Introduction and Advice

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by Tarallk, Nov 25, 2002.

  1. Tarallk

    Tarallk New Member

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    Hi everyone-
    I'm new to this board, so I thought I'd introduce myself. I'm a sophomore at Penn State University, and I'm currently double majoring in Premedicine and Psychology. I've only recently decided that I want to do a MD/PhD program, mainly because I didn't even know they were out there before. Right now I have a 3.92 GPA and I'm looking at getting a 4.0 this semester. Unfortunately, I wasted my first year a bit because I was only planning on majoring in Psychology. I'm worried that it might take me 5 years to graduate because of that and the double major. I've already bought an MCAT book and started looking over it. I'm planning on starting getting research experience this summer. Right now I'm looking into volunteering at a local hospital. My question is, is there anything else I should be doing in order to better prepare? My time is sort of limited because I also do work-study as a peer tutor, plus holding another job. I am looking into switching jobs and working as a home health aide because it will pay better AND i would get some experience working with the sick. If anyone has any advice on anything else I should look into doing, please let me know!

    Thanks,
    Tara
     
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  3. jot

    jot

    souds like you are on the right track - grades are great, keep em up, and get as much research under your belt as possible. sounds like things are really hectic for you - take just as much as you can handle, you're doing an admirable job. again - research experience is the key for this stuff, and since you have time (longitudanly) just get some good experiences you can talk and about and participate in. goodluck - enjoy

    -jot
     
  4. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty SDN Advisor

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    It sounds like you've got your bases covered on volunteering. What you really need to do, as jot said, is start doing research. Start visiting alot of offices and/or sending out alot of e-mails to professors in the Biology, Psychology, or Neuroscience departments. You may want to see if Penn State has a summer research program. Ideally, you'd want to get into a summer program there, get some money for the summer, and continue in that lab indefinately. Maybe you could even get paid... Some PIs have the money, and there are some moneys you can get as an undergraduate. A good PI will know what to do.

    As for your majors... You do not need that pre-med major, and I don't really think it's good for much. If it's going to take you longer than you want to complete it, consider dropping it. Just make sure you have the core requirements for med school (if you need me to fill you in on them, lemme know) and don't worry about anything more than that.

    When I started college I didn't know about the MSTP, and as a result I didn't know I needed all that research. Further, I was working hard up until Junior year to support myself. Also, my old PI had no clue about what I was doing and about how to support an undergraduate. For all these reasons, I am fairly handicapped when it comes to the big name programs. Don't make the same mistakes as me--get into research! I know money is a big issue, but if you want into a real good program, you need to get busy on research now.

    As for the MCAT, you can either take in the spring or summer of your Junior year. I usually recommend doing it in the summer, just because you'll have more free time to study for it that way. I saved up my money and took a review course (TPR) and I highly recommend this route. If you want to go the book route, just remember to study alot! I don't know you, so the following may not be for you, so take it with a grain of salt. So many people lull themselves into false senses of security when it comes to the MCAT. They feel that they don't need to study hard because of their GPA, or their schedules are too full to promote much studying, and they don't think they need a review course because they are better than that, etc etc etc... Don't fall into the trap! Also consider taking a year off if you take it the summer of your Junior year. This is what I did, and I think that it's a great time to get more experience.

    Good luck!
     
  5. mjs

    mjs Millionaire, Superhero

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    I'm from Penn State and I'm applying to MSTPs right now. You can personal message me or email me if you have any specific questions. I can also give you the heads up on a lot of really good classes in the biological and physical sciences as well as potential research advisors. I guess if there's one piece of advice I wish I had heard it would be keep active in the clinical setting.

    Also, I would not recommend the Pre-Med major, especially if you're serious about research. Take something like biology, chemistry or biochemistry. They're better majors because the focus is on learning something, not just preparing for medical school. That kind of tunnel vision is bad news.

    Rock on.
     
  6. jot

    jot

    i know who you is now mjs;)
     
  7. CaNEM

    CaNEM Senior Member

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    I strongly agree with this. Many MD admission committees look down upon students having "pre-med" as a major. Also, I don't know this for sure but I'd speculate grad schools like it even less.
     
  8. wgu

    wgu Senior Member

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    Thought I seek some advice on a research situation:

    I'm working in a BME lab w/ a relatively new prof. He's got great ideas and I've been able to generate good preliminary results w/ his ideas. I am now writing/researching towards a first author pub but as of right now my project has no funding. PI has been already applying around but I was wondering if there were undergraduate research funding out there that can pay the undergrad doing the research (school year or summer). There are UROP-type sources at my school but does anyone know of other sources (private foundation, govt)?

    Thanks guys
     
  9. momoco way

    momoco way Junior Member

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    See if your school has Howard Hughes Undergraduate Summer Fellowship, it's around 3000 dollars for 10 weeks in the summer. I went to a private school, so there were more private grants for undergrads, but check out your financial aid office, you'll never know. Hope it all works out!
     

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