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Taking a year off - Help me decide what to do to strengthen my application

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Wompuscat, May 15, 2014.

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  1. Wompuscat


    May 15, 2014
    Hi everyone. So this is my first post here at SDN but I have been lurking on the forums for quite a while. Anyway, I am currently a senior, and after a summer class will be done with a BS in Human Physiology. I had chosen to forego application last summer, with the intent to apply this summer. However, I did not feel that my qualifications stacked up to the competition, so will be taking advantage of this year off to help shape myself into a better applicant. Currently, my cumulative GPA is 3.43 and my science GPA is 3.52. I have not yet taken the MCAT, but am scheduled to in July. I know that I have to score quite well on this to have even a remote chance at getting in somewhere, so I am putting a large amount of time into preparing to take that exam. I know my GPA isn't the greatest, and I have done my best to bring it up the last couple of years. I have had a fairly steep upward trend, with A's and A-'s in almost all of my advanced biology, advanced physiology, and organic chemistry courses. The introductory bio courses with B+'s are what's dragging me down. Anyway, I have a wide array of extracurricular activities, with some of the more prominent ones being a leadership position in a major fundraising group on campus where I had to lead my own subgroup of approximately 30 people, and volunteering for 200+ hours through our hospital's program. The vast majority of said volunteering was spent at a sports medicine clinic assisting physical therapists, however I also spent a semester in the ER. While I preferred the atmosphere of the ER, the work was mainly cleaning and other trivial tasks. No actual direct involvement. Whereas at the sports medicine clinic I was able to shadow the PT's far more, directly interact with patients, and learned a very large amount about interactions between muscles and ligaments. That is why I chose to stay there, rather than venture elsewhere into the hospital. I am currently not doing any research, but I am seeking out a paid research position where I can work for these next couple of years.

    My current job is at a veterinary hospital where I work as a technician, where I accompany the doctor for routine checkups and other appointments, but I also see owners/pets on my own when the pet simply needs annual vaccinations(or other minor things) and no routine checkup. I also assist in surgery every morning, including preparation of the animals such as insertion of venous catheters, intubation, and anesthetization. I have been a part of(actually helping, not watching) any myriad of different procedures, and for one femur fracture was actually allowed(under supervision of the head doctor) to screw a locking plate mechanism in after everything else had been drilled and set. However, I know while that is great hands on experience, I still need more contact in human medicine, which is why I'm in the process of setting up shadowing experiences, one with a neurosurgeon who operated on me, and am still looking for an available orthopedic surgeon to shadow. I am considering taking EMT coursework next fall, but am not sure whether it would be worthwhile or not. I am also fairly certain that I want to take 1 or 2 classes along with whatever I'm doing, just to stay in a proper studying mindset.

    I would love to hear your input as to things I should do over this year off the help strengthen my application, especially if I hadn't mentioned it above. I apologize for the lengthy post, but I was just trying to be thorough haha. Thanks in advance for any recommendations/advice!
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  3. tantacles

    tantacles Lifetime Donor SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

    Sep 28, 2009
    Work hard to find a research position, like you mentioned. That will serve you well. Your clinical experience looks good, but keep volunteering for a few hours each week if you're able, whether clinically or non-clinically - many programs like to see a long term commitment to service.
  4. nellbot2000

    nellbot2000 2+ Year Member

    Dec 7, 2012
    With your vet tech experience I would say that finding a paid job in biomedical research should be relatively easy. Look to your local University for research assistant positions that involve animal work. I would also begin job applications soon, it tends to take a few months before you land a position. I started applying for research positions 2 months before graduation and ended up starting a month after graduation, so plan ahead.
  5. kk123

    kk123 2+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    OP, it sounds like you have a great ECs so far and a good plan! :)

    OP's post reminded me of something a couple of vet tech friends of mine and I were discussing. One of them is a pre-med and the other wants to apply to nurse practitioner school. We were wondering how people admitting students into a human medicine program view a veterinary technician's experience? Do they see it as medical experience, and does it carry any weight with admissions?Just wondering because I haven't seen many people with veterinary experience apply to medical school on this forum...

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