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mk14320

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Hi, I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on shaping my path to med school. I am currently finishing up my 3rd year in college. I was a music major for 2 out of the 3 years at one of the best music schools in the country and realized that I REALLY did not want to have to make music the way I earn money. Also, I realized how curious and interested I was in science. So, last year I switched majors from Music to Biology to Chemistry to Physics and finally to Math. I really love how flexible the degree program for math is and how it applies to everything. I also got involved in undergraduate research in Computational Chemistry after doing really well in a chemistry course last summer. I have been involved in research over this past year and realized that I don't enjoy conducting research as much as I thought I would due to the multitude of interests I have. So now, after a lot of thought, I think that becoming a doctor would be a career that I would truly enjoy.

I plan on graduating after next school year with a Bachelor of Science degree in Math. I will have completed most of my pre-med requirements by then, but will still have a few to go. I then plan to take those after I graduate at a school in Texas, where I am from, while hopefully working a job in the healthcare industry, and applying to med school after that year.

I would really love to get into Baylor, UT Southwestern, or Dell. I have a 3.7 gpa with I think a 3.8 gpa in science. Based on past mcat tests and my preparation thus far, I think I'll perform strongly on the test. I do not really have any leadership positions that I can think of due to the fact I am not in any clubs or fraternities. I volunteer as a tutor and help teach biology to elementary school kids, which is a lot of fun. I think I would be a lot less stressed if I quit my research position, but am scared that med schools want more than 1 year. Is it worth the stress? I enjoy tutoring and teaching a whole lot and would use the time I spent researching, doing more of that. Also any advice on what jobs and opportunities I should look for after I graduate next year and my chances for the schools I listed?
 

DrFizition

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First of all, before applying to medical school, make sure that you absolutely, absolutely want to become a doctor. It seems like you jumped around majors and professions quite a bit during your undergraduate years, which is fine. But you really should take some time to get enough exposure into the field of medicine to say "hey, this is exactly what I see myself doing for the rest of my life." Med school isn't easy, and you won't have a chance to change majors there.

With that said, I think you are in a good place. I'm glad you are up to date with your prereqs and mcat studying. Good job with your GPA. While med schools do love to see research, they'd much rather want to see you doing what you love in your application. In my personal experience, I only had a semester of research, but 4-5 years of various tutoring and teaching opportunities since that's what I enjoyed. No one in any of my interviews asked about research. Does it help? Yes. But it is not everything.

You definitely should do more of clinical stuff. In terms of jobs, scribing is easy to start and one of the best ones out there. It's very fun and you learn so much about health care. EMT is good. Get your feet wet so med schools know that this is definitely something you've considered.

Finally, do what you love. It seems like you enjoy making music, at least as a hobby. Start thinking about your application, and how every aspect of your application (your experiences, activities) has impacted who you are. How has music affected your life or helped you grow as a person, or even help you in your journey in health care? Writing your personal statement, submitting your applications, and prepping for interviews really makes you think about how different aspects of your life and made you into the person you are.
 
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Moko

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I am currently finishing up my 3rd year in college. I was a music major for 2 out of the 3 years ... switched majors from Music to ... to Math. ... involved in undergraduate research in Computational Chemistry ... over this past year and realized that I don't enjoy conducting research as much as I thought I would ... So now, after a lot of thought, I think that becoming a doctor would be a career that I would truly enjoy.

I plan on graduating after next school year with a Bachelor of Science degree in Math. ... I have a [3.7 cGPA and 3.8 sGPA]. ... I do not really have any leadership positions ... I volunteer as a tutor and help teach biology to elementary school kids ... I would be a lot less stressed if I quit my research position, but am scared that med schools want more than 1 year. Is it worth the stress? ... Also any advice on what jobs and opportunities I should look for after I graduate next year
You have pursued many different majors over the past few years. Have you done a reasonable amount of shadowing or volunteering in a healthcare setting? If not, I would suggest doing those first, to avoid possibly wasting time and energy pursuing medicine if it's not right for you.

With that said, here are my thoughts for your application:
1) Continue to tutor even after graduation! Medical schools love people who know how to teach well and are committed to it!
2) Start / continue clinical volunteering: Think about the story that you want to tell on your application and use that to guide where you volunteer. For example, if your interest is in oncology, then you may find volunteering at a hospice to be particularly meaningful. Similarly, if you're interested in geriatrics, consider volunteering at a nursing home. etc. Think quality over quantity of experiences.
3) Consider finding another research position: You seem to only have research experience in Computational Chemistry. Non-medicine-related research can be an interesting interview topic, but if you're not passionate about your current field, I would recommend finding another research position that's more of interest to you. Performing medically-related research may help explain your transition and desire to pursue medicine. Maybe this other research position will be less stressful? If you're aiming for research powerhouses, having more research experience won't hurt (remember the story that you're trying to tell!). And for what it's worth, I was in a basic science lab for two years and absolutely hated the experience. I thought that I would never do research again until I performed some clinical research and loved it. So try another research position--you never know! (If you're absolutely sure though, then use that energy to pursue other activities)
4) Do not underestimate the MCAT! Your GPA is great, so do everything to ensure that you get a competitive MCAT, even if it means cutting down on volunteering and other responsibilities (the hours will average out ;)).
5) Build good relationships with your LOR writers ! If you don't know who your writers are going to be, make sure that you do well in the remaining pre-req courses, and that you get to know the professors through class and office hours. People tend to underestimate the effect that LORs have in the admission process.
6) Continue your hobbies! Med schools love hearing about your hobbies. With your interest in music, you'll be in good company in med school. Have you considered performing for others as a volunteer?
7) Job: Ideally you can find a paid position that will help addresses one of the above points, e.g. a paid research or teaching position. However, pretty much any job can be spun positively, e.g. waiting on tables vs. being a coordinator for clinical trials vs. consulting, etc. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just make sure that the time and energy it takes doesn't adversely affect the other components of your application. Best of luck!
 
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