Six Benefits of Undergrad Medical Research
May 25, 2016
Medical school alone is a heavy time and money commitment. That’s why many students opt out of undergraduate research. But that may prove a mistake. Here are six top benefits to participating in independent research while in medical school:
- It will boost your performance in other classes: Research directly employs a range of skills including critical and independent thinking, analytics, creativity and discovery. Invariably, students who participate in related research say it helps them to refine these skills, study more effectively and improve grades.
- It will teach you teamwork: Today’s medical practice increasingly is a team effort. Multiple physicians of varying specialties often consult on treatment options for patients, and ongoing treatment plans rely on the expertise of nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists and social workers. Participating on a research team will help you hone your teamwork skills.
- It will give you clarity on your medical career goals: If you’re considering various specialties, research, which forces you to delve deeply into a chosen subject, may help you to clarify just where your truest interests and abilities lie and make a final determination on a medical specialty.
- It connects you with mentors: Undergraduate research projects nearly always involve working with a mentor or team of mentors who can help guide you not only in your research projects, but in aspects of your medical studies and career long after the project’s conclusion. Impressing a mentor ultimately may help you secure job shadowing, networking and recommendation opportunities.
- It may land you extra credit: Many schools consider independent research projects as extra graded units that count toward your graduation.
- It will help you stand out: Though career opportunities abound for medical students over the next few decades, thanks in large part to a coming physician shortage, make no mistake – competition for acceptance into prestigious schools and for top jobs will remain fierce. Listing independent research on your medical school and job applications could help give you the competitive edge over another applicant.
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