Pre-Med Extracurriculars for Medical School Application (& What I Did)

Pre-Med Extracurriculars for Medical School Application (& What I Did)


As if getting good grades and doing well on
the MCAT wasn’t hard enough, you also need to make sure you have your extracurriculars
on lockdown. Stay tuned to find out how you can spend your
free time in college. What’s going on guys? This is J from MedSchoolInsider.com. I remember figuring out which extracurriculars
to pursue was a daunting task. I made a few mistakes along the way that you
can all learn from. But first, before getting into the nitty gritty,
realize that there is no magic bullet. Each person is going to pursue different extracurriculars
based on their interests, strengths, and weaknesses. That being said, I’m gonna go over a few things
you should keep in mind and try to incorporate into your free time. A common mistake that many premeds make is
spreading themselves too thin. It’s much better to focus your energy on
only a few extracurriculars rather than joining several clubs or organizations as a member. I made the mistake and I joined multiple pre-med
or health-focused student groups. I was simply a member and never pursued a
leadership position. While I am not on an admissions committee
for medical schools, I have spoken with people who are and they told me that being a member
of multiple pre-med organizations is essentially useless. Rather, pick one pre-med organization that
you find is a good fit for you, something that you either enjoy or aligns well with
your goals and values and put in the time and effort to be intimately involved with
the various aspects of it. You should be able to obtain a leadership
position, bring about some positive change and overall experience personal growth and
satisfaction. Rather than being a nuisance, it should be
a worthwhile experience. Now, extracurriculars can be divided into
three main categories; clinical, research and personal. Clinical exposure demonstrates that you understand
what it means to be a physician. This includes volunteering at the hospital,
going on an international medical trip, shadowing physicians etc. In one of my prior videos, I’m gonna put a
link up in the top right, I talked about the importance of shadowing to determine if a
career in medicine is a good fit for you. My own clinical exposure included volunteering
in the emergency department and volunteering on an international medical trip. I did not get that much shadowing done other
than the emergency department and I really wish I did in hindsight. The first time that I actually stepped into
the operating room was as a third-year medical student and I think that is way too late. Research is foundational to the field of medicine. It’s what allows us to continuously improve
patient care and it is the basis for determining what diagnostic or therapeutic interventions
to use. Although not every physician will necessarily
also be a researcher, I urge you to get some exposure and see if it is something that interests
you. Research can be broadly categorized into basic
and clinical. I only did basic science research when I was
in college which included a lot of pipetting, PCR, Western blots and other microbiology
techniques. While the work is very important and impactful,
I didn’t really find it particularly stimulating and I thought I would never want to do research
again. In medical school, I fortunately got involved
with clinical research which is a much better fit for me and I actually grew to enjoy it
as I got better at it. Clinical research is not done at a bench in
the lab but rather involves patients; either direct interaction, database analysis, chart
review etc. Clinical research is also better suited for
those who are impatient because it has a faster turnaround time. But it is also generally considered to have
less weight than basic science research. Personal extracurriculars should be just that,
personal. Do what makes you happy. If you love running, train and participate
in a marathon or start a running club. One of my friends loves longboarding, so we
started a club for it. It took off, grew rapidly, everyone had a
blast and they all made many lasting friendships. It also demonstrated his leadership skills
and his ability to take initiative. Back when I was in college, I participated
and competed on a dance team. I got involved with digital art and graphic
design and I loved lifting heavy things and putting them back down. Be sure to make time for your personal extracurriculars. Don’t focus on just doing research and just
getting clinical experience. Your hobbies are going to help you deal with
stress, allow you to create lasting friendships and they will ultimately keep you sane. In medical school, I became a little bit less
hardcore about powerlifting and got more into cycling and cars. I’m training a cycle of 600 miles in June
and I raced my car at the track in a safe and completely legal environment whenever
I get the chance. While surgery and medicine appealed to me
in a certain way, cycling and racing excite me in a completely different way. I urge you all to make time for your hobbies
and passions, life is too short to not have fun. I would love to hear what your extracurriculars
are not only clinical and research but also what you do for fun in your free time as well. Leave a comment below. Thank you all so much for watching. That is it for this video. If you liked the video, make sure you press
that like button. New videos every week, so hit subscribe if
you have not already and I will see you guys in that next one.

