September 2, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
At the time of filling in their application for med school, a lot of premed students may wonder why extra-curricular activities even need to be mentioned. Most of these activities have absolutely no connection to medicine and they are unlikely to help at all in a career in medicine so why mention them?
The truth is participating in an activity, whatever the activity may be, can reveal a lot about the personality of a person. From the point of view of the admissions authorities, that is exactly what they are looking for – your personality behind your academic scores.
Here are some of the important attributes that can be deduced from participation in extra-curriculars:
With so much significance being given to extracurricular activities, what you choose plays a key role. Here are two important tips for choosing an extra-curricular activity to take up:
Always choose something that you are passionate about. If you are passionate about an activity, there is a bigger chance that you will stick to it for a longer time. It also acts as a great way to get your mind off work and relax once in a while.
Ideally, try to choose an activity that will also help you in the long run. This does not mean that the activity needs to have some kind of direct link with what you are studying but it should be a productive activity that will be appreciated on your application. For example, you may love art and art history. Even though this is not connected to medicine, it will help boost your application by showing up your culturally rich side.
Clinical exposure is now given so much importance that premeds joke about how it should now be listed down as a mandatory requirement for applicants. But what kind of clinical exposure really counts? Getting namesake clinical experience will not help you. For example, if you did a two month stint at a doctor’s clinic near your house and you hardly worked during the time, it will not count as clinical work. You have to remember that every medical admission committee consists of very experienced individuals who can usually tell what kind of experience counts and what does not.
If you are looking to sign up for clinical experience, try to sign up for a year. This will show absolute commitment to the medical field and it will show every admission committee that you are sure you want to be a doctor and you have worked long enough in the field to stick through it. Another great kind of experience is to go for medical internships abroad. This also reflects very well on your applications because everyone knows that these medical internships give students a lot of exposure and a lot is learnt.
Whatever kind of extra-curricular activity you choose to do, do it well and use it to show off important skills that you have learnt on your application.