Dec 15, 2013
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Hey guys, a fellow pre-med here looking for input.

I am in my 4th year of a BSc and I was hoping to enter right into med next fall (as is the standard for most people since many do not get in their 3rd year of degree), but I have been getting a few rejections for interview so I am getting nervous for my future. I do not have a back-up plan (careless- I know, but dont we all have to be a little crazy to get into med in the first place?).

So here is the question, if I do not get into med next year I will have a whole year to better myself before the next application cycle. Any suggestions? Keep in mind both my MCAT and GPA are good (for now) so I do not need to improve myself in that regard. Thanks for any interesting input!
 

mk04447

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My .02 having done life completely opposite you... Stay in school, keep the mindset, remained focused, and most importantly do not make any money. Start a masters program somewhere, if you finish great, if you get accepted to a medical school mid stream even better. Trust me when you cease to be a college student, you can never truly regain the title... Stay a student as long as humanly possible or until you achieve your objective... Otherwise you'll end up being a parent trying to attend school, an employee beholden to their job to pay the mortgage trying to attend school, or some other combination of obligations while you try to attend school.
 

nemo123

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What are you ECs right now? Is there anything lacking in your app that schools might look unfavorably upon?
 
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Hey thanks for all the responses!

My .02 having done life completely opposite you... Stay in school, keep the mindset, remained focused, and most importantly do not make any money. Start a masters program somewhere, if you finish great, if you get accepted to a medical school mid stream even better. Trust me when you cease to be a college student, you can never truly regain the title... Stay a student as long as humanly possible or until you achieve your objective... Otherwise you'll end up being a parent trying to attend school, an employee beholden to their job to pay the mortgage trying to attend school, or some other combination of obligations while you try to attend school.
That was sort of my line of reasoning as well, but the problem is (at least here in Canada- not sure about the US), when you enter a Masters program you must finish it completely before applying to MD (since without this rule the masters programs all fill with annoying premeds who will bail on their projects at a moments notice for med). This would keep me out of the MD process long enough that I would have to write my MCAT again, which is a big No-NO. The alternative I was considering , is to do a separate bachelor degree, but in an honors style this time (which means a mandatory year long lab class in which I create a thesis- sort of like a "mini masters"). Its not a masters but it should help me in the research department??

What are you ECs right now? Is there anything lacking in your app that schools might look unfavorably upon?
My EC's are pretty lacking unfortunately, I can list some of it
-6 years working as a senior lifeguard
-volunteer research working on my own project last summer
-Minimal hours (less than 100) at 2 different non clinical type volunteer positions here at my university

And thats it- so my other idea is to take the year off school and just go hard at the EC's. Maybe do some job shadowing for a local MD, etc.
 

mk04447

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Hey thanks for all the responses!



That was sort of my line of reasoning as well, but the problem is (at least here in Canada- not sure about the US), when you enter a Masters program you must finish it completely before applying to MD (since without this rule the masters programs all fill with annoying premeds who will bail on their projects at a moments notice for med). This would keep me out of the MD process long enough that I would have to write my MCAT again, which is a big No-NO. The alternative I was considering , is to do a separate bachelor degree, but in an honors style this time (which means a mandatory year long lab class in which I create a thesis- sort of like a "mini masters"). Its not a masters but it should help me in the research department??



My EC's are pretty lacking unfortunately, I can list some of it
-6 years working as a senior lifeguard
-volunteer research working on my own project last summer
-Minimal hours (less than 100) at 2 different non clinical type volunteer positions here at my university

And thats it- so my other idea is to take the year off school and just go hard at the EC's. Maybe do some job shadowing for a local MD, etc.
That is not how it is done in the United States. My suggestion would be to move south, start a masters program and apply liberally to medical schools all over the states constantly... You won't have any issues here, our colleges just want your money, they won't get upset if you don't come back the following semester.
 

