Worth getting a medical assistant certification/becoming an MA for 1.5 years before applying?

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Dec 25, 2023
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Hi, I am currently a sophomore pre-medical student curious about whether the MA experience is worth it! I attend a top public university in NY, with a 3.65 GPA, an upward trend from my freshman GPA of 3.25 (personal issues), hopefully, I can get to 3.75-3.85 by the time of application. I have ~1000 hours of research at my university and will also be doing research at a T10 medical school/hospital over the summer w/ addition to shadowing/other extracurriculars. I have ~460 hours as a scribe/shadowing for a family medicine clinic. I would love to branch out with my shadowing experience but I was wondering if completing a CCMA course (i.e. Advanced eClinical) would be worth it by the time I apply in May/June 2025. I also write for two newsletters at my university -- assistant editor of the school newspaper's sports section. I am thinking about giving more time to clinical/non-clinical volunteering as well as club activities as I feel like I could improve in those areas.

I did the math and cost wouldn't be much of a concern as I could make the money back after a few months of working. But, considering I have a lot on my plate, is it worth the time to get certified and become an MA or should I focus on other experiences/possible opportunities? Thanks! : )

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No, you can be an MA without a certification. Just find a gig that is willing to teach you. There are tons.
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You should focus on three things:

1. Non-clinical volunteering (homeless shelter, soup kitchen, etc.)
2. Your GPA
3. The MCAT

You may be past the point of diminishing returns on research and clinical hours, and the value of club activities isn't what it used to be.

I have seen the pattern of good metrics, good research, good clinical, bad volunteering so often in reapplicants that I now call it The Mistake.
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