I'd say depends on the field but usually it still adds to your app. As for research done before med school I'd say that it will weigh less than research done during, but what do I know. When I was interviewing many of the interviewers were interested in my research which was in another field. Mostly they were glad that I knew how to run a study and prepare a manuscript.
Wow, Kash, I was just gonna post a question similar to yours!
I am definitely interested in this issue as well. I have two co-first author publications under my belt from taking a year off after graduating undergrad, and I do like the field I am working in..... but since I will enter med school this fall, I definitely want to take time to explore other fields.
I don't know how much research I will be able to do while med school is going on.... seems like most people get to be productive during a year off like with a HHMI or maybe an in house research fellowship.
Does anyone know people in med school who took a year off and got a HHMI? What are the typical qualifications?
eta--- never mind, i just found a thread in the Allo forum about this very subject!
I got 5-6 publications while I was in medical school from my med school research project which was a small clinical trial. Most students do the bulk of their research during the summer between their 1st and 2nd years. As to how much pre-med school research will add to your residency qualifications, that would really be a question best answered by the program director in the specialty you're interested in at your school.
There is a notation under the special acknowledgement section of the paper that I and the other "first author" contributed equally to the work. I guess it's a funky way of writing it, but when my PI showed me the LOR she had written for me for med school, she wrote it as such.