Mar 7, 2019
13
2
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello, I’m a 17 year old girl currently in my junior year of high school and I am going to become a doctor. I have a deep love for interventional radiology, trauma surgery, and cardiothoracic surgery, but I am keeping my mind open to trying any speciality. However, until the time comes, I am staying focused on the next 3 years ahead of me and so far I have planned it out. I could really use some honest opinions and advise from outside perspectives so I can continue to improve and grow in the right direction. My ultimate goal is to build a strong foundation behind me that will not only set me apart from my peers, but will also help guide me as both as a future medical student and doctor.
To start off, I am currently a homeschooled student that’s set to finish high school in May 2020. I am currently dual-enrolled in a technical college studying Medical Assisting, which I am also set to graduate from in July 2020 and become a licensed MA. I am the “highest-achieving” student in my class. I was just accepted yesterday into dual-enrollment for a state college which I will start in the Fall of 2019. My goal is to receive my A.S. degree in Radiology from this college because I want to work in this field and maybe if I truly love it, I’ll become a radiologist or become a doctor in a completely different field. Nonetheless, I’m 99% sure I’ll want more intellectual stimulation in the future and pursue medical school. I also want to secure a medical job overall just in case my life makes any major changes in the future and I can’t attend medical school or it’s delayed for whatever reason. The same college also offers a continued B.S. degree in Radiology which I will definitely pursue because a B.S. brings more benefits job-wise. Starting next fall, I will be taking the A.S. degrees prerequisites and general education courses to get them out of the way, so when I’m actually studying Radiology the year after that, I can fully focus my attention on that program. My goal for that is to become a dual-licensed Radiology Technician and Medical Assistant by the time I’m 20. For the 2-3 years that I’ll be finishing my B.S. degree, I want to work as a RT/MA and then when the time comes, I’ll either decide if I’m comfortable in my current position or if I really want to pursue medical school. Like I said, I strongly think I will apply whether that be immediately after I finish my B.S. degree or a couple years later. Nonetheless, education is my main priority and will be for the next 10 years,
Obviously, I think my main advantage as an applicant will be my medical experience, but I also know that I’ll need shadowing experience, research, volunteer, an outstanding academic record, and a strong network to back me up. My goal for this step is to start volunteering at my local hospital in January 2020, which only requires you to commit 4 hours a week, but that time adds up quickly. I have to say, I am good at forming connections and gaining respect from older adults, so I think volunteering at the hospital will help me create a strong network and expose me to great shadowing opportunities. A dual-licensed RT/MA has offered me the opportunity to shadow her for the day and then her boss, an Orthopedic Surgeon actually asked me if I wanted to shadow a surgical operation, which I would love and I am currently waiting for the next opportunity to do so. I am currently looking for a personal OB/GYN and I think I’ll take advantage of that opportunity to also form a relationship with them and ask for shadowing opportunities through them. It wouldn’t hurt to try and I want to gain exposure in as many different specialties as possible. I’m still trying to figure out the whole medical research experience part, but I think I can figure it out when I start talking to medical professionals as I enter the medical field myself and hopefully it will open up research opportunities for me.
As put together as I sound, I’m still very confused and I don’t really have a guide to help me. I’m gonna be the first medical doctor ever on both sides of my family and really the first to step into the real medical field. I don’t have any friends or family acquaintances to help me out either as none of them are in the medical field, so I’m kind of on my own through this whole process. I guess I could just use advice, guidance, and opinions on EVERYTHING. There’s only so much you can learn from reading articles and talking to your family and friends as they just nod and agree, so I could really use any help. Like how can I further strengthen my academic record? What can I do to improve myself? When should I start pursuing research experience? How far should I go for volunteer experience? What personality characteristics should I work on now that will help me in the medical field? How can I stand out as a medical professional? Any advice will help. Thank you for taking the time to read this!
 
