How important is it for a premed to publish articles in science journals?

<p>In order to apply to top med schools I realize that one needs to have:</p>

<ul>
<li>a high GPA ( > 3.85 )</li>
<li>very good MCAT scores ( > 34 )</li>
<li>done some research during summers</li>
<li>a lot of volunteer hours ( including shadowing physicians )</li>
<li>interesting ECs</li>
</ul>

<p>But how important is it to publish articles in science journals? Do the top 10 med schools require an applicant to have published something? How about the other med schools?</p>

<p>My premed advisor gave me the statistic that 3% of medschool applicants have done research. She might have pulled this number from thin air but I've been looking at MD/PhD programs and even with applicants who have done significant amounts of research (like since they started college if not earlier) only a few are published. </p>

<p>Also you're top medschool EC's list is wrong. My list would go:</p>

<p>-high GPA (but I would argue >3.7)
-high MCAT (you're prob spot on, maybe it should even be 35+)
-clinical experience (can be shadowing, can be volunteering in a clinical setting, both, whatever lets you get close enough to patients to smell them)</p>

<p>You're other two (interesting ECs and research over summers) aren't quite umm correct.</p>

<p>Do research if you're interested. You may find you hate it, if you're going to hate research then there are lots of other things you can do that will make you an interesting applicant. Even at top medical schools (as ranked by US news) that are known to be research heavy only 60-75% of applicants have done research. You might mistakenly think that doing research makes an applicant more competitive to these schools. The truth is more likely to be that students who have done research are interested in research heavy schools, apply to them, and get in. </p>

<p>Some ECs other than research can be an internship in a clinical or public health setting, extraordinary volunteer work, mission abroad, something really cool that has nothing to do with the medical field.</p>

<p>Check out the ECs of some kids on the board, go find the 2010-2011 medschool applicants thread or the one the year before. That'll give you some idea of the variety of things premeds can do and be successful applicants in.</p>

<p>And you're not going to believe me but I've started looking at schools and the top schools for you may not be the same ones that are on the US news list. For example I go to WashU undergrad and I always believed that WashU medschool was the best place to be (ranked 3rd in the nation or w/e) but now that I've actually done my research my list is very different and not because my stats are lacking.</p>

<p>
[quote]
My premed advisor gave me the statistic that 3% of medschool applicants have done research... Even at top medical schools (as ranked by US news) that are known to be research heavy only 60-75% of applicants have done research.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>An MSAR will tell you this is false. Mine is a little older, but:</p>

<p>Stanford: 94%
Hopkins: 92%
Harvard: 94%
WUSTL: 90%
Columbia: 86%
Duke: 86%
Penn: 91%</p>

<p>If you'd like to fight it out with the rest of the non-research pool for just 9% of the spots, be my guest.</p>

<p>You can keep going, too:</p>

<p>Tufts: 75%
NYU: 86%
University of Colorado: 78%
University of Nebraska: 64%
Temple: 72%</p>

<p>etc.</p>

<p>I argue that getting into a top med school requires:</p>

<ol>
<li>An excellent GPA (3.75+)</li>
<li>An excellent MCAT (35+)</li>
<li>A good balance of research, clinical activities, volunteering, leadership</li>
<li>Your hook</li>
</ol>

<p>Your hook needs to be something that is spectacular and memorable. First-author in a decent journal is worthy of being #4. But, so is being a Division 1 athlete. So is winning the Fullbright. So is Peace Corps. So is being good enough to play at Carnegie Hall. So, no you don't need publications. But, you need what I would call an "extracurricular-equivalent" to publications. Something that lets adcoms know you've reached the pinnacle of an activity.</p>

<p>Hmm really? Ouch nevermind I take back my statistics and stand corrected. I still do believe that the students who apply to these schools truly like research, cause if you don't you're in for a world of pain when you go to places like duke and yale where they require to do some sort of thesis or two year project thing for yale.</p>

<p>I also have to wonder if these statistics include long term research or just tried out research. Because everyone should try research for a semester but not everyone can do the two year commitment. </p>

<p>
[quote]
If you'd like to fight it out with the rest of the non-research pool for just 9% of the spots, be my guest.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>No i definitely do not. This was once again from my premed advisor, which makes me wonder if the 3% is wrong too. I didn't check the MSAR but she said for research heavy schools only 60-75 actually do research but maybe she meant long term research projects?</p>

