This summer marks the transition of the end of Graduate school and the start of medical school. This post will be a guide for pre-medical students in high school, college, graduate and medicals schools on what to do over the summer.
The summer for high schoolers can be optimized, by working. College is expensive and picking up a summer job will allow you to make and save money to make it through college. If you are a junior or senior, this is definitely the time to apply and receive scholarships. I have and still use sites called Unigo, Fastweb and JLV Counseling, to find scholarships. If you have any questions about winning scholarships, let me know and I will help you.
It is still a good idea to enjoy your summer, but being proactive with earning money is a wise decision to set up for success financially. Having money in college will allow you to focus on school and get accepted into medical schools with fewer issues.
Volunteer. Definitely volunteer over the summer and during the school year. You can volunteer at hospitals, libraries, and non-profit organizations.
There are many options for college students, like work, research, and participate in health organizations.
Working over the summer is usually a good idea. If you can handle it, try working part-time during the semesters/quarters. Working while in school will teach you time management, which is greatly needed in medical school. If you could get a job in the medical/health industry that will be a plus to put on your medical school application. It will show them how passionate you are and that you have had some research in the field.
This brings me to my next option, shadow. Shadowing a physician is extremely important. Some people do hundreds of hours and others do about 30 hours. No matter what, try to shadow about 3 different physicians, just to show medical schools you have experienced different fields of medicine and have a slight hint of what you’re getting yourself into. I have written a post on how to find and contact physicians to shadow. If you’re interested in reading the post, click here.
Research is an activity that is becoming popular in college. When I was in college I had no interest in it and tried to avoid it. Research is almost expected when applying for medical school. It gives pre-med students an edge over other applicants. If you’re nervous about not liking it, try talking to your pre-med advisor and see if they have any information on research opportunities within your school’s medical school. If not, they refer you to someone.
Definitely volunteer during the first year of college. If you could continue volunteering at the same places from high school that would look good on your medical school application. It works when the places are medically/health related. If you did not volunteer in health related areas in high school, then now is the time to start. Medical schools look more at the quality and longevitiy of volunteering. They prefer accepting students who volunteered with the same health organization for 3+ years than someone who volunteered at 3+ organization for about 6 months. When you volunteer, make sure to keep track of the hours and when you started. Medical school applications ask for the start and end date as well as a description of what you did. Make sure to have a contact person for volunteering.
Take the MCAT by June if you want to submit your application in July of the application year.
If it is the summer between college and medical school, get everything together for medical school and your apartment. Don’t forget, enjoy your summer.
During the summer after the first year of graduate school, definitely do research especially if you have not started during the school year. At this point, research is required and I could not avoid it. Good thing that came out of it, was a published poster, a shadowing experience and learning. Other researchers publish and add them to journals, which also looks great for medical school applications.
By June of this summer, take the MCAT. If you plan on applying for medical school during this year, try to take by May/June the latest. Some prefer to take it in April, in case they do not receive a good score. Some schools accept exams from November of that year, but that is somewhat late when submitting.
Work or do internships. Definitely shadow physicians and continue to volunteer. Be sure to document your shadowing and volunteering experience. This gives you personal stories to write about on your primary and secondary medical school applications.
Although I start medical school in Fall 2017, I have been fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend a conference. Since I am pretty sure I want to pursue Family Medicine, I decided to apply for the award, so that I could attend the conference. I did receive it and now I will have the opportunity to speak with residents and physicians from around the country that are in Family Medicine. Also, this conference has residency representatives there to provide the upperclassmen with more details about their program. If you could, try going to a conference that pertains to the specialty you are interested in.
Once second year of medical school is done, take Step 1 exam.
With time I will add/edit the things to do over the summer.