76 thoughts on “Pre-Med Extracurriculars for Medical School Application (& What I Did)

  1. Thanks n Please make a video on how does Environment affect ur studies n what to do to increase efficiency.

  2. thank you it's very helpful …. I'm in second year medical school and for my extracurriculars , i'm a member of national medical association , I do fitness , guuitar , some research about anatomy and nutrition and food ,i'm a volunteer too in red crescent

  3. Hi Jay! Long time no talk, I'm super excited that you went back to your original roots (you know… paper and pen). It's very nice to see a good change up!
    As for me, I love extracurriculars! I volunteer on a personal care home in a rural area and I love it! I'm thinking of volunteering in a mental health hospital to challenge myself and help break the stigma of mental health hospitals. Do you think that this is a good idea?

    Personally, I just joined the Chess Club in my school because I've always loved chess as a kid and I want to learn and improve more on my skills! I'm also thinking of joining the Magic club in my school which is where student magicians showcase their talents and share it with other students.

    As for research, I still haven't found any openings in my University so far but I'm still looking and I'm not giving up!

    Thank you Jay!! 🙂
    -Entei

    Edit: Autocorrect placed "joking" instead of "joining" The Magic club.

  4. I never thought of personal hobbies also being important! I love research, however, and I'm participating in a STEM project at my college.

  5. At around 2:00 you mention international volunteering. I would advise all students to be wary about deciding to do this. Most of the time you end up spending $4000 on a trip to a third world country and handing out advil all day while playing doctor. Trips like these are considered "voluntourism." It is much more valuable to go on a non-clinical international trip paid for by a church or do work for underserved populations near you. After all, you will be learning and most likely practicing in the US so it is best to do your volunteering there.

    I am not saying this as just for preference, some adcoms look down on voluntourism or any other service where you essentially pay thousands to hand out advil and wear a disposable stethescope for a week.

  6. great video! it's so important to get the right balance. As a dental student, i also find it difficult at times to strike the right work/ activities balance because there's just not enought time to do so sometimes. i really like the tips you gave here ☺

  7. Hi Im Ashly, Im in high school as a sophomore and I was wondering what classes should I take since I want to go to med school. Thanks!

  8. Hello. I am a premed and I do a lot of cycling. Also, I am currently working on a research project for the CSTEP program.

  9. Hey! Great video. For me, as a student who is about to apply, I have several EC's I am involved with. I have a degree in bass performance, and I still put a lot of time and effort into developing myself as a musician through playing in a personal rock band that writes original music (7 years), music directing at my church (for about 2 1/2 years), and working on music and sound design for an animated short film which went on to receive multiple awards at film festivals. As far as clinical, I have shadowed roughly 22 hours in ENT, Ortho, Peds, Urology, and Neurology. I have also volunteered in a geropsychiatric ward for roughly 6 months, and went on to continue volunteering at the ER in the same hospital (roughly 230 hours altogether at the moment). I also perform basic research in the realm of cell biology. Some of the research we do is biomedical in nature, and much of the work is in fine-tuning methods in which to study myofibroblasts as well as seeing the effects certain drugs have upon myofibroblast differentiation, proliferation, and tension generation in vitro. We are preparing to publish a paper in which I will be a co-author on over optimization of the collagen lattice model. I have done research as a volunteer and assistant with the same team for roughly 100 hours at this point.

  10. I'll talk to you when I get into med school. Let me get in first. It's a nationalised exam after high school. It's scary so let me go over it before anything else.

  11. I'm starting my channel out, please give me a look! I'm a dental student trying to help other dental/med students get into grad school! Thank you and God bless

    Follow my journey

  12. watching these videos from Northern Ireland as a factory engineer. I may not have a stressful or difficult a life as a doctor(money will make up for that) but I love seeing all these thoughts, ideas, facts, published like this. very interesting, thanks for sharing!

  13. I am currently a grade 11 high school student from Canada and have already taken some of my grade 12 university courses and completed them with a high mark. My main extracurriculars are Cross Country in the fall, Swim Team in the Winter and Track and Field in the Spring. I am also on Student Council and going to run for President next year. I hope to pursue a career in medicine and I really enjoy your videos. Thanks

  14. Hi jay,
    I'm transferring my studies to life sciences to get into a med school in Canada, and I only have about a year or a year and a half to finish the pre med, so I was wondering what activies would be more efficiently with this short amount of time???

