• AMA with Certified Student Loan Professional

    Join SDN on December 7th at 6:00 PM Eastern as we host Andrew Paulson of StudentLoanAdvice.com for an AMA webinar. He'll be answering your questions about how to best manage your student loans. Register now!

question from a pre-premed

tonkatruck

Junior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 7, 2003
23
0
    Hi,

    This is my first post. I am a junior in HS and all my life since I was young, I have wanted to be a neurosurgeon.

    I am really stressed about getting into a good school to start this process. I took my first crack at the SAT and scored a 1470. Is this good enought to get into a IVY or Berkeley? Should I take it again?

    Also does anyone have any suggestions about the best volunteer activities that will impress med school admission committees? My dad says I should just do something that sounds interesting, but I want to do something that will stand out.

    Lastly, does anyone know if any labs in the LA area would let a high school student come to research. I always read how you guys are really stressed if you have enough research or not. That is starting to freak me out because I don't have any. Time would be a problem, as I am playing football, am class president on the student council, plus studying all the time, and hoping to volunteer on weekends. But still I got to get some research going.

    Thanks for your suggestions.

    I can't wait until I am medical student. I just want to be a neurosurgeon so bad.
     
    About the Ads

    PrincetonRocks

    Senior Member
    7+ Year Member
    15+ Year Member
    Sep 1, 2003
    192
    0
      Here's some advice for you:

      You have a very good SAT score. When I took it the first time I think I had a 1520, but there's not much difference b/t my score and yours except maybe a few questions on the Verbal section (Since you can't miss anything on Math to score a 800).

      Extraccuriculars are very important if you're looking at the Ivys, but Berkeley shouldn't be a problem since the UC system has adopted a new system that's based on class rank for admissions. If you haven't done any extracurriculars, it's a little too late to IMPRESS the big undergrad colleges. Most places look for longevitity (4 years of participation, not just 1-2 years). However, if you haven't been involved, get started now...some good places are hospital, Red Cross, school clubs, etc...

      At Princeton last year we saw an increase in applicants. Most applicants had impressive academic and extracurricular records. However, at princeton a 1500 SAT and 4.3 GPA would only give you a 25% chance to get in. You don't need to go to an Ivy League to get a great education.

      Out of high school, my brother applied and was admitted into several BS/MD programs in the nation. These programs are very hard to get into. They require a lot of extracurriculars, committment, and dedication to service. And of course at least the SAT score that you have. Consider these programs...there are two in california (UCSD and USC).

      Personally, I would never change my Ivy League education for anything. I love Princeton and it has definitely opened up lots of doors for me. I had a chance to do volunteer work in Africa with everything paid for. I had a chance to do research and had my work published. I also had the chance to pursue a lot of different leadership positions while at princeton.

      However, finances should come into consideration when you're choosing a college. I could only attend princeton because of outside scholarships from Toyota, Coca Cola, Prudential, Jr. Miss California, etc... You don't want to accumulate too much debt in undergrad because for sure medical school will require more loans.

      Good luck to you on your early start. If you any more concerns, feel free to email me. I don't have a lot classes this semester, just trying to prepare for my interviews and doing research.
       

      canadagirl

      Senior Member
      7+ Year Member
      15+ Year Member
      Nov 24, 2002
      170
      0
        (While I'm sure Princeton is a totally awesome place to be, I just wanted to point out that I can't imagine any school where students wouldn't get the opportunity to do volunteer work in Africa, get published research, or pursue leadership positions.)

        I am very curious, how do you know that you want to be a neurosurgeon already?
         

        DALABROKA

        Raider Hater
        7+ Year Member
        15+ Year Member
        Jun 14, 2002
        204
        0
        somewhere over the rainbow
        1. Resident [Any Field]
          Originally posted by tonkatruck
          Hi,

          This is my first post. I am a junior in HS and all my life since I was young, I have wanted to be a neurosurgeon.

          I am really stressed about getting into a good school to start this process. I took my first crack at the SAT and scored a 1470. Is this good enought to get into a IVY or Berkeley? Should I take it again?

          Also does anyone have any suggestions about the best volunteer activities that will impress med school admission committees? My dad says I should just do something that sounds interesting, but I want to do something that will stand out.

          Lastly, does anyone know if any labs in the LA area would let a high school student come to research. I always read how you guys are really stressed if you have enough research or not. That is starting to freak me out because I don't have any. Time would be a problem, as I am playing football, am class president on the student council, plus studying all the time, and hoping to volunteer on weekends. But still I got to get some research going.

          Thanks for your suggestions.

          I can't wait until I am medical student. I just want to be a neurosurgeon so bad.

