How to Choose Extracurriculars as a Premedical Student

You may have heard that there’s a “perfect formula” of undergraduate extracurricular activities sought by medical schools. Research experience? Check. Hospital volunteering? Check. A summer internship in a lab or clinical setting? Check.

While these endeavors might demonstrate your interest in and commitment to clinical medicine, the idea of selecting your extracurricular activities solely based upon this perfect formula ignores one key trait that medical school admissions committees are looking for in their applicants: authenticity. As you navigate your pre-medical years, you may be wondering how to cultivate a resume that evidences your investment in medicine but also leaves plenty of room for pursuing your other interests. The key to selecting your extracurriculars is to not treat these two intentions as mutually exclusive—medicine can overlap with your other interests (and vice versa). Check out these suggestions for choosing your undergraduate extracurriculars in a way that will please both you and admissions committees.

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Non-Academic Ideas to Boost Your Med School Chances

non-academic ideas

At this point, you are probably already aware of how competitive medical school admissions are. For instance, you may already know that the most competitive med schools boast acceptance rates of nearly 3%—that’s almost half the acceptance rate of Harvard College. Pretty dire, right?

The truth, however, is that while medical school admissions are and will continue to be incredibly competitive, there are a number of steps you can take throughout college to distinguish yourself from the enormous pool of hyper-qualified candidates. Along with doing the typical extracurricular activities for med school like lab research, teaching experience, etc. the best candidates think outside of the box to make their extracurriculars stand out.

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3 Ways to Explore Medical Specialties

Medicine is a vast field comprised of specialties so different that it’s hard to believe they stem from the same core training. Once you’ve made the important decision to pursue a career as a physician, you must then begin the process of sifting through various medical specialties to identify your own interests. But with limited or no training, you might ask what steps you can take to begin narrowing down your options. Whether you are in high school, college, or have already begun medical school, consider these options as you begin exploring the various medical specialties:

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4 Reasons First-Year Medical Students Should Reflect on Their Initial Clinical Experiences

Many medical schools are now enhancing their preclinical curriculum (which is typically taught in the first two years of the program) with mandatory and optional clinical opportunities. Though intensive clinical exposure is typically reserved for third- and fourth-year rotations and sub-internships, students whose early curriculum provides clinical experiences should reflect on the impact of these opportunities.
If you are in a medical school with early clinical exposure, consider evaluating these experiences for the following reasons:

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Finding Clinical Opportunities: Show Up, Ask, and Follow Through!

I was recently asked to give advice on finding clinical opportunities. Here’s the short version: show up, ask, and follow through! This is an exciting and supportive profession you are entering. Physicians not only remember what it feels like to be in your shoes but they are eager to support you. Part of our responsibility in medicine is to educate and mentor the next generation. This applies to everyone from a first-year medical student all the way to the most seasoned attending.  I’ve had opportunities to tutor my classmates, write for Elsevier, deliver a heart from its pericardium, coordinate a helicopter landing and practice my old fashioned medical skills on the 7th continent all because I have shown up, asked for opportunities, and followed through when given the chance. Here are a few notes on how I approach gaining these clinical opportunities.

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4 Strategies for Students Reapplying to Medical School

reapplying to medical school

In an ideal world, your first attempt at applying to medical school would also be your last. You would apply, receive several interview invitations, and at least one acceptance letter.
However, for many medical school hopefuls, applying to medical school does not result in an acceptance, and as the rejection letters pile up, it can be difficult to determine how to regroup for another application cycle. Ostensibly, you submitted the best application that you could, so how can you improve in the future? What was that original application lacking?

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A Scribe Case Study: Alyssa Kettler

When did you first hear about medical scribes?
I first heard the term ‘medical scribe’ from a friend of my mother, a nurse at Fairview Hospice. She knew that I was looking for meaningful work to undertake before pursuing medical school and suggested I explore scribe opportunities. After extensive online research, I began scribe training with Elite Medical Scribes.

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How to Impress While Shadowing


Shadow (verb shad·ow)1
· To follow and watch (someone) especially in a secret way
· To follow and watch (someone who is doing a job) in order to learn how to do the job yourself

Shadowing is clearly defined in the dictionary, but yet the role of the shadow is vaguely defined in the medical field. Some students may feel that shadowing is a medical school application requirement or an easy way to get a letter of recommendation. However, this attitude of going through the medical school application process like a checklist, fulfilling requirements, often mask the truly rewarding moments of shadowing. Shadowing can be the first experience for a pre-medical student in the medical setting, and can inspire and nurture the passion for medicine in a future physician. Each medically relevant experience, such as shadowing, inspired my passion for medical school in those darkest moments in my room studying for over 12 hours. They reminded me that at the end of my preclinical year journey, there were patients that I would eventually have the opportunity to help. 

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