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Is Lack Of Research Experiences Going To Kill My Chances?

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Finishing up my fourth year of undergrad.  Wondering what my chances of getting an interview are with little research experience.  I have a 3.9+ wGPA, lots of ECs, and met all MCAT cutoffs.  Any thoughts? Getting nervous as all I have been getting so far is rejections

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It won't kill your chances but it will definitely lower your chances.

 

I highly suggest that you don't listen to this/ take it with a grain of salt.

 

Research is not the ultimate EC/involvement to getting into medicine. You should never invest your time into something just because you think it'll get you from point A to B. Life is too short, it's not worth it.

 

There are tons of medical students and doctors who have not done research, but chose to spend their time doing things that interest them. For instance, I know plenty of friends in medical school who spent their summers in undergrad working in construction, or as a personal trainer, or as a camp counsellor. 

 

You learn the most from an experience and grow the most as a person when you invest your time in ideas, projects, hobbies that truly interest you. People around you notice it too. 

 

Also from an admissions point of view, how many applicants do you think they get who list "research" as one of their experiences? It is absolutely boring. It is also extremely easy to spot out applicants who have done things just for the sake of medical school. You need all types of personalities and characters in medicine. Don't let such trivial/superficial things get you down!

 

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I highly suggest that you don't listen to this/ take it with a grain of salt.

 

Research is not the ultimate EC/involvement to getting into medicine. You should never invest your time into something just because you think it'll get you from point A to B. Life is too short, it's not worth it.

 

There are tons of medical students and doctors who have not done research, but chose to spend their time doing things that interest them. For instance, I know plenty of friends in medical school who spent their summers in undergrad working in construction, or as a personal trainer, or as a camp counsellor. 

 

You learn the most from an experience and grow the most as a person when you invest your time in ideas, projects, hobbies that truly interest you. People around you notice it too. 

 

Also from an admissions point of view, how many applicants do you think they get who list "research" as one of their experiences? It is absolutely boring. It is also extremely easy to spot out applicants who have done things just for the sake of medical school. You need all types of personalities and characters in medicine. Don't let such trivial/superficial things get you down!

 

Thank you so much, I really appreciate your input.  That was my initial view as well - I tried out a bit of research in first year but I didn't feel passionate about it and I have always really stood by the idea of doing things you enjoy in life as well, not things to look good.  Going through these forums, I have seen so many incredible people with research and awards, so it just started to make me nervous.  Hoping someone will look through my application and notice something special 

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I highly suggest that you don't listen to this/ take it with a grain of salt.

Research is not the ultimate EC/involvement to getting into medicine. You should never invest your time into something just because you think it'll get you from point A to B. Life is too short, it's not worth it.

There are tons of medical students and doctors who have not done research, but chose to spend their time doing things that interest them. For instance, I know plenty of friends in medical school who spent their summers in undergrad working in construction, or as a personal trainer, or as a camp counsellor.

You learn the most from an experience and grow the most as a person when you invest your time in ideas, projects, hobbies that truly interest you. People around you notice it too.

Also from an admissions point of view, how many applicants do you think they get who list "research" as one of their experiences? It is absolutely boring. It is also extremely easy to spot out applicants who have done things just for the sake of medical school. You need all types of personalities and characters in medicine. Don't let such trivial/superficial things get you down!

 

Sorry, I was mistaken.

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If you tried research and didn't like it, definitely feel free to move on to other things. Like anything, research looks great if you are able to speak passionately about it, and you can give the interviewers the sense that you genuinely enjoyed it. In slight contrast to the other poster, I would not say that it's considered "boring" at all. I talked a lot about my research at my interviews. I also did a few different research-related things over a few years, so I was able to explain how I started with one lab, realized that I liked being involved in research but was not actually that interested in what that lab was doing, so I moved to another lab where I ended up doing my thesis, and later got involved in clinical research, which was my favourite of everything. It all depends how you spin it.

