Great Numbers, Few Extracurricular activities

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Ooglyboogly, May 7, 2008.

  1. Ooglyboogly

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    Let's say someone has a high GPA (3.9+) and does extraordinarlly well on the MCAT. The only problem is that they are short on EC's. Is there a "break-even" point where MCAT + High GPA will make up for the few EC's. Also, are there any schools which you could classify as "number-whores"; i.e. care more about a good MCAT and a High GPA than others?
     
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  3. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy

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    Nope...no clinical experience=no acceptance.
     
  4. Bananas Foster

    Bananas Foster Eats Whole Pies

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    well... this question is kinda vague, having no EC's is akin to submitting an application after the due date: no accepto.


    But, some people can get away limited EC experience, say you only had a year of experience, or you've done something real simple like transport patients or file one day a week at a hospital... well, that might just be enough for some schools. But getting EC's is a lot easier than getting a 42 or even a 36 on the MCAT, so go ahead and get yourself as much experience as possible.
     
  5. SnoPearl

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    I guess that would be me... I really didn't do much clinically (started stuff the year of my application...). I did have a strong research background, which I'm not sure if you're also counting as an EC. You can see that the numbers got me interviews at most places, but didn't get me acceptances about half the time. I suppose you can use my results loosely as an indication of places that care less about ECs and more about numbers and/or research. (Except that WashU is notoriously big on numbers, and just hated me for some reason.)
     
  6. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"

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    Few ECs is one thing, no clinical experience is another. Unless you're applying MD/PhD, the latter will make your app DOA (even if you are, you're app will probably just limp along).
     
  7. ilovetoshop

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    i know someone with a 3.8 GPA and a 36 MCAT but she only got 2 interviews (she applied to 30 schools)

    she's pretty sure it was her lack of ECs, so I would say EC's are pretty important especially since you have so many well-rounded applicants now
     
  8. hra87

    hra87 Junior Member

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    If you don't have clinical exposure don't bother.

    Your numbers won't make up for lack of EC's at ANY top school (that includes WashU, which I think gets a bad rep for no reason). Lower tier schools would probably let you in of your numbers are way higher than theirs and you have SOME ok EC's.
     
  9. Legato

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    Hello brother (or sister). I'm in the same boat as you.
     
  10. Wylde

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    I think a lot of people have this mindset when they start off very strong freshmen year, I know I did!

    Heres something to consider:

    If you have a 3.9/35 you will probably have a 50/50 shot of getting into a low-tier medical school. There are 45k people applying and a .1/.2 better GPA won't convince an adcom, especially not at a top school.

    However, mediocre ECs are incredibly easy to attain. Spend 4-8 hrs/week volunteering in the ER and another 4 hours doing something like big brothers, big sisters. If you tack on 1-2 semesters of research, your app will be like everyone elses, but your numbers will be able to push you above .

    I guess my point is that a 3.9/35 will probably get into a low tier school, but if you contribute an extra 5 hours/week to your resume, you're pretty much guaranteed interviews and probably at some pretty top schools. There is no reason not to volunteer, it is incredibly easy. I don't think any adcom would be excited to accept someone who only has numbers, a 3.7/32/good ECs >>>> 3.9/good MCAT/no ECs.
     
  11. Legato

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    I mean, I agree, but what does "clinical experience" mean? Standing around watching someone else seeing their patients? Filling cups with water for patients, because that is all that your $0 liability insurance will cover? Come on med schools. Why not just watch House or a video. You get the same experience.

    I shadowed a doctor in a large public hospital, but not for too long. I followed him around on his rounds and he occasionally asked me questions, and I asked him questions. He said things like "put on this stethoscope and listen to this...it's a heart murmur," while the patient looked at me like he was thinking "wtf is this guy doing? I know this is a teaching hospital, but I'm a human being and deserve some respect(or at least that was what I was thinking)."

    Guess what else I did. I volunteered near the end of high school in a hospital. I filed papers, entered in data into a computer, and filled cups with ice water. Amazing. I'm such a good person...perfect doctor material.

    Why is this sort of experience necessary?

    Of course, I second what Wylde and everyone else is saying. Don't make my mistake. Volunteer and do all the other activities you can early and go through much less trouble later on.


    PS - ChubbyChaser, that picture makes my eyes bleed. You post a lot and I see it everywhere :(.
     
  12. anomalous738232

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    hahaha i like that. damn it. is it just me, or is the pre-med pool progressively becoming more "well-rounded" on paper? seems like the competition to get into med-school gets more extreme every year.

    ahh!
     
