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Should shadowing be considered as most meaningful?

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msoccer

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Just wondering on some opinions whether to include shadowing as a most meaningful activity.
 

mcatjelly

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Was it meaningful to you? Mark it as such.

Really, that's it. There are no opinions other than your own that matter for this question.
 
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gonnif

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bur dont do it simply because you think it will be more impressive or that meaningful experience must be medically relatef
 
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vellez

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Agreed with the previous comments.

That said, I feel that since you are applying to medical school, certain exposures in the medical profession (cough*shadowing*cough) should inherently be most meaningful. I was watching a Q and A session from the dean of admissions at UWash, and she said that she'd question why shadowing wasn't one of an applicant's "most meaningful" experiences.
 

mcatjelly

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Agreed with the previous comments.

That said, I feel that since you are applying to medical school, certain exposures in the medical profession (cough*shadowing*cough) should inherently be most meaningful. I was watching a Q and A session from the dean of admissions at UWash, and she said that she'd question why shadowing wasn't one of an applicant's "most meaningful" experiences.

Whatttt. Shadowing was not meaningful to me at all, although that may be because I grew up with a physician parent who always talked about their job with me? So I wasn't really seeing or hearing anything life shattering. My clinical and volunteer work was infinitely more meaningful. Weird that they would judge something like that.
 
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Lawpy

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    Agreed with the previous comments.

    That said, I feel that since you are applying to medical school, certain exposures in the medical profession (cough*shadowing*cough) should inherently be most meaningful. I was watching a Q and A session from the dean of admissions at UWash, and she said that she'd question why shadowing wasn't one of an applicant's "most meaningful" experiences.

    That's strange. Then again, UWash insta-rejects nearly everyone who isn't from the WWAMI region (and even then it's very difficult to get interviewed and accepted)

    Shadowing is good to have, but by no means should it be most meaningful (it's often a total waste of time)
     

    DrDarce

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    Yeah you should just be honest. If they ask you in your interview about your most meaningful experience (that you listed) it should be genuine
     

    WhittyPsyche

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    My shadowing was one of my most meaningful, and I would say "the" most meaningful. However, it was neurology, and I shadowed him for months in an acute and post stroke center.
    The physician was also my professor for two semesters in neuro and mentor, so the experience was intense to say the least. I was tested on a lot of course content and clinical applications, and needed to keep up on the literature for all the subtype disorders presented.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     

    Ismet

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    Agreed with the previous comments.

    That said, I feel that since you are applying to medical school, certain exposures in the medical profession (cough*shadowing*cough) should inherently be most meaningful. I was watching a Q and A session from the dean of admissions at UWash, and she said that she'd question why shadowing wasn't one of an applicant's "most meaningful" experiences.

    I would question it if none of the applicant's most meaningful experiences had something to do with clinical experience/patient contact.
     
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    Law2Doc

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    I think more people end up with weaker applications by trying to "game" the system and give Adcoms the answers they think they want to hear than the converse. If you had a meaningful experience, use it, whether it's shadowing or not. Now if you are completely manufacturing something then sure, make it medicine related.
     
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    gonnif

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    I would question it if none of the applicant's most meaningful experiences had something to do with clinical experience/patient contact.
    why? the characteristics that may make a good physician are not neccessarily shown only thru a patient contact setting nor would an adcom expect the vast majority of applicants to have shadowing experiences that are truly indepth and even worthy of an LOR much less a meaningful experience.
     
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    Lawpy

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    I would question it if none of the applicant's most meaningful experiences had something to do with clinical experience/patient contact.
    why? the characteristics that may make a good physician are not neccessarily shown only thru a patient contact setting nor would an adcom expect the vast majority of applicants to have shadowing experiences that are truly indepth and even worthy of an LOR much less a meaningful experience.

    Sorry a little lost. Is there truly an expectation that most meaningful experience has to include clinical experience? Iirc, most meaningful experiences were something that was added only recently, and these categories are personalized to an applicant's own interests.

    It's one thing to have clinical experience and no one is denying its importance. But why would anyone require clinical experience to be listed as most meaningful? Why not let applicants tell their own story the way they like, even if they didn't put clinical experience as most meaningful?
     

    Goro

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    My take on this is that it's perfectly OK to be inspired by a wonderful doctor, but in the end, it's all about the patients. Hence my preference for a patient-centric inspiration
    ]



    why? the characteristics that may make a good physician are not neccessarily shown only thru a patient contact setting nor would an adcom expect the vast majority of applicants to have shadowing experiences that are truly indepth and even worthy of an LOR much less a meaningful experience.
     

    Ismet

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    why? the characteristics that may make a good physician are not neccessarily shown only thru a patient contact setting nor would an adcom expect the vast majority of applicants to have shadowing experiences that are truly indepth and even worthy of an LOR much less a meaningful experience.

