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Would this stand out on a med school application?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by mednoob, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. mednoob

    mednoob I ask noobish questions 7+ Year Member

    May 19, 2008
    Hillbilly Town, Kentucky
    i know many people that apply to med school want to have a lot of little things here and there to beef up their app, but i want one BIGG thing that would really stand out.

    at my college theres this program where i can go on a trip to the galapagos islands to conduct biological research. trip is about 2 weeks i believe. i know this has nothing to do with medicine really but hey it's biology so it's kinda related. so if i put down on my med school app that i did this trip to the galapagos islands to conduct biological research, would it be something that they would think very greatly of and would it increase my chances significantly?
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  3. nVictus

    nVictus MS1337 7+ Year Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    it seems that everyone on SDN has taken a trip to some distant place to do some kind of research/volunteering. it will help but it wont make you a shoe in for med school
  4. amph119

    amph119 2+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2007
    There are very few things that would "increase your chances significantly" all by themselves. So no, you can't bank on that one thing getting you into a medical school. That being said, it's definitely something unique to put on your application.

    And, uh, you don't go to UIUC do you?
  5. rowerlauren

    rowerlauren 2+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2008
    Seriously??? You are just trying to do all this stuff to "beef" up your app!!! That's ludicrous. I mean I will admit doing some small stuff because it's expected of me by med schools but I at least had some interest in it to begin with.

    1. It will not significantly increase your chances.
    2. Working in a lab for a year would be better.
    3. It may be interesting, but you shouldn't approach it like it's just another little hurdle you are going over.
  6. searun

    searun 5+ Year Member

    Jul 31, 2006
    I doubt that any activity that lasts only two weeks will have much of a "wow" factor. Nobody is going to mistake you for Charles Darwin.
  7. mednoob

    mednoob I ask noobish questions 7+ Year Member

    May 19, 2008
    Hillbilly Town, Kentucky
    im doing it to beef up my app but im also very interested in it as well
  8. mednoob

    mednoob I ask noobish questions 7+ Year Member

    May 19, 2008
    Hillbilly Town, Kentucky
    yea i think it would be unique. nah i dont go to UIUC
  9. pinkblue

    pinkblue 2+ Year Member

    May 17, 2007
    i feel like there is nothign anyone coudl do in 2 weeks that would significantly help their chances....except maybe 2 weeks of shadowin if they had no previous shadowing experience. How much research can you really do in 2 weeks? I'd say a better plan would be to get involved with the same type of research their doing in galapagos... so that the trip is more of a peek in a long term interest than something special in itself.
  10. ADeadLois

    ADeadLois Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2005
    Focus on doing the "regular" things well (MCAT, GPA, etc.), not going after the elusive "big" EC.

    The stand-out EC gets a lot of play on SDN, but at the end of the doesn't increase your chances all that significantly relative to the stuff that matters more.
  11. rowerlauren

    rowerlauren 2+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2008
    Also that kind of EC isn't that unique in my opinion... One of my friends is currently working on the Mars Rover Mission, now that's something unique.
  12. bcat85

    bcat85 10+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2007
    Sounds cool, but don't count on it making you a shoo-in by any means.
  13. ar2388

    ar2388 rads resident 7+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    New York, NY
    do you go to cuny honors? i know a bunch of people who took a trip like that, except none were premed they were actually interested in bio phd's
  14. The Nephilim

    The Nephilim 2+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2008
    Go if you're into it because it won't help you that much on its own. Rather, I feel whatever you take out of it (personal growth, understanding on how to conduct research, etc.) will be more important. Convey that on your application.

    I also had the sense that international experiences ARE important because you won't be doing a whole lot of traveling until you are out of school. They don't want people who will regret not seeing the world early on.

    Just some thoughts.
  15. redlight

    redlight Senior Member :D 5+ Year Member

    Jan 10, 2008
    im not so sure that would help you stand out. 2 week research doesn't even sound significant, but then again, what makes ECs impressive is usually not just time commitment. important things are: what the experience taught you about blah blah blah, how it fits into you career goals, etc.

    things that stand out in my opinion are well-known scholarships/research grants/etc. that are known to be very selective. getting significant/well-known national (maybe international) awards in just about anything would stand out in my mind (not limited to medicine-related stuff).

    also, awards and recognitions at your institution (not deans list, but something only maybe 1 or 2 out of a large amount of people receive annually) would really stand out in my mind too.

    very very few applicants have such amazing ECs... and even then, grades and mcat, interviews, lors, etc. have to be in order to make significant impact on your chances of admission, imo.