  15. You are killing it with these videos thank you for all of the content you are putting out! For clinical involvement, I spent a semester volunteering at the hospital and have been on two international medical trips. I have also had a large number of shadowing hours in different surgical disciplines. For research I have been involved in 2 different clinical research projects and this summer I will be aiding in a project that is a combination of clinical and basic research. As for personal extracurriculars, I have created both a cycling club and a strength club on my campus. I'm also heavily involved in Love Your Melon (pediatric cancer awareness brand/club) on campus. It sounds like we actually have quite a few interests in common!

  16. Fuck yeah shout-out to all medical powerlifters, strongmen, and bodybuilders out there (stay natty boys)

  17. @Med School Insiders: Would you consider serving as a volunteer EMT to be a relevant clinical extracurricular? I feel like I really get to engage with patients and take responsibility for them on the ambulance, and I'm not sure I'd get the same experience shadowing or volunteering at hospital. (Not to mention, this is really my favorite activity!!!!)

    Since EMT service is a large time commitment, do you think it could mostly replace the traditional shadowing/volunteering?

  18. So I'm a bit conflicted. I box and I'm in the university choir (for credit, nearly every semester of college). I did ecology research for a semester and organometallic catalyst research for a summer -loathed them both and not sure if they are worth including. My strong points, however, are that I have done nearly 700 hours as an EMT (paid on the ambulance, and volunteering for the campus and for events like marathons), and have held leadership positions as an EMT (supervisor, recruitment coordinator). I tutor refugee high school girls. I have my senior year and a gap year left (most likely doing a post-bacc).I am a member of Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity. Where do you recommend I shift my focus?

    I am thinking volunteering with some non-medical organization, a medical mission trip, and shadowing/volunteering at a free community clinic. Let me know what you think!:)

  19. what are your thoughts on working during college (pre)? I was thinking of taking a research assistant post at my school

  20. Are extracurriculars viewed with the same weight with younger and older applicants? I will be thirty-four when hopefully beginning in medical school, I have the clinical shadowing, started a club when I was much younger, a masters degree, and military experience. Being older and having two children, I'd rather be home with them if it wouldn't hold the same weight in the light of having greater life experience and leadership positions outside of college. Please advise.

  21. do you advise studying abroad in second year of undergrad? im planning to volunteer in a clinic or hospital while im there as well

  22. Hello, I'm from the UK and it's difficult to volunteer at a hospital or shadow so what would you recommend?

  23. Is it possible to be a full time medical assistant while studying biology in college full time and engaging in extra curricular activities? Or is that spreading too thin?

  24. I have a question. What would summer camp teach you (as a volunteer) that is important for you med school application? I mean… what qualities do you learn to have that are important to have in the medical field?

  25. Hi I am also involve in extracurricular activities. I am part of the med student council. And here I am already a second year med student, please pray for my endeavors.

  26. Do you think Physics is necessary for med school? I highly enjoy Bilolgy and Chemistry but find Physics less enjoyable. Is it worth me choosing it as an option or will I be fine without it?

  27. Hi there! I'm in my third year of undergrad and have lots of personal extra curriculars! I've trained for and finished an Olympic distance triathlon, volunteer coaching youth sports (climbing and soccer), and hold an exec position in a volunteering club on campus.
    Any advice on how to get more experience in the research and clinical categories?

  28. oh theres definitely a magic bullet go to nursing school work in the ICU for a few years while getting your med school prerequisites, then apply to osteopathic schools lol even with a subpar GPA and a unimpressive MCAT the fact that your a nurse with experience and non traditional which many schools love, and lets be real your miles ahead clinically than some 22 year old kid with a biochem degree who volunteered once a week at the local hospital. also and this may be the biggest factor you know doctors! you work with them hell you may even be golfing buddies i know I'm pretty tight with many of the MD's and DO's i work with and they would have no problem writing a glowing letter of recommendation highlighting my work ethic and strong clinical knowledge. and if all else fails theres always podiatry lol

  29. Hi,
    I was hoping you could post a video or provide some insight on how to approach a doctor to shadow.
    Will I need to provide a resume or cover letter and come in for an interview? Do I need previous connections to shadow a doctor? How should I contact him or her, via email, phone, etc? And how do I go about finding a doctor to shadow in the first place?
    Thanks.

