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What to do next year?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ComplexPuzzle, Apr 22, 2002.

  1. ComplexPuzzle

    ComplexPuzzle shakin dat a** 7+ Year Member

    177
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    Dec 25, 2001
    Not where I wanna be
    Here's the deal. I have a pretty good undergrad record with respect to GPA and my MCAT score is fairly good. I am severely lacking in the extracurricular activities though. I was a division collegiate athlete all four years while in school. This didn't leave me much time for school let alone volunteering some where. So I decided to take a year off to improve myself but now I dont know what to do with that time. I was considering doing a master's degree, but the problem with that is the time commitment and the money. Does anyone have any better ideas of what to do for a year?
     
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  3. Mystique

    Mystique The Procrastinator 7+ Year Member

    3,589
    1
    Jul 6, 2001
    If you don't need to "polish" your GPA, why are you going for the masters degree? :)
    Since you need some ECs, why don't you spend the year working on the non-academic aspect of your application; you sound "content" w/ your numbers. There are a huge array of activites you could get involved in. You could go on a service trip if you're into that sort of stuff, you could shadow a few doctors if you're lacking in that area. Ummm, there's lots to do. What are YOU interested in. People would be more than happy to make some suggestions if you could let us know what sort of "things" interest you. :)
     
  4. Green912

    Green912 10+ Year Member

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    Jun 11, 2001
    I agree with the above. If your "numbers" are fine look into doing something that will distinguish you apart from other applicants during the admissions process. Like what? I would think anything that exposes you to the real life daily routine of medicine. Leaves a lot of choices. If you're lucky (motivated) you might even make a little money at it.
     
  5. la9s

    la9s Member 7+ Year Member

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    Mar 25, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    Obviously, I think the key thing is to do something that you'll enjoy. If you hate labs, don't work in a lab. If you're tired of school, don't take any classes. That said, I would recommend doing something that will be easy to explain and talk about in your med school interviews. I took this past year off and worked doing public health research at UCLA, something I've always been interested in. Mostly I just wanted to live somewhere sunny and have fun, but I think it did help me a lot in my interviews to talk about my job, what I was researching, what I liked about it, etc. I think it would have been more difficult to talk about my job if, for example, I was a ski instructor. On the other hand, I didn't feel like I got enough distance from academia this year so I'm now planning on deferring my acceptance to go abroad next year.

    One more thing: whatever you do, make sure it's not going to be impossible to take time off for your interviews.
     
  6. bostongirl22

    bostongirl22 Member 10+ Year Member

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    Oct 24, 2001
    West Hartford, CT
    I would consider doing something like AmeriCorps. It looks good plus from what i've heard is an amazing experience. It would be something interesting to talk about in interviews.

    Personally, I have spent my year off doing clinical research, which has been great for me since i knew i didn't want to work in a lab.

    Best of luck!
     
  7. alaska

    alaska Junior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 5, 2002
    Hi all, I'm actually in similar situation as ComplexPuzzle. I'll be a senior next fall and have done almost nothing in volunteering. I've lead a study group for math class this semester though. And I'll be doing summer research at lab this summer. Should I take a year off to improve myself on this aspect? or should I take a shot at applying to med schools? I guess my stats will help you give better advice.
    GPA: ~3.8
    MCAT: will be taking this August expecting ~30?

    I'll be applying to SUNYs and some other state schools and UPitt. I'd appreciate any input on this. Thanks
     
  8. johnM

    johnM Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 8, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    alaska, a 3.8/30 should get you a few interviews at least, and then you just need to make yourself seem remotely interesting. Can't you at least make up a hobby of some sort?? You can't possible be THAT dull! Just think of a few things you like to do in your free time... traveling, watching movies, skiing, anything besides studying organic and jerking off.
     
  9. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    3,398
    15
    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    If you don't need to go to medical school next year, I suggest you take the year off (or a few years off) and do some other stuff totally unrelated to medicine. Not because it will help you get into medical school but rather to expand your horizons outside of academia and medicine. Don't waste your youth sitting in classrooms. There is plenty of time to do that.
     
  10. pipper

    pipper Member 7+ Year Member

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    Mar 12, 2002
    PA/AZ
    Complex,
    Since you are in the DC area and want to get some EC experience, volunteer for one of the local fire rescue depts and get your EMT. The classes are free, you meet a lot of really cool people in a ton of different careers, and it is really fun. The schools I interviewed with seemed impressed. Plus, did I mention how much fun it is?
     
  11. Fixed Gear

    Fixed Gear Highly Acetylated Locus 7+ Year Member

    739
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    Sep 16, 2001
    Two words:

    Peace Corps
     
  12. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    3,398
    15
    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by The Mastodon:
    <strong>Two words:

    Peace Corps</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">As a returned volunteer, I wholeheartedly concur with The Mastodon. There is a significant time commitment associated with Peace Corps. Typically, once you apply you would not begin your assignment for about one year. Then there is a few months of training. The service is then two years. For me it was worth far more than any other experience I have been a part of.

    By the way Mastodon, are you also an RPCV? There seem to be few of us on SDN. If so, when/where and what was your assignment?
     
  13. alaska

    alaska Junior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 5, 2002
    johnM, thanks for your feedback. You think i'll manage to get at least a few interviews with those stats and almost no volunteering experience? Do you know anyone who's admitted with similar stats and almost no volunteer experience? Any input would be appreciated.
    Thanks. :cool:
     
  14. SMW

    SMW Grand Member 7+ Year Member

    3,760
    1
    Jul 12, 2001
    anchorage, ak
    alaska, welcome to SDN!! :) Are you really alaskan? OK, I'll tell you straight out, you definitely need some more volunteer experience, both to get into medschool, and just for personal growth (the latter leads to the former). Plus some clinical experience. There was a thread a while back about how a division I athlete applicant felt like many adcoms did not really appreciate the time he had put into that (a few did). Medschools like to see well-rounded applicants who are interested in something besides getting into medschool, so theoretically the sports thing should be good, but you probably need something else as well. What are your writing skills like? The personal statement and secondary essays are VERY important in getting interviews. What undergrad did you go to? It's hard to judge the worth of a GPA without knowing the school. A few interviews may not be good enough to get you in somewhere. It's a very arduous process, so I'd be sure to maximize the odds the first time out. Just a few things to think about.
     
  15. alaska

    alaska Junior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 5, 2002
    Thanks, SMW, for your input. No, I'm not really alaskan, but that's where I'd like to go to practice medicine eventually (i love cold weather and snow) :p
    Anyways, the school I go to is ranked around top 25. Maybe, I'll find some time over the summer to volunteer. I still don't know if it would be waste of time and money to apply this year without sufficient volunteering experience.
     

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