a year ago
Admissions Advice

Is it worth it to do reasearch as an extracurricular and how should I do I even begin with that?

How do I find a mentor if its even worth it if i am considering applying to bsmd programs also i am a sophmore

@student00923a year ago [edited]

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a year ago

I'll mirror a lot of what has been stated in the other answers here -- your best bets, as mentioned, will most likely be to reach out to faculty at local universities and see if anybody bites. There are also typically some local programs for high schoolers during the summer, and your work with your mentors from these programs can extend into the school year as well. @DebaterMAX has already touched on this stuff in detail, so I'll let this brief overview suffice here. The only qualifications I'll make are that you want to be very careful that you remember whatever research opportunities you do, if you are lucky enough to get any, cannot come at the expense of your schoolwork/grades. Sacrificing your academics for research will ultimately be counterproductive, so make sure you think about whether you have the time to be able to do both effectively. On that note, you also want to think about the logistics of being able to get to a lab as well. If you can't invest 6 hours ish per week to going to a lab, and that in one or two visits, you won't be hitting the critical mass for the lab to see any benefit from investing in you. Obviously, this last point is probably irrelevant with covid at the moment, but it's said with an eye toward the future and your junior + years in high school.

Now, in the event that you are not lucky enough to find a research opportunity, volunteering in a relevant field will be of the utmost importance -- arguably even more important than doing research. Notwithstanding @DebaterMAX's point that it's going to be very hard to get into a BS MD program without any health experiences/extracurriculars, you want to think about what the admissions committees for these programs are looking for in their applicants. They need students that they are convinced are so committed to a career in medicine that they will be comfortable admitting them to a 8-year commitment. The most important manifestations of this kind of student will appear not in their academics, but in their extracurricular activities, their commitments, and their personality. The admissions committee needs to see that you are not only a fit intellectually, but emotionally, for the BS MD program. What that means is that you are going to have to be able to show why you are a fit for a career in medicine, not just a degree in medicine. Empathy, caring for others, and providing service are all going to be huge parts of this equation.

With this in mind, the final question that you are going to want to ask yourself is why you want to apply BS MD. There are not many BS MD programs available for you to apply to, which drastically restricts what kind of undergraduate experience you can potentially have, and they are of course very difficult to get into. It has been noted that acceptance rates often rival ivy league acceptance rates: for further comparison, Brown's PLME program, the only BS MD program in the Ivies, has a 3.49% acceptance rate.

The point is that the vast majority of people that attend med school do not do so through a BS MD program. You are not losing much on the competition if you do not get into one -- arguably, you are actually giving up ground because you sacrifice your competitiveness as an applicant in return for long term security. The other factor is how this changes your undergraduate experience. Are you enrolling in BS MD because you want greater undergraduate freedom to explore other disciplines out side of the sciences that interest you? If so, I would argue that it is counterproductive to load up on science/research in high school just so you can have marginally more liberty to take non science/research classes in undergrad.

a year ago[edited]

So research is incredibly hard to get into especially if nearby universities don't have a program for high schoolers. First look to see if such programs exist if they do they are likely to be extremely competitive so make sure to do your best on the application. The best option if there no such programs is to essentially cold call/email people at a nearby research university and make sure it's not a liberal arts school as they typically don't do research. In a perfect world, you'd be in a city with a school or at least in a metro area of one also ideally the school has prestige but isn't the main school in the state exceptions for schools with only 1 or 2 public universities. So for example the CSU system is mostly known for its Fresno San Jose and San Diego campuses but there also have like 10 other locations. Another example might be Nebraska with UNL and UNO if there is no branch campus you can certainly cold call/email them but your chances will be highly likely to decrease. Id email the department head of the health program/school and just ask if they have any opportunities available. Private schools can be hit or miss but I don't really know about them.

As there is a pandemic going on don't count on getting any opportunities so Id aim for your junior year. If you are aiming for a BSMD program its highly advisable to pad your extracurriculars especially those relating to the medical field so yes Id definitely reach out at the very least as the majority of these programs have acceptance rates that rival the ivies and sometimes even succeeds them. For example, Univ Missouri-Kansas City BSDM program has a 9% admit rate for reference Dartmouth an ivy league has an 8.7% admit rate. Before researching BSDM for another question I never heard of UMKC despite living fairly close to it.

Just to possibly correct a possible assumption mentors are 1 not solely from research 2 not required for BSDM applicants but can help. In relation to point 1 post pandemic if research doesnt work out Id 100% reach out to local hospitals and nursing centers to volunteer as Id argue its impossible to get into BSDM without prior health expierences.

The link below is the most comprehensive online BSDM guide I know of. I definitely recommend you look at it.


Hope this helps comment if you'd like clarification on something :-) Good luck!

Edited on 11/19 for clarity.

a year ago

Research may be a good extracurricular for bsmd programs. To start, try researching local universities and professors in fields that you are specifically interested in. Once you find a professor at a university near you, try emailing them or contacting them another way and explain who you are and what type of research you would be interested in conducting. Remember to email multiple professors as they may not always reply or do not want to do that type of research. You can always look at YouTube videos and articles to get more ideas of what type of research you are interested in and how to go about this extracurricular. Best of luck!


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