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What should I do next year?


Guest xango

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Hi there. I'm 26 and I recently went back to school tp upgrade my gpa after a few years away(graduated 99, bsch Biology). I didn't get involved in any extracurriculars because I really wanted to focus on my grades. I didn't figure this to be a huge problem because I worked for a health care agency for 3 years during my undergrad as a homesupport worker. This gave me plenty of exposure to patients in both hosipital and residential settings. As well I was on the my school's varsity track and field team. I trained very hard and was always ranked in the top 5-10 people in the CIAU for my events. I don't have a ton of research

experience, but I was able to complete a research project in our physiology department during my 4th year. I feel like my C.v. could have more extracurriculars, but between school, work and track, I really didn't have the time. The past few years I've spent much of my free time learning internet marketing, but as a result I've been able to generate a strong steady income (as much or more than most of my friends at their jobs. I've got more time now, so I'd like to

focus on a game plan for the next few years. Should I look into graduate school? Clinical research? Additional activities? I plan to write my mcat this summer and I woul like to apply to medical school next year(is this cutting it too close?).That's my situation in a nutshell.

ANy advice or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Guest shutterbug

Hey xango.

 

I'm also in a similar situation wrt to ECs.

 

I've had to work a fair bit during my shool year because I didn't want to have a huge debt coming out of undergrad. As a result I had less time for ECs. In anycase I did get involve in a few ECs all of which I truly enjoyed (as opposed to doing alot of ECs so that it looks good on your resume). And my jobs required me to interact with people all day so it wasn't like I was shut out somewhere in a cubicle.

 

I'm also in a coop program where you take off from academics and work for a while. Luckily, I've found placements in the healthcare field and research areas.

 

I would argue that:

 

There are many ways to gain experience. Work or volunteer may reflect on motive (monetary considerations; beefing up resume) but maybe not...and it still gives you the experience. When selling yourself (i.e. in a resume, interview, essay, etc...) emphasise the experiences and how they shaped you rather than why you did them. Personally, I feel that your involvement in ECs are highly correlated with your ability to not-have-to-work, i.e. $$$ or not caring if run up a huge debt.

 

Also, there are many experiences which would be inappropriate for a volunteer basis. For example, putting in overtime so that you can run extra research subjects on a Friday night...lots o fun.

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Guest macdaddyeh

I'm no expert seeing that this is my first time applying and I only applied to Mac, but glancing at your post, I think you're a solid candidate. Remember, it is important to emphasize what you HAVE done; not what hou HAVEN'T done!

 

So what if you're short a few EC's! Like you said, your work and your research and your track and field can really make you an ideal candidate. To turn this situation around, consider that there are many of people with lots of ECs, but only average grades, no/little employment and no/little research. Don't be hard on yourself. Different schools look at different characteristics anyway! I've posted before that you need to do what is important for you first and what is important for med school second.

 

Relax and take care:)

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Think of the definition of "extra-curricular". It means things you did *besides* just going to school.

 

Sports are definitely extra-curricular. Work, raising a family, playing trombone -- those are also extra-curricular. Nevermind the arbitrary categories of "volunteer" "work" "extra" -- what most places really care is that you had a life outside school, and you learned something from it. You may find you're able to identify unique subsections in each thing. For example, you say you worked for three years. Did you work on any special committees or projects as part of your work? You could make a note of them.

 

The experiences you learn in work and elsewhere is what they want to know about -- it doesn't matter if you got paid or not while doing them. :)

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I assume that the other thing that adcoms want to learn about you from your extracurriculars is that you can handle a busy life - that doing well in school doesn't take you 16 hours a day leaving you no time to do anything else. For this, ANYTHING that shows that you spend time being productive outside of schoolwork works, I would think.

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