Feb 21, 2018
1,547
1,308
41
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello, I’m a 17 year old girl currently in my junior year of high school and I am going to become a doctor. I have a deep love for interventional radiology, trauma surgery, and cardiothoracic surgery, but I am keeping my mind open to trying any speciality. However, until the time comes, I am staying focused on the next 3 years ahead of me and so far I have planned it out. I could really use some honest opinions and advise from outside perspectives so I can continue to improve and grow in the right direction. My ultimate goal is to build a strong foundation behind me that will not only set me apart from my peers, but will also help guide me as both as a future medical student and doctor.
To start off, I am currently a homeschooled student that’s set to finish high school in May 2020. I am currently dual-enrolled in a technical college studying Medical Assisting, which I am also set to graduate from in July 2020 and become a licensed MA. I am the “highest-achieving” student in my class. I was just accepted yesterday into dual-enrollment for a state college which I will start in the Fall of 2019. My goal is to receive my A.S. degree in Radiology from this college because I want to work in this field and maybe if I truly love it, I’ll become a radiologist or become a doctor in a completely different field. Nonetheless, I’m 99% sure I’ll want more intellectual stimulation in the future and pursue medical school. I also want to secure a medical job overall just in case my life makes any major changes in the future and I can’t attend medical school or it’s delayed for whatever reason. The same college also offers a continued B.S. degree in Radiology which I will definitely pursue because a B.S. brings more benefits job-wise. Starting next fall, I will be taking the A.S. degrees prerequisites and general education courses to get them out of the way, so when I’m actually studying Radiology the year after that, I can fully focus my attention on that program. My goal for that is to become a dual-licensed Radiology Technician and Medical Assistant by the time I’m 20. For the 2-3 years that I’ll be finishing my B.S. degree, I want to work as a RT/MA and then when the time comes, I’ll either decide if I’m comfortable in my current position or if I really want to pursue medical school. Like I said, I strongly think I will apply whether that be immediately after I finish my B.S. degree or a couple years later. Nonetheless, education is my main priority and will be for the next 10 years,
Obviously, I think my main advantage as an applicant will be my medical experience, but I also know that I’ll need shadowing experience, research, volunteer, an outstanding academic record, and a strong network to back me up. My goal for this step is to start volunteering at my local hospital in January 2020, which only requires you to commit 4 hours a week, but that time adds up quickly. I have to say, I am good at forming connections and gaining respect from older adults, so I think volunteering at the hospital will help me create a strong network and expose me to great shadowing opportunities. A dual-licensed RT/MA has offered me the opportunity to shadow her for the day and then her boss, an Orthopedic Surgeon actually asked me if I wanted to shadow a surgical operation, which I would love and I am currently waiting for the next opportunity to do so. I am currently looking for a personal OB/GYN and I think I’ll take advantage of that opportunity to also form a relationship with them and ask for shadowing opportunities through them. It wouldn’t hurt to try and I want to gain exposure in as many different specialties as possible. I’m still trying to figure out the whole medical research experience part, but I think I can figure it out when I start talking to medical professionals as I enter the medical field myself and hopefully it will open up research opportunities for me.
As put together as I sound, I’m still very confused and I don’t really have a guide to help me. I’m gonna be the first medical doctor ever on both sides of my family and really the first to step into the real medical field. I don’t have any friends or family acquaintances to help me out either as none of them are in the medical field, so I’m kind of on my own through this whole process. I guess I could just use advice, guidance, and opinions on EVERYTHING. There’s only so much you can learn from reading articles and talking to your family and friends as they just nod and agree, so I could really use any help. Like how can I further strengthen my academic record? What can I do to improve myself? When should I start pursuing research experience? How far should I go for volunteer experience? What personality characteristics should I work on now that will help me in the medical field? How can I stand out as a medical professional? Any advice will help. Thank you for taking the time to read this!
Skip the AS in radiology and, if I am going to be completely honest, skip out on the MA too...Unless you can find a clinic that will let you work part time on your own schedule (that likely will not happen). School needs to be your priority. First, worry about graduating high school and getting in to college first. You can’t be a pre-MED yet if you aren’t in a collegiate program.

Enthusiasm is great, but focus on one goal at a time.
 

DoctorSwagger

Baller wit dat swagger
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Jan 5, 2017
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If your super ambitious You can always start the clinical and non clinical volunteering and carry that into undergrad, do some shadowing the summer graduate HS
 

ciestar

5+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2013
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A dual RT/MA degree is pointless. Are you doing this because you think it will impress people? It won’t and doesn’t matter. I doubt RT would give you a leg up if you decided to do rads. Additionally, the RT job market is AWFUL. It is supersaturated and you have no intention of sticking with it.

Research is easier to come by at a university. Best tip ever for applying to med school: BE HUMAN. Don’t come off as a robot or box checker. Have interesting qualities about you and don’t let your entire app say medicine is all you care about.
 

eikenhein

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Lots of people have the same qualifications and ambitions as you.
RT and MA are both pointless
Do an undergraduate program in something you enjoy, do well in it, be balanced with extracurricular activities, try your best.
 