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Finishing up my fourth year of undergrad.  Wondering what my chances of getting an interview are with little research experience.  I have a 3.9+ wGPA, lots of ECs, and met all MCAT cutoffs.  Any thoughts? Getting nervous as all I have been getting so far is rejections

My opinion is that everyone else here has only given you half of the story and honestly, not a very good response to your question.

 

If we are only concerned with UofT (seeing as that is the forum you posted under), then yes having research on your application DOES matter. 

 

Directly from the UofT Med Admissions website, one of the clusters they use to evaluate your non-academic component.

 

Scholar - academic standing, achievements in leadership, research and social responsibility as demonstrated by (but not limited to) awards, conference presentations, publications and scholarships

 

 

Yes, research is not a pre requisite for any medical school in Canada. Yes, you can get into any school without one. Yes you should follow your interests. But the context that is missing from the above replies bothers me too much. It is obvious that publications, conferences and whatever research you have is evaluated and considered. That means a lack of can make the difference between an invite and a rejection. I said "can", not "will". If someone were to have a duplicate of your application (academic and non academic combined) but they had research experience, that individual would have a better chance of getting an invite than you. If you want to compete with such an applicant, you would have to compensate your lack of research with other ECs (that can be of your own personal interest and should be those where you can influence the admissions committee using the articulated experience you've gained). 

 

 

Furthermore, any substantial research experience (i.e. authorship, conferences or even a summer gig) contributes to 2 of the other 4 (so far 3 out of 4 if we include the above) clusters UofT uses to evaluate your non-academic component. 

 

Taken from the UofT Med Admissions website.

 

Professional - maturity, reliability, perseverance and responsibility

 

Communicator/collaborator/manager - communication, collaboration, teamwork, time management and leadership

 

When you are in a wet/dry lab, you are not the only one there. High yield research experience involves contribution to a lab that nets you the ability to submit an abstract (that you contributed towards) or the right to be involved in a poster competition or conference (with your other colleagues). Just the process of pushing forth enough work to reach the above outcomes requires teamwork, time management, leadership, communication, reliability...and the list goes on. Yes other ECs can (and do) contribute to these clusters as well but I do not want you to leave with the notion that research is an irrelevant thing and only something gunners do. So you can see, getting hands on even 1 substantial research opportunity (for context, getting the opportunity to present an abstract at a conference/competition is considered a low-tier research outcome relatively) contributes to 3 out of the 4 clusters used to evaluate your non-academic requirements. 

 

 

Tl;Dr - At the University of Toronto's Medical school (just to be clear of the context I'm speaking under), having research does matter. 

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My opinion is that everyone else here has only given you half of the story and honestly, not a very good response to your question.

 

If we are only concerned with UofT (seeing as that is the forum you posted under), then yes having research on your application DOES matter. 

 

Directly from the UofT Med Admissions website, one of the clusters they use to evaluate your non-academic component.

 

Scholar - academic standing, achievements in leadership, research and social responsibility as demonstrated by (but not limited to) awards, conference presentations, publications and scholarships

 

 

Yes, research is not a pre requisite for any medical school in Canada. Yes, you can get into any school without one. Yes you should follow your interests. But the context that is missing from the above replies bothers me too much. It is obvious that publications, conferences and whatever research you have is evaluated and considered. That means a lack of can make the difference between an invite and a rejection. I said "can", not "will". If someone were to have a duplicate of your application (academic and non academic combined) but they had research experience, that individual would have a better chance of getting an invite than you. If you want to compete with such an applicant, you would have to compensate your lack of research with other ECs (that can be of your own personal interest and should be those where you can influence the admissions committee using the articulated experience you've gained). 

 

 

Furthermore, any substantial research experience (i.e. authorship, conferences or even a summer gig) contributes to 2 of the other 4 (so far 3 out of 4 if we include the above) clusters UofT uses to evaluate your non-academic component. 

 

Taken from the UofT Med Admissions website.

