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Research In Medical School: Timescale for Decisions

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begoood95

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So I've been reflecting on the research I've done in undergrad, and feel really lucky that I got involved in a productive lab early in my academic career. If I had jumped on board junior, or senior year, I wouldn't have received a strong letter from my PI, nor would I have had such an enriching experience (presentations, grants, etc). All of these things led to one aspect of an application that is hailed to be competitive around these parts, namely, having meaningful research exposure.

I know this is very far off, and "you don't need to worry about that right now; worry about getting into medical school first," but had someone said the same thing within the context of my freshman/sophomore years of college, I wouldn't be in the place I am now: having foresight and actively searching for resources allows us to better prepare for applying to medical school. So, with that in mind, how imperative is it for incoming MS1 students to know what research they want to get involved in, so as to increase their chances of increased residency match rates?

That is, how important is it for someone to decide rapidly what research they want to do during their years as medical students? Does someone who gets involved at research in a later time stand at a disadvantage to someone who decided earlier? Or are there many opportunities to decide which research one wants to be involved in throughout MS years?

I'm applying this upcoming cycle, so obviously this is very early. At the same time, I still think it's valuable information to have, and furthermore, such a thread might be useful to those with acceptances (congrats!).
 

aldol16

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From what I've seen, not that many first-year students get involved in research unless you go to a hard-core research powerhouse. It's probably because there's an adjustment period to med school and the academics are a lot to adjust to. A lot of people seem to get involved in research their first summer and then for some schools, they also have built-in free time during the later years that would allow for research.
 
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EaglesontheWarpath

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So I've been reflecting on the research I've done in undergrad, and feel really lucky that I got involved in a productive lab early in my academic career. If I had jumped on board junior, or senior year, I wouldn't have received a strong letter from my PI, nor would I have had such an enriching experience (presentations, grants, etc). All of these things led to one aspect of an application that is hailed to be competitive around these parts, namely, having meaningful research exposure.

I know this is very far off, and "you don't need to worry about that right now; worry about getting into medical school first," but had someone said the same thing within the context of my freshman/sophomore years of college, I wouldn't be in the place I am now: having foresight and actively searching for resources allows us to better prepare for applying to medical school. So, with that in mind, how imperative is it for incoming MS1 students to know what research they want to get involved in, so as to increase their chances of increased residency match rates?

That is, how important is it for someone to decide rapidly what research they want to do during their years as medical students? Does someone who gets involved at research in a later time stand at a disadvantage to someone who decided earlier? Or are there many opportunities to decide which research one wants to be involved in throughout MS years?

I'm applying this upcoming cycle, so obviously this is very early. At the same time, I still think it's valuable information to have, and furthermore, such a thread might be useful to those with acceptances (congrats!).
People change their minds all the time throughout the first 3 years. I echo the "don't worry about it" but honestly, the only thing you should worry about for the first few months in med school is school. There is nothing that can prepare you for the workload and stress in the beginning, and so make sure to get your feet under you first before you start adding extracurricular stuff on. Also, get in first.

*That being said, when applying definitely take a look at schools that might match up with your future interests. For example, if you are interested in doing Optho look at the US news rankings and think about applying to those schools (within reason-Jefferson is much more realistic to get into than a place like University of Washington, especially if you're from neither of those home states). At the end of the day it doesn't really matter, but the higher ranked schools tend to be much higher on the research output side of things, and therefore will probably have more opportunities to get involved as opposed to a school with a shotty optho program. This is just IMHO, but I think that trend is fairly accurate.

*Also, as another note like I said people change their mind all the time. Residencies don't really care what you're research is in (obviously it would be better if your research is in Ortho if you want to do Ortho etc.) but having research in IM looks just as good. They just want to see you doing research, and they know that often people change their minds.
 
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efle

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My understanding: Most people don't get out to their school early enough for a summer M0 gig, and then M1 semesters are too busy for much research. M1 summer is when most people have their first big chunk of research.

The hardcore kids are apparently taking a full year to do research between M3 and M4 rather frequently, at least at some of the research powerhouses
 
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