Medical School Admissions, Explained


Welcome to the How To Be Pre-Med™ Research Bucket.

Pre-meds frequently ask, “Do I need research to get into medical school.” I always emphatically answer, “Yes!” But “research” may not mean exactly what you think. Research does not have to involve pipetting in the lab or creating mutant rats. Laboratory research is an excellent way to delve deeper into basic science and work with other brilliant scientists trying to solve a problem, but it is not the only type of research available to pre-meds.

In the eyes of medical school admissions committees, research involves any activity that involves asking a question and then trying to answer it. You form a hypothesis and attempt to solve it. The goal of your research is to prove to the medical school admissions committees your talent for analytical thinking and problem solving.

Many activities fall under this broader definition of research, including:

  • Studying HIV transmission rates from mother to child in Uganda
  • Determining the most cost-effective way to implement an electronic health record system at the local health clinic
  • Investigating scientists to be included in the book Most Notable American Woman Volume V
  • Analyzing the health disparities of Costa Ricans versus Nicaraguans in San Pablo de Heredia, Costa Rica
  • Looking at how states fund immunizations for a congressionally-sponsored immunization finance study
  • Using nanotechnology to develop handheld laboratory analyzers to be used at the bedside
  • Studying GAD65 antigen therapy in recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Drafting white paper on global payment systems versus fee-for-service payments for health care reform consulting firm
  • Performing language tests on elderly individuals with and without dementia to determine if subtle language deficits can predict development of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Designing a mechanical straw mechanism that allows quadriplegic patients to control drinking from wheel-chair mounted water bottle

As you can see, research has an extremely broad meaning. The key is to find a problem you are interesting in solving, and then working to find a solution.