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Successful applicants w/o substantial ECs?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by quigleyadam9, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. quigleyadam9

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    I will apply w/ a 3.6 GPA, and a decent (prediction) MCAT. I will also have awesome LORs and leadership ECs. However, I will have very little, if not zero, research experience. I will also be sorely lacking in clinical experience and shadowing. Has anyone had great success (meaning accepted just about anywhere) without having substantial research/clinical experience?
     
  2. 236116

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    Research isn't required.

    Clinical/shadowing practically is.
     
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  3. Pedsbro

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    I had lots of clinical experience, but ZERO undergrad research.. So I would say you need at least one... Some schools put a bigger emphasis on research, so that's not a rule that'll apply everywhere. Best example is Case Western, which has an essay on their secondary solely asking about your research activities. I would go for the clinical experiences if you were only going to do one. Med schools want to see that you know what you're getting yourself into. If you can do both, great...do it! But start with clinical.
     
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  4. Lukkie

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    theres always wash u
     
  5. dakker

    dakker A work in progress
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    I really doubt anyone has had great success by your definition even with having those ECs you lack. Hardly anyone is "accepted just about anywhere".

    I would say that you should really focus on your ECs and MCAT. Nowadays good stats are not enough, you need the whole package, GPA, MCAT, and comprehensive ECs. These do not have to be research, but clinical exposure is a must. Honestly, i think some of the smartest people take a year off or two, polish their application and then apply.
     
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  6. Pedsbro

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    Yeah, they take anyone...you pretty much just have to have a pulse
     
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  7. cyclin M

    cyclin M megaman
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    Don't worry, just get a 45T and you will be ok. :thumbup:

    But on the off chance that you don't, get some clinical experience.
     
  8. nick_carraway

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    I had minimal clinical experience (what I did have was clinical research) and a lackluster GPA and schools didn't like me. They all mentioned GPA and clinical experience as major problems. I had plenty of research and teaching ECs.

    In fact, one school disliked me so much that an advisor said my app looked more like a PhD candidate's than an MD applicant's.

    Don't apply until you've got your ECs remedied. I still think the idea of passive shadowing is ridiculous, but when in Rome...
     
    #8 nick_carraway, Jan 3, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  9. cyclin M

    cyclin M megaman
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    Just curious, why not MD/PhD then? You did several years of research on your MDapps.
     
  10. nick_carraway

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    Good question.

    I was (am?) under the impression that MD/PhD is more competitive. I also didn't have any publications during that cycle.

    One big reason is that I don't like bench research and an MD will enable me to do the kind of research that I enjoy.
     
  11. exoslimjim

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    yes and no.

    Depends where you apply. Research is popular in higher tier school for a reason... and there are many examples of people with little or no clinical background who are in med school. So it goes both ways.

    It just seems that here more people weigh more heavily on clinical. But I've never heard of a strong clinical EC pushing someone into an acceptance unless it was extraordinary exceptional.

    About research, publications are pretty much end points unforetunately. years of exp doesn't amount to anything unless you have awards, grants, or good publications which is difficult for undergrad. But just like some places like clinical, some will like research, which is why many people are well-rounded. I personally know people in med school who had good apps but exceptional papers (generally published in top 5 of subject) and went to exceptional schools. point is research does help.
     
  12. lisasimpson87

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    schools wanna make sure you know what you're getting into. for most pre-meds, that means they need to volunteer at a hospital/shadow doctors so they can say they have a sense of what a doctor does on a daily basis. if you wanna do solely academic medicine or something like that you might be able to get away with not having much clinical, but you would need research experience so schools know that you actually enjoy/are capable of research. with no clinical experience or research how do you even know you want to be a physician???? if you have a compelling reason, e.g. you've spent a lot of time in hospitals due to a chronic illness or something, you might be able to spin it so schools are impressed, but id recommend shadowing a doctor for even just a few months, not just for the application, but also just so you have a better sense of what you're getting into.
     
