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Extracurricular Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Sachiel, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. Sachiel

    2+ Year Member

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    Hi, I've been lurking around these boards for around 3 years now, ever since I've taken (back) interest into going into medicine. My dilemma is that my extracurricular activities show a big hole meaning there is something missing.

    I've done research in Zoology for 3 years, 2 publications and 1 poster

    One year of research in a language and literature field, 1 publication, maybe

    2 years of volunteering in a hospital

    and during 2 summers in the past I've shadowed doctors and surgeries.

    My problem i suppose is that none of that first show leadership abilities and two none of them show that I've gotten involved in the community or "socialize"

    So my question is how concerned I should be (based on past threads it seems I really should be concerned)

    And then if so, should I attempt to do something about it now, even though it is late (I will be graduating in may and I will apply in July)?

    I similarly know friends of mine who have cushioned their application by putting in stuff they did for one month or two weekends, I personally did not think that would go over well but I do not know as much as the combined knowledge of 2 or more pre-meds.

    Any advice, comments will be well taken and greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. spicedmanna

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Let's see: you have research experience, publications, presented at a conference, volunteered, shadowed, and presumably accumulated some clinical experience. I think you are going to be okay as long as your numbers are good (undergraduate GPA and MCAT).

    You mean to tell me that between all those activities, you haven't demonstrated one iota of leadership and service to the community? That's a little difficult to believe. I think most likely, you are overlooking those areas. It isn't the category of the experience per se, but what you did and received out of it.

    I think adcomms are primarily interested in activities that you have shown long-term commitment. You should be able to talk about them and cite interesting examples. I would not recommend padding your resume with useless fodder, particularly activities in which you are not interested in doing, or will be doing for only a few months.
     
  4. Sachiel

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    spicedmanna, thank you for your response and your advice

    I didnt mean to show off what I have done but filling out that 15 slot on the AMCAS seems to be highly variable and I was wondering if people do effectivly "pad" their results and I mean making little seem big.

    If so, I was just wondering how it is done.

    I assumed to some degree the question of how "social" i am will be brought up and to that extent as someone who does not have that on paper I was wondering how that will go into the consideration.

    My apologies if this thread seems very moot, but it was a matter that I was hugely curious on and I've been out of the "premed" circle for sometime now.
     
  5. Droopy Snoopy

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    Contrary to how it appears on SDN sometimes, most applicants don't have it all. I for example, had absolutely no research experience, but my strong clinical work experience made up for it. If your gpa and MCAT scores are good and you manage not to pee on the floor of your interveiwers' offices, your ECs seem strong enough to carry the day. But if you don't think so, well it's only March so there's still time. If in 4 years of undergrad you don't have the initiative to find a club to head up, an activity to oversee, or event to put together, it might be for the best not to try and come off as a leader, because you're probably not. Nothing wrong with that, because not everybody is.
     
  6. spicedmanna

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Well, you can try. Staying honest is the best policy, though, in my opinion. I'm sure that many people stretch their stuff a little bit, in order to cater to the tastes of medical schools. However, your ECs can come up during the interview. If so, they might ask about stuff you wrote and/or cited. Hopefully, it's all solid. I'd recommend being as honest as you can while focusing on favorable material that highlights your potential and good qualities. Focus on what you do have; your strengths; the areas in which you have excelled. Tell good stories and cite good examples. Keep in mind that interviewers and adcomms have excellent BS detectors.

    It might come up in your PS, secondary essays, and on your interview. These elements are where adcomms learn more about you as a person.
     
  7. Sachiel

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    Thank you both for your comments.

    This leads me to the question that does the value of ECs one does closer to actual application time diminish in value, I understand that we as applicants have the perogative to update our activities during the application cycle but how much does that have an effect and how much of that really is just thought of as padding by the adcoms.
     
