Sep 11, 2015
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Nontrad here. I was a vocal performance major in undergrad-graduated with a 3.95GPA, several awards and arts grant from my university for a special project. My undergrad was just a public state school, no ivys or anything like that.

I'm currently doing a DIY post bacc at another 4year state school (different from my undergrad but probably ranks about the same as my undergrad- not crappy, but nothing special. I'm almost done with the post bacc. Just finished orgo II lecture, only have phys I/ phys II, biochem and orgo II lab to go. My current overall GPA is a 4.01.

So far, I have approximately 1000 hours of clinical experience as an AEMT working for one of the busiest 911 services in the country. After I finish classes, I plan on taking up a scribe job on the side along with my AEMT gig and am considering the possibility of paramedic school just so I can get experience teching more critical calls.

Right now I need some shadowing, but hopefully with my connections through my EMT job I can get that taken care of after I finish classes

The issue I'm facing is finding research and volunteering experience. I would like to get into research and at least do some kind of publication, but trying to figure out how to go about it since my undergrad degree is non-science related is proving difficult. Any advice on how to go about that would be great. I'm currently researching research ongoing at my university (which fortunately is a big research school) and am going to try to set up some meeting with the professors who run the labs.

Then there's volunteering. I know I am at a disadvantage since my undergrad/post bacc school have no prestige at all. I don't want to just volunteer at a soup kitchen or something, I want to start my own thing and really make a difference in my community- still brainstorming ideas for that.

Some other interesting things about me that might help me stand out: I do sound design and composition for films on the side (including an award there), have my own recording studio that I built from scratch, have released one album and have a second album releasing soon with my other band. I really have my heart set on getting into a top ten school. Assuming I crush my MCAT, my stats will be taken care of.

What else do I need to make myself a good candidate for top 10's. How can I go about getting significant research with a nonscience major that could result in a pub? What kind of volunteer experience can make me stand out? I know these need to be stellar and unique since my undergrads were mediocre schools and I know pedree unfortunately plays a factor.

Any advice for my situation?
 
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etp123

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Undergrad/post-bacc institution "prestige" are not necessarily major determinants for admission. Also nothing wrong with "just [volunteering] at a soup kitchen or something"... If anything, humility is viewed just as favorably as initiative.

You wanna stand out by showing you're doing this because of a real sense of commitment and passion for the field of medicine, else it may be misinterpreted it as you trying to pad your resume with things that just look good which I'm not saying that's the type of person you are but that was sort of the vibe I was getting. I don't know how much time you have left before you apply but if it's less than a few years, might not be enough to start any community projects/have enough time to quantify the impact in a meaningful way. You could look into working with a pre-existing organization and working with them to set up your own individual project.

Also goes for a publication, it's not necessarily easy to crank one out in a year with little pre-existing research experience so be wary of that. I found my first research opportunity by just contacting professors whose labs I was interested in. If you're on good terms with any of your profs and they have research labs, could also try asking them.
 
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Goro

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Nontrad here. I was a vocal performance major in undergrad-graduated with a 3.95GPA, several awards and arts grant from my university for a special project. My undergrad was just a public state school, no ivys or anything like that.

I'm currently doing a DIY post bacc at another 4year state school (different from my undergrad but probably ranks about the same as my undergrad- not crappy, but nothing special. I'm almost done with the post bacc. Just finished orgo II lecture, only have phys I/ phys II, biochem and orgo II lab to go. My current overall GPA is a 4.01.

So far, I have approximately 1000 hours of clinical experience as an AEMT working for one of the busiest 911 services in the country. After I finish classes, I plan on taking up a scribe job on the side along with my AEMT gig and am considering the possibility of paramedic school just so I can get experience teching more critical calls.

Right now I need some shadowing, but hopefully with my connections through my EMT job I can get that taken care of after I finish classes

The issue I'm facing is finding research and volunteering experience. I would like to get into research and at least do some kind of publication, but trying to figure out how to go about it since my undergrad degree is non-science related is proving difficult. Any advice on how to go about that would be great. I'm currently researching research ongoing at my university (which fortunately is a big research school) and am going to try to set up some meeting with the professors who run the labs.

