Late in Considering Medical School

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Feb 4, 2011
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Hello everyone.

I'm currently a sophomore at a university and have recently made the decision that I want to pursue a career in medicine.
Here is the thing, because I made my decision pretty late in the game, I have no clinical experience or volunteer service, and I currently have a gpa of 3.85 and is majoring in biological science.

Here is my plan in getting into medical school:
1. I'm currently applying for volunteering services at a local hospital clinic. There I'm hoping to strengthen my clinical experience/ volunteering service hours.
2. I'm thinking of getting a master's degree to really strengthen the application.

Any advice?

Would I be able to get into medical school without getting my masters if I were to start volunteering/shadowing/research right now for a year?
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Full Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2010
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I don't think you're that late...some people don't apply to med school until mid/late 20's, and still get in. Anyway your GPA is good and if you're majoring in bio you probably already have the bio and chem requirements done. If you do fine in all the other required classes I don't think you'd have to do a master's unless there's a specific reason you want to.

As for extracurricular-type stuff, volunteer, shadow, and try to get some research experience. If you want a lot of clinical experience you could try getting licensed as an EMT/CNA/phlebotomist and get a job doing that.


Full Member
Jun 14, 2010
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Don't bother getting a master's degree. It sounds like your GPA is great. Just do your ECs/start shadowing/etc.
Sep 4, 2006
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The average applicant has about 1.5 years of clinical experience. Most gain this at the rate of 3-4 hours weekly by volunteering to help care for sick [eople somewhere (nursing home, hospital, clinic, hospice, etc.). Average shadowing is 50ish hours split among a few types of doc, including primary care. This does not need to be a regular activity and could be acquired over breaks.

Nonmedical community service is another activity that gives strength to an application. I'd also get that going as soon as you can, even if only 2 hours weekly, ideally for a cause that you care about; something that serves the poor is a good idea, though other volunteerism is OK. Consider Habitat for Humanity, crisis hotline, soup kitchen, food pantry, homeless shelter. women's shelter, after-school tutoring for middle school students, teaching ESL to adults, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Meals on Wheels.

A year of research is about average, but even a summer's worth helps you.

Besides these, leadership and teaching activies benefit you, too. If you aggressively get all these things going, you'd be in reasonable shape to apply summer 2012.

A traditional masters degree is unlikely to make your application more appealing, except as it would offer research and teaching opportunities.