          You do realize that, if all goes well, it will 2020 before you will be a practicing neurosurgeon! :eek: You have more (or as many) years before you get to that point than you have been alive (assuming you are 16-17)! Try not to stress about it so much yet. Just take things one step at a time (i.e., get accepted to good undergrad and enjoy your senior year and graduation from high school). Good luck in your endeavors!

          DALA
           

          28129

          Membership Revoked
          Removed
          15+ Year Member
          Jul 11, 2003
          295
          0
          39
            It keeps getting harder and harder to get into the elite colleges. Back in the day, it used to be a matter of paying the tuition. Then came the age of having the right connections. Finally, we entered the merit-based era. You needed to have good SAT scores and GPA. Later on, you needed extracirriculars. Now, you need lots of awards.

            In 1990, Harvard took 25% of their undergrad applicants. In 2000, it was 10%.

            By 2010, I wouldn't be surprised if it's more like 5%.

            While applications to the Ivies have been going up, at the same time a lot of them have been cutting their class sizes in order to boost their numbers and creep up the U.S. News ranks. They're not under any obligation like state colleges are to expand their facilities.

            Needless to say, I'm glad I got into an Ivy League school when I did, and I would not want to be in high school right now.
             

            tonkatruck

            Junior Member
            7+ Year Member
            15+ Year Member
            Sep 7, 2003
            23
            0
              I just want to say for the record that I do not lack "extracurricular" activities. I have been class president every year since 8th grade, and I have played varisty Football, Baseball, and Basketball in 10th grade and assume I will the next couple of years. Moreover I have a 4.0 and am on track to take AP Lit, Calc and AP physics by senior year. I am just so worried about only getting a 1470 and my lack of research. Surely I don't need research to get into college but to get into a top five med school it is absolutely necessary.

              And to whoever asked how I knew I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. I have just always known. It is what I was born to do as far as I am concerned.
               

              SMW

              Grand Member
              7+ Year Member
              15+ Year Member
              Jul 13, 2001
              3,760
              1
              anchorage, ak
                Originally posted by tonkatruck
                I am just so worried about only getting a 1470 and my lack of research. Surely I don't need research to get into college but to get into a top five med school it is absolutely necessary.

                Stop worrying! A 1470 is awesome. But go ahead and take it again, it's likely your score will improve. With all you've done, you have a good shot at getting into an elite undergrad, even though that's not a prerequisite for getting into a top 10 med school. Don't do things to get into a top 5 (! :rolleyes: ) school, do things that you 're passionate about. That's what gets you into a top 10 (maybe) school. I got into a top 10 school with absolutely no research whatsoever. Things like essays and LOR's are more important than research, both for undergraduate and medschool admissions. Slow down and smell the roses. High school and college are supposed to be fun! And welcome to SDN! :)
                 

                An Yong

                Senior Member
                7+ Year Member
                15+ Year Member
                Sep 13, 2002
                329
                1
                  To the OP:

                  Just know this, more than likely, any extracurricular activities you do in high school will probably go unnoticed by medical schools (Exception = BS/MD programs). In other words, unless you win the Nobel Prize for curing cancer, medical schools do not care about your high school years :D So, I suggest you not worry too much about what medical schools want in applicants right now. Otherwise, you'll have a head full of grey hairs by the time you graduate from college, and then no chick will want to date you :(
                   
                  Originally posted by tonkatruck
                  And to whoever asked how I knew I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. I have just always known. It is what I was born to do as far as I am concerned.

                  Tonka,

                  breathe kiddo. You're getting a lot of advice from people who who are where you're definitely heading. College is four long but exciting years. Make the most of them. If you go in with such narrow ambitions, you will certainly not be making the most of your education. Explore a little. Live a little.

                  There's more to life then varsity football and class presidencies.

                  What motivates me to write this is this mindless "born to be a neurosurgeon" stuff. It sounds like you've allowed yourself to be too easily convinced. Prove it to yourself. Explore other fields and see if they sustain your interest. Once in college, ask to shadow a neurosurgeon and see if it's really what you've built it up to be.

                  Best of luck,
                  JV
                   

                  calebho501

                  Senior Member
                  7+ Year Member
                  15+ Year Member
                  Aug 10, 2003
                  598
                  2
                    Originally posted by An Yong
                    To the OP:

                    Just know this, more than likely, any extracurricular activities you do in high school will probably go unnoticed by medical schools (Exception = BS/MD programs).

                    That's very true. In fact, the AMCAS application askes for POST-secondary experience, so technically you're not even supposed to list high school activities.

