May 26, 2020
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Hello, I am a rising senior in high school. Before you leave or tell me to post this in the high school premed forum instead (which I already did), I would like to say that what I hope to achieve from posting this here is a more focused perspective/advice particularly in my field of interest: pathology.

I'm not sure if any of y'all have been vying for a career in pathology since high school, but in the case that you have (or perhaps not), I would like some advice. From your experience, does the type of clinical experience matter to medical school admissions officers? My freshman year, I discovered the field of forensic pathology. And I LOVED it. As a kid, I'd always been fascinated with why and how people die and the clues they leave behind in their bodies. I loved learning about what specifically happens in the human body when it is afflicted with a certain that may result in death. I didn't realize that it actually was a real profession until high school. Forensic pathology as as a career appeals to me as it embodies some of the deeply rooted interests I've had since I was young. I know that quite possibly this interest may change, but as of right now, it is my career of choice.

As a rising high school senior, I have been searching for colleges that match my interests, yet are also located close to a medical examiners office so that it could open up the possibility of interning/shadowing/volunteering in a forensic pathology setting so that I could further determine whether I really do want to go into such a gruesome field. Yet, simultaneously, I am worried if my interests are too specific and too morbid. Although I do plan to volunteer at a traditionally clinical medical setting as well, would this type of clinical experience with the deceased hurt my application to medical schools? I heard that medical schools highly value clinical experience. Does that change if some of said "clinical experience" is working with dead patients instead of living ones, and comforting patient's loved ones through their grief instead of counseling live patients and their kin (Idk if that's what people actually do, but it is my guess)? Should I worry less about applying to schools located nearby medical examiners' offices because I should be more focused on clinical experiences with living patients as it demonstrates "people skills" and "empathy" among other things?

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

SunBakedTrash

Reading the meat and hitting the street
Sep 8, 2019
78
154
A CLIA-certified dungeon
Status
  1. Attending Physician
Hello, I am a rising senior in high school. Before you leave or tell me to post this in the high school premed forum instead (which I already did), I would like to say that what I hope to achieve from posting this here is a more focused perspective/advice particularly in my field of interest: pathology.

I'm not sure if any of y'all have been vying for a career in pathology since high school, but in the case that you have (or perhaps not), I would like some advice. From your experience, does the type of clinical experience matter to medical school admissions officers? My freshman year, I discovered the field of forensic pathology. And I LOVED it. As a kid, I'd always been fascinated with why and how people die and the clues they leave behind in their bodies. I loved learning about what specifically happens in the human body when it is afflicted with a certain that may result in death. I didn't realize that it actually was a real profession until high school. Forensic pathology as as a career appeals to me as it embodies some of the deeply rooted interests I've had since I was young. I know that quite possibly this interest may change, but as of right now, it is my career of choice.

As a rising high school senior, I have been searching for colleges that match my interests, yet are also located close to a medical examiners office so that it could open up the possibility of interning/shadowing/volunteering in a forensic pathology setting so that I could further determine whether I really do want to go into such a gruesome field. Yet, simultaneously, I am worried if my interests are too specific and too morbid. Although I do plan to volunteer at a traditionally clinical medical setting as well, would this type of clinical experience with the deceased hurt my application to medical schools? I heard that medical schools highly value clinical experience. Does that change if some of said "clinical experience" is working with dead patients instead of living ones, and comforting patient's loved ones through their grief instead of counseling live patients and their kin (Idk if that's what people actually do, but it is my guess)? Should I worry less about applying to schools located nearby medical examiners' offices because I should be more focused on clinical experiences with living patients as it demonstrates "people skills" and "empathy" among other things?

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

It “counts” as clinical experience, but as you will eventually realize as you go down this pathway, pathology is not always as regarded highly or as respected as much as it deserves to be. There are more than a few people in medicine who believe this is the specialty you go into when you can’t speak English or have personality issues. I went to med school completely convinced I would go into pathology and I did. Looking back, I think it turned a lot of med school adcoms off that I didn’t want to hold hands with dying old ladies or catch babies in underserved areas. Ultimately it didn’t stop me, but I think it held me back in some instances. I would go through college and medical school with an open mind. You can spend time with pathologists and explain that you have an interest in it, but know they expect you to play the game; and a game it is. Also remeber you are almost a decade out from making this decision. Even if you end up going to med school, there’s a good chance you’ll like something better. There is a danger in being so laser focused on path that you end up never exploring something you like better and have to end up changing residencies. Trust me, I’ve seen it.
 
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bauber

Pathology yo
7+ Year Member
Jun 20, 2011
145
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There is a very simple answer to your question - do both. Follow your interests and volunteer in an area you are interested in but also volunteer doing something that involves direct patient contact, because that is what most of med school is about.
 
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Guest8

2+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2018
171
164
Hello, I am a rising senior in high school. Before you leave or tell me to post this in the high school premed forum instead (which I already did), I would like to say that what I hope to achieve from posting this here is a more focused perspective/advice particularly in my field of interest: pathology.

