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EC's

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Logan, Feb 1, 2002.

  1. Logan

    Logan Member
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    The Cornell post has brought up some things I'd like to mention. Why the extreme ephasis on so many extracurricular expierences? I agree there should be an emphasis and all applicants should need a bit of hospital expierence so that they at least have a good idea of what they are getting into, but we are in college!!. It seems that with the activities that most of you do you wouldn't have time to do much else. We are going to be consumed with activities for the rest of our lives, college is supposed to be the time to have fun. I think traveling, partying, and having the college expierence while participating in a couple of extracurriculars is much more important than spending all of ones time outside of class volunteering or in a hospital. We only have four years of college before med school takes its toll, we should enjoy it. No offense to those who have consumed their lives with ec's, thats great if you have enjoyed it and have not just done it to get into medical school. And please dont hassle me if there are spelling mistakes or something, I wrote this quickly and really don't give a ****e.
     
  2. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member
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    I have plenty of EC's including hospital experience as well as make time to do all the things you have mentioned. It's all about managing your time :)
     
  3. postbacchus

    postbacchus Senior Member
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    In defense of ECs, I think that ECs show the adcoms these things:

    1. Time management skills.
    2. Commitment to medicine. You can say you want to go into medicine all you want, but ECs are a way of putting your time where your mouth is.
    3. Maturity. I've heard many horror stories about people in med school who have never had a job. Being a physician is one of the most challenging "jobs" there is - long hours, handling irrate "customers", etc. ECs can show an adcom that they are good future physicians (employees), not just good students.
    4. It's a great way for many of us who couldn't party through med school to show why our GPAs might have been lower (due to working a lot) compared to our partying friends. (Sorry - did I sound bitter there? :)
    5. Other valuable experience you can bring to medicine (e.g. EMT or phlebotomy experience).

    And the main reason WHY - because they CAN (the adcoms, that is). Given 30,000 fish in a barrel, you need something to distinguish between the fish.
     
  4. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    Why do you have to do any of these activities while in college. You can always do them after. Delaying application into medical school by a few years after college and doing something worthwhile (such as finding out what the real world is like outside of being a student, i.e. how your patients make a living and what things are like when you are not a student) is something I think they should require of medical school applicants.
     
  5. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member
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    I just did the stuff I liked anyway, and only really thought about medical school after sophmore year. I think they could tell. Personally, I think that when they see you do only one or two things really in depth, it impresses admissions people more than a huge list of various activities and all. Oh yeah, if this is all messed up, it's cos i just woke up and am not thinking straight right now. --Trek
     
  6. gizzdogg

    gizzdogg keeper of the three lions
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    I agree with all of the above posts to a certain extent, particularly Logan's OP. I think a person needs to be balanced and that no one thing (including med school admissions) should consume a person entirely. We have all seen those pre-meds that are this way-- their whole life is centered around medical school admissions. And I don't completely look down upon them. In fact, I've been that way during some semesters.

    More and more, it's becoming necessary to do more than a community-minded college student's fair share of EC's to stand out. But I've been asking myself, "Does this make me a better person/doctor?" Yeah, I might get into medical school, but so what? Really, family and good friends are more important to me than my future career. Isn't this the way it should be? So why then do so many of us have to sacrifice these things during UNDERGRAD. I can understand that medical school and residency requires intense time investments--this is important to the education of a competent doctor. But why is this the case during undergrad?

    I'm not arguing that EC's shouldn't be important, but rather that moderation should be emphasized. If I were an adcom member, I would favor a student who did several EC's very well over another who had these crazy amounts of EC's, half of which were transparently engaged in to increase admissions chances. Seriously, i hope balance is emphasized more in the future. Maybe this is the case, but I've never gotten the impression that interviewers and adcoms generally care about the quality of students social/personal life. Certainly, application forms don't. So if these things are so important for a balanced and hence more productive life, why aren't they emphasized more?

    So I'll get off my soap box now. Please don't think this was precipitated from a rejection letter. I'm not applying until next year. And I'm confident I'll get in somewhere. Lately, however, I've been wondering if my intense undergraduate journey will make me happier in the end.
     
  7. Elysium

    Elysium Not Really An Old Beaver
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    I totally understand where you're coming from Logan. I remember being in undergrad and feeling that my life was pretty full with the activities I did (and I wasn't a science major then). I think the whole mystique of the infamous EC's is to make the applicant stand out. That's really it. We've all heard the stories about the people that get accepted to Harvard (illustrated very well in "Legally Blond"): undergrad at Stanford in Chinese History, PhD in Women's Sudies from Yale, JD in Tax Law from Harvard. Went to Africa and started an immunization clinic for children and found the cure for cancer. At 25.
    Seriously though. There are countless, countless numbers of apps with 3.5-4.0 gpa with a 30 MCAT and a bio/chem/biochem/math major with hospital volunteer experience. I think the name of the game is making the adcoms remember who the hell you are...
    This may not be right or fair, but that's just my take on it.
     
