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lab/research REALLY necessary?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by numinous, Jan 17, 2002.

  1. numinous

    numinous Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2000
    are there other future clinicians out there who don't want to sit in a lab in order to beef up their applications? aren't you supposed to spend your time doing meaningful things you enjoy? How important is it really to have research experience? I have heard that it is less and less important if you are not going for an MD/PhD, or whatever. What if you get an old fashioned adcom interviewer?
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  3. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2001
    Medicine is a science as much as it is an art and basic science research is where clinical medical practice techniques must begin. I personally think it's sort of important for future clinicians to know what's happening behind the closed lab doors. That said, it's not totally needed if you have good clinical volunteer experiences, but it is helpful.
  4. numinous

    numinous Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2000
    i was just reading an old post about doesn't seem a crucial component of an app. and NOT worth doing if you're not into it. I am glad to read this - has anyone had a contradicting experience - has anyone felt that their lack of research/lab experience really affected their admission prospects? is clinical research an acceptable substitute for lab work?
  5. gower

    gower 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    New York
    Most students admitted to medical school have not done lab research. Moreover, about half or more of those admitted were not even science majors. Rather than make a half-hearted attempt at research, especially science lab research, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get experience in a setting where there are ill people--such as in a hospital. The quality of the time you spend is far more important than the quantity. You don't want just to be behind the scenes doing clerical work or to just be a gofer. In any case, whatever your function, and without getting in the way, as much as possible speak with and observe patients, physicians, other health care workers, and especially look inward and ask: is this what I really want to do, am I psychologically prepared and qualified for dealing with the people and the
    circumstances under which I will practice. Rest assured you have the intellectual equipment. You are doing research all right, but not typical laboratory bench research. You are performing research in which YOU are the laboratory rat.
    That is far more useful and meaningful to you and to admissions committees than most scientific research.

    Indeed, "research" need not even be limited to science: research can be on anything, a study of a literary work, anthropological field work, a biographical study of a French writer of the 19th century, a study of a historical document, something on a period in the history of medicine, etc. Use your imagination! They are interested in how you express yourself, in your attitudes and in your intellectual equipment. The important thing is if asked about it at an interview that you be able to discuss it coherently and with enthusiasm. Anyone can tell if you are a dilletante, just using "research" to make you look good on paper.

    Premedical students consistently underestimate the intelligence, perceptivity and experience
    of interviewers. Only very talented con artists might get away with it!

    Good luck.
  6. dukeblue01

    dukeblue01 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    I will agree with the mighty gower. Nothing could be worse that sitting in a lab for a year, doing a project you hate just to put it on your med school app, and then because of extreme disinterest, showing all you interviewers that you are not interested in basic research at all. This obviously looks insincere and that quality will put you out of the running real fast. Take gower's advice. Do something you really would enjoy, maybe volunteering in a clinical setting or something else stimulating. Show a passion for it. Show a real committment to it. I got into the research game late, by doing an independent study in Biochem my senior year. But I really liked it and went on to do more research in my year off. Find something you enjoy and put your time into that.
  7. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2001
    research made me. everyone asked about it. i think research is more and more necessary to get into medical school. it sets you apart. those people who didn't do research were most likely from schools without strong research backgrounds or liberal arts schools. research in anything is good. independant research, publications, fellowship support, length of time spent in lab, is important. if you want a shot at a big time school like stanford, ucsf, harvard, hopkins, etc. then i would suggest some research work. you can hate it at times but most of teh time it is tolerable.
    i have three friends. none of them with research experience. two of them are interivewing at so so medical schools. the last one (he is interviewing at good schools) is very comparable to me yet he hasn't been offered interviews from hopkins, ucsf, or stanford. coincidence???? you tell me.
  8. fishtolive

    fishtolive Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    do what you want, do what interests will here this time and again...i think it goes for anything in life and especially when applying to medical school...
    did i do research, yes...but, my clinical experiences were all that i talked about during the interviews...also, i had a job the whole time during college and this was huge during fact, one interviewer was more impressed with how much i bench and squat and we talked lifting the whole time...on the other end, my buddy had research at sloan kettering, etc. (big time stuff too) with little clinical work and he's only managed to get into one school (and not the one he wanted) while being waitlisted at my new alma mater-and we had the SAME MCATs (33r) and nearly the same GPA (3.809 versus 3.814), do it if it interests you but never force yourself to do something you don't my friend's app proved, it may not help!

    in my opinion rajnee1 has a point but there is little the adcoms haven't seen throughout their years...nothing can really set you apart...just keep the gpa up (over 3.7 would be nice) keep the mcats high (over 30 would be nice) and you really shouldn't have any in pojnt, a girl i had a few classes with had little extra stuff except volunteer work to put on her app but was pulling a 3.9 and a 37 on her mcats...she got in everywhere she's one big picture, research alone will NOT do it.

    medicine may be science, but slaving in a lab isn't for everyone! always beware of people who talk about "so-so medical schools"--future colleagues to avoid and probably the current classmates you stay away from's a complex few can shake. prestige, that is.
  9. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jun 24, 2001
  10. tBw

    tBw totally deluded 7+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2001
    infront of an iMac
  11. Wahoo

    Wahoo Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 25, 2001
    I have virtually no research experience, and was accepted by Stanford. I think what's important is to do what you enjoy most, and do it well. Research wasn't something I thought I'd enjoy, so I used my time in other ways, and AdComs seem to have respected that.
  12. SMW

    SMW Grand Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    anchorage, ak
    I have no research experience at all. I've interviewed at Albany and Columbia, been accepted at Albany, and have 8 interviews coming up (SLU, Tulane, MCPH, Jefferson, USC-Keck, UWSOM, Rochester, Vermont).
  13. princessSMT

    princessSMT Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2001

    at all of the interviews that i have been on so far this year (about 10), MANY of the people sat around and kind of discussed their research. MANY had taken a year or two off to do research. I suppose it isnt necessary but it seems like it is another common factor-- your application with have to be excellent with or without research. but if i had to give advice, i would say DO SOME REASEARCH. maybe in the summer, or at school. to me, it seems important. this is just some advice though:)
  14. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2001
    New Jersey
    I too cringe at the thought of doing lab work. I did do research in psychology though and I was able to work with infants. That was pretty cool.
    Personally I get so much satisfaction out of interacting with people. Swabbing petri dishes and the like just doesn't do it for me :)

    YOU DO NOT NEED RESEARCH to get into Medical School. I wouldn't recommend sitting around on your ass instead, though (of course :) . Rather use the the time to get involved in things that interest you.
  15. andi11

    andi11 Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 20, 2001
    research may look good on paper, but when it come down to the interview, its more based on the type of person you are. there is no way to tell - if we all had a crystal ball - we would all be using it to get into the med school of our choice :cool:
  16. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2001
    to clarify, you have to do clinicals along with the research. you can't just do research, that usually doesn't get you anywhere. you CAN only do clinicals and get into med school. some people go to schools that are big on research. i just think research adds to your application. i did three years of research (with presentations, fellowships, etc.) and three years of clinical experiences (hospitals, aboard, hospice). at my interviews, most everyone was interested in both my research and clincals. i was asked about both of them. research can only help you. at my stanford interview, only one of my interviewers asked me about my research. i got into stanford and it is a big research oriented school. if i were you, i would do some kind of research but you must do something clinical/volunteer. just my opinion.

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