I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of new Pre Medical students from the freshman class here at school, and a lot of them have asked me about what they can do to make themselves look good for a medical school admissions board. I figure that I would write about it here in case there were other people that had the same question.
Your GPA and MCAT score, while very important for getting your foot in the door, is not all of what is going to make you stand out. Here are a list of things that would be good for you to keep in mind while you are preparing yourself for your application:
- Get out there and help out the community in different ways. Most people interpret this as going to your local hospital to spend time with patients there. While this is a great thing to do, it would also help to go out and do other things outside the medical field as well. For example, I volunteered some of my time for one day a week to this organization where I helped teach people from other countries how to speak English.
- Physician Shadowing
- This is an absolute must! Why is it so important? Because this tells medical school boards that you have an idea what the life of a physician was like and so you know what you are getting yourself into. When I began college I considered going the dental route and so I spent some time with my dentist. I realized that I did not enjoy it very much, but I loved it when I had the opportunity to shadow doctors. You might find out that a medical career is not for you so make sure to give shadowing a try.
- My school, in particular, requires that every student complete some type of internship in order to graduate. It really is beneficial that you do so. The best type of internship that a Pre-Medical student could do is research. Yes, some people find bench work boring, but medical research is used all the time in order to discover new insights and breakthroughs in modern medicine today. Plus a lot of medical schools ask students to do some kind of research at some point during their medical school journey so it might help to be familiar with the research process.
- Often overlooked as useful material for an application. As a physician, you will be an employee, so it would be helpful for the schools to see what kind of employee you are. Are you hardworking? Are you good working in a team and have you had any leadership opportunities? And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a job in the medical field but it certainly can be.
- Letters Of Recommendation
- An absolute requirement for you to have for your application. It helps to be able to have supervisors, professors, bosses, mentors, etc. that can attest to the type of person that you are.
- Extra Curriculars
- What does this entail? Sports, clubs/ societies and other hobbies. You are a real person so it is okay to be involved in things that you love doing. This shows that you are a well rounded person and medical schools are all about diversity.
The thing to keep in mind is that I have had friends with 4.0GPA and high MCAT scores that did not get accepted into medical school while my 3.5GPA and mediocre MCAT scores get into medical schools. What was the difference? The schools looked at my super smart friends that had not much to add on their application besides their college scores while the other friends were involved and had a lot to say.
So please get good grades but learn how to close the books every now and then and get out there!
These are the big things and I’m sure that I could have come up with even more things to talk about. I may even go into even more depth on some of the topics above since there is so many more things I could say about each.