1. The SDN iPhone App is back and free through November! Get it today and please post a review on the App Store!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Not telling PI you are pre-med?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by nugang, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. nugang

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    14
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I keep seeing on threads that you shouldn't tell your PI that you are pre-med? Rather tell them you are interested in science and medical school/ grad school may be in your future.

    Why is that? My PI knows i want to go to medical school so I didnt think it was a big deal or anything.
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. demystifie

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    290
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Honesty is always the best policy, plus it can help when you ask for a letter of recommendation.
     
  4. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,179
    Likes Received:
    2,256
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I'm partly responsible for spreading that advice, so I'll give my own reasons. First, I am not saying that it is a BAD thing to say that you are premed to your PI. Nor am I saying that you should outright LIE.

    1) Premeds generally have a reputation in academia to be largely uninterested in research and that they do research purely for resume purposes. Because of this, they are known more to be flaky. It's a reputation, so it obviously does not apply to everybody, or even a majority.

    2) Premeds generally care more about their GPA than say an undergrad who is interested in the PhD track. It is common for premeds to not show up in the lab for weeks because of exams and/or other extracurricular commitments.

    3) A few PI's know that many premeds won't touch bench research after they get into med school, so they would feel their efforts might go to waste.

    For the above reasons, there isn't much you can gain from telling your PI that you are premed. You can potentially be at a disadvantage too. I do know some of my friends who were rejected post lab-interview because they were premed. It's not like you have to actively hide it from them. I didn't tell my PI I was premed when I interviewed for my research position, but he now knows that I am and doesn't care since he's seen my work ethic.

    When I give advice on applying to labs, I include the "AVOID mentioning that you are premed" because you are trying to leave a good first impression. Saying that you are interested in a career in science is not a lie, since you are, but it is also specific enough where you can ask for a letter of recommendation for medical school later on without any awkwardness.
     
  5. sobored

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    259
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    OP, lying about being premed is silly and not even worth a second thought really. People are really good at sniffing out BS. If your PI asks you what you're interested in doing, your response should be "I am pre-med and interested in going to medical school." Your follow up to that should be to work hard in the lab and show that you care about what you're doing. That speaks volumes and you will gain more respect via this route. Communicating this way will also serve you well in med school when you get there.
     
    allenlchs likes this.
  6. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,179
    Likes Received:
    2,256
    Status:
    Medical Student
    No one said anything about lying. And sure, if you've got tons of research offers, it's fine to say that you are premed. But if you have ONE offer and you have no reason that the PI should take you, potentially shooting yourself in the foot isn't something you want to do.

    Nobody is saying that being premed is bad. The connotation that comes with being premed is bad and could hurt your chances at getting the position if there are literally hundreds of other candidates to choose from.

    As an anecdote, one of my friends has been applying to labs since the end of his first year. He finally got one PI to reply back and scheduled an interview. The interview went great until the PI asked what his future goals were. He said he was premed and wanted to go to medical school. The PI literally said "Oh, you shouldn't have told me that" and he didn't get the position. This is obviously an extreme example, but there's really NOTHING that you can benefit from by saying you are premed in the beginning. Keep it vague, let your work ethic speak for itself, then it won't matter later on.
     
    Dandine likes this.
  7. sobored

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    259
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Why are you being so defensive? I didn't even quote you. I am offering my own opinion on the topic.
    I stand by what I said. If you're really not sure what you want to do, then that's a different story.
     
  8. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,179
    Likes Received:
    2,256
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Defensive? You mean supporting my point in an open forum? If you don't want people rebutting against points you make publicly, don't post on a public forum. :shrug:
     
  9. sobored

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    259
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    you are certainly entitled to your wrong opinion.
     
    Goro likes this.
  10. IslandStyle808

    IslandStyle808 Akuma residency or bust!
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Messages:
    5,574
    Likes Received:
    4,232
    It's because there some PIs who have had a bad past experience with a pre-med. They may have had bad encounters with pre-meds demanding A's in the classes they taught. Or experienced a pre-med that dropped a lab experience because they got into medical school (I mean like in the middle of a project or their master degree). These are just some of the reasons why they can be turned off by them. It doesn't mean they are all like that.