nemo123

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My EC's are pretty lacking unfortunately, I can list some of it
-6 years working as a senior lifeguard
-volunteer research working on my own project last summer
-Minimal hours (less than 100) at 2 different non clinical type volunteer positions here at my university

And thats it- so my other idea is to take the year off school and just go hard at the EC's. Maybe do some job shadowing for a local MD, etc.
Wait so you're Canadian? My understanding is that it's more difficult to get clinical experiences in Canada correct? If you're applying in the U.S. though, you will need to enhance your ECs.
 

bengaltiger211

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My .02 having done life completely opposite you... Stay in school, keep the mindset, remained focused, and most importantly do not make any money. Start a masters program somewhere, if you finish great, if you get accepted to a medical school mid stream even better. Trust me when you cease to be a college student, you can never truly regain the title... Stay a student as long as humanly possible or until you achieve your objective... Otherwise you'll end up being a parent trying to attend school, an employee beholden to their job to pay the mortgage trying to attend school, or some other combination of obligations while you try to attend school.
the single-mindedness of this makes it pretty terrible advice in my opinion. i'm currently having a great time at a medical school in the top 25, and the majority of my class took time off between college and medical school - most of whom did NOT go and get another graduate degree in between. they worked in all kinds of places...some examples are clinical research coordinators, laboratory research assistants, school teachers, actors on broadway, management consultants (like me!), surgical assistants in other countries, accountants, waitresses....you name it.

i do agree that there's something really nice about being a student. the academic environment is reflective and so insulated from real life. however, as someone who came from the working world into medical school, you'll find that a challenging job offers a skill set that you will never gain in some random master's program somewhere. need proof? think of all the times in school where they try to simulate real world environments so that you can learn "practically". well, here is one of the few times in your life where you have a chance to actually go out in the real world, try something crazy and REALLY learn something practically. if you can get some clinical experience along the way like you mentioned, then that's just money in the bank. unlike the rest of the professional world, guess what... if you hate it, who cares? there's really nothing on the line since you're a great applicant and going back to school anyways.

your current line of thinking of getting a clinical position or research experience is a great way to go. find a project that really pushes you to do something uncomfortable, and you will gain much, much more than another classroom experience. best of luck to you!
 
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OP
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Dec 15, 2013
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That is not how it is done in the United States. My suggestion would be to move south, start a masters program and apply liberally to medical schools all over the states constantly... You won't have any issues here, our colleges just want your money, they won't get upset if you don't come back the following semester.
Wouldn't I have to be an American citizen for some set length of time before applying?

Wait so you're Canadian? My understanding is that it's more difficult to get clinical experiences in Canada correct? If you're applying in the U.S. though, you will need to enhance your ECs.
Well I guess it is hard to compare since I have no idea what the situation is like in the US, but yeah it is relatively difficult to get direct patient interaction around here. I volunteered briefly at a local hospital hoping I would get the chance to talk with some doctors and patients but my position morphed into just doing errands for the nurses so I left. My school offers a program to shadow a doctor directly, so I will hopefully be looking into that this upcoming year. Thats a little better than no formal clinical experience? Plus, I consider my years as a lifeguard pretty great clinical "like" experience, since I dealt with lots of injuries that were severe enough to be sent off via ambulance

your current line of thinking of getting a clinical position or research experience is a great way to go. find a project that really pushes you to do something uncomfortable, and you will gain much, much more than another classroom experience. best of luck to you!
Thanks for the helpful and kind words!
 

mk04447

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the single-mindedness of this makes it pretty terrible advice in my opinion. i'm currently having a great time at a medical school in the top 25, and the majority of my class took time off between college and medical school - most of whom did NOT go and get another graduate degree in between. they worked in all kinds of places...some examples are clinical research coordinators, laboratory research assistants, school teachers, actors on broadway, management consultants (like me!), surgical assistants in other countries, accountants, waitresses....you name it.

