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COVID cancelled my premed experience: what should I do now?

December 14, 2020

Being a premed during COVID has been tough. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted pre-med and pre-health students’ ability to find doctor shadowing and clinical experience. Many students want to know what they can do to prevent the coronavirus pandemic from affecting medical school admissions

If your plans for clinical shadowing or volunteer hours were cancelled, you may be wondering what you should do to get medical experience during the pandemic

We know how important our next generation of doctors, nurses, midwives, and physician assistants are for the future of healthcare. This is why we have remained committed to providing our doctor shadowing and global health programs in a safe way, even during this challenging time. 

While many medical schools have adjusted their expectations and requirements, there are more people applying to medical school than ever before. This presents a challenge to premed students who have more limited options but need to stand out from the crowd

We can help you stand out from the crowd, by providing experience that builds your foundational knowledge and gives you an opportunity to explore international healthcare in a way that few pre-med and pre-health students are able to. Consider our covid-safe programs on the frontlines of hospitals and clinics in the Dominican Republic or Tanzania

In the meantime, we have explored what premeds can do during covid-19

What can pre-meds do during the coronavirus pandemic? 

  • Virtual Shadowing 

Many hospitals and clinics have banned any shadowing activities at their facilities. While it is still possible to find in-person shadowing opportunities – like our Global Pre-Meds program – we know that some pre-med and pre-health students are looking for local experiences

You can still try to contact people you know who are in the healthcare field. A family friend, who knows you are responsible, may be able to allow you on their service for observation. 

Virtual shadowing opportunities have been popping up since the start of the covid pandemic. A quick Google search will help you find different avenues to observe right from your computer, many of which are free of charge. If you are hoping to fulfill any medical school requirements, you should check to make sure they would accept online shadowing hours. 

You should also check to see if your university is offering any virtual shadowing programs through their school. Even if they are not, they may be able to recommend an online experience for you. 

For example, the University of Colorado has started offering virtual shadowing courses like this one. You can register and watch the modules for free, and pay for an optional certificate of completion. 

It’s important to note that virtual shadowing does not replace the experience of observing in person. You won’t be able to see the inner workings of the hospital or ask as many questions as you may want to. It’s also helpful to shadow a doctor for more than one day to allow for a diverse experience. 

This is why we have made some adjustments to account for the recent pandemic and protect our students. You can get frontline hospital experience at an international hospital with our programs. You don’t have to sacrifice your educational experience. We will help you continue on your journey towards healthcare and stand out from the crowd.

  • Volunteer

Many medical schools consider an applicant’s service hours when reviewing their resume. There’s a general recommendation of 100 hours of volunteering for pre-med and pre-health students

Given the reduced contact with others, some volunteer gigs are on hold or they have changed form to more indirect or onlines services. VolunteerMatch, Idealist, and DoSomething can help you find a placement for volunteer opportunities.

While it can be great to volunteer at a healthcare facility, it isn’t necessary that all your service hours are related to medicine or patient care, especially now that it’s difficult to get access to those facilities. It also isn’t necessary to find an organization to volunteer through. You can make masks, help neighbors, donate blood, start a food drive, or whatever else may help your community during this time. 

As a part of our programs, we include weekly volunteer opportunities where you partner with local organizations. We believe in giving back to the communities that host us, while you earn experience to help you in your career.

  • Study for the MCAT

Some schools have waived MCAT scores as part of medical school applications, due to the issues with administering tests during the pandemic. However, if you are still hoping to take them for your upcoming application, it’s always a good idea to use any extra time you have for studying. You can create a study schedule or even take a preparatory course. 

Check with your medical school program to see if they require MCAT scores this year. While some schools do not require it, they could help your application if you are able to include them.

  • Take a gap year

Gap years are becoming more and more common for pre-med and pre-health students. Students who did not get into medical school this year, or want to defer due to the pandemic, have decided to take a gap year.

It’s up to you what you want to do with your year. Some people use the extra time to prepare a better resume and application. Others choose to use the time to rest and reflect on their future. 

We have a lot of gap year students at Global Pre-Meds, given that we offer our programs several times through the year. It’s a chance for you to travel and explore a new country and culture, while building your medical school resume

You can safely isolate within a bubble of our staff, mentoring doctors, and your peers. Your program fee includes all your in country transportation, daily meals prepared by our chef, and accommodation at our beautiful guesthouse. Our two-week programs will offer you one of a kind experience in a safe, ethical way, where there is no physical contact between you and patients.

Should you decide that taking a gap year is right for you, or you want to find a way to make the most of your school breaks, you should consider our programs. We can help you get clinical shadowing experience during covid-19