You go to college to get more knowledge, but it’s the involvement in other things that make these years memorable and worthwhile.
What are extracurriculars needed for medical school?
Though it’s recommended to have at least one medically related extracurricular experience, join whichever organizations interest you. Remember quality over quantity. Pick some that resonate with you and rise through the ranks to become an officer, team captain, or board member. This shows that you are committed to causes and organizations you’re a part of. If you become involved in too many clubs, you will spread yourself thin and inevitably burn out. You’ll need to eventually write about your involvement with each organization and you won’t have genuine experiences to draw from if you’re marginally involved in multiple activities.
There are so many ways to volunteer in college, whether it be through hospital volunteer programs, campus organizations, or opportunities found individually. I volunteered at a pediatric hospital through a college volunteer program and at the Ronald McDonald House through several campus organizations. I also volunteered at annual events such as the Autism Speaks Walk and the Atlanta Science Festival. Volunteering does not have to be related to medicine. I volunteered with Furkids to care for kittens in my spare time and Chinacare to help adopted children understand their cultural roots.
While many pre-med students are including research experiences on their resume, it isn’t required for medical school. However, it may be a competitive advantage if a publication is involved.
To find a research position, browse through departments of interest or faculty pages and read previously published papers and current projects. If you find something that catches your eye, send an short but professional email stating your major, how you’d like to get research experience, why their research interests you, and suggest meeting to discuss potential opportunities in their lab. If they are willing to meet, discuss any prior research experience, availability, and goals.
It’s the best of both worlds when you do something you enjoy AND get paid for it. Some examples include EMTs, medical scribing, course TAs, tutors, pharmacy technicians, RAs, orientation leaders, pet sitting, nannying, and waitressing.
Special Interest Groups:
Pre-medical clubs, honor societies, student government, sororities and fraternities, and intramurals are a few of the many options colleges offer. These are a great way to meet others with similar interests and expand one’s network.
Premedical clubs such as American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Minority Association for Pre-Medical Students, and Medical Students Making a Difference (MSMD) often invite speakers from the field, have numerous volunteer opportunities, and have insight on conferences for pre-med students. Members of these organizations also get special discounts for MCAT prep material and have mentorship programs.