hi!! i’m new to the forum and have found a lot of helpful information to answer what seems like the millions of questions i have. i’m in the process of completing the prereqs, but i’m wondering when the time comes i plan on applying to just one school (considering where i live there is only one medical school in the state). I’m considering what the possible reactions of the adcom would have. Should i try applying to more than one med school?
I don’t think the AdCom will know where you’ve applied. I do know that counting on your state school - or, for that matter, ANY one school - is extremely dicey. You don’t say anything about your application - grades, scores, experiences - so there’s no way to say if you’re a candidate who’ll be grabbed up immediately by her state school.
In general, applying to few schools is VERY risky. I did it because I REALLY did not want to move. But MOST of us have had to be far more broad-minded when considering possible locales for med school.
If you do NOT have really, really, really good reasons for staying in your state, you should definitely be looking at the much broader list of medical schools. There are some state schools that aren’t that much tilted toward their state residents, and there are lots of private schools. There are DO schools (almost all of which are private).
You should find out if your state school does an Early Decision program. In this scenario, you only apply to the one school under E.D., with the understanding that if you’re offered a place, you accept it. Quite frankly, if you’re sort of set on only applying to the one school anyway, you might as well make it E.D. The downside to E.D. comes if you ARE considering applying to other schools; you can’t apply to them until you’ve been rejected by your E.D. school, which is the second half of September. This is later in the application cycle than you’d like to be; if you want to apply to a bunch of schools you’d like your applications to go out during the summer. Anyway, E.D. is something to think about.
You’ve come this far, you’ve put this much work into it, so the argument is: why would you limit your application at this point? I was able to answer that question by saying: "I’ve invested 25 years in my marriage and my children. My family’s roots in Northern Virginia are so strong that I am unwilling to pull them up, even for a few years. This makes my chances of getting into medical school substantially smaller, and I am willing to accept that because my family comes first."
Basically you need to recognize that you are ABSOLUTELY diminishing the likelihood of getting into medical school by applying to only one school. Can you live with that? If not, you need to look at the MSAR (Medical Schools Admissions Requirements, published by AAMC) and start figuring on other places to apply.
wow…that’s definitely a lot to think about…i should’ve given more information about my situation…i graduated about 1 1/2 years ago with a BS in clinical lab science/medical technology. i’ve been working in the lab at a nearby hospital for 2 years now. i’ve asked in other premed forums about the necessity of volunteering or shadowing doctors since i work in the lab but i think that most people’s experience of lab techs are that they work within the lab performing tests. in the place where i work i regularly run the lab on my own, which includes collecting patient samples (where i have assisted nurses and doctors in inserting IV’s and other things) and paperwork as well as performing tests in chemistry, hematology, urinalysis, immunology/serology, micro, blood bank, etc. I definitely am geared toward keeping my roots in my home state, but i’ll definitely check out other medical schools near me…thanks for the info.
The whole medical school admissions process is very expensive and time-consuming. The endpoint to your process is gaining admission to a medical school. If you apply to only one school, are you prepared for what happens if you do not get into that one school?
You spend years in preparation in terms of coursework, tuition and extracurriculars. You spend thousands of dollars in exam fees and application fees. Why not include a few more schools to increase your chances of success?
I will relate a story of a very good friend of mine. He was a double major in biology and economics. His MCAT score was 42 and his GPA was 3.95. His father was the chairman of a department at a medical school. He applied to two schools and was not accepted. He did reapply and went in on the next round (applied to ten schools on the second try).
There is no single formula that will ensure that you get into medical school. Back in the late 1990s when I applied, I was “D–med Lucky” that I got in. I certainly applied to more than one medical school.
It is not the members of an admissions committee that you have to worry about but the laws of averages. Now you may be that one shining candidate that your chosen medical school can’t wait to get their hands on but the odds are not with you.
Cast your net a bit wider to increase your chances of getting in. Every year, the competition gets better and better. If you have invested a huge amount of time and money in this process, then do everything you can, to ensure that you are successful.
i’ve asked in other premed forums about the necessity of volunteering or shadowing doctors since i work in the lab but i think that most people’s experience of lab techs are that they work within the lab performing tests. in the place where i work i regularly run the lab on my own, which includes collecting patient samples (where i have assisted nurses and doctors in inserting IV’s and other things) and paperwork as well as performing tests in chemistry, hematology, urinalysis, immunology/serology, micro, blood bank, etc.
It sounds like you have great clinical experience. However, that does not necessarily make up for volunteering and/or shadowing. There is a common misconception that you have to volunteer in a clinical setting because medical schools want to see clinical experience. They do like to see clinical experience, but the volunteering has nothing to do with that. Volunteering is a separate aspect of the application. They want to see volunteering because it shows that you have a sense of altruism and giving back to society and it also helps show that you have interests outside of the classroom/work. Most of your pre-meds volunteer in a clinical setting in order to get volunteering and clinical experience at the same time. Since you have clinical experience, your volunteering does not have to be clinical . . . volunteer doing something that interests you. Perhaps you already do volunteer but not with a formal organization - maybe you are active in your church or active in community organization.
Even though you have extensive clinical experience, I recommend you try to do at least a couple of days of shadowing. I had six years of experience as an EMT when I applied and still was asked at every interview if I had done any shadowing (which I hadn’t). My response was that through EMS, I had had the opportunity to talk with doctors in the Emergency Department. For schools, that seemed to satisfy them, for others not. I guess the rationale for shadowing is that you’ve explored what life as a physician is like (beyond just seeing what they do in your interactions with them) and have spent enough time talking to physicians that you really know what you are in for. You could make the case that you interact with physicians daily in your job (as I did), but if you have time, why not see if you can spend a day or two shadowing physicians - it will make your life easier.
Just to warn you - you might have a hard sell convincing some admissions committees that you have relevant clinical experience (i.e. with patients). One of my classmates worked in lab that did clinical research for 4 years and was repeatedly asked what kind of clinical experience she had. They had a difficult time seeing a position as a lab person as clinical experience. Your experience sounds great to me, but just be warned that some might not see it that way.
Good luck with the process!
I agree with AMY and the others, Don’t limit yourself to one school, most apply to no less than 10 schools.
Volunteer at anything but Patient contact is a must. Doctors are not “House” hollywood has made Doctors out to be like research scientists when it’s more like “Scrubs” LOL! A lab is not the kind of clinical experience they are looking for it great and does count but not for patient contact. As a Doctor how you realate to your patient is super important.
Thats why I pick on “House” too arrogant for me and some patients would sue a doc like that.
There is a common misconception that you have to volunteer in a clinical setting because medical schools want to see clinical experience. They do like to see clinical experience, but the volunteering has nothing to do with that. Volunteering is a separate aspect of the application.
My experience with Primary care focused schools was that they did want to see some medically relevant volunteer exerience on the application so perhaps this is school dependant. However I think to make sure you have all your bases covered, an applicant should some volunteer experiece in a medical environment.
I previously worked in a hospital’s clinical lab, and was also able to volunteer my time in the nursery during part of my lunch hour. In fact, I found it much to get this type of position as as “insider”.
You have received some excellent information in the previous postings. Absolutely apply to more than one medical school (I typically recommend about 20 schools in order to try to cast a wide enough net). There are no “safety schools” and no guarantee that you’ll get into any school even if you apply to 50 schools.
Also, experience in a medical environment interacting in some way with patients is critical for nearly all medical schools. It can be volunteer or paid. Community service with a “vulnerable population” is also highly valued by medical schools. It, too, can be volunteer (most common) or paid. You are expected to be down in the trenches with the people you are helping, not at arm’s distance by doing administrative work with no contact with the underserved.