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Goro

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Hello, I am seeking general advice and answers to a few questions. I am in the current med school application cycle and although I received an II in August for my state school, I have had silence elsewhere and am preparing a plan for what might happen if I don't get accepted this round. I am traditional and graduating this year, and I suppose I really underestimated how competitive this process was, how many people accepted were gap years, etc. I always had people tell me I would do great when applying but I realize that most people are not as knowledgeable about the process as people on SDN. I have LM 75, white male, and some box checked ECs but I am seeking advice for a potential gap year plan. My questions are:

1) How difficult is finding a scribing position and when should I start seeking/applying for one?
2) If I don't have substantial improvements to my application (will probably only have some more clinical and nonclinical hours, some shadowing), should I wait this cycle out, get some more experience, and potentially risk expiring my MCAT if I don't get in again?
3? Is there any meaningful way I can stand out? Every gig I get seems extremely cookie cutter and I know that there is a plethora of applicants with high GPA and MCAT. It is frustrating trying to find ways to differentiate myself.

Would greatly appreciate some advice. I apologize if this comes across as a neurotic spilling of insecurities but it is what it is, I am trying to be logical and make the best plan for myself. Also not sure if this thread got put in the correct place
Can't answer #1, but many medical schools recommend taking a gap year and not immediately reapplying. This makes sense because if your interview skills are not suspect, then there is something in your app that's missing.

For #3:
Not all volunteering needs to be in a hospital. Think hospice, Planned Parenthood, nursing homes, rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, camps for sick children, or clinics.

Some types of volunteer activities are more appealing than others. Volunteering in a nice suburban hospital is all very well and good and all, but doesn't show that you're willing to dig in and get your hands dirty in the same way that working with the developmentally disabled (or homeless, the dying, or Alzheimers or mentally ill or elderly or ESL or domestic, rural impoverished) does. The uncomfortable situations are the ones that really demonstrate your altruism and get you 'brownie points'. Plus, they frankly teach you more -- they develop your compassion and humanity in ways comfortable situations can't.



Service need not be "unique"; it can be anything that helps people unable to help themselves and that is outside of a patient-care setting. If you can alleviate suffering in your community through service to the poor, homeless, illiterate, fatherless, etc, you are meeting an otherwise unmet need and learning more about the lives of the people (or types of people) who will someday be your patients.

Check out your local houses of worship for volunteer opportunities. The key thing is service to others less fortunate than you. And get off campus and out of your comfort zone!

Examples include: Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Humane Society, crisis hotlines, soup kitchen, food pantry, homeless or women’s shelter, after-school tutoring for students or coaching a sport in a poor school district, teaching literacy or ESL to adults at a community center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Meals on Wheels, mentoring immigrant/refugee adults, being a friendly visitor to shut-ins, adaptive sports program coach or Special Olympics.

In the age of COVID, scribe for clinical experience.

For nonclinical: think food banks, Meals on Wheels, election poll worker (normally done by seniors).
 

TheBoneDoctah

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Scribing is a great way to get clinical and shadowing experience. Shotgun approach has worked well for me trying to get ECs because you will be turned down from 85% of them(same for trying to get research experience).

Volunteering experiences helping out the less fortunate is gonna look better than volunteering at an outpatient orthopedic surgery center in an upscale neighborhood. For example, when I was premed I helped out in a run-down hospital that was offering reconstructive surgery to underprivileged children with facial deformities. It’s a little unique and helps the less fortunate.
 

Goro

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Thank you for the advice. Could you answer another question?
Say I scrapped together 200 nonclinical hours in a year's time to present for next cycle (I had almost insignificant nonclinical hours this cycle), would it look like I was just trying to check a box or would they see it as I spent time working with the disadvantaged? I understand that it looks better to have dedicated commitments over a period of time so I am wondering if it would be frowned upon
You'll be fine!!!
 

TheBoneDoctah

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Thank you for the advice. Could you answer another question?
Say I scrapped together 200 nonclinical hours in a year's time to present for next cycle (I had almost insignificant nonclinical hours this cycle), would it look like I was just trying to check a box or would they see it as I spent time working with the disadvantaged? I understand that it looks better to have dedicated commitments over a period of time so I am wondering if it would be frowned upon
Nope. You will be good.
 
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