GloryVA

10+ Year Member
May 16, 2008
25
3
NJ
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Medical Student
I'm a non-trad student, and I've got things ready in my application for every other thing. Volunteering (with teachers though), teaching, physician shadowing, work, extra curriculars, leadership positions, artistic endeavors, awards, generally fun facts, bla bla bla.

My GPA is alright, not the greatest, but alright. But the one thing that nags at me is, will medical schools care a ton if I don't have some sort of clinical research thing going on?

I figure, maybe if I score another volunteer position that's more related to medicine - like at a hospital, that it might help, but I feel it's far too late to get started on a research goal.

Admitted non-trads, did you all have clinical research and medical related things up the wazoo? Or do we have the margin of being more flexible and well-rounded than that?
 

Captain Fantastic

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Mar 28, 2005
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Mizzou Med
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While research is not a hard pre-req, some schools essentially require research experience. Other schools care less about it and would prefer to see more volunteering/service-to-humanity work.

So depending on what you value and where you want to go to medical school, you can justify either position.

Increasing your odds across all schools, though, would require you to have at least some research experience, clinical or basic science, in addition to job shadowing, volunteering, leadership, etc.
 

fireflygirl

The Ultimate Blindian
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Jul 17, 2007
888
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Philadelphia
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I'd agree with the Captain. I think it depends on what your goals are for medicine and what kind of school you want to go to. If you are aiming for the top research schools, then they won't look at you without having had some research. If you are aiming to be a clinical doc, then other schools may not mind that you don't have research experience, as long as you have other things that have allowed you to be exposed to medicine, i.e. shadowing....however, if you are really worried, perhaps you could set up something for your glide year. There are plenty of students that get their hands dirty in research for the first time during the application year. And depending on their application, if often doesn't hurt them since they have other things to make up for that lack of experience in research.

So first think about what schools you are applying to and then make a decision about whether you really need it? It can't hurt and can only help your application, so if you do decide that you want to spend some time in research, then try to find something for your application year.
 

nu2004

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5+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2008
861
4
Los Angecagoveland
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Medical Student
i feel like to be a strong applicant in general, you should have some significant clinical (involving patient contact) experience OR medically oriented research position. if you have a good degree of both, great.

i focused on the patient contact side because early on i didn't have much interest in research and had no idea where to get started - it was easier for me to just get my EMT-B license and start changing adult diapers in the ER.

that said, i did get a position as a research assistant several months before i applied. it was pretty uninvolved, but of course i tried to dress it up to sound like i was on the cutting edge (although i can't imagine anyone bought it - because everyone does this). i was pretty honest in my interviews about how little true research experience i had.

so, in the end, you probably should not expect to get interviews at the top major research universities. your app will probably be best served by focusing on gaining as much clinical exposure as possible to prove that you really belong in medicine.

good luck!
 

nontrdgsbuiucmd

10+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2008
998
3
my own little world
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Medical Student
i feel like to be a strong applicant in general, you should have some significant clinical (involving patient contact) experience OR medically oriented research position. if you have a good degree of both, great.

so, in the end, you probably should not expect to get interviews at the top major research universities. your app will probably be best served by focusing on gaining as much clinical exposure as possible to prove that you really belong in medicine.

good luck!
In general nu is right per my conversations with schools. But it depends on the school. Spoke with the Director of Admissions for a top 25 school within the past 2 weeks; he said that an application would not be considered at the school if the applicant did not have clinical experience, for either md or md/phD program. His general statement related to the school not being able to discern if the applicant really understood what the practice of medicine was about without at least some clinical experience.

But for a separate (top 30 I think) school in the midwest, the admissions office told me they group all volunteer experience together; clinical or non-medical.

So if you want to be considered broadly in the most positive light, I'd pick up some volunteer experience ASAP at a local hospital or other location that's easy for you, ideally with substantial patient contact; otherwise you're out of the running for school A above...
 

momgracea

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Sep 27, 2005
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Jacksonville, Fl
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I didn't have it any and got in -- but I did have other ECs including shadowing in a clinic/surgical suite. (Note: Didn't go due to a family matter, you can search my posts if you want details. Reapplying for 2009.)

I wouldn't worry. :)
 

montessori2md

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Oct 1, 2005
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I had zero clinical research experience, and interviewed at all 3 schools I applied to, was accepted to one, waitlisted to one, rejected from one. Agree w/ above, it very much depends on how research oriented the school is. That said, I think where I've ended up is heavily based on how I interviewed and which school I liked best (I was accepted to the school whose interview day I enjoyed most).

I think for non-health care career non-trads the biggest challenges are: clinical experience (Do you know what you're in for?) and academic acheivement (Do you know what you're in for?).
Once those two questions are resolved, the rest is icing, IMHO.
 

pingouin

just chillin'
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Apr 2, 2005
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I didn't have any research, and I wound up with an acceptance and 2 waitlists, one of which converted to an acceptance. I do have a tremendous amount of clinical work experience, though.

Like nu2004 said, I was just honest about my lack of research when it came up. I am in a position at a hospital where we refer to a specific research study at another school, so I did talk about my work in identifying potential subjects, facilitating the referrals, and being the liaison between the two programs. I think the honesty was appreciated by my interviewers- I used it in explaining away a grade, too. ("You know, that C is 15 years old and I don't really remember what happened with that class.") My thoughts at the time were that honesty would be more refreshing than another load of BS and spin...
 

gman33

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10+ Year Member
Aug 18, 2007
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No research is okay at most schools, no extended clinical volunteering will be a problem. I'd try to find a position and start volunteering ASAP. Without this, some schools will not grant you an interview. You want to have as complete an app as possible. You indicated that your grades are a little low. Don't let not having clinical experience be a reason for them to cross you off.
 

nu2004

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2008
861
4
Los Angecagoveland
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My thoughts at the time were that honesty would be more refreshing than another load of BS and spin...
ain't that the truth.

it's a hallmark of maturity to admit failure, especially when it's relatively insignificant in the first place. so many younger applicants will try to spin and spin and spin your head off...