                    To the OP: College is really an eye-opener. You'll meet a diversity of people, and many people who are over-achievers. Also, keep your mind open about specialty, as your interest may change over the years.

                    Finally, CHILL....gosh...
                     
                    About the Ads

                    LUBDUBB

                    Freakaholic
                    10+ Year Member
                    15+ Year Member
                    Oct 7, 2002
                    686
                    0
                      Tonka,

                      Chances are you will get into an Ivy league - get a C+ in your orgo class, and after your sophomore year, change to pre-law - while claiming that you were not really interested in medicine in the first place.

                      Dude, take a chill pill, see college as an embarkment on your life long journey to quench your thirst for knowledge. Focus on whats important in life. Even though it's important to have direction, don't try to fit molds that you created in the 10th grade - you'll prolly change your mind about a 100 times before you become a doctor.

                      ~Lubdubb

                      P.S. Stop watching ER
                      Stop watching reruns of hopkins 24/7 (the one with that
                      annoying surgical resident)
                       

                      bosco

                      Full Member
                      10+ Year Member
                      15+ Year Member
                      Jan 6, 2003
                      241
                      2
                        Originally posted by tonkatruck
                        Moreover I have a 4.0 and am on track to take AP Lit, Calc and AP physics by senior year. I am just so worried about only getting a 1470.

                        You seriously need to chill! Your numbers are fine. Spend time with friends, sleep more, and just have fun! You're only a teenager once.
                         
                        F

                        ForensicPath

                          Originally posted by tonkatruck

                          And to whoever asked how I knew I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. I have just always known. It is what I was born to do as far as I am concerned.

                          There is no way you could know that you want to be a neurosurgeon at this point. Unless you have experienced the incredible stress and long hours of a neurosurgeon, you cannot know. Thats why you go on rotations in medical school. A lot of med students don't even know what they want to do for the rest of their life. I really don't think a high school student can know what field of medicine he wants to specialize in. I worked with a forensic pathologist who was a neurosurgeon. Neurosurgery was just not for her, so she began a pathology residency and ultimately became a forensic pathologist.
                           

                          Tezzie

                          b*witched
                          7+ Year Member
                          15+ Year Member
                          Sep 8, 2003
                          1,209
                          0
                          Oz
                            Tonka take the words of advice that the other posters are giving you. You are worrying about something that is years away.

                            Also you seem to fail to understand a few things :

                            1) Attending a "top 5" university doesn't mean you will make a "top 5" medical school.

                            2) What do u refer as top 5? Do you mean the US News college rankings? If that is the case then most of the top 30 (if not top 50) are great schools. When it comes to medical schools : Most of the medical schools in the US are great institutions.

                            3) Worry about grad school much later. Choose a college not just according to "fame" but on other factors. Eg . Location, diversity, lifestyle, cost of attending etc.

                            If i had to give you one piece of advice since the time for you to join college is approaching is this : If becoming a doctor is your lifelong dream and you want to do anything to get there then maybe you should think outside of the rankings a bit. What i mean is this. You seem to be from CA, state of GREAT instate institutions (UCB, UCLA, CIT, etc). You are gonna benefit from attending a UC school when it comes to finances. Unless your family is drop dead rich and you are an only child then you should give it some thought. The medical school application process is VERY expensive (apps cost, flying around,etc). By attending a UC school you will graduate with much less or no debt in comparison to graduating Yale or Duke and you will have finished an equally well known school.

                            Just my 2c. Good luck.
                             

                            Nutmeg

                            Green globule
                            15+ Year Member
                            Aug 18, 2003
                            30,444
                            20,397
                            Under the microscope
                            1. Non-Student
                              In case it hasn't been fully stated yet, CHILL THE F*** OUT, BRO!!!

                              My guess is that you only think you want to be a neurosurgeon because that's what 'geniuses' do. You gotta stop playing in to that Doogie Howser crap. Neurosurgery is not the only profession open to the precocious intellect. I've known people that actually began their residencies in neurosurgery only to find out they couldn't deal with the simple sad truth that a great many patients die, despite your best efforts.

                              Complaining about no research experience at this point is absurd. End of story.

                              If you do not spend more time living and enjoying life, you will undoubtedly make a sucky physician. Numbers and items on the resume/application do not develop character, and physicians all desperately need character.

                              Now go get some fresh air...oh wait, you live in LA....Then go to the beach and CHILL OUT!!!!
                               

                              ItsGavinC

                              Full Member
                              Moderator Emeritus
                              15+ Year Member
                              Oct 7, 2001
                              11,748
                              19
                              Arizona
                              1. Dentist
                                Originally posted by tonkatruck
                                Hi,

                                This is my first post. I am a junior in HS and all my life since I was young, I have wanted to be a neurosurgeon.