  8. Vano

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    Your activity list is fine and with solid grades you shouldn't have trouble getting in in some places, if you want to strengthen the file do something "social" and non-scientific or non-medical (you should be well-rounded and not just think about medicine 24/7)--tutor school children(it's fun); don't you employ any leadership at your paid employment?(if you have it of course) And yes, usually with experiences they may be concerned with "recent nature" of your activities which would put your motivation for doing those in question
     
  9. spicedmanna

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    Well, new experiences that are done for only a very short period of time are not likely to make a significant impact, in my opinion, unless they are somehow profound. However, if genuine, they may help to round out, or add to, other experiences you might have already had. You should have already done the bulk of your EC work for several years now; that's what they will look at. It doesn't hurt to continue to do work that interests you, as long as you do it for that reason. It can only serve to express who you are to the adcomms. Indeed, recent experiences can become good items of discussion during interviews, if you have interesting things to tell about them. At the end, the adcomms will put everything together and look at your application as a whole. I do believe adcomms have a good head on their shoulders and judge things with appropriate weight.

    Good luck in your pursuits! :)
     
  10. Droopy Snoopy

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    Suppose you went out tomorrow to your local Boys & Girls club. By the time the interview season rolls around, you'll have been doing this for 6 or 8 months, and in that time you'll have had many opportunities to put together fund raisers, do charity drives, organize summer activities, tutor, etc. I don't think it would be considered resume-padding by adcomms. Like I said most people cannot hold a 4.0 taking 18 hours a semester and getting 90th percentile on the MCAT while doing zoological research, volunteering, working PRN at a clinic, shadowing, playing division I basketball, and saving AIDS babies in Darfur (those of you that can I salute you, there's a spot with your name on it at an Ivy somewhere). Adcomms, many of whom were premeds at one time or another, understand this. Now that you have some "free" time away from your full-time job of trying to become a physician, you have the opportunity to do some of those community and leadership activities that you've been wanting to do for awhile. Anyway, you can only do what you do. You can't really control what the perception of your activities will be, so don't sweat it so much.
     
  11. 139871

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    You certainly have all the basic ECs down but I think a leadership position in a club would certainly enhance your application.
     
  12. gujuDoc

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    On the subject of leadership, I feel that a lot of premeds confuse the definition of leadership.

    Many premeds believe leadership to be synonymous with being officer in xyz organization for premeds.

    Often times that's very misleading. Leadership is shown in small ways through initiatives you've taken in the community or with research. For instance, perhaps you started or led a particular service job or you were in an upper position at work that required you leading those under you. Those small sorts of things also count as leadership. You could probably talk about leadership in the sense of the things you've done to lead others in other activities. What are you numbers like by any chance? I think if your numbers are as good as those ECs then you'll be in at many schools as long as your applications and letters and interviews are great too.
     
  13. gujuDoc

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    I disagree. I think leadership can be shown in many forms and they don't always come from student organizations. If I were sitting on an admissions committee I think the person who led a group of students abroad to help in a medical mission or the student who started their own business would show much more or equal leadership to the club president of xyz. The only difference is the former case would stand out because it would be less cookie cutterish.
     
  14. Surf Rx

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    Would you guys consider being a TA for upper division biology classes a leadership activity?
     
  15. Sachiel

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    Yes, most definitely.

    To everyone else, thank you so much for your inputs.
     
  16. gujuDoc

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    Yes. You'd list it under the TA or teaching category on AMCAS but it sure does count as leadership in a more subtle way.
     
  17. Surf Rx

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    Thank you both.
     
  18. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search
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    You seem to have very good EC's, and you've had them for a long time which shows much committment on your part.

    If you really are worried about adding something else, I would suggest just adding something "for fun", meaning that you should look for something you like (it doesn't need to be academic, medical, or research related).

    For example...are you passionate about a certain culture? Join one of your campus organizations. A new language? Take a class. Do you like photography? Maybe join a club or take a class and start compiling a portfolio. Joing the Rock-Collecting Society or whathave you, just do something you like.

    All of these things are things you can talk about and if you enjoy them, it will show that you have varied interests.
     

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