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strongbones

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So, my (ex) boyfriend lives with mostly grad students, and he talked to one of them that works in a biology research lab. She offered to help me get into her lab. I'd like to get involved in research soon, as I'm starting my junior year and am running out of time to get it into my schedule before I apply. I don't want anything too time-consuming, but these are the options she gave me:

Option 1: work mostly with the grad student. She will assign me work to do, mostly in bioinformatics/data analysis/complete dry lab stuff. This sounds appealing because I have a math background and because I don't have to interview.

Option 2: more of the conventional undergrad research position. I'd have to interview with the lab PI and would probably work on my own project if I'm accepted into the lab. This sounds appealing because it is more independent, less like the drudgery of assigned schoolwork, and may appeal more to adcoms.

In terms of LORs, my school does committee letters of evaluation and only requires 2-3 letters to be sent in to them, which I can probably get from other people.

Which option do you think would be the most beneficial for me, in terms of both learning from the experiences and looking good? Right now I'm leaning towards option 1, just because I'm worried about possible time constraints (and my laziness).
 

OCDOCDOCD

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Option 2 is what you want. The first one won't impress anyone and depending on what's involved it would be a stretch to call it research.
 

DrEnderW

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If you're worried about time constraints and laziness choose option 1 then.

In terms of learning experience, exposure to research, and "looking good," choose option 2. It's not really even debatable.

It will be a significant research experience and will potentially lead to publications, presentations, posters, etc. That all helps for med school admissions, but more importantly gives you insight into world of scientific research. Having prior lab experience helps get more research experience in med school, which can be important in matching to certain specialties and programs. While doing research isn't a prerequisite for med school admission, it helps round out an application if the numbers are in place. This is especially true for the more research inclined, "top-tier" schools.

Furthermore, no one cares about how many LOR your undergrad school requires except for them. A LOR from a PI reflecting on your abilities will only be beneficial. I had extensive research experience, pubs, and conference presentations and it went a long way in interviews - tied with playing a college sport as most talked about topics.

Good luck!
 
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