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 Ryan Gray, MD on November 20, 2013Read more
Alexa Mieses, a 2nd year Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai student, joins us to talk about how mentoring positively affected her path to medicine and why she continues to give back by mentoring others.
- By Ryan Gray, MD on October 23, 2013Read more
Allison and I change things up and do a live Google Hangout and answer questions that were emailed in, and questions that were asked by other people that joined us on the hangout.
We covered questions about the best way to fit in extracurriculars as a freshman in college. There…
- By Ryan Gray, MD on September 4, 2013Read more
Dr. Faye Reiff-Pasarew is a 3rd year resident and host of the Art of Medicine podcast. Listen as she talks about her non-traditional path to medical school and why she is podcasting as a resident.
- By Ryan Gray, MD on May 8, 2013Read more
Ben Azevedo, better known as Bow Tie Ben, as of this recording is a 4th year medical student. I first found out about Ben when I saw this article and video. I was amazed that a medical student was taking the time to make…
- By Ryan Gray, MD on May 6, 2013Read more
Medical experience is enormously valuable to premedical students for a variety of reasons. Observing physicians and understanding what they do on a daily basis helps premeds understand the challenges and rewards of the medical profession and envision themselves as physicians. Spending time with doctors also helps premed students clarify...
- By Ryan Gray, MD on May 1, 2013Read more
Dr. Polites and I talk about MedPrep at Washington University in St. Louis. We discuss the premed path in depth and a lot more! Check it out subscribe today.
- By Ryan Gray, MD on February 13, 2013Read more
Shadowing as a Premed involves acting as a fly on the wall to get exposure to medicine or a specific medical specialty. We discuss the key points to know.
- By Ryan Gray, MD on November 24, 2012Read more
Shadowing can be a deciding factor in getting into medical school. Shadowing is the act of following a physician as he/she does his/her typical work activities in a clinic or hospital setting. You might ask why this experience can be so important. First, it may be the defining experience…
- By Ryan Gray, MD on April 29, 2012Read more
So, you have been working hard in college on your classes and taking lots of practice tests for the MCAT. You might ask, what else do I need to do to get into medical school? Well, for one thing, you need to volunteer! Key Reasons for Volunteering First, it...