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maybedoctormaybehomeless

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I am currently in a dilemma... Hoping you guys could help me make a choice:

I am currently a sophomore in college. I have applied to various summer undergraduate research programs and am very interested in attending one of these programs if I am accepted. All of the programs are pretty competitive and, I think, would certainly be well-acknowledged by medical school ADCOMs. However, a doctor who I am acquainted with told me not to bother with these programs. He claims that they are not worth it since I would not be able to get a publication out of them. Instead, he is urging me to stay at home, tutor his kids in SAT (his main motivation), and do a bit of clinical research with him. He admitted that the research would not be very meaningful (I would just be collecting data essentially) but that he would get me published. I am having trouble deciding between going to a summer research program or doing what he says. Just how important is getting published for med school application? I don't know if I would be willing to waste a summer tutoring kids and doing meaningless "research" just for the publication.

Another factor to consider: the doctor also teaches at my top choice medical school, so I assume that he could potentially give me a little boost in the admissions with a letter of recommendation if I stay on his good side.
 

Pagan FutureDoc

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Few Med school matriculants have publications. If the research sounds interesting and engaging then try for it. And if it's as selective as you think then adcoms will likely know that and look favorably on it.
 

ridethecliche

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Few Med school matriculants have publications. If the research sounds interesting and engaging then try for it. And if it's as selective as you think then adcoms will likely know that and look favorably on it.

What are you basing this on? Depends a lot on the school.
 

Carmiche

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I am a sophomore as well. Did a summer research program last summer. I got two publications directly from mine (one of which I am first author), and I am working on writing a review article for him now. So what this guy is telling you isn't necessarily true. But with that said, I think I was one of maybe 3-4 people out of 30 in my program to get my name on a paper; so it definitely isn't the norm. It really just depends on the lab/mentor you get and how often they publish. Another kid I met in the program said he worked with a lab his freshmen summer, and was now working with the same lab again his junior summer, and told me they put his name on a Nature paper. It all depends.

If I was in your position, though, I would work with this guy. It sounds like a pretty surefire authorship which will be huge once it gets to application time. Getting a letter of rec. from an academic physician who you did research with will also be a huge plus. Furthermore, most of the REU's are quite competitive. Some people apply to 10 or so and don't get into any. Personally, I knew my mentor from shadowing before I applied to the REU at the medical school, and he basically told me before I applied that I would most likely get in.

Just make sure you ask him what the research is going to be about and make sure you find it somewhat interesting. It might just be analyzing previous patient charts, but hey, that is what a lot of clinical research entails.
 
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