I'm not sure if any of y'all have been vying for a career in pathology since high school, but in the case that you have (or perhaps not), I would like some advice. From your experience, does the type of clinical experience matter to medical school admissions officers? My freshman year, I discovered the field of forensic pathology. And I LOVED it. As a kid, I'd always been fascinated with why and how people die and the clues they leave behind in their bodies. I loved learning about what specifically happens in the human body when it is afflicted with a certain that may result in death. I didn't realize that it actually was a real profession until high school. Forensic pathology as as a career appeals to me as it embodies some of the deeply rooted interests I've had since I was young. I know that quite possibly this interest may change, but as of right now, it is my career of choice.

As a rising high school senior, I have been searching for colleges that match my interests, yet are also located close to a medical examiners office so that it could open up the possibility of interning/shadowing/volunteering in a forensic pathology setting so that I could further determine whether I really do want to go into such a gruesome field. Yet, simultaneously, I am worried if my interests are too specific and too morbid. Although I do plan to volunteer at a traditionally clinical medical setting as well, would this type of clinical experience with the deceased hurt my application to medical schools? I heard that medical schools highly value clinical experience. Does that change if some of said "clinical experience" is working with dead patients instead of living ones, and comforting patient's loved ones through their grief instead of counseling live patients and their kin (Idk if that's what people actually do, but it is my guess)? Should I worry less about applying to schools located nearby medical examiners' offices because I should be more focused on clinical experiences with living patients as it demonstrates "people skills" and "empathy" among other things?

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

You sound like you've got a good head on your shoulders and have a good idea of what you want. I'll echo the sentiment above. I also felt forensic pathology was going to be the job for me since early in high school. I did go into pathology, but I do general path and dermpath (spending a long whole month at the ME's office during a post-sophomore fellowship cured me of any love for forensics). I don't recommend doing too much extracurricular volunteering or work in forensics prior to getting into med school, at least not in place of more general hospital volunteering. The admissions folks at med schools are not often pathologists, and definitely not forensic pathologists. When granting you admittance to med school they want to see that you would be a caring doctor treating patients first and foremost, since there's no guarantee you'll end up in forensics no matter how sure you feel at age 18, 20, 22, or even 25. Lots will happen over the course of your training, and their job is to make you a doctor, not just a doctor pathologist. So play the game at your age - extracurriculars, good grades, and volunteering that shows a commitment to work in the healthcare field some day. After you get into med school you can go all-out for forensics and pathology if you want.
 
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zedcb

New Member
10+ Year Member
Dec 7, 2005
2
2
Agree with the above. I have served on med school admission committees, and the info they are going to be looking at from your shadowing experience will be insight into the physician patient relationship - something you will not see in a forensic path setting or with any pathology shadowing. Also, as above, you don't really know at this point where you will end up. With greater exposure you may find that you have more interest in other aspects of medicine. Even if you do eventually go into pathology, I have interviewed numerous pathology residency applicants who were certain that they wanted to do forensic pathology at the time they were applying for residency. Many ended up finding other areas of pathology more interesting and ultimately chose a different subspecialty. My advice would be to get as broad an exposure as possible so that you don't limit future opportunity.
 
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ScubaV

10+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2010
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Echoing all the above. There were a couple of residents two years above me. In their first year one KNEW she wanted forensics and the other KNEW she did not. They reversed and the first one hated autopsies so much she was at risk of not hitting 50 for the boards and the second ended up in the ME's office in NYC.

Even if you know for yourself that we're all full of crap and you will 100% be doing forensics, you've got to play the game as said earlier. Only after you match in 4th year med school can you relax the facade a little.
 
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Med Director New England

2+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2018
364
348
I trained with several who from day 1 of residency and from well before that were certain they wanted to fellowship in FP (similar to you). They all went into FP and the ones I keep up with seem to really enjoy their career choice.

I don’t think you need to worry about where you go to medical school. Just work hard in college and hit it out of the park so that you’ll be competitive for medical school. When you interview for medical school you will be asked what field(s) your interested in and why. So think about this question. you’ll be a rare med school applicant with an interest in FP so you’ll likely be remembered by your interviewers. This should work toyour advantage.

good luck
 
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gbwillner

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Jan 30, 2006
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I went into Med school thinking I 'd end up in IM, Neuro, or Peds. I thought Path was for people who failed their clinical exams.

Then I did my rotations in IM, Neuro, and Peds, and realized that I'd either do Path or Surgery. My wife thinks I made the right decision going into Path.
 
Oct 25, 2019
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6 Feet Away
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I went into Med school thinking I 'd end up in IM, Neuro, or Peds. I thought Path was for people who failed their clinical exams.

Then I did my rotations in IM, Neuro, and Peds, and realized that I'd either do Path or Surgery. My wife thinks I made the right decision going into Path.

I feel like a lot of pathologists I've met considered both path and surgery. Why is this?
 

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