Medical extracurricular activities: The hidden requirement for med school admission

December 18, 2014

Part 1

  • Why admissions authorities give so much importance to medical extracurricular activities
  • What exactly is considered a medical extracurricular activity?

Part 2

  • Choosing your medical extracurricular activity
  • Medical extracurricular activity ideas

Part 3

  • More medical extracurricular activity ideas



During the process of exploring medical extracurricular activities, don’t think of volunteering and shadowing as two exclusive activities. Both of these activities complement each other. Shadowing begins where volunteering takes off. It allows you to follow a medical professional as they go about their work for the day. You get to see first-hand what a doctor does and what their day is like including how they carry out their diagnoses and how they interact with patients. You may or may not get any hands-on experience, depending on the physician you are shadowing and the hospital policy, but you will get to observe a doctor in action at close quarters and that experience is invaluable.

To find a physician to shadow, you can ask your current doctor, a family friend who may be a doctor or call a hospital and ask if they allow premed students to shadow their staff.

If you do get the opportunity to shadow, read a few tips on how to make the most of it without slowing down or obstructing the doctor in any way. Observe, reflect and make notes. You should ask questions but do this only when the doctor is not busy attending to patients.

Medical Placements In Resource-Poor Countries

Doing a medical placement in a resource-poor, developing country has the biggest impact on your med school admission.  During a placement such as this, you will have the opportunity to work in conditions that are in stark contrast to what you see back home. Moreover, the diseases you see overseas will be dramatically different from what you would see in any hospital in Australia. 

For the admissions authorities, knowing that this eye-opening experienced has not deterred you from pursuing medicine speaks volumes about your interest and commitment to healthcare.