  13. ilovetoshop

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    adcoms need to know that you know what being a doctor is like and you are familiar w/ the hospital environment. they want to make sure that you're serious about medicine and you won't drop about after doing rotations or something. if you just shuffled papers around for your clinical experience, they won't be too happy about that when they ask about it during your interviews. a lot of interviewers actually ask about your clinical experience, so you want to make sure you have something solid to talk about.

    i also know someone else with a 3.9 GPA and 39 MCAT who got interviews at all the top schools, but he didn't get in because he didn't have any clinical experience. it's the clinical experience for sure because he called in asking how he can improve his app for the following yr.
     
  14. Insulinshock

    Insulinshock Class of 2022

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    Bananas nice job on the MCAT!!
     
  15. PharmDstudent

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    Would being a state and nationally certified pharmacy tech since 2005, pharmacy student intern for a retail pharmacy, former German nursing home assistant (it was a summer internship), and a former hospital pharmacy tech (nine months at a non-profit hospital) count as "clinical" experience?

    I guess I'm just curious to know what they want to see... or perhaps, should I do anything else? I'm trying to volunteer somewhere and start research with one of my professors.

    (FYI: If I apply, it would be for the fall of 2010).
     
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  17. Legato

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    Could you tell me what people actually can/should do for their clinical experience? I doubt it will be much. No premed will be able to do much volunteering in a hospital at this stage. I looked at the volunteer programs for a hospital and the kinds of things you can do is rock babies with illnesses, wheel people around the hospital, and again, follow doctors around and do little things for them. Even these things you will probably only be able to do at hospitals for poor people. University hospitals have rich people in them, so you'll be able to do even less.

    Anyway, my main point was that even if I had zero clinical experience as a premed, I doubt that someone with 100+ hrs would be far ahead of me when we got to med school or got a job. Clinical experience as a doctor actually doing things = helpful... "Clinical experience" as a premed = not very helpful

    Again, I know that med schools are calling the shots, and I can't help but acquiesce to their demands. I can at least complain all along the way though :).
     
  18. Schemp

    Schemp drawing infinity

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    I don't think they're looking for "experience" in the sense that you've actually worked at a hospital and treated patients or really done much of anything really clinical. What they want to see is that you have seen how hospitals, clinics, and doctors operate from a variety of perspectives for fairly extended periods of time, and were not turned off by that experience. If you had no clinical experience, for all they know you may be disgusted by the thought of blood and not even realize it (or you can come up with a hundred other examples like this).
     
  19. PharmDstudent

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    So maybe I should volunteer at blood bank? That sounds interesting.
     
  20. Legato

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    Makes sense. How long would you need clinical experience for though? What types? I shadowed a doctor, thought his job was pretty interesting, and I want to go to medical school to be a doctor. I saw a gusher during a surgery I watched. Seems like this should be enough then. What other perspectives do I need?

    Volunteering is great. I assume that it is meant to signify your desire to help others. However, your motivation for being a doctor doesn't really mean anything (this is coming from me, the idealist who thinks that, for example, being a doctor for money alone is wrong). You are hired to treat sick people, and you do that job well or do it poorly. Some people are driven by their soft hearts, others by their greed, and others by their desire for fame. The end result, not in my mind but in the minds of most (including med schools who want concrete achievements that they can brag about later), is the same in all cases.
     
  21. Schemp

    Schemp drawing infinity

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    I dunno man, that's just my take on what they're looking for. I'm only finishing my second year of undergrad, so you're ahead of me anyway. You responded to the two examples I brought up, but there are many more out there. I totally agree that your motivation is really not very important as long as you do your job well, but med schools have to have SOMETHING to go off of to determine your dedication. It's just another hoop to jump through, with diminishing returns on your time investment.
     
  22. Legato

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    Heh...sorry for responding in that manner if you took it the wrong way. Just more of my complaining. I slacked off on the ECs because of the reasons mentioned above, but I'm still somewhere between below average and average. I may be able to make it about average by the time I apply. My advice for you is do a couple of good ECs and do them consistently. Good luck on admissions!
     
  23. Schemp

    Schemp drawing infinity

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    Hah don't worry, I knew you weren't being sarcastic about my comments, just the process.

    And thanks!
     
  24. Wylde

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    I actually think the stuff you explained is almost counter-intuitive.

    Adcoms want to see "clinical experience" to know that you understand what medicine is like, know what you are dedicating yourself to, and it solidifies your dreams of medicine. Adcoms look for people who are most likely to finish medical school and become a contributing physician, so pharmacy experience is not what they are looking for!

