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Is this enough research for Top 20? Or Gap year necessary?

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yeezytaughtme

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Hi everyone, first post so bear with me,

I am a 3rd year who is going to join a research lab this month and after talking with the PI, will likely be starting an independent project around March.

I have previous research experience (6 months during my sophomore year) but no LOR from this experience, but was awarded a competitive scholarship based on this experience.

I would like to apply to MD schools this cycle (in June). Is the total of six months in soph year + the six months now along with starting an independent project too little for top schools?

My stats are: 4.0 both cGPA and sGPA, and a 522 on the MCAT.

I would like to apply this year because of my stats, I have also been volunteering in the ER since freshman year and a board member of a national non-profit that focuses on rural communities in third world countries. Would this low amount of research experience bar me from the top 20? Should I take a gap year so that I can showcase an additional year of research?
 

Conflagration

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If you were going for a MD/PhD, that might be worth considering.

However, if you're applying for MD only programs, the research is helpful but not make-or-break, especially since your application is so solid in pretty much every respect.

Do you have shadowing? I didn't notice any, and that would be a good idea to get some if you don't. Are you involved in any volunteering? Just remember to put it into AMCAS.

You're going to do great, OP.
 

yeezytaughtme

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If you were going for a MD/PhD, that might be worth considering.

However, if you're applying for MD only programs, the research is helpful but not make-or-break, especially since your application is so solid in pretty much every respect.

Do you have shadowing? I didn't notice any, and that would be a good idea to get some if you don't. Are you involved in any volunteering? Just remember to put it into AMCAS.

You're going to do great, OP.

Yes, I started a chapter of an organization at my school which uses food trucks to serve the homeless. As volunteers, we make and serve the food during shifts at night. I also have shadowed neurologists during their morning rounds (40 hours) and will be shadowing an ophthalmologist and family practice physician before I apply!

I was unaware of the level of research necessary for Top 20s, and I didn't want to exclude myself from the running with only this much research, since I have noticed others work in a single lab for years, so thank you! Any other comments on this or my app in general are very appreciated! I am also a South Asian male in California, if that changes anything.
 

eteshoe

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If you're applying for MD/PhD programs a gap year will most likely be necessary since programs like to see about 2 yrs of sustained research. For MD-only being able to speak about your research intelligently should suffice (aka no gap year).
 
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yeezytaughtme

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Thanks everyone. Is there anything to add, @LizzyM since I was focusing on Top 20s? Or @gyngyn since I'm a California resident, would this hurt at the UCs? I am planning to go MD-only.
 

TSteezy

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For a little more reassurance - I've received acceptances from 3 top 20's w/ only 6 months of research experience / no publications. Your stats also destroy mine. You're going to kill it!
 

efle

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My prediction: plenty of success from schools in the 10-20 range. Top 5 or 10 maybe just a handful of interviews, when you start getting way up there they start asking about very substantial research/publications (looking at you, Stanford). With other strong ECs I would personally not take a gap year.
 
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yeezytaughtme

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For a little more reassurance - I've received acceptances from 3 top 20's w/ only 6 months of research experience / no publications. Your stats also destroy mine. You're going to kill it!

Wow, congrats! If you don't mind me asking, were your other ECs exceptional? I'm just trying to gauge how much weight these schools place on research vs other extra curriculars.
 

TSteezy

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Wow, congrats! If you don't mind me asking, were your other ECs exceptional? I'm just trying to gauge how much weight these schools place on research vs other extra curriculars.
Thank you!
My ECs are pretty unique. Non-trad High School Chemistry Teacher / Head of Science Department. Spent a couple hundred hours as a volunteer medical assistant in a free clinic. About 400 hours of non-medical service as well. Think most of my success came from life experience / good essays.
 
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