Do medical schools verify shadowing hours?

May 4, 2021

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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There are many prerequisites for premeds to fulfill before they can apply to medical school, and some of them require different types of documentation. Some students are asking: do medical schools verify shadowing hours?

While they may try to contact your references and verify your shadowing hours, but it’s more likely if they believe you are exaggerating the number of hours you claim on your med school application. 

However, you should always consider that medical schools will contact references and make sure that you are honest on your resume. This is why it’s a good idea to find the right healthcare experience for your portfolio and to make a good impression.

We know a lot about this at Global Pre-Meds because our programs are designed to give aspiring doctors, nurses, midwives, and physician assistants the experience they need to make a great impression on admissions officers. We know how important front line hospital and clinical experience is to stand out from the crowd of other med school applicants. 

In this article, we will explain why med schools might verify hours and how you can make sure you are submitting your very best application. 

Submit the best medical school application

If you are wondering if medical schools verify shadowing hours, you may also be concerned with how well you are building your application. It’s important that you maintain integrity and high standards for yourself and all aspects of your career as you head into the healthcare field, and this includes your med school application. 

It would be terrible to be turned down due to dishonest information on your application. The best way to prevent that inclination is to find amazing medical experiences that are sure to help you stand out. Medical schools receive thousands of applications each year, and you want to find ways to make yourself look unique. 

Shadowing a doctor is something that nearly every premed student will have on their application. While you want to make sure you have a decent number of hours – we recommend a minimum of 40 hours – what you get out of shadowing is much more important than having hundreds of hours. 

Find doctors who can serve as great mentors. Not only will you be able to start building your medical knowledge, which you can use in your personal statements and med school interviews, but you will be creating a strong connection with a medical professional who can be a reference for you. 

It’s not always easy to find amazing mentors that will let you shadow them. That’s one of the reasons we put some much effort into our international partnerships with hospitals and doctors for our Global Pre-Meds programs.

Our operations teams are on the ground, working closely with the medical professionals, clinics, and hospitals that create your learning experience. We have high standards for everyone involved in our program so that we can make sure you get the most out of your two-week international healthcare experience. 

If you are shadowing locally or abroad, you want to make sure that the doctor you are observing will be a good teacher for you and your interests. Try to find a doctor to shadow through a curated program like ours, or through personal connections to the healthcare field.

You can also round out your experiences with volunteer hours – medically related or not – and perhaps even research experience if you can find it. Anything that can add something extra or unique to your resume is helpful. Healthcare experience abroad is just one of the things that can give you knowledge your peers may not have. 

Do medical schools verify your hours? 

While each school has its own process, the Association of American Medical Colleges explains that most medical schools will evaluate applicants based on their academics, MCAT scores, recommendations, and experience. Because there are so many qualified applicants, admissions officers often look for candidates with a more diverse professional and academic background. 

Given the large number of applicants, it can be difficult for schools to verify all hours that applicants list on their resume. They may only check your contact for your shadowing or clinical experience hours if they seem unrealistic, and thus raise a red flag. However, schools can verify activities at any time – even after a student has been accepted to a program.

Remember, shadowing a doctor is more about your own understanding than it is about fulfilling a certain number of hours. At most, students may round up slightly if they have an uneven number of hours. Admissions officers may ask you to talk about your experience in an interview, and it will be pretty obvious if you have never set foot in a hospital.

If you are applying to a medical program through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), you do sign to say that you verify the information is accurate. Integrity is important if you are determined to pursue a career in medicine. You don’t want to do anything to jeopardize your future. 

The best thing to do is to keep your resume and application honest. Find good experiences to build your portfolio. If medicine is your passion, then shadowing will help you realize it and it should be an exciting opportunity. 

If you shadow a doctor and realize you’re not interested and have no desire to keep observing or learning, that may be a sign that medicine is not the right path for you. Or you may realize that rather than be a doctor, you want to pursue another medical profession. That is why shadowing is so important.

We can help you explore different careers in medicine while getting unique experiences overseas. Our hospital doctor shadowing and global health experience programs expose you to different cultures and medical cases that you may never get the chance to see at home. 

If you are wondering if medical schools verify shadowing hours, we can help you make sure you get the experience you need so that you don’t have to worry about that. You can learn more about our programs here