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How are your ECs?

  • Great - They'll get me in somwhere.

    Votes: 24 31.2%
  • Good - They help.

    Votes: 28 36.4%
  • Average - won't hurt me.

    Votes: 13 16.9%
  • What ECs?

    Votes: 12 15.6%

  • Total voters
    77

SailCrazy

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Ok, so its easy to determine if you have a "good" GPA, or a "good" MCAT score.

What would you say constitutes "good" Extra Curriculars?
What type(s) of experience over what period of time are "good"?

What ECs are "Great"?
 
3

39094

I think what makes an EC good vs. great is how unique it is and how deeply you are involved in it.


If you go to Hospice every week for a couple of hours, you're going to look just like everyone else in the world who's appyling.

If you do something interesting, no matter how crazy it might be, it really stands out on an application.
 

quideam

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Shadowed a doctor: good
Went with him on a medical mission to an underdeveloped region where you assisted him: great

Volunteered at a hospital: good
Became a certified med tech and actually did procedures: great

Participated in Model UN: good
Got an intership at the UN working on health issues: great

Worked in a genetics lab: good
Came up with a new way of looking at sequence data and presented it at a conference: great

You get the idea... anything that shows you've taken the "extra step" and done something above and beyond the average will stand out. That being said, don't do anything you really aren't enthusiastic about, because that will stand out as well.
 
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carrigallen

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if you have to ask "what are great ec's" then you probably don't have any.. They are things you love doing, and it shows through regardless of what they are.
 

Pinkertinkle

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Yeah, you don't do EC's to have great EC's. You do EC's because you like to, otherwise you are wasting your time.
 

fullefect1

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Coming up with a cure for a disease would always be ideal, but that probably won't happen as a undergrad, and most likely it will never happen for most of us.

But a form of leadership seems to be agreed apon of being a good thing.
 

uclakid

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I think just worrying about finding something "unique" is a waste of time...i did this, and I ended up doing nothing...so, just do something, and try to move up in it (gain a leadership position). Don't worry about it, just do something. This method may not be the sole factor in getting you in, but it will definitely help you look like a better applicant.
 

exmike

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statistically 50% should have above averages EC's, yet with this small poll we have 70% stating they have above average EC's. Most people think their EC's are better than they really are.
 

NemoFish

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I will continue to stand by my position that EC's are a load of crap in general--unless they help you decide whether medicine is right for you. Personally, I think EC's should be voluntary and not "required" and that if you feel that two days shadowing a doctor is enough for you to decide about medicine, that should not be counted against you.

I would prefer to do none--to spend my time studying more and preparing myself to be a better scientist--but these adcoms want too see all this touchy-feely crap, so I'm doing it, but just so it will look good. All these people can say, "don't do something because it will look good," but frankly I think that's the ONLY reason to do EC's. I am doing mine just to look good and they do look good. So I suggest that you do some searching on the Internet and figure out what will look good. Volunteering at a free clinic always looks good, as does shadowing for a long period of time (i.e. a semester). The key is to do enough hours so it will look good, but stop as soon as you get in. That's what I plan to do.

All of this EC nonsense really gets to me sometimes. Maybe if adcoms were more focused on numbers there wouldn't be so many medical mistakes going on by doctors who were underqualified to get into med school in the first place--but maybe showed compassion by assisting the doctor in a hospital in Africa or something like that. :wow:
 

quideam

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Originally posted by NemoFish
I will continue to stand by my position that EC's are a load of crap in general--unless they help you decide whether medicine is right for you. Personally, I think EC's should be voluntary and not "required" and that if you feel that two days shadowing a doctor is enough for you to decide about medicine, that should not be counted against you.

I would prefer to do none--to spend my time studying more and preparing myself to be a better scientist--but these adcoms want too see all this touchy-feely crap, so I'm doing it, but just so it will look good. All these people can say, "don't do something because it will look good," but frankly I think that's the ONLY reason to do EC's. I am doing mine just to look good and they do look good. So I suggest that you do some searching on the Internet and figure out what will look good. Volunteering at a free clinic always looks good, as does shadowing for a long period of time (i.e. a semester). The key is to do enough hours so it will look good, but stop as soon as you get in. That's what I plan to do.

All of this EC nonsense really gets to me sometimes. Maybe if adcoms were more focused on numbers there wouldn't be so many medical mistakes going on by doctors who were underqualified to get into med school in the first place--but maybe showed compassion by assisting the doctor in a hospital in Africa or something like that. :wow:

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :mad: :mad: :mad: +pissed+ +pissed+ +pissed+
 

Pinkertinkle

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That's one way to look at it, just don't share your views with the adcoms.
 

clowne

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I agree that it is a shame that certain ECs are virtually a requirement to get into medical school. Many people do them just to strengthen their applications, and they are able to fool adcoms into thinking that they are altruistic and highly compassionate when the truth is that they're simply ambitious to get into a good school. Part of the AMCAS application should be a psychological evaluation, and interviews should consist of a polygraph test to find out who's really out to help people, and who just wants a prestigious career. That would weed out the people who do certain ECs to look good on paper.
 
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ndi_amaka

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Originally posted by clowne
Part of the AMCAS application should be a psychological evaluation, and interviews should consist of a polygraph test to find out who's really out to help people, and who just wants a prestigious career. That would weed out the people who do certain ECs to look good on paper.
Is there any shame in pursuing a career in medicine because it's a prestigious career? Not everyone wants to work in 3rd world countries or rural areas, some people just like practicing medicine. Is that a crime??
 

clowne

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Originally posted by ndi_amaka
Is there any shame in pursuing a career in medicine because it's a prestigious career? Not everyone wants to work in 3rd world countries or rural areas, some people just like practicing medicine. Is that a crime??