    so i think its best just to go out and do the things you love (and do them well) instead of looking for things to help you stand out. your passion should shine through and make the EC impressive even if you dont get any awards from it.
  16. ejay286

    ejay286 Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 10, 2005
    I started a chapter of Keep a Child Alive on my campus. Its basically a program for dying african babies, which everyone knows is the ULTIMATE EC.
  17. jdf46

    jdf46 2+ Year Member

    May 31, 2007
    I just returned from a cruise in the Galapagos Islands after doing some medical work in Ecuador through CFHI. The Galapagos are a great place to visit but any "research" there would probably be BS (and probably detract from your real reason for going). If you want to boost your resume, either get involved in some longer term research in the US or do something like I did.
  18. Hyperstudyosis

    Hyperstudyosis 7+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2007
    Where do you go to school, if you don't mind me asking? My roommate is a marine biology major and she is going on a trip to the Galapagos next summer with the school (I go to Palm Beach Atlantic University).
  19. mednoob

    mednoob I ask noobish questions 7+ Year Member

    May 19, 2008
    Hillbilly Town, Kentucky
    i go to st johns university, it's in new york. it's not a stellar school or anything but it's decent
  20. mednoob

    mednoob I ask noobish questions 7+ Year Member

    May 19, 2008
    Hillbilly Town, Kentucky
    nah i go to st johns university in ny
  21. Dulcina

    Dulcina =) 5+ Year Member

    Aug 14, 2007
    with the tens of thousands of apps they see, there is VERY little that will make you stand out. A 2 wk trip is pretty common. I would say itll increase your chances MINIMALLY, so only do it if you're interested, wihtout taking apps into acct.
  22. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Don't do it and then call it research. Every adcom out there will see it as a school-sponsored vacation. Unless you can get a publication or a VERY good rec letter from a research mentor, minimal time research is insignificant. Your money would be better spent elsewhere.
  23. Senlin

    Senlin 5+ Year Member

    May 28, 2008
    I agree with you. I took a class in field biology/natural history and my mentor in that class did exclusively field-based ecological research. He spent more than 8 years on his dissertation, because the logistics of it were quite complicated and difficult. (In contrast, most biology grad students in our department graduate in 5-6 years.) My point is to say that I highly doubt that the OP can do anything significant in 2 weeks, especially given the apparent fact (judging by the tone of his post) that he is not an expert in Galapagos ecology or an ecology/evolution major.

    My school offers a semester-long research class where you do research at a field station in the South Pacific. I know you can also study abroad and do research at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Finally, I know several excellent, excellent NSF-funded REUs in the US for undergraduates to do field research. Any of these (or a long-term commitment to the typical bench research that most biology undergrads do), in my opinion, would be much more impressive than 2 weeks and the "ooh" factor of the Galapagos.
  24. futuredrcrawfor

    futuredrcrawfor 2+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    I doubt it will help you- I did a biological research trip to Belize... and studied abroad and did a huge research project (additional only 3 students accepted) to Europe... over the last 4 years I have been to 8 countries- I am not counting on that to help me stand out though.
  25. There are no easy "shortcuts" to significantly beefing up your app. If there were easy two-week stints that you could do that would instantly improve your chances by a significant amount, then everyone would do it...and then it would cease to be useful.

    Significant extracurriculars take significant amounts of time. Two-week stints for shadowing are useful to expose you to the medical field - but adcoms like to see time commitments - this is true whether you're talking about jobs, clinical experience, volunteering, research or post-bac work.
  26. Fibroblastman

    Fibroblastman A stumble prevents a fall 5+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Palo Alto, CA
    I don't think the school will necessarily care about where you went and did... but rather what you learned from your experience.

    I knew people who took some "research trips" as well... but did nothing.
  27. ViolaGreene

    ViolaGreene 2+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2008
    i don't think so. go because it's fun. don't go cuz you think it'll move the needle on your chances. it wont
  28. xiaoyi666

    xiaoyi666 The General 2+ Year Member

    Jun 15, 2007

    haha, the school I went to just started having the galapagos trip.
  29. Doctorverardoll

    Doctorverardoll 10+ Year Member

    May 17, 2007
    I know SOO many people who spent time abroad, especially for short little trips. I don't think it would personally make you stand out, as 2 weeks is not a lot of time to accomplish something. You are probably better off doing a term abroad (I've had friends who worked with AIDS NGOs in South Africa and my best friend worked in British Parliament). I think these would have a greater impact on your life, as well as, give you great fodder for your application.

    I had 2 research activities in college: one I did for 2.5 years and one I did for 2 months, but remained connected to for 7mo. I was able to learn so much, as well as, really make a difference in said projects. Plus, it made my med schools interviews flow pretty well, as I could say a lot on my time.

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