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What exactly is considered to be average EC's?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Penguick, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. Penguick

    Penguick Junior Member
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    Hi...I usually just read things when on the forum, but I had a question about EC's after noticing one of the posts on this forum. What exactly constitutes as the average applicant in concerns to extra curriculars?
     
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  3. Id say Im average in the EC dept...
    Worked a year in ER/House as an imaging assistant (direct patient contact, independent work)
    VP/Secretary/membership secretary/and reporter for AED (premed honor society)
    Volunteered six months at local cancer center (no real patient contact)
    Various volunteering activities here and there, several of which I did repeatedly (these were the fun ones)
    Teaching position at Princeton Review for Orgo (they like teaching positions)

    Thats prolly around average. If Im off base somebody let me know, I just always figured it was average. If its below average dont tell me, its too late and it will just make me paranoid.
     
  4. Oculus Sinistra

    Oculus Sinistra Finish it.
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    - Hospital volunteering, especially in the ED
    - officer in a club on campus
    - research
    - you are "learning guitar"
    - some community service (meaning you showed up at a carwash for underprivileged republicans... whatever those are)
     
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  5. Penguick

    Penguick Junior Member
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    And so exactly how much research is average? Does the officer position matter depending how active the organization actually is? Sorry if I'm asking too many questions that would seem quite basic. I would rather just have a better of idea or the general picture.
     
  6. Dr.Acula

    Dr.Acula Senior Member
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    Do you guys think you have to have a leadership position in a club to be average?
     
  7. Oculus Sinistra

    Oculus Sinistra Finish it.
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    Average research is 6 months to 1 year.
    Bonus points if you get to be published, which means that you worked on the project long enough to join the list of authors (usually as fourth, fifth, sixth author, etc). Although it's not listed as a requirement for med school, it pretty much is if you are applying to Top Twenty Schools (i.e. Harvard, Johns Hopkins, even UCSF)

    Well, first things first with organizations: get involved in something you care about. If you don't care about Human Rights Dilemmas in developing african countries, don't join that club. But if you find one you like, go for it. The more active the organization, the more it'll mean something when you talk about it on your AMCAS/in your interview. Remember, it's one thing to say, "i was the Treasurer and I dealt with membership fees", but it's another thing entirely to say, "I was the Treasurer and outside of my position duties, I also got the club involved in this-or-that event and I instilled changes in the organization so we could be more effective in our mission, etc etc"

    Hope that helps.
     
  8. Penguick

    Penguick Junior Member
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    Thanks for the replies. I'm already involved in plenty, I was just seeing where I stood on the spectrum of activities. You're from Florida? UF or elsewhere?
     
  9. dude1344

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    Wait, it's "pretty much a requirement" that you have to be published or that you've done some research?
     
  10. Richspiders07

    Richspiders07 User - peruser
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    I'd say if you're applying to a top school where research is emphasized, it would be important to have done meaningful research.. meaning you didn't just sit in a lab for a few hours every week. You've either had a publication or attended conferences to present your findings, etc. I know of people who say they've done "research," but really they just did their homework in a research lab and cleaned some petri dishes every now and then!
     
  11. dude1344

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    I understand a lot of the people who say they've done "research" haven't really done it. I was just wondering if what Oculus was referring to as a requirement with respect to top schools was being published.
     
  12. Richspiders07

    Richspiders07 User - peruser
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    I wouldn't say its a "requirement," but it would be useful to have something concrete to illustrate what you've done. Many applicants will have research publications, and so being published would help you be competitive. Having a strong LOR from a research advisor would also be helpful.
     
  13. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Research is a requirement if you are shaping your application as being interested in going in to research. If you're not, it's not necessary but can be helpful.

    Even at the top schools, you get lots of applicants with minimal to no research experience. What you will not see is students get in with an expressed interest in academic medicine or research without any on their resume.
     