i do agree that there's something really nice about being a student. the academic environment is reflective and so insulated from real life. however, as someone who came from the working world into medical school, you'll find that a challenging job offers a skill set that you will never gain in some random master's program somewhere. need proof? think of all the times in school where they try to simulate real world environments so that you can learn "practically". well, here is one of the few times in your life where you have a chance to actually go out in the real world, try something crazy and REALLY learn something practically. if you can get some clinical experience along the way like you mentioned, then that's just money in the bank. unlike the rest of the professional world, guess what... if you hate it, who cares? there's really nothing on the line since you're a great applicant and going back to school anyways.

your current line of thinking of getting a clinical position or research experience is a great way to go. find a project that really pushes you to do something uncomfortable, and you will gain much, much more than another classroom experience. best of luck to you!
I'm not sure where to start but, I definitely feel a reaction to your comment... Now let me see if I can articulate it.

Your window of the world is skewed by success. You made a statement about what you and your classmates did, sorry, most people don't go to medical school. In fact, most people, not just future doctors, get distracted on life's breaks... Whether they come after high school, or even before like those who say I'll drop out, get my GED and never do... Breaks after community college, bachelors, masters, anything. The point is the road to hell is paved with good intentions, a safer route (from a parental perspective, which is always sincere advice) is to remain engaged on your pursuit and in school, unemployed or under employed... Trust me, need creates desire and desire fuels inspiration and innovation which makes things happen.

Now for my broader response... You summed up the millennial mindset precisely and I encourage you to review this logic... Granted you're already in medical school and should end up fine having made wise choices but, your generation is about to suffer. Before I go on, I admit this is partially my generations fault... If you hate it who cares? You should, we all should. This generation believes everything grows on trees and options are readily available, this is completely opposite reality. Hopping from job to job teaches horrible experience, it teaches us to continually seek the path of least resistance, mooch off of family, friends, government assistance, and it weakens our ability to thrive. The current belief that there are no consequences in life will eventually lead to a collapse. Reduced standards and the demand for instant gratification only leads to debt and unhappiness...

For every decision there is a cost, hopefully you continue to see good costs like four years in medical school but, for the vast majority a decent paying job, unexpected pregnancy, debt, or a host of other issues ends in shattered dreams. Stay in school, volunteer and shadow for the clinical exposure.
 

mk04447

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Wouldn't I have to be an American citizen for some set length of time before applying?


Well I guess it is hard to compare since I have no idea what the situation is like in the US, but yeah it is relatively difficult to get direct patient interaction around here. I volunteered briefly at a local hospital hoping I would get the chance to talk with some doctors and patients but my position morphed into just doing errands for the nurses so I left. My school offers a program to shadow a doctor directly, so I will hopefully be looking into that this upcoming year. Thats a little better than no formal clinical experience? Plus, I consider my years as a lifeguard pretty great clinical "like" experience, since I dealt with lots of injuries that were severe enough to be sent off via ambulance


Thanks for the helpful and kind words!
Call an embassy or immigration... I am absolutely positive it would be simple to attend school and volunteer in the US.
 
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I'm not sure where to start but, I definitely feel a reaction to your comment... Now let me see if I can articulate it.

Your window of the world is skewed by success. You made a statement about what you and your classmates did, sorry, most people don't go to medical school. In fact, most people, not just future doctors, get distracted on life's breaks... Whether they come after high school, or even before like those who say I'll drop out, get my GED and never do... Breaks after community college, bachelors, masters, anything. The point is the road to hell is paved with good intentions, a safer route (from a parental perspective, which is always sincere advice) is to remain engaged on your pursuit and in school, unemployed or under employed... Trust me, need creates desire and desire fuels inspiration and innovation which makes things happen.