  13. efitzpat

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    i'm accepted 3 places so far without a lot of ECs. granted, they are what people would deem "lower" tier, but I'm going to be a doctor no matter what. I did have reasons for my lack of involvement and explained them in my PS, but I only did research (for pay to support myself) and very little volunteering (2 long term commitments, 1 alternative spring break) and only one 8-10 week (once per week) clinical shadowing experience. I really worked to get my personality through on my essays and I think that was huge. Once I got to my interviews, I knew I could really shine (so far I'm 3/3 on interviews/acceptances!... if only everyone would give me an interview...:()
     
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  14. Greonis

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    I respectfully disagree. Few will doubt that obtaining those boons is both fulfilling and likely to boost the strength of one's application, but I think that both the experience and knowledge that one gets out of researching are far more important. Being published or the recipient of an award is often reliant on fortune, and there are many undergraduates out there who conduct fantastic research for a long period of time yet - solely due to circumstance - do not get a publication or a noteworthy award out of it. To me, as long as they demonstrate a solid understanding of their research and can connect it to their interest in science/medicine, I don't believe that not having a "merit-based byproduct" should hurt them. Moreover, who is to say that the undergraduate's work won't one day contribute to a future publication or award? Research is ongoing and highly dynamic, and one never knows when seemingly quaint pieces of data will one day be of great use to the scientific community (and thus be worthy of publication/praise).

    Once again, I'm not trying to say that being published/rewarded is unlikely to help you. Rather, I am pointing out that - even if you are not published or given some sort of award after completing a research experience - the fact that you dedicated yourself to research alone should still say a lot of positive things about you and your potential in the medical field.
     
  15. slowbutsteady

    slowbutsteady slowbutsteady
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    very simple:

    research = important

    volunteer = important

    clinical = must have, cannot do without (except 3.9/39 for wash u)

    How can you show your altruistic side without volunteering? How can you show an interest in medicine without being around sick people?
     
  16. Narmerguy

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    A lot of you guys are missing the OP's question. He is asking if anyone has had success without substantial clinical/research experience. I would say yes, people often do. You can't do without the clinical entirely (you can forgo research if you so choose but it usually helps) but you also don't have to have substantial clinical experience to have some success. Remember the more you can do the better.
     
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  17. nontrdgsbuiucmd

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    Yes I was accepted without what I'd call substantial clinical experience; 2 locations, around 150 hours each was my total clinical. That comes out to a saturday morning shift each week for less than a year.

    Pritzker told me that they will not consider a candidate for their MD program, regardless of anything else, if the person does not have clinical experience. I'd bet they're not the only ones, are your Saturday mornings so important that you're willing to roll the dice on this?
     
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  18. BluntSurgeon

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    I think the only way is if you have outlandish GPA and awesome MCAT scores. Take me as the example: 39R, 3.9 with only ~75 hospital volunteer hours at the time of application and a very short summer research stint with no papers/pubs/whatever. I have interviewed all over and currently hold acceptances to UCSD and Dartmouth. So yea I guess the answer to your question is yes if you have pretty high numbers. Good luck man
     
  19. nick_carraway

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    Obviously this is a game of semantics; "substantial" holds different meaning to everyone.

    My personal opinion based on my last cycle is that you will not get in without substantial clinical experience without extenuating factors (e.g. personal history, residency, outstanding GPA & MCAT, otherwise amazing ECs, etc.)

    I hate shadowing and I think it's pointless, but schools do not. I refused to do it and preferred to do clinical research internship up until the year of application when I worked in a clinic.

    Some might call that clinical experience, but the schools did not. When I sought post-rejection advice, many were concerned by the fact that the bulk of my clinical experience was in clinical research.

    I met the "close enough to smell patients" rule on SDN, but that is apparently not substantial enough.

    To avoid this word game altogether, I do agree with narmer. Just do more of it than you think you need to and get substantial amounts of it, no matter whose definition you use.
     
  20. DrYoda

    DrYoda Space Cowboy
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    I got in with minimal clinical experience, although looking back it would have been smarter to have just adequately fufilled the requirement to be sure. I recommend just putting in the time.
     
  21. GlamDoc

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    Can someone clarify exactly what activities fall under the umbrella of clinical experience?

    I'm volunteering at the local ER (like almost everybody else :)), 4hrs/week, and I have a healthcare-related job (CPhT). Also some shadowing, but nothing long-term, perhaps a couple of days per doc.

    So would the ER count as clinical experience? Volunteering can encompass a whole host of things, but I know clinical experience is specific.

    Any answers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
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  22. 236116

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    the cpht.... phleb tech? if so yes.
     
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  23. Lukkie

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    like LizzyM always says, if you can smell PATIENTS in the ER (and not just the smell of stagnant poop and pee that always fills the ER) it is clinical exp
     
  24. GlamDoc

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    Wow, thanks for the quick reply!

    Actually, it's pharmacy tech. At least it's healthcare related, right? :p
     
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  25. scarletgirl777

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    Do you think it was the way you presented your clinical research experience? Did you spend a lot of time doing data entry or analysis? I am puzzled by anyone automatically saying that any clinical research is not clinical just because it's research. I mean, for some people clinical research involves watching surgeries or collecting blood or evaluating mental health...all very clinicalesque pursuits, and I'd be surprised if that was dismissed just because at the same time it was furthering research.
     
