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what's more important: research or volunteering?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Yogi Bear, Mar 6, 2002.

  1. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear 2K Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    I'm still an undergrad, but i was wondering what's more important once you're in med school? to do research, or to volunteer? i.e. what did you do the summer before med school and the summer after the first year?
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  3. LaCirujana

    LaCirujana Smoking Gun 7+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2002
    Leaving chaos in my wake
    I think it's beneficial to do some of both, but don't do them just to pad your resume. Do research because you want to and you are interested in the area; do volunteer work because you have a genuine interest in the project you are participating in and the group/individual you are helping. Either way, a consistent, ongoing effort is better that bits and pieces scattered here and there.

    Personally, I didn't have much of an interest in research, but I enjoyed volunteering, and had done quite a lot prior to med school and wanted to continue similar activities once I started school. The summer prior to med school, my brother died, so I didn't really do much in the way of anything productive. Between 1st and 2nd year, I had decided that learning Spanish would be extremely beneficial and so I set up a volunteer situation in Guatemala wherein I would be studying Spanish intensively in the morning and then working on various health projects in rural villages in the afternoons. I had a great time, learned a ton of Spanish, and got some great volunteer experience.

    Midway through my third year of school, I started to think I might be more interested in an academic career, so I figured I had better at least explore some research opportunities. I ended up doing a couple of clinical projects I was interested in over a period of several months which were enough to let me say, "Yes, I have some research experience" during interviews, but also gave me a response to the "Do you have any weaknesses?" question ("Basic science research experience.")

    I would add that overall, good preclinical grades, doing well in your clinical rotations, AOA status, and getting good letters of recommendation overshadow research and volunteering when it comes to getting interviews and being competitive in the match, but the latter two can upgrade a fairly good candidate to a really good one.

    Does that help at all?
  4. Medic171

    Medic171 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001

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