                                But aren't you young NOW? :)

                                My advice is to enjoy your life while you can. If this is truly the path you want, you'll soon realize that there are plenty more stressful days ahead. Don't usher those in sooner than needed.
                                 

                                tonkatruck

                                Junior Member
                                7+ Year Member
                                15+ Year Member
                                Sep 7, 2003
                                23
                                0
                                  Hey Thanks for your advice everybody, except those of you who are telling me to chill out. Now is the time to go for it. I will only live once. I don't want to have to regret anything when it is time to apply to medical school and then apply for neurosurgery residency.

                                  If I shouldn't start preparing now, then when should I?

                                  Now is the time!

                                  Tonka
                                   

                                  Gleevec

                                  Peter, those are Cheerios
                                  7+ Year Member
                                  15+ Year Member
                                  Nov 24, 2002
                                  4,129
                                  9
                                    Originally posted by tonkatruck
                                    Hey Thanks for your advice everybody, except those of you who are telling me to chill out. Now is the time to go for it. I will only live once. I don't want to have to regret anything when it is time to apply to medical school and then apply for neurosurgery residency.

                                    If I shouldn't start preparing now, then when should I?

                                    Now is the time!

                                    Tonka

                                    Have you shadowed a neurosurgeon yet?
                                     

                                    Nutmeg

                                    Green globule
                                    15+ Year Member
                                    Aug 18, 2003
                                    30,444
                                    20,397
                                    Under the microscope
                                    1. Non-Student
                                      Originally posted by tonkatruck
                                      Hey Thanks for your advice everybody, except those of you who are telling me to chill out. Now is the time to go for it. I will only live once. I don't want to have to regret anything when it is time to apply to medical school and then apply for neurosurgery residency.

                                      If I shouldn't start preparing now, then when should I?

                                      Now is the time!

                                      Tonka

                                      No, now is not the time to start losing hair over something that's six years away. There are more important things to life than stupid items on an application. You currently are incredibly immature, as evidenced by the quick and angry responses you've gotten. Ad coms WILL TURN YOU DOWN if they see a drone that mindlessly pursues a goal with no true comprhension of the value of the steps they take along the way.

                                      Go to the movies, hang out with friends:), date:D , do a few stupid and reckless things (not too much, but some), make a fool of yourself, fall in love :love: , get your heart broken :( , learn to admit your own mistakes:oops: , work at a crappy low-paying job :mad: , go to a rowdy concert, and most of all, realize that you don't--and never will--know everything :confused: . Spend some time studying something pointless but fascinating, like astronomy, or philosophy, or anthropology. But when everyone says CHILL, that's sage advice that you should take to heart.
                                       

                                      group_theory

                                      EX-TER-MIN-ATE!'
                                      Staff member
                                      Administrator
                                      Volunteer Staff
                                      Lifetime Donor
                                      Verified Expert
                                      15+ Year Member
                                      Oct 2, 2002
                                      4,781
                                      2,001
                                      1. Attending Physician
                                        As an ivy league school alumnus interviewer (for undergrad), BASED on what you have presented in this thread (since I haven't met you or talked to you), I would not recommend you to my alma mater.

                                        (Truth be told, alumnus interviewer have very little say on the admission process - but a negative (I do not recommend) letter would give the admission committee pause to admit - and will raise a flag on your app. But you can still be admitted w/ a negative alumnus recommendation. Alumnus interviewer have very little power in the process)

                                        Why would I not recommend you?

                                        1. You are interested in the school based purely on prestigue (and USNews ranking). You need to show committed interest in the school OR have reasons why you want to come to this school (financial aid, research oppertunities, location, teachers, students, etc)

                                        2. It seems to me that you did your extracurriculars only to impress admission committees. Usually you can tell what their committment level is based on how they answer the question "outside academics, what did you do in high school?". If it reads like a list or CV, then I would be turned off. If I can sense passion, then I know you're doing it because you love it, not to impress the adcom.

                                        3. You seem to be extremely single-minded, with a single goal in mind. Which raises the question - will you take advantages of all the oppertunity afforded to you by my alma mater? How will you interact with your future classmates? Will you take interesting courses to expand your mind, or will you only take courses that will solely gear yourself towards med school and neurosurgery?

                                        4. Your SAT scores and GPA are good. Your courseload is also good. But so what? So are most of the applicants to Ivy League schools, MIT, Duke, Stanford, NW, etc. Although it won't kill your apps, it won't stand out either. Adcoms won't go "wow, look at this guy/gal's stats, we must accept this person".

