This is a stupid question, and I’m okay with that. I want to get into a primary care oriented medical school. I would then assume that it would be more valuable for me to volunteer/shadow/work in something primary care related as opposed to research and lab work. Am I right? The things that immediately come to mind are volunteering at a hospital or working as an EMT. Any other ideas or experiences?
There are no stupid questions!
If you are interested in more exposure to primary care, then you might want to shadow some primary care physicians if you can. Another option (aside from working in a hospital, which you already mentioned) is working in a clinic of some sort, where much of the work done is primary care. I work in a free clinic in Chicago where there are several opportunities for non-medical-personnel to get experience actually working with patients (rather than doing paperwork or something like that).
If you’re already certified as an EMT, that’s great. But if not, I’m not sure whether getting certified and then working in that field is worth all the extra effort when there are plenty of opportunities elsewhere (i.e., volunteering, shadowing, etc.). That’s just something I’ve heard other OPMers say, but I’m by no means the ultimate authority. So you may want to hear from others on that question.
Hope that helps!
If your gonna talk about a strong interest in a particular are of medicine you should have a fair amount of exposure to it. I attended a talk with the dean of admissions from East Carolina University. Thier focus is primary care, specifically with rural and underserved communities. He specifically said that if your gonna come to the interview stating you want to do primary you had better have some experience(through shadowing or some kind of work) in the primary care setting. Otherwise, he told us, they get applicant after applicant who comes in know the school’s mission and talks about wanting to do primary care and in underserved area without ever having shadowed a physician in an underserved area, and they will quickly discredit you.
I’m currently a paramedic and depending on where you work, working as an EMT may be a good way to get patient contact experience but it is considered emergency care and not primary care. Now you could work as one and then shadow some primary care docs, and volunteer at free clinics.
One way to get started shadowing may be to ask your primary care physician, if you see one, whether he would let you shadow or if he knows any physicians who do.
I hadn’t thought about the free clinic option- but that sounds like a great idea! I am not EMT certified yet, so I may be biting off too much with pre-med AND EMT, sooo yeah.
- jkdamighty Said:
Motivation, commitment, and accomplishment are probably more important to show then the methods are how you get there, even if primary care is your focus. For example, simply being an EMT in and of itself, seems to be perceived by adcoms less highly as many people jump to get certified. On the other hand, if you get an EMT and are a member of the local volunteer squad for 3 years, perhaps becoming a crew chief or an officer of the corps, it would be a great asset.
I would also speculate (note the word speculate) that any sustained involvement with programs helping the elderly thru local church visiting programs, volunteering at a nursing home, meals on wheels, etc, would show alot to the primary care programs.
Also remember that GPA and/or MCAT are seen as the top two factors in consideration by about 75% of the allopathic (MD) schools. So they carry much more weight than extracurricular activities .
You mentioned that 75% of allopathic schools have GPA and MCAT score as a measure of candidate strength. I’m curious if you have knowledge of which allopathic schools examine a candidate’s entire application (service, letters of recommendation etc.) and not just these two criteria?
- Invictus Said:
You mentioned that 75% of allopathic schools have GPA and MCAT score as a measure of candidate strength. I'm curious if you have knowledge of which allopathic schools examine a candidate's entire application (service, letters of recommendation etc.) and not just these two criteria?
I mentioned that 75% of the schools rate GPA as the first or second most important factor in admissions and that 75% also rank MCAT as the first or second most important factor. These may not be the SAME 75% of schools in all cases but since the statics covers a substantial majority of schools, it would seem to plausible to state that most schools considered GPA and MCAT as two most important factors considered on applications
This is not to imply the Letters of Recommendation, extracurricular activities, application essays, and interviews are not considered. Rather that these items are ranked as less important factors. As a general rule, these factors, however outstanding, must be accompanied by substantial, consistent, and proven academic ability as shown via GPA and MCAT.
However, it is more complex than that. Please refer to the below link on this question I posted sometime ago, particularly quotes from Megan Price, admissions director at Virginia college of Osteopathic Medicine at bottom of posting.
Link GPA and MCAT importance
Thanks for that link, Gonnif. That was very informative, especially since I’m currently open to allopathic or osteopathic, maybe even naturopathic schools. My class schedule is very light this spring, so I think I’m going to find a free clinic to volunteer at (of which Chicago has plenty!) rather than burn much needed energy needed for my post bac on emt training. I’ll need that energy for O-chem soon enough! I just can’t wait for the journey to start.
Just remember, that if a med schools thinks that you aren’t academically able to do the work, then all of your other bona fides don’t make any difference.
Well aware of that. I don’t even start until march 11 and have already been doing workbooks every night to prep for my coursework.
- jkdamighty Said:
That's the spirit!