1. The SDN iPhone App is back and free through November! Get it today and please post a review on the App Store!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

What is considered "box-checking"?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by DrMeowMeow, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. DrMeowMeow

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    78
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I have heard about adcoms not liking pre-meds who just box-check for ECs (Shadowing, volunteering, work, leadership, etc). I don't understand though because I noticed in the What are my Chances section that if an applicant is missing one of these it is suggested that they do it. My Pre-Med Advisors would also advise to fill in any gaps for types of experiences missing.

    So is an applicant who does all these types of experiences considered a box-checker? I feel like applicants would be at a disadvantage if they were missing something like physician shadowing or clinical volunteering. What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. postbacpremed87

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    Messages:
    2,049
    Likes Received:
    580
    Status:
    Medical Student
    If you list it, then it better have merit/substance. Know why? If you get an interview, they ask you about it, and you don't talk about it with passion, then you're ****ed. They smell BS a mile away.

     
  4. paul411

    paul411 ANES
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    1,617
    Likes Received:
    31
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    A checklist approach to ECs for medical school admissions is discouraged in the sense that you shouldn't just do the activities because you feel you have to check them off the list (halfheartedly).

    Doesn't mean you shouldn't use the "checklist" as a guideline for meaningful activities you can participate in.
     
  5. Perrotfish

    Perrotfish Has an MD in Horribleness
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    7,969
    Likes Received:
    3,684
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I think the key is that top school's don't want you to 'just' box check. As in, check all the boxes, and then make sure you devote a significant amount of time to at least one memorable, completely unrelated to medicine, asanine waste of your time so that you seem reliably well rounded. There are three main ways to go about it:

    1) Be rich: Rich activities are fun, make you well rounded, and may even be educational. Sail around the world on a tall ship. Climb mountains. Do a sport that requires you to buy multiple horses. Travel, while paying for medical experience along the way. Medical schools love things that only the children of physicians can afford to do.

    2) Be old: Jobs, military experience, Peace Corps. Nothing says 'I'm ready for medicine' like several years of experience in not medicine.

    3) Do something that no reasonable person wants to do: You need a schtick, it needs to be memorable, you don't want to take extra years to do it, and what that means is doing something really, really f-ing stupid. Learning the guitar? Meh. Bagpipes? Better. Extra degree? No. From clown college? Yes! Involved with your church? Too common. By ringing the giant bells, hunchback of Notre Dame style? Good to go.

    OR you could not worry about top schools, just check the boxes, and go somewhere mid range.
     
    #4 Perrotfish, Aug 4, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011
  6. wololololololo

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    329
    Likes Received:
    24
    Status:
    Medical Student

    I completely agree with your assessment of the admissions game. State Banjo champion and African clinic coordinator? Welcome to Hahvud.
     
  7. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking
    Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    16,563
    Likes Received:
    7,142
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I think this sums it up pretty well. The top schools seem to look for ridiculously odd/unique experiences in its students. Whether or not those things have anything to do with being a physician, who knows.
     
  8. DrMeowMeow

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    78
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Thanks for the responses. They certainly cleared up my confusion! At first i wasn't sure if it would good or bad to have everything and if it would have been better to be "missing" 1 or 2 things.
     
  9. Whatyousay

    Whatyousay A few loose screws
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,802
    Likes Received:
    57
    MDApps:
    Harvard: Educating the rich since 1636.
     
  10. Illinois2012

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Yup. Unfortunately my average suburban life playing the 3 major american sports is not very interesting. Can't afford a horse, and not into bagpipes.
     
  11. Bumbl3b33

    Removed

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Medical Student
    This is the dumbest thing I've read since Ann Coulter's "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right". You can see why schools look for the unique experiences that you bash.
     
  12. HumbleMD

    HumbleMD hmmmm...
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Messages:
    2,575
    Likes Received:
    28
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    4) Get lucky (you're looking at one!)

    For the OP, what screams "checkbox" is when you volunteered filling broomsclosets in the hospital for 3 months. Despite the cynical (yet mostly true) poster above, it is possible to do "un-checkboxxy" things. For example, rather than volunteer at the hospital like the thousands of pre-meds before me at UMich, I volunteered at a free clinic 20 minutes away for 2 years.

    They want to see commitment and tenacity, rather than flitting through activities (research for a couple months without accomplishing anything, volunteering here and there, etc.). Of course rounding out your resume with some padding is better than none.
     
  13. paul411

    paul411 ANES
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    1,617
    Likes Received:
    31
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Why? Enlighten us.

    PS. Why are you reading Mr. Coulter's books? He's a terrible author!
     
  14. n3xa

    n3xa "the anchor"
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    2,083
    Likes Received:
    214
    MDApps:
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]

    Volunteering at a free clinic is "un-checkboxxy?" Wat.

    I agree with post #2. Get something genuinely worthwhile out of the experience and you'll be fine. And don't forget to learn something. And if you do research, don't feel too terrible if you don't get a publication out of it.
     
  15. Deathstar

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Messages:
    772
    Likes Received:
    0
    Way to set arbitrary standards. Still going to apply to them, but this was eye opening. Peace corp doesn't sound too bad. Average matriculate is 23 anyway.
     
  16. chronicidal

    chronicidal Scrub
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    Messages:
    1,189
    Likes Received:
    349
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I would agree that you need to check all the boxes but do one thing really well or do one really strange thing.
     
  17. Ortho Guy

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I box checked my way to success. An adcoms entire experience of your activity is summed into a paragraph and a few minute long stories. Make sure you tell good stories.
     
  18. Ortho Guy

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Agreed with Perot and Nick.
     
  19. point542

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status:
    Medical Student
    am i being trolled.jpg
     
  20. Pulsar

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    This is honestly my favorite post ever on SDN.
     
  21. lkthlttr

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2010
    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Brilliant!
     
  22. Soulstice

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    644
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Please say this is sarcastic..? Ann Coulter..?
     
  23. Dr Love

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    11
    You must be the mint, you make so much sense. :thumbup:
     
  24. wololololololo

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    329
    Likes Received:
    24
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I'm guessing you don't internet much.
     
  25. Truzzi

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Some people here just don't understand humor.

    BTW Perotfish, that post was fantastic. Climbing Everest = automatic admission. It also costs somewhere around $25,000.
     
  26. technopoly

    technopoly The antidote for civilization
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    27
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    4) Have been raised by a. wolves, b. amazons, c. Haitian missionaries. In the case of a, you could probably claim disadvantaged. roll +5 on LizzyM score.
     
  27. epsilonprodigy

    epsilonprodigy Physicist Enough
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    741
    Likes Received:
    79
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Perrotfish, your post just won a spot on my signature line.
     
  28. bucks2010

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,166
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    haven't even finished the game yet but this is probably one of my top 5 posts on SDN.
     

Share This Page