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If you could start your undergrad all over again, what would you have done differently to increase your chances of admission?

It's not something tangible, but I was so perfectionistic and competitive and it actually hurt me academically instead of helping. I would procrastinate because I was anxious about the fact that I could never live up to my own unrealistic standards and it was terrible for my mental health and academics all around.

I would also tell myself not to bite off more than I can chew.

Great idea for a thread! I am interested to see the responses!
 
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M&L

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i would have planned to prepare for MCAT before my brother died. it was so hard to study for it in that situation.
Also, i would have studied for more than 3 weeks during winter break in the evening... in retrospect not a good idea (now, having learnt on that mistake, i am starting to study for step 12 months in advance :)
 
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BoneHurtingJuice

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Mar 31, 2020
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I would've started racking up clinical hours a lot earlier. Feel like I crammed almost all of it into end of junior and senior year.

Also would've postponed my MCAT when my practice exam scores weren't quite where I wanted them yet. My score got me in but made for a lot more anxiety during the app cycle.

Also wouldn't have wasted time freshman and sophomore year meeting with my school's pre-med advisor. Wish I would have jumped on the SDN / r.premed train a lot earlier.
 
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deleted1005514

I would have gone straight through at 18 instead of doing two semesters, quitting, then taking a 15 year gap before coming back. I also would have slowed down, because once I did return I took as many hours as I could to try and make up for lost time, which was silly because it was impossible, and it was stressful. I was so focused on getting in that I didn’t really enjoy my classes.

I would have taken a more systematic approach to the MCAT. I was all over the place back then.
 

lumya

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Honestly not much except maybe don’t try to take on all my hard science classes in the same semester. I was too arrogant to realize the limits of my ability. I would definitely have to time it right so I can see go and find my cat the time I did.
 
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Supahchungus

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I would have done more things I truly enjoyed. Checking the EC boxes is not fun and doesn’t impress ADCOMs. I also wish I wasn’t so hard on myself. I almost quit the premed journey early on after a bad first year of college. I thought I’d never get into medical school with Bs and Cs on my record.

If I could have started over I would have chosen a psychology major, worked on obtaining a CNA, MA, or EMT license to get hands on clinical work through college, and volunteered in something I liked. I would have also planned to take a gap year to do Americorps.
 
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97premed97

Beach read? Lady, I'm Tolstoy.
Jul 1, 2019
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I think the best thing I could do for myself if I were to go back to the beginning would be to get over the fear of approaching professors. I didn't get into research until my junior year, and I never went to office hours because I had so much anxiety. If I went back I would know how easy it truly is to get involved and make relationships with my profs, leading to much more volunteer hours and probably a publication. I was on track to be published for organic chem research, but I graduated after only a year and a half in the lab and the project wasn't finished.
 
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caffeinebby

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Not be so overly critical of myself especially in comparison to others. It was really unhealthy and only caused me more stress in the long run. I wish I would've utilized office hours more especially in the first two years, would've definitely boosted my gpa and gained valuable professors relationships. And take a year abroad in Spain (who knows when we'll get to travel again)
 
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dtinox

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May 1, 2020
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I think the best thing I could do for myself if I were to go back to the beginning would be to get over the fear of approaching professors. I didn't get into research until my junior year, and I never went to office hours because I had so much anxiety. If I went back I would know how easy it truly is to get involved and make relationships with my profs, leading to much more volunteer hours and probably a publication. I was on track to be published for organic chem research, but I graduated after only a year and a half in the lab and the project wasn't finished.

Honestly yeah; how'd you get over that fear?
 

asa0009

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Definitely would have focused on the MCAT more. I was in nutrition and my advisors were clueless about medicine. I had no idea I was supposed to be preparing for it. In the end really hurt my chances and had to do a round about way in through a masters linkage. I worked 40-50 hours a week in undergrad at the hospital. Wish I would have cut my hours back and enjoyed college more.
 

97premed97

Beach read? Lady, I'm Tolstoy.
Jul 1, 2019
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Honestly yeah; how'd you get over that fear?

It actually all started when one of my professors and I started crap-talking some university policy together. He was a super chill guy so talking to him outside of class gradually lead me to talking to other profs outside of class. Also sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and go for it.
 
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deleted1005514

Honestly yeah; how'd you get over that fear?

Your professors are people...they have kids, spouses, grandkids, pets, and hobbies. Go to office hours, notice their Star Trek (or whatever) memorabilia on the wall, and strike up a conversation about it to break the ice. The professors who attempt to use memes or tell corny dad jokes are great ones to start with...they’re trying to reach out and be seen as people to students.
 

jmu29

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Apr 2, 2020
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I had a crazy life path in college but putting all aside (given that I have really good EC’s) the only thing I would change would be spending 4 years in ONE upper middle tier college or better and not pushed my agenda to graduate. Its a long path. Take ur time, get good grades. Theres no shortcuts on this road. A year is a long time but whats a year when your career takes 10+ years. Noone is in medicine for a quick benefit for a reason.
 
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