reapplying - stay in undergrad or become a research assistant for next year?

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trevagandalf

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So, as of right now, my chances are pretty slim on getting into med school for this cycle (still waiting on Baylor and waitlisted in a few schools), so I'm starting to plan on what to do next year.

I'm debating whether to stay one more year in undergrad (one of the weaknesses in my application is that I'm graduating college in 2 years with a Bio BA). This way I can probably get a Bio BS instead and get a Spanish Major (that is only a minor now) as well as boost my GPA from 3.70 (predicted for the end of this semester) to a 3.80. I have a four-year scholarship right now at my school, but I still would have to pay about $20,000 a year (with increasing tuition and housing, etc... that my parents are helping me out with). The benefits are that I can work part-time as well as do research on the side and boost my GPA by .10 and graduate in 3 years instead of 2 years, get more leadership positions, more wholesome college experience, etc...

On the other hand, I can probably get a job as a research assistant next year and work at a medical school, move back to home and earn $20,000 a year (to help out paying for my next application cycle). This might help me get more publications and I'm pretty sure that working will be harder than studying, but I'm just so burnt out of schooling right now and taking a break and working in the real-world would be nice. I also want to move back closer to home to a warmer climate and maybe this way I can spend less on flying back home for interviews. And I'm pretty sure that med schools like applicants with "real-world" experience.

So, what should I do? Any inputs?

Also, I'm retaking the MCATs after I submit my application. So, if my scores come back lower, am I obligated to report those to med schools as well or can I withhold them?

Thanks,

My MDapp
 

coffeebythelake

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I didn't know it was possible to get into med school after only two years, and I have never heard of any school that offered a full degree in that short a time. Most med schools say they require a certain number of credits fulfilled. Personally, I don't think it sounds so impressive because you would not have studied any upper level science... unless you took crazy course overloads.
 
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I think that you applied a little bit too early. What's the rush?

Baylor is probably a :thumbdown: based on your mdapps, but I think that you'll do just fine at one of the other TX schools in a year or two.

My .02--take your high dollar Case degree with you back home and do some combination of more schooling and research at a cheaper rate. I don't recommend grad school unless you want to do MD/PhD.
 
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NN11

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From looking at your MDapp, it looks like every activity you've participated in besides Student Government has been short-term, and who can blame you, it's only been 2 years.

Unless, you're going to continue with the same research project, I really don't see the prospect of getting publication(s) in just ONE year, unless you're a 3rd or 4th author which again will speak to your limited level of involvement.

I'm going to assume that you'll reapply this June, right? Well that gives you 3 months to get a publication since you probably want to put it on your primary application. eh, not very likely to achieve this goal in 3 months.

If you're waiting a year to apply, I still think it is a big gamble to think you can get pulished within a year. Research isn't easy, many things go wrong.

Your best bet is to show extensive dedication to one or more experiences, i.e. dedicate more than one semester to an activity besides student government. Consider volunteering abroad, if your parents can help you out with the cost.

Lastly, the best source for answering your question would be the Admissions folks that invited you for an interview. Ask them how you could improve your application for the next round.

G'luck
 

trevagandalf

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I didn't know it was possible to get into med school after only two years, and I have never heard of any school that offered a full degree in that short a time. Most med schools say they require a certain number of credits fulfilled. Personally, I don't think it sounds so impressive because you would not have studied any upper level science... unless you took crazy course overloads.

I came to Case with 60+ AP credits and haven't been overloading (about 15-16 credit hours/semester). I have placed out of almost all my gen ed and pre-med requirement through AP and IB and proficiency tests. I have been taking higher level bio/spanish classes since freshman year and continue to do so. I will get my degree in May if I choose so and I have 114 credits right now plus 18 credits that is gonna come in from this semester.

Unless, you're going to continue with the same research project, I really don't see the prospect of getting publication(s) in just ONE year, unless you're a 3rd or 4th author which again will speak to your limited level of involvement.

I'm going to assume that you'll reapply this June, right? Well that gives you 3 months to get a publication since you probably want to put it on your primary application. eh, not very likely to achieve this goal in 3 months.

I am actually currently working on a paper that might get published... I'm still in the process of collecting data. I am certainly not going to be first author but there is a possibility that I might be co-first author. However, I don't think the paper will be submitted in time for my primary. I truly don't think that I cannot publish a paper in 1 year. I have known students that got published first-author working for 1 semester (it all depends on whose lab you work with) and I can always add that to my application even after submitting my primary.
 

NN11

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I am actually currently working on a paper that might get published... I'm still in the process of collecting data. I am certainly not going to be first author but there is a possibility that I might be co-first author. However, I don't think the paper will be submitted in time for my primary. I truly don't think that I cannot publish a paper in 1 year. I have known students that got published first-author working for 1 semester (it all depends on whose lab you work with) and I can always add that to my application even after submitting my primary.