Oct 2, 2018
47
31
71
southern california
Status
Pre-Medical
I feel your situation, because no one in my family is related to medicine in any capacity and it can be a bit confusing to navigate. However, you are 17, and this is a lot on your plate to handle right now. You don't need to stack and stack upon everything, and an RT and MA job is pointless, especially since it sounds like it would be sucking up your years towards a bachelor and extend your graduation. You want to get started in it now, but focus on enjoying your time as a teen -> adult and make sure you expand yourself beyond schooling. Travel, volunteer for things you wouldn't necessarily pick for yourself, and try out different things.

The only jobs I have seen ever be recommended to pre-med students are scribes and maybe EMT's, but I've had my own run-in with misinformation. It's better to focus on schooling, EC's, and your character than to make money. If you don't know if you want to go to medical school and you want to be an RT, look at the prospects and let the question sit with you for a while. You're not even out of high school, you don't have any solid decisions to make.

Your academic record does not need to be strengthened as long as you continue to get awesome grades and study up for the MCAT. Just go live your life girl!
 
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Medic741

2+ Year Member
Jan 18, 2017
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Lots of people have the same qualifications and ambitions as you.
RT and MA are both pointless
Do an undergraduate program in something you enjoy, do well in it, be balanced with extracurricular activities, try your best.
This.

What's an undervalued part of the journey you're on is to develop yourself as a person with real passions/interests/hobbies outside of your academic pursuits.
 
Jun 3, 2017
357
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USA
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Medical Student
I have a deep love for interventional radiology, trauma surgery, and cardiothoracic surgery
How do you know you love these fields?

My goal is to receive my A.S. degree in Radiology from this college because I want to work in this field and maybe if I truly love it, I’ll become a radiologist
Unnecessary. Getting an associates or BS to become a rad tech is a lot of practical knowledge and less the upper level science courses that help get you into medical school. Similar to choosing nursing - lots of practical knowledge but not necessarily the sciences you need for med school.
 
Dec 22, 2016
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I have a deep love for interventional radiology, trauma surgery, and cardiothoracic surgery
This is going to sound harsh, but please don’t say that to anyone unless you want to be laughed out of the room. You will know exactly zero about how much “love” you have for these fields until you are a medical student.
 
Feb 21, 2018
1,547
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This is going to sound harsh, but please don’t say that to anyone unless you want to be laughed out of the room. You will know exactly zero about how much “love” you have for these fields until you are a medical student.
I don’t know, I am not a medical student yet but, with around 80 hours shadowing, I can definitely tell you I definitely don’t love Urologyζ
 
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Dec 22, 2016
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I don’t know, I am not a medical student yet but, with around 80 hours shadowing, I can definitely tell you I definitely don’t love Urologyζ
Fair... I think assessment of what you don’t like is much easier to make than “deep love,” though. And who knows, you may change your mind once you see aspects of the profession that shadowing doesn’t allow you to see. Unless it’s a really comprehensive shadowing experience (with call, clinic, and OR), most people will not see everything that someone in a real rotation sees.
 
Feb 21, 2018
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Fair... I think assessment of what you don’t like is much easier to make than “deep love,” though. And who knows, you may change your mind once you see aspects of the profession that shadowing doesn’t allow you to see. Unless it’s a really comprehensive shadowing experience (with call, clinic, and OR), most people will not see everything that someone in a real rotation sees.
I think that is a fair assessment. It probably is easier just to decide what you don’t like as opposed to knowing what you do.

As far as your Urology went, it was a very comprehensive shadowing with OR, clinic, on call etc. Love the OR, loved all of the procedures and clinic, I could tolerate the prostate exams… But my mirror neurons keep firing every time I see a vasectomy. It’s not something I can watch without feeling for the guy lol
 

spartan25

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Jun 13, 2013
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I would work on honing your social skills by going out with friends or getting a part-time job that involves interfacing with the public. Nobody wants to be around a weirdo (not saying you are one)
 

DokterMom

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The educational path you outline is kind of like saying you want to be an astronaut, so you'll start your training by becoming a flight attendant, then either a gate agent or travel agent, and finally an aircraft mechanic or air traffic controller on your way up the career ladder. It's a "that's not how you get there" situation

The path to becoming a physician is a four-year university degree followed by four years of medical school and three+ years of post-graduate residency training. There are many potential detours along this route, a few of which can even be valuable -- but associate's degrees and vocational programs aren't on the 'valuable' list.

Your volunteering and shadowing IS, though, so do keep that up.