Then there's volunteering. I know I am at a disadvantage since my undergrad/post bacc school have no prestige at all. I don't want to just volunteer at a soup kitchen or something, I want to start my own thing and really make a difference in my community- still brainstorming ideas for that.

Some other interesting things about me that might help me stand out: I do sound design and composition for films on the side (including an award there), have my own recording studio that I built from scratch, have released one album and have a second album releasing soon with my other band. I really have my heart set on getting into a top ten school. Assuming I crush my MCAT, my stats will be taken care of.

What else do I need to make myself a good candidate for top 10's. How can I go about getting significant research with a nonscience major that could result in a pub? What kind of volunteer experience can make me stand out? I know these need to be stellar and unique since my undergrads were mediocre schools and I know pedree unfortunately plays a factor.

Any advice for my situation?
First off, lose the mindset about the Top 10s (which are actually 15 schools at least).

One of the key things that seem to help SDNers get into Top School is volunteering, clinically and/or non-clinically. The key thing is quality over quantity. That said, I have also noticed a theme that these successful people also have hundreds, if not 1000s of patient contact experience and/or service volunteering.


Not all volunteering needs to be in a hospital. Think hospice, Planned Parenthood, nursing homes, rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, camps for sick children, or clinics.

Some types of volunteer activities are more appealing than others. Volunteering in a nice suburban hospital is all very well and good and all, but doesn't show that you're willing to dig in and get your hands dirty in the same way that working with the developmentally disabled (or homeless, the dying, or Alzheimers or mentally ill or elderly or ESL or domestic, rural impoverished) does. The uncomfortable situations are the ones that really demonstrate your altruism and get you 'brownie points'. Plus, they frankly teach you more -- they develop your compassion and humanity in ways comfortable situations can't.

Service need not be "unique". If you can alleviate suffering in your community through service to the poor, homeless, illiterate, fatherless, etc, you are meeting an otherwise unmet need and learning more about the lives of the people (or types of people) who will someday be your patients. Check out your local houses of worship for volunteer opportunities. The key thing is service to others less fortunate than you.

Examples include: Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Humane Society, crisis hotlines, soup kitchen, food pantry, homeless or women’s shelter, after-school tutoring for students or coaching a sport in a poor school district, teaching ESL to adults at a community center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or Meals on Wheels.
 

CyrilFiggis

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Nov 4, 2014
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Nontrad here. I was a vocal performance major in undergrad-graduated with a 3.95GPA, several awards and arts grant from my university for a special project. My undergrad was just a public state school, no ivys or anything like that.

I'm currently doing a DIY post bacc at another 4year state school (different from my undergrad but probably ranks about the same as my undergrad- not crappy, but nothing special. I'm almost done with the post bacc. Just finished orgo II lecture, only have phys I/ phys II, biochem and orgo II lab to go. My current overall GPA is a 4.01.
As a fellow music major from a state school, welcome to the club. Although I'll say your GPA was much better than mine. Keep up the effort with your post-bacc. As an arts major, the sample size of classes you present to schools will be half of what a traditional science major will have on their transcript. Finish strong.

So far, I have approximately 1000 hours of clinical experience as an AEMT working for one of the busiest 911 services in the country. After I finish classes, I plan on taking up a scribe job on the side along with my AEMT gig and am considering the possibility of paramedic school just so I can get experience teching more critical calls.

Right now I need some shadowing, but hopefully with my connections through my EMT job I can get that taken care of after I finish classes
I would say no to the paramedic school. It really gains you no additional application benefit. If you are a tech and a scribe, you don't need shadowing. Is it possible to be an ER tech? You'd most likely be scribing in the ED anyways, so why not just kill two birds with one stone. The most important thing is patient exposure.