    Sorry a little lost. Is there truly an expectation that most meaningful experience has to include clinical experience? Iirc, most meaningful experiences were something that was added only recently, and these categories are personalized to an applicant's own interests.

    It's one thing to have clinical experience and no one is denying its importance. But why would anyone require clinical experience to be listed as most meaningful? Why not let applicants tell their own story the way they like, even if they didn't put clinical experience as most meaningful?

    Perhaps I should have said "medically-related" and not necessarily clinical experience, but yes the vast majority of applications I've seen have had something medically-related as most meaningful.

    I wouldn't consider it a requirement. It would just be a question in my head as I go through the application, and it's a question that has popped up in discussions. No one would reject someone over that alone, especially if they otherwise have solid clinical experience and good "why medicine?" answer and can show that they've done their research into their chosen profession.

    I've seen plenty of applications where the applicant seems to be very out of touch with medicine and what it entails, suggesting they have no idea what they're getting into (not that we have high expectations for understanding of medicine, but there's a certain level of reality expected and not just gross naivety, like the main part of their PS being about a medical tv show and not their own experience in medicine). The work/activities section is the first non-academic thing I would see, and that would usually be the first hint at something possibly amiss.

    Tl;dr no, not a requirement, not an expectation, but it may raise an eyebrow.
     

    Lawpy

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    Perhaps I should have said "medically-related" and not necessarily clinical experience, but yes the vast majority of applications I've seen have had something medically-related as most meaningful.

    I wouldn't consider it a requirement. It would just be a question in my head as I go through the application, and it's a question that has popped up in discussions. No one would reject someone over that alone, especially if they otherwise have solid clinical experience and good "why medicine?" answer and can show that they've done their research into their chosen profession.

    I've seen plenty of applications where the applicant seems to be very out of touch with medicine and what it entails, suggesting they have no idea what they're getting into (not that we have high expectations for understanding of medicine, but there's a certain level of reality expected and not just gross naivety, like the main part of their PS being about a medical tv show and not their own experience in medicine). The work/activities section is the first non-academic thing I would see, and that would usually be the first hint at something possibly amiss.

    Tl;dr no, not a requirement, not an expectation, but it may raise an eyebrow.

    Yeah i could see it being useful. I like having one meaningful activity = related to medicine; one = unique/important outside of medicine; one = can be anything (ideally something combining both). It gives a balanced outlook
     

    Ismet

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    Yeah i could see it being true. I like having one meaningful activity = related to medicine; one = unique/important outside of medicine; one = can be anything (ideally something combining both). It gives a balanced outlook

    2/3 of my MMEs were non-medical, one was in the arts and one was an organization I was heavily involved in that was tangentially related to medicine. They certainly don't all have to relate to medicine.
     
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    jwmd

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    Thought I'd ask this here instead of making a new thread:

    Isn't shadowing an activity that some people recommend not listing as "most meaningful"? My shadowing experiences were fantastic and I learned a lot. I was told that schools sometimes expect rec letters from supervisors/mentors/etc. connected to your top 3 though, and that a letter from a physician you shadowed is generally not recommended. I was tempted to ask the physician I shadowed the longest for a rec letter and to list it as a meaningful experience, but have been told by a few med students not to do so..
     
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    I was told that schools sometimes expect rec letters from supervisors/mentors/etc. connected to your top 3
    This is a new one on me, and is certainly not a general expectation. You might ask your source which med school website(s) have a statement regarding this expectation in order to validate it.
     
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    gonnif

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    This is a new one on me, and is certainly not a general expectation. You might ask your source which med school website(s) have a statement regarding this expectation in order to validate it.

    Perhaps simply by checking with several of the medical school websites will give the most accurate information, here are a couple

    Stritch School of Medicine/Loyola University
    http://ssom.luc.edu/admission/

    7. We strongly recommend at least one letter from someone who has taught you in a science class. We suggest two science faculty letters and one non-science faculty letter.

    11. You may wish to submit a letter from a supervisor or professional contact. This is acceptable and generally helpful, especially if the person knows you well and can speak to your qualifications for medicine. These letters are most helpful when accompanied by letters from faculty who have taught you in a classroom or laboratory setting.


    Weill Cornell Medical College
    http://weill.cornell.edu/education/admissions/app_faq.html#reco_letters
    How many letters of recommendation do I need to submit?
    We require letters of recommendation, either a composite letter of recommendation from the applicant's university pre-health careers advising office (preferred), or two letters from others such as teachers and supervisors in work, service or research. Applicants should request letters from persons who know them well and can discuss their capabilities, accomplishments, and character. A teacher, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, should be one who has worked with the applicant personally. If the applicant has had a substantial research, work, clinical or service experience, WCMC requests a letter from the supervisor in that experience. Letters should be submitted through AMCAS.


    University Of California at Irvine, School of Medicine
    https://www.meded.uci.edu/admissions/faq.asp

    Three to six letters are suggested. We recommend that at least two of the letters be from senior professors who can evaluate your academic abilities.