So would you stay to continue this same project? if yes, then by all means stay with an ongoing project as it is likely to get you published. As a former graduate student, yes, there are some people who get published with one semester of work. But there are different types of research projects of varying difficulty and so you can't equate them all. Bottom line, med schools look for QUALITY, whether it is in research, teaching or clinical work. It takes time to achieve any and all of these. My advice, pick something you love doing and succeed at it, whether it is research or clinical experience, it doesn't matter unless you're applying to top-notch schools, in which case, research does matter.
 

trevagandalf

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So would you stay to continue this same project? if yes, then by all means stay with an ongoing project as it is likely to get you published. As a former graduate student, yes, there are some people who get published with one semester of work. But there are different types of research projects of varying difficulty and so you can't equate them all. Bottom line, med schools look for QUALITY, whether it is in research, teaching or clinical work. It takes time to achieve any and all of these. My advice, pick something you love doing and succeed at it, whether it is research or clinical experience, it doesn't matter unless you're applying to top-notch schools, in which case, research does matter.

Well, I'll continue the same project until it is finished.. Hopefully, by the end of this semester or I'll even stay during the summer if necessary. But, her lab currently is not hiring research assistants and I'm just a volunteer (well, at least she is giving me college credit for it). I wanted a research assistant position at a medical school, say UT Houston, so I can make some money. If I stayed in college, however, it is very probable that I continue working in her lab.
 

NN11

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Well, I'll continue the same project until it is finished.. Hopefully, by the end of this semester or I'll even stay during the summer if necessary. But, her lab currently is not hiring research assistants and I'm just a volunteer (well, at least she is giving me college credit for it). I wanted a research assistant position at a medical school, say UT Houston, so I can make some money. If I stayed in college, however, it is very probable that I continue working in her lab.

So, you've got a tough decision ahead of you. Personally, I would rather work for free in a lab where I am likely to get published than get paid at a lab where I may or may not get published.

In the long run, you'll be making a lot more than $20,000, so choose wisely. You don't want to spend a year with only $20,000 to show for it, because that may or may not help you get in to med school. But getting published will definitely help you get in to med school. Being published is something that goes on your CV, and will help you time and time again.

Ask yourself whether you're doing research because you enjoy it or doing it because you think it will get you into med school? If your answer is the latter, then find something else to do in the year off. If your answer is the former then by all means, it is wise to do a year of productive research (staying with an ongoing productive project is much wiser than starting from scratch on a new project, IMO), but I still recommend that you contact the admissions office of the schools you're interested in and ask how you could improve your application. They may suggest that you need to improve another part of your application.

BTW, did you apply early or late this year?
 

trevagandalf

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So, you've got a tough decision ahead of you. Personally, I would rather work for free in a lab where I am likely to get published than get paid at a lab where I may or may not get published.

In the long run, you'll be making a lot more than $20,000, so choose wisely. You don't want to spend a year with only $20,000 to show for it, because that may or may not help you get in to med school. But getting published will definitely help you get in to med school. Being published is something that goes on your CV, and will help you time and time again.

Ask yourself whether you're doing research because you enjoy it or doing it because you think it will get you into med school? If your answer is the latter, then find something else to do in the year off. If your answer is the former then by all means, it is wise to do a year of productive research (staying with an ongoing productive project is much wiser than starting from scratch on a new project, IMO), but I still recommend that you contact the admissions office of the schools you're interested in and ask how you could improve your application. They may suggest that you need to improve another part of your application.

BTW, did you apply early or late this year?

No, I don't like research. I just want to be a MD and actually what I really want to do is go on a mission trip to Amazonian Brazil and volunteer there for a year or any abroad volunteering at a third world country for that matter. But due to financial reasons, that would be really hard. I have looked into peace corp but i don't even qualify because I'm not a US citizen. My parents want me to stay in college, so they won't help me finance a mission trip. I don't have that much money saved and I need money for the next app cycle! The schools told me to improve my academics and ECs, which just sound plainly vague to me. I'm retaking my MCATs. And I think that the biggest mistake that I made is that I applied late this year (around september) and by the time I interviewed, most texas schools have already filled their classes. So, next year I'm def applying early...
 

NN11

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No, I don't like research. I just want to be a MD and actually what I really want to do is go on a mission trip to Amazonian Brazil and volunteer there for a year or any abroad volunteering at a third world country for that matter. But due to financial reasons, that would be really hard. I have looked into peace corp but i don't even qualify because I'm not a US citizen. My parents want me to stay in college, so they won't help me finance a mission trip. I don't have that much money saved and I need money for the next app cycle! The schools told me to improve my academics and ECs, which just sound plainly vague to me. I'm retaking my MCATs. And I think that the biggest mistake that I made is that I applied late this year (around september) and by the time I interviewed, most texas schools have already filled their classes. So, next year I'm def applying early...


If your parents help you with costs, then stay in school that extra year. You do have a scholarship that pays part of your costs, most people are no where as lucky as you are. Do the research for free just enough to get published, so that you could have something to show for the work you've done. Consider teaching MCAT classes, teaching pays pretty well. Don't be in such a rush to finish college, esp. since you have a scholarship. Best of luck to you.:luck: :luck: :luck:
 

RealityCheck

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I believe most Med schools require a prospective student to be in college a minimum of three years.
 
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