Pre-med: Should I do research or find a job?


So I am a pre-med student (currently in my sophomore year) and have a part-time job as an academic tutor. I tutor chemistry, psychology, and I am hoping that will look good as well.

However, I am applying to a summer research project and already had my employers submit their letters of recommendation. As I am looking through the says that I am now allowed to take any classes during the research period (the whole summer). 

I took a medical scribe training course and was hoping to become certified to be a scribe this summer for shadow hours and such. I also just got an email with a summer job application to be a pre-health advisor (which would build leadership experience).

Is research THAT important for medical school? Or would they prefer to see someone as a scribe/leader?

The reason I am so confused is because I am supposed to apply to medical school next I feel like this is the only summer where I can actually get stuff done. 

5 Answers

  • 10 months ago
    Favourite answer

    I shudder to think of a rising junior as a "pre-health" advisor when you have so little knowledge yourself (not because of your personal qualifications; just because you're only just working your way through the pre-health process yourself).  

    Yes, research is that important. Also important is 1. physician shadowing and 2. hospital volunteer experience, preferably with one-on-one contact with patients. I don't believe acting as a scribe is what medical schools are looking for when they ask for physician shadowing. They want you to see doctors "in action" and be sure that medicine is what you want to do for a living. Something written on paper (or dictated) is much less of a visceral experience than seeing it live. Look at the shadowing requirements of several medical schools to which you're thinking of applying, and at medical school application info boards. 

    As MS says, the research position says you can't take classes; it doesn't say you can't work. I'd bet the research project is pretty much 9-5, but you might be able to fit in some work outside of that. 

    If you really don't want to do this summer project, if you're a biology, chemistry etc. major, you can probably take an independent research class during the school year (which will likely require a faculty advisor and a thesis), but I think you'd be passing up a great opportunity. 

  • 10 months ago

    It would be best to ask your professors about this. And your advisor. They may have experience with med schools reporting what they like to see in applications. You also need to know what the odds are that you will be accepted for the summer research program. If this is one that hundreds of students apply for, then it would be better not to give up the opportunity to work over the summer. On the other hand, if you are assured of the research program, I think that would look better to med school admissions people. But ask your advisor. 

  • 10 months ago

    1. You have next summer, too. You will need to do something next summer as well. You won't spend the entire summer only filling & filing applications to med school. Or at least, you'd better not! You will work or do research or shadowing - something to improve your skills & qualify for admission. So that premise of yours is false.

    2. If you have the opportunity to participate in research, as well as take another class or two, take advantage of that opportunity as such opportunities are relatively scarce. You can work full-time next summer. That way, you will have both. And do your applications, etc, at night after work.

  • Anonymous
    10 months ago

    My advice would be to work. One of the key disciplines is time management and working in a 'proper' job can pay dividends when it comes to being efficient in studying. 

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  • MS
    Lv 7
    10 months ago

    Research is very important for medical school.  Do the project requirements say that you cannot work during the project period?  Or just not take classes?  You might be able to balance some work with the research project.  Having some scribe experience would also be valuable - some sort of clinical experience or relevant volunteer work is defintely necessary as well. 

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