bozz

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If you have a semester or 2 lacking "proper" ECs, can this harm you? I really only started getting involved in "pre-med" ECs my soph/junior years of college. I never liked the whole "joining clubs" business in college. I was involved in some non-collegiate recreational activities outside college my first year or two, just for fun though. Are you allowed to include these on your AMCAS? If not, I probably will have nothing down for my freshman-year ECs :S
 

Bacchus

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Extracurriculars are just that. Things you do outside of the classroom. List them.

Your interviewer is not going to go line by line asking you about every activity. If your descriptors elevate your activity to extreme heights then you may have an issue.
 

mdgator

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If you have a decent amount of clinical experience, you shouldn't have a problem. And some seem to think a decent amount means making volunteering/shadowing a full-time job...it doesn't. Most of my clinical experiences took place in two summers. (But then again, I worked quite a bit in a non-medical job through college. If I hadn't had a job, I might have been questioned about the number of EC hours I had.)
 

LizzyM

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List the activities you did during those early years, even if they don't seem "pre-med". It shows that you had something else going on and weren't an "all work, no play" grade grubber.
 

T12

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What if one really had been an "all work, no play" kind of person for a semester or two? I've never really thought that that would hurt you in the end...If one can be forgiven for a lack of effort, would one not be forgiven for too much effort? Please do explain...
 

LizzyM

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What if one really had been an "all work, no play" kind of person for a semester or two? I've never really thought that that would hurt you in the end...If one can be forgiven for a lack of effort, would one not be forgiven for too much effort? Please do explain...
When we compare a 3.73 for an academic year with no ECs to a 3.70 during an academic year with a couple of significant ECs, which is more desirable as a candidate?

We see lots of people who can do both (school work & ECs) consistently. Keep in mind, we interview only a small proportion of all applicants.
 

T12

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But what if theses "occurrences" happened during one given year, i.e., someone was all about the grades their freshman year.

Ok, let's drop the ambiguity...

I took the advice of everyone from whom I had ever sought advice and focused on my grades first. I achieved a 4.00 with fairly minimal participation in clubs and organizations, and only worked as a handyman on and off.

During the summer, I worked 40-50 hours a week doing manual labor for the state (had to pay rent for the next year, but that was a really fun experience)

Soph year semester 1 I stepped up participation in clubs and organizations, attending and planning activities for the 2 or so clubs I enjoyed devoting time to. 4.00 still

Fast forward to this year...I'm even more active in all those clubs, an officer in one, and I work 16 hours a week in the hospital and about 6 a week here at the school. Probably going to make a B or two...GPA around 3.97 after the semester.


Now that all ambiguity is gone, I can ask my real question: Does my "all work, no play" attitude my first year really have the potential to affect me significantly? If an upward trend in GPA is smiled upon, shouldn't it be so for an upward trend in other categories?
 

Bacchus

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The answer to your first question about all work, no play affecting you is "No."

Its much better to build a great base than a lackluster base. Buildings that last a long time usually have a solid footing ;) This applies to education as well. As you probably know, from working manual labor, its much cheaper to remodel a house with no problems versus a house that has a cracked foundation.
 

LizzyM

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You did work as a handyman "on & off" during your first year so figure out how many hours per week on average over the 30 weeks or so of freshman year and list it. You were also a member of a couple of clubs that you've risen to leadership of so list your leadership for junior yr (or whatever) and note in the text that you joined the group freshman year. You're good.
 

T12

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Sorry guys, I meant 40-50 hours a week during the summer...I bet you were thinking "Whew, what a workhorse this guys is: 40 hours of work over the course of 3 months"

After reading it, it sounded like I was a jackass.
 

45408

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I don't think you've hurt yourself at all. If someone asks, tell them that you wanted to make sure you could handle the academic aspects of school first and foremost, without getting involved in ancillary activities that could distract you. Once you had established that your academics were sound, you diversified. It's pretty much what I did (plus, I was on a ski team during my freshman year).
 

LizzyM

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I don't think you've hurt yourself at all. If someone asks, tell them that you wanted to make sure you could handle the academic aspects of school first and foremost, without getting involved in ancillary activities that could distract you. Once you had established that your academics were sound, you diversified. It's pretty much what I did (plus, I was on a ski team during my freshman year).
That can be an impressive EC; it isn't like having not a single EC from freshman year.
 

45408

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That can be an impressive EC; it isn't like having not a single EC from freshman year.
And I totally forgot it on my AMCAS, which I realized while I was writing that post. Oh, well, that was over three years ago now.
 

T12

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In that case, I should own up to the fact that I became an expert ping-ponger my freshman year. (Although, who doesn't play ping-pong religiously as a freshman?)

Haha, should I list the table tennis team as an EC activity...I don't think I could handle the potential ridicule!
 

LizzyM

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In that case, I should own up to the fact that I became an expert ping-ponger my freshman year. (Although, who doesn't play ping-pong religiously as a freshman?)

Haha, should I list the table tennis team as an EC activity...I don't think I could handle the potential ridicule!
Some adcom members really like to see athletic activities...

does table tennis count as athletics? /jk
 

TheRealMD

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Extracurriculars are just that. Things you do outside of the classroom. List them.

Your interviewer is not going to go line by line asking you about every activity. If your descriptors elevate your activity to extreme heights then you may have an issue.
Actually one of mine did. Suffice to say it made for a very annoying interview (and I didn't get into the school either).