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Medical How Do I Find Research Before School Starts?

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Jun 11, 2010
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Hey guys,

I’ll be going to Drexel this summer but I’m a little nervous. Drexel isn’t the greatest of schools and with Step 1 being P/F I want to find everything I can to set myself apart. I’m from Washington and I want to get back to do my residency at UW or OSHU. However, they are both competitive for things like pediatrics which I’m interested in.

I understand there is nothing I can do at this point to change the med school I attend but I’m wondering how I can “upgrade” my app from a student at a low-tier school to something similar to that of a mid or high tier school. Besides killing it with grades, rotations, letters of rec, and away rotation, the only other thing I can think of that’s in my control at this point is research. So my question is being in Philly is it possible to get with a lab at CHOP or Penn even though I’ll be at Drexel? And if so is it too soon to reach out to find a PI before all the other students who will be attending penn take up a lot of the open spots?
Step 2 will still be scored and thus there's your chance to shine.

You should be talking to the MS3 and 4 students to find out what they did. But keep in mind a lot of what it takes ot get into an uber-residency is on you, not the school.

And as of right now, you main concern should be how to master the pre-clinical education.

You have a high number of strong research labs in and around Philly.
 
Jun 11, 2010
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@Goro
Do you think it’s too early though to find research? My only worry is that if I’m not ahead of the game, based on name recognition I won’t get into labs at penn or chop. It may be misguided but I feel like if I apply when all the penn kids do I’ll get looked over based on there being penn students with similar accomplishments. At which point I don’t know why they would pick me.
There are probably more researchers than there are U Penn students looking for research. Don't assume all of them will be looking to do research now, BTW.

I would assume that Drexel researchers, such as they are, would give priority to their own med students first.

You can always wait until your clinical years and do clinical research.

I still think your time will be better utilized learning how to deal with med school. And with the COVID crisis, labs might very well still be closed in the fall.
 

MusicDOc124

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You can do research at those schools/hospitals/institutions without being a student at the school/affiliated school. Just network around and show interest and someone may take you on. In some cases it may even be paid, but be careful of time commitments if a paid offer comes through. Classmates of mine when I was in school did research at these places while attending other schools. I also know a student from Drexel who is currently doing research at Jefferson while entering their M4 year now.
 

MusicDOc124

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Also, please stop relying so much on name-recognition. It's not as important as pre-meds tend to think it is, and you're about to drag that pre-med mentality into and through med school causing yourself anxiety over nothing. Can it be helpful at times, sure. But nothing near how much you seem to think it matters. Take a breath and network.
 
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Don't put the cart before the horse. Grades are the foundation for any pursuit that you wish to take. If you don't have the grades, you will be wasting energy trying to remediate and not have as much focus on board prep, research, or clerking. Definitely talk to the third/fourth years and any residents you wind up meeting at socials, especially in pediatrics if that's where you want to go.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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You are attending an M.D. school. You will have many opportunities to get involved with research whether it be at Drexel, CHOP, or Penn. However, outside of your home institution, they often give their own students opportunities first choice. From my understanding, pediatrics is not a research powerhouse like the more competitive specialties (NSG, ENT, ortho, etc.) If you are trying to get involved in pediatric research, it may be more open than you would think. My advice is that you contact the places you would like to do research at and try to gauge if you will have a chance at doing research there. If they message you back and basically tell you to buzz off, well...don't worry about that place. You also want to make sure whichever place you do research at you will have ample face-to-face time with your PI so they get to know you personally, your work ethic, etc as your PI is a potential STRONG letter of recommendation since you will know them for so long come time to apply for residency. It may be easier to get more of this time at Drexel since this is your home school, but depending on what CHOP/Penn has you doing, maybe it is an option there too.

Like others have said though, your PRIMARY objective year 1 is to LEARN HOW TO STUDY. Coming out of undergrad, you are going to need to relearn how to study to see what works for YOU. It took me months to figure it out before I got on a schedule that worked for me where I was consistently acing courses. The quicker you figure this out, the quicker you can place more energy and focus on other aspects of your portfolio (like research). If you are trying to juggle research, volunteering, studying for Step 7, getting LOR before getting into medical school, etc, you will suffer academically and your research will not make up for a horrible Step exam or grades in your preclinical courses. You will have plenty of time starting summer after your first year and on to gain enough research to make an impact on your residency chances, but don't put the carriage before the horse. However, as I said before, try and plant those seeds early at least so you know what your options are when it comes time to jump on the research train. Good luck.

P.S. Please don't knock Drexel. It makes those of us who went to DO schools feel bad. ;)
 

lord999

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I generally agree with the above. Even for the MSTP's, there are actually rules about limiting lab hours for the first term SPECIFICALLY because we have had just awful results with the acclimation if a student took too much too fast. Most of them really start picking up hours in the M1 summer. Give the M1 the attention it deserves and during winter break (or quarter break) reassess whether or not you still have time to commit. Once you arrive at Drexel though, I know from chatter that it is increasingly hard to find research staff and postdocs due to the current situation and vetting, so you may not have as hard a time getting that experience as you represent.
 
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