Rising Premed Junior -- Credential Check

<p>Hi everyone -- I'll be a Junior at Lehigh University this upcoming year. I'm premed, looking to become an oncologist (potentially pediatric!). As is the case with most premeds, I'd love to get into the best schools possible and I want to see what people here think of the credentials I've built for myself already. Let me know where you think I stand in terms of getting into various places like Upenn, NYU, UVM, etc.</p>

<p>Biochemistry major, General Psychology and Health, Medicine, & Society minors. Arts & Sciences honors program student
GPA: 3.83 Overall, 3.92 Science/Major
I've taken Gen Chem 1 and 2, Orgo 1/2, Bio 1/2, etc etc. the only premed course I need to take (for the MCAT) is physics, which I'll be doing this year. I'll also be taking Biochemistry and some upper level chemistry courses</p>

<p>I'll be taking the MCAT next spring</p>

<p>Outside of academics -- This past year I was in a yearlong research program funded by HHMI at my school. The other students and myself isolated bacteriophages. The one I isolated was sequenced (as were some others) and my name will be on two entries on GenBank because of it. Also during this year I was an assistant teacher in the general chemistry labs (I'll be resuming this in the spring of this next year).</p>

<p>This summer I'm involved in the BDSI undergraduate research program at Lehigh, I'll be doing research with endothelial cells and atherosclerosis.</p>

<p>This upcoming year I'll be involved in a "biomedical externship" program where I'll be shadowing/doing rotations at St. Luke's hospital. It requires a minimum of 60 hours time at the hospital, though I'll probably be doing a lot more.</p>

<p>As for clubs/ECs, I've been a resident assistant at Lehigh for one semester and will be one for this year as well. I'm also a co-founder/leader of a club at lehigh that raises money for charity, and I'm involved in the "University Productions" trips and excursions club as well. Finally, I'm a member of the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and AMSA.</p>

<p>Through the honors program at Lehigh I'll be doing a senior project -- I'll either do some heavy duty research or something through the hospital depending on what I can do!</p>


<p>So that's it for my credentials. If anyone has any opinion on other things I should do or should be doing I would really appreciate it!! Thanks everyone :)</p>

<p>I would really appreciate any help/advice/comments people have!</p>

<p>I also wanted to add (but apparently can’t edit?) that I’ll be going a national conference through the HHMI research lab I did. There’s a poster session there.</p>

<p>You have lots of good points…keep up the great work and as a future Lehigh grad I would think that you will eventually be applying to ALL the PA med schools. As a 2011 Bucknell grad, I found the PA schools will certainly want to take a look at your credentials as an in state pre-med. While I chose to attend the medical school in my home state (after my gap year) this August, 2012, (UConn)–I was given consideration, interviews, and a few acceptances to some of the PA med schools-just some advice…best of luck this coming year-your externship (I did one at Bucknell, too) is certainly a plus!</p>

<p>Have you done any hospital volunteering (not shadowing)?</p>

<p>Aside from that, your application is shaping up nicely. Your MCAT will be the determining factor for if you’re competitive at top schools or not.</p>

<p>Aberdeen – thanks for the advice :slight_smile: I’ll definitely be applying to a bunch of PA med schools. My dream school would be UPenn, but other ones like Thomas Jefferson, UPittsburgh, etc would be great as well.</p>

<p>Sarahjudith – Unfortunately I haven’t been able to volunteer yet. I was accepted to the local hospital volunteer program this semester but the only slots they had available were during my classes, which stunk… I’m going to attempt to volunteer once or twice a week during my Junior spring semester, as I definitely want to get some volunteering in!</p>

<p>I think you’ll find that Jeff looks very favorably on Lehigh-Lafayette-Bucknell students and quite a few get interviews and acceptances. Stay grounded throughout the entire process and know that just getting one med school acceptance will be a great achievement. I know folks like to talk about getting into the “best” school, but in the end–I think you will find that getting into a school that is a good fit for you personally will be the most important aspect. Yes-everyone on this board will advise you that GPA and MCAT score/s are very important-but there are other parts of your application that are important, too. Don’t become too obsessed with the “best” school mantra and stay grounded in those characteristics of who you are as an individual that eventually will be displayed in your PS and (down the road) your secondary essays. Making contact with folks who will eventually write LORs on your behalf is something to consider and plan for by November, too. Just remember that it’s not a sprint–but it is a journey with lots of twists and turns in the way you conduct your emotions to the steady beat of staying focused on giving your best effort. I’ve learned that the process is extremely competitive and at times unpredictable. Be your best friend–don’t be too hard on yourself–and know that in the end–you want to start by just getting one interview–and hopefully one acceptance. Be thankful for the help you get–and by all means hang in there–it’s a long process…you’ll make it.</p>