The issue I'm facing is finding research and volunteering experience. I would like to get into research and at least do some kind of publication, but trying to figure out how to go about it since my undergrad degree is non-science related is proving difficult. Any advice on how to go about that would be great. I'm currently researching research ongoing at my university (which fortunately is a big research school) and am going to try to set up some meeting with the professors who run the labs.
If you're in OChemII, that means you've had 2 Gen chem labs and 2 Bio labs. That's not nothing. If you can handle a pipet and do basic conversions, you can intern or be an assistant. Having the grades you do helps. If you don't already have a CV, make it. Find some labs in your school that you're interested in and contact the PI. Give them an abbreviated bio with your CV. Otherwise, most research centers have HR departments you can contact.

Then there's volunteering. I know I am at a disadvantage since my undergrad/post bacc school have no prestige at all. I don't want to just volunteer at a soup kitchen or something, I want to start my own thing and really make a difference in my community- still brainstorming ideas for that.
That may be gilding the lily. You don't need to do something totally unique and novel to stand out, you just need to do something consistently and with passion. For all the time and effort you would put into creating your own thing, you could rise through the ranks of an established program.

Some other interesting things about me that might help me stand out: I do sound design and composition for films on the side (including an award there), have my own recording studio that I built from scratch, have released one album and have a second album releasing soon with my other band.
Little nuggets like that will help you stand out and will make interesting talking points in secondaries and during your interview, but they are more icing than cake. Again, you and I have similar backgrounds except i was on the business not creative end.

I really have my heart set on getting into a top ten school. Assuming I crush my MCAT, my stats will be taken care of.

What else do I need to make myself a good candidate for top 10's. How can I go about getting significant research with a nonscience major that could result in a pub? What kind of volunteer experience can make me stand out? I know these need to be stellar and unique since my undergrads were mediocre schools and I know pedree unfortunately plays a factor.

Any advice for my situation?
Having high expectations are great, but getting into a Top 10-15 program is just statistically difficult. Last year there were 52,000 applicants for ~20,000 MD spots for all schools. The top 15 programs averaged 6,500 applicants for roughly 115 spots.

The best advice I can give is to make sure your application tells your story. No single activity will make you stand out. The totality of your application will.
 
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Ad2b

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Welcome to the haul... no advice to add; you've already received excellent advice from the above.

Well, just one piece: don't stop. If this is your passion, don't stop even if you don't get into top 15 or top 20 or top w/e#... don't stop. Don't give up, don't quit, don't stall.

Because stalling/quitting and returning (boomeranging) sucks. Best of luck to you!!
 

ChopinLiszt

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The best thing you could do is to get 520+ on the MCAT. Volunteering and research are great, but to get an II at those top schools nothing beats sky-high stats and a little something unique. Your vocal performance is pretty unique - now kill the mcat. good luck!
 
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futuremdforme

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The best thing you could do is to get 520+ on the MCAT. Volunteering and research are great, but to get an II at those top schools nothing beats sky-high stats and a little something unique. Your vocal performance is pretty unique - now kill the mcat. good luck!
Agreed on top MCAT score.

For volunteering, I think that finding a cause that you believe in (and as Goro said, serving those less fortunate than you) is more important than starting your own thing. If you were to start a volunteer position, remember it would just disappear when you start interviewing and then leave for med school soon enough... You could always do a regular clinical volunteer position (hospice, hospital, etc) and also do volunteer performances there separately. (It would let you talk about music/art, but you really do need to interact with patients or people receiving the services too.)

For research, your best bet might be to do non-bench research. You could potentially look for sound/music-related research (some in psychology, potentially even in physics), but with your GPA, I'd be surprised if you can't find anything.
 

esob

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Someone posted a statistical analysis of Yale the other day in the allopathic forum and it basically showed that aside from having near perfect grades and MCAT, having a top 10 as your feeder school AND a graduate degree seemed to be commonality among 75+ % of the matriculants. There is debate as to whether that is causative or correlative but you can make your own deductions.