  14. geno2568

    geno2568 Senior Member
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    i have about 70 hours of volunteering/shadowing
    i worked in a lab for 2 semesters (started a project, but had to dump it)
    i'm on the e-board of 3 different on campus organizations(one of which is involved with bioethics)
    i'v worked as a tech support consultant part-time for 2 years to pay off work study
    for 1 semester, i helped tutor juveniles felons on how to pass their parole board

    do those seem about average?
     
  15. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I think average EC's follows a pretty standard template:

    1. Clinical volunteering- usually in an ER, 100 hours
    2. Nonclinical volunteering- soup kitchen, human rights, etc. 75 hours
    3. Research- 6-12 months doing low level stuff
    4. Publication- 1-2 second/third author minor pubs
    5. Leadership- Usually a college club or minor leadership role at a nonprof
    6. Teaching- TA or tutor
    7. Artistic- play in a band, photography, painter

    What makes it average isn't the time or depth but the fact that it's all very templated. Like following a punchcard of things you feel you have to do.
     
  16. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I think that for folks who worry that their EC's are average, you have to ask yourself this: what makes my application stand out from the others? Did you start/lead a successful business? Work in the Peace Corps? Tour with a symphony for three years? You need something to make you look different from all the other drones.
     
  17. Compass

    Compass Squishy
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    Does having a 35 page research paper about what I found, that can probably at best only be published at my university' student run publications center, be considered research? Yes, I did work. I wasn't a pipeteer.
     
  18. EagerToBeMD

    EagerToBeMD Medical Student
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    Are political internships considered good EC's? I'm poli sci minor and wanted to intern with my state legislature next summer.
     
  19. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Sure. Peer-reviewed journals and whatnot are preferred, but it's better than nothing. And being sole author on something like that means you'll obviously have a lot to say about it.
     
  20. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Then go for it. The ECs that are usually the most interesting are the ones that people pursue without consciously deciding whether or not it looks good on the resume. I think that something like this will give you lots to talk about.
     
  21. g3pro

    g3pro Dr. Mogley
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    I think it depends on what you do with the EC...

    what most people call research is just washing dishes.
    what most people call volunteering is stocking supplies in the ED.
    what most people call publication is 5th author on some sort of clinical research project
    what most people call leadership is just a token position in some college club


    Sure, those specific things are average, but the activity categories themselves shouldn't be considered average because that's the historical demonstration of your potential as a physician.
     
  22. njcaldwell

    njcaldwell Mr. Banana-Grabber
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    I didnt think I was average, I was hoping I was good, but sadly it looks like Im all average....
     
  23. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member
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    for sure :thumbup:
     
  24. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Most all of us are average. That's what makes it... average.

    Your GPA and MCATs are above average. I'd be happy with 'em.
     
  25. mmmkay121

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    kinda average, but your MCAT score is :eek: !
     
  26. dantt

    dantt Member
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    Would these EC's make up for reapplicant stigma at a top-tier school?

    1. 500 hours of clinical volunteering
    2. 1.5 years of research + 2nd author publication (wrote a couple pages and made figures) + 2 professional conferences + 2 undergraduate conferences
    3. Leadership in clinical volunteering program
    4. Leadership in a large, highly active, cultural organization (selected as "best club on campus"
    5. Lead senior design of inhaler

    I am very worried about how I'll do as a reapplicant. I know my stats and EC's are pretty good but just being a reapplicant supposedly puts you in a pretty bad light, especially at a top tier school.
     
  27. Dr.TobiasFünke

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    The only EC I did was Grilling for my undergrad's Grilling Society...

    I got into a top tier school

    You people worry so much.
     
  28. Knickerbocker

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    Ok, now for the humor...

    What people have said so far is true for the general population but not true for people on these forums. Around the forums, I seem to see a lot of these things:

    -6 years shadowing the best neurosurgeon in the NE (started in 8th grade)

    -8 years of ER or EMT volunteering

    -helping aids orphans in Africa/Cambodia/etc.

    -second author on a publication where the first author received a Nobel Prize last year, first author on 24 NIH publications

    -starting a cancer research facility or homeless shelter

    -speaks seventeen languages, works as a translator for all

    -tons of summer fellowships

    -volunteer at 2002 Winter Olympics (all applicants from Utah!)

