Welcome Premed Student!
Now you might ask, if I do really well in my classes AND rock the MCAT, what more do I have to do?!
Enter the world of extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities for a premed student include 2 major categories:
- Shadowing to gain clinical experience, and
- Volunteering, research, and all those hobbies you love.
Why are these so important?
First, being a physician is not like any other job – it’s really a calling. You have to know something about what the life and work of a physician is like before you set foot in medical school to really know if it’s for you.
Medical school admissions committees want to see that you have taken those steps and obtained some one-on-one experience seeing how a physician interacts with patents. If you think about it, this really does make sense for lots of reasons. What if you started medical school and found out that you can’t stand the sight of blood or can’t tolerate spending lots of time around people who are sick?
So, if you score a 45 on the MCAT and have a 4.0 GPA but fail to gain any clinical experience, medical schools will throw out your application because you really haven’t taken the time to figure out if medicine is the right path for you.
Many students ask us how they can get a shadowing opportunity with a physician. If you don’t know any physicians personally, this may seem like a daunting task. But, the reality is, many physicians are delighted to teach and work with students who are interested in medicine.
Click here to read on about how to get started and the major do’s and don’t’s when shadowing. In that article we talk about how to effectively shadow a physician as a premed student. You can also listen to Session 12 (above) of The Medical School Podcast (SUBSCRIBE in iTunes HERE), an episode in which we talk about the secrets to effective shadowing.
Through shadowing a physician, you can build a great relationship with that person such that he/she ultimately becomes a mentor for you. Having a mentor through the premed and medical school journey is extremely helpful and can be life-changing.
For additional information, read the post “Preparing for a Career in Medicine: Clinical Experience” with lots of great information about shadowing.
In addition to shadowing, extracurricular activities include any non-clinical experience outside of your classes – research in your biology professor’s lab, singing in a local choir, playing intramural volleyball, or volunteering at a soup kitchen.
Why are they important
These experience show admissions committees that there is more to you than just grades and text scores. Being well-rounded is very important on the journey to becoming a physician – the life of a physician is a very demanding one, and we all need things outside of the hospital to keep us grounded.
In Session 41 (above) of the podcast, Ryan interviews Dr. Faye Reiff-Pasarew, at the time, 3rd year internal medicine resident at Mount Sinai in New York City and the publisher of The Art of Medicine Podcast. In this episode, they talk about the importance of living life and experiencing all that you can.
- By Lexi on June 15, 2016Read more
In Session 182, I picked apart Ned’s piece on retiring the premed curriculum. This week he joins me to defend his article. Listen and decide for yourself.
- By Lexi on May 11, 2016Read more
Ryan and Allison answer questions submitted through the MSHQ Hangout on Facebook. We talk about taking a Gap Year, teamwork and more. Check it out now!
- By Ryan Gray, MD on January 20, 2016Read more
Ryan answers questions that have been emailed in and talks about his upcoming Medical School Interview book! Go to medschoointerviewbook.com for more info!
- By Ryan Gray, MD on September 16, 2015Read more
Ryan digs through the emails and Facebook posts to find the questions that you need to hear the answers to. If you have questions, check out our group.
- By Ryan Gray, MD on September 2, 2015Read more
Premed collaboration at it’s finest. We jumped on Blab to talk with premeds about their questions and struggles. We talked about the MCAT, GPA and so much more!
- By Ryan Gray, MD on March 25, 2015Read more
The Center for Patient Partnerships offers an amazing experience to premeds, medical students and physicians to together with patients, advocating for them.
- By Ryan Gray, MD on March 18, 2015Read more
Ryan is flying solo to talk about 7 top reasons premed students fail to gain acceptance to medical school. The third reason is the most inexcusable!
- By Ryan Gray, MD on January 21, 2015Read more
Ricky from GapMedics.com stops by to discuss what shadowing abroad can do for the premed and what experiences are available. We discuss travel, safety and more.
- By Ryan Gray, MD on June 25, 2014Read more
Alex Breslin is a UF Premed student who saw a need for volunteers at the hospital and decided to start a whole new organization to fill that need.
- By Ryan Gray, MD on January 15, 2014Read more
Going straight from high school to a combined degree program can take a lot of the unknown out of the equation. The founders of in-Training.org talk about it.