Mar 26, 2010
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Hey, I am currently a Neuroscience Major at a small liberal arts college. I am planning on going to medical school although I know it is extremely difficult. I just want advice on whether or not I am heading in the right direction/ what else I should do to become more competitive.

This is what I have so far (Freshman year)

GPA: 4.0
I have a full-tuition scholarship for academic achievement
I have a $2,000 Science scholarship for excellence in the sciences
I have an Emerging Leader scholarship/ am in the Leadership Program
I am involved in the Pre-med club, the neuroscience club, and American Chemical Society club
I am on the dance team
I am a member of a social sorority
I have a job working in my school's leadership center
I have a job as a campus tour guide
This summer I am accepted into a Neuroscience Research fellowship

This is my plan so far:
So I know I need a ton more clinical experience. I am planning on working as a CNA at the hospital (I was going to do that this summer until I found out about my research acceptance) but I will definitely do that next summer. I probably need to shadow as well and I know I need to volunteer a lot more. I really enjoy community service, so I know I will make time for it next year and following years. I will be running for leadership roles in the clubs I am involved in. I will certainly be completing an Honors Project Thesis as well. I will be taking an MCATs course probably starting next year so hopefully I will do well - I am a good test taker. I am also planning on becoming a student advisor, tutor, and Lab Assistant. I have already started accumulating LOR that can be updated later but I asked my profs to start writing them for me (my teachers really like me).

But all this stuff is obvious, what am I missing and what are my weak points?

Thanks, any advice will help. I want all the information I can possibly get on how to succeed.
 
Sep 4, 2006
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You are on top of things and clearly have a good idea of where you need to be by the time you apply. You've mentioned everything I would have suggested you consider trying to get in before you submit.

Is the social sorority helping you in some way? Here is a way in which you can potentially exert your leadership as you move up in the ranks, by getting your sisters involved in (hands-on) noncampus/nonmedical community service. You all can be sociable while you're helping others.

Is the summer research gig something you can continue into the school year? About a year of this activity is average for applicants, and if you aspire to a top school, two years is better.

When you apply, list all your awards and honors with scholarship amounts in one space.
 

JJMrK

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You are on track. Continue your research (or some research) into the school year and start volunteering in a hospital.
 

bravofleet4

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you probably dont need to start taking MCAt preparation classes until summer of your sophomore year. I don't think it would help either unless you've already taken organic chemistry and plan to or already have taken physics.

remember it's also never really about quantity as it is about quality. it's a good idea to pursue any activity you would like to carry strong significance for at least a year. therefore, keep this in mind, when you say you want to be a TA, student adviser, CNA, and tutor.

i'm confident though that no matter what you'll be fine. I think you have the right mentality to build a competitive application.
 
Mar 26, 2010
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Thank you! This is really helpful advice so far! I guess it is important for me to just be consistent with my ECs so I can show that I am dedicated to doing them because it is about the quality of the experience. I will have Organic next year so probably late/summer of next year I could start MCAT prep (thanks bravofleet4). And I can also see from the comments that I should continue with the research. The research that I am doing is a 10-week fellowship program, but I can probably incorporate it into an independent study when I am back at school so I can continue working with it.

Thank you so much everyone! Any advice is welcome/appreciated!
 
Oct 6, 2009
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SOUNDS GREAT! AS an advisor, I would say that you look like the perfect applicant so far! More and more med schools are looking for community service (volunteer stuff that has nothing to do with healthcare), so be sure to do stuff like that. The only other thing I would add is to make sure that you have a social life. A lot of times they will throw questions at you in med school interviews like, "What do you do for fun?" Research, clinical experience and even community service can't answer those questions. Something like concerts, sports, camping, etc shows them that you are not just a machine, but also a person!
Dr. R.
 
Mar 28, 2010
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Isn't there such a thing as too much when it comes to extra-curricular activities? Nothing at all against the OP, more power to him. But for me, if I were to consider any sort of standard to emulate, that level of exertion would be ridiculous. My plan was to do a couple of year long research projects, volunteer at the hospital for a couple of years as a CNA, job shadow for a couple of years and commit to something like Habitat for Humanity for a couple of years. Shouldn't that be plenty? Is there such a thing as overkill?
 
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Jan 14, 2010
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Isn't there such a thing as too much when it comes to extra-curricular activities? Nothing at all against the OP, more power to him. But for me, if I were to consider any sort of standard to emulate, that level of exertion would be ridiculous. My plan was to do a couple of year long research projects, volunteer at the hospital for a couple of years as a CNA, job shadow for a couple of years and commit to something like Habitat for Humanity for a couple of years. Shouldn't that be plenty? Is there such a thing as overkill?
If you're doing just a little bit of everything without really showing commitment or dedication, then yes. From experience, adcoms prefer to see a couple of long term commitments instead of a plethora of so-so ECs.Honestly, at some point you have to start asking why you're doing X Y Z and if its just for the name, then it's not worth your time. Focus on your GPA, study for your MCAT the year you're going to take it and do a variety of things that YOU enjoy. As for clinicals, I'm not of the opinion that you need a a ton of them. I think you need enough to assure yourself that this is something that you can see yourself doing and be able to build memorable moments and interactions with physicians. I mean, you could volunteer at a hospital for years and not get a single meaningful experience or you could shadow an ER physician for 48 hours and have enough experiences to fill a book.
 

bravofleet4

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they also have to reflect your interests and be consistent with the rest of your application. otherwise, you might come off as insincere.
 

ziggydoc

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OP you are going great, I wish I had that much clue when I was a rising sophomore in college lol. But honestly, just do things you enjoy, and avoid burn out/spreading yourself too thin. And try to make some good friends along the way. I know going to med school is very important to you, and it should be, but don't let it consume your life, because at end of the road, it really is about the journey.

Oh I had no real advice to give you about your activities since you seem to be doing everything correctly already haha. :laugh: