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Extracurricular Activities



By Tracy Caroline Bank

Most students interested in applying to medical school focus extracurricular activities in several categories, including clinical experience, research, volunteer work, job experience, leadership, and hobbies.

Clinical Experience: Medical schools seek applicants that are certain that medicine is the career for which they are best suited, and primary experience through activities such as volunteering or EMT training enables students to make a more informed choice about a medical career (1).

Research: Research is, in a way, another form of primary experience, as it is another career option for medical school graduates. In the short term, close work with a research mentor can lead to a close relationship with someone in a scientific or medical field, to a strong recommendation letter, and to future employment opportunities. Long-term research indicates dedication and a good relationship with the laboratory. Sometimes, students are also able to be included in published work. Research also allows students to develop their base of medically related knowledge and to demonstrate their ability to analyze data (2).

Other: Other extra-curricular activities may include job experience, volunteering, athletics, or interesting personal hobbies. Leadership, job experience and volunteering, and athletics demonstrate traits such as responsibility, organization, teamwork and team management skills, and a desire to give back to one's community. Personal hobbies may offer medical schools more insight into your actual personality and differentiate you from other applicants. They provide an admissions officer with a more complete image of you as a person, aside from your academic record (3). They are especially valuable when you take the time to connect them in some way to medicine through skills or values learned that you might apply later on in your medical career. For example, tutoring and other teaching activities relate to medicine in that one of the most important roles of a doctor is to teach the patient so that he understands his illness and is able to take an active role in caring for himself (4).

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Works Cited:

  1. Athena Institute
  2. Georgetown Premed
  3. Student Affairs at Columbia
  4. Kaplan Prep for Med School

Contact PCPR

General Contact:
Vy Tran

Mailing Address:

Premedical Career Pathway Research 
PO Box 19456
Stanford, CA 94309 

Phone/Fax: 626-487-6797

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