Your next steps should be completing your preparation for an academically-rigorous 4-year college that will prepare you for medical school. Your college/university should be as academically challenging as you can still succeed in - success being more A's than B's.

Good luck to you!
 
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Feb 21, 2018
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If you feel you MUST do some form of paid clinical work during school (everyone needs money) I, in my highly biased opinion, would recommend doing a year long AS to become an MLT (Medical lab tech) and work a job that involves phlebotomy. The benefit of his job is A) You get a very strong foundation in reading lab results which has definitely made learning physiology a lot simpler (at least in my case) and B) it is a job the the ‘travel tech’ business is great. You can do no work during school, go work in a rural hospital for a 3 month contract at $30/hr plus travel and living expenses, come back to school with pat $20K in pocket and call it good until the following summer.

I don’t actually recommend this route as school and application building should be your only focal point, but if you were do do anything...This would be good. Or travel LPN. Medical assistant and rad tech are both full time positions that don’t do a whole lot of locum positions
 
Mar 7, 2019
13
2
1
Status
Pre-Medical
This is going to sound harsh, but please don’t say that to anyone unless you want to be laughed out of the room. You will know exactly zero about how much “love” you have for these fields until you are a medical student.

I don’t understand why I’d be “laughed out of the room?” I know that first hand experience is nothing compared to just knowing about a speciality, but I think I can have a love for a medical speciality. I love learning about cardiothoracic surgery, it’s always been my favorite speciality to study. I’m not saying that I know everything about it nor do I compare to the knowledge and experience of an actual med student, but it is a speciality that I would consider looking into. Plus, I thought that it’s good to have an idea of some specialities to look into while keeping an open mind? I’ve never heard of someone telling an aspiring teenager who wants to be a pediatrician or a nurse say that their “love” for those careers is worth nothing. I’m just really confused because I’ve recieved quite opposite opinions based around “loving” a speciality from other doctors themselves.
 
Mar 7, 2019
13
2
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Skip the AS in radiology and, if I am going to be completely honest, skip out on the MA too...Unless you can find a clinic that will let you work part time on your own schedule (that likely will not happen). School needs to be your priority. First, worry about graduating high school and getting in to college first. You can’t be a pre-MED yet if you aren’t in a collegiate program.

Enthusiasm is great, but focus on one goal at a time.
My second path after that than would be to pursue my A.A. degree and then transfer to a University to obtain my B.S. degree on the Pre-Med track. I would want to stay in my MA program only because I would graduate with my MA license at the same time as high school, so it wouldn’t hinder my college time. Im also from a city where the MA field is very good right now and I do plan on working part-time while I’m in college just to gain medical experience and have an income. I guess I would just focus next year on working towards my A.A. Degree then and this college has a transfer agreement with the university that gaurantees me acceptance in after I earn my A.A. Degree. Does that sound like a more realistic path?
 
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Mar 7, 2019
13
2
1
Status
Pre-Medical
How do you know you love these fields?


Unnecessary. Getting an associates or BS to become a rad tech is a lot of practical knowledge and less the upper level science courses that help get you into medical school. Similar to choosing nursing - lots of practical knowledge but not necessarily the sciences you need for med school.

I know I love these fields because I’ve been studying them for many years. Now, I obviously have no clinical experience in them, but I just love the knowledge of medicine in those specific specialities. When I watch cardiothoracic operations for example, I could see myself doing that. Sure, watching is different from doing, but those are just the top specialities that I love studying compared to others.

My second path then would to get my A.A degree at this college I’m dual-enrolling in and then transferring over to University to get my B.S. degree on the Pre-med track. But that is a great point you made that I didn’t even think about. I want to learn a lot of advanced sciences and I didn’t like that any 2 year health careers were limited in advanced science studies. Would this path sound more right?
 
Mar 7, 2019
13
2
1
Status
Pre-Medical
The educational path you outline is kind of like saying you want to be an astronaut, so you'll start your training by becoming a flight attendant, then either a gate agent or travel agent, and finally an aircraft mechanic or air traffic controller on your way up the career ladder. It's a "that's not how you get there" situation

The path to becoming a physician is a four-year university degree followed by four years of medical school and three+ years of post-graduate residency training. There are many potential detours along this route, a few of which can even be valuable -- but associate's degrees and vocational programs aren't on the 'valuable' list.

Your volunteering and shadowing IS, though, so do keep that up.

