will go along way.

It's not so much string pulling as networking, 'we trust Bob, Bob knows this kid, and Bob thinks he'd be great - let's get him in here.'
 

dr seuss

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I did research at my state school and was rejected (with a 3.99 and 35) so it may help some people but did nothing for me.
I can't believe you didn't get into your state school. I don't feel bad for you, though, good luck at pitt! :)
 

Shawnpremed

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If you have to ask them to do it, you probably shouldn't.
This is exactly what you're doing from anyone you ask to write a letter for you. Provided your PI is known and respected at the medical school, a letter from him will go along way.

It's not so much string pulling as networking, 'we trust Bob, Bob knows this kid, and Bob thinks he'd be great - let's get him in here.'
It's telling adcoms "come on, let's get (student) in there" part that I'm iffy about. Of course there's only so much your PI can do, especially if he's not really well known.
 

halekulani

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i had the opportunity

fun job (at alma mater) vs. job at dream school

i took the fun job and don't regret it. *shrug*

i'm sure working there might help you get an interview. not necessarily through your employer, but by putting yourself in a position to meet others and make an impression on them.