Questions Regarding Shadowing and How to Write About it in the AMCAS Primary's Experience Section

Blue Lion

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    1. So I did over 70 hours of shadowing over the past four weeks, and I heard it is not a great thing to have the majority of your shadowing hours (have 30 at another clinic) concentrated into a short period of time. Is this true? If so, anything I should do to address this?
    2. It's normal to receive a recommendation letter from the physician that you shadowed, correct?
    3. Do people ever include their shadowing as one of their "meaningful experiences?" I really felt involved and learned a lot throughout these 70 hours and have a lot to say were I to write about it as a meaningful experience.
    Would really appreciate any feedback y'all have.
     

    sasukeuchiha33

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    May 28, 2017
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      1. Question: How did you manage that with COVID? Anyway ignoring that, don't try to address it. Yes it's not ideal to cram so much shadowing at once over a short period of time, but it's not a make-or-break sort of thing, so don't worry about it. Maybe you can address this during interviews if asked.
      2. Depends- I know for a lot DO schools this is essentially a requirement, but for MD schools is different. If you've done a ton of shadowing over the past few weeks, I would not recommend asking a physician for a rec letter unless you're certain he/she will write you a very strong one. Four weeks is not enough time (unless it's something super intensive, which shadowing isn't) for someone to get to know you well enough for them to write a quality rec letter for you. Prioritize other letters over that one.
      3. I would discourage against generally unless you have nothing else to speak about. ADCOMs know what shadowing is, that's great if you felt super involved and learned a lot but at the end of the day there's not a whole lot you can do as a premed student while shadowing so don't try to play off your shadowing as something that it isn't, ADCOMS will see right through that.
      Just my $0.02, take it with a grain of salt.
       

      gonnif

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        1. So I did over 70 hours of shadowing over the past four weeks, and I heard it is not a great thing to have the majority of your shadowing hours (have 30 at another clinic) concentrated into a short period of time. Is this true? If so, anything I should do to address this?
        2. It's normal to receive a recommendation letter from the physician that you shadowed, correct?
        3. Do people ever include their shadowing as one of their "meaningful experiences?" I really felt involved and learned a lot throughout these 70 hours and have a lot to say were I to write about it as a meaningful experience.
        Would really appreciate any feedback y'all have.
        1) How could you address it? it has happened and you cant turn back time. Trying to explain anything often sounds like excuses so I wouldnt bother
        2) While it is typical that applicants get these it is also typical that they have the least impact on adcom. Few schools require or even recommend LOR from a clinical setting. They typically want academic letters.
        3) While I have seen people write on this, how involved you were in a supposed observing activity raises its own questions.

        So you had 70 hours over the past 4 weeks and this very very recent activity has been so meaningful to impact your on choosing medicine? You need to overcome that general view with specific and supported notions of why this would be to make a strong and impactful MME
         

        Blue Lion

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        2+ Year Member
        Sep 4, 2019
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          1. Question: How did you manage that with COVID? Anyway ignoring that, don't try to address it. Yes it's not ideal to cram so much shadowing at once over a short period of time, but it's not a make-or-break sort of thing, so don't worry about it. Maybe you can address this during interviews if asked.
          2. Depends- I know for a lot DO schools this is essentially a requirement, but for MD schools is different. If you've done a ton of shadowing over the past few weeks, I would not recommend asking a physician for a rec letter unless you're certain he/she will write you a very strong one. Four weeks is not enough time (unless it's something super intensive, which shadowing isn't) for someone to get to know you well enough for them to write a quality rec letter for you. Prioritize other letters over that one.
          3. I would discourage against generally unless you have nothing else to speak about. ADCOMs know what shadowing is, that's great if you felt super involved and learned a lot but at the end of the day there's not a whole lot you can do as a premed student while shadowing so don't try to play off your shadowing as something that it isn't, ADCOMS will see right through that.
          Just my $0.02, take it with a grain of salt.
          1) How could you address it? it has happened and you cant turn back time. Trying to explain anything often sounds like excuses so I wouldnt bother
          2) While it is typical that applicants get these it is also typical that they have the least impact on adcom. Few schools require or even recommend LOR from a clinical setting. They typically want academic letters.
          3) While I have seen people write on this, how involved you were in a supposed observing activity raises its own questions.

          So you had 70 hours over the past 4 weeks and this very very recent activity has been so meaningful to impact your on choosing medicine? You need to overcome that general view with specific and supported notions of why this would be to make a strong and impactful MME

          Just to reply to you both at the same time.

          1. Understood.
          2. I do have four other academic letters (three upper level science, one research PI), would having the additional clinical one not hurt? Or would it help at all?
          3. I think it was more so that I got to shadow numerous doctors, NPs, and PAs, and having done it for so many weeks and getting the chance to ask questions about how they went about their decision making process was very insightful. As well as the patient interaction aspect, getting to talk about it since I come from a medically under-served area, and even being able to talk to folks in a different language.

          On a more re-application-based note, kind of want to put it as one too since I unfortunately didn't get to do much in the past year that would count as a new "meaningful experience" (past year was pretty much secondaries till August, office job that I couldn't leave because I needed the money + none of the clinical positions I was applying to were accepting me, and by the time late January came around I was in post-bacc classes with COVID starting to affect things).

          Currently my meaningful experiences are clinical research, clinical volunteering, and community volunteering. I love all three experiences, but as someone who reapplied from just last year, I'm worried about putting them again.
           
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