10+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2008
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Hey everyone, there's an issue that has been bothering me for some time:

I know that clinical work is important as far as showing your interests in medicine and a long commitment is usually desired. I was planning on applying by this summer after taking the MCAT and finishing my 3rd year. My concern is the fact that I have no clinical experience at all, although working at a hospital or clinic has been on my list of priorities for some time.

Before you comment about that, I have been heavily involved in research on my campus - hence the "lopsidedness". I have been in a lab since the middle of my freshman year, have given presentations at symposiums, done poster presentations at national conferences, and have even won the top award at one. I also have been given a leadership position over the other undergrads in my lab (even though some have been there longer than I have). I am in line for a publication as well. I currently put in about 15 hours a week there.

I am actively looking at several clinics by my school that serve to the underprivileged and am really interested in their goals. Would it seem like a last ditch effort if I was to start working there for only 5-6 months and then apply? I would like to continue with both the lab and clinic until I graduate, so the potential for the time commitment is there.

For reference, I have 3.82 overall GPA at a UC school and have been given numerous academic awards as well as been involved in the Greek system on my campus.

Considering these things, would there also be chance that I need to take a year off to continue with the clinical work and get more involved elsewhere? This route was not something I had planned, but I knew had a great possibility of happening.

How does mentoring younger undergrads look? I could join a mentoring program on my campus.

Everything just rushed up to my neck all of a sudden, I don't even know where the time went.. haha.

Thanks in advance for your responses.
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m.d. doing radiology
10+ Year Member
Nov 11, 2008
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My question for you: Are you considering MD/PhD route?
All your research might not be so bad if you are.

Is it too late?
Nope. One of the principle objectives behind getting clinical experience is to show that you know what medicine is really like. It's basically a realistic job preview. As long as you do it BEFORE you send an app, I think it's fine.

Taking a year off for clinical exp?
Not surprisingly, another purpose of clinical exp is to demonstrate your genuine passion and devotion to medicine. There are heated debates about how much is enough, and I haven't heard of any concrete numbers on this. A whole year spent improving one part of your EC's when/if the rest of your app is solid seems a bit extreme though. Don't forget about the leadership part of your research exp!

Your last question?
Not sure what you're asking...

In summary, "get clinical" as soon as you can.


10+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2008
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Thanks, dont worry too much about that last question, I might just edit it out of my post.


10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2007
If you start a clinical experience now (3-4 hours a week is fine), you'll have 6 months to put on your application. If you continue it through the application year, and mention it in update letters, it might be enough to satisfy some admissions committees, especially those at research-intense schools who primarily value a strong research experience. At worst, if you have to reapply, you'd then have 1.5 years of clinical experience to list, which is the usual expectation, from what I've read.

Mentoring undergrads would be considered a leadership experience. Demonstration of teaching skills is also valuable.
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