What is the best way to get lab experience?October 28, 2013
Every year medical school competition heats up even more. A larger number of students have notable lab or medical experience and this automatically ups the ante when it comes to applying for schools. A large number of universities require a capstone course or internships during the Senior year of college. Working in any lab setting will give you that edge you need and will also give you some insight into whether or not you are actually cut out for a medical career.
Where Do You Begin?
If you are presently in college, scan the bulletin boards of the science department. Check websites that might list any opportunities that exist for faculty research projects. Speak with your pre-health advisor or academic advisor and express your interest in gaining some lab experience. Professional organizations generally host presentations or open houses on the campus. Ask representatives about volunteer and paid opportunities.
If you’re keen on getting a paid position, fix an appointment with the career centre in your school. They can provide you with some information about job openings. Apart from this, they can give you some resume help, check out techniques and provide you with interview tips.
There Is A Right Time To Start Looking
The ideal time to look for lab positions is when you are half way through the semester, or a couple of weeks before your midterms. There are also a larger number of research opportunities in the summer months and you can zero-in on some good volunteer as well as paid opportunities. The pre-health office or the career center might even have a list of places you can potentially work at. Some opportunities could be outside the school.
Some things that you must keep in mind are to ask about stipend and travel costs. These could amount to a lot and you don’t want to be paying for them out of your pocket. Your completed applications should also ideally go in on time as the number of people applying for these posts always exceeds the number of available opportunities.
How to Apply
You can drop by at a professor’s office or send out an email. Make sure you clearly mention the project or research that you have an interest in. Indicate why you are interested in that project and also demonstrate your knowledge about the subject. If there are any relevant techniques that you have learnt in any previous courses or labs, you can make a mention about those as well.
Every little thing counts and so does the professionalism you display. You should also be able to communicate your findings, techniques and hypothesis from the courses you have taken. Make a good impression in classes – that helps a great deal.
When you go in for your interview dress formally and appropriately and carry your portfolio and resume. Once you have finished with the interview, send across a thank you note or an email, the following day and thank the interviewer/s for their time. For those who are not yet in college, start networking. Call people and check about any open positions at universities, research labs or hospitals. Visit their official websites and look at the career pages for more information.