Now for my broader response... You summed up the millennial mindset precisely and I encourage you to review this logic... Granted you're already in medical school and should end up fine having made wise choices but, your generation is about to suffer. Before I go on, I admit this is partially my generations fault... If you hate it who cares? You should, we all should. This generation believes everything grows on trees and options are readily available, this is completely opposite reality. Hopping from job to job teaches horrible experience, it teaches us to continually seek the path of least resistance, mooch off of family, friends, government assistance, and it weakens our ability to thrive. The current belief that there are no consequences in life will eventually lead to a collapse. Reduced standards and the demand for instant gratification only leads to debt and unhappiness...

For every decision there is a cost, hopefully you continue to see good costs like four years in medical school but, for the vast majority a decent paying job, unexpected pregnancy, debt, or a host of other issues ends in shattered dreams. Stay in school, volunteer and shadow for the clinical exposure.
I believe your window of the world is skewed by failure (or at least struggle). I do not see the problem of earning a college degree and then working a few years before applying for medical school. If you're focused and driven enough to experience the world with the end results in mind, you will not get distracted. Going to medical school with those experiences not only helps better yourself but also your peers. It seems to me like your advice is discouraging OP from going out and trying new exciting experiences and to rather shelter themself in the bubble of academia.
 
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mk04447

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I believe your window of the world is skewed by failure (or at least struggle). I do not see the problem of earning a college degree and then working a few years before applying for medical school. If you're focused and driven enough to experience the world with the end results in mind, you will not get distracted. Going to medical school with those experiences not only helps better yourself but also your peers. It seems to me like your advice is discouraging OP from going out and trying new exciting experiences and to rather shelter themself in the bubble of academia.
Nothing in my life has been a failure nor am I saying the masses are losers who cannot help themselves. You haven't known, worked with, met, spoken with enough people to attribute your experiences to what I'm saying, I'm still learning every day. Very close to 40, despite books, advice, experience, or trial and error, I can promise you "life happens" to "most" people unintentionally.

You must be willing to accept "most" people who attend medical school are not average citizens both educationally and motivationally. When you are my age, I promise you will know more people who didn't achieve goals they once had... I am not saying to their detriment, that they failed... Some will be quite happy things turned out as they did, some will harbor some dissatisfaction with their path, and others will reinvent themselves when they have an opportunity.

I renew my statement, assess your risk, you stand a better chance of becoming a doctor if you stay in school and delay creating real life for yourself now... Remain a student.
 

nemo123

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Well I guess it is hard to compare since I have no idea what the situation is like in the US, but yeah it is relatively difficult to get direct patient interaction around here. I volunteered briefly at a local hospital hoping I would get the chance to talk with some doctors and patients but my position morphed into just doing errands for the nurses so I left. My school offers a program to shadow a doctor directly, so I will hopefully be looking into that this upcoming year. Thats a little better than no formal clinical experience? Plus, I consider my years as a lifeguard pretty great clinical "like" experience, since I dealt with lots of injuries that were severe enough to be sent off via ambulance
Shadowing, although it is a clinical experience, isn't necessarily direct patient contact. Unless you will be interacting with them (like taking their blood pressure, etc) instead of observing the whole time, it will not really be perceived well by the adcom in U.S. med schools. Lifeguarding might be considered a clinical experience if you spin it that way in your app, but to be safe, you should probably try to volunteer at a hospital, become an EMT, etc. @LizzyM might know more about this.
 

LizzyM

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OP, I know that getting clinical experience is a challenge in Canada. That said, I do see applicants from Canadian students who did get into situations where even if they did not touch patients they were close enough to smell them. (i.e. not locked away in an administrative office or gift shop far from any real patients). Shadowing is a clinical experience in my book.

It would be a good idea, if possible, to volunteer or be employed part-time in a facility where people receive medical care. Out of hospital care as is provided by EMTs and rescue squads is another idea.

You might consider American schools that offer one year graduate programs that you can take during a glide year (see www.aamc.org for a searchable listing) or consider getting a job in the coming year that will provide you with something to talk about on interviews.