Should I pursue this or not worth the potential disapproval from adcoms?

Gladiolus23

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Please don't quote :


I received a very interesting project opportunity for this year,but I'm not sure if it is wise to pursue it. The project involves creating a safety app for women in third world countries. However, it's not medically related at all and I'm worried it would look bad if I didn't do anything clinical the year before I apply. I have to invest an entire gap year on this project and forgo clinically related opportunities. At the same time, this opportunity is once in a lifetime and competitive. Would this be okay to pursue? Will it make me interesting and stand out?
 
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Lucca

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Don't do or not do things based around why adcoms think.

Do you already have clinical experience? It is important you have some on your app.

Otherwise, if you want to do this then just do it sounds like an interesting project
 

gonnif

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Every year I hear someone who has a really great, interesting, unique project that shows motivation, commitment, and community service, and somehow the neurosis and overthinking it makes them create wholly self-inflicted fears preventing them from doing it. It is a great opportunity and definitely one of those stand out and atypical ECs that gets notice by adcoms. Get going on it!

 

chibaddie

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Please do this. Something I personally care deeply about, and I know firsthand that this will "look good" on apps if portrayed correctly. PM me if you want details. But, as stated, shouldn't be your primary motive.
 

LizzyM

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Safety is always related to public health which is related to medicine. Go for it!
 

Goro

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Why on Earth do you think that this would be a bad thing? It's a pre-med delusion that everything you do has to be related to Medicine.
 

ChrisMack390

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If this is an issue you care about, def do it. It is related to medicine, even if slightly tangentially, and it will give you an interesting and unique thing to talk about.
 

FutureDrOcean

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It is most important to do things related to your passions and interests, things that excite you, things that motivate you, things that inspire you. That will impress adcoms more than a relatively bland clinical shadowing that doesn't give you as much excitement as this project. Granted, its important to have some clinical experience; however, even if you had none in this situation, I would focus on that project, and try to sneak in some clinical element or plan clinical experience for senior year. Good luck!
 
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Gladiolus23

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Hi everyone, thanks for the replies! Unfortunately, I'm thinking of declining this project because it's not working practically. I have to stay abroad in an unsafe part of another country for a year until next June. Also, the app is already created, so I would be put in the data analysis software side of it (basically collecting data on how and where people feel safe and inputting it into the computer). I have to take the MCAT in January to apply next cycle, and I only have two more shots at this test next year, so I want to do well. I feel it might be difficult to manage MCAT prep while in a different country, esp since the program only allows me 12 days of leave throughout the year. That means I have to travel to the US and take the test within 12 days sometime in Jan.
 
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Gladiolus23

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I'm still pretty disappointed though, because I wanted to do this for the experience, prestige and connections. @LizzyM @Goro @gyngyn @gonnif how important is to have a big-name fellowship on an app? Could I do a similar thing abroad as a volunteer, but without any fellowship name attached to it? I was thinking of still going abroad for 3-4 months after my MCAT to volunteer in a similar capacity. But I'm worried this will be seen as fluff or insignificant. Since of course, that would mean adcoms wouldn't see the fact that I initially received a competitive project which would have impressed them :(
 
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You need to start doing things because you like to do them. Fitting into a mold is an absolute waste of time both of yours and of those that invest in you. Do it for its effectiveness and productivity; very rarely do people find that combination in something.
 
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Gladiolus23

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You need to start doing things because you like to do them. Fitting into a mold is an absolute waste of time both of yours and of those that invest in you. Do it for its effectiveness and productivity; very rarely do people find that combination in something.
I get what you're saying. I like doing this fellowship of course, but I like to do a lot of things that I will need to sacrifice in order to purse the bigger goal of medicine. I feel like my MCAT will suffer as a result of taking this fellowship, which is why I'm inclined to decline. I have a bad history with the test and need to do very well. I've taken two gap years already, so I want to apply next cycle for sure.

I think I'm more upset because I'm declining a prestigious position whose name would draw an adcoms' attention. I'm also upset because I won't get to meet all the other fellows and travel with them in another country. These are the main reasons. However, with regards to the work, I'm not upset because honestly the thought of sitting at a computer 70% of the time doing software data analysis doesn't excite me. I wanted a placement with more people interaction (like working in a village, teaching children in slums, implementing public health programs in third world countries, etc.) but I didn't get that type of position.
 
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Gladiolus23

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You need to start doing things because you like to do them. Fitting into a mold is an absolute waste of time both of yours and of those that invest in you. Do it for its effectiveness and productivity; very rarely do people find that combination in something.
That's why I'm wondering if adcoms place a lot of weight on prestigious components of an application (Fulbright, Rhodes, Americorps, Peace Corps, etc.). Or are they equally impressed with worthwhile experiences (for me, long-term volunteer in third world country, where I can do similar things but without a big name program to accompany it)??
 
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I get what you're saying. I like doing this fellowship of course, but I like to do a lot of things that I will need to sacrifice in order to purse the bigger goal of medicine. I feel like my MCAT will suffer as a result of taking this fellowship, which is why I'm inclined to decline. I have a bad history with the test and need to do very well. I've taken two gap years already, so I want to apply next cycle for sure.

I think I'm more upset because I'm declining a prestigious position whose name would draw an adcoms' attention. I'm also upset because I won't get to meet all the other fellows and travel with them in another country. These are the main reasons. However, with regards to the work, I'm not upset because honestly the thought of sitting at a computer 70% of the time doing software data analysis doesn't excite me. I wanted a placement with more people interaction (like working in a village, teaching children in slums, implementing public health programs in third world countries, etc.) but I didn't get that type of position.
I think this is becoming an issue about where you want to be rather than focusing on a short term goal. Just for your reference, during my employment days, I came upon a wonderful position where I would interact with people and have a pretty respectful job working with physicians. I hesitated, however, because I would have needed to extend my plans for medical school which I dearly did not want to do. Plus, I didn't like the fact that the person offering me the job was constantly manipulative; providing me mixed messages about my future. Promising me of how wonderfully they would advocate for my future in medicine and how medical schools see the activity on file. I listened to my instincts at that time and I declined the offer (actually I gave them the option of hiring me for short term), in fact I was so focused in my pursuit, I stopped doing anything that interfered with my plans. It was like: if you couldn't be the solution, you can't be my problem either. I wish I had never entered the process of applying to that position because it constantly kept my thoughts fractionated and what was more important (my mcat prep) became side-tracked because I made myself believe the job was more prestigious and instrumental for my future. Who knows what would have been true, but I certainly knew one thing: if I didn't study for the MCAT, I wouldn't be able to apply. For me, applying and getting my life on the track I wanted to be at was more important. Ultimately, you are your biggest proponent. Do what you want. Fellowships come and go. I have stopped caring about prestige a long time ago. It's the content of what you do that matters.
 
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LizzyM

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Volunteering abroad for a few months won't be as impressive as a big name fellowship.
That said, a poor MCAT, or worse, several poor MCATs, will hurt you far more than the lack of this or that EC.

Please give some thought to what you want on your resume if you never get into medical school. What career path would be satisfying? I'm not being a downer, just saying that the proportion of applicants who get to the point where you are and eventually get admitted is < 50%.
 
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Goro

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The answer is yes.

That's why I'm wondering if adcoms place a lot of weight on prestigious components of an application (Fulbright, Rhodes, Americorps, Peace Corps, etc.). Or are they equally impressed with worthwhile experiences (for me, long-term volunteer in third world country, where I can do similar things but without a big name program to accompany it)??