    -NCAA Track/Basketball/etc.

    -president of 12 campus organizations

    -co-wrote a textbook (as an undergrad!)

    -8th generation doctor

    Me jealous? You bet.
     
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  29. MinnyGophers

    MinnyGophers Senior Member
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    Ah. I actually know a kid who actually wrote a couple of books. He's at Harvard.
     
  30. geno2568

    geno2568 Senior Member
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    you forgot to add
    "violinist"
    med schools love musicians
     
  31. Compass

    Compass Squishy
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    A violinist who can also play the piano. With his feet.
     
  32. dopaminesurge

    dopaminesurge My friends calls me Steve
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    Yeah, I'd been wodnering about this too. It's a good question for LizzyM or Adcomm - what do you guys see often? How many years of research? Clubs? What sort of community work?
     
  33. SoupWithAFork

    SoupWithAFork Inertia Creeps
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    I agree. After reading this thread, I feel pretty darn average, but I feel like it's really hard NOT to be average, considering you have to hit upon certain key points (volunteer. clinical exp. research. leadership.) and for college kids, a lot of these things that are "average" are the best opportunities there are that don't encroach on academics. I always feel like there's only so much I can do because there's only 24 hours in a day, but after reading this I feel like just another pre-med drone. :(

    What kind of (feasible for undergrads) EC stuff is seen less frequently / catches the eye more??
     
  34. mvenus929

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I'm pretty sure my distinguishing trait will be that I've been to 14 different schools throughout my life (and thus can adapt REALLY REALLY well). Because beyond that, I'm not really all that special.
     
  35. coralfangs

    coralfangs Senior Member
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    so true
    especially with the publication/research bit
    i actually know a friend who got to be the 5th (something like that) author by washing dishes for 4 hrs a week for one semester
    the prof figured that she "DID" contribute to the project so he included her name
     
  36. lizt

    lizt Member
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    all this talk of EC's is making me nervous! ill be a junior in the fall.
    EMT-B in volunteer ambulance (70 hours, more to come)
    volunteer in recreation dept of rehab center (60 hrs)
    shadowing obgyn (60 hrs)
    tutoring international students (2 semesters, more to come)
    2 semesters research in chem lab
    research + honors thesis in bio lab to come (will have 2 years experience there when all is done)

    any thoughts on my EC's so far?

    this coming semester, i wanted to either volunteer in a hospital or tutor kids. i had a bad experience volunteering in an ER once (i didnt have much to do there), and i actually had to stop after going 3 times for a personal medical problem i had. it seems that most volunteers in hospitals dont do very useful things, and i am getting clinical exposure as an EMT.
    so, would my time be best spent doing something else medically related (ie volunteer in a hospital) or something i havent done before (like tutoring small children)?
     
  37. RokChalkJayhawk

    RokChalkJayhawk Muck Fizzou
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    You know what's worse than having "average" EC's?

    Having below average (or no!) EC's. :scared:

    So in this case being "average" is good, but not great.
     
  38. cbennett

    cbennett Membership Revoked
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    OP don't worry about what the other dude in the other forum said (the 6 language troll) He was just putting that **** up to get compliments and make average people feel below average???
     
  39. MedStudentWanna

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    OK, dudes, seriously, here's the way the game is played.

    You HAVE to have clinical experience. This is mandatory. Best way to do that is through volunteering at a hospital/clinic.

    You should have community service. Best way to do that is through an organization you believe in. Maybe Red Cross, maybe Feed The Children, maybe National Center for Missing Children, something not clinically related.

    You should have research. Do it through your school.

    You should have plenty of EC's, which is what this thread is about. Best way to do that is, for once, don't let medicine dictate your life and go out there and live! Join a sports team at school, become a dancer or musician in your spare time, audition for the school play, join the school paper, go biking or run in a marathon, enter a pie-eating contest, twirl batons in a parade, join a swim club, live a little for crying out loud!

