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The Weight of a Valuable Research Experience

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Which would you choose?


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oxalfa

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So I am a student at Drexel University, and for anyone that doesn't know, this is a co-op school (similar to NortheasternU). I am on a 5-year undergraduate program with 3, 6-month long cycles of co-ops each. Basically, I am alternating being in classes for 6 months with being on a co-op for 6 months (year-round schooling).

A few months ago I have joined a research lab at the College of Medicine and have really enjoyed being there, although I have an upcoming dilemma. This fall I will start applying for my first co-op and I am unsure whether I should...

A. Work part-time (3 days a week) in my current research lab, unpaid, and work part-time as a medical scribe...

B. Work in clinical research full time at UPenn hospital or Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. (note: this would mean I could not be a part of my current lab while on co-op since they are full-time positions) (decent money)

or C. Work in pharmaceutical research at a company like GlaxoSmithKline (again would not be able to be a part of my current lab). (big $$$ for students)


Luckily, the PI of my lab has told me she would be perfectly fine with me doing whatever I want and that I would always be welcome back if I left.

HOWEVER, the problem is that being in her lab full-time could lead to a larger impacting research experience (like publication) since I would be there while in classes and on co-op. The alternative is doing mini projects and getting smaller acknowledgements for working and doing research in her lab.

Sorry for the long post... So basically what I am asking is, will being published be worth more to admissions committees than just having a consistent research experience in both medical and pharmaceutical lab? I am paying for school myself so having a nice pay (pharmaceutical) would help with lowering the principal on my loans...
 

Goro

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Unless you're up in the 90th %ile plus of applicants, having lots of hours of service to others less fortunate than yourself will have far more impact on Adcoms.

Research is over-rated by pre-meds, except for the Powerhouses.
 
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So I am a student at Drexel University, and for anyone that doesn't know, this is a co-op school (similar to NortheasternU). I am on a 5-year undergraduate program with 3, 6-month long cycles of co-ops each. Basically, I am alternating being in classes for 6 months with being on a co-op for 6 months (year-round schooling).

A few months ago I have joined a research lab at the College of Medicine and have really enjoyed being there, although I have an upcoming dilemma. This fall I will start applying for my first co-op and I am unsure whether I should...

A. Work part-time (3 days a week) in my current research lab, unpaid, and work part-time as a medical scribe...

B. Work in clinical research full time at UPenn hospital or Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. (note: this would mean I could not be a part of my current lab while on co-op since they are full-time positions) (decent money)

or C. Work in pharmaceutical research at a company like GlaxoSmithKline (again would not be able to be a part of my current lab). (big $$$ for students)


Luckily, the PI of my lab has told me she would be perfectly fine with me doing whatever I want and that I would always be welcome back if I left.

HOWEVER, the problem is that being in her lab full-time could lead to a larger impacting research experience (like publication) since I would be there while in classes and on co-op. The alternative is doing mini projects and getting smaller acknowledgements for working and doing research in her lab.

Sorry for the long post... So basically what I am asking is, will being published be worth more to admissions committees than just having a consistent research experience in both medical and pharmaceutical lab? I am paying for school myself so having a nice pay (pharmaceutical) would help with lowering the principal on my loans...
Pick C, as no one can argue that you shouldn't earn a decent salary, if it's available to you. Return to the current lab if you want to, as a Summer's worth of research is sufficient for all but the most selective, research-oriented med schools.

A tiny percent of med school applicants have publications, even at top schools. Don't let a possibility that may never materialize make your decision for you.
 

oxalfa

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Unless you're up in the 90th %ile plus of applicants, having lots of hours of service to others less fortunate than yourself will have far more impact on Adcoms.

Research is over-rated by pre-meds, except for the Powerhouses.

So an emphasis on volunteering/community service is more important, got it

Pick C, as no one can argue that you shouldn't earn a decent salary, if it's available to you. Return to the current lab if you want to, as a Summer's worth of research is sufficient for all but the most selective, research-oriented med schools.

A tiny percent of med school applicants have publications, even at top schools. Don't let a possibility that may never materialize make your decision for you.

Thanks, I definitely enjoy being a part of the lab so I think a good route would just to be to do smaller projects that I could work on, on my own time. The good news is I have 3 co-ops so I have more than one chance. Also, my school's pre-med advisor has told me a popular route is a clinical research since you get clinical experience as well.
 
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Also, my school's pre-med advisor has told me a popular route is a clinical research since you get clinical experience as well.
You need to be cautious about whether what is referred to as "clinical" research also fulfills the expectation of clinical experience with current patients that adcomms are looking for. Research that screens healthy people for a condition, for example, does not provide you with the experience of interacting with sick or injured patients, but rather with participants. When that time comes, and you are offered a specific project, you might check back here to be sure it will provide the two-for-one experience to which your advisor refers. Also, with the AMCAS med school application, you must designate an experience as either Research, or Medical/Clinical experience.
 
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Robin-jay

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A. Work part-time (3 days a week) in my current research lab, unpaid, and work part-time as a medical scribe...

Don't underestimate the amount of time working as a scribe will be.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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In an AAMC survey, research was deemed of low importance to public school adcoms and of medium importance to private school adcoms. For some reason everyone on SDN it seems things that all schools rate it as high importance, which obviously isn’t true. This then causes almost all med students to have done research as an undergrad, which then leads premeds to think they have to do research to get accepted.

It’s good to have research experience to see if you like it and to see how application of the scientific method works. Don’t worry about getting a publication. It’s rare and not that important to most schools.
 

MomJeansandDadJorts

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IMO pick C. I have been working full time in a lab over my gap year and the pay isnt great which has been a struggle with paying for applying. I think one of the adcoms here said less than 20% of people who apply have some type of pub/abstract/presentation and even fewer at a national/international level (since many will do local presentations at their school). Pubs do look nice but the way you are able to articulate your work matters more and I think you could articulate each of those fairly well.
 

teenyfish

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I vote C. I went to a similar school and did a co-op in a large pharmaceutical company as well. It was an awesome experience! Although I didn't know I wanted to do medicine at the time, working in industry was a really nice change of pace from the academic lab I worked in. I learned a lot, met a lot of really smart people and got to play with some impressive equipment that I otherwise wouldn't have had access to. The pay is always a plus, it helped me finance my living situation for the next year. The purpose of these co-ops are for you to play the field a bit and see what you like and what you don't, even if you're sure about medicine, why not go somewhere different for a bit and earn some $$ as well!

Feel free to PM me about my experience if you'd like.
 
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evasive fish

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So basically what I am asking is, will being published be worth more to admissions committees than just having a consistent research experience in both medical and pharmaceutical lab? I am paying for school myself so having a nice pay (pharmaceutical) would help with lowering the principal on my loans...
You don't need to have publications. You will not be expected to have them. Only a minority of applicants have one. If you have one, that's nice, but it's not going to be weighted heavily for MD admissions. If you want to continue your research experience, it's good that your PI told you that the lab's door is open for you in case you decide to return.

Option C sounds like a good option for the sake of diversity of experience (for yourself) and for the money, especially since you're the one financing your education. For your next co-ops, you can focus on getting more clinical experience and volunteering, since that's very important.
 
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