There are many components to the medical school application (read about the important components of applications here). In addition to your grades and MCAT, how you spend your time outside of studying is just as valuable. This article will focus on guiding you towards the right extracurriculars for you.
Typical pre-medical activities can be grouped into 5 buckets:
- Clinical experience
While most students have experiences in these buckets, you might ask yourself, “Well how do I stand out if everyone’s doing the same activities?” What’s important to realize is that there are many different types of volunteering, research, etc. For example, you could volunteer at the student-run health clinic, the local nursing home, hospice, elementary school, and more.
Ultimately, the types of activities you choose to be involved with will tell a story by the time you fill out that medical school application.
To provide a specific example, I’ll share some of my experiences listed on my medical school application. I was involved with a business organization in college for all four years, transitioning from a new member to VP of the club. I also held internships at a health startup and a bank. From these experiences, I was able to clearly tell the story to the admissions committee that I was a business-oriented, re-medical student. I was also involved with research in a cardiothoracic surgery lab for a summer. My interviewer could tell from my lack of similar experiences on that research topic and the short duration of my involvement that I wasn’t strongly passionate about cardiothoracic surgery. Although this experience didn’t exactly align with my interests, it was still an incredible learning experience.
Hopefully, those examples clarify how your extracurricular activities show who you are and where your passions lie. When you’re choosing how to allocate your time between those five buckets, use what you’re passionate about as your North Star. At the same time, keeping an open mind and exposing yourself to different experiences will allow you to discover what does or doesn’t excite you! To hear more general pre-med advice, MCAT tips, learn about the application process, and see what life is like as a medical student, check out my Instagram: @the.medisun.blog. I’m happy to answer any questions, so feel free to message me anytime. Best of luck!
About Clara Sun
Clara is a third-year medical student and is a graduate of the University of Miami. She started her Instagram @the.medisun.blog to offer pre-med, MCAT, application, and medical school advice. Every month she shares stories from colleagues in different aspects of healthcare and career stages, such as nursing, PA, resident, healthcare consultant, etc. She shares many free research resources, scholarships, and how-to guides as well. Follow her on Instagram @the.medisun.blog for more insights!
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