<p>That’s fantastic advice :slight_smile: I hope I didn’t come off pompous. I would be more than ecstatic to get interviews/acceptances from anywhere. Like I said my dream school is UPenn but getting in anywhere would make me unbelievably happy (I’ve seen the stats with people getting into any med school at all – I’d be lucky to just get one acceptance!). </p>

<p>As for LoRs – I think I have two great ones down. Hopefully the professor I’m doing research with this summer (who is also a professor here – i’ll be having her in the spring) will end up liking me. I have a few other teachers who know and like me but I’ll definitely make contact with some more!</p>

<p>You really need to be proactive with the clinical volunteering. That’s a very important part of an application, and even though sometimes it’s just grunt work (stocking towels, cleaning beds, getting patients water, etc.), it’s something you’ll likely be asked about at an interview. The “top” schools tend to focus more on research, but don’t chance it. Your best bet is to start volunteering at a hospital or other clinical center as soon as possible (or by fall term at the latest). Only a semester of volunteering before your application cycle may not be sufficient, though coupled with your externship it -might- be enough. </p>

<p>Jeff is big on community service, so I’m sure that your charity club will bode well with them. </p>

<p>I’m a PA resident (and went to college in Philly), so if you have any questions about the PA med schools, feel free to ask. I was accepted to 3 in PA and a couple more OOS. :)</p>

<p>Also don’t discount UPitt! It might not be “Penn,” but it’s a fantastic school that has a large emphasis on research. Plus, it’s ranked higher than UVA and NYU ;). I may be biased though…:stuck_out_tongue: I found that many of the HUP (Penn) employees were quite elitist and pompous while I was a volunteer there, and they didn’t want to associate with a lowly pre-med. That might not be the case with medical students, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. </p>

<p>If it’s one thing that I learned during this cycle, it’s that you shouldn’t have your heart set on one school in particular. It may only lead to heartbreak. Rather, apply broadly, and keep an open mind. I was quite bummed at some points, but in the end I am thrilled as to how my cycle turned out. :)</p>

<p>Thanks sarah! I definitely want to start volunteering as soon as I can, but I don’t think I’ll be able to this summer (with the internship now having strange hours I doubt I could) and I really doubt they’ll let me volunteer during the externship time… I’ll just have to hope that the externship and some volunteering is enough.</p>

<p>Also re: Pitt, I don’t discount it at all! I actually looked at some info on it the other day and it looks really nice!</p>

<p>Phillip, if you are having trouble volunteering in your hospital, don’t be afraid to volunteer elsewhere! I’m a rising second-year med student and to this day have never once volunteered in a hospital. Instead, I opted to volunteer with groups of people I’m interested in and just went with it wherever that went. I’m interested in public health and women’s health, so I volunteered with pregnant teens and teen parents in my community and also volunteered at our local women’s shelter. </p>

<p>You mentioned an interest in oncology and possibly pediatrics–what about at an after school program? A camp for kids with cancer? A nursing home? The Ronald McDonald house affiliated with your hospital? With a local scouts troop? Boys & Girls club? There are PLENTY of places other than hospitals where you can volunteer that can be relevant to your future career in health care. It’s certainly nice to be able to say in an interview, “Well, I’d like to keep an open mind, but after volunteering for an after school program once a week for the past year I realized that I really enjoy working with kids and am really good at it, so I think I’ll choose something in pediatrics.” Even if you don’t learn a ton about patient care, getting an insight into the group you’re interested in seems to be valuable.</p>

<p>It’s great that you’ve developed so much of your application already, and I agree with the above that your main deficiency at this point is volunteering. I would recommend you find somewhere to volunteer this summer, just to get started, and also do the legwork to find somewhere to volunteer on a more regular basis this fall. Even if you just volunteer one afternoon a week, it really adds up after a year! You can always reevaluate if the hospital volunteer position opens up.</p>

<p>Those are all great ideas Kristin. The only problem with starting during the summer is my schedule is very erratic – my internship is a full time job (and then some) with ending hours that change everyday. Plus I’ll have a few weekends away so I can’t really do weekends. I might be able to work something starting in July but we’ll see I guess… if anything there’s always fall semester!</p>