<p>Maybe 3% have been published your adviser meant?</p>

<p>^I believe this is the correct analysis. I've heard similar numbers (<5% have been published in noteworthy journals or something).</p>

<p>From another perspective, is it possible that both are correct? Perhaps the advisor meant that 3% of all applicants nationwide do research, and the MSAR numbers are that 90%+ of the applicants to that particular school did research. I don't have a good sense of the total number of applicants nationwide, but if a school like Duke had ~5,000 applicants (abysmal secondary deters many people) and 86% (~4,300) did research, I don't think I'd be totally shocked to find out that ~4,300 people actually represents a pretty small pool of the overall applicants.</p>

<p>Then again, the above thought process might be totally flawed because schools like Boston and Georgetown (10k+ applicants) also report similarly high percentages of research. And with all MSAR numbers, it's tough to take into account applicant data because the same kids apply to many schools--it's a bummer they don't have data available for matriculants. Plus, you have to remember that the way MSAR gets this information is through a questionnaire when you register for the MCAT (or otherwise register with the AAMC)--and all you have to do to be included in the ranks of "applicant that did research" is click on a bubble. To that end, perhaps ChemFreak's advisor meant people who did "legit" research.</p>

<p>Who knows, I might be totally off base. Just thought I'd contribute my 2 cents.</p>

<p>My impression is that the MSAR reports proportions among eventual matriculants.</p>

<p>I believe there's, what, 45,000 applicants to medical school each year? 3% of that would be 1350 students. 90% of the top 10 will do that on its own, to say nothing else of the remaining 90% of medical schools.</p>

<p>(If Kristen's interpretation of the data is right, then 74% of BU's 9000 applicants already gives you more than 6500 kids.)</p>

<p>Wait sorry to digress? But what did Kristin mean when she said "click on a bubble" ?</p>

<p>Are you telling me that the MCAT is computerized?!!!! ***</p>

<p>Mike, was hoping you'd chime in re: my thoughts on numbers. I was going for "how many perspectives on these conflicting numbers can I think of?" with each train of thought in my #8. Thanks for tossing them into a calculator for me :)</p>

<p>Bubbabubba, the MCAT is on a computer. You register to take it online also (through the AAMC). The computer format is really no big deal though, and with adequate prep/practice you'll have mastered it in no time. You can use the computer program to do many of the things you'd do anyway--you can underline, highlight passages, strike out answer choices, etc. And you have normal paper and a normal pencil to do scratch work with (it's provided for you, and you can have fresh paper and sharpened pencils as often as you want). You don't have a calculator though, and you have to do lots of calculations, so I hope you're good at mental math! Run through the "is the MCAT really that difficult?" thread for more info.</p>

<p>Back to the original question: publishing articles in journals--important? Or not so much?</p>

<p>My intuition about publishing:</p>

<p>1.) It's a big deal.
2.) It's not so common that you absolutely have to do it to get into a top medical school.
3.) It's also not so rare that it guarantees you admission.
4.) It won't overcome a major deficiency in another area. (Several strong publications might, though.)</p>

<p>But nonetheless it's a pretty big factor.</p>

<p>From D's experience - not important at all. She has not published anything anywhere. Maybe it was not important for Med. Schools that she has been accepted, while it is important for others. Nobody will know about every school, except if you contact Adcom's at schools on your list. D. has contacted several of them with other questions, they are very helpful and timely with thier responses. Another good source is pre-med advisory at your school. They have been also very supportive.</p>

<p>I think publishing helps, but to put it into perspective, I have never been published, and I got into a top 20 med school and had/have interviews coming up with top schools. Only one acceptance so far to these top schools, but I'll let you know what happens at the end of the process.</p>

<p>I've heard of a case where a high school student got published in a medical journal right after Grade 11 at the age of 17.
Would publishing at such a young age provide any sort of benefit in applying to medical school, regardless of how highly rated or not the medical schools she applies to are?</p>

<p>^Anything pre-college is irrelevant for Med. School application process.</p>

<p>Except for publications. They will stay with you your entire life.</p>