    I don't understand why pre-meds think that every single facet of their life has to be humanitarian and/or clinical. So many of these people get rejected every year (just check out the stellar grades/MCAT's on mdapps and you'll see what I mean). Med schools seem to want someone who isn't all medicine all the time. They want well-rounded applicants, not applicants who have 700 hours of hospital volunteering in addition to their EMT certification, work at hospice every weekend, have co-authored 72 papers, and tutor freshman in physics for fun.

    Come on, seriously. Anyone who thinks that every single volunteer/community service/research/and EC should be about medicine needs to find a way to do something different or else you're probably going to diminish your chances for being too sheltered.
     
  40. adam64897

    adam64897 Membership Revoked
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    uh no...that is much more above average as far as Extra Curriculars go...your grocery list isn't a pre-req for med. school but some kind of clinical experience is necessary which you have and I wouldn't be worried about being lax in the EC dept :)
     
  41. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Almost to a one, every person I know who's been through interviews has said that the most un-medical EC they put down is the one they ended up talking about the most.

    Seriously, do you really think any Adcom wants to talk to you about your volunteering in an ER or TAing chemistry?
     
  42. adam64897

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    THANK YOU! For Heaven's sake people, having a grocery list of EC's is just as likely to get you into medical school as having a year of shadowing/volunteering experience. Plus I think admissions committees know that undergrad research isn't really research at all but washing test tubes and pipetting so I wouldn't waste my time on doing research unless I planned on having something published. At the undergrad level that isn't very likely.
     
  43. TwinsFan34

    TwinsFan34 Junior Member
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    I think tutoring children would be great. Typically, volunteering in a hospital doesn't allow you to help people as much as tutoring can. I think that, if you tutor children, you will find more enjoyment and satisfaction than in doing generic hospital volunteering. That was my case, at least.

    You have clinical experience, so you should not feel obligated to do hospital volunteering just to look good on your app. Do what feels right for you, you should never cheat yourself because you want to follow "the blueprint for a successful applicant," especially because you've hit much of the blueprint already.

    Just my 2 cents, for what it's worth.
     
  44. Dr. Josh

    Dr. Josh Guest

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    I hope that's above average; otherwise I'm really in trouble.
     
  45. Knickerbocker

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    I wonder if that is worth mentioning, because the same is true for me. I went to 16 schools before getting my high school diploma (well, 15, if I don't count the semester of being home schooled).
     
  46. mvenus929

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I'm not even sure if my number's right. I'm not sure when we moved when I was really little, so I don't know how many schools I went to before 2nd grade. I think it's right. If nothing else, it's shown that I travel a lot. It'll probably affect what I put in my PS, but it's not something I'll list anywhere else, unless I use part of it to help me with some secondary question.
     
  47. Dr.TobiasFünke

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    i did do research but it was for course credit... i dont count it as an EC... i just count it as a C
     
  48. coralfangs

    coralfangs Senior Member
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    ****
    i included that in my EC because some other ppl were suggesting to include it

    im really not sure
    like for the credit, u basically do everything from designing the project to carrying out everything yourself and u spent more than 25-35hrs a week in the lab for the whole semester/year
    if u only count it as a 3hr/6hr credit, that's just not right

    and how would the adcom know what u did for the project if you don't include it in your PS?
     
  49. Marowak

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    Is tutoring as well-liked as a teaching position?
     
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  50. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Well, this is quite the necro-bump... no one has been near this thread in 10 years! Given that TRPOrgoTutor is unlikely to reply, I'll say that tutoring fellow students in a paid or volunteer capacity is pretty common and it is not uncommon for applicants to have paid employment as SAT and/or MCAT tutors. Both are far more common that teaching which we do see (Teach for America, etc) but less frequently.

    Physicians do a little teaching to patients (nurses tend to do more) and they teach one another; medical students and residents teach too as a way of learning skills (watch one, do one, teach one). Having had experience as a teacher or tutor is valuable and valued.
     
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