Sophomore here, what are my chances? Help with clinical stuff.

Aug 11, 2016
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I'm a sophomore who just started the fall semester. So I know that nothing is going to be more indicative of my MCAT (which I have yet to take) and GPA, but any advice would be great of what I can do to help me out.

GPA: 3.6// working my ass off this semester to bring it up. Freshman year was a bit too much fun...My science GPA is lower but that's because I've only had 2 actual sciences (one B- and one A...regardless, working to bring the whole shebang up). I'm a non sci major, though might minor in chem since i have to take all the classes anyways...

MCAT: yeah who knows, hopefully 515+ but again i'll never know until i start practicing

EC:
- 800 hrs of volunteering (created my own int'l org that's somewhat popular and helps kids globally)
- currently in the process of creating 2 different projects/organizations that will again benefit people globally (one's enviro focused and the other is social awareness focused) -- have the support of two prominent organizations/fellowships to make these happen . Both of these probably won't launch until spring semester and the first organization is in the process of being revamped currently.

- some other very niche and unique EC but if I put it on here people might know who I am. PM if you want to know/ think it would be helpful to know to see where I stand.

^^^these take up my time and took up a lot of my freshman year time, but I'm starting to branch out this year and joining more things on campus. Some of the things I'm getting involved with because I'm genuinely interested:
- Student gov
- Health club
- finance club (health markets)
- dance team
- international associations
- some other school specific clubs I'm interested in

Clinical: help, idk where to begin with this. I have about 200 hours volunteering from HS but i know i need something more relevant to now. What should i do/where should I begin???

Awards: a couple of cool awards/recognitions (again, if i say them it'll give it away) for my work above

I have a shadowing gig confirmed with my cousins who are docs this spring break/like a week in summer. Is that enough? I'm estimating like 40-80 hours total...

Research: am doing more science based research right now (though not really research more so than just helping to write the abstract...but he said I'll get authored....)
Last year I did research in two different departments but they were not sciences. Both were qualitative research but nonetheless were awesome experiences.

So yeah, what should I do to help my chances/ make me seem more appealing? Sorry if this is a complete waste of a post since I'm only a sophomore and don't have a MCAT score.
 
OP
P
Aug 11, 2016
33
4
also forgot to mention, but the goal is this summer to do my own research project abroad. It's more qualitative/cross-sectional working in a specific niche area of medicine/healthcare transformations in other countries than it is bench research.

For some reason, bench research just bores me...idk if I should be worried since I do want to become a practicing physician down the line?
 

Weirdy

2+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2016
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You're freaking out too much and too early. You're barely out of undergrad.

Keep GPA up.

Start MCAT prepping Junior year. Its a hard test. Practice makes perfect.

Do whatever research you like. Doesn't matter down the road.
 
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Doctor-S

Grand Rounds
Lifetime Donor
2+ Year Member
Jun 9, 2016
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Agree with @Weirdy about keeping your GPA strong and beginning to prepare for the MCAT.

Here are some other thoughts ...

1. Strong GPA and Do Well in UG.

If you're a typical 2nd-year UG, you're probably enrolled in organic chemistry during your sophomore year. It's important to do well in your pre-reqs to accumulate a strong GPA - especially your sGPA. At this time, it sounds as if you're encountering some challenges in your science courses (i.e., B- grade in one actual science class, according to your original post). In general, your undergraduate GPA will be calculated based on the courses you completed during your Frosh, Soph and Junior years. So, it is important to do well in your classes.

2. Prioritize, Set Goals and Manage Your Time.

It is not necessary to overextend yourself by juggling multiple ECs - especially if the ECs are jeopardizing your GPA (or your study time for the MCAT). It is advisable to exercise good time management skills, and practice good study habits, and prioritize, throughout your UG years. I realize you might want to do many things (because they're interesting to you) but UG is supposed to be a one time deal, and doing well in UG is an important stepping stone leading to (your goal of gaining admission to) medical school. Many students will only get "one chance" to do well in UG (i.e., Frosh/Soph/Junior/Senior years). For that reason, it is important to focus on your goals and evaluate your priorities.

