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ECs starting at the same time-- a red flag?

Talkamar

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I was watching Dr. Gray's latest application renovation video, and he pointed out that a lot of the applicant's EC's started around the same time and that was a red flag. For this particular applicant, that time happened to be a few months before they submitted their application. My question is will Adcoms question why the majority of my ECs started this summer/last semester (rising junior -- late start, I know. I am planning to take two gap years) or is that mostly just a problem if all your EC's start shortly before you apply?
 
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Mkif586

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I was watching Dr. Gray's latest application renovation video, and he pointed out that a lot of the applicant's EC's started around the same time and that was a red flag. For this particular applicant, that time happened to be a few months before they submitted their application. My question is will Adcoms question why the majority of my ECs started this summer/last semester (rising junior -- late start, I know. I am planning to take two gap years) or is that mostly just a problem if all your EC's start shortly before you apply?
The longer the commitment - the better. It is pretty easy to land a full-time volunteering position on May 1st of the application year for 4 weeks and then just apply like you have legit 160 hours. Not going to work.
 
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KnightDoc

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I was watching Dr. Gray's latest application renovation video, and he pointed out that a lot of the applicant's EC's started around the same time and that was a red flag. For this particular applicant, that time happened to be a few months before they submitted their application. My question is will Adcoms question why the majority of my ECs started this summer/last semester (rising junior -- late start, I know. I am planning to take two gap years) or is that mostly just a problem if all your EC's start shortly before you apply?
They are not going to question it -- they are not stupid, and will know precisely what is going on. Whether or not it is fatal will depend on what your entire application looks like, but, yeah, the public service part will definitely be viewed as the box checking exercise that it is, the closer your urge to serve comes to when you apply.

Starting ECs 2, 3 or more years before applying is fine, since some commitment will be evidenced before the application is submitted. Again, only having one year of ECs, with a couple of hundred hours nicely distributed, will not necessarily be fatal if you have a 3.9/520, but, of course, demonstrated commitment over a period of time is way better than a sudden urge after meeting with a premed advisor the year before applying.
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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They are not going to question it -- they are not stupid, and will know precisely what is going on. Whether or not it is fatal will depend on what your entire application looks like, but, yeah, the public service part will definitely be viewed as the box checking exercise that it is, the closer your urge to serve comes to when you apply.

Starting ECs 2, 3 or more years before applying is fine, since some commitment will be evidenced before the application is submitted. Again, only having one year of ECs, with a couple of hundred hours nicely distributed, will not necessarily be fatal if you have a 3.9/520, but, of course, demonstrated commitment over a period of time is way better than a sudden urge after meeting with a premed advisor the year before applying.
What if applicant decided to go into medicine one year before applying and explain the thought process in the PS? I think doing ECs few hours a week consistently over one year shouldn't raise any red flags.
 
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KnightDoc

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What if applicant decided to go into medicine one year before applying and explain the thought process in the PS? I think doing ECs few hours a week consistently over one year shouldn't raise any red flags.
Okay, great! But you are looking at it like a parent whose kid is checking boxes, and that's what you want and expect him to do. To the adcoms. the volunteering and other ECs are supposed to show an interest, desire and commitment to giving back and serving humanity. That transcends a decision to apply to med school.

The very point you are missing is that not doing it unless and until you decide to go into medicine is evidence that your motives are not pure, your interest is not sincere, and you are, in fact, doing it to check a box. Would it shock you to learn that literally millions of people engage in these activities every year without ever even thinking about applying to med school? Apparently so!! :)
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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Okay, great! But you are looking at it like a parent whose kid is checking boxes, and that's what you want and expect him to do. To the adcoms. the volunteering and other ECs are supposed to show an interest, desire and commitment to giving back and serving humanity. That transcends a decision to apply to med school.

The very point you are missing is that not doing it unless and until you decide to go into medicine is evidence that your motives are not pure, your interest is not sincere, and you are, in fact, doing it to check a box. Would it shock you to learn that literally millions of people engage in these activities every year without ever even thinking about applying to med school? Apparently so!! :)
I am talking about clinical ECs only. I don't think someone who starts doing clinical ECs one year before application time will be treated negatively provided they have good GPA/MCAT and articulate well in the essays.
 
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KnightDoc

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I am talking about clinical ECs only. I don't think someone who starts doing clinical ECs one year before application time will be treated negatively provided they have good GPA/MCAT and articulate well in the essays.
OP was about having no ECs until the last year before applying, and whether it would be a problem like Dr. Gray said it was. No need to turn it into a highly specific question about one type of activity, good grades and essays, etc. There are an infinite number of possible combinations and permutations that will change the answer. What's the point of taking the thread there?
 
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EdgeTrimmer

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OP was about having no ECs until the last year before applying, and whether it would be a problem like Dr. Gray said it was. No need to turn it into a highly specific question about one type of activity, good grades and essays, etc. There are an infinite number of possible combinations and permutations that will change the answer. What's the point of taking the thread there?
OP didn't say no ECs, was wondering about majority of them started around same time (few months before app time).
 
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mvsrocks

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I was watching Dr. Gray's latest application renovation video, and he pointed out that a lot of the applicant's EC's started around the same time and that was a red flag. For this particular applicant, that time happened to be a few months before they submitted their application. My question is will Adcoms question why the majority of my ECs started this summer/last semester (rising junior -- late start, I know. I am planning to take two gap years) or is that mostly just a problem if all your EC's start shortly before you apply?

I'm pretty sure you're fine in your case, especially since you will be applying much later and will have time to commit to your activities. It's also not strange for a student to start a few activities at the same time, especially during summer or at the start of a school year. So to answer your question, no, I'm confident adcoms won't doubt you much.

What's strange is starting those activities at the same time a few weeks/months before applying.
 
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