As a premed, you already know that your grades and MCAT scores are significant factors in admissions. But did you know there are five surprising things you need to do while you’re working your way through a premed program that most premeds don’t know about?
There’s more to getting into the medical school than meets the eye, and there are five things you are overlooking that can hurt your medical school candidacy.
The 5 Surprising and Unexpected things you need to do during your premed program:
1) Build strong, lasting relationships with faculty
You’ll need to be on your professors’ good side for several reasons: To guarantee that you get glowing letters of recommendation, to help keep your grades as high as possible, and to build an advocate and a friend at your school that can help you later down the line.
2) Have a stronger reason why you want to practice medicine
When it comes time to write your personal statement, you’ll need some practicing articulating your vision — a vision stronger than “I want to help people.” It takes most premeds several years of medical volunteering experience along with deep reflection before they can nail down the “strong reason why” they want to practice medicine.
Take measures early in your premed program to discover your motivation: Take part in a variety of volunteer experiences, talk to medical school students, and read sample personal statements to see how other premeds have articulated their motivation to medicine.
3) Obtain a broad, experiential understanding of the allied healthcare system.
You’ll want to know how different fields interlink, like surgery to radiology to emergency medicine. Not only will you need to know this, but more importantly, you need to experience it first hand. Without a deeper understanding of the healthcare system, your strong motivation to medicine won’t shine through in your personal statement and interview.
4) Demonstrate leadership
Most premed programs don’t dedicate enough time to leadership experience. Being the leader of a group project or even having a small leadership role in a club can be enough to distinguish your application, but your candidacy will shine if your leadership experiences go above and beyond.
As a doctor, you will lead nurses, patients, and any other individuals whose lives intersect with your life as a doctor. With a variety of genuine leadership experiences, you’ll be able to lead others with poise and confidence.
5) Have experience overcoming hardships, adversity
Medical school is hard, and being a doctor is even harder. If you don’t have real experience with hardship, you might struggle as a medical school student. Take on challenging volunteering and work experiences that will show you real struggle, and how to overcome adversity.
Your grades and MCAT score are important, but if you want to be a well-rounded, confident and highly-competitive applicant for medical school, start tackling these five things now while you’re still following the premed program. Your efforts will be rewarded, not only as a premed, but as a medical school student and a practicing doctor.
What’s the best premed program for you? Find out now in “How to Apply to Medical School: Step-by-Step.“