Your next steps should be completing your preparation for an academically-rigorous 4-year college that will prepare you for medical school. Your college/university should be as academically challenging as you can still succeed in - success being more A's than B's.

Good luck to you!
I understand what you’re saying completely and now I can look at myself from an outside perspective. My educational path does sound like a train wreck pulling in all directions. From what I’m understanding, if I really want to become a doctor, because of the long journey it takes to be one, I should focus entirely on it and look only forward. My second choice then would be pursuing a Bachelors in Science on the Pre-med track at my University and then immediately applying into med school afterwards. I think I will do that instead. Thank you so much for your help and helping me see from a different point of view!
 
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Mar 7, 2019
13
2
1
Status
Pre-Medical
If you feel you MUST do some form of paid clinical work during school (everyone needs money) I, in my highly biased opinion, would recommend doing a year long AS to become an MLT (Medical lab tech) and work a job that involves phlebotomy. The benefit of his job is A) You get a very strong foundation in reading lab results which has definitely made learning physiology a lot simpler (at least in my case) and B) it is a job the the ‘travel tech’ business is great. You can do no work during school, go work in a rural hospital for a 3 month contract at $30/hr plus travel and living expenses, come back to school with pat $20K in pocket and call it good until the following summer.

I don’t actually recommend this route as school and application building should be your only focal point, but if you were do do anything...This would be good. Or travel LPN. Medical assistant and rad tech are both full time positions that don’t do a whole lot of locum positions
My vision is to finish and get my MA license and only work part time while I’m pursuing a degree. So to build my application, would you recommend unique volunteering and research? Do you think maybe going on special “mission medical trips” and volunteering in rural settings would help me?
 
Feb 21, 2018
1,547
1,308
41
Status
Pre-Medical
My vision is to finish and get my MA license and only work part time while I’m pursuing a degree. So to build my application, would you recommend unique volunteering and research? Do you think maybe going on special “mission medical trips” and volunteering in rural settings would help me?
Unless it is part of the military or peace corps, no to the medical missions trip.
 
Mar 7, 2019
13
2
1
Status
Pre-Medical
A dual RT/MA degree is pointless. Are you doing this because you think it will impress people? It won’t and doesn’t matter. I doubt RT would give you a leg up if you decided to do rads. Additionally, the RT job market is AWFUL. It is supersaturated and you have no intention of sticking with it.

Research is easier to come by at a university. Best tip ever for applying to med school: BE HUMAN. Don’t come off as a robot or box checker. Have interesting qualities about you and don’t let your entire app say medicine is all you care about.
I would pursue a dual RT/MA degree because I want to impress myself. If I wanted to impress people, I wouldn’t be in the medical field. Thankfully, I live in a city where radiology technician employment opportunities are thriving, so that wouldn’t be an issue for me. After reading the others commenters posts, I am leaning more towards going straight for medical school instead as I realize it’s more worth it for me in the end. Thank you for the application advice, as simple as that advice sounds “to be human”, it isn’t actually something I’ve considered and now that I think about it, I should pursue myself more and become a more interesting and well-rounded individual, not just drowning myself in school. I appreciate the advice very much!
 
Mar 7, 2019
13
2
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Lots of people have the same qualifications and ambitions as you.
RT and MA are both pointless
Do an undergraduate program in something you enjoy, do well in it, be balanced with extracurricular activities, try your best.
Thank you for the advice, it’s the little things like this that really speak to me. What extracurricular activities do you suggest? Like medical related or just general fun activities to do that would make my life more interesting?

Btw, I can’t help chuckling at your bio talking about adopting a Chinese girl and raising her to become a doctor. This is gonna sound crazy, but I’m actually adopted from China myself and I’m pursuing med school, so your bio is actually my life. Lol.
 
Feb 14, 2019
551
448
41
get into a 4 year college (no A.S. - none of those other things you mention)- focus on the B.S. or B.A. and doing well in those classes - talk to your pre-med advisor at that school about what classes you need to take for medical school and how to seek out research, clinical experiences, and non clinical volunteering - as well as just generally enjoy school and do extra curricular activities

right now you can shadow physicians. you can ask your pediatrician or obgyn for help getting shadowing opportunities. don't tell them you want to be a trauma surgeon, cardiothoracic surgeon, or interventional radiologist. if you shadow these specialities for a while then sure you could say these are the fields you are most excited about - but having enjoyed studying the heart is not the same as knowing you want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon

you can reach out to a local hospital's volunteering department about volunteering opportunities so you can better understand the roles in the hospital

you don't need to have everything figured out right now - but the best idea in my opinion is for you to focus on getting in to a 4 yr college and getting some exposure around doctors
 
