July 4, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Extracurricular activities are activities that are not part of the required school curriculum. They are activities you participate in away from class. Some students participate in extracurriculars for fun, and some do it to gain a particular type of experience. Still, other students get involved in extracurriculars because it makes them appear well rounded on their resumes. It is also common to select activities for all of the above reasons.
Why extracurriculars matter
If you are a pre-med major or are considering pre-med, you may want to consider your extracurricular activities carefully. When you apply to medical school, you will include the extracurricular activities you participated in. Most students trying to get into medical school will have a strong academic background. Good grades and high test scores are often common among applicants. Extracurricular activities are one way you can show another side and may help you stand out from other applicants. Activities you participated in while in undergraduate school may show admissions committees you have some of the important qualities medical schools are looking for.
Common types of extracurriculars for pre-med students
Pre-med students may want to consider participating in extracurricular activities which show leadership skills, in addition to research and science activities.
For instance, possible extracurricular activities which may be right for pre-medical students include shadowing a physician or volunteering with a hospital or ambulance company. Health clinics and nonprofit agencies may also need volunteers. If possible, get involved in some type of medical work where you may have hands-on experience with patients.
Volunteer work is never a bad idea and can include almost anything. Whether you volunteer for a homeless shelter, foster care agency or a program helping the elderly, it shows you care about other people. Joining a science club or becoming involved in a research project are also good extracurricular activities for pre-medical students.
Remember, not everything needs to be geared towards science and medicine. It is common for medical schools to choose candidates who have a variety of interests and are well rounded. There are so many extracurricular activities you can choose from including fraternities, sports, clubs, politics and more.
Tips on choosing your extracurriculars
Don’t take on too many activities at one time. While it’s a good idea to participate in several things over your four years of undergraduate studies, taking on too much can be overwhelming.
Avoid an activity just because it looks good on your application. If you are considering getting involved in an extracurricular activity simply because you think you should, it might not be the best idea. Participating in an activity you don’t enjoy may make you dread it.
Consider your interests. Think about what you like to do. Are you into sports, music, or languages? Maybe you would prefer joining a club or community organization.
Try different things. College is a great time to get involved in all different types of extracurriculars. Having diverse interests, skills and talents is always a plus when it comes to medical school. So if you want to join your local community theater, the Spanish club or play rugby, go for it.