I'm not saying its wrong to practice medicine for such reasons, just that involvement in ECs can give admissions committees a faulty idea of someone's true motivations.
 

uclakid

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I agree with you guys completely. I don't think ECs actually say much about anyone. A person might've just happened to get involved in something "unique" and great. But what about the people who do things that are NOT unique? Are they average? Are they not working hard enough to become doctors? NO. Who cares what you do. Do something to show that you can do more than study.
 

ndi_amaka

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Originally posted by clowne
I'm not saying its wrong to practice medicine for such reasons, just that involvement in ECs can give admissions committees a faulty idea of someone's true motivations.

True but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. If you're a 3.8 35 MCAT student and you want to differentiate yourself from all the other applicants, ytou'd be stupid not to volunteer or something. Plus you don't find out what you HATE to do until you actually do it for some time.

How else is the person going to stand out?? Going home and watching Oprah doesn't exactly wow the admissions committee.
 

Lochmoor

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I disagree, I think that EC's can show what type of person you are. I do not think that adcoms are looking for things that are just medically related, they want to see that you are a person who likes to do other things and does them well. Also, it can show you are a hard worker not just a hardcore bookworm.

However, you would be right by saying that it's just an unstated requirement. Everyone else does something to make themselves stick out, so you do too. Adcoms need something to separate people and ec's are just the thing, otherwise it would be a straight numbers game where interviews and essays would not be needed--which many people hate--(search for a Wash U thread). Think about it, what do you write or talk about in your application, take away EC's and you only have hollow words describing your desire to become a doctor that anyone can say.
 

jlee9531

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Originally posted by Sharky
Another good activity is sight-seeing for sharks.
:laugh: :laugh:

i am glad ECs are a basic requirement, for it at least shows that you arent just someone that just spent his entire school career studying. i know a few people with high grades and high mcats scores with virtually nothing else that have gotten rejected from all med schools they applied to and honestly i am glad cause they would make their patients feel uncomfortable. i am sorry but for the most part, i would want a physician that was socially functional. ECs can show what kind of an applicant you are and to see if you gained anything from activites outside of school. you dont have to do anything unique...not at all...sure its nice to have things different, but thats not possible with everyone. if you do what you do, and you enjoy it and can share those experiences...then awesome.

anyone who is able to graduate medical school and go through residency is technically qualified to be a successful doctor. we dont make mistakes cause we are underqualified because of our sub 3.7 gpa...all of us will make mistakes. its human. we just wont know until we practice if those few mistakes we make will be major or minor ones.
 

nighttrain

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I know that at least the Univ of Utah SOM requires ECs as evidence of one's ability to multi-task, or handle several important obligations simultaneously. I doubt this is unique of the U, they're just the only school that will say it explicitly. I think it's a good measure.
 

twinklz

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statistically 50% should have above averages EC's, yet with this small poll we have 70% stating they have above average EC's. Most people think their EC's are better than they really are.

I dunno about this. I mean, c'mon, I feel like my 32 MCAT is below the norm on SDN and yet its well above "average." I think this is yet another example of this community's tendency to overachieve (and, yes, I'm guilty of this as well)
 

rgporter

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Originally posted by carrigallen
if you have to ask "what are great ec's" then you probably don't have any.. They are things you love doing, and it shows through regardless of what they are.

Everyone I know who has done peace corps type work in Africa, or other 3rd world countries has been ushered into medical school, even with lower than average numerical stats. I would have to say that these service oportunities are the great ec's. They also require a hefty sacrifice of time or money or both.
 

Sweet Tea

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Looking back on my application and how it changed over the year when I was applying, here's my 2 cents:

Good ECs (when I submitted my application):
-3 years EMT-B experience
-2 year basic science research
-2 year clinical studies research (patient evaluation, statistics, database management)

GREAT ECs:
-3 years EMT-B experience including teaching classes, serving as volunteer Captain, and becoming certified in swift water rescue and hazardous materials response

-2 years clinical studies research including patient exam and interview, statistical analysis, database management, co-author of journal article and presentation of article at national conference.

Not saying these are the best ECs out there, but it's just how my app changed between the time I initially submitted it and when I was accepted.
 

hillofbeans

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I have always thought that ECs most usefulness was in the interview phase. A fantastic EC provides a great talking point for you and the interviewer to start off with. Plus it makes you stick in their head. You're not the 8000th applicant who has shadowed a doctor, you're the first applicant who has marketed tobacco-free cigars, etc.
 

CalBeE

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I actually think EC's influence what I put in my primary and secondary essays, and influence what half of my LOR writers wrote in their letters.

Although EC's themselves alone can't get you into med schools, but they give you experience that are helpful
 

SailCrazy

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I definitely feel that ECs should be done out of genuine interest, but there is also the realism that they are an important part of the application process.

I'll be applying to start Med. School in the Fall of 2006, so I have some time to refine my ECs. I'm not going to do *anything* that I'm not interested in just to look good, but I wanted to get some ideas of where/how I might "go the extra mile" in the areas that I have interest! :D
 

longlakeboy

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The thing that sucks, and I'm afraid it's hurting me, is that I don't have any hospital volunteering... IN COLLEGE. I did 300 hours of it in high school, and so when I came to college, I didn't... I had the experience done, and I enjoyed it, but I wanted to try other things. Now, because I didn't just do it to do it again in college, I'm afraid it looks bad. When I told an interviewer at Tulane about my experience volunteering, he was like, "Soooo... none in college then?" WHAT THE HELL DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?
 

Bad Mojo

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I had a fair amount of teaching experience (both paid and volunteer). Combine the fact that its academic physicians that sit on adcoms (teaching as a function of medical schools/academic medicine) with the fact that most undergrads don't have teaching experience makes it a pretty big EC advantage.
 
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