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What are my chances? Questions about research/volunteering/shadowing experience

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Hi all, long time lurker here. I just finished my third year of undergrad and will be applying to Canadian schools in the fall.


However, I had some questions regarding how research is looked upon by US schools (in case Canada doesn't work out for this cycle).


How exactly do US schools weigh research experience? I've been involved in some type of research without break for the past 3 years and have one second author publication, scholarships, etc. By the end of the summer, I will hopefully have another 2 papers submitted to decent journals (works in progress).


Do you think substantial research experience could ever compensate for lack of shadowing/volunteering experience? While my research activities have been productive, my volunteer experience is minimal (mainly tutoring and some one-day type events). Also, I haven't had the chance to shadow any physicians, and time seems to be running out. I feel that these gaps will hurt my application (to both Canadian and US schools). My schedule is still extremely busy, and I haven't ever had more than a week off since starting university.


So I was wondering if I should cut back from research and dedicate some of my time to shadowing/volunteering initiatives during my senior year. This might take away from research opportunities and might lead to fewer publications in the long run. Would my chances be better for MD/PhD compared to MD?


Here are my stats (Ontario resident, but no US citizenship :( ):

cGPA: 3.82

US GPA: 3.85 (slight upward trend, physics major, overloading each year to meet prereqs)

U of T wGPA: 3.92

MCAT: did early write, waiting on score at the moment, booked september rewrite just in case, could technically apply this cycle but won't know until score is released


Other experiences: TAed first year physics and math courses while in third year, will likely TA in my graduating year as well, lots of stories to tell from here ;), ~300 hours total, loved every minute, although it was incredibly tough to manage everything

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You need to do some sort of clinical work, not just for admissions but for yourself.


How else will you be able to have any idea what being a doctor is all about? It's also tough to write a PS saying you want to be a doctor, yet never put any time into experiencing it.

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