    It might show you are more interested/informed about pharmacy, which is not what they want.
     
  25. PharmDstudent

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    I know.

    It just seems backwards to volunteer when I can have a more meaningful influence working (as compared to babysitting sick kids or whatever someone else posted). I counsel at work every day. I can recommend OTC products or refer patients to a physician's care. For example, I show patients how to use dosing syringes, dosing packages (Medrol Dosepak), and other types of practical drug administration techniques.

    I really need to talk to people who have done both. Unfortunately, there aren't very many of them. :(
     
  26. DocWalken

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    Hahah I totally agree. What is up with that pic man?

    And yea, the whole clinical experience thing..I think it's just to show that you've shown a little commitment/had exposure to medicine. Even if you were doing menial work or just sitting there watching, there's something that can be taken away. With that said, I know people with multiple acceptances who've had very little 'significant' exposure to medicine. You just have to know how to spin it I guess...


    I really enjoyed my clinical experience, though, and felt extremely privileged to see the things I saw. I've shadowed a lot of doctors and never been asked to fetch water or file papers. I've always stood shoulder-to-shoulder with surgeons, I've shared a room with the E.R. doc and the man who just tried to kill himself, stood feet away from a recent heart attack victim as he had an EKG... Not that I know half of what's going on or could help in any meaningful way other than staying out of the way and shutting up (which I imagine is not that different than 3rd year of med school?), but that's cool stuff for anyone, especially if you wanna go into medicine.
     
  27. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"

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    It should be enough so that you can have a decent conversation about why you want to be a doctor during your interview. If you don't have that, then your PS will be shallow, your interview will be shallow, and you'll be quickly rejected.
     
  28. Legato

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    I'm not really sure about what to do in your situation, but maybe you can continue doing your pharmacy stuff, but add on some doctor shadowing. That way, you can use your skills in your ECs while showing you are interested in medicine and know what being a doctor entails, how it is different from pharmacy, etc. If necessary, you can explain why you did all this pharmacy-related stuff.

    If I was working in admissions, I would be OK with you if you did that. Who knows how they think though...
     
  29. futuredrcrawfor

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    so it is good clinical experience working with that type of stuff but experience like that doesn't mean more meaningful. I work with sick kids doing child life and tutoring- I have had so many meaningful experiences both for me and the families I am around... I think adcoms like to see people who care about humanity and not just making money or having fame. We shall see how my EC's carry me this year as I apply though... my GPA isn't as high (had 1 semester destroy it when in a car wreck) but man my job is as a nanny and leaving my kids will be one of the hardest things in my life. And as a clinical side note- I do dosing too I have one with severe allergies and one with asthma and I oversee treatment of kids when at the house. And I would say I have gained tons of child development knowlege my kids range from newborn (at hospital at 12 hrs old) to 10 years old. So at least for me my activities while they may seem trivial are meaningful to me
     
  30. Legato

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    Agreed...that's pretty cool stuff. You've seen more exciting stuff, but I thought that even the routine angioplasty I saw was exciting...the slight incision, blood somehow squirting onto the clothes of the resident, my heavy-duty x-ray shield thing, etc...
     
  31. PharmDstudent

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    I'll definitely looking into the shadowing gig.


    I started working in a pharmacy back in 2004. It was just suppose to be a part-time job, but it turned into my future profession. :)

    I really enjoy counseling and disease management. While the Disease State Management class in pharmacy school is pretty difficult (D averages for every exam this semester including the final), I makes me yearn for more insight and general knowledge about diseases. I understand what the drugs do and how they are used, but I want to apply that knowledge more broadly than what I feel is available strictly in pharmacy. I want to work with the "big picture".

    I'm a little confused and more frustrated than I thought I would be at this point.

    Note- I'm in pharmacy school, and I will be graduating in May, 2010.
     
  32. Wylde

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    I agree, but adcoms will like confirmation that you understand medicine (as well as show your altruism by helping the community).

    Just grab a 4-hour weekend shift in the ER and you'll be doing great. 4hr/week is all that it takes, no one else does much more.
     
  33. PharmDstudent

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    Meaningful in the sense of practicing healthcare. I don't discount the feelings that you have for what you do.
     
  34. PharmDstudent

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    :thumbup: Thanks!
     
  35. Legato

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    That's great, really. I'm sure adcoms will think highly of you for it.

    I don't think that this is what he meant that bolded statement in a bad way though. I think he was just saying that he has a particular set of skills that he has acquired that he would like to use. It's like a doctor rocking sick babies in a hospital versus treating illnesses...kind of. The babies definitely need to be cared for, but the doctor has a set of skills that can be put to use somewhere else. Someone else who doesn't have the skills of the doctor should take care of the babies.