    I was one of the few that was honest about being a pre-medical student. I did have one bad experience and that was when I was applying for my masters. The chair of the program started to change her tune when I mentioned the word. She taught I was going to take off or something when I enter medical school. However, I got a different reaction from the chair of another program. He believed that the masters was a checkpoint for me and was happy that I applied to his program. So you will definitely have people who like or dislike premeds. It is not universal that they like them nor universal that they dislike them.

    If you choose to be up front about being a pre-medical student, there will always be possibility of being passed up. I am probably one of those few that would still be straight forward about it. For me, it is about being true to myself and letting myself show. If people want to say they are unsure and want to explore research, I think this is okay too. Just remember that there will always be pros and cons on how you answer the question. Do what you think is best.
     
    #9 IslandStyle808, Sep 3, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
    Aerus likes this.
  11. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,179
    Likes Received:
    2,256
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Ah yes, the old "I have nothing to back myself up so I'll just pretend everyone is wrong and I'm right" fallback. Fair enough, as are you.
     
  12. sobored

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    259
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Yeah you're right. Your little friend anecdote is pretty substantive and convincing.
     
  13. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,179
    Likes Received:
    2,256
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Whenever I give anecdotes, it's to give some perspective to the points I made. It doesn't benefit nor hurt my argument, just qualifies them. It doesn't detract from the fact that I gave a list of points and even added a scenario where your advice could hurt others looking for a lab.
     
  14. dlm2852

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I have seen both side. The first person I had a meeting with basically told me he only wanted me in his lab if I wanted to get a PhD. I told him I'm not sure what I wanted and I never email him back.

    I waited some time and started looking again. I found a PI that had no problem with me being pre med and had a lot of the undergrads in the lab pre med. He supported us and helped us with being pre med. He help me build relationships with other physician researchers to help me with medical career.

    I guess my point is the right PI will help you and support you. It is better to find that person then to work under a person that doesn't really like premeds. Maybe I just lucky because my PI is just a great person to work with.


    Posted using SDN Mobile
     
    IslandStyle808 likes this.
  15. Dandine

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2012
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    154
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Literally answered a similar question not too long ago; definitely justified question, given that professors vary and you want to keep your options open.

    I know for a fact some research programs/fellowships say that they will not accept pre-medical students (there are literally disclaimers on application criteria). I can see, in that case, how you would want to be discreet if there is a lab you really want to get into.

    However, I believe that you can only get so far if you choose not to say anything about your medical aspirations at all, so if you are even thinking about it, it's better to at least mention it (even if it's the "I'm exploring my options" kind of deal)--but again, it depends on the professor.
     
  16. dorschmix

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    I found a PI that had no problem with me being pre med and had a lot of the undergrads in the lab pre med.[​IMG]
     
  17. question25

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    18
    It's pretty messed up to apply for a research program exclusively intended for people who want to go for grad school if you know that you don't and if you know that want to go to medical school.
     
  18. DameJulie

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2016
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    294
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Coincidentally saw this post after a discreet pre-med suddenly announce the day before that he will be taking his MCAT tomorrow...you can imagine the shock on PI's face.
     
  19. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,179
    Likes Received:
    2,256
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Ahhh good memories. I still stand by my original stance despite disagreements. The best thing you can do is tell your PI "I'm interested in a career in science, like research or healthcare". Not a lie since I doubt you know forsure what you want to do in life as a pre-med, doesn't disqualify you from labs that would otherwise not take pre-meds, and will help avoid awkwardness later on should you need a letter of recommendation.
     
  20. sullen-burger

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2016
    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    661
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I love how no one has mentioned the most obvious solution. Join an MD's lab.
     
    cactusman likes this.
  21. Matthew9Thirtyfive

    Matthew9Thirtyfive Emailed your mum telling her how nice she is.
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Messages:
    9,852
    Likes Received:
    14,250
    I think you gave good advice. I'm unfortunately neither the response nor the like it got surprise me.
     

Share This Page