Quantcast

I'm a sophomore and I'm panicking -- all advice appreciated for the next year

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

SpacemanSpifff

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
May 8, 2012
Messages
611
Reaction score
390
The big thing I regret is not studying for the MCAT. Looks like you're way ahead of where I was on that front. Planning for a prep course is a good start. Prepare well and you should do well!

As far as ECs go, your research background looks pretty solid. Staying involved in your current lab after summer could be profitable and yield a publication or two. Clinically do you have any exposure via shadowing or volunteering? SDN wisdom dictates that all applicants should have at least some exposure, as I'm sure you've read.

I can understand worrying about leadership. My advice would be to get more involved in something you're already interested in; a sport, instrument, strange hobby, anything that you would like to do more of and could get some experience delegating/organizing as an officer/captain etc. Maybe try to find some opportunities in your home community that you could start over the summer (although with research you could be very busy).

Just my thoughts. Good luck and enjoy your last couple years of college!
 

Staradmiral

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
May 6, 2010
Messages
198
Reaction score
9
Not sure what your talking about. What you've described already sounds like a good application, Maybe you have a distorted view as to how little volunteer and research experience many medical students actually have. Just apply to plenty of schools and you'll get in somewhere.

Don't take a year off, don't waste time. The doors to many specialties are closing...
 

eggs13

Lift Heavy, Get Tough
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
682
Reaction score
32
In my opinion, starting to study for the MCAT in the summer and not taking it until January is a mistake. 6 months is too long to study and you will burnout...3 months should be plenty of time, 4 months max...remember quality, not quantity
 

passionformed

Full Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2012
Messages
240
Reaction score
2
I basically have one summer and two semesters left before I apply and it seems like I just started college yesterday. I feel like I haven't done anything at all with my time and I already feel regretful about not working harder. My EC's are inadequate -- I only have a few volunteering experiences (tutoring homeless with one group, tutoring disadvantaged in computer literacy with another), a few shadowing experiences, some minor campus involvement, and some research. My GPA is decent but not great, likely about a 3.7 after this semester. If everything goes well next two semesters I might have a 3.8 or 3.85. As for research, I did one year of research freshman year but it wasn't that substantial and I didn't get any publications (though I still have the chance to from that project, don't have the time to work on it right now though), last summer I was in a second lab (no pubs, person I was working with left after that summer) and this semester I'm in a third lab where I hope to be involved long-term (already have a paid summer position 40 hrs/week for 3-4 months, chance to create my own project, and hopefully one project finished before then with hopefully my name on it).

EC-wise, I'm lacking leadership or any sort of interesting hobbies that could set me apart. I'm also worried about letters of recommendation. The PI's from the 3 labs I've been involved with should write me letters though I don't think they will necessarily be stellar. For teacher recs, I haven't really had the time to go to office hours and make an impression on anyone (except for one prof I got to know well first semester but haven't talked to since).

And finally there's the MCAT. I'm planning to take a prep course from TPRH this summer and then continue reviewing into the fall (planning to take a light course load), then take it this December or next January.

Info about me: ORM male, looking to get into my in-state public schools. Not looking to apply Top 20 (not confident about chances and cost is the main factor for me).

All that said: People who applied this year, if you could go back one year and were in my position, what would you do to improve and maximize your chances of getting in somewhere, what would you do? Thanks so much if you read all this. :)

So far so good. Now its time to get some clinical experience in there, make some solid relationships with professors, and rock the MCAT.

Good luck!
 

SiriusA

Full Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
51
Reaction score
0
In my opinion, starting to study for the MCAT in the summer and not taking it until January is a mistake. 6 months is too long to study and you will burnout...3 months should be plenty of time, 4 months max...remember quality, not quantity

I'm mostly worried that I won't have enough time to do serious preparation while working 40 hours a week and maybe taking a class. I'll be there from 8-10 for class, 10-6 for research, then after that is the prep course... not sure if that's a good idea. I can drop the class but it's a morning commitment anyway.
 

eggs13

Lift Heavy, Get Tough
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
682
Reaction score
32
I'm mostly worried that I won't have enough time to do serious preparation while working 40 hours a week and maybe taking a class. I'll be there from 8-10 for class, 10-6 for research, then after that is the prep course... not sure if that's a good idea. I can drop the class but it's a morning commitment anyway.

