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Research does not have to be science?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by 04170, May 30, 2008.

  1. 04170

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    I am in the early stages of preparing to apply for medical school. It will probably not be until 2010 that I apply.

    The one area that I thought I was not going to be able to have a strong application was in research. I didn't feel as a non-trad without a science background I was going to be able to get involved in any real research, but I assumed it had to be scientific research.

    I was talking to a friend of mine who used to be on the admissions committee at a fairly highly ranked research school (ranked between 10-15) and he said they regularly admitted people with all types of research, meaning I could do research in my current field (law). Obviously this is one example of a school that will count that, but does anyone know if that is the usual position?

    His knowledge is current as this is the first year he is not on the committee, because he left for a new position at another institution.
     
  2. kami333

    10+ Year Member

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    I have heard the same from the dean of one school and from other posters here as well.

    As long as you are testing a hypothesis, it counts as research.
     
  3. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    This is true ^^^ in terms of filling out your AMCAS. But it will not be valued the same as science research.

    I had linguistic research on my app and I filled it in as such on AMCAS. I'm sure it helped at a couple schools that were looking for checkboxes to hit with research, but I doubt very much it mattered to any school that was really looking for reasearch experience.

    science research >>>> non-science research > nothing
     
  4. Weoh

    5+ Year Member

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    What a school is looking for in a candidate will determine how it values non-science research. My research experience was primarily in marketing (market sizing, projections, cost analysis, etc.)- on it's own, it isn't particularly useful to the practice of medicine itself, but it has given me experience in looking at things that many hardcore scientists would not consider. I hadn't really thought about that until one of my interviewers pointed it out (sure, I'd hoped it would be valuable, but it was reassuring to hear that from someone who was already in the med field).

    So, will non-science research put you at the top of the pile for a spot for a research heavy program? Probably not-- but it will go the distance in setting you apart from the competition if you have some good experience, and you've packaged it well in your app and interview.
     
  5. tbo

    tbo MS-4
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    Research likely serves two major purposes - one to display one's ability to think critically and systematically investigate an important question. In this respect, most all doctors likely would benefit from some research since the diagnosis and treatment of disease requires a similar thought process (symptoms = data, prelim diagnosis = hypothesis, investigations/tests, data analysis and conclusions).

    The second one, however, shouldn't be overlooked, which is a display of one's commitment to medicine and to advancing medicine. One of the barriers that are higher for non-trads is communicating your commitment to medicine after pursuing other paths. This is where medical research can certainly help but so long as your own story for pursuing medicine is strong, perhaps medical research will not add as much.
     
  6. nontrdgsbuiucmd

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    I've heard the same thing and had the same experience, fyi it is essential to list past research experience under the "research" category of the aamc primary rather than list it solely under the ps. Essential meaning if this is not done, some schools will not "see" that the applicant has research experience.

    I'm planning on listing the larger/longer research projects that I'd done in non-science fields in the aamc. I've heard from a couple schools that they consider research "whatever the applicant considers research", indicating that it is somewhat of a checkbox, although school mentioned that they more highly valued medical research.

    Any way to do a short research project in affiliation with a local hospital/medical school? I've got something in process, likely will only have 40-60 hours in prior to completing the aamc primary, but schools will still see "medical research experience". granted, I'm not doing phd level work, but it still gets me into the lab & able to interact with medical researchers. May be a thought to contact your undergrad/local school/favorite science professors to inquire about opportunities?
     
  7. martini

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    Would research towards a PhD in the social sciences also count as research experience, then? From what people are saying it sounds like it would, but I just wanted to double-check.

    [First post! I've been lurking for ages. Hello everyone!]
     
  8. flip26

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    Yes, but your post begs a question - did you get the PhD? Did you finish the program? Med schools seem to have a real problem with "degree chasers" who have been in graduate and PhD programs and don't finish, or worse, intend to quit them to go to med school...
     
  9. tbo

    tbo MS-4
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    I feel like we're straying here. If you want to get into med school, do medically-related research if you have the time/opportunity. If you've already completed non-medical research, the challenge now will be to communicate why you ventured down that path and why you now want to go to medical school. Successfully doing so will help you far more than even the most elegant non-medical research. Research demonstrates analytical acuity. Great. But if you can't tell them how that research experience applies to medicine, it doesn't really matter how good a researcher you are.
     

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