    Ah...I sense inconsistencies between my statements. I'm too tired to correct them though.
     
  36. Legato

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    Did this confusion and frustration set in after you came to this site? I know that I get more and more confused and frustrated whenever I visit here. However, when I take in the massive amounts of information/opinions and actually process them, I'm fine again, at least until I visit the next time.
     
  37. funkydrmonkey

    funkydrmonkey They Call Me Dr. Funkmonk

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    Oh great, does this mean I am screwed...
     
  38. futuredrcrawfor

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    ok sounds good!
     
  39. PharmDstudent

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    No. Although, this site does bring up a lot of different things. Sometimes there is an avalanche of information that takes more than 5 minutes to process. By the time that you've really thought about something, the thread's dead.

    I think my frustration and confusion came about because we can't/don't counsel enough patients at work. People need to know relevant information about their medications, but today's pharmacist doesn't have enough time to address this fully. They're so bogged down with insurance problems and general pharmacy management that they don't really get to interact with all of the patients. On top of that, physicians are overwhelmed, which causes them to rely on pharmacists for patient drug-related counseling. It's just a bad cycle. Even though there are federal laws requiring pharmacists to counsel, it doesn't happen enough.

    I would rather get it right from the beginning... when the patient visits my office, the clinic, hospital, etc. I want to see the process come full circle, from diagnosis to drug or therapy implementation.
     
  40. DeadCactus

    DeadCactus SDN Lifetime Donor
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    Good numbers and a good answer to "Why do you want to be a physician?"; that's all you need. Everything else is just there to support what those two say about your qualifications and desire to become a physician. The detailed checklist SDN loves to pass around is nothing more than speculation on a black box process.

    If you take SDN's word for it, the only people who become physicians are those who cure AIDs while sitting on the toilet pooping gold to give to African orphanages...
     
  41. Legato

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    ah..makes perfect sense now. Seems I was not reading with comprehension.

    Good thing is that you have excellent answers to give to adcoms.
     
  42. Didmybest

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    Depending on what state you're from you will get into your state school for sure. I know plenty of people in that exact situation that are sitting in med school right now.

    I personally would much rather have a smart doctor as opposed one that wrapped some towels for a nurse 2 days a week for a year.
     
  43. Mister Pie

    Mister Pie Senior Member

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    You can definitely get in mainly on stellar numbers and bare bones ECs but I'm not sure what would happen with NO ECs whatsoever. Even with bare bones ECs, it is a risky proposition since you'd leave yourself wide open to the question, "Why medicine?". It might be hard to justify it if you haven't had any hands-on experience.
     
  44. paranoid_eyes

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    if you want some real clinical experience where you can give medicine/make diagnosis/ administer injections etc. then go abroad where patients aren't such pricks about having someone "underqualified" treating them. seriously, vaccinating someone or cleaning a wound isn't rocketscience. we all could do it.

    as for here in America, shadowing is the only real thing you can do. im interested in teaching, so i teach mentally disabled elementary school kids and tutor incarcerated youth. but i don't really do that FOR my app, but because i enjoy it.

    honestly, i think the whole "volunteer in a hospital" bulls*** is a huge scam to get free labor and cut costs in the hospital. did i learn anything from my enslavement as an office worker in the hospital for one year. NO. Don't make the mistake i made by thinking that you HAVE to volunteer in the hospital. Do what you enjoy (i am just beginning to learn how valuable this piece of advice is). If you truly enjoy working with crazy people, volunteer in the rec center at your local mental institute. if you like kids, volunteer at your local elementary school. if you like really poor people, volunteer at the homeless shelter. the key is, it doesn't have to be clinical.
     
  45. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy

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    That sucks...guess you are gonna have to deal:p
     
  46. valacious

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    I have almost the exact same stats as Bananas Foster and what most adcoms would consider way less than stellar ECs and although I didn't get much love from top schools (except for WashU, so maybe there reputation is not undeserved?) I got a good amount of interview offers and lucked into a spot at one of my state schools. So it definitely is possible to get in with little clinical experience and poor ECs. Of course it's way harder, so if you still have the time do some scut volunteer work or a mission or something along those lines. If not what you have to do is sell yourself, there's no way you have no ECs. I talked a lot about playing in bands and running my own warehouse space and surprisingly some adcoms/interviewers loved it. Make what little you did sound interesting and relevant in your PS and if you have good interviewing skills it shouldn't be a big problem. Good luck!
     

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