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Need Advice Much Appreciated

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I moved the thread since I am a non-trad applicant :o


Hey guys, I'm VERY conflicted


I am hoping to apply for med next year and my focus is on two things right now:

a) getting high marks (I'm doing second degree so its very important for me)

B) EC/volunteers and get LOR's


This year a prof is willing to sponsor me for a scholarship if I work on a project with him until April min. 8-10 hours a week.


Although, it seems like an awesome opportunity, I am not sure if I should go with it because


a) I need to do well on all my courses (I'm taking 5 full credits)-> less time (I know its only 8 hrs/week but it still shortens my study time I guess)


B) I won't have time for other things ie. clubs, volunteer at hospital, volunteer at lab etc. which could get me at least 2 references, while if I work with the prof I'll prob only get 1. In fact, I heard the prof is a bit egotistical (I kind of found him a bit 'in your face') and I'm not sure how high his expectation is be of me and how good he'll writ me an LOR


What would you guys do if you were in my position?

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Honestly, 8-10 hours a week isn't that bad. With full time studies, I'm also working 17 hours a week. I'm not sure how that will end up, but so far, I'm coping (I manage another 10.5 hours a week at the gym too now that I think about it). In ADDITION to this, I plan on trying to volunteer at a hospital or something, because my weekends are fairly free.


So that having been said, from my perspective it's hard to see why you can't commit 8-10 hours a week to research. UNLESS you're taking 5 credits in a single semester, there should be no problem working around school work. You just have to obscenely micro manage your time. By the way, I have little to no social life, which is mostly why I'm able to do all these things. My social life now stems from work and school, nothing outside that. That, however, is a sacrifice that is a personal choice and not one that is mandatory.


As far as the prof is concerned, if he's known to give poor reference letters,don't stay. I know it seems kind of terrible to say, but honestly, you want a fairly stellar LOR, and if some other avenue can give you that, pursue that instead. However, if you don't have any other leads for a LOR, stick with the prof, work hard, impress him as much as you can, and just hope for the best. Beggars can't be choosers after all.


That's about all I can say given the info you've given me.

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well... I guess you should value your experience in deciding this, because everyone is little bit different right? while for some people it might be manageable, others might need those extra 8 hours to do extremely well.


don't bite too much to the point where you can't chew, you know. I speak from the experience because I expanded my energy all over the places in 2nd year after not being involved with major activities in first year and my marks suffered. I got burned.... alive hahaha I learned my lesson for sure but I don't think getting a blemish on my cGPA, losing distinct whatever and renewable scholarship wasn't worth my adventures (although I gained lot of experience, it jeopardized my chance with med school big time).


You should choose wisely.


Hope it helps with you decision and good luck.

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In first year I did nothing but school (5 courses per semester). My GPA was 3.55.


In fourth year I did school (still 5 courses per semester, all science courses), 20 hours a week of research, 20 hours a week of volunteering and 10 hours a week of extracurricular. My GPA was 4.0.


I don't know how much time you need to study, etc so this may be different for you. However, just wanted to illustrate that having no activities is not always a requirement to do well in school. In first year, when I did nothing but school, I thought I had all the time in the world and procrastinated like mad. In 4th year I managed every nanosecond of time, did great and still saw my friends once in awhile.


I'd say go for it. If it does seem like too much, then reassess but don't back out without trying!

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Thanks so much for your suggestions guys :)


Ah that's what I thought. I gotcha now. That being the case then, can you negotiate for lesser hours? or perhaps come in really early on weekends? A few professors I knew had no problems giving me the keys to the lab so that I could work whenever I had the time to do so.


I don't I can negotiate for lesser hours because the minimum requirement he said was 8 hrs per week. I think he'll be lenient with working on different days because he kinda expect me work independently



I think I need the 8 hours a week. Last year, I took 5 full courses and all I did was study. In the end, I managed to get a 4.0 and that was because I ONLY studied, pulling all nighters and etc. I study by repetition which I feel it is quite inefficient method of studying, but I know it works for me.



my goodness... you're a monster. I don't think I can divert so much of my attention to multiple things at a time. I think I'll piss him off if I decline now. I think I'll piss him off even more if I decline later on.



I know I'll do much better if I don't do research but it's so tempting to get a scholarship. And scholarships and awards do matter for med right?? :confused:


There is this prof who's willing to take me in for volunteering. I think he'll be easier to work with, and requires only 4 hours a week. Should I go for this instead??

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as other people have said, e/o is different in what they can handle. i did f/t nursing studies, the requisite 12 hr clinicals concurrently, had 2 p/t jobs, and a few volunteer positions ..plus i took time out for music and yoga. granted i don't have a 4th year 4.0, but what i do have is a balanced app for med school. a 4.0 may get u an interview, but what are you going to talk about if you don't have other life experiences? you will be competing with people that have 3.9's, 4.0's PLUS that 8 hr a week research position PLUS a p/t job, ec's, etc..


i would consider that first 'in your face' prof seriously, et scholarship...the experience may challenge you but the rewards may be good. and considering all the 'strong personalities' i have met at the hospital ( RN's, MD's etc...) this may give you a good grounding for what is to come....

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I would realistically look at the amount of time you have left over after giving yourself a reasonable amount of time to do well in each course. This is individual - some people can work more quickly, others take more time. Furthermore, everyone has different obligations in life.


GPA, ECs and down time are all important. I wouldn't sacrifice any one of those completely.


With the time left over, I would select ECs you really feel you'll learn from and enjoy. Don't chose something just because you think it will look good on a medical application. When they ask you about it in an interview, your enthusiasm will be indicitive of your experience. Med schools have stated multiple times that ECs of every kind are valued .. it's not what you do as much as what you do means to you. Likewise, I feel that what you take away from the experience is more important than the quantity of ECs you complete.


So, if you think you will really enjoy research (with either professor), go for it! If not, chose something else you would enjoy. A strong LoR will come naturally if you really enjoy what you're doing and work well with the people in your team.


Research can be an amazing experience and a scholarship is always nice, but so can everything else.

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