Getting research experience before taking the post-bac science courses?

rilkehayden

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Hi, everyone,

Does anyone have ideas for a non-traditional student considering applying to medical school who's interested in doing research but, as a music major set to graduate in a month, won't really have science in college? I have no science research experience (I do have humanities research experience) or college science except the introductory class to cognitive science. I did take AP Chemistry in high school, though, and earned a 5 on that exam. Would that help somewhere? I've worked at a health service as a nurse's assistant for two years, did a semester-long ER internship, and plan to become an EMT-B and do more hospital volunteering, but I'm curious to see how I like research and working in a lab as well and don't know if there are programs that would take me. (I would then apply to a post-bac program to get all that science I'm missing.)

Thanks!
 

OncoCaP

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Aug 28, 2006
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Hi, everyone,

Does anyone have ideas for a non-traditional student considering applying to medical school who's interested in doing research but, as a music major set to graduate in a month, won't really have science in college? I have no science research experience (I do have humanities research experience) or college science except the introductory class to cognitive science. I did take AP Chemistry in high school, though, and earned a 5 on that exam. Would that help somewhere? I've worked at a health service as a nurse's assistant for two years, did a semester-long ER internship, and plan to become an EMT-B and do more hospital volunteering, but I'm curious to see how I like research and working in a lab as well and don't know if there are programs that would take me. (I would then apply to a post-bac program to get all that science I'm missing.)

Thanks!
Once you take some science classes, you can ask your teachers for suggestions concerning research opportunities (mostly doing lab grunt work just to get some exposure). If you want to do research, then do research on something you know something about like music perhaps. With respect to getting a jump on science research, It really makes zero sense to do research on something for which you have little basis for understanding. Your questions is a little bit like asking I would like to try dating to see if I like that ... it really depends on many things, such as the person you are going out with. Similarly, whether you will like research will depend on how well you do and your working relationship with your advisor. :luck:
 

njbmd

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Hi, everyone,

Does anyone have ideas for a non-traditional student considering applying to medical school who's interested in doing research but, as a music major set to graduate in a month, won't really have science in college? I have no science research experience (I do have humanities research experience) or college science except the introductory class to cognitive science. I did take AP Chemistry in high school, though, and earned a 5 on that exam. Would that help somewhere? I've worked at a health service as a nurse's assistant for two years, did a semester-long ER internship, and plan to become an EMT-B and do more hospital volunteering, but I'm curious to see how I like research and working in a lab as well and don't know if there are programs that would take me. (I would then apply to a post-bac program to get all that science I'm missing.)

Thanks!
If you are hoping that some basic science research lab is going to snap you up to perform a significant portion of their bench research without any skills, you may have a very difficult time finding a position. Since you have skills that include humanities research, you might want to look into making contact with a PI who has a project that might be able to utilize your skills otherwise, as other people have advised, you may want to wait until you have a science class or two under your belt.

Believe me, I have no problems filling the entry-level student researcher positions in my lab at this point (biochemistry research). Many of the applicants that apply have degrees in science and are hoping to get some experience because they didn't get into medical school. There are more than a few folks that meet that description out there.

One strategy that you might use is to begin your science classes as soon as you can, do well and pick up an honors project that would give you some solid scientific research experience plus the benefit of doing an honors research project with publication. You could then move into a very significant role in a scientific research lab with some scientific experience.

If medicine is your goal, the sooner you get started with your premedical work, the better. Starting your premed work could get you closer to scientific research in the short run and get you closer to your goal of medicine at the same time. You can do your EMT classes with your premed coursework and kill three birds with one stone.
 
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gman33

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Aug 18, 2007
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Take some classes before thinking about research.
Why do you want to do research?
If as a stepping stone to med school; most schools don't require it and you may just be better off concentrating on your classes and MCAT first. I would take all the prereqs and then try to find a research position during your glide year while applying to school. Grades and MCAT are the most important and it's hard to come back from bad grades in a postbacc. I've seen too many people do poorly because they try to take on too much at once.

BTW - Fellow music major here. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't go from music to med. :luck:
 

AggiePharmer

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Mar 1, 2008
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Fellow Music-related student, I suggest googling "NIH" or "NSF Research experience programs."

Although some of the dates may be passed already, if you've got your heart set to get some experience and got some credentials to back you up, they'll pay for your transportation to/from lab around the country, give you a ~$4,000 stipend for 8-10 weeks to do research over the summer, and give you a shot at publishing some work. I'm going into Pharm school next fall, but shoot me a P/M if you have further questions.
 

nu2004

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i think it's a lot easier to begin doing research after having taken your post-bacc courses, up to and during the year in which you apply. that way, you can dress up (call it exaggerate if you want) your research experience on your AMCAS, then you will have more to write about when completing secondaries, and even more to talk about in interviews. if you're brand new to research (sounds like it), it's unlikely that you'll be first author on three papers by the time you apply... just focus on getting some good experience in a lab after you've completed your pre-reqs for application.
 

sunny1

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Jan 13, 2007
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Hi, everyone,

Does anyone have ideas for a non-traditional student considering applying to medical school who's interested in doing research but, as a music major set to graduate in a month, won't really have science in college? I have no science research experience (I do have humanities research experience) or college science except the introductory class to cognitive science. I did take AP Chemistry in high school, though, and earned a 5 on that exam. Would that help somewhere? I've worked at a health service as a nurse's assistant for two years, did a semester-long ER internship, and plan to become an EMT-B and do more hospital volunteering, but I'm curious to see how I like research and working in a lab as well and don't know if there are programs that would take me. (I would then apply to a post-bac program to get all that science I'm missing.)

Thanks!
Since you have some experience in a healthcare setting (nurse's assistant and ER internship) and will now have your bachelor degree, perhaps you could look around for a clinical research job. There might even be something part-time which you could do while you start the post-bacc classes.

Personally working in a lab sounds boring to me. Of course, I've never done it, so I have no experience upon which to make my uninformed opinion.:D However, I imagine you would have a very hard time beating out other people for a lab job with no lab experience.

Some schools have research opportunities designed for undergrads with no experience. The one at my school starts out unpaid over the summer and then pays a little over the school year once you've accumulated that experience. I'd ask your prehealth advising office if they have anything like that.
 

kami333

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Aug 15, 2007
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^^^ Yeah, look into clinical research jobs, such as clinical research coordinators and such. Our research coordinators are former MA, CNA, etc, and they are involved in signing people up, taking their histories, blood draws, etc.

Bench research is hard to get into even with a science degree and may not be the best use of your time if you are just interested in getting research experience to get into medical school.
 
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