There is a shortage of healthcare professionals in the country. This makes medicine a promising career. It is also a highly competitive career. Students have a lot of resources to learn, prepare and score excellent marks. There are many like you who have impressive GPAs and MCAT scores. Many of them work with medical school admissions consulting experts to make sure that they can impress the admission committee with their applications. All of them try to get into a medical school. Before you enter a medical school, you need to get through a tough competition. You need to set your medical school application apart. Lab and research experience can be a crucial element in your medical school application.
Importance of Research Experience in Medical School Application
If you are not an MD-PhD candidate, you don’t need research experience to get into a medical school. However, you want to make sure that your medical school application stands out. This is where having research experience can help you. Your research experience reflects your curiosity and maturity. You learn a lot about work ethics during research work. This shows that you are capable of handling challenges in a medical school. If you are interested in academic medicine, participate in research projects. There is one more advantage of research experience. You can get letters of recommendation from your research mentors.
How to Get Research Experience?
To get research experience, you need to look for research opportunities. The following are the 6 ways you can find research opportunities:
Speak to Your Professor
You can ask your professor about special project opportunities in their departments or labs. You can also speak to a teaching and research assistant.
Visit Websites of University Science Departments
Universities regularly conduct research and surveys. Each department of a university has its own website. You can visit the website of the science department of a university. They regularly publish information about current and future research projects. You can get details of volunteer or funded research opportunities. Find details and get connected to show your interest.
Look for Summer Programs
You can also look for medical centers offering summer research programs. These programs are ideal for undergraduates. Some programs also allow high school students.
Speak to Your Pre-med Advisor
If you are already working with a medical school admissions consulting professional then finding research opportunities does not require writing emails to university science departments or college professors. Medical school admission advisors are extremely knowledgeable. They can give you the right direction and provide information about various academic opportunities. They can also help you make appointments for research projects.
Find Internship Programs
There are programs in which you can work in the field to conduct research. National laboratories and research facilities also offer internships. Apply for such programs.
Consider Full-time Research
Before you apply to a medical school, you need to strengthen your medical school application. You have one year to cover if you have missed anything such as clinical experience, extra-curricular activities. One year is enough for a full-time research program.
A wide range of experiences is highly valuable. Your research experience should cover basic and social sciences research, humanities research and clinical research. However, a year-long full-time research program truly makes your medical school application stand out.
Medical schools want candidates with a wide range of experiences. If you don’t want to participate in a research program or don’t get a research opportunity, focus on shadowing a physician or volunteering. Work on extracurriculars and increase your MCAT scores. However, if you want to join a research-oriented medical school, the school’s admission committee will prefer applicants with lab research experience.