Photo by: Oscar Herrera
If you’re a premed student who is struggling with preparing for medical school applications and need a place to start, you’ve come to the right place! Here are the recommended top five ways to prepare yourself for applying to medical school from students who have taken on this process before.
VOLUNTEER, VOLUNTEER, VOLUNTEER
Whether it is helping out at the Houston Food Bank for three hours a week, dedicating your time with the youth at your local house of worship or even offering free math tutoring to students, volunteering is one of the best ways to give back to your community. It allows you to be a part of a larger cause aside from yourself, and gives the opportunity to empathize with others.
Shadow Multiple Fields
Don’t limit yourself to shadowing only one doctor in one specialty. Open the doors to find the specialty for you. Just because you have your heart set on becoming a neurosurgeon after watching a couple of seasons of Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy learning about cardiology and the wondrous functions of the heart. Each specialty is unique, yet, they all contribute to working together to ultimately analyze the workings of the whole body.
Any opportunity to shadow a physician is worthwhile. Patient interactions can’t harm you. At the end of the day, the goal is to immerse yourself in the field as much as possible to solidify your ambitions in pursuing this career.
Find Your Passion and Excel in it
Do you enjoy painting, but you’re afraid you’re not good enough? Did you play tennis in high school and want to continue in college? Just do it! There’s no harm in trying.
Medical schools look at thousands and thousands of applicants with high-grade point averages and Medical College Admission Test scores. The key is to find an activity that you enjoy the most and stick with it throughout the years you’re in school. Think about why this activity means so much to you and use it to your advantage to set yourself apart from others.
Get That Clinical Experience
Whether it’s becoming a medical assistant, emergency medical technician or even simply working the front office in a clinic, having worthwhile clinical experience is important. Gaining this experience builds the foundations for understanding the inner workings of the fields.
“Why” Medical School
It is not uncommon knowledge that the ultimate question medical school applications require applicants to respond to is “Why medicine?”
Yes, science may have been your favorite subject since middle school, and yes you may have a passion for helping others, but you must go beyond the cliche.
Take time throughout your undergraduate years to truly think about why you’re pursuing this career path in the first place. Dig deep within your personal experiences to collect the most representative stories of why healthcare is the path for you.
Why do you want to become a physician? If you’re passionate about healthcare, why do you want to become a physician and not a nurse, dentist or even a physician’s assistant? Though I can’t answer these questions for you, these are just a few questions to begin pondering about as you navigate your way into studying for this field.
Take it from students who have been there! These tips will hopefully give you a little nudge in the right direction as you navigate your way to medical school.