Mar 7, 2019
13
2
1
Status
Pre-Medical
I feel your situation, because no one in my family is related to medicine in any capacity and it can be a bit confusing to navigate. However, you are 17, and this is a lot on your plate to handle right now. You don't need to stack and stack upon everything, and an RT and MA job is pointless, especially since it sounds like it would be sucking up your years towards a bachelor and extend your graduation. You want to get started in it now, but focus on enjoying your time as a teen -> adult and make sure you expand yourself beyond schooling. Travel, volunteer for things you wouldn't necessarily pick for yourself, and try out different things.

The only jobs I have seen ever be recommended to pre-med students are scribes and maybe EMT's, but I've had my own run-in with misinformation. It's better to focus on schooling, EC's, and your character than to make money. If you don't know if you want to go to medical school and you want to be an RT, look at the prospects and let the question sit with you for a while. You're not even out of high school, you don't have any solid decisions to make.

Your academic record does not need to be strengthened as long as you continue to get awesome grades and study up for the MCAT. Just go live your life girl!
Thank you so much for the advice and you are right, I kind of just realized that I am ONLY 17, I should enjoy myself while I still do have time to. You’re also right that pursuing radiology technician would extend my graduation, perhaps to 5-7 years, when instead pursuing my Pre-Med Science degree would only take me 3 years out of high school. I just found out recently that my cousin is going on a missionary trip to a country in Africa currently recovering from war and his job includes aiding in the recovery of two tribes and finding ways to reunite them. Perhaps that’s a unique volunteering experience that I could pursue. Do you think that would be a good volunteering experience?
My second path would instead consist of getting my A.A. degree and then transferring to a University and getting my Bachelors and then applying into medical school. I would take advantage of my next year being dual enrolled in college to get ahead in my A.A. degree and possibly even finishing it when I’m 19 and then transferring to university. Does that sound like a more realistic and ideal path instead?
 
Mar 7, 2019
13
2
1
Status
Pre-Medical
This.

What's an undervalued part of the journey you're on is to develop yourself as a person with real passions/interests/hobbies outside of your academic pursuits.
You know that’s something I’ve never actually considered. My whole mindset was bent on education, even if that meant sacrificing my other passions and fun activities. I should develop myself more. I’ve always had the desire to teach myself piano and learn another language, are those kinds of other passions I should work on? Do you think that would help me become a more rounded “future doctor?”
 
Mar 7, 2019
13
2
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Unless it is part of the military or peace corps, no to the medical missions trip.
Ok, cause I’ve always kind have been iffy about mission trips considering the religion involved, but do you know if there’s “medical trips” that don’t involve religious missions or have any religious affiliations?
 
Feb 14, 2019
551
448
41
Thank you so much for the advice and you are right, I kind of just realized that I am ONLY 17, I should enjoy myself while I still do have time to. You’re also right that pursuing radiology technician would extend my graduation, perhaps to 5-7 years, when instead pursuing my Pre-Med Science degree would only take me 3 years out of high school. I just found out recently that my cousin is going on a missionary trip to a country in Africa currently recovering from war and his job includes aiding in the recovery of two tribes and finding ways to reunite them. Perhaps that’s a unique volunteering experience that I could pursue. Do you think that would be a good volunteering experience?
My second path would instead consist of getting my A.A. degree and then transferring to a University and getting my Bachelors and then applying into medical school. I would take advantage of my next year being dual enrolled in college to get ahead in my A.A. degree and possibly even finishing it when I’m 19 and then transferring to university. Does that sound like a more realistic and ideal path instead?
If going to a community college before a 4 year college is a must for financial reasons then that is okay, but it would be better if your pre-med science courses (biology 1 and 2, general chemistry 1 and 2, organic chemistry 1 and 2, organic chemistry lab, general chemistry lab, calculus, statistics, biochemistry) were at a 4 year university. If possible, it would be better to go straight to a 4 year school - some offer good financial aid or merit scholarships. Right now you should be focusing on your grades and your applications to college.

Many people are skeptical about international volunteering so I do not think this is something you should do just to boost your application. You should focus on things you are passionate about - not things you think sound impressive. You mentioned that you're originally from China - maybe volunteering in a clinic in a Chinatown or helping fellow Chinese children would be something you were passionate about. Maybe you really like playing a sport and you would want to pursue that and then volunteer with children who also play that sport. You see where I'm going with this?
 