    If you have been involved in research, clinical, community service or other significant extracurricular activities, we recommend that you submit a letter from your mentor, supervisor or advisor.

    Our admissions committee reviews letters of recommendation only from applicants who received a secondary application.

    Albany Medical College
    http://albanymed.org/academic/undergraduate/upload/Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf

    How many recommendations are required?
    Our requirements would be filled by either submitting:
    1. a premedical advisory committee letter
    OR
    2. a letter packet from your college letter service
    OR
    3. between 2 to 4 letters of recommendation. The Admissions Committee prefers letters from a
    faculty member who speaks to your personal attributes and scholastic abilities. If you are not
    sending a letter from a faculty member, you may provide a letter from a supervisor from either
    a paid or volunteer research or clinical experience. The maximum number of letters is four (4).
     
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    LizzyM

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    I never notice whether a specific activity was selected as "most meaningful". It just isn't something I'm looking for. I read the descriptions of the activities I want to know more about but I'm not judging whether or not at least one clinical experience made the "most meaningful" cut.
     
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    gonnif

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    Isn't shadowing an activity that some people recommend not listing as "most meaningful"? My shadowing experiences were fantastic and I learned a lot. I was told that schools sometimes expect rec letters from supervisors/mentors/etc. connected to your top 3 though, and that a letter from a physician you shadowed is generally not recommended. I was tempted to ask the physician I shadowed the longest for a rec letter and to list it as a meaningful experience, but have been told by a few med students not to do so..

    The issue with shadowing is one of expectation and perception by adcoms that an applicant must overcome. Many applicants believe that EC's and letters from MDs will be impactful with an adcom. So they do 10,20, 50, etc hours of shadowing with a physician. The purpose of shadowing is primarily observing and the interaction with the doctor is typically minimal; you just basically watch. Usually there isnt some long, substantial interaction and professional relationship with the physician. Yet, many applicants will write these experiences up and ask these doctors to write letters, which are usually full of praise and good things about the applicant with little to no evidence showing the physician knows the applicant well enough to give any sort of worthwhile evaluation that will be useful to the committee. In short, they have a reputation for being primarily fluff. Hence, it is uncommon for an applicant to have a long and substantive professional relationship with a shadowing physician or have a short shadowing experience be seen by an adcom as an indepth experience. The applicant must overcome this hurdle of perception if you will. Hence, while shadowing experience and letters should be strongly supported if used. That is not to say to avoid them completely, but be aware of how they may be received

    Additionally, as I mentioned in an earlier posts, most schools typically want letters from 3 instructors (generally 2 science and 1 non science). Additional letters should be considered just that.
     
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    arory

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    This is a new one on me, and is certainly not a general expectation. You might ask your source which med school website(s) have a statement regarding this expectation in order to validate it.

    Do you know if employer LORS are expected?
     
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    Do you know if employer LORS are expected?
    They are not expected by med schools, but if elective letters are allowed, and you are sure the letter will be supportive, you might submit it.

    It might happen that a premed committee would include such a letter among suggested LOR types.
     
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    jwmd

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    They are not expected by med schools, but if elective letters are allowed, and you are sure the letter will be supportive, you might submit it.

    It might happen that a premed committee would include such a letter among suggested LOR types.
    Are there any letters (besides the required ones) that if left out might be a red flag? For example, if you did research for 3 years with the same PI, but do not include that letter? Or if you don't have a single letter related to any of your 3 most meaningful activities?
     
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    Are there any letters (besides the required ones) that if left out might be a red flag? For example, if you did research for 3 years with the same PI, but do not include that letter? Or if you don't have a single letter related to any of your 3 most meaningful activities?
    If it's not "required," it's absense won't raise a red flag (though eyebrows might rise in the 3-year research-related example you gave). Some schools state expectations for PI letters or grad school advisor LORs, but I believe the individual websites make it clear how important they are.

    Keep in mind that a high number of lors can be burdensome to adcomms who must read them. Stick to the basics where possible, adding extra lors only where they add high value to your application.
     

    gonnif

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    If it's not "required," it's absense won't raise a red flag (though eyebrows might rise in the 3-year research-related example you gave). Some schools state expectations for PI letters or grad school advisor LORs, but I believe the individual websites make it clear how important they are.

    Keep in mind that a high number of lors can be burdensome to adcomms who must read them. Stick to the basics where possible, adding extra lors only where they add high value to your application.

    I would further add that research is almost always done under a faculty member's lab and may be considered more like the usually required academic LOR that other possible letters. I would venture to say that most meaningful activities for applicants are not in a direct academic context and therefore no letter is expected, though there always are a few who want to say that Organic Chem is the most meaningful activity.
     

    Levrone

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    I put competitive bodybuilding as one of my most meaningful and it worked out for me :D

    whatever you were most passionate about, ya know.
     
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