  8. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member
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    if your EC is fun then it is not a task.
     
  9. rikkitikki

    rikkitikki Member
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    Quality vs. quantity is most important and they can be fun too. In my year off I spent a great part of it doing a "skibum" bit and all but one of my interviewers found that to be a plus and a good interview conversation.(P.S at the place where the interviewer scorned this as well as other parts of my resume ie. not a hard science major, I wound up having an extra interview and did get in )
     
  10. MorningLight2100

    MorningLight2100 Senior Member
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    I am a bit confused by this thread. . . I can sympathize with and understand the concern about devoting one's life to the admissions process, my GOSH I hope people don't feel pressured to do such a thing. In fact, I often feel that pre-meds who can think of nothing else but medical school and what they have to do to "get in" are missing out on so many of life's smaller pleasures. However, I suppose that I am confused by the idea asserted here -- and please, if I'm wrong about this, correct me -- that extracurriculars are a chore. The dilemma that I've usually seen is that pre-meds isolate themselves from a wealth of experiences because their only thought is acceptance, i.e., they deny themselves their hobbies, their interests, the subjects they've always wanted to learn but "can't because I have to study orgo" in pursuit of what they believe the admissions committees want. I've always thought that the emphasis that adcoms place on EC's reflects, in part, their concern about this mentality. Yes, we all need to have some clinical experience, that's a given. But at interviews, I've found committee members keenly interested in MY interests...those I've pursued in the hospital/scientific realm, and activities that fall outside of the "medical box," that I chose not for application purposes, but SIMPLY BECAUSE I ENJOYED THEM. I've done work in pediatrics because I love children and find kids in a hospital setting absolutely inspiring; they help ME far more than I could ever hope to help them. Likewise, I've had outside hobbies and initiatives, painting, organizing an annual conference to address eating disorders, etc. Each experience has been a real delight for me, not a chore, because all are activities that I sought out for my own pleasure. Unless one honestly doesn't have any interests, I can't see how extracurriculars would be a real problem, as long as you just pursue the activities that you love.

    If someone could please clarify, I would sincerely appreciate it. . . and I apologize if I've misread the entire thread! And in general, I would strongly urge anyone to choose ECs based upon what you enjoy, not according to what you believe would impress adcoms.
     
  11. UCLA2000

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    Morninglight I'm with you on this one! I'm often asked by other premeds how much volunteer work they "have to do" in order to get into med school. The whole idea mystifies me. If you like volunteer work do it..if you don't..then don't! Don't do volunteer work because you think it's necessary to get into med school. Do it because you enjoy it.
     
  12. gizzdogg

    gizzdogg keeper of the three lions
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    i don't think the extracurriculars are necessarily a chore-- yes, they should be fulfilling. But from reading this board and from existing in a pre-med atmosphere for so long, they seem to be the measurement of well-roundedness. My view is that there are often more fulfilling things than what can be put down on applications as EC's. Some things, even mundane things, are in the end more important to shaping a well-rounded person than run-of-the-mill EC's.

    Perhaps my understanding of the admissions process is skewed. Perhaps adcoms do take into STRONG consideration these other experiences (e.g. family obligations and personal issues) when they are aware of them. However, my current view is that these are often looked upon less favorably than a nice, standard volunteership, even though this shouldn't necessarily be the case. If anyone has had admissions experiences that speak against the above, please let me know--I hope that many, many exist and I'd love to hear them.
     
  13. El Jefe

    El Jefe The Jefe
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by gizzdogg:
    <strong>Perhaps my understanding of the admissions process is skewed. Perhaps adcoms do take into STRONG consideration these other experiences (e.g. family obligations and personal issues) when they are aware of them. However, my current view is that these are often looked upon less favorably than a nice, standard volunteership, even though this shouldn't necessarily be the case. If anyone has had admissions experiences that speak against the above, please let me know--I hope that many, many exist and I'd love to hear them.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Well I've done those run-of-the-mill standard premed extracurriculars, but most of my interviewers have only mentioned them in passing. They have all focused more on a certain family issue I talked about in my personal statement, and my involvement in music. So yeah I think that they probably are interested in what you can bring to the table that isn't health-care volunteer related. Everyone has done that stuff and they've seen it all. Not that I'm saying you shouldn't do them...
     

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