  30. Hey bro, if you don't mind me asking, did you already get into medical school? Where did/are you going?
    I have about 10 things total to put on my work and activities, which I didn't realize how much I've done until I sat down and listed them. But my problem is exactly what you're saying; I've done all these things, but most of them have been for short times, like semester long, and some long term things.
    I haven't really achieved a promotional position in any if them except for my job I've had for 4 years, so I'm worried that my application will look thin as air.
    I definitely did find great deal of meaning in All of these things, however, that I can articulate. I only have a year and a half left, and it's not like I can go to all these places I've volunteered at and become the emperor of Rome in each of them in a year… any recommendations on how to improve that resume with lots of activities but very little promotion?

  31. Other than volunteering … I do figure skating as an extra curricular! (I’m not no national Olympic competitor though… not quite that good)
    I’m still in high school so I haven’t had a lot of feasible research opportunities yet.

  32. Can you explain me in which places i can do Basic Research, because i know those technics but i don't know what you do with that.

  33. Great video and advice, I am a junior in high school. I was wondering if it's better to attend a college/University with a pre-med track or just major in biology or chemistry?

  34. Hello, thank you so much for you videos. I’m doing a little binge watching if your videos right now but I’ve been subscribed for a while now. I have a concern. I definitely want to get into clinical research and I’d like to m ow a lot more about health care than I already know. Where did you start with these things?
    For instance l, who did you go to for research opportunities as a college student and shadowing?
    Where did you start for increasing your healthcare knowledge?
    Also, to Anyone who can help, please do

  35. Super cool that you participated in a competitive dance team! I am a rising junior bio major deciding to pursue med school and leading a dance team of my own on campus! To hear that you made time for a dance team during your undergrad years while studying as a premed student is greatly encouraging!

  36. Do you need proof or certificate for your personal extracurriculars? What do you need to do for that? I do some music and initiated a club at college? But how do I prove that?

  37. Hi ,sir this video is good but I have an big critical problem here.sir in my country there was no MCAT conducted ,so what can I do

  38. does being into fitness count as extracurricular if its something you enjoy outside of school and shadowing or does it mean nothing unless you start a club for it

  39. For clinical experience, does it have to be in a hospital setting? Could it be in some other setting such as a dental office but with a longer and more serious commitment period?

  40. Senior in college: taking a gap year, but planning on applying having worked as a barista my entire four years, 3 different international shadowing experiences (got to enter the OR during my semester abroad), volunteering at the food bank and a hospital, a year of research (if not more during my gap year) and working as a chemistry TA. Also founded/am vice president of a club about tea, haha. I have a bunch of random personal hobbies, including playing various instruments and calisthenics.

    Nearing the end of my process of applying to med school. I used to be freaked out about not having enough or doing the "right things" that would get me in, but I've realized that there will always be people with more and people with less. Sure, there are some unseen prerequisites to garner favor, but at the end of the day it's what you're bringing to the table and how you present it.

  41. Oh my God!!!!! As an confused Pre-med student, you just don't know how bad I needed this video. Thank you so much for creating this. It's highly appreciated.

  42. Damn i only have personal Extracaricullar such as i can speak 5 languages and i am working on 6th
    I am a cross country debater but don't have any reserch or other Extracaricullar what should i do 😯😯

  43. What if you work full time in a field is nowhere near relevant to medicine? I am an aircraft mechanic and I just don't see where I would find the time for Extracurriculars.

  44. I’m not in med school and not even university yet lol, I am in grade 11 but I’m taking all Ap sciences and Ap pre cal gr 12 and my marks are insanely up there, I play the drums and am apart of the school band but the teacher just puts me on percussion extras for no reason! My plans are to get my undergraduate and this summer I’m doing research for a thoracic surgeon in my area I was wondering if you could answer back on a few questions I have

  45. Are we able to email you directly if we have questions ? I’m a full time social worker and I’m planning on going back to school to complete the necessary pre requisites . I’m not concerned about volunteering and extracurriculars but i worry about where I’ll be able to find the time for leadership . I don’t know if I’ll be able to “ Lead “ anything other than my direct practice with my patients who see me for therapy

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