Help Needed with Med School Process

<p>Alright so here's the deal. I went to Boston College, in their honors program, freshman year and did really well (3.9). I wasn't very happy socially and decided to transfer to Cornell, where I will be a junior and currently have nearly a 4.0 GPA. Though I'm involved in, and passionate about, a few clubs and have good grades, I am not doing research. </p>

<p>My questions are:</p>

<p>(1) How important is research for medical school admissions? I'm planning on getting involved this year but regardless, I feel like my research experience will be lacking relative to some other applicants. </p>

<p>(2) I shadowed a bunch of doctors this summer at NY-Presbyterian, affiliated with Cornell and Columbia and even got an opportunity to scrub in for several surgeries. A surgeon agreed to write me a letter of recommendation. Unfortunately, I haven't really developed a personal connection with a professor at Cornell as many of my classes are large lecture classes. How would a letter from a doctor compare to a letter from a professor? Also, my favorite professor happens to be my former Gen Chem professor at Boston College. I did really well in his class and we actually had opportunities to talk outside of the classroom. Do you think a letter of recommendation from a professor at BC will be fine even though I transferred out? </p>

<p>Thank you in advance, I really appreciate it!</p>

<p>1) Variable on the medical school. For many schools its just another EC and for others it is almost as crucial as medical experience.</p>

<p>2) You need two science professor LORS and a nonscience once too. Unfortunately a doctor letter cannot compensate for the lack of one of those. I would ask the BC prof.</p>

<p>Cornell's HCEC committee is very lenient about LOR's so your BC prof's letter of rec should be fine. </p>

<p>Don't bother getting a LOR from the surgeon. In general, LOR's from doctors you've shadowed are worthless for obvious reasons.</p>

<p>norcalguy,</p>

<p>I planned to get LORs from the docs I've shadowed--one I now do research with, and the other is well-known and well-respected around here; he and I get along great and he assures me he'd write a great letter (guy I research with says similar things too). I've shadowed each of them for about 2 years. Would it still be better to avoid LORs from them? My pre-med committee doesn't limit the number of rec letters you can include with your cover letter/committee letter, and I have strong letters from 2 sci profs + 1 additional prof (so these 2 are extras, I guess).</p>

<p>
[quote]
I've shadowed each of them for about 2 years.

[/quote]
Yeah, well. There is an exception to every rule. You're it. ;)</p>

<p>The nearly universal condemnation of LOR's from docs you've shadowed assumes a superficial experience of short term. Your experiences don't appear to fall into that category. (My D had 2 that didn't either. She used one of them on most apps, the other one on a few.)</p>

<p>My DD got an LOR from the surgeon she shadowed, but like you, it was different- he operated on her, later he was her supervisor in a sports med internship and then she shadowed him both in the office and in surgery. There was a relationship there, he would recognize her if he passed her in a crowded unexpected place, he had something to say. That, I believe, is the crux of the issue- whether or not the shadowed physician knows you.</p>

<p>Good to know. I figured that with cases like yours, somemom and curmudgeon, there almost had to be exceptions to the "don't get physicians to write you rec letters" rule, but was unsure (hence, asking on this thread). I definitely see how a superficial relationship wouldn't be worthy of a rec letter and am glad to know that this isn't a universal rule/faux pas made only by naive applicants :)</p>

<p>But kristin, I can assure somebody on here will read this and say "My 20 hrs over two weeks was sooooo meaningful, that's what they are talking about". Uhhhh....nope. That's not what we are talking about. Those letters would suc...</p>

<p>I mean "those letters would not be very helpful".;)</p>