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Youth vs. Increasing chances of getting in

Discussion in 'Re-Applicants [ MD / DO ]' started by Member 870, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. Member 870

    Member 870 The Member... 7+ Year Member

    Feb 18, 2007
    The Mid-South
    Here's my dilemma:

    I've worked the past few summers lifeguarding a beach. I love it. My time there has been the best part of my life so far. I didn't get into medical school this round. My MCAT was low, and my interview didn't go so well. I'm addressing the MCAT score with study and a Kaplan course this summer--I've got a plan, the beach won't distract me like it did last year (see the 24). And I'm shadowing so I'll have more to talk about at interviews.

    A relative of mine is an MD/PhD at an Ivy-league associated teaching hospital. Two years ago he offered me a position in his lab--a chance to get a name on a paper and a recommendation letter--possibly even a boost to my chances to get into the said ivy-league med school. I turned him down b/c I couldn't give up the beach. Now that I didn't get in, I'm giving it a second thought...but I still can't give up the beach! I wish I had never experienced it! Curses!

    My question: If I work with him in the fall, (Aug-Oct) will it still help get me an interview if he sends the LOR in with my secondaries sometime in late Oct? Or do I have to give up the beach and work in the lab all summer in order to get the LOR and secondaries in early enough for me to gain an interview? Help!

    My stats:

    MCAT 1: 11V, 8P, 7B
    MCAT 2: 9V, 7P, 8B
    GPA: 3.97
    EC's: Volunteer at local Hispanic Center for 2yrs., leadership positions, shadowing, minor research - one publication, but on an online journal :( etc. I've sampled it all--well, most things.
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  3. Villin

    Villin 10+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    Baywatch troll. this post is ridiculous.:thumbdown:
  4. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Mar 30, 2001
    Clearly MCAT is key here. Your GPA is great though, however I can't see how shadowing can give you "more to talk about during interviews". Interviewers can ask anything which includes shadowing, but definitely not limited to it. There appears to be more to this than just being distracted by the ocean, and not shadowing enough.

    Thats great that you have an opportunity to do research. But so do the thousands of other applicants. About 80-90% of students that get into med school nowadays have research experience. So its really an unsaid requirement (like volunteering). I don't think anyone will sympathize with your reasons for choosing the beach over research. My friends and I are from CA, and most of us are avid surfers, SCUBA divers, and play some kind of aquatic sport before and during college. However we threw in the towel when it came time to focus on our future, whether it be family, med school, or whatever. I for one stopped day dreaming about the beach and tropical weather ages ago so I can pursue my PhD degree (short term) and my future as a physician (long term). The beach and medicine are two completely different things, and if you can't separate those two things then you may find that the pre-med world to be rather unforgiving.

    Nobody can say that working with someone can help you get into med school. The thing is, research is something you do over a long period of time, not 3 months. Rarely, if ever, can a publication be generated within that time frame. Even if you do, I would be skeptical as to how much MEANINGFUL research you did. Case in point, my undergrads have been in our lab for about a year. They are finally now in position to get a publication. If they are asked about it at interview, they can use the experience they gained over the year to show the adcom that they know what they're talking about.

    In all honesty, your extracurriculars appear to be average. Nothing that stands out. My students have all done hundreds to thousands of hours of shadowing, and volunteering in the hospital. They have also taught/mentored the underserved, involved with numerous clubs, and played sports at the NCAA Div I level. One student has spent 2 years doing medical aid missions in other countries. Another will have a masters degree before applying to med school. All of these students will have at least 1 first author publication by the time they complete their work in my lab. All of them will present their research at various conferences throughout their stay here. Each of them have around a 3.6-3.8 GPA. These extracurriculars are just the tip of the iceburg. I'm sure i'm forgetting what else they have done and there are definitely others that have done more! Despite all this it doesn't guarantee anything..but it certainly helps to be unique.

    Lastly, some schools may already be interviewing around the Oct-Dec time frame. Assuming you submit AMCAS when it opens up in June, then you should be getting secondaries by August. Therefore you will also be delaying your secondaries by waiting for the LOR. In the end it depends on what you want to do. However I do know that everything you do should be meaningful, and well though out. It comes down to prioritizing what you want to do, and if you dont' give it your all then you are just on a course to failure.
  5. George85

    George85 Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    All those extra curr activities count for squat if your MCAT is not good enough. Anyway, your MCAT scores look good enough for DO schools. And ,if you are only prepared to be a "real" doctor, as in MD, then I would just stay on the beach.
  6. relentless11

    relentless11 Going broke and loving it Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Mar 30, 2001
    I'm not sure how to take your comment in regards to being a "real" doctor? :confused:
  7. hippiedoc13

    hippiedoc13 2+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2007
    To the OP:
    If the beach is so important that you hesitate to give it up, even for something you *think* could help you get into medical school...then I would re-assess how much you really want to go to med school.
  8. nlax30

    nlax30 Fellow Physician 10+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2006
    Yeah, also not sure about the "real" doctor reference....

    Also, be careful relying too much on a LOR from this guy if he is a relative. I guess depending on how "close" he is it may never be disclosed that he is related to you but if I was in this situation I'd take the opportunity but possibly have one of his colleagues write a letter.
  9. Catalystik

    Catalystik Providing herd protection Physician Faculty SDN Advisor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    Inside the tesseract
    Give up the beach this summer.
  10. gotmeds?

    gotmeds? 5+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Stick with the beach. Don't worry about getting in. Your obvious passion and dedication to medicine will shine through in your interviews.
  11. thirsty4chicken

    thirsty4chicken New Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 20, 2006
    I dunno.

    Beach. vs. Working hard to fulfill your lifelong dream of becoming a physician....

    That's a tough call.

    BTW: How do you manage to get a 3.97 GPA with a 24 MCAT?
  12. SunshineNYC

    SunshineNYC SunshineNYC 2+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2007
    There is a point at which you have to make a decision. Either you are going to put in your all towards your goal, or you will not. I understand having many passions besides medicine, however, when you are in medical school you will not be able to lifeguard in the summers... when you are in your residency you will not be able to lifeguard in the summers... and so on. So, look at it as though you are on the path towards becoming a doctor, and while on that path, you should not lifeguard this summer and you should do EVERYTHING necessary towards becoming the absolute best medical school applicant, and then the very best doctor that you can become. Otherwise, if lifeguarding is what makes you tick, then stay being a lifeguard, but realize that you could be putting your future as a physician in jeopardy.

    One thing has to trump the other, and it seems that if you are really set on becoming a physician, then that should take priority. Then compromise and go to the beach on weekends and visit your friends. Or, go to the beach when you get off from work... or before you go to work... whatever... find a way to fit in what you love with your ultimate goal. Good luck.

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