Originally Posted By: Wren
So I would say, how do you get into the next level? How competitive is it getting if you want medical school or law school or a PhD in biometrics? It has to be getting more and more competitive. Just like the crazy admission process for undergrad programs now. I am on the free email list for some college consulting firms. They send out articles. There is more about graduate programs. People are hiring these expensive consultants for graduate programs. It must be getting very competitive now at that level. Will our kids have to have a whole CV of undergrad research done with profs along with their grades as they apply for a PhD?
If that is the trend, how does our view of prospective institutions look then?

Obviously it depends on the goal, but I would say that in some fields and situations, yes, this is where things are heading. For my older kid, having the personal connections in classes was key to connecting with profs doing research that dovetailed with her interests, though clearly there are many different paths to that end. She is lucky to be involved in a couple different lab groups now, and aside from the research, the benefits extend to personal connections in the field, as well as regular lab group meetings where they as a group work on learning specific skills ,such as a particular computer program or statistical analyses. Sort of like your free veggies analogy; these things could be learned in a specific class, but DD has found that there will never be enough time or space for all the classes and skills sheís interested in and would like to learn, so filling those needs informally this way has been great...as well as a taste of how the grown-up out of school world might work. And these types of skills are all things she believes will be helpful in grad school, obviously in her work, but also in the application process itself.

Her friends that are applying to med school are similarly focused on gaining research experience and lab work, though her sense is that the specifics of what they are doing, and with whom, are less important to them. They are more interested in checking off the experience as a qualification, not on where it might lead. Which doesnít mean itís less competitive for them, itís just in a very different way (at least thatís DDs sense as a non- pre-med). Both groups are more focused on grades than I remember anyone being, but that is much more an issue for premeds, at least in her circle of experience. (And I have to admit to being rather uninterested in grades, so perhaps i was just out of step even in my day).