Is research necessary to get into medical school?

During our recent MedSchoolCoach webinar, “Establishing Your Brand: How to be Unique When Applying to Medical School”, Dr. Mehta, CEO of MedSchoolCoach, spoke with Dr. Marinelli, MedSchoolCoach Director of Advising, about the importance of research in your extracurriculars. Read more about how to get involved with research and why it’s important below!

Dr. Mehta:  Dr. Marinelli, we have a question probably not specifically related to branding, more so the entire application and process. And just to put it simply, do you think research is necessary to get into medical school?

Dr. Marinelli:  Great question. I think research is something you really, really want to have. I have seen people get into medical school without research and I’ve seen people not get into medical school because they were lacking research early, so that was a big gap in their application. So, having research is definitely going to help your chances to get in, but if you absolutely cannot get research, I would still suggest applying. However, you should really prepare your application as thoroughly as possible the first time you do apply, and that should be exhausting every avenue you can possibly think of to try to get a research experience.

I get this question quite often from people that are out of undergrad because obviously if you’re not in college anymore, your research opportunities for bench research are pretty limited. So usually what I suggest to those people is to try to get that experience because it’s going to hopefully help your application. I would suggest looking into clinical research. You can look online in your area, ask around at the local hospitals or local physician offices, especially if you have a teaching hospital nearby. You should definitely talk to the teaching hospital to see if there’s any clinical research opportunities. And it may not be science research but having some research activity where you’re actually working through a hypothesis and using a thesis and using the scientific method will really help your application.

Dr. Mehta:  Great. Thank you so much.