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Standing Out for MED SCHOOLS?? Advice please!!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by DocKwi, Mar 28, 2001.

  1. DocKwi

    DocKwi Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2000
    North Carolina
    Ok so here is the deal!! Given the standards for medical schools it seems that from the past to know its best to do something that STANDS OUT!! Everyone seems to volunteer, shadow, be apart of clubs, do research..the list goes on and on. So here is what I need some advice on...
    I'm currently a Sophomore in College.
    Currently: Total GPA:3.801
    Major GPA: 3.879
    Tons of Honors
    Tons of Shadowing/Volunteering
    Time spent with Alzheimer Pat.
    Time spent with Blind Children
    President of Premed/Predent Club

    The list can go on and on...but doesn't the typical medical student sort of seem like this. I have the chance to go to NAMBIA, AFRICA during the summer for an organization and work with a Physician on a MEDICAL MISSION!! Before I go, I've got to collect the $3500 it will cost for the trip...there are several fundraising oportunities!!

    I'm realy interested!! IF I GO FOR AN ENTIRE SUMMER..HOW MUCH OF A PLUS WILL IT BE FOR MEDICAL SCHOOLS?? Do they take this type of situation as JUST ANOTHER BONUS...or something more?? I would love to hear anyone and everyone's comments!! Thank you all for you time!!
    Thanks, K
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  3. Mango

    Mango Very Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Have you considered a semester abroad? It is a wonderful experience that will really change your life. And it is something that very few premeds actually fit into their undergrad years. Check out the thread in the pre-allo forum!

    Godd Luck, Mango
  4. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2000
    This might sound trite, but I think the key to "standing out" is not to think "What will the AdComms like" but instead think about what do you like? If you really want to do this medical mission experience because you are interested in international health, want to go abroad for a summer, etc., then great, go for it. I think it's a mistake to do things just to build up the resume. Instead, my best advice would be to concentrate on the activities that you are truly interested in (even if they aren't all medically or academically related) and really go all out in those.
  5. life-is-beautiful

    life-is-beautiful Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2001
    NY, NY
    Dear DocKwi,
    Please, please, *please* choose a summer opportunity...or for that matter, ANTHING...on the basis of your passions or interests rather on whether or not taking one road or another will make you "look good" to an admissions committee. Actually, while it is perfectly healthy -- and necessary! -- to be aware of the steps required to achieve your goals, I tend to think that worrying so much about becoming accepted to the point where you're choosing extra-currics and experiences for the good of your resume actually makes you stand out LESS. You begin to appear like some of the other pre-meds who spend college years letting the admissions committees mold their personalities...instead of using these precious days to explore their strengths and their place in life.
    I know how you feel, I actually worried very much as you do just a year and a half ago! But I suddenly realized that I was miserable...and that the patterns I forged during college could very well carry on into my practicing years. How would my patients react if I was too distracted by details of an evaluation I received from a supervisor to address their concerns with empathy? I started to focus less and less on "getting in," and more and more on developing the skills that would genuinely, truly help me to become a good physician.
    DocKwi, you sound like you're doing absolutely beautifully. Please do not worry...just continue to work as hard as you can, to learn, to develop passions and talents. If you would like to go to Africa...then DO IT, because you want to and you find it exciting! It really sounds like such an amazing opportunity...but please, in your heart, pursue it because it's part of a dream, not necessarily because med school committees will look upon it and say, "Hm, interesting."
    Best of luck to you!
  6. gower

    gower 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    New York
    Lilycat, Mango and life-is beautiful have given you the most mature and best advice you will ever get!
    Listen and learn.

  7. KidA

    KidA Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2001
    Westwood, CA, USA
    Go to Africa dogg.
  8. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    The advice given here is grand, don't do what the admissions committee's want, do what you want.

    But some tips on Namibia - it's incredible. And summertime here (winter there) is the best time to go as the Namibian summer can be excruciatingly hot. It's a beautiful country and the folks there are wonderful. I have travelled extensively throughout southern Africa and Namibia is tops on my list.
  9. Your GPA and ECs look fantastic. Just get a 30+ on the MCAT and you're in. Relax [​IMG].
  10. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2001
    I went to Africa for a summer on my own and worked with a surgeon as well as an international relief organization. I agree with the previous posters. PLEASE, DO NOT GO THERE WITH THE INTENTION OF ADDING TO YOUR RESUME! This is very unfair to the people you will be seeing in Africa, not to mention yourself. Go because you want to go, because believe me, when it's 129 degrees, and you're living without electricity and water for 5 days, you will not be thinking about your resume. I went because it was my dream since I was 15 years old to do go on a medical mission so these circumstances were fine with me. In addition, I had lived in 3rd world countries before, so I was accustomed to it.

    Again, the people (at least in my case), were very genuine, wonderful, but poverty-stricken people and it would be a severe injustice to them for you to go there simply to have another line on your application. I don't mean to be rude, but I feel quite strongly about this one. Those amazing people deserve the best, regardless of what there socio-economic position in life is.

    If you do go, try to go in winter months and most of all Enjoy yourself!

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