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Ok, cause I’ve always kind have been iffy about mission trips considering the religion involved, but do you know if there’s “medical trips” that don’t involve religious missions or have any religious affiliations?
The general rule is that you shouldn't do anything on an international trip that you wouldn't be allowed to do in America. For example, if the trip says that y'all will be helping give stitches and shots or something then you shouldn't do that because you aren't allowed to do those things in the U.S.
 
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If going to a community college before a 4 year college is a must for financial reasons then that is okay, but it would be better if your pre-med science courses (biology 1 and 2, general chemistry 1 and 2, organic chemistry 1 and 2, organic chemistry lab, general chemistry lab, calculus, statistics, biochemistry) were at a 4 year university. If possible, it would be better to go straight to a 4 year school - some offer good financial aid or merit scholarships. Right now you should be focusing on your grades and your applications to college.

Many people are skeptical about international volunteering so I do not think this is something you should do just to boost your application. You should focus on things you are passionate about - not things you think sound impressive. You mentioned that you're originally from China - maybe volunteering in a clinic in a Chinatown or helping fellow Chinese children would be something you were passionate about. Maybe you really like playing a sport and you would want to pursue that and then volunteer with children who also play that sport. You see where I'm going with this?
Oh, yes I do understand. Basing my volunteering experience around a passion and my origins does sound really fascinating. So for example, I really love swimming, if I volunteered to teach children how to swim, would that be appealing?
Also, I would prefer to start off at a community college simply because of financial reasons and because of my specific situation, I’m not eligible for a lot of financial aid. If finances weren’t a problem, I would definitely shoot straight for university, but to compensate, I do plan on working much harder in university and taking advantage of all their resources and opportunities that would boost my application and degree.
 
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The general rule is that you shouldn't do anything on an international trip that you wouldn't be allowed to do in America. For example, if the trip says that y'all will be helping give stitches and shots or something then you shouldn't do that because you aren't allowed to do those things in the U.S.
Oh ok, that makes sense. So I should stick to volunteering in America. Let’s say another natural disaster occurs and they need aid in Puerto Rico for example, it’s technically considered part of the U.S., so would that be considered a “safe” mission trip? I know to stay in my lane when it comes to aiding, but would you personally consider a trip like that good?
 
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Oh ok, that makes sense. So I should stick to volunteering in America. Let’s say another natural disaster occurs and they need aid in Puerto Rico for example, it’s technically considered part of the U.S., so would that be considered a “safe” mission trip? I know to stay in my lane when it comes to aiding, but would you personally consider a trip like that good?
That would not be a mission trip, that would be domestic humanitarian aid. And, again, it would be something better served for professionals (National Guard, Red Cross)
 
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Oh, yes I do understand. Basing my volunteering experience around a passion and my origins does sound really fascinating. So for example, I really love swimming, if I volunteered to teach children how to swim, would that be appealing?
Also, I would prefer to start off at a community college simply because of financial reasons and because of my specific situation, I’m not eligible for a lot of financial aid. If finances weren’t a problem, I would definitely shoot straight for university, but to compensate, I do plan on working much harder in university and taking advantage of all their resources and opportunities that would boost my application and degree.
Sounds good. You will likely need to take some higher level chemistry and bio courses at the 4 year college to show that you are academically ready for medical school. Community college classes can be considered to be less rigorous whether they actually are or not.

Yes if you love swimming then you should do that because it is something that you are passionate about. Medical schools like passionate people and people who have interests outside of just studying. I would focus now on doing extra curricular/volunteer activities that you really enjoy, doing well in your classes, and doing well at the community college so you can transfer to a 4 yr college and do the pre-reqs. Once you get to the 4 year college you should seek out a research opportunity and make sure that you have enough shadowing, clinical experiences (doing something in the hospital), and volunteering.

A big thing in medical school admissions is telling the admissions committee your story of who you are and why medicine is the path for you - with activities to back that up. So think about those key life experiences and interests of yours that make you you and then pursue those. So my earlier example was if you feel like being adopted was a major life experience and you are passionate about helping other adopted children see role models like them and gain access to medical care then you could do an activity related to that and admissions committee members would see activities that back up what you say your life experiences and passions are.
 

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Thank you for the advice, it’s the little things like this that really speak to me. What extracurricular activities do you suggest? Like medical related or just general fun activities to do that would make my life more interesting?