  26. 236116

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    Well, if you'd take a shower once in a while...

    :) You're welcome. Pharm tech is kind of a grey area... it's health-related but not really clinical-y. ER vols definitely counts.
     
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  27. Lukkie

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    with you jurassicpark? id love to :love: :love: :love:
     
  28. nick_carraway

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    Well this point was touched upon by the advisors.

    I made it clear in my AMCAS that I wasn't doing data entry. About 1/2 of my PS was devoted to the interaction that I had with patients in the ED during my clinical research internship on chronic pain.

    Some advisors said that the EC descriptions such as my time in a derm practice and as a clinical researcher could have been re-focused with emphasis placed on the clinical aspect, but I felt that the PS made it pretty clear what I was doing.

    Certainly, in the end it might've been due to my descriptions, but I don't see why clinical research is not valuable clinical experience. *shrug*
     
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  29. 236116

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    Baby, anytime. :love::love:
     
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  30. cyclin M

    cyclin M megaman
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    No offense, but I think your low GPA/MCAT and no stand-out ECs had more to do with it than this isolated clinical experience matter. And/or maybe your interview was bad. But I think your numbers got you. Unless you did something extraordinary that sticks out like a sore thumb (in a good sense) bad numbers will destroy you.
     
  31. nick_carraway

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    Oh, no, I agree. The 3.3 was much more of an issue than the clinical experience.

    I think my one interview might not have been the greatest, either.

    The point, however, is that when I called schools, a lot of them also mentioned not enough clinical experience and many didn't like that it was in the form of clinical research.

    I had known that I didn't have that much clinical experience, but I didn't consider it to be that major of an issue.

    This is why I say that substantial clinical experience is a must, barring any extenuating factors.
     
  32. cyclin M

    cyclin M megaman
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    It's funny they say that. Maybe apply to bigger research schools, but for those the GPA/MCAT cutoff might be lower so I see this is quite a predicament you are in. By the way, when they told you that you "didn't have enough" what exactly is "enough" to them?
     
  33. 202781

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    I had 100hrs clinical volunteering (ER, Outpatient services)
    40 hrs shadowing an internist
    9 months working with the disabled
    NO RESEARCH


    I have interviewed at 6 schools and I have 5 acceptances (OHSU will not decide for another 5 weeks or so)
    Take a look at my mdapps and let me know if you have any questions.

    THE KEY IS sounding mature in your PS (to get an interview) and interviewing well (to get accepted). IMO.


    Also school selection...for example with my stats it would have been dumb for me to apply to Yale, WashU, Umichigan, Hopkins... But I got into some pretty good schools
     
  34. nick_carraway

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    Well they didn't tell me numbers and I didn't ask.

    I think they just would've liked to see more clinical experience apart from clinical research.

    One school even said that it'd like to see clinical experience outside of the university setting.
     
  35. Carlin

    Carlin Junior Member
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    Hey,

    I had a small amount of shadowing experience, and nothing else in terms of clinical experience. My research experience was moderate. I've worked in a lab for a couple of years, but haven't had any publications come of it.

    My parents encouraged me follow a variety of interests in college, so I did, and while it may have kept me from being competitive at Harvard or UCSF, etc, I think it made my college experience more fun. I was in a sorority and on my school's judicial council, two activities that definitely took up a lot of time and kept me from engaging in more clinical experience, but I don't regret it. During my summers, I always had to find jobs that would actually pay, and since hospital volunteering doesn't, I ended up with some pretty random (but definitely interesting) non-medical related summer jobs.

    I've had 8 interviews, and 1 acceptance (to NYU) so far and in my mind, that's fairly good success. (I think everyone's view of 'success' varies though.)

    Anyway, overall, I definitely think it would only help you to get more clinical experience, but don't think that it's impossible to get accepted with your current stats.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  36. scarletgirl777

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    :eek: Ok, that's TOTALLY ridiculous. Community hospitals are just less likely, in my experience, to let you do any shadowing. Your only option would be candystriping. It's not like carrying pitchers of water is less valuable because the patient's attending (who you'll probably never interact with anyway) happens to care about teaching or research. :rolleyes:
     
  37. nick_carraway

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    I know. I'm not listening to that piece of advice, although I can kinda see where it stems from.

    It's just as well that I can't reapply to that school since my MCAT will be a few months too old.
     

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