 

Professional - maturity, reliability, perseverance and responsibility

 

Communicator/collaborator/manager - communication, collaboration, teamwork, time management and leadership

 

When you are in a wet/dry lab, you are not the only one there. High yield research experience involves contribution to a lab that nets you the ability to submit an abstract (that you contributed towards) or the right to be involved in a poster competition or conference (with your other colleagues). Just the process of pushing forth enough work to reach the above outcomes requires teamwork, time management, leadership, communication, reliability...and the list goes on. Yes other ECs can (and do) contribute to these clusters as well but I do not want you to leave with the notion that research is an irrelevant thing and only something gunners do. So you can see, getting hands on even 1 substantial research opportunity (for context, getting the opportunity to present an abstract at a conference/competition is considered a low-tier research outcome relatively) contributes to 3 out of the 4 clusters used to evaluate your non-academic requirements. 

 

 

Tl;Dr - At the University of Toronto's Medical school (just to be clear of the context I'm speaking under), having research does matter. 

Absolutely, that makes sense.  Thanks for your input!  I am not by any means trying to downplay the importance of research.  I admire those who have gotten involved with it and have a passion for it.  I also totally agree that it increases your chances of getting interviewed.  The only reason I posted this thread was to see what people thought about getting interviewed without research.  Of course chances are better with research, but I was curious to see if anyone knows people who have gotten invited without it.  I'm just hoping it doesn't completely knock me out of the running for an interview, that's all 

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I've never applied to UfT and maybe they are very selective in looking for candidates that have loads of research experience, but I do recognize all those clusters you mentioned are from the CanMEDs roles.

The description of "Scholar" according to CanMEDS is this:

 

Physicians acquire scholarly abilities to enhance practice and advance health care. Physicians pursue excellence by continually evaluating the processes and outcomes of their daily work, sharing and comparing their work with that of others, and actively seeking feedback in the interest of quality and patient safety. Using multiple ways of learning, they strive to meet the needs of individual patients and their families and of the health care system.


Physicians strive to master their domains of expertise and to share their knowledge. As lifelong learners, they implement a planned approach to learning in order to improve in each CanMEDS Role. They recognize the need to continually learn and to model the practice of lifelong learning for others. As teachers they facilitate, individually and through teams, the education of students and physicians in training, colleagues, co-workers, the public, and others.


Physicians are able to identify pertinent evidence, evaluate it using specific criteria, and apply it in their practice and scholarly activities. Through their engagement in evidence-informed and shared decision-making, they recognize uncertainty in practice and formulate questions to address knowledge gaps. Using skills in navigating information resources, they identify evidence syntheses that are relevant to these questions and arrive at clinical decisions that are informed by evidence while taking patient values and preferences into account.


Finally, physicians’ scholarly abilities allow them to contribute to the application, dissemination, translation, and creation of knowledge and practices applicable to health and health care. 

 

I totally agree that being apart of research may be the obvious definition of "scholar", but it's also important to validate other ways that the role of scholar can be met. 
 

I think you can have zero research experience, but have been a teacher of some sort in your life. You have could have been a subject tutor, a Teaching Assistant, camp counsellor, or even a swimming instructor. You could also be a scholar by travelling the world and understanding different cultures and reflect on how this can help your future patients, or even future encounters with strangers.

As long as you can relate anything that you did in life and relate how it shows how you are a "scholar" I think it should be valid. Here's an example:

 

"During my time as a volunteer at the animal shelter, I realized how impaired communication can make providing care to abused animals difficult. To better communicate with animals, I looked to textbooks, current research, and experts (trainers and vets) to understand different ways to communicate. I was then able to help new volunteers experiencing similar challenges."

 

This example doesn't involve actively doing research, but it does touch on how I'm actively acting as a scholar by seeking available research to improve the quality of care and disseminating it as well. Again, I'm not part of UfT admissions or ever applied to UfT so I can't say if my understanding of "scholar" fits their mold.

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