Btw, I can’t help chuckling at your bio talking about adopting a Chinese girl and raising her to become a doctor. This is gonna sound crazy, but I’m actually adopted from China myself and I’m pursuing med school, so your bio is actually my life. Lol.
You have plenty of time to think about these things.
Your EC's can be anything. Don't force yourself to fit in the mould.
Doesn't have to be medical related, although some healthcare exposure is necessary to show that "you know what you're getting yourself into"
Admission committees like applicants that are different and not robots.
 
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That would not be a mission trip, that would be domestic humanitarian aid. And, again, it would be something better served for professionals (National Guard, Red Cross)
If they needed volunteers to help re-build houses or hand out supplies or something, then that is something you could do, but you shouldn't be providing medical care was my point. Some things are better left to professionals and some things lay people can help with. OP do not need to travel to get into medical school. You can volunteer and show your passions right at home.
 
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Oh, yes I do understand. Basing my volunteering experience around a passion and my origins does sound really fascinating. So for example, I really love swimming, if I volunteered to teach children how to swim, would that be appealing?
Also, I would prefer to start off at a community college simply because of financial reasons and because of my specific situation, I’m not eligible for a lot of financial aid. If finances weren’t a problem, I would definitely shoot straight for university, but to compensate, I do plan on working much harder in university and taking advantage of all their resources and opportunities that would boost my application and degree.
I'm just chiming in off what other people are saying, but do things that you like to do. Becoming a swim instructor definitely would be something cool to talk about in interviews especially if it's something that you love to do. As far as what extracurriculars you should do, there is no right answer. Find something you like, and do it, and try to be as involved as possible by becoming its president or treasurer, whatever.

I think you're focusing too much on the education aspect. Definitely keep your love of education as a pivotal reason that you want to go to med school, but like people have said, doing only medical-related things will make you into a robotic applicant. Med schools like applicants with interests outside of medicine because very few of your future patients will have a passion for medicine. But lots of your patients will love to hear about your funny stories from being a swim instructor. Connecting with patients is important. Find other passions in college, and stick with them. You said that you are adopted from China, so maybe there's some organization that helps families through this process that you can be a part of (just a random idea).

Read some applications from med applicants in the past. If you want, I can maybe send you some of my application so that you can get a feel for what schools are looking to see. But once you read applications, forget about them, and ENJOY YOUR LIFE.
 
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I know I love these fields because I’ve been studying them for many years.
Except you haven’t. “Studying” a medical field involves actually doing the job/participating in surgery/procedure. You can’t “study” these fields from a google search. Take it from a practicing surgeon.
So, I reiterate. Unless you want to end up on the “silly things said by premeds” board, stop telling people you have a “deep love” for any medical field until you actually gain some experience.
 
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it’s always been my favorite speciality to study.
I know I love these fields because I’ve been studying them for many years.
I am ONLY 17
What I am trying to point out here is you haven't been "studying" these fields and you couldn't have enough exposure at 17 to know that you love them. You may find the idea of surgery interesting but at 17 you have very little idea of the other things involved. I encourage you to shadow and shoot high but you really should stop saying this and recognize there are a million variables here that influence career path. You stated some of the classic "premed" ideas of medical specialty without really any support for them and it is a good way to get yourself laughed at in the future.

do you know if there’s “medical trips” that don’t involve religious missions or have any religious affiliations?
I would avoid all these no matter if they are religious affiliated or not. Most often they are looked at as more tourism than volunteering. There is some evidence that they have a negative long term effect if not planned well with local and governmental support for the long term care of the same populations. Not to mention premedical students don't really have much value to add in terms of patient care because they have no skills and no "scope of practice" to speak of. On a different note, there are plenty of people in the US that need help so perhaps fundraising and volunteering in those communities and settings would be more beneficial.
 
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I'm not sure if anyone has said this but I'll say it anyway. I'm a senior in high school and just finally getting back college acceptances. In my opinion, you should be focusing on high school right now, and as a junior, focusing on studying for the SAT/ACT, getting good grades, and good extracurriculars for applying to college. I regret focusing so much on the distant future; like you, as a Junior I was trying to play where I'd be 4 or 8 years from now without planning the immediate years ahead of me. I think shadowing is a great addition to your college app, but I'm not sure (correct me if I'm wrong) if med schools even look at shadowing experience from high school, unless it's continued into college.
Once again, I would focus on trying to either get into a great undergraduate program or trying to get a lot of scholarships for your intended UG, if you've already chosen one. The debt is what will get you. If you have any questions about the college application process, PM me; I just went through all of that and I'd love to help out!