2+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2015
Medical Student
Hello All.

I am a non-trad with a 3.91 sGPA and 3.88 cGPA, and a 4.0 going into the last semester of my DIY post-bacc. I will be taking the MCAT April 2016 and will be applying to MD schools in the 2016/2017 cycle. I currently have ~100 clinical volunteering hours, ~16 shadowing hours, and ~300 non-clinical volunteering hours. I feel my application is most lacking in research, and with that, I am seeking advice.

I met with the PI in a very exciting cancer research lab that I have the opportunity to volunteer with today. I was told in order to be involved I would need to volunteer a minimum of 10 hrs/week in the lab. Problem is, this semester I am already taking Biochemistry, Physiology w/lab, a 4-credit Medical Terminology course, a 1-credit personal statement course, working ~12 hrs/week as a TA for a Genetics course, and volunteering 4 hrs/week in an ED. I'm worried that with the additional 10 hour time commitment in the lab, I will be spreading myself too thin and my GPA could suffer.

What should I do? I don't want to make myself less competitive by not having research experience at the time of my application. If I didn't do the research position, I could spend extra hours in the ED and get a "volunteer promotion" so to speak an become a Stabilization/Critical Care Scribe. How important is research in my case? Should I do the research, or spend the extra time in the ED?

Thanks for any and all perspectives and advice.


7+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2011
Medical Student

Check out table 1. Basically healthcare experience is most important, and research is somewhere in the middle. You shouldn't do research unless you want to do research. Don't do it for the resume padding, especially so close to your application cycle already. You're already in great shape and the MCAT will be the determinant on what doors will be open for you. If I were you, I would up my shadowing to at least 50 as my #1 priority outside of the MCAT, and then continue to up clinical volunteering.