                                        For the above 4 stated reasons, I would not recommend you to my alma mater.
                                         

                                        tonkatruck

                                        Junior Member
                                        7+ Year Member
                                        15+ Year Member
                                        Sep 7, 2003
                                        23
                                        0
                                          Gosh you are really mean!

                                          I am varsity basketball, baseball, football, class president and president of astronomy club because I love those activities.

                                          But as far as getting into elite schools and med schools, I believe it is a little bit of a game.

                                          I am sure I will do fine with out your approval. As soon as my freshman year begins I will immediately start doing medical volunteer work and looking to do research and scoring highest in the class just like in HS.

                                          You are really mean.
                                           

                                          smuwillobrien

                                          Senior Member
                                          15+ Year Member
                                          Sep 6, 2003
                                          846
                                          3
                                          37
                                          1. Attending Physician
                                            It's awesome to have dreams, but sometimes if you dream too high you set yourself up for a major kick in the ass. I'm not saying you can't do anything you want, but planning prematurely takes a lot of the enjoymeny out of things. You're not even in university and you've got it figured out you need a 4.0 GPA and a 45 on the MCAT to go to such-and-such a place.

                                            Well, unless you're just made with nerves of steel the pressure will slowly get to the point where you can't take a test and every little mistake on some useless assignment will eat your confidence away. Don't become a train wreck. I've done that before.

                                            I'd say just take it easy, go to a university you like, study what you like, get a few years in university and then decide that you're gonna get into medical school. University science courses are different than high school courses, and it might not even be your bag after all.

                                            Take it easy, and good luck. It's awesome to have dreams and to believe you can do them.
                                             

                                            Nutmeg

                                            Green globule
                                            15+ Year Member
                                            Aug 18, 2003
                                            30,444
                                            20,397
                                            Under the microscope
                                            1. Non-Student
                                              This is great... couldn't help but be reminded of it.

                                              http://www.theonion.com/onion3912/soup-kitchen.html

                                              The reason everyone's being so harsh is because we've all been forced to deal with a lot of people that are way too overfocused and miss the point. If you want to just ignore everyone's advice, and keep being that guy, then knock yourself out.

                                              But as far as getting into elite schools and med schools, I believe it is a little bit of a game.


                                              You're only kidding yourself. Do you really think the ad com people are so stupid that they can't tell an immature game-player when they spot one?
                                               

                                              Jonkst

                                              Senior Member
                                              15+ Year Member
                                              Mar 21, 2002
                                              209
                                              0
                                              Florida
                                                Originally posted by Nutmeg

                                                Go to the movies, hang out with friends:), date:D , do a few stupid and reckless things (not too much, but some), make a fool of yourself, fall in love :love: , get your heart broken :( , learn to admit your own mistakes:oops: , work at a crappy low-paying job :mad: , go to a rowdy concert, and most of all, realize that you don't--and never will--know everything :confused: . Spend some time studying something pointless but fascinating, like astronomy, or philosophy, or anthropology. But when everyone says CHILL, that's sage advice that you should take to heart.

                                                Nice, though I think I did too many of the stupid and reckless things, although I guss I made this far alright.
                                                 

                                                Tezzie

                                                b*witched
                                                7+ Year Member
                                                15+ Year Member
                                                Sep 8, 2003
                                                1,209
                                                0
                                                Oz
                                                  Tonka you want to think about med school and u think that now is the time but it's obvious that you are immature enough to listen to advice from people who have been there and done that.

                                                  On top of that your arrogance is amazing. You are in one of the best states to go to college. UCLA and UCB are extremely famous schools. Your education is going to be as good there as anywhere else. The difference is :

                                                  For 4 years at UCLA/UCB undergrad you are gonna spend about 20-22k (excluding costs of living etc).

                                                  For 4 years at Stanford/Harvard/blah blah you are looking at 120k for 4 years (excluding costs of living etc).

                                                  Why on earth wouldn't you want to go to a top notch school and save 100k ? Even if ur parents are able to finance your education, saving them for later on is much much better.

                                                  I know kids from my highschool that turned down full ride schoolarships to schools such as Tulane so they can go to Harvard or Duke and ended up NOT getting into a prestigious grad/professional school.

                                                  A prestigious school is not the key to grad/professional school. Your hard work and your maturity is. And that is something that no school (prestigious or not ) can give you.
                                                   
                                                  About the Ads
                                                  This thread is more than 18 years old.

                                                  Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

                                                  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
                                                  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                                                  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                                                  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
                                                  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
                                                  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
                                                  7. This thread is locked.