right, so I would just forget about studying during that time. Wait until your 40 hr/week commitment is over and you start class (with a light course load) and get QUALITY studying done from late August-December, and take the test in January. That is more than enough time. again, QUALITY over QUANTITY
 

yehhhboiii

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Removed
Joined
Apr 5, 2012
Messages
1,521
Reaction score
106
Your ECs actually sound okay. It's not only about the time spent but what you learned from the experience. Take some time to reflect and if you don't think you learned anything maybe try some time in an after school program or a nursing home. You'll have plenty of time in the summer and maybe during the school year. There are a lot of things you can do and a year is a pretty long time.


I would skip the prep course. They're expensive and only help people who are bad at managing their time. You will forget a lot if you don't take the test right after your prep so you might as well just study during the semester. Save the money.

About the LORs, professors have office hours. Feel free to go in and introduce yourself. Professors are people too, they like to talk about themselves and know that undergrads will be coming to them for recs. Once they know your name and face, it shouldn't be too hard to get some decent letters. Your PI will be there in the summer with few undergrads around so that's a place to start. If you had a good relationship with the professor from first semester, just stop by and reconnect.
 

MelanieMorris

New Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2012
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
I am almost in the same boat as you, but my GPA is lower and I have the EC's. I am scared to death of the MCAT's and I was going to prep over the summer and take next spring but from what one of the responses suggested I am prepping too long. Some advice that I would give to you is to join your school's AMSA club. I am the President of my school's AMSA club and its a great organization to be a part of.
And do take the time to get to know your professors. Those letters of recommendation need to help you, not hurt you.

Good luck, you can do it!
 

Propylene

Class of 2017
Joined
Oct 6, 2010
Messages
325
Reaction score
2
I basically have one summer and two semesters left before I apply and it seems like I just started college yesterday. I feel like I haven't done anything at all with my time and I already feel regretful about not working harder. My EC's are inadequate -- I only have a few volunteering experiences (tutoring homeless with one group, tutoring disadvantaged in computer literacy with another), a few shadowing experiences, some minor campus involvement, and some research. My GPA is decent but not great, likely about a 3.7 after this semester. If everything goes well next two semesters I might have a 3.8 or 3.85. As for research, I did one year of research freshman year but it wasn't that substantial and I didn't get any publications (though I still have the chance to from that project, don't have the time to work on it right now though), last summer I was in a second lab (no pubs, person I was working with left after that summer) and this semester I'm in a third lab where I hope to be involved long-term (already have a paid summer position 40 hrs/week for 3-4 months, chance to create my own project, and hopefully one project finished before then with hopefully my name on it).

EC-wise, I'm lacking leadership or any sort of interesting hobbies that could set me apart. I'm also worried about letters of recommendation. The PI's from the 3 labs I've been involved with should write me letters though I don't think they will necessarily be stellar. For teacher recs, I haven't really had the time to go to office hours and make an impression on anyone (except for one prof I got to know well first semester but haven't talked to since).

And finally there's the MCAT. I'm planning to take a prep course from TPRH this summer and then continue reviewing into the fall (planning to take a light course load), then take it this December or next January.

Info about me: ORM male, looking to get into my in-state public schools. Not looking to apply Top 20 (not confident about chances and cost is the main factor for me).

All that said: People who applied this year, if you could go back one year and were in my position, what would you do to improve and maximize your chances of getting in somewhere, what would you do? Thanks so much if you read all this. :)

I was in the same boat as you at the end of my sophomore year. I originally wanted to apply junior year and go straight in but ended up deferring my application an extra one and I think it really helped.

I took some upper level biochemistry classes my and physio during 3rd year and then an MCAT review between Junior and Senior year. Took my MCAT at the end of the summer and had it out of the way so I could focus on grades and getting to know my professors in the last year. I also started in a new lab my senior year, and that turned out to be one of my best experiences in college that I wrote about in my application.

Right now I'm in my gap year, working to get my debt down and even save for med school; all in all it's turned out pretty well. The only downside is finding things to keep you occupied after you graduate.

I am very happy with how my cycle turned out, and I think waiting a year definitely helped me. In the long run a year really isn't that much time, and you definitely do not want to rush your application. Good luck!
 
Top