3. Letters of Recommendation.


Have you begun to identify 2 science professors (and 1 non-science professor) who will prepare positive letters of recommendation for you? If yes, good. If not, you can add that task to your list of "things to consider." Your letter writers need to know you well. So, choose them wisely.

4. Shadowing Experience.

In general, it's useful to gain shadowing experience to demonstrate an ongoing interest in becoming a physician, as well as obtaining relevant/realistic experiences related to the daily practice of medicine. Shadowing includes positive aspects of medicine (e.g., successfully treating an illness), as well as negative aspects (e.g., long hours and voluminous piles of paperwork). Some medical schools are okay with 40 hours. Others might be looking for much more than 40 hours. Shadowing is intended to help students make an informed decision about pursuing a medical career as an aspiring physician. It might be in your best interests to shadow physicians in different specialties (and not only your cousins) to maximize your learning experience.

5. Research.

As UG, your goal will be to gain knowledge (and appreciation for) the process/logic/methods/analysis involved in scientific research.

You did not identify the subject matter of the research (in which you were involved last year) although you stated it was some type of "qualitative study" in two non-science departments. Now, you're involved in composing some type of abstract, but still not doing actual research. It might be useful to participate in a science-related research project to gain further experience in scientific methods. "Quality" is more important than quantity.

6. Clinical AND Non-Clinical Experience (Quality Matters).

Concerning clinical and non-clinical experience (as UG and not as a high school student) ... think about "quality" of the experience. Here are some ideas:

1. Look for volunteer or paid clinical opportunities with a medical center, hospital, community health care facility, free clinic, etc.
2. Volunteer some non-clinical time at a long-term assisted care facility, or a rehab facility (e.g., PM&R).
3. Work as an EMT, medical scribe, etc..
4. Volunteer some non-clinical time with the elderly, homeless shelters, physically-challenged military veterans, etc.
5. Consider obtaining non-clinical volunteer experience (humanity, compassion and a sincere desire to help others less fortunate than you). After all, physicians are supposed to care about others.

Thank you.
 
Last edited:

Gurby

5+ Year Member
Jul 28, 2014
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If I understand correctly, during your freshman year in which you had "a bit too much fun", you:

Spent 800 hours creating an "international" organization, and received multiple awards for this.
Received 2 different "prominent fellowships" to create 2 different organizations that will do global things.
Had time to do something else very impressive that you can't say publicly.
Participated in significant meaningful research in 2 different departments at the same time.

For your sophmore year you plan to continue the above activities, and you have also joined 6+ new clubs on campus.

Seems pretty good.
 
OP
P
Aug 11, 2016
33
4
If I understand correctly, during your freshman year in which you had "a bit too much fun", you:

Spent 800 hours creating an "international" organization, and received multiple awards for this.
Received 2 different "prominent fellowships" to create 2 different organizations that will do global things.
Had time to do something else very impressive that you can't say publicly.
Participated in significant meaningful research in 2 different departments at the same time.

For your sophmore year you plan to continue the above activities, and you have also joined 6+ new clubs on campus.

Seems pretty good.
To be fair, my research was not very significant. It was meaningful, b/c I did learn how to code for qualitative research and I actually got to make a website for the other one, but nonetheless, not very meaningful. I still very much enjoyed it though b/c I got to learn about the implications of the project.
 
Sep 5, 2016
31
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Pre-Medical
Look through the MCAT in your spare time so that you know what the test is really like. Keep your GPA strong because you may start to take upper divs this year and that may require more dedicated time in comparison to freshman year, although that really depends on how focused and prepared you were as a HS student transitioning into freshman year + major too.
For clinical, focus on developing good experiences and learning from them. It's great that you're spending a lot of time in the hospital, but also make sure that you walk away with a solid understanding of what you've just seen or participated in. Ask yourself what you've just learned & how this furthers your understanding of